Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you all had a safe – albeit fun – New Years Eve! And I hope that two days into the New Year, that you are still pumped on all of your New Year’s resolutions! I know I am. Although, I will say that when I had originally started thinking about resolutions, it was the beginning of December. I went to put on a cropped top and I was extremely dissatisfied with what was hanging out – my stomach. I’m not an overweight person by any means, however, I’ve never been one to stick to any type of fitness goals or lead a very healthy lifestyle. This year, I started my resolutions early in December. I started doing yoga daily (or some type of fitness oriented activity) and eating more healthy foods. I figured – why wait!? And so far so good. I actually just signed up for a gym membership as well, which I love, and I have been able to keep myself to a healthy diet rich with fruits and vegetables. One of those vegetables I was so recently introduced to is broccolini. When I first saw it in the produce section, I thought it was just baby broccoli, but after more research I realized it was so much better!! I have incorporated it into a couple different recipes this week, which I will post about later, but for now, I wanted to post my research on this mystery veggie and the best ways to cook it. Broccolini(Image from Wikipedia.com)

Okay so, broccolini – also known as broccolette (broccolini is actually a trademarked name) was created by a seed company in Japan and is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan – which is Chinese broccoli more commonly known as kale. The taste of it pretty much sums up it’s ingredients. With a slight bitter tinge like broccoli but also a sweet note to the taste, this vegetable is great with oriental dishes or even raw. Every part of the vegetable is edible, down to it’s yellow flowers (as seen in the photo). So far this week, I have used broccolini in two dishes, and enjoyed both of them although very different in taste.

I will try to post those recipes later, however I wanted to talk about the importance of blanching. I have blanched vegetables before, according to the recipes directions, but I had never stopped to consider why. Blanching is the process of boiling a fruit or vegetable for a short amount of time and then removing it from the boiling water to be placed into a batch of ice water. Once soaked in the ice water, the fruits/vegetables are then dried and ready to be used. Blanching can be done for a couple different reasons. For example, apples and potatoes can be blanched so that their skins are removed easily by hand. Greens on the other hand (such as broccolini, spinach and green beans) are blanched in order to lock in their green color as well as to cook the vegetables slightly before adding to other recipes. Have you ever tried to saute fresh green beans without blanching? It so does not work. It will also pull out some of the bitterness of some vegetables (which I’m assuming it did with the broccolini) as well as prepare certain items to be frozen. So all in all, it can be a very important task to complete in certain situations.

After blanching, I tossed the broccolini in olive oil with lemon juice and garlic for about two minutes. This was a fantastic fresh tasting vegetable dish that would go well with chicken or fish. The other recipe I used it in after blanching was a chicken stir fry. I cooked the chicken in a pan with some stir fry sauce and once cooked added the broccolini to warm and served over rice. That was delicious as well and so different from the first recipe.

I enjoy researching different cooking methods, even something as small as blanching – I just love learning. And I’ve found that with trying to eat more healthy foods – mostly vegetables – that it’s important to mix it up so that the diet doesn’t become boring. I am excited for all the new foods I am going to try, and all the new ways of cooking them that I am going to learn as I go.

Happy Cooking!!

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