Kohlrabi and Apple Saute

kohlrabiI mention this recipe in passing pretty often, so I think I should put up an official version of it to link to.  This is dead simple while bringing a very pleasant and different flavor to the table.  The sweet and mild flavor makes a good foil for strong flavor like greens and sausage.  It can also be scaled because it is so loosey-goosey.  Keep the ratio of kohlrabi to apples at about 2:1, add more oil and seasoning as needed.

Kohlrabi and Apple Saute

2 kohlrabi
1 apple
oil (butter is best, olive or coconut are close seconds)
a bit of salt and pepper

Peel the kohlrabi and apple.  Slice them into the shapes that you find pleasing.  I tend to half them, (core the apples), then slice into 1/4″ slices.  Melt the butter in the skillet on medium heat.  Toss in the slices, season lightly, and stir occasionally until tender (about 10 minutes tops).

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Spring 2013 Week 4 (April 16th) PLUS recipes

Pictures will follow later tonight, but here are the share lists (and a few recipes) for today:

SMALL
kohlrabi
baby turnips
baby rutabaga
collard greens
chard
asparagus
fingerling potatoes
parsnip
onion
spinach
roasted peppers (frozen)

MEDIUM
sorrel (aka lemon spinach)
mixed salad greens
extra chard
extra collards
extra baby turnips
extra baby rutabaga

A note on sorrel: This very “bright” green looks like pointy spinach, but it doesn’t taste like it. It is quite sour, but adds a nice flavor to salads, soups, and pestos. Store as you would spinach, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag with a paper towel added to keep it from wilting. Also see here for recommendations.

Root Veg Mash with caramelized onions
This will use four or five ingredients from the share today. Peel and cube the rutabaga and parsnips, and just cube the potatoes (unless you aren’t a fan of skins). You could add the turnips if you’d like. Boil the roots in salted water until tender enough to mash. In the meantime, saute a sliced onion and some minced garlic until the onions begin to brown. Drain the root cubes and mash with a bit of stock or cream, seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in the onions and serve.

Places to put collards, chard, and spinach
There are a lot of ideas for using up our greens here, from simply boiling them and serving, to sauteeing with garlic and putting over pasta. Sometimes I serve them as a side dish by themselves, but at least half the time I just slip them into other dishes. They pair well with eggs, so put ribbons of them into quiche, omelets, or frittata. I put one whole bunch of collards into a savory bread pudding with sausage this week (think stuffing as a main dish). I put them into soups quite a bit, especially chicken, vegetable, and minestrone style soups. Potato soups are good with crunchier kale and collards.

Of Beets and Cabbage

On a tip from the manager of our business side, Helena, I visited a site called Natasha’s Kitchen. She specializes in Ukrainian and Russian cooking. And Russia and our winter CSA shares have something in common — cabbage and beets hold up well in the cold. Here are the highlight recipes (for my tastes) I found on her site. Check them out and enjoy.

http://natashaskitchen.com/2012/11/25/moms-creamy-beet-salad-recipe/
I think this one could be made with raw beets if you were inclined, or beets that you matchstick and then nuke gently just to take the edge off. Also, top with the microgreens. The sweet and the sharp go well together.

http://natashaskitchen.com/2012/03/16/borscht-recipe-ii/
The faster of her two borscht recipes. Uses both cabbage AND beets AND onion AND potatoes.

http://natashaskitchen.com/2010/06/21/russian-vinaigrette-recipe-with-beets-and-sauerkraut/
I like fermented and pickled things, so this sounds great to me.

http://arbuz.com/recipes/pickled-cabbage-recipe
And while a good sauerkraut is fantastic, I went and found a recipe for Russian pickled cabbage for the adventurous. It does take three days to ferment, but this is faster than making sauerkraut. As I currently have kombucha, ginger beer, and mead all fermenting in my cupboard, I don’t think I’m allowed any more real estate — let us know how it compares if you try it.

