Newsletters: 20 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 20 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
If you’re asking “Kohlrabi? What’s kohlrabi?” you’re not alone. That’s it over in the sidebar, right after the peanuts. Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, is also known as a German turnip (“kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage turnip”) and is probably the same thing as Pliny the Elder’s “Corinthian turnip.” While it is often referred to as a root vegetable, you are in fact eating its swollen stem, which sits just above the soil surface; the leaves are also edible when young.

Kohlrabi is high in fiber and a very good source of various B vitamins, potassium (which helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of kidney stones), copper, manganese, and lots of vitamin C. It also supplies magnesium and phosphorus and is very low in calories. Kohlrabi is said to improve energy circulation and stabilize blood sugar imbalances. For some reason, kohlrabi hasn’t ever really caught on in American supermarkets, but has been gaining popularity in home gardens and farmers’ markets.

In the kitchen
This week I got to thinking about scallions (some people call them green onions, but they’re really scallions). I’ve really only seen them as a garnish or a salad ingredient, so I decided to take a look around for recipes that actually feature scallions. Good ol’, it hasn’t failed me yet!

Grilled Scallions with Lemon
10 oz. large scallions, trimmed, with most of the green part
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
2 (8-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Toss scallions with oil, salt, and pepper. Line up side by side on a work surface and thread first skewer crosswise through all scallions about 2 inches from one end of each. Thread second skewer similarly about 2 inches from the other end, to form a solid rectangle. Grill on a lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning once or twice, until softened and charred in patches, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer scallions to a platter and squeeze lemon evenly over them, then remove skewers.

Scallions with Lemon Parsley Butter
10 bunches scallions
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Trim roots from scallions, leaving ends intact, and remove any bruised outer leaves. Trim greens, leaving a 9-inch length of white and green parts. Boil scallions in salted water until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir together butter, zest, and parsley; season. Drain scallions and arrange in a shallow serving dish. Gently brush with lemon parsley butter.

Seared Scallions with Poached Eggs
2 bunches scallions
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
Mince 1 whole scallion and whisk with 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice. Season. Drizzle remaining scallions with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat. Season and cook in a grill pan, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Divide scallions between two plates. Eggs can be poached in the microwave: Pour 1/2 cup water into each of two 8-ounce microwave-safe coffee cups. Crack 1 egg into each cup and make sure it’s completely submerged. Cover each with a saucer. Microwave 1 egg on high until white is set but yolk is runny, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon top each plateful of scallions with an egg and drizzle with scallion sauce.

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native to: Europe
in season here: late summer-winter
Kohlrabi, also known as knol-khol, German Turnip, or turnip cabbage, is yet another brassica and related to cabbage, broccoli, and kale; in fact, it was originally a kind of cabbage bred to grow in a harsher climate. Both its stem and its leaves are edible; the bulbous stem is the part most people are familiar with (although some mistake it for a root), but it’s also gaining popularity as a microgreen. The two main varieties are white (actually light green) and purple, referring to the colors of their skin. Kohlrabi does best in cool weather with not so much sun (too much sunlight will make the stem dry and woody); smaller bulbs are generally a better choice, being more tender and possibly not even needing to be peeled.

Kohlrabi is a good source of vitamin C, various B-complex vitamins, a range of phytochemicals, and various minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium (good for blood pressure and bone density), manganese, iron, and phosphorus. The leaves provide extra carotenes and vitamins A and K. The B-complex vitamins are essential for metabolism and the vitamin A is good for the eyes. Kohlrabi is also high in fiber and low in calories, making it a good choice for dieters.

Kohlrabi appears in the 1st century writings of Pliny the Elder as Corinthian turnip, is mentioned by Apicius, and was ordered to be grown in the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne in AD 800. It has been slow to catch on in the US (I remember it arriving as a curiosity for home gardens in 1970s Spokane), but Northern India has been enjoying it since the 1600s.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw kohlrabi
label-style nutrition information for cooked kohlrabi

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Kohlrabi salad

4 medium kohlrabis, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
1/4 lb. snow peas, chopped
1/2-1 fresh poblano pepper, diced, or 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 red bell pepper, in fine julienne about 1 inch long
3 green onions, chopped + 2 Tbsp. minced (for garnish)
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (juice of about 1/2 lemon)
2 tsp. sesame oil
dash of rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
black sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients except the black sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. minced green onions and toss well. For best results, refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to marry. Garnish with the black sesame seeds and minced green onions before serving.

Adapted from Vegetarians in Paradise

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Roots in cream

any combination of celeriac, potatoes, and/or kohlrabi*
whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
sprinkle of nutmeg, optional

Peel the roots and slice into 1/4-inch thick disks. Arrange in an oven-proof dish and add enough milk to just cover, then sprinkle with nutmeg if desired. Cover dish and place on a baking sheet (optional but highly recommended, because chances are it’ll boil over and make a mess and possibly a smell; for easy clean-up dig out that old baking sheet you’ve been meaning to throw out anyway or spring for one of those disposable foil oven liners). Bake 45 min. at 375F, then uncover and bake another 10 min or until slices are tender.

*possibly beets would be good too.

From Dana Huffman.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Roasted kohlrabi

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 kohlrabis, leaves removed, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss kohlrabi slices in this mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450F until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for about 5 minutes, to allow Parmesan cheese to brown.

Adapted from AllRecipes

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.