Archive | 8:52 am

Q·E·2: Rabe & Ravs

10 Nov

It’s been one of those weeks. No, not one of those. One of those.

You know, the kind of week that by Monday night, you wish there was a “re-set” button. And then by Tuesday night, you wish there was a gym coach you could turn to and ask for a “re-do.” By Wednesday night you don’t know how you’re going to get through the week, but at least it’s half over now. And then on Thursday night you’ve just slammed your head into your keyboard so hard that you’ve given yourself a minor concussion, fallen off your chair and had to call the IT guy to replace the “G” key on your keyboard. Yeah. It’s been that week.

Of course on Monday evening I had no idea it was going to be like this. I had an inkling; that sick sort of sinking feeling that hovers around the pit of your stomach, but no concrete idea, yet. So when the boy called me at work and told me he’d already cleaned and trimmed the broccoli rabe for dinner, it made me smile. I gave him blanching instructions, wrapped up my work and had a nice walk home.

On Sunday we had gone cruciform crazy at the Tompkins Square Greenmarket. We bought purple Russian kale, purple mustard greens, tiny yellow cauliflower, romanesco and a trove of Brussles sprouts. The kale and mustard were consumed that day, the cauliflower, romanesco and sprouts are still languishing in the fridge. I hope they’re okay (I really ought to check on them).

Back to the rabe. I love the stuff. I love its pungent, clean, antiseptic bite and its hidden soft sweetness. It has always surprised me that my lover-of-all-things-cruciferous boyfriend insists that he doesn’t like the stuff. Now I know why.

When I walked in he said to me, “You know, I was getting worried because the rabe didn’t look how I’ve always remembered it, but now that it’s cooked, it looks right to me.” So I sauntered over to the sink and looked in the colander at the sad, wet mass huddling at it’s bottom and without thinking turned to the boy and said, “Where’s the rest of it?”

What do you mean the rest of it? The rest of it. Huh? The stalks, the florets, the rest of it. In the garbage. What? In the garbage. Well what’s it doing there? I threw it away. I thought you only ate the leaves, that’s all I’ve ever been served. Oh. Well, no wonder you say you don’t like the stuff.

So there we were, standing in the kitchen, me frustrated, him feeling bad, neither of us knowing what to do. My first impulse was to bin the soggy stuff and go out for dinner, but I was tired. Even though Monday was probably the best day I had all week, I didn’t know it at the time. I was cranky and crabby and hungry.

So I picked up a few leaves and squeezed the liquid out and tasted it. Happily, they were imminently salvageable. So I turned to the one thing that can rescue any evening and turn it from tense and testy into something special, lobster ravioli.

Lobster Ravioli With Broccoli Rabe

I set a pot of water to boil, heated a sautée pan with oil, popped in a few cloves of garlic (squeezed through my garlic press, natch) and added the well-drained rabe leaves. I doused them liberally with lemon juice, chile flakes, porcini powder and salt and pepper. When the ravioli were cooked we scooped the glistening leaves over top and dug in. It was delicious. The night was saved.

But it wasn’t.

After washing up and some making up (I’m sorry I was cranky. I’m sorry I don’t know how to clean rabe) I sat down at the computer to finish the work I hadn’t been able to while I was still in the office. No dice. Apparently someone had forgotten to feed the hamsters and gerbils again because there was a dead server somewhere blocking all my attempts to log-in. I called a friend that lives nearby hoping hers was working, but again, no dice.

So, a glass of wine down, I hopped in a cab at 8.30pm and went back to work. By the time I was done and in another cab on my way home I had decided I wanted, no I deserved, a dirty vodka martini when I got home.

Now let me say this to you friends… Should this occasion ever happen to you, when you’re sitting in a cab justifying the consumption of a pretty healthy dose of hard liquor later in the evening after a sucky day at work, remember this tale. I’m not by any means blaming the booze, that would be heresy. But I have to wonder, would this week have been quite so loathsome if I hadn’t woken up with a splitting headache on Tuesday morning? I have no idea. But I do know one thing.

Thank frickin’ god it’s Friday.