Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 27, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Swiss Chard!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Purple or Green Scallions: Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard (see below); Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown ButterSimple Sauteed Celtuce with HerbsSwiss Chard & Lentil Soup with Herbed Kohlrabi YogurtKohlrabi Curry

Garlic Scapes: Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard (see below); Grilled Garlic Cilantro Chicken SkewersSwiss Chard & Lentil Soup with Herbed Kohlrabi YogurtKohlrabi Curry

Green or Italian Zucchini: My Special Zucchini Bread Recipe; Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini;  Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard (see below)

Cilantro: Grilled Garlic Cilantro Chicken Skewers; 91 Bold & Savory Cilantro Recipes; Thai-Style Slaw (with or without chicken)

Rainbow or Red Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon & Parmesan (see below); Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard (see below); Green Curry with Brown Rice Noodles & Swiss ChardSwiss Chard & Lentil Soup with Herbed Kohlrabi Yogurt

Holy cow....we’re in the last week of June!  Now that we finally gave our crops the memo that it’s officially summer, things are growing!  The zucchini plants are packed with blossoms and now that we’re having some warmer days we anticipate the plants will start pumping out the fruit!  Get your zucchini recipes ready…you’ll need them very soon!  Do you have plans for the 4th of July next week?  Whether you’re traveling or celebrating in your own back yard, don’t forget to incorporate your CSA box contents into the festivities.  If you’ll be out of town, pack your box and take it with you!  I’ve thrown a few recipe ideas into this week’s Cooking With the Box Plan that might work for your travels or 4th of July picnics and potlucks.

Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon & Parmesan
Lets start off with our featured vegetable of the week which is the colorful rainbow chard.  I have two simple recipes this week.  The first is for Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon & Parmesan (see below).  While chard is typically cooked, this salad features raw chard and it is delicious!  It’s made with simple ingredients and doesn’t take long to put together.  You want to add the dressing just before serving, so keep all the components separate until it’s time to eat.  You can use this as a side salad or make it the main feature.  It would also be good with grilled fish or roasted chicken added on top.  The other recipe is for Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard (see below).  The recipe calls for bacon, but you can omit it and use olive oil instead of the bacon and bacon fat.  I’ve eaten this dish both warm and cold and I think it’s good both ways!  I like it just as it is, but you can also add grated Parmesan on top if you like.

If you didn’t receive a box last week, you may be wondering what to do with celtuce and kohlrabi.  We published a feature article about these two unique vegetables last week on our blog.  Take a moment to read more about how to use these two vegetables and refer to last week’s “What’s In the Box” post for recipe suggestions.  I recommend using the kohlrabi to make the Kohlrabi Curry from last week or pair it with this week’s chard to make Swiss Chard & Lentil Soup with Herbed Kohlrabi Yogurt.  As for the celtuce, if you aren’t opposed to another soup suggestion, I’d recommend the Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter or  Simple Sauteed Celtuce with Herbs.  If you take me up on the celtuce soup suggestion, consider serving it with an Apple,Blue Cheese & Boston Lettuce Salad.  Use the outer lettuce leaves for the soup and the inner leaves to make the salad.

Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini
Photo from
If you haven’t brushed off the grill yet to do some outdoor cooking, now is the time!  Try this recipe for Grilled Garlic Cilantro Chicken Skewers and pair it with Grilled Lemon Garlic Zucchini.  If you just aren’t sure what to use the cilantro for, check out this collection of 91 Bold & Savory Cilantro Recipes.  Surely there’s something in this collection that appeals to you!  The other suggestion I have, if you receive the salad cabbage this week, is to use it along with the cabbage to make Thai-Style Slaw (with or without chicken).  This is a refreshing, yet filling salad that can be made in advance and still taste good!  It’s easy to transport, delicious to eat, simple to make, and leftovers can be wrapped in rice paper wrappers to make spring rolls!

Looking for something to make with the kids?  Pizza?  Absolutely!  You can put anything on a pizza (or nearly anything), so why not Broccoli Pizza!  You could even make these on the grill! 

