Steamed Broccolini w/ Garlic & Reading Charlotte's Web

Spring is a great time to enjoy broccolini. For last few weeks I have been seeing large bunches of super fresh broccolini at our farmer's markets in California for $1/bunch. Since it's grown in abundance in spring, it's also super cheap in spring.

Contrary to perception (and what I believed for many years), broccolini is not baby broccoli. Though they are so much alike in looks and taste! It is a spring vegetable similar to broccoli but with long thin stem and a slightly stronger taste. Wikipedia calls it a hybrid between broccoli and gai lan.

We love broccolini at our house and always devour it in spring for as many weeks as it's on market. While you can steam it, saute it or roast it, my favorite cooking method is to steam it and then saute lightly with garlic oil. 

We bought an instant pot mini duo a few months ago and it's great for quick steaming tasks. I used the steam setting with 0 minute cook time; and released the pressure manually right when it built up. Broccolini are very delicate and over cooking is about the worst thing that could happen to them.

Meanwhile saute a few chugs of olive oil and add chopped garlic (2 cloves); once the garlic has infused the oil, add steamed broccolini and sprinkle some salt & pepper. A minute in pan and it's done!

Since this is a very simple preparation, good quality ingredients go a long way. I always go for the best quality ingredients I have at hand - which means a good extra virgin olive oil and a fancy salt (we use pink Himalayan salt from Trader Joe's for all of our drizzling salt needs). 

It's a great side for any soups, pastas or noodle dishes. I hope you get a chance to enjoy broccolini while the season lasts!

Last few weeks I have been having a really cool time reading Charlotte's Web with my daughter! As she is growing up, she is in that middle age of overgrown the toddler section books but not yet ready for the big kid books either. I thought it might be a great time to introduce her to some of the classics that I could read to her and we can enjoy spending that time together. 

Now I myself haven't read any of the American children's classics, so picking a book meant a lot of Amazon searching. Finally we landed on Charlotte's Web and it seemed like a great story with animal characters she still loves but a complex and long plot.

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We read a few chapters a day and took about 2-3 weeks to finish the book. It was very engrossing, even for me :) And we quickly felt the characters like Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton come alive. It's a lovely story about love and friendship and is sure to keep children guessing. It also provides a lot of opportunities for discussions particularly about topics like being kind to others, helping a friend in need, feeling sad and helpless etc.

The only unfortunate bit was the sad ending, which I had to run-time edit slightly. But all in all, it's a great read and I am so happy we chose it for our first big book!