Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Box Deconstructed- 6/22/2017

Cooking with This Week’s Box!

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”  -François de La Rochefoucauld

Welcome to summer…and all the delicious vegetables it brings with it!  As we start cooking from this week’s box, how about making a cake to celebrate the first day of summer this week?  Cake, with vegetables?  Yes—Zucchini Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! You can make this cake and still have plenty of zucchini left to make Hummus and Grilled Zucchini Pizzas.  There are so many things you can do with zucchini, so don’t let them intimidate you this summer.  Rather, put them to use and find interesting ways to use and enjoy them throughout the summer!!

In this week’s newsletter, we’ve included two kohlrabi recipes from Andrea Bemis.  I don’t usually highlight multiple recipes from one source in the same newsletter, but Andrea Bemis knows kohlrabi and these are both good recipes!  You have enough kohlrabi this week to make both BLK Sandwiches for two (bacon, lettuce and kohlrabi) as well as Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad. If you don’t care for either of these recipes, visit Andrea’s blog, Dishing Up the Dirt where you will find more interesting recipes in her collection utilizing kohlrabi.  Andrea Bemis is not only a recipe developer, but she is also a farmer.  One thing is for sure…she knows vegetables and how to properly use and enjoy them throughout the season!

Sugar snap peas are one of my favorite vegetables, and one of my favorite dishes to make during their season is a simple dish of Sugar Snap Peas and Scallions.  This is a recipe we featured in our June newsletter back in 2008.  It calls for fresh thyme, but it’s also good with other herbs such as dill or parsley.  I like to serve this as a side dish with a variety of meals, but it goes particularly well alongside grilled or sautéed fish or roasted chicken.  I also like to make Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Mint. This is a recipe we featured in our newsletter in June 2007.  It’s a light, refreshing, simple salad to make and travels well.  Take a larger portion of this to enjoy as a main item in your pack-and-go lunch or serve it as a side dish at dinner.

We’re excited to finally have fresh beets!  Notice how beautiful the greens are this week…and don’t forget to use them!  Fresh, green top beets are like two vegetables in one.  It would be a shame to throw away the greens when you could put them to use in so many different ways.  This week, I’m going to use the green top beets to make this interesting Beet Pizza with Beet Greens Pesto.  The pizza crust will turn pink, which will make for an interesting and eye catching pizza!

This is our last week of head lettuces until we harvest our fall plantings.  My mom and grandma used to make a simple creamy dressing to drizzle over fresh leaf lettuce from the garden.  It’s very similar to this recipe for Lettuce with Cream DressingThis is a simple and delicious salad to make with just a few ingredients including the head lettuce and scallions in this week’s box! 

I’ll reserve the baby kale mix and the kohlrabi tops this week for breakfast.  Incorporate these greens into a frittata to eat for Sunday brunch and then enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day, along with a green salad.  Here’s a recipe for Frittata withGreens to guide you. Adding greens to your breakfast is a great way to start your day and increase your daily vegetable consumption. 

Salad Mix will weave its way in and out of meals throughout the week.  If you need a quick snack, meal or side dish, it takes just a moment to put some salad mix in a bowl, toss it with a dressing or vinaigrette and you’re done.  If you have a little more time, you could add olives, other chopped vegetables, diced cooked chicken, nuts, seeds, etc.  The point is…keep it quick, keep it simple and enjoy the convenience!  Visit The Kitchn to find a few simple vinaigrette recipes.  Whip up a jar of one of these and keep it in the refrigerator next to the bag of salad mix!    