If you are traveling, be sure to turn your zucchini into this delicious recipe for My Special Zucchini Bread Recipe.  Slice it and take it with you on your travels.  You could also take all those strawberries with you as well!  Summer isn’t summer without a few strawberry desserts.  Here’s a recipe for Mini Grain-Free Angel Food Cakes with Lemon Cream and Juicy Strawberries.  I also recommend making Zabaglione with Strawberries.  Zabaglione is an Italian custard that is flavored with Marsala wine. It is thin and pourable, so you can drizzle it over (or drench it in) fresh strawberries!

Mini Grain-Free Angel Food Cakes with Lemon
Cream and Juicy Strawberries
Photo from
My final suggestion for strawberries this week takes me back to my Mennonite church carry-in days.  Check out this recipe for Strawberry Pretzel Dessert.  I’m not usually big on things that call for “Jell-O”  but everyone loves this recipe.  The combination of sweet and salty is delicious.

Ok, I think that wraps up this week’s cooking chat.  I hope you’re finding some inspiration from these articles and are enjoying the experience of it all!  If you’ve found some good recipes of your own, please share some of your favorites with us!  Have a good 4th of July and I’ll see you next week!---Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Swiss Chard

Red Chard in the field.
Chard is a gorgeous leafy green with crinkly green leaves and bright, vivid rib-like stems in a variety of colors including red, yellow, orange, pink and white.  It is actually in the beet family and bears resemblance to beet greens, which may be used in place of chard in some applications.  While chard is most often considered a cooking green, the leaves are tender enough to also eat raw.  While less of a traditional use, you can use it in salads, such as in this week’s recipe for Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Breadcrumbs.  Chard has a taste similar to spinach, but it is more earthy & full-flavored.  Some describe it as having a “mineral flavor.”  Since minerals are what help give food it’s flavor, that means chard tastes really good!  It’s packed with nutrients including vitamins A, C & K, calcium, iron, magnesium and a variety of antioxidants and B vitamins.  Most of the time chard is referred to as “Swiss Chard.”  It really has nothing to do with Switerland, rather the origin of this term goes back to how this vegetable was identified in France many years ago.  Just know that Swiss chard and chard are the same thing.

Rainbow and Red Chard
In the Midwest, chard is available from early summer to late fall.  Unlike kale and collards, chard is not very frost tolerant.  Because of its long season of availability, you’ll see chard used in a variety of applications with both summer and fall/winter vegetables.  While there are many ways to use chard, some common ways include vegetable gratins, soups, or just simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic and a drizzle of vinegar. 

Chard pairs well with bacon, lentils, white beans, chickpeas, cream, cheese, black pepper, raisins, pine nuts, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice.  It also goes well with fresh herbs (thyme, cilantro, basil), and other vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, winter squash).  You can eat both the leaves and the stems, although the stems require just a tad longer cooking time.  In addition to eating chard raw, you can also steam, sautè or stir-fry it.  When properly cooked, the leaves are tender and silky.  Take care to not overcook it! Store chard in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready for use.  

Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

Yield: 2-3 servings (as a main) or 4-5 servings (as a side)

1 bunch Swiss chard
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic or 1 garlic scape, finely minced
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Zest of one lemon
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Wash and dry the chard.  Separate the stems from the leaves.  Finely chop the stems and put into a large salad bowl.  Stack a few of the leaves on top of each other, then cut lengthwise into thirds.  Holding the stack together with one hand, cut horizontally across the leaves into ⅛ -inch strips.  Add the leaves to the salad bowl.
  2. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic/garlic scapes and red pepper flakes (if using).  Sautè briefly, just until the garlic becomes fragrant.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and golden brown (about 5-10 minutes).  Be careful not to burn them!  Season with salt and a little black pepper, then remove from heat and cool.  
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice and Dijon mustard with a few pinches of salt.  Stir to combine, then slowly whisk in ½ cup of the olive oil.
  4. Add lemon zest & Parmesan cheese to the bowl of chard.  Drizzle with ½-⅔ of the dressing, then toss gently until all of the components are nicely coated with the dressing.  Taste and add more dressing if you like.  Be careful not to get too much dressing or the greens will be soggy.  Toss in the toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately.  
  5. Note:  If you are not going to be eating or serving the entire salad at one meal, store the greens, dressing, Parmesan cheese & breadcrumbs in separate containers.  Assemble and toss only the amount of greens you will be needing at one time.
This recipe was adapted from  

