sauteed broccoli rabe

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Pepper

Eat your flowers!

Okay, that’s not something I’ve heard too often in my life, nor something I’ve really participated in doing. Decorative edible flowers on dessert is a concept I’m ambivalent about, and I really am not a fan of rosewater. Floral is not my taste of choice. My brain starts firing off, “Why are you drinking this bottle of perfume, Allison?!?!”

However, the taste of broccoli rabe’s little yellow flowers do not fill my mouth with the scent of a strong bouquet of flowers, but rather a slight nutty flavor that’s quite enjoyable!

sauteed broccoli rabe

At my local farmers’ market, one vendor has been selling rabe of all sorts – broccoli, kale, and mustard – with yellow and red flowers speckling all of the bunches. They’re so beautiful! I bought the flowery broccoli rabe on a whim, researching whether the flowers were edible. I learned that flowering broccoli rabe should be eaten sooner than later, but a nice blanch followed by a sauté should get rid of any bitter flavor some people may experience with broccoli rabe.

sauteed broccoli rabe

Luckily, I bought a lot of broccoli rabe for $3, which allowed me to experiment with a little less guilt if I screwed up the first few times.

I experienced trial but little error. Lucky me!

sauteed broccoli rabe

The blanching helps bring out the vibrant green, and the leaving the flowers on simply gave it a pop of color. I’m not sure if it added any discernible taste notes, since the garlic – of course – was the predominant flavor, but hey, I see no reason to take ’em off. Leaving them on is up to you!

So go ahead. Eat your greens…and eat your flowers!

sauteed broccoli rabe

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Pepper
(Serves 2 – 3 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

– 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (roughly 1 lb.)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– If you purchase broccoli rabe with flowers, of course, it is up to you whether you want to remove them!

Directions:

1.) Trim the woodier / harder ends of your broccoli rabe and discard / save for composting.

2.) Fill a large bowl with cold water – add ice cubes, if preferred – and place in refrigerator to chill while water is brought to a boil and broccoli rabe blanches. (see #3).

3.) Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil. Add broccoli rabe and boil for 3 – 5 minutes or until are tender. Remove chilled bowl of water from fridge; use tongs to gently remove from boiling water to the chilled water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, drain water, and lay broccoli rabe on clean cloth or paper towels. Pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible.

4.) In a large sauté pan (a 12″ pan works well here!), add olive oil and turn heat to medium. Once oil shimmers, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; do not allow garlic to brown! Add broccoli rabe and sauté for five minutes. Add pepper and, toss in pan, and cook for one additional minute. Salt to taste, and remove from heat. Serve immediately!

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

I have never made Baba Ganoush in my life prior to the day I made it for this recipe. It’s a dip, admittedly, I don’t have to often – I am a roasted garlic hummus lover, through and through – but a sale on Italian eggplants at my local CTown sparked a desire within me to give it a try. Plus, I got a new bottle of tahini that I was itching to break into.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

I do have to laugh: On the day I made it, I commented to someone I know that I was diving in deep for my first attempt at making it, my enthusiasm cautiously shining. They give me a response, complete with a bit of an eye roll, that threw me off: “Baba Ganoush? That…that is so hard to make right. It always turns out wrong. Good luck with that…” Dumbfounded, with a crestfallen face, I peeled the skin from the meat of my freshly roasted eggplant slices, put it into my food processor with a fresh squeeze of lemon, some tahini, and a lot of raw garlic, and pulsed away. For a moment, I may have lost my confidence.

Boy oh boy, I found that confidence again once I took a bite of it! It was some of the best baba ganoush I’ve had, and I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. The eggplant was perfectly roasted – not too much and not too little, with just the slightest hint of a char – which I believe resulted in that perfect flavor.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Still not quite sure why that person decided to be less than encouraging, but maybe I should text her and tell her to have some faith. It’s so easy to make, and it’s easy to make correctly while bursting with flavor. 😉

Baba Ganoush
(Adapted from the Epicurious recipe for Eggplant Dip [Baba Ganoush])
(Makes roughly 2 cups)

– 2 medium eggplants, sliced to roughly 1/8″ slices (you can purple or Italian)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/3 cup tahini (I used Brad’s Organic Sesame Tahini)
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– Juice of one lemon
– Salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2.) Place eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat slices evenly. Lay slices flat on sheet; some may slightly overlap, and that is okay. Roast the eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes; the skins should be crisp and interiors should be tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

3.) Peel and seed the cooled eggplant, roughly chop the flesh, and then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.

4.) Into the processor bowl add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, some salt and pepper to taste, and a few teaspoons of cold water. Process the mixture to a coarse paste, adding a bit more water as needed to allow the mixture to blend.

5.) Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

Banana Turmeric Smoothie

Turmeric is hotter than ever right now, isn’t it? It’s anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-everything bad, and it turns your fingers a beautiful shade of Simpsons-esque yellow every time it touches your skin!

I see it seemingly everywhere – Golden Lattes are the second hottest thing behind Rainbow Lattes in NYC at this juncture – and its certainly easy enough to pop a little into your morning smoothie. The turmeric, plus a hit of cinnamon and black pepper, go well with the sweet banana.

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

This is insanely easy to whip together. If you are like me, you can bulk it up a little more as well with your favorite collagen peptide or protein powder. You’ll feel superhuman in no time!

