AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Kohlrabi – Cultivating Creativity DATE: 8/22/2008 09:15:00 AM ----- BODY:
On a regular basis, I browse the supermarket aisles looking for inspiration for dinner. I’m hoping the mix of unrealized cravings and fresh produce will elicit a creative flash. More often than not, my plan fails and I usually fall back on a few standby’s: Clay-pot Chicken with Chinese Sausage and Mushrooms, Fish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw or Chicken Piccata with Spicy, Garlic Broccoli (yes, I cook this way on an idle Tuesday night). If you’re like me, the produce aisle (and the fish and meat counters, too) tends to look the same after a while… and I glaze over the unfamiliar or uninteresting like kohlrabi or jicama.

I only recently tried kohlrabi for the first time… at a Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica. I waxed on about its virtues here, so I won’t repeat myself now. I decided to grow some in my garden this year. Because Kohlrabi is so little known, though, it’s hard to find a recipe for it. And with my kohlrabi finally ready for harvest, my research has reached fever pitch. My two vegetarian cookbooks, Greens and Vegetarian Planet, have nary a reference. The old standby: Time-Life Cookbooks had a few.

I like to think of myself as a creative chef, but it’s hard to come up with ideas without a frame of reference. For example, I know tomatoes and basil work well, so I can season a ricotta filling for squash blossoms or cannolonis with basil and serve with a tomato ragout, toss pasta with fresh tomatoes and pesto, or serve beef with a tomato sauce dotted with basil. You get the idea: the same two ingredients in various configurations. This summer, I’ve eaten kohlrabi twice in restaurants: at Oleana in a cucumber slaw served with fried oysters and at No. 9 Park, pureed and served with beef and chanterelles. Though the texture is different than zucchini (with no seeds in the middle) the flavor profiles seem to marry well as they are paired together in many recipes, or kohlrabi is used in a recipe where I might expect zucchini:

Bear with me in this train of thought…. Kohlrabi and zucchini seem to substitute well for each other… my stuffing recipe for stuffed zucchini also works well as moussaka filling… kohlrabi works well in gratin…. So I’ve come up with these ideas:

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:8/23/2008 02:14:00 PM Kohlrabi moussaka? Hmmm -- can't quite wrap my brain around that one! So glad that your garden continues to yield such wonderful treasures. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous soulchocolate DATE:11/09/2008 09:05:00 PM I recently bought some kohl rabi and am eager to try. Possibly some kohl rabi and broccoli soup! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:11/10/2008 06:51:00 AM soulchocolate, a broccoli-kohlrabi soups sounds great! You'll have to let me know how it turns out. At the end of my kohlrabi season, I decided my favorite preparation was roasted with olive oil, salt and garlic. So simple, but so delicious. ----- --------