How you can cook up cancer-fighting broccoli rabe (rapini or raab)

After many years of writing about new ideas and unexpected ways to enjoy familiar foods to appear in print, I am now sharing them as a blog. If you already know my Something Different recipes, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them in living color and with even more detail. If it these recipes are catching your eye for the first time, welcome.

As a food writer, I get invited to some intriguing events. One of my favorites last year featured not Champagne, posh chocolates, or over-the-top desserts. It starred broccoli rabe, aka rapini, raab, and cima di rape.

Broccoli rabe’s distinctive, bitter and pungent taste is not for everyone, but at this event the family that distributes most of the rabe grown commercially in the U.S. served up dishes with wide appeal. Some were authentically Italian, like arancini, fried rice and cheese balls, filled with broccoli rabe, or a colorful combo of roasted potatoes and roasted rabe drizzled with lemon. More surprising was a vivid smoothie blending broccoli rabe with apple, banana, pineapple juice and yogurt.

But best of all was pasta tossed with broccoli rabe pesto.

Broccoli Rabe Fusilli-05At home, I tweaked the irresistible pesto to suit my taste, using less oil and sharp pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese instead of Parmesan. This also made it better combined with the taste of whole-wheat pasta. Plus I topped my version with juicy cherry tomatoes rolled in a hot skillet until they sizzle and burst. Continue reading


Study: Eating Nuts for Lower Cancer Risk

Nuts are in fashion, nutritionally speaking, especially for heart health. Now, a new study finds that if you eat a handful of nuts several times a week that may help lower your risk of cancer.

Study results on nut consumption and cancer prevention have been inconsistent. In this systematic review and meta-analysis published in Nutrition Reviews, the researchers evaluated 36 studies – both large population studies and clinical trials – examining the relationship between eating nuts and risk of cancer or type 2 diabetes.

By comparing people who ate the most nuts (typically at least 4-5 times per week) to those who ate the least (typically 1 time per week or less), the researchers found that the high nut eaters had 15 percent lower risk of cancer overall. In specific cancers, they found lower risk for colorectal, endometrial and pancreatic cancer. They did not find any significant difference for risk of type 2 diabetes. Continue reading


6 Tips to Spring into Beautiful, Practical Asparagus

5-26 asparagus blog 9407278_m copySpring asparagus is here and cooking up elegant spears of bright green asparagus takes only minutes and supplies cancer-preventing compounds in any meal. All asparagus is a good source of the B vitamin folate and vitamins C and A, as well as antioxidant compounds like glutathione and rutin.

Here’s a few tips to cook and enjoy this versatile vegetable.

1. Refrigerate raw asparagus like a bouquet, upright with the bottoms of the stalks in a jar or container of water and the tops covered with a plastic bag up to four days.

2. Try not to waterlog and overcook asparagus by boiling it too much. Instead, preserve its color freshness and crunch by microwaving it or steaming over water for just a few minutes.

3. After washing the asparagus, break or cut at an inch or two off the tougher bottom ends of the stalks. Then cut it into smaller pieces or leave the stalks intact. Continue reading