Ah, the bliss, the joy, the thrill of a stove with hot burners!  Stir frying, and any  other cooking style that imparts a wonderful, golden brown color – promises of great flavor ahead – just can’t materialize without intense heat.  I look at the powerful flame on our stove, and discreetly wipe a tear from my eye … Some things get to me.  A big sink to wash dishes.  An oven with three racks and the capability of 500 F.  Stuff like that.  But, back to food.  I found  some organic broccolini at the grocery store.  It’s a great veggie, a perfect side dish for anything from poultry to seafood.  BTW, it’s not baby broccoli,  but a cross between broccoli and  kai-lan, a Chinese leafy cabbage.  The cross mellows the broccoli character, almost yielding the flavor of asparagus, which explains one of its alternative names: asparation (I’m glad this name didn’t stick!  ;-))

My take on broccolini is a slight departure from the stove-top version of broccoli that I posted a year ago.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 small bunches of broccolini, preferably organic
2 tsp olive oil
red pepper flakes
1 tsp grated ginger
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
splash of water (if needed)

Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet (that will hold the veggies without crowding), when smoking hot add the red pepper flakes, swirl for a couple of seconds and immediately add all the broccolini. Do not move them around, let them get a nice brown color at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, add the ginger and lemon zest, and shake the pan to move the broccolini and coat well all sides with the ginger, lemon zest, and oil.

Cover the pan, let it cook for 2-3 minutes more, then add the lemon juice – test the broccolini with a fork to see if it’s done to your liking.  If it’s not, and the pan is too dry, add a splash of water and cover the pan again, checking after a minute.  Once it’s cooked al dente, transfer to a serving dish and…


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Comments:  If you are anti-broccoli and think broccolini resembles it too much, please reconsider!  There’s absolutely none of the broccoli flavor/smell that many object to.  Avoid over cooking it, and buy young broccolini, with a bright green color and a firm flesh. This recipe is low in carbs and fat, but sky-high in flavor!  Lemon, ginger & red pepper flakes might very well be my favorite flavor mix right now: good on everything!

ONE YEAR AGO: Pizza! Pizza!

TWO YEARS AGO:  From Backyard to Kitchen

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By the time Summer hits with full force, there is no denying that the best of asparagus is over. For asparagus lovers such as myself this is a sad turn of events, but I still buy it whenever I see some that look tasty enough. There are so many ways to prepare asparagus, either as a side dish or incorporated in pastas, risottos, soups, savory tarts. I will share one of my favorite recipes: simplicity itself. I wish I knew where I got it from to give proper credit, but unfortunately I don’t remember. Only three ingredients (plus salt and pepper), and less than five minutes of your time. Have I convinced you to try it yet?  😉



1 bunch of asparagus, not too thin, not too thick, just right
zest of 1 lemon
olive oil, best possible quality you can find
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with lemon zest and allow it to sit while you prepare the asparagus.

Cut the asparagus on a diagonal, reserving the tough ends for your veggie stock or your compost pile.  Add the asparagus pieces to slightly salted boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Yes, only two. Trust me. Drain them in a pasta colander and run cold water from the faucet briefly over them. You just want to stop the cooking, but don’t allow them to get cold.

Add the asparagus to a serving dish, pour the olive oil/lemon zest mixture on top, toss, season with salt and pepper. Serve and wait for compliments.

Measurements for this recipe are not precise, in fact I often just eye-ball it.The amount of olive oil, for instance, I just use what it seems to be enough to lightly coat the asparagus pieces, and use enough lemon zest to make sure it will end up with a bright, nice, lemony taste. Sometimes I squeeze some lemon juice together with the olive oil, sometimes I add fresh thyme, but for the most part I keep it simple.


It is important that the asparagus is still warm when you add it to the olive oil mixture. But you can enjoy this dish warm or at room temperature. Leftovers keep quite well, I love to have them in my bento box for lunch, with grape tomatoes, maybe some couscous or a slice of bread.

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