Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cut Flowers, Kohlrabi, Kale, Kale and more Kale

Pink Bell Flowers from Ka-bloom Cut Flower Farm

Some people are so passionate with their sports it's almost a religion to them. They root for their home team by watching every game, by talking about the team or the last game or player acquisition with anyone who is willing to lend an ear, by owning a jersey or a bull cap or by even owning season tickets at the stadium of their team. Their loyalty is unflappable!

I have the same intensity and passion when it comes to food -- it's almost an obsession. I am a big fan of the local farmers, food purveyors and producers, and I support them by buying local as much as I can. I visit as many and as frequent as possible the farmers markets in and around Atlanta that showcase the local produce in season from late Spring to late Summer.

I love the Green Market at Piedmont Park. I have been meeting a couple of my girlfriends there for the past three Saturday mornings for coffee and pastries, food shopping and to catch-up with each other's lives. The market has a very good offering of organic green-leafy vegetables, a staple in my diet. I prefer green leafy vegetables over green beans, peas or broccoli any time of day. I can eat as much as I want and not feel bad about it -- swiss chard, mustard green, kohlrabi, bok-choy, kale, kale and more kale!

Kohlrabi, or Green Turnip, is a cultivar of the cabbage. Wikipedia explains the taste and texture as those of broccoli stem or heart of the cabbage but milder or sweeter. I find that kinda funny since most home cooks toss away the broccoli stem and the heart of the cabbage since they consider it inedible. I would describe the taste and texture as a cross between jicama and young turnip when eaten raw. When cooked, it taste more like a cross between chayote and young radish.

Kohlrabi is very versatile. I love it as a side salad for grilled or pan fried fish --thinly sliced seasoned with white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Juiced with some carrots, beets and celery and you are good to go in the morning. You can mash it up with rutabaga and it tastes as good as and is more nutritious than mashed potatoes. Although, I usually stir-fry it so I can use the leaves as well.

Kohlrabi Stir-fry

3 medium Kohlrabi, peeled, quartered and
sliced thinly
leaves of the kohlrabi, washed, stems removed,
cut into 1-inch squares and blanched
2 T olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
smoked sea salt flakes (or plain sea salt)
freshly ground pepper

Place a 10-inch pan on medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and heat for about a minute. Add shallots and cook until slightly caramelized. Add the kohlrabi, and coat it with the oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring every so often. Add the blanched leaves to the pan. Season with more salt and pepper. Cook for another minute or two until kohlrabi are almost transparent.

Kohlrabi and Red Russian Kale

I love, love, love kale-- lacinato is my favorite. Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful anti-oxidant properties. Kale is very high in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C, K, B6, lutein, zeaxanthin, manganese and rich in calcium, iron and protein. Kale is loaded with organosulfur compounds that may lessen the occurrence of some cancers. Oh, I almost forgot, it's also very high in fiber.

I bet there are a thousand and one ways to prepare and use kale. Use it as bedding for roast; as a simple side dish where I just blanch it then season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice; saute it in olive or coconut oil with shallots, garlic, salt and pepper; in omelette; and as a salad.

Omelette of Kale and Salmon

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, cut into
1-inch squares and blanched
3 T coconut oil*
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 eggs, beaten, seasoned with salt, pepper & milk
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 oz. smoked salmon, diced
3 oz. feta cheese or aged-white cheddar

*I love cooking kale with coconut oil. It's one of those taste combinations that works well. I learned it from my French girlfriend, Sylvie, and that's how I've been preparing kale since, and I highly recommend it. If not available, use canola oil.

This is an awesome one-dish brunch meal served with toast and your favorite jam or marmalade.

Place an 8-inch pan on medium high heat. Heat 1 T of the oil in pan. Add blanched kale, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil in the pan, let it heat then add the eggs. Layer the kale, diced tomatoes, smoked salmon and crumble feta cheese (or grated aged-white cheddar) on top. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until eggs are set.

Kale Salad
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, cut into
1-inch squares and spun to remove excess water
Barefoot Contessa's Orange Vinaigrette
Segments from 1 orange
Smoked salmon, shaved
Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese for serving

Place kale in a salad bowl and toss enough orange vinaigrette to coat the leaves but not soak it. Arrange orange segments and shaved smoked salmon and serve with sprinkling of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

1 comment:

  1. We had a post this week on kohlrabi salad. I can't wait to try your stir-fry.