We shamefully dissed a perfectly good vegetable earlier this season and we’d like to apologize. Mea Cupla, Kohlrabi, Mea Maxima Culpa.
Fortunately, the Kohlrabi has very thick skin, which, as it turns out, is what led us astray.
Sheer laziness and a ridiculous refusal to step out into the cold led me to discover that well-peeled kohlrabi is actually delicious. Honestly. Our story begins like this:
Our heroine, that’s me, eyes the cold, dead leaves whipping around her yard and vows that she won’t leave the house until morning, which means she needs to assemble dinner from the very odd remnants in her refrigerator. She spends a good chunk of time chopping up CSA leftovers she’d been studiously ignoring all summer – salad turnips, parsnips, leeks and the aforementioned kohlrabi. Tossed with a little pork she found in the freezer and CSA favorites including spinach, broccoli, carrots and garlic, the dish turned out to be, “The best stir fry you’ve ever made,” according to her husband. And that’s saying something because our heroine makes a lot of stir fries!
Here are five things we learned from the Laughing Fox Farm, our Community Supported Agriculture provider:
1) You have to peel kohlrabi with a paring knife, not a peeler. In addition to its rough exterior, there is a stalky underlayer that should be removed before you eat it. Then it’s just plain tasty, either raw with hummus or a little lemon juice and salt, boiled in soup, or stir fried.
2) Sweetheart radishes are my new favorite vegetable. I’m a big radish fan and I really loved these beauties. They’re not much to look at on the outside, but slice them open and take a moment to admire their brilliant rosy burst.
3) You can put a little steamed kale in just about anything and it will be delicious. Kale is our new best friend. We pop it into our soups, pasta dishes, stir fries and salads. Those of us who eat eggs (gross!) even enjoyed kale in omelets.
4) Fresh basil will always be our favorite herb. We grew it, bought it and brought it home almost every week in our CSA basket. Molly made daily variations of pesto and invented a Caprese Pie. We ate caprese salad frequently during tomato season and made gourmet sandwiches with basil leaves. The smell alone made us smile and, for a while, Molly made tea with basil leaves.
5) We thought we were investing in our talented young friends when we bought a ½ share in the Laughing Fox CSA. We admired their work ethic and liked the idea of getting a weekly surprise basket of produce grown a couple of miles from our house. The rewards, though, were so much greater. We ate delicious fruits and vegetables well into fall and found ourselves experimenting with food we never would have tasted on our own. If you’re lucky enough to live near a CSA, treat yourself to a share. You’ll be glad you did.
Here is a sampling of our last basket from our CSA share. Isn’t it beautiful? We actually took home a lot more, and Molly developed a serious obsession with squash, which she will write about on Friday, but I could only fit a sample of each item in this picture. I should point out the bunch of arugula in the lower right corner, because that is another vegetable we can’t stop eating. We like it in salads and on pizza.
These are the sweetheart radishes, which are tangy and beautiful. I think they would have made a lovely display on a vegetable tray, but I ate them all.
I made peace with the kohlrabi on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. So, it was more like the 17th hour, but that is not nearly as poetic. I peeled those suckers and they were delicious. Nuff said?
Nearly 30 years of stir fries and this is the favorite. I used a little canola oil to get things started, and finished off with my favorite, House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce. Really, though, the kohlrabi and the salad turnips made the difference.