Posts Tagged ‘kohlrabi’

Fennel Tabbouleh

July 22, 2009

During the summer, I find myself making a lot of variants on tabbouleh, depending on what vegetables I have around.  It’s great for using pretty much any veggies that are good raw, especially when I don’t have lettuce to make salad.  I often add chick peas to turn tabbouleh from a side salad into a satisfying lunch.  Last week’s tabbouleh confetti-colorful with orange carrots, purple-skinned kohlrabi, and green fennel.  I diced the carrots, halved the small fennel and quartered the large then sliced it thin, and the kohlrabi I made into matchsticks to make sure every piece showed some purple.  (You’ll notice a total lack of the traditional tomatoes or even cucumbers.)  While fresh parsley is best, frozen-thawed works fine.  When I don’t have either of those, I use some dried parsley, which mostly serves to add some color.

I liked the crunch of fennel in my confetti tabbouleh, and I liked the way its flavor played off the lemon juice.  Then I had an inspiration: I could use the fronds!  We haven’t had parsley the past few weeks, so it was easy to leave parsley out all together and use fennel fronds as the green instead.  Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 4 cups chopped fennel:  bulbs and fronds (but not stems), which is probably 3 bunches
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (fresh would be lovely if you have it)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions:

  1. Put the bulgur and dried mint into a large bowl.
  2. Pour the water over the bulgur and mint, stir, and let sit until water is absorbed (about half an hour)
  3. Stir the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil into bulgur.
  4. Stir in the fennel (and fresh mint if using).

Eat your Greens

July 12, 2009

If you’re used to getting your vegetables at the grocery store, then you’re used to getting only the most sought-after or unique parts.  Or that’s all that survives the journey from wherever-far-away to the produce isle.  When you get farm-direct vegetables, either from a CSA or at a farmers market, you get much more of the plant.  Including those unfamiliar parts.  Most often, those unfamiliar plants are the leaves or greens.

Which are edible?  And how do you eat them?

The short answer is you can (and should) eat greens sold with pretty much everything except carrots.

Okay, the longer answer:  Radish, kohlrabi, and broccoli leaves are not only edible but nutritious.  Beet and turnip greens are not only edible and nutritious, but sought-after.  While you’re selecting beets or turnips for the best roots, the person shopping next to you may be selecting for the greens, with the roots as an afterthought.  Fennel fronds get used as an herb, although the stems are completely discarded (possibly after being used to flavor broth).

I’m told that radish greens can be added to the same salad as the radishes themselves, as a flavorful lettuce.  Their texture seems wrong for that, so I’ve never done so.  I simply toss the radish, kohlrabi, or broccoli leaves in with any other greens I’m cooking.  Radish greens are very much like turnip greens, while kohlrabi greens and broccoli greens are very much like kale.  Discard stems that are too tough.

Many vegetables just aren’t sold with their leaves.  Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so the leaves are cut off before they’re sold.  Corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and the like are picked off of plants and won’t come with leaves.  Turning over the earth to dig potatoes seems to separate them from their leaves.

Week 7: July 6-12 (Part I)

July 9, 2008

This week from our CSA:  one bunch each of beets, red Russian kale, spring onions, mizuna, and broccoli; 3 bunches of carrots (2 yellow, 1 orange), 2 kohlrabi, 2 pounds of yellow summer squash, and 1 pound of fava beans

The kale and broccoli are the only things that will freeze well, but we already ate the broccoli (and yes, it was delicious, sauteed up in olive oil with garlic). 

The carrots and beet roots will keep perfectly well for a long time in the refrigerator. 

I’ve never had kohlrabi before, but at least Joy of Cooking has an informative entry.  It looks like it will keep for a short while (longer than a week), as will the summer squash.  I wonder if there’s a good way to cook them together?  Squash is lovely grilled. 

The mizuna and beet greens will only last a few days, so I’m worried about using them up in time.  Normally, we eat at home 6 nights a week, but summer messes with our schedules and we need to make an active effort to eat perishables before they turn.

I still have no idea what to do with the favas.    (See week 6.)