Banana Turmeric Smoothies

Banana Turmeric Smoothie

(Serves 1; roughly 1 & 1/2 cups of smoothie)
Ingredients:

– 1 medium to large banana
– 1 cup milk of choice (I use Malk Organics unsweetened cashew milk)
– 1 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (used to activate turmeric)
– 1 scoop collagen peptides or protein powder (optional; I use Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Peptides)

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until combined. DRINK.

garlicky sautéed rainbow chard

Garlicky Sautéed Rainbow Chard

Each Saturday, as the days get warmer and warmer, I’m returning to my usual jaunt up to my local greenmarket in Inwood. While it can be slim pickins in the colder months, I really started to see signs of spring this morning as the usual produce was also peppered with hyacinths and tulips for sale.

garlicky sautéed rainbow chard

In particular, greens have started to make a comeback. This morning, one vendor was absolutely overflowing with various types of kale, lettuce, and other greens just begging to be bought! Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the rainbow…chard, that is. Its thick pink and yellow stems always tempt me. I didn’t think twice before buying an impossibly large bunch. I couldn’t sauté it up fast enough; though not photographed, I topped some with a soft-boiled egg, and it was a quick vegetable-laden breakfast. Start to finish, this took be 15 minutes on the nose.

IMG_9724

Taste the rainbow definitely does not apply to just Skittles.

IMG_9737

Garlicky Sautéed Rainbow Chard
(Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Garlicky Swiss Chard)
(Makes roughly 4 cups, wilted and sautéed)

Ingredients:

– 2 large bunches rainbow chard, thoroughly rinsed and patted dry, stems trimmed
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– Personally, I like to keep some stem on my chard when I sauté it; feel free to keep yours as long or as short as you prefer.

– Swiss chard can be substituted in an equal amount.

Directions:

1.) Stack rinsed and dried chard leaves on top of each other; this can be done in several small stacks, if preferred. Slice leaves into roughly 1/4″ strips, length-wise. Set aside.

2.) In a large saucepan or soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and (optional) red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds; do not allow garlic to brown! Add chard and stir until leaves are uniformly coated. Let sit for 2 minutes and allow leaves to slightly wilt. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

3.) Remove from heat. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately!

how to make garlic powder

How To Make Garlic Powder

One night, at home, I found myself Googling “How To Make Garlic Powder“. Why? One, I was curious. Two, I was out of it and didn’t feel like running down to the bodega to get a new bottle; when you live in 4th floor walk-up apartment, once you’re up at the end of a long day, you usually don’t want to go down again.

I use garlic powder on anything that needs salt, if only to keep me from using too much salt! (Damn…I love me some SALT.) Garlic, in general, is my favorite seasoning, hands down. I’ll add it to anything savory. My food feels naked without it.

I decided to take a shot at making my own, simply because why not?

how to make garlic powder

(Note: On that previously mentioned evening, my roommate Sally ended up buying garlic powder, because she is one of the best humans in the world. Clearly.)

how to make garlic powder

This was an interesting experiment in spice making, to say the least. With recipe development, you certainly don’t know until you try, amirite? I used a full bulb of garlic, which equated to 10 cloves for me; this was an odd bulb that had a lot of big cloves with virtually no tiny cloves, hence the 10 I used. The slicing of 10 cloves of garlic wasn’t too hard, just a bit tedious. The dehydration of the garlic slices in my oven was shockingly simple; I was happy they, indeed, dehydrated instead of roasted or burned. The grinding of the garlic into powder was fun, as I don’t use my mortar and pestle nearly enough. The end result…well…that’s where the shock came in.

how to make garlic powder

Those 10 cloves of garlic equated to a large heaping tablespoon (or 1 & 1/2 tablespoons, leveled) of garlic powder!

how to make garlic powder

Conclusion? I will likely continue to buy garlic powder en masse at my local grocery store. Ha! The brands I buy are organic and free of additives, so I do feel okay using them. Still, now that I experimented, I might attempt to dehydrate 3 or 4 bulbs of garlic on a rainy day and see how much more I can make. It may go without saying that the flavor of freshly-ground garlic powder definitely trumps any store-bought brand I’ve bought, hands down. It has that quintessential fresh garlic tingle to it, even post-dehydration! The oils are absolutely preserved during this process.

Regardless, knowing that I can make garlic powder is a wonderful trick to have up my sleeve. Why not share it with the rest of y’all?

Garlic Powder
(Makes…*sigh*…approximately 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder)

Ingredients:

– 10 cloves of garlic, peeled

Before We Get Started…

– If you are on a kick and want to make this en masse, remember that 10 cloves makes approximately 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder. Yes, this is the third time I’ve mentioned it. I just don’t want you to be surprised. Ha! So, obviously, if you are thinking to yourself, “You know what? I want to make precisely 3 tablespoons of garlic powder, just for the hell of it!”, slice yourself 20 cloves of garlic.

– After researching this recipe, I have found many recipes stating to dehydrate at 150°F – 200°F. Of course, everyone has a different oven. I am basing this recipe on my experience; my oven’s lowest temperature is 170°F, so that is what I dehydrated at.

– I did attempt to slice the garlic with a mandolin; slice it as you may, but I found using a knife to, surprisingly, be faster, as the garlic was getting squished a bit in my mandolin.

– Parchment paper must be used in this recipe! Greasing the baking sheet to make sure garlic won’t stick will result in it being cooked rather than dehydrated.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 170°F. (See note in Before We Get Started…). Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.

2.) Peel cloves and slice garlic as thin as possible.

3.) Place garlic slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheet; make sure to not overlap slices.

4.) Place in oven and dehydrate for 90 minutes; at the one hour mark, check garlic’s doneness. It should not be browned or roasted, but dry and brittle to the touch. Crush one slice between your fingers to ensure that it crumbles. Dehydrate for no more than two hours.

5.) Remove from oven and grind garlic with a mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder until uniformly granulated / powdered.

6.) Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. Shelf life should be approximately six months.