The kohlrabi trials
Visiting the local farmers' market, I'm discovering, is a great way to find new veggies to try out before devoting the time and space to growing them in the garden. Sure, I could make a trip to Whole Foods and sample some interesting vegetables from there, but the farmers' market is exceedingly more interesting to me, and I like supporting the local farmers directly. (To Whole Foods' credit, though, they are making an effort to buy from small farms, which is a good thing.)
At a recent market, curiosity nudged me to pick a pair of kohlrabies from one of the stands. Kohlrabi is one of those interesting looking vegetables that tends to leap off the page when I'm thumbing through gardening catalogs. It looks interesting, but does it taste any good?
Its name is derived from two German words: kohl for cabbage and rabi for turnip. From the looks of it, I thought it would taste like cabbage or broccoli. The sign next to it said it could be eaten raw or cooked, and I overheard someone saying it has the consistency of an apple. Sounded approachable to me.
At home, I peeled each kohlrabi and popped a small sliver in my mouth. It tasted very bland, almost like nothing. How could such an interesting looking vegetable taste so boring? I was determined to press on, though, and make something out of my kohlrabies.
I shredded them into small slivers to start a coleslaw. We had a large bag of Granny Smith apples in the kitchen, so I shredded one of those, too. A few snips of flat-leaf parsley added color. Then I mixed in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Still very bland.
I decided then to add a good spoonful of whole-grain dijon mustard. Now I was getting somewhere, but it still wasn't quite right. The slaw needed a bit of sweetness, I thought, to bring out the apples, so I added a few drizzles of honey. Yes! Good! Almost there. And then, for a hint of sharpness, I added a few hits of white wine vinegar. Perfect!
I ended up with a light, cool, delicious slaw -- a little bit sweet, a little bit savory. I thought it was great, but the true test, I knew, would come from Michael. He devoured it. In fact, he liked it so much that at the end of the meal he said, "we can definitely buy kohlrabi again." Success!
The kohlrabi reminded me of jicama. It seemed to have the chameleon-like property of taking on the flavor of whatever it's combined with -- whether savory or sweet. I was so emboldened by the success of my slaw that I returned to the market the following week and bought a purple kohlrabi. That one tasted considerably more "cabbage-y," though, and so that left a hole in my theory that any