Showing posts with label kohlrabi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kohlrabi. Show all posts

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Do You Do with a Baby Kohlrabi?

by Sheila Connolly

It's hot.  As I write this, we're in the midst of our second heat wave of the summer, and there's more to come.  So of course my thoughts turn to a meal that involves NO COOKING.

And then I went to the farmers' market again.  They were out of nettles this week, but I stopped at one stand and found…baby kohlrabi. 

I don't know how many of you have ever prepared kohlrabi.  It's a member of the cabbage family, and the part you eat is really a swollen part of the stem, near the ground, about the size of a softball (at least when you find one in a store).  It comes in green and purple, although the interior is the same in each. It's sort of crunchy, and tastes kind of like a turnip—rather earthy.  It can also be tough, so it's best to cook the big ones, after peeling them.

But, the baby ones are so cute! I made the seller very happy when I actually recognized the ones she had, picked that morning.  They were adorable! (What is it about tiny vegetables that is so appealing?) I bought six of them, and then she sold me some mint and two bunches of baby carrots, all for $5, and we were both happy. (I think I may be getting an odd reputation at the farmers market.)

Now to make a no-cook meal with baby kohlrabi and baby carrots.  Luckily I had half a grilled chicken waiting in the fridge (there are only two of us at home, so if I buy a whole chicken, split it and grill it, we get two meals out of it), so I diced that up. 

Then I julienned those kohlrabi (I figured they were small enough to eat raw),

and sliced the carrots, and chopped some parsley. I still had those garlic scapes from last week's farmers market, so I diced up a couple of those too 

(watch out—even the little skinny ones are surprisingly garlicky, so use them sparingly unless you really, really like garlic). Heck, you can add whatever you like. Snow peas. Tiny green beans. Whatever you've got that's fresh. And you'll notice I mixed up the shapes, textures and colors in this—you want it to look pretty too.

Recipe? You want a recipe?  If you insist. This amount made a nice light dinner for two of us.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
3 baby kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 bunch baby carrots, sliced
3-4 small garlic scapes (use only the smaller end—the thicker part can be tough)
Parsley, chopped


1 cup mayonnaise (I'm not going to insist you make your own)
1 tsp grated horseradish
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Just mix it all up and taste it.  If it lacks oomph, add some herbs and spices.  I threw in a dash of turmeric, because I thought the earthy flavor would go well with the kohlrabi. I also thought it came out a little thick, so I threw in a dash of vinaigrette to smooth it out.

When you're ready to eat, place your ingredients into a large bowl, then add the dressing and toss lightly to cover.  On plates or shallow bowls, lay out some lettuce (I used Boston lettuce because I like the shape of the leaves) and scoop the chicken salad over it.  Serve!

If you're really hungry, you can include some nice crusty bread on the side.  If it's too hot to be really hungry, you're all set!

It's supposed to go below ninety this week.  I hope.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kohlrabi-Radish Salad

by Sheila Connolly

A week ago my daughter was seized by a sudden craving for serious breakfast food, and I, being of an acquiescent state of mind, agreed happily.  She did some online research and came up with a place I had never heard of, about ten miles from our home.:  Pogo's in East Bridgewater.

Off we went, through unfamiliar territory (mostly farm country, which I always forget exists around here) and arrived at lunchtime, but that wasn't a problem because all they serve there is breakfast, until 3:00 pm.  When we walked in, there were perhaps four other customers--and a crew taking pictures for a cable television segment of The Phantom Gourmet.

Now, some people might have backed out the door and sought other options, but I write for this blog, so how could I pass up the opportunity to watch the pros take pictures of food?  We settled ourselves in a booth, were handed humongous menus with a mind-boggling array of breakfast food choices, and I proceeded to take pictures of a guy taking pictures of food.  in fact, I almost took a picture of a woman taking pictures of the guy taking pictures.  Writing for MLK is doing strange things to me.

Don't you love the way the french toast matches
the flowers on the plate?
My daughter and I, after prolonged perusal of the menu, settled on our choices:  she opted for pumpkin pancakes, I chose french toast made of house-baked cardamom bread with almond glaze.  I finished mine; my daughter had to concede defeat after a mere five pounds or so of pancakes.

The camera crew (which arrived before we did and was still there when we left) kept rolling new dishes from the back of the restaurant, and taking more pictures.  I was immediately jealous of the large lights at their disposal, since I usually get by with my kitchen overhead.  I was also amused when the photographer, apparently not satisfied with the gargantuan stack of blueberry pancakes in front of him, sliced them in half and stacked the halves, resulting in a six-inch pile of pancake.  (Regrettably, he didn't eat any of the dishes he photographed.)

I hope to catch the show, but they were rather vague about when it might air.  I also hope to go back to the restaurant, although I calculate it may easily take me the rest of my life to work my way through the menu.

Since the cardamom in my french toast evoked happy memories of my Swedish step-grandmother's cardamom twist bread, I had hoped to present that to you this week, but (a) I can't find the recipe, although I'm sure it's somewhere in the house, and (b) it's really more of a holiday treat that a summer dish, since it's yeast-raised.  So I shifted gears to make something cool and healthy, using my more recent finds from our local farmers' market.

I am a newcomer to the joys of kohlrabi, which Wikipedia defines as a "low, stout cultivar of the cabbage," created by artificial selection for "lateral meristem growth."  Uh-huh. Basically it a softball-size round stem with a nice crunch and a mild flavor.

I also happened to have brought home some mild white radishes, so I couldn't resist combining the two.  Of course, the result was white on white, so I decided to spruce it up a bit with some parsley and some finely chopped red bell pepper.

Kohlrabi-Radish Salad

Serves four as a side dish

Remove the leaves and stems from a fresh kohlrabi and peel it.  Run it through the coarse grater attachment of your food processor.  (Okay, you could do it by hand if you insist.)

Scrub some radishes (there are many available varieties, large and small, bland through peppery--use what you can find fresh, in whatever quantity you choose).  You need to peel them only if they're large and tough.  Then shred them as you did the kohlrabi.

Remove the stem and membranes from a red sweet pepper (I happened to have some of the miniature ones on hand), and dice finely.

Chop a small bunch of fresh parsley (what size is a bunch?  depends on how much you like parsley)

Combine the ingredients.  Dress lightly with a vinaigrette or other salad dressing of your choosing (bottled is fine).  Do don't this too long before you intend to eat it or the salad will become soggy.

And enjoy! It's a light, quick dish with a nice earthy flavor and crunch--good for a summer side dish with whatever you've cooked on the grill.