Monday, February 9, 2009

Broccolini Rotini with Raisins and Sun-dried Tomatoes (and some pics from Europe)

I know broccolini isn't trying to confuse people, but it goes by a lot of aliases - I gather that broccoli rabe, broccoletti, and rapini are all the same stuff. Maybe it was in some kind of vegetable witness protection program at some point - it prefers not to talk about its past. Anyway, it's like broccoli, but different, and really tasty. I see it in all kinds of good looking recipes in some of my favorite cookbooks, so finally tried it. It's a little pricey, at least here, but definitely into my greens rotation.

I used half of this bunch in the broccoli rabe-tempeh recipe from Veganomicon, and made this little pasta bowl for lunch today. First I blanched the broccolini for just two minutes or so - it softens in boiling water pretty quick, and I try to retain some crispness. I boiled a cup or so of rainbow rotini in the same water, and poured hot water over some raisins and sun-dried tomatoes to rehydrate them while the pasta was cooking. It's all tossed together with sauteed garlic, slivered almonds, red pepper flakes, and lots of olive oil; and finished with a little salt, black pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.

Now for some trip photos - I got back from my whirlwind tour of Europe a week ago. Most of the first week of my vacation was spent visiting a couple of friends and their significant others in the Netherlands and Magdeberg, Germany. After that, I rushed off and managed to see Prague, Venice, and Paris in just over a week. Ideally, the next time I go to Europe I'll have six months and see the little places in the countryside and learn Italian and all of that jazz, but I was happy to spend time in a few of the great cities.

Venice was like walking into a very wet and beautiful history book. Because it's an island full of tourists, everything was wildly expensive, so that was the only reason I was satisfied having just a day there. Paris was stunning, from the Louvre to the Champs-Elysees to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night. Amsterdam and Prague both surpassed their colorful reputations. Prague especially seemed almost otherworldly in places, with such a variety of architecture and tiny little allies and typical grand castles and cathedrals and the rest. Cesky Krumlov, a smaller town in the Czech Republic, was really nice too - an old medeival town on an oxbow in the Vltava river, very pretty and guarded (dominated?) by a huge clifftop castle. Anyway, let's check out some pics:

A Dixieland jazz band in the middle of Old Town Square in Prague, exactly what you'd expect to find in the Czech Republic. These guys were fantastic, and I could have sat and listened to them all day. In the background is a statue of Jan Hus, Czech hero and martyr.

A traditional gondola jam in Venice. I have lots of pictures of St. Mark's Basilica and beautiful old waterfront buildings, but this captures commerce in modern Venice pretty well.

This cool Egyptian dog/jackal figure at the Louvre attracted slightly smaller crowds than the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, or Venus de Milo.

Paris at night, almost as pretty as Fargo.

Amsterdam around sundown on my last night. The church at the left is the Westerkerk, permanent home of Rembrandt. Just up the street from the church from this perspective is the Anne Frank house, every bit as moving as you would imagine.


Anonymous said...

Ohhh you lucky lucky brat! hehehe

Your pictures of europe makes me wanna hop on the plane and go there myself like RIGHT NOW!

Am thrilled you had so much fun. Isn't vaykay awesome..well until it hoo.

yes your broccoli dish looks awesome. I love broccoli! YUMS!

Bianca said...

I LOVE BROCCOLINI!!!! Its so much better than plain ol' broccoli. I also love how broccolini rhymes with rotini. I think you did that on purpose.

Your Europe pics are great! I'm so jealous though. I've never been, even though my boyfriend's mom's side of the family lives in Holland. Sigh....

Sal said...

Cool pictures, looks great - I want to travel round europe too!

Witness protection - heheh. I love broccolini (it's called tenderstem broccoli over here - yet another name!!)

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

that Egyptian dog looks a lot like my Scout! Except she has sweet eyes. Your pasta sounds delish. I haven't had broccolini in a while but I like how tender it is.

River said...

Thank you for sharing your Europe pictures with us, Mike. They are stunning!

*sigh* Prague, so beautiful.

Venice must be so strange, I love the "gondola jam"!

You can now say that you've been to the Louvre, and I am quite jealous. The picture of the Eiffel Tower is amazing!

I can only imagine how moving it must have been to see the Anne Frank house.

Oh, and the broccolini in the vegetable witness protection program? Priceless!