Produce of the Week Feed

Produce of the month: Broccoli rabe

Oh, ha, ha. Silly me. I reintroduce Produce of the Month and then I don't post one since May.


Really, I've been eating my produce -- just not writing about it.

Here's one for ya: Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini. Here's a review from my son:

"Mom, there's something awful in this dish. I'm not eating it."

So, yeah, foods with a bitter undertone can be a hard sell for the kids. But I happen to adore this veggie. Along with the bitter bite is a sweet nuttiness (like me!). A few stats:

  • A cup is only 20 calories.
  • It's a good source of vitamins A, C and K.
  • It also contains calcium and iron.
  • It's full of phytonutrients.

My favorite way to prepare broccoli rabe is to saute it with garlic and olive oil. Just wash and trim a bunch of rapini and chop it into chewable pieces. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan and when hot, put in as much chopped fresh garlic as you can stand. I like the garlic to get pretty browned. When it is, put in the broccoli rabe and saute until it's cooked to your liking. A dash of salt and you're done.

Produce of the Month: Rutabagas


Yeah, you heard me -- rutabagas.

This root vegetable is the butt of many a joke and they are butt ugly, but they were half price at the farmer's market last weekend so I picked up a few.

"How do you cook them?" I asked.

"Beats me!" the farmer replied.

I flipped through a few cookbooks and couldn't find anything that looked appealing, so I turned to and found a rutabaga-carrot puree and made my own version. After peeling and cutting the rutabagas, I had around 2 pounds. I put 'em in a big pot with five carrots, cut into big chunks, then covered everything with salted water and boiled the vegetables for around 45 minutes until everything was pretty soft.

I then drained out the water (I use one of those pasta pots with the draining lids) added a couple tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of honey and a little more salt. Then I pureed everything with a stick blender (only one pot to clean).

Rutabaga_mash Those lowly rutabagas turned golden when cooked, and the carrots added to the orange mash.

I didn't know what to expect when I tasted the finished product, but it was really nice, a bit like mashed sweet potatoes but a little less starchy.

Rutabagas are a pretty good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber. A cup of rutabagas is only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber, so the rutabaga-carrot mash is a good sub for mashed potatoes.

And the next time someone's trying to unload a bushel of rutabagas, I'll be buying.

Produce of the Month: Asparagus

Grilled asparagus asparagus recipes grilling vegetables

The Food Channel photo

Back in the day, we did a Produce of the Week, where we'd spotlight new or favorite fruits and vegetables.

I'm bringing the feature back but it's Produce of the Month, lest we deplete the produce section of the grocery store.

And this month, we shine a spotlight on asparagus, those slender stalks that pop up this time of year.

I've been buying asparagus every week and doing the same thing with it -- snap, rinse, microwave. But I got an e-mail from The Food Channel that had a delish photo of grilled asparagus. And since it's always grilling weather down here and becoming grilling weather around the rest of the country, I'm eager to slap those green guys on the grill. Grilling vegetables caramelizes the sugars in the vegetable and gives them a smoky sweetness.

Here's all you do:

  • Place a pound of trimmed asparagus in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Place asparagus in a grill basket and grill until just tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

Boom -- that's it.

Beriosprays A drizzle can sometimes turn to a downpour if you're not careful with the oil bottle. I often use an olive oil spray from Filippo Berio, which is cool because it's nothing but olive oil. No propellants, no lecithin, no additives. It's not aerosol, so it's more of a spritz than a spray, but it's a great way to evenly and lightly coat things with olive oil. I found it at my local grocery store (Publix). 

I'm planning on checking out the new weekly farmers' market in my town this weekend -- something I've been longing for. And perhaps I'll find something cool for next month.

Produce of the week, from John Mayer

Honeydew If you didn't already know, musician John Mayer is a prolific and hilarious blogger and Tweeter on Twitter. He just offered one up that makes a fine Produce of the Week item:

johncmayer Honeydew melons are the sweetest of the melons. They are an excellent source of potassium.

I was never a fan of honeydew melons until it kept showing up in fruit salad, so instead of discarding it I ate it instead. I still don't buy the things at the grocery store but I do enjoy them cut up in fruit salad (yummy yummy -- Wiggles reference).

Melons are especially good for dieters because they're loaded with water, making them filling and lower in calories than many fruits.

Produce of the Week: Bok choy

bok choy This week's veggie is a guest post from my pal Lynn Haraldson Bering, who blogs at -- among other places -- Lynn's Weigh: The Journey Continues. This time last year I sent Lynn an e-mail after reading of her 168-pound weight loss in People magazine and we became friends. Cool thing, this Internet. She recently wrote about the wonders of bok choy. You can read the entire post HERE but here's an excerpt:

Eight ounces of bok choy has just 30 calories, only a trace of fat, 5 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, nearly 4 grams of protein, 240 mg of calcium (that’s nearly 25 percent of daily recommended calcium intake for women 18-50) and 570 mg of potassium (strive to get 4,700 mg a day).

I’m going to add bok choy like I would spinach to vegetable soup and eat it as is in a salad, too. The key around my neck of the woods is finding bok choy that doesn’t look like it just got off a 2-year boat trip from China.

Produce of the Week: Red banana

Banana_red The produce department of my local grocery store is chockful of strange and sometimes bizarre offerings. Living in South Florida, we have a lot of exotic fruits and veggies to choose from.

This week, we'll explore the Red Banana.  Sometimes called a Jamaican banana, this variety is grown in Costa Rica and is very popular in South America. 

The flesh of the banana has a slight raspberry taste to it, and can be used the same way as a yellow banana.  They are available year-round in most specialty grocery stores.