Broccoli Rabe (or broccoli di rape as I grew up calling it), is one of my favorite vegetables. It's assertive flavor pairs well with Italian sausage in pasta sauce or on its own next to roasted meats. I notice that the broccoli rabe that I get at the farmer's market is far superior to what is available in the supermarket. I find that supermarket rabe, no matter how "fresh," is often unpleasantly bitter. Rabe from the farmer's market—at least the one that I frequent—is consistently sweet with just a hint of bite, and full of delicious broccoli flavor, right down to the leaves.
You've probably noticed if you've been reading for a while that I like
to roast my veggies. I do this for two main reasons: 1) It's a no fuss
way to cook vegetables while I do something else. I don't need to tend
them, I can just let them roast away in the oven until they are done.
2) I love the carmelization that occurs when you roast vegetables. I
think it makes veggies taste just as good hot or at room temp. And, I
guess, 3) I find that my kids prefer to eat veggies roasted as opposed
to other preparations. They might turn up their noses at steamed green
beans, but will gobble them up when they are roasted. I think they
enjoy the crispy carmelized bits, too.
For this recipe, I took two bunches of broccoli rabe, trimmed it, and washed it. Then I put some diced bacon (about 2 strips) and a small diced onion into a roasting pan with a little olive oil and let it hang out in the oven while it preheated to 350º.
I then carefully removed the roasting pan, dumped in the broccoli rabe, some salt and pepper, and gave everything a toss. After about 10-15 minutes it should be fairly wilted. Give it a gentle toss, then let it roast about 5-7 minutes more. Be careful not to burn the delicate leaves.
Bunny is going to be Princess Mononoke for Halloween, and I, her mother, have made her a costume that, quite frankly, rules.
To see Bunny completely transformed you have to wait until Halloween, but for now, you can view the most essential elements.
First, may I again present Princess Mononoke, the "wolf princess": (Let's just pretend we don't see the knife and bloody mouth...)
And here are the costume components that I crafted on Saturday afternoon. The whole project took just under two hours and cost just under $20.:
the tunic: 5/8 of a yard of felt folded in half, neck hole cut out, and stiched under the arms to form the arm holes.
the skirt: also 5/8 of a yard of felt (trimmed), elasticized waist-band.
the wolf-skin cape: 5/8 yard of fuzzy fabric (on sale!). I sewed a band and ran the ribbon through it.
the "piece of resistance," the wolf tooth necklace thingy: white Fimo modeled into wolf teeth, holes poked through with a chopstick, baked, then strung on a black ribbon. (Thanks for the tips, readers!)
The black ribbon will also serve as her head and arm bands.
Bunny was at a birthday party while I was making her costume and when she came home she squealed with glee and declared me "the best mamma in the whole world!"
And for the record, Wallie is still going to be an elephant though she refuses to wear the grey sweatpants and shirt that make up her "costume." I'm hoping she changes her mind once she sees her tail (not finished with that yet.)
For this easy side dish, I tossed a bunch of white asparagus gently with a little olive oil (not too much as the cheese will release some oil), salt, and pepper. I arranged it in a baking dish and topped with:
1 large slice or 2 small slices of Black Forest Ham, julienned
a handful of grated gruyere
a handful of grated parmesan
Bake at 350º until asparagus are tender but crisp, about 10-15 minutes depending.
I guess I've been a littlerantylately, huh? I actually thought I was going a little nutso this week but then it just turned that I was massively PMSing. I don't know about you, but as I get older I'm finding that I am completely psychotic for about 4 days every month. You should feel very sorry for my family.
On a positive note, I went to my first Bunco game. Twice. I went last night but it was tonight. (It's that psychotic thing, it leaves me brain dead.) I came with $10 and left with $10. I was really hoping not to lose any money. I think I would like to start playing it more, but man those women are hard core. It seemed like they've all been playing together for years and it was really hard to join in on their conversations. Conversations that pick up and leave off once a month, so understandably there is a mad rush to catch up on things.
I'd like to get a regular game going but the thing is ideally you need 12 people every time. And some alternates in case someone doesn't show up. One lady told me she called 27 people just to get 12 confirmed for her party. First of all, I don't know 27 people. Second of all I don't use the phone so...yeah. Chances of this happening are slim. But I do own a Bunco set so it would be fun to try.
Speaking of phone, it's the way school functions and carpools and playdates seem to be most easily organized 'round these parts. I haven't talked on the phone this much since 1986 when my mom put in a phone line just for us kids me. I sound like a total douche on the phone. And the goodbyes are so awkward. And me leaving a voicemail? How much time you got? I can awkwardly sputter talk until the time runs out. I have to keep telling myself, "You can do this! You can be social! The phone is your friend! It's not just for texting and email!"
The no-cable thing. We're closing in on a week and here's the high/low. The high: the girls have not even noticed that we haven't been turning the TV on. They haven't asked to watch anything. They've been playing. A lot. And very sweetly together for the most part. The scenarios they've created are hilarious and involve Bunny being the mother, Wallie being the "Big Sister", and Big Sister "going to school" which seems to take about an hour and requires a backpack filled with horses, wooden food, and several plates.
We've also been outside more a lot which is also good. While the weather is still gorgeous and warm we are taking full advantage. Now that Bunny is two-wheelin' we've been talking long and rambling afternoon rides around our town looking at Fall leaves and Halloween decorations. She's getting to be quite a careful street rider, and her independence makes bike-riding so much more fun.
The low is that giving up our routine is hard. I don't know if we can wean ourselves completely off of TV even without the cable. For example, I felt very disconnected from the Southern California fire situation this week because reading about it in the paper a day later just isn't the same. J. watched some episodes of The Office (British version) on DVD. (I made him turn on the subtitles [English] because I can't understand the accents half the time.) I read some. Worked some. Cleaned and organized some. And tonight I watched an episode of Private Practice on my laptop because I really just wanted to mellow out and watch something stoopid. So it's not that we've gotten rid of the TV completely, we're just being judicious and not letting it be such a time-suck.
I keep thinking of all those scenes in Jane Austen movies where people just sit in a room embroidering or reading, and when they were bored, taking a turn around the room (now that's just crazy). They also seemed to talk so damn much. I wonder if they thought their days and evenings were fulfilling passing the time that way?
And so there it is. My week comes to an end. I'm feeling a little less crazy, ready to take on Halloween, and waiting for this month to be over.
Edited to add: Okay. It's decided. We're going to make her that Princess Mononoke costume. Now, being that I'm not crafty where do I find the makings for that necklace? Michael's? Everything else I think I can swing.
I love King Trumpet (or Oyster) mushrooms because they have the same meaty texture of fresh porcinis (which are nigh impossible to find) even if they don't exactly have a fresh porcini's rich flavor. They also don't have the creepy gills and unappealing sponginess that portobellos have. (I love mushrooms and simply cannot choke down a portobello.)
The easiest way I know to make them is just to stick 'em in a hot oven and don't bother them too much. You begin with beautiful raw mushrooms, ends trimmed. Toss them with olive oil, garlic, and alae (pink) Hawaiian salt (or sea salt). Get into my belly!
Put them into a 375º oven for about 25 minutes. You can give them a gentle stir about half-way through the cooking time. When they are done, they come out looking like this:
Chewy, garlicky yumminess.
I served these alongside lamb chops when the smart and soignée Katherine came to dinner a few weeks ago.