Seasonal Eating: Broccoli Rabe

One of my favorite dishes as a child was spaghetti with spicy Italian sausage, peppers and onions. Made with pork sausage, the dish can be a bit heavy and since the peppers and onions are mostly water and shrink during cooking, I feel like I’m not getting enough vegetables in the meal.

This is my grown-up version of that childhood favorite. I make healthy substitutions, using whole wheat pasta instead of regular, turkey sausage instead of pork, and adding a large serving of broccoli rabe to the mix.

I sourced  my spicy turkey sausage from DiPaola Turkey Farm, a local grower. If you can’t find local turkey, a chicken sausage would be a great substitution.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flake
  • 1 pound spicy turkey sausage
  • 1 cup crushed tomato
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 pound whole wheat, thick ribbon pasta such as fettuccine or pappardelle
  • salt, pepper

Put on a large pot of salted water to boil.

In the meantime, add the olive oil to a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flake to the olive oil, stirring until soft (about 4-5 minutes). To the pan add the sausage, breaking it up as you stir. Once nearly all the sausage is browned, add the crushed tomato and reduce the heat to medium.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook to taste. Add the broccoli rabe to the pan of sausage and stir in cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Combine pasta with the meat sauce, and serve right away.

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Rhubarb compote

The rhubarb season is a short one. Fresh rhubarb starts appearing at the market in early May and suddenly disappears just a few weeks later. I wanted to take advantage of this seasonal fruit (which is technically a vegetable!). I’ve made strawberry rhubarb pie in the past, but this year I wanted to try something simple and fast.

Rhubarb is naturally tart and contains pectin, so it is perfect for jams, jellies and compotes. This recipe takes about five minutes of active work and results in a versatile compote- put it on ice cream, mix it into yogurt, spread it on toast, or even serve it warm over roasted chicken or turkey. The key to bringing out the tartness in the rhubarb is adding plenty of cinnamon.

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Season’s first strawberries

I woke up early this morning and decided to use that to my advantage- at 8am I was one of the first people at the Union Square Greenmarket. If you like getting a chance to chat with farmers and ask questions, the morning is the best time to do it. There are no crowds and the best of the offerings are available!

Today I picked up asparagus and rhubarb (for an upcoming recipe post) but I got really lucky when I spotted two lonely pints of strawberries at an organic stand selling mostly greens. Lucky for me, the vendor was just getting set up, and there were more berries to come. Some very excited early birds, including me, snapped up the strawberries as fast as the farmers could unload them.

Recipe for strawberries this good? Wash and eat. If you are getting organic strawberries, (which you should if you can, because strawberries are very heavily sprayed with herbicides) you need to eat them within a day or so.

Sustainability Symposium at Delaware Valley College

This October (7-9) I will be a panelist at the The Precarious Alliance: Strengthening Human Networks and Natural Systems Symposium at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania.

Marion Nestle will be the keynote speaker-I am also presenting a paper on food waste in NYC and urban environments.

Save the date- more details to come!

Breast Cancer Charity Sells out to KFC

Who would think KFC would have anything to do with a cure for cancer? The Susan G. Komen foundation, dedicated to early detection and research for a breast cancer cure, has partnered with the infamous fast food joint in an effort to raise cash.

”KFC has pledged 50 cents to Komen for every pink bucket ordered by its restaurant operators during the promotion period, with a minimum donation of $1 million and a goal to raise more than $8 million.”

While a million dollars is a generous donation and the Susan G. Komen foundation is a worthy charity, I can’t help but think a bucket of fried chicken does more harm to the people who eat it than 50 cents will do to help breast cancer patients.

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Crock Pot Caramelized Onions

If you have a crock pot or slow cooker, its super easy to make caramelized onions. Once prepped, you can keep the onions in the fridge for about a week, but don’t try freezing them; the texture will change when you thaw them out. I recommend serving the onions over pierogies, on top of steaks or burgers, or simply on good bread with Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.

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Snacking

Snacking is a dangerous habit. Sure, it’s not dangerous like
spelunking or smoking or wearing a Red Sox’s jersey at a Yankee’s
game.

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