Orzo Pasta with Chickpeas & Chard

Yield:  4-6 servings

8 oz dried orzo pasta (about 2 cups uncooked) 
½ pound bacon, cut into ⅛-inch wide pieces (optional) 
3-4 scallions 2-3 garlic scapes or garlic cloves, finely chopped 
Red pepper flakes, to taste 
2 cups zucchini, small dice 
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas/garbanzo beans 
1 bunch chard, stems and leaves separated
3-4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1 Tbsp stoneground mustard 
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice 
¼- ½ cup fresh basil 
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
Parmesan cheese (for serving), optional

  1. Cook orzo pasta according to package instructions until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Next, prepare the garlic and scallions.  Separate the bottom portion of the scallions from the green tops.  Thinly slice both the bottom portion as well as the green tops, but keep the tops separate from the lower portion.  Finely chop the garlic scapes and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet or sautè pan, over medium heat.  Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden.  Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.  Drain off any excess bacon fat.  You want to leave about 4 Tbsp of bacon fat in the pan.  NOTE:  If you choose not to use the bacon, you can omit this step.  Replace the bacon fat with 4 Tbsp olive oil and proceed with the remainder of the recipe.
  4. Next, add the garlic scapes and scallions (lower portion only) to the pan.  Sautè briefly, then add a pinch of red pepper flakes, zucchini, and chickpeas to the pan.  Sautè for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and just slightly al dente.  
  5. In a small bowl, mix together 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar with stoneground mustard.  Stir to combine, then pour in the skillet with the chard, zucchini, etc.  Chop the chard stems and add to the pan.  Make a stack with the chard leaves and slice them in half lengthwise, then horizontally into strips about ¼ inch wide.  Add chard leaves to the pan and season with salt and black pepper as well as ¼-⅓ cup pasta water.  Stir to combine and allow the chard to wilt down.  
  6. Once the chard is wilted, add the orzo along with red wine vinegar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Add more pasta water if needed.  You want the orzo to shimmer, but you don’t want it to have a lot of liquid in the pan.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil and sliced scallion tops.  Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt, balsamic vinegar and/or lemon juice as needed.
  7. Serve warm topped with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.
Recipe developed by Chef Andrea Yoder

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

June 20, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Kohlrabi and Celtuce!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Potato Onions or Scallions: Kohlrabi Curry (see below); Spicy Kale & Coconut Fried RiceFried Rice with Chicken and Celtuce; Pickled Celtuce Salad with Ginger & Sesame; Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter (see below); Simple Sauteed Celtuce with Herbs (see below); Spicy Pork SaladArugula & Strawberry Salad

Salad Mix: Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter (see below)

Red Oak & Red Butterhead Lettuce: Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter (see below); 38 Ways to Use Lettuce!Spicy Pork SaladMixed Lettuces and Kohlrabi with Creamy Sumac DressingStrawberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Celtuce: Fried Rice with Chicken and Celtuce; Pickled Celtuce Salad with Ginger & Sesame;  Simple Sauteed Celtuce with Herbs (see below)

Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi Curry (see below); Oven Baked Kohlrabi Fries (see below); Spicy Kale & Coconut Fried RiceMixed Lettuces and Kohlrabi with Creamy Sumac Dressing

Baby Broccoli: Kohlrabi Curry (see below); Broccoli Egg Muffins

This week we’re cooking up two unique vegetables, celtuce and kohlrabi!  If you’re not familiar with either of these vegetables, take a few minutes to read our feature article about them before you dive in.  This week we have two recipes using kohlrabi.  The first is a simple Kohlrabi Curry (see below) that uses both the kohlrabi bulb as well as the leaves.  This recipe comes together pretty quickly and is delicious served over rice with a little squeeze of lime and some fresh cilantro.  You could also use the kohlrabi bulb to make Oven Baked Kohlrabi Fries (see below).  It’s best to eat these right out of the oven and would be great served with a big juicy burger!  If you make the Oven Baked Kohlrabi Fries, you’ll still have the greens available for another use.  Consider using them in place of kale to make the Spicy Kale and Coconut Fried Rice recipe we featured last week!

Fried Rice with Chicken and Celtuce
Moving on to celtuce.  Last year I used celtuce in two Asian inspired recipes, which you may want to consider.  Fried Rice with Chicken and Celtuce and Pickled Celtuce Salad with Ginger & Sesame.  This year I decided to go a different direction with two simple recipes.  The first is for Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter (see below).  I’ve seen recipes for lettuce soup and always thought that kind of a weird use for lettuce, however the recipes always have rave reviews.  Since celtuce is related to lettuce, I thought this might work, and it did!  This is a simple, light soup that reheats well and you can make a light lunch or dinner with just a piece of toast and maybe a simple salad on the side.  The second recipe featuring celtuce is for Simple Sauteed Celtuce with Herbs (see below).  It is exactly as the name says…simple!  Serve this as a side dish alongside a piece of fish or chicken to make a complete meal.

Spicy Pork Salad, photo from
Tis the season for lettuce!  This week we’re finishing up the last of our red oak and red butterhead lettuce.  We still have more lettuce yet to come in the next few weeks, so it’s time to get creative!  I found this article entitled 38 Ways to Use Lettuce!  It includes a few interesting recipes utilizing head lettuce.  I picked out two that I’d like to try.  The first is a Spicy Pork Salad.  This would be appropriate for either of the head lettuce varieties this week.  The recipe calls for cucumber, but you could substitute celtuce!

The other recipe has a Middle Eastern Flair.  The recipe is entitled Mixed Lettuces and Kohlrabi with Creamy Sumac Dressing.  Sumac is a tangy spice often used in the Middle East.  I’ve been able to source it in Madison, WI at Penzeys and often can find it in the bulk spice section at many co-ops.  It’s a lovely spice to use and adds just a bit of zing to salads and other dishes.

Strawberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Photo from
It won’t be long before we say goodbye to lettuce salads for the summer, so lets make the most of this week and get our salad fill!  Here’s a tasty recipe for a Strawberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette that could be made with a base of salad mix or head lettuce.  If you’re feeling spicy, you could use this week’s baby arugula to make this Arugula & Strawberry Salad.   There are a lot of flavors going on in this fruity salad!

We’re almost at the end of our box, and we’re also at the end of rhubarb season.  Check out this article featuring 22 Sweet & Savory Rhubarb Recipes.  Surely you can find something delicious to make such as this Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle.   This recipe for Healthy Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble also looks tasty.

Last, but not least, we can’t forget about breakfast.  This week the baby broccoli is going to find its home in these Broccoli Egg Muffins.  I love egg dishes that can be made in advance and just reheated.  They’re also easier to take with you than say, scrambled eggs.  Plus, you can mix up the ingredients—use a different kind of cheese.  The other reason this recipe is a keeper is because it’s easy enough for the kids to do on their own and they don’t take much time to assemble!

There you have it friends, another delicious CSA box adventure.  A big thank you to those of you who were able to make it to our Strawberry Day Party last weekend.  We had a great time and hope you did as well!  If you weren’t able to join us for the party, mark your calendars for September 29 and we’ll see you for the Harvest Party!

Oven Baked Kohlrabi Fries

Yield:  3-4 servings

Kohlrabi bulbs 
2 tsp paprika 
1 ½ tsp salt 
¼ tsp garlic powder 
¼ tsp onion powder 
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper 
3 Tbsp flour 
1 egg, beaten 
1 ½ Tbsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Cut kohlrabi into sticks or spiralize it and put into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Combine paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and flour in a small bowl.
  4. Add in egg and milk and mix well.
  5. Pour seasoning mixture over the kohlrabi and mix well. (It’s easiest to use your hands)
  6. Spread fries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  It’s best to keep them in a single layer so they are not overlapping.  You may need to use a second baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping once during baking.  They will still be soft on the inside, but crispy on the outside.  Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from the blog Like Mother Like Daughter.  

Creamy Celtuce & Lettuce Soup with Brown Butter

Yield:  4 servings

2 celtuce, stems and leaves
3 Tbsp butter
1 ½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups firmly packed fresh lettuce
½ cup heavy cream or half and half
1 cup thinly sliced green onion, to garnish
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  1. First, prepare the celtuce.  Trim the leaves off the stem and wash well in a sink of cold water.  Shake excess water off the leaves and roughly chop them.  Set aside.  Next, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel away the outer layer on the stem to reveal the tender, translucent flesh inside.  Cut the stem in half lengthwise, then cut into ¼ inch pieces.   
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once melted, continue to heat the butter until it starts to get foamy and the color just barely starts to turn more golden to slightly light brown.  At this stage it will smell like a shortbread cookie.  Add the sliced celtuce stem.  Sautè for 5 minutes to just soften the celtuce.  Add the dried parsley, ½ tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir to combine, then add the chopped celtuce leaves.  
  3. Continue to cook until the leaves start to wilt down, then add chicken or vegetable stock to the pan.  Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the leaves and celtuce are soft.  Remove the pan from the stove and set aside.  
  4. Next, you will use a blender to puree the soup.  First, put the lettuce into the blender and then carefully ladle the soup into the blender.  Put the lid on and carefully blend until the soup is at the desired consistency.  You can blend it until it is totally smooth or leave it a little more rustic.
  5. Once fully blended, pour the soup back into the pan and heat it over medium heat.  Stir the cream into the soup, then taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Just before serving, add a pinch of nutmeg if desired.
  6. Serve warm garnished with thinly sliced green onions and buttered toast.

Recipe by Chef Andrea

Simple Sautéed Celtuce with Herbs

Yield:  2 servings

1 celtuce
1 Tbsp butter
2 scallions
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
½ cup chopped fresh dill or parsley

  1. Prepare the celtuce by trimming the leaves off and thinly slicing.  Set aside.  Peel the celtuce stem and cut in half lengthwise.  Slice into ¼ inch thick pieces.
  2. In a medium sautè pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once the butter is sizzling, add the celtuce pieces and sautè for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.  
  3. Add the celtuce leaves and season with salt.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until both the the stems and leaves are softened.  Remove from heat and add vineagar and fresh herbs.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  Serve immediately.

Recipe by Chef Andrea

Kohlrabi Curry

Serves 4

3 kohlrabi bulbs, with leaves 
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup broccoli stems/florets
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and thinly sliced, OR 1 tsp green curry paste
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 (14-15 ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
Juice of one small lime
Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Cooked rice, for serving

  1. Cut the leaves away from the kohlrabi bulbs, discarding the connective stems.  Wash the leaves, dry them, and chop coarsely.  Set aside.  Using a paring knife, cut the kohlrabi bulbs into quarters and then peel the bulbs.  You must peel deeply enough to remove any fibrous parts;  the inside should be crisp and moist.  Once peeled, cut the kohlrabi into medium dice.  Reserve the kohlrabi and leaves in separate piles.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sautè pan (12 inches or wider) over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the ginger and sautè for 45-60 seconds, then add the scallions.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes.  
  3. Next, add the cumin, salt, coriander, and turmeric.  Stir to combine, then add the diced kohlrabi and broccoli.  Stir to coat the vegetables with the spices.
  4. Add the coconut milk and broth to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, turn down the heat to low and add the chopped kohlrabi leaves.  Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables and leaves are tender.  
  5. Remove the pan from heat and stir in lime juice.  Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Recipe adapted from Brassicas, Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables:  Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More by Laura Russell

Kohlrabi & Celtuce: They’re unique, but don’t let them intimidate you!

By Chef Andrea

This week we have two interesting vegetables to share with you—Kohlrabi and Celtuce!  While these two vegetables are not related, they actually share some similarities so it’s fitting to feature them together.  Lets start with kohlrabi first.

Kohlrabi growing in the field
I had the opportunity to talk with quite a few prospective CSA members at different events last winter.  While many were totally new to the concept of CSA, there were also individuals who had been with other farms and were familiar with CSA, vegetables, etc.  As we talked, there seemed to be a comment that kept circulating through my conversations.  More than once I heard people express exhaustion with the amount of kohlrabi they had received in their CSA shares and the fact that they really didn’t know what to do with it.  They were both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by it at the same time!  So I set out on a mission this year to help our members learn more about kohlrabi and the many, many ways you might enjoy it!  It’s often referred to as “an alien vegetable” because of its “out of this world” appearance.  Yes, it’s a little different than any other vegetable we grow, but it really bears a lot of resemblance to other vegetables.  So lets set the intimidation factor aside.  Whether this is the first time you’ve tried kohlrabi or not, you have no reason to worry!  Stick with me and I’ll help you navigate this vegetable as you learn to appreciate it!

The name for kohlrabi is derived from “khol” meaning stem or cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip.  While it is in the brassica family and somewhat resembles a turnip, it grows differently than all other vegetables in this group.  As with other vegetables in this family, kohlrabi is rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and B vitamins.

Kohlrabi coming in from Harvest
One of the characteristics I appreciate about kohlrabi is that most of the plant is edible.  The bulb is the part of the plant most commonly eaten, but the leaves are also edible and should not be overlooked.  The leaves have a thicker texture more similar to kale or collard greens.  They are best eaten cooked and can be substituted for collard greens or kale in many recipes.  I usually strip the leaves off the main stems because they are often tough.  The bulb does need to be peeled before eating as the outer skin is fairly tough.  I find it easiest to cut the bulb in half or quarters and then peel the skin away like you’re peeling an apple.  Once the skin is peeled away you’ll find a solid, crispy, juicy, tender flesh inside with a sweet, mild cabbage flavor.  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.

BLK Sandwiches
Photo from
Kohlrabi is delicious eaten both raw and cooked.  The simplest way to eat it is to peel the bulb 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.  Don’t limit yourself to only eating this as a raw vegetable though.  It is also delicious when lightly sautéed, stir-fried, braised, roasted, grilled and baked. 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 always 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 raw kohlrabi recipes is Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad, which comes from the Dishing Up the Dirt cookbook by Andrea Bemis.  You’ll also find her recipe for BLK sandwiches (Bacon, Lettuce & Kohlrabi) as well as other kohlrabi-centric recipes on her blog.  Kohlrabi is one of her favorite vegetables so you’ll find quite a collection at!

Kohlrabi is quite delicious when cooked.  You can use both the leaves and bulb in stir-fry or just simply sauté them in butter.  The bulb is also excellent roasted.  Just toss it with oil, salt and pepper and roast it in the oven until the pieces start to get golden brown on the outside.  Because it is higher in moisture it will never get as dry as potatoes do when you roast them.  Rather, roasted kohlrabi is tender and succulent.  I like to use diced kohlrabi and onions as a vegetable base under roast chicken.  As the chicken cooks, the vegetables absorb the juices from the chicken while roasting.

Kohlrabi Curry
Kohlrabi is used more extensively in European countries as well as in Chinese and Indian cuisine.  I found quite a few Indian recipes that included kohlrabi.  I’m not very familiar with Indian cuisine, so some of the ingredients in the recipes were foreign to me.  The Kohlrabi Curry recipe we’re featuring this week touches on some of those flavors used in Indian cooking, but it’s manageable for home cooks like myself!  If anyone in the CSA is familiar with using kohlrabi in Indian food, I’d love to learn more about this cuisine!

While kohlrabi is delicious just eaten simply with salt, I hope you can see that there are actually many ways you can enjoy kohlrabi and use the entire plant to get the most out of your investment!

Celtuce in the Field
Lets move onto Celtuce, another interesting and unusual vegetable that, like kohlrabi, is also a stem vegetable.  It is thought to have originated in southern China and is also known as “Lettuce Stem.”  While it is relatively well-known in China, you seldom see it in the United States, but it can be found in some Asian grocery stores.  Botanically, it is a member of the lettuce family.  The plant grows similarly to lettuce and the leaves resemble lettuce leaves.  While you can eat the leaves, the main feature of this plant is the long, thick stem.  The lower leaves are usually trimmed away as they can sometimes become bitter as the plant matures.  The upper leaves are usually left intact and are tender and generally less bitter if at all.  Once the leaves are trimmed away, the thick, white stem is revealed. It is not uncommon to see brown leaf scars or cracks on the bottom of the stem.  These are usually peeled away when the skin is removed anyway, so don’t worry about it if you see these.   Celtuce is referred to as who sun in Chinese, but the term “celtuce” is the American name given to this vegetable when it was introduced to this continent by the Burpee Seed Company.  It was named such because of its stalk like resemblance to celery coupled with its lettuce-like qualities.  I actually think the stem on celtuce bears more resemblance to broccoli and personally, I would’ve named this vegetable Broctuce!

Trimmed Celtuce
Celtuce may be eaten raw or cooked.  It has a unique flavor that is really unlike any other vegetable.  As much as I dislike using the term “nutty” to describe a vegetable, that really is the first word that comes to mind when I think about the flavor.  It also has a kind of smoky like characteristic to its flavor profile and if you smell the base of the stem, you’ll find it has a unique scent.  Celtuce does sometimes have some bitter components to it, depending on the stage of growth.  I’ve found that the lower, larger leaves generally have more bitterness compared to the smaller, less mature leaves on the top of the plant.  When you are preparing celtuce, the first step is to trim away the leaves from the stem.  Save these and use them raw in a salad (if you like bitter greens).  If you find them too bitter for your liking and/or don’t care for them raw, try cooking them.  You can either blanch them in boiling water or just simply saute them.  If you’re familiar with escarole, you can treat celtuce greens similarly.  Their flavor mellows and changes a bit with cooking making them more delectable.  A little splash of vinegar at the end of cooking also helps mellow the bitterness and bring all the flavor components together.

Peeling the outer portion of the Celtuce Stem
As for the stem portion, you need to peel away the outer skin on the stem.  Inside you’ll find a light green, translucent vegetable flesh that is crispy and juicy, similar to kohlrabi!  Be sure to trim away all of the outer white skin as that is the portion of the plant that seems to be most bitter.  I’ve also noticed that sometimes the stem has some white streaking on the lower portion of the stalk that can sometimes be more bitter.  Just trim the outermost portion of this away.

Celtuce has the strongest flavor when eaten raw.  Whether raw or cooked, it’s always juicy and cooks pretty quickly.  If you do not care for bitter vegetables, I’d encourage you to focus on more simple, cooked preparations.  If you do like bitter greens, etc, then try using celtuce in a salad or slaw for the strongest flavor effect.  It may be julienned or sliced thinly and eaten in a fresh, raw salad.  In China it’s often pickled.  As a cooked vegetable, you can sauté it, use it in a stir-fry or use it in soups.  Some cooks also like to steam it or gently braise it in a flavorful liquid. When considering how to use it, think about how you might use other vegetables with similar characteristics and texture such as cucumber, jicama and kohlrabi—although the tastes are different, in many recipes you could substitute these vegetables for another.

Pickled Celtuce Salad with Ginger & Sesame
Celtuce does pair well with other spring vegetables such as the baby white turnips, sugar snap peas, greens, scallions and garlic scapes.  It pairs well with ingredients of Asian descent such as soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, etc.  It can also play well with milk, cream, Parmesan, lemon, lime and fresh herbs such as parsley and dill.  To complement the nutty flavors of celtuce, pair it with sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds and other nuts of your choosing.  Last year we featured recipes for Fried Rice with Chicken & Celtuce as well as a Pickled Celtuce Salad with Ginger & Sesame.  Store celtuce in the refrigerator, wrapped loosely in plastic or a damp towel.

You may be thinking “Andrea, where are the recipes?!”  This year we have two newsletters.  Since we wanted to expand our vegetable features about these two vegetables, this article is this week’s “Main Newsletter Article.”  The recipes are included in our second newsletter which we call the “What’s In the Box Newsletter.”  Make sure you check out both newsletters either online or pick up a hard copy at your pickup site.  Have fun and let us know what creative dishes you cook up!