That does it for this week’s box.  Looking ahead to next week, I’ll give you a little sneak preview of a few things that might make their way into the box.  Richard brought the cutest little cucumber in from the field earlier this week.  They should be ready to start picking next week!  We’re also keeping our eye on the fennel and broccoli.  Both of those items should be ready soon as well.  Have a great week and welcome to summer! —Chef Andrea 

Featured Vegetable:  Kohlrabi

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, as many describe, the appearance of a space ship. 
We grow both green and purple kohlrabi, which are no different from each other once they are peeled.  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. 
The fibrous peel should be removed 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 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 can be prepared in many different ways, both raw and cooked.  The simplest way to eat it is to peel it and munch on slices plain or with just a touch of salt.  It can also be shredded and used in slaws with a variety of dressings or sliced and added to sandwiches or salads.  Just this week we enjoyed a creamy kohlrabi slaw for dinner when Richard’s mother and brother joined us for a visit.  This is reliably Richard’s favorite way to eat kohlrabi and every year as he puts kohlrabi on the kitchen counter he asks, “Can we have creamy kohlrabi slaw?” 
I always think of kohlrabi as an old-world European vegetable, which it is, but don’t forget that kohlrabi is also eaten in other parts of the world such as China and India.  You can find some interesting ways to prepare kohlrabi in stir-fries and curries if you look to these parts of the world for recipe ideas.  In this week’s newsletter we’ve included two recipes from Andrea Bemis, a recipe developer and farmer who lives in Oregon.  She has more recipes including kohlrabi on her blog, Dishing up the Dirt.  There are also some interesting recipes at  Hopefully you’ll find a recipe that sparks your interest this week as you find ways to use this interesting vegetable! 
Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad
Yield:  4 servings

2 medium-sized kohlrabies, about 1 ¼ pounds
1 ¼ cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained, if from a can)
¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt
2 ½ Tbsp minced dill
2 ½ Tbsp minced parsley
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp honey
2 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A few healthy pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
½ cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained

¼ tsp sumac (optional)
1.      Trim the leaves and stems from the kohlrabies and use a sharp knife to peel the bulbs.  Cut them into 1/4 to ½ inch cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chickpeas and set the mixture aside.
2.       In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the yogurt, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, honey, oil, salt, and pepper.  Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed. 
3.       Pour the dressing into the bowl with the kohlrabi and chickpeas.  Mix until well combined.  Add in the toasted sunflower seeds and raisins. 
4.       Sprinkle with sumac and serve.


What is Sumac?  
Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice and is one of the main ingredients in the spice blend za’atar.  It has a tangy, lemony flavor.  I like it because it isn’t as tart as lemon juice and it adds a lovely finish to a variety of dishes, from scrambled eggs to roasted veggies and even hummus.  It can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, spice shops, and online.  

This recipe was borrowed from Andrea Bemis’s book, DishingUp The Dirt.
BLK  (Bacon, Lettuce & Kohlrabi) Sandwich
Yield:  2 servings
Cashew Herb Spread
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 of garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp minced parsley
2 ½ Tbsp minced basil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 slices of good quality bread
6 slices of good quality bacon (may substitute a vegetarian alternative “bacon”)
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 small head of lettuce, washed and individual leaves separated
Flakey salt and fresh ground pepper

1.       Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place all the ingredients for the spread in a high speed blender– along with 1/3 cup of water and whirl away until completely smooth and creamy, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency–it should be smooth and spreadable. Taste test and adjust flavors as necessary.
2.       Fry your bacon in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan until fully cooked and crispy. Drain on paper- towel lined plates. Pour out half of the bacon fat (save for another use) and return the pan to medium­-high heat. Add the sliced kohlrabi in a single layer and cook in the bacon fat until crisp tender and lightly browned on both sides, about 1­2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel lined plates.

3.       Toast your bread in a toaster oven, outdoor grill, or under the broiler until golden brown and crisp.
4.       To assemble the sandwiches spread a tablespoon or two of the spread over each slice of bread. Layer with the bacon, kohlrabi and lettuce. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and enjoy.

This recipe is featured on Andrea Bemis’s blog, DishingUp the Dirt, where she shares this recipe as well as other tasty ones featuring kohlrabi and other season vegetables!  

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