How to make a head of cabbage disappear

Cabbage, which can be sorta smelly when it cooks and has a vaguely “great depression” reputation for a lot of people, is actually very good for you (high in beta carotene, vitamin C, and fiber). Clearing out the fridge for this week’s share, I decided last night that I needed to use up some cabbage quickly. The resulting soup, which is pretty spicy due to an oncoming batch of head colds in the household, can be modified infinite ways. The cabbage shrinks a lot when shredded and boiled. Here’s the one I made – it wasn’t vegetarian, but it easily could be. You could swap the beans for shredded chicken and make basically chicken noodle soup with cabbage as the noodles. And this isn’t far off from borscht, so a couple beets and sour cream would take it the rest of the way.

4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic (could have had more), minced
1/2 head each of napa and green cabbage, shredded
1 bag of David’s frozen roasted peppers, chopped
can of diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
can of white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups stock plus about 6 cups water

**3-4 T of Thai green curry paste (replace with whatever flavor you’re after)
For head colds, spicy and garlicky are great, but the soup is fine with less kick as well. Replace with red pepper flakes and cumin OR fish sauce and shriracha OR paprika and dill. All things good.

Simple Thai-style curry

Here is my go-to recipe for when “I don’t know what to make tonight for dinner, but I have some rice and a can of coconut milk.”  It uses up veggies, it is tasty, and it is infinitely variable.  I’ll give a rough outline for what we received this week, but you can improvise at will.

Simple Thai-type curry (4 servings)

2 cloves garlic, diced
thumb sized chunk of ginger, diced
small onion, diced
1/2 large, 1 medium, or 2-3 small eggplants, peeled and cubed
1 bell pepper, chunks or thin strips
about two cups of diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
Thai style curry paste to taste (this is cheating, but super convenient and tasty – it comes in a jar and stores well in your fridge)

Saute the garlic, ginger, and onions in some oil until beginning to soften.  Add eggplant and pepper, again until beginning to soften.  Add the tomatoes for just a couple minutes, then the coconut milk and curry paste.  Simmer a couple of minutes and serve over rice.

I’ve made this almost entirely out of various colored peppers, added potatoes / sweet potatoes / winter squash and skipped the rice, added shrimp / chicken / very firm tofu / garbanzo beans, diced up a kohlrabi or two instead of the eggplants, and started from scratch with hot peppers, more ginger, and lemongrass instead of cheating with the curry paste.  Cut it with more coconut milk / soup stock, add a couple tablespoons peanut butter, and garnish with basil and roasted peanuts, and you have a killer Thai style soup as well.

Freezing a summer skillet for a bright winter meal

We are about to inundated with peppers, squash, and corn. Well, maybe not corn, as David doesn’t grow much of it, but you can find good quality corn anywhere right now. Here are some good tips for freezing summer squash, peppers, and corn for a couple of different uses. The frozen corn/squash/peppers are perfect for pulling out in the cold months and throwing into a skillet saute for summertime flavor in the snow.  Frozen veggies are a little soft for raw use, but they can go into breads, sautes, and soups without compromising flavor and texture.

Peppers
http://pickyourown.org/peppersfreezing.htm

Summer Squash
http://pickyourown.org/freezing_summer_squash.htm

Corn
http://www.pickyourown.org/freezingcorn.htm

Roasting and Freezing peppers (hot or sweet)
http://pickyourown.org/roastedpeppers.htm

All those Anaheim chilies we’ve been receiving can be strung up and air dried if you’re not getting to them while they’re fresh. Tie them together by their stems and hang in a dry, warm place (which is basically anywhere in Utah but under your swamp cooler vent).

You can also shred your zucchini like you would for making zucchini bread, portion it out, and freeze it in baggies with all of the air pushed out. Who wants to bake in a hot summer kitchen? And who wants to use squash from the Southern Hemisphere to make bread in the winter?

A little link love

There are lots of people who know lots more about preserving veggies than I do.  I tend to eat them, freeze them, share them with neighbors, or feed them to the chickens (if I ignore them too long — at least they turn into eggs).  Here are a few great articles about storing your produce that do a far better job than I do.

From the Kitchn – Preserving without Canning

From Seriouseats – How to Quick Pickle

From Wild Fermentation – Making Sour Pickles — This site and the author of the books featured there is a fantastic resource for fermented and preserved foods.

From Grit – Canning Made Easy

And from the University of Georgia – A university extension guide to drying, freezing, and canning