Welcome back. Strolling through my local grocer the other week, yes strolling AND smiling. I take my sweet time. Some loathe to grocery shop (my mother), some don’t mind it, but I love it! I once thought about opening a business where I grocery shop for people. I very quickly realized, unless I had complete control of where I shopped, what they purchased and how to cook it, I would eventually Chef Ramsay myself out of a job. While strolling and smiling, I noticed a bulbous, green rooted, beet-like vegetable teetering off the produce shelf.
I went to tip it upright on the shelf and naturally the entire row of them came bowling down as though I were being video-taped on “good-efforts, failed”. As I put them back up, about 12, still wet from the “random” produce spray (Hey! Guy in the sky with the trigger finger, I am onto you), I noticed right away how heavy they were. I put them at about 2.5 pounds for 3 tied together and approximately 16″ tall to include the leafy greens. I looked up at the sign, Kohlrabi $3.99 a bunch. I placed a bunch in my cart prepared to learn, play, cook, eat and educate. We have a few local farms who produce kohlrabi, The Long Siding Farm, organic, produces them for their CSA and local farmer’s markets. I know they are just one of several as I have seen kohlrabi at other farmer’s markets in the cities. http://www.localharvest.org or www3.mda.state.mn.us
I did attempt to locate an encyclopedia, say what?! I feel when researching, the internet is not always the answer, some of the best resources are old books and farmers. Not kidding.
I cut off the greens and let the kohlrabi sit in the refrigerator for 3 days. The greens are edible and full of nutritious stuff, but I didn’t eat them this time.
I cut one in half and to my extreme surprise it was very juicy. I could see the tough outer layer and peeled that away and sliced the rest into sticks. It smelled sweet, root-like, earthy. It tasted of a cross between, a broccoli stem, a raw potato and jicama. Grainy in texture, but, again juicy. I know you have squishy face right now, but try it, bake it with some salt and ancho powder or your favorite spice mixture and fries it is. I also added sweet potato to that mix as I will eat the heck out of some sweet potato fries.
In my stroll through juggling at the store, slicing, tasting, baking and eating the kohlrabi, I like them best baked or in a soup.
The recipe I have below is baked with lot’s of love, kohlrabi ratatouille with mozzarella. I made it the evening it decided to snowstorm, April 3rd, 2014. Photo proof shown. For both the dinner and the snow. Enjoy!
1. Introduced to Germany in the late 1950’s after it was developed in Northern Europe by crossing cabbage with white beet or turnip. Hence, the “green rooted, beet-like” quality I first observed. I felt a self win for recognizing this prior to any research.
2. German word, Kohl “cabbage”, Rabi “turnip”. (thank you Wikipedia and foodgeeks.com)
3. Germany provides over 40,000 tons to the world with help from a few other countries.
4. Same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussel sprouts
5. They can be white (light green) or purple-ish.
Serves 4 or 12
Ingredients (think layers)
2 bulbs kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced into medallions
1 onion, diced
4 mini sweet bell peppers, sliced in half, seeded and stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 8oz package fresh mozzarella thinly sliced (or mozzarella you just made at home)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or fresh sauce you made at home)
Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over bottom of 9×13 pan or muffin tin (12)
Begin the layering, kohlrabi, tomato, cheese, pepper, onion, garlic, cheese, kohlrabi
Pour remainder of sauce, 2 cups over top and add remaining cheese
I had leftover carrots in my crisper and I did what I always do, I placed them in the dish
Bake entire contents in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until you want to eat the cheese right off the top, but don’t knowing you will burn your entire face 🙂
“Whatever it is, I hope you can eat it!”