Thursday, January 1, 2009
My New Year's Resolution -- More RAPINI!!!!
happy new year's eve, everyone. i hope all is well, libations are wonderfully delightful and you've dodged the crazies who were drinking and driving out on the streets last night. it's funny, i do believe the only thing i don't miss about los angeles is the warning to not shoot guns into the air and still hearing them being shot no matter where i was -- well, not at the beach. when i'd be at my bro's place, i wouldn't hear them, but i would where i lived and, yo, not happy. uh-uh.
as a general rule, i don't drive on new year's eve after a certain time. not interested in meeting the wrong drunk driver at the wrong time, especially not with my kiddles in the car. however, i have made a couple of resolutions i feel i need to share with you. ready? here goes:
i will gourmet cook every chance i get
i will not be in a financially icky place
i will follow my dreams
i will hug my children as often as they let me
i will get ready to do a marathon
i will EAT MORE RAPINI!!!
yes, rapini. it is a magicaly delicious veggie to me, for sure. i remember my first real introduction to it. not a long story, i promise, so i'll make it quick... ish... you know me.
my first job in entertainment was for my dad. he would pay me $3.50 an hour to read the scripts that would make their way to his hands and give him my thoughts. i was 12. nice guy, considering the minimum wage at the time was so not that and i was just a kid. i think he knew, even before i did, that my future lay in the written word in closer acquaintance than acting or singing. and, so, i did that. from there, i went to work for various factions as soon as i was old enough -- a movie theatre at age 15ish/16 (i lied about my age to get the gig, cuz, back then, you couldn't work unless you were 16), auditioning for commercials (i hated it, so i quit my agent who thought i was absolutely crazy), working for a record company, going on the road and selling t-shirts for the "official licensor" of such bands as Cameo, Culture Club, and Lakeside (if you recall the last one, you're amazing), worked in reality television before it was cool and, i'm getting to the rapini now, working for a little company called Eddie Murphy Television. i was assistant to the president of TV and, yes, it's that Eddie Murphy , as in Shrek's best bud -- i did move up to features and a big deal sounding (emphasis on "sounding") development position, but that's totally boring and has nothing to do with rapini, so forget it (although it has quite a lot to do with soft shelled crabs, but we'll get to that someday). anyway, my boss was cool, the vps were awesomely wild guys who had gone to high school with eddie and their fave thing to order from a fab italian place near us called Marino (which is still there in l.a. on melrose, people, so check it out if you get a chance) was their rapini. i learned quickly that it was quite the popular veggie item, because it would often be sold out.
for my birthday and to thank me for being such a great assistant -- which i moved out of and into features a few months later -- was a lunch there. so i ordered the rapini with my meal. luckily, they had it. i tasted it and i have been hooked ever since. i am a total greens kinda girl. i love greens sauteed with garlic, olive oil, balsamic and a sprinkling of parmesan, no matter what they are. i adore them and rapini is a mix of broccoli and bitter greens that makes me swoon. oh, man. i could live in those suckers and nothing else ever as long as i live. i mean it. if i could just eat greens everyday for the rest of my life -- with rice and a poached egg, i suppose -- i would die happy. definitely.
and, so, i decided it's time to be more about rapini. the one place i can find it here is Whole Foods and i don't get to go there as much as i like, for obvious reasons, but i did this past week in prep for my chocolate recipe testing. and i got two bunches of rapini and i devoured, by myself, the first one. oh, yes. i am happy. and, so, one of my new year's resolutions is to eat more of it, cuz it makes my tummy happy and me happy and that, my friends, is excellent. here's how i make it. you see what works for you. it is, as i say, a somewhat bitter green, much like radicchio (another all time fave of mine) and mustard greens (yep, love 'em when done right), but it's yummy and so worth it. oh, man.
check it out:
1 tbs good olive oil
3 pcs. bacon (turkey bacon totally acceptable), diced (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of rapini, well washed and cut in half, a bit of water still clinging to the veggies
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbs. good balsamic vinegar (or whatever kinda vinegar ya got on hand, quite frankly, except rice vinegar -- we'll get to that)
1 tbs. grated parmesan (or romano, or asiago, if you're on a budget -- you could also buy one of those tubs with all three in 'em and it'll be awesome)
what to do:
1. in 12" sautee pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. add the bacon, cooking until browned and just getting crispy, if using. add the garlic cloves until they are just fragrant -- do not let brown.
2. toss in the rapini, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of the red pepper flakes (more if you're in a spicy mood). using tongs (not a fork or a spatula), toss the rapini in the hot oil, coating with the flavors and bacon. test a piece to see if it is tender, but still with plenty of bite and take off the stove.
3. quickly add the vinegar, sprinkle on the parmesan, toss again then serve hot.
love it. AB-SO-LUTE-LY LOVE THIS! if you use rice vinegar, i suggest you use 1 tbs. veggie oil, dump the bacon altogether, add some diced ginger -- about 1 tsp. -- keep the pepper flakes, add 1 tbs. roasted black sesame seeds (or regular ones, if you want, but i prefer the black with this), drizzle with just a bit of ponzu and sesame oil and serve with some great steamed rice and steamed ginger fish. omg, so good.
so this is one of my new year's resolutions. also to be more consistent with the blog and give you more cost saving yums for your life of food luxury -- as well as unexpectedly decadent ones. cuz, don't we all deserve some killer food even if we're cutting corners? and don't we also deserve ways of doing things from scratch that don't freak us out? i think so. so do my sons.
that's enough for me.
peace and love and happiness, everyone.
i mean that from the heart.
happy new year and, as springsteen says, happy the rest of your life :o)