Conquering Kohlrabi.

Yesterday’s job was to cook dinner for the farm owners, and I had a lot of fun new fresh produce to work with.  One of the best parts of my internship is getting to work with so many different types of veggies.  By the end, I feel like I should know how to prepare at least one thing with every vegetable imaginable.

One vegetable that we have had a serious excess of this summer is GREEN BEANS.  I’m going to just come right out and say it – I am really really sick of making beans.  Snapping the ends off of them takes foreveeeeeer.  But alas, beans were on the menu for dinner, so I dove in…

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Looks like I was taking out a little too much aggression on the beans – I went to sip my iced tea and realized that one of them had flung into my glass!

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The first dish I prepared was a green bean and radicchio sauté.  It was actually one of the CSA sample recipes, but since we were short on beans on Wednesday, I just went ahead and made the recipe once we got an extra bag on Thursday. 

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I’ve said it before, but I will say it again – after a year of giant pants and ten pound shoes, there is nothing like cooking in my flip flops and a tshirt!  :)

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Halfway through cooking I needed a few more things, so I took a break to head up to the shed and get more vegetables.  On the way back, I made a slight detour past the cherry tomato plants, and helped myself to an afternoon snack. 

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And then I took a short lunch break – leftover red potato and goat cheese salad.  Deeeelicious!

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Okay, back to the beans.  I simmered the green beans in a bit of water for about 5 minutes, until al dente.  Then I added some sliced spring onions…

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And topped the whole thing with radicchio, to cook until wilted.  

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Once the beans were cooked through and the radicchio was wilted, I tossed the whole thing with red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. 

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I thought this turned out really good!  The radicchio reminded me of collard greens in flavor. 

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Next up, it was time to conquer a new and slightly frightening vegetable – the purple kohlrabi. 

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It kind of looks like a big purple octopus with tentacles, no?

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After giving it some thought, I decided that the best way to conquer this guy was to cut the peel off with a paring knife, rather than using an actual peeler (because the peel was so thick and tough).  The safest way to do this is to cut one end off so that you have a flat and stable surface.

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Then set it upright on the flat side, and carefully carve around in a circle with a paring knife. 

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End result – a peeled, white kohlrabi!

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Cut into one inch cubes…

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And then tossed with olive oil and a few cloves of minced garlic.

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Spread them evenly on a sheet pan and roasted at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes, stirring ever 10 minutes or so.  I had never tried kohlrabi prior to this, so I didn’t really know what to expect from the flavor.  Having tasted it now, my best description is that it is slightly sweet, and sort of tastes like a cross between a turnip and jicama.  It is very water-dense and CRUNCHY – yum.

The roasted kohlrabi turned out GREAT!  Roasting really brought out the natural sweetness, and it didn’t get pillowy and soft like a potato.  It softened up just enough, while still maintaining that natural crunch factor. 

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I tossed the final product with a little bit of freshly chopped parsley. 

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A word on vegetables – a lot of time I get emails or questions from people saying “I see all these different vegetables, but I just don’t know what to DO with them!”  Here’s the thing – I don’t either!  But I’m making it my mission to figure it out. 

Rather than admit defeat and buy yet another head of broccoli, take a chance and play with your food.  What is the worst that could happen?  If it ends up ruined or burnt, throw it away and promise to try again another time. 

Even though I had never even seen a kohlrabi before, I took a shot at roasting it and it turned out great! 

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The final dinner dish I made for Thursday was a Mushroom Herb Risotto.  To make true risotto, you must start with arborio rice…

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We had a big delivery of oyster mushrooms to the farm this week, so my goal was to try to incorporate them into some of my dishes.  I started the risotto by sautéing an onion and the oysters until lightly browned. 

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Then I added the dry rice and cooked it until the grains started to turn translucent – another key step to making risotto. 

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I added a total of 4 cups of hot veggie broth to the pan, but only a tiny bit a time.  The risotto method is to add a small amount of liquid and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed.  Then add more liquid and repeat the stirring/absorbing/adding liquid process for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. 

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Ad the very end, I added a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and a handful of chopped fresh herbs – sage, tarragon, and parsley. 

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I haven’t made a lot of risotto, so I was glad to get the chance to practice again.  It turned out great!  Note to self – buy arborio rice!

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Another great day of cooking and using fun new ingredients.  I’m glad I can knock kohlrabi off of my “vegetables to try” list!  :)

And now it is past 1am and I am up waaaaaaaaaay too late!  But I’m staying up to get this posted because I have such an exciting weekend planned, and I know I won’t have time to sit in front of my computer for too long.

We had originally hoped to go home to Cincinnati this weekend but couldn’t find a dog sitter.  I was bummed about the prospect of a long weekend with most of our friends out of town and absolutely no plans, so I sent out a plea to my two college BFFs asking them to come celebrate the 4th in Charlotte…

And since they are the greatest friends in the world, they both got on board and planned a last minute cross country trip so that we could all be together!  Lindsey arrived tonight from Ohio, and Mary Ann flies in tomorrow morning from Florida.  We have a lot of fun thing planned, as well as two birthdays to celebrate (Mary Ann and Uncle Sam!) – stay tuned for fun updates!  :)