Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 5, 2018 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Kohlrabi

Cooking With This Week’s Box: 

This Week’s Summary of Recipes and the Vegetables They Utilize:

Purple Cipollini Onions:  Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel

Sugar Snap and/or Snow Peas:  Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry

Kohlrabi:  Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce (See below);  Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi

Welcome to July!  This week we are cooking out of our 10th CSA box of the season.  Don’t worry or fret yet, we still have twenty more delicious boxes to enjoy before winter closes in on us again.  Green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, corn and more will be here before we know it….with some of those coming as early as next week! (A little birdie told me beans and potatoes will likely be in next week’s box).  This week we are wrapping up strawberry season with our last pint of berries.  Thank goodness for our late variety that has performed very reliably this year, AC Valley Sunset.  As the sun sets on our valley this week, we hope you enjoy and savor these last few tastes of fresh, sweet strawberries.  You can do something fancy with them if you’d like, but I really think just eating them as they are will imprint the best memory to hang on to until next summer.

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry
Picture from food52
This week’s featured vegetable is kohlrabi.  This is another unique vegetable, like fennel, that really is in a class all its own.  In this week’s newsletter, we’re featuring another tasty recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce (See below).  This farmer girl knows her vegetables and has even more recipes featuring kohlrabi on her website.  My other recipe suggestion for kohlrabi this week is the Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi, a recipe featured in our newsletter back in 2015.  This is the perfect way to use both kohlrabi and some of the bok choi in this week’s box.  Bok choi is such a good candidate for stir-fry, as are the sugar snap and/or snow peas in this week’s box.  So, lets do this Shrimp and Baby Bok Choi Stir Fry with the bok choi, peas and some of the tender little carrots!  This recipe doesn’t call for the carrots, but I think they would be a nice, sweet colorful addition to the vegetable mix. 

Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel
Picture from New York Times Cooking
This is the perfect week to make Green Top Carrot Soup!  In my first year at the farm, Richard challenged me to find a way to use the green tops on carrots.  Truthfully, I had never eaten a carrot top and didn’t know it was even possible.  I was up for a challenge and came up with this recipe that uses not only the carrot tops in the box, but also fennel and some basil!  It’s a light, creamy pureed soup that is great served with a good piece of bread for dinner or lunch.  If you aren’t in the mood for soup, use the carrot tops and basil to make Carrot Top Pesto.  You can use this delicious creation as a spread for sandwiches or toast, scramble it into your morning eggs, or toss it with pasta for a quick dinner.  If your fennel is still available, use it to make this Pizza with Spring Onions & Fennel.  The purple Cipollini onions in this week’s box are an excellent onion for this recipe.  As for the fennel, you’ll mostly be using the bulb, so take whatever remaining fronds you have from the tops and use them to make Blended Lemonade with Ginger and Fennel.  Serve it with the pizza for a light dinner!

Kale & Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing
Picture from bon appetit
Ok, lets talk cucumbers and zucchini, as both of these crops are in the peak of their production this week and they are plentiful in your box!  Lets start with cucumbers. has a collection of 53 Cool Cucumber Recipes That AreShockingly Easy!  Surely you can find a few recipes here to put these beautiful cucumbers to use this week.  Check out the recipe for Kale & Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing using the lacinato kale, cipollini onions and the fresh garlic in the box.  I also want to make the Falafel Fritters Bowl with Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce and I want to try this recipe for Cucumber Lime Paletas (popsicles).  I never would’ve thought to make a popsicle from cucumbers, but why not!

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake
Picture from 101 Cookbooks
Ok, now for the zucchini.  Zucchini is one of those vegetables that can be used in a wide variety of applications, so even if you think you don’t like zucchini, look around and I guarantee there will be some way you can use zucchini in your meals this week.  At the very least, use it to make this simple Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  As long as we’re on cake, we might as well use some of the zucchini to make this savory Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake.  Serve it with a simple creamy cucumber salad and you have a simple dinner with plenty left over for lunch the next day.
Still have some zucchini left?  Don’t forget about breakfast!  Use it to make Zucchini and Dark Chocolate Pancakes with Maple Yogurt.  I think it’s totally fine to have chocolate for breakfast when you serve it with zucchini!

We’re almost at the end of the box, but we do still have some kohlrabi tops remaining.  You didn’t think I would forget about those did you?!  I will slice the kohlrabi tops thinly and saute them with some fresh garlic, a little minced onion and some bacon.  Once they’re wilted down, they’ll get scrambled with eggs and Richard will enjoy them for breakfast.  If you are into green smoothies, you could add the kohlrabi tops to your smoothie as well.  Not into smoothies or eggs?  Then how about pasta?  Thinly slice the kohlrabi leaves and saute them in olive oil or butter with some garlic.  Toss in some cooked pasta and top it off with Parmesan.  See those kohlrabi tops are pretty useful!

