Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Full Sun Farm 2nd Week!

Here's what we got:

Lettuce, Green Leaf or Red Leaf
Spinach, 1/2 lb.
Sugar Snap Peas, 1 pint
Bok Choy
Red Russian Kale
Garlic Scapes
Strawberries, 1 pint

What? No Swiss Chard? We got a beautiful and tasty bunch of Rainbow Chard last week and I was really hoping to make Alice Waters' Gratin. Such are the vagaries of the farmers' market - what is plentiful one week is absent the next.

If you read my blog last year you know that kohlrabi was the bane of my market experience. We get it for many weeks at the beginning and end of the growing season - it seems you can always count on the dreaded kohlrabi!

So what is my problem with kohlrabi? It's so freaky looking!

Actually, I realize at the present moment it doesn't look so freaky, but the root portion is really tough and reminds me of an almost non-nutritive and practically inedible tuber found in Haiti that is mashed into a paste and forms a staple of the diet.

Now, I've never been to Haiti, but the stories I've heard obviously made quite an impression!

In the past, before the food waste challenge, I would chop it up and feed it to our chickens and they seemed happy enough.

This year, though, I'm determined to find out more about this odd root vegetable and ways to prepare it. To that end I finally asked my farmers about it and they, as always, were very helpful.

Here's what they had to say:

It is a Brassica, and is therefore related to broccoli and kale, both of which it slightly resembles.

Think of the greens as tender kale leaves, and prepare them as such. The bulb from which the leaves grow can be thought of as a swollen broccoli stem, but its taste is sweeter, and more refreshing. (My note: Huh! You don't say!)

If this is your first experience with kohlrabi, don't cook any until you have tried it raw; peel the bulb and cut it into sticks or coins for easy eating. If you're ready to cook, kohlrabi can be steamed whole or halved, and is also easy to dice and saute or stir-fry. To use the entire plant in one dish, try this easy recipe:

1 lb. kohlrabi, including greens
1/2 lb. onions, chopped small
olive oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel kohlrabi and cut into small chunks. Saute in oil with onion until onion is golden. Add kohlrabi greens, cut into ribbons, and continue cooking until wilted.

Meanwhile, grease a baking dish. Put cooked Kohlrabi mixture into dish, top with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake 10-15 minutes. If you want to incorporate more greens, dice the stems of this week's kale along with the kohlrabi, and cut the leaves into ribbons along with the kohlrabi greens.

I'll let you know how it turns out and if I've managed to shake the Kohlrabi Curse!


Angela Barton said...

The kohlrabi recipe sounds almost like the Alice Waters swiss chard gratin I made last night and it was amazing.

My husband loved it and he almost never eats kale or chard, and it doesn't even have cheese in it. Actually, it's very rich even without the cheese. I made it with fresh salmon and I think the pairing was too rich. It would be good with a simple tomato tart or something like that.

Angela Barton said...

p.s.looks like you ate most of those strawberries already!

Stacey said...

@Angela - I noticed the same thing about the recipes, too! I was so surprised to see the gratin *didn't* have cheese! Glad to hear it was so delicious. And you *do* have a keen eye: My son and I both got to the strawberries before I could snap the photo! :-)