Have a great week and I look forward to cooking with you again next week!—Chef Andrea

Featured Vegetable: Kohlrabi 

Kohlrabi growing in the field
The name for kohlrabi is derived from “khol” meaning stem or cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip.  While it is in the cabbage family and resembles a turnip, it grows differently than both.  Many people mistake kohlrabi for being a root vegetable that grows under the ground, but it is actually an enlarged stem that grows above the soil level.  Its stems and leaves shoot up from the bulbous part to give it a unique appearance unlike any other vegetable. 

Kohlrabi is seeded in the greenhouse in early March and transplanted to the field as early as possible in April, along with other vegetables in the same family of cole crops including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  Kohlrabi is reliably the first of this family of vegetables to be ready, so it has earned its “niche” in seasonal eating while we wait for broccoli and cauliflower to make heads. 

Kohlrabi can be prepared in many different ways, both raw and cooked.  It can be sautéed, stir-fried, braised, roasted, grilled and baked. The simplest way to eat it is to peel it and munch on slices plain or with just a touch of salt, a little lime juice and some chili powder.  It can also be shredded and used in slaws with a variety of dressings or sliced and added to sandwiches or salads.  Over the years we’ve featured a variety of kohlrabi recipes in our newsletters, which are archived on our website.  If you ask Farmer Richard what his favorite way to eat kohlrabi is, I guarantee he’ll say “Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw!”  If you search the recipe database on our website, you’ll find several different slaw recipes including Kohlrabi Slaw with Coconut & Cilantro and Kohlrabi with Creamy Cole Slaw Dressing.  One of my favorite recipes comes from the Dishing Up the Dirt cookbook by Andrea Bemis.  We featured her Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad recipe in our newsletter last year.  You’ll also find her recipe for BLK sandwiches (Bacon, Lettuce & Kohlrabi) in that newsletter.  Trust me…they’re delicious! 

Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi
While kohlrabi pairs well with creamy sauces and is great in refreshing salads, it is actually an adaptable vegetable that also pairs well with a lot of other flavor profiles from around the world.  Don’t be afraid to use kohlrabi in curries or stir-fries such as this Shanghai-Inspired Stir-Fried Pork with Kohlrabi & Bok Choi recipe we featured back in 2015. 

To use kohlrabi, first remove the fibrous peel from the bulb prior to eating.  You can do this easily by cutting the kohlrabi into halves or quarters and then peeling away the outer skin with a paring knife.  The flesh is dense and crisp, yet tender, juicy and sweet with a hint of a mild cabbage flavor.  The leaves on kohlrabi are edible as well, so don’t just discard them.  They have the texture and characteristics of collard greens, so you could use them in any recipe calling for collards.  They are also good eaten raw.  Just make sure you slice them thinly and toss them with an acidic vinaigrette to soften the leaves.  To store kohlrabi, cut the stems and leaves off.  Store both leaves and the bulbs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  The leaves will keep for about 1 week, and the bulbs will last up to several weeks if stored properly.

Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce 

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

1 large or 2 medium kohlrabies, peeled (about 1 pound)

1 medium-sized russet potato, peeled (about ½ pound)
1 small onion, diced
1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh dill
1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp fine sea salt
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup grapeseed oil (or other oil for high heat cooking)
Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the kohlrabies and potato.  Alternatively, you can use the grating attachment on a food processor to do the same thing.  Transfer the grated vegetables to a dish towel, wring out any moisture, then put them into a bowl.
  2. Add the onion, dill, parsley, salt, and flour to the grated kohlrabi mixture.  Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Spoon ¼ cup of the mixture into the skillet and flatten it gently with a spatula.  Add 2 or 3 more fritters to the pan.  Cook this batch of fritters until they’re golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Drain them on a paper-towel-lined plate before transferring them to a baking sheet to keep them warm in the oven while you finish making all the fritters.
  4. Serve the fritters with the sauce and enjoy.

Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce 

Yield:  1 to 1 ½ cups

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp minced dill
2 ½ Tbsp minced parley

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Drain the soaked cashews and rinse them under cold water.  Place the drained cashews with ½ cup water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, dill and parsley into a high-speed blender.  Whirl away on high until smooth and creamy;  this will take about 2 minutes, so be patient!  
  2. Scrape down the sides and add extra water, a little at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more water to thin if necessary.
These recipes are from Andrea Bemis’ book, Dishing Up the Dirt and were recommended by a couple of CSA members who tried the fritters and really liked them!   She has more great kohlrabi recipes on her website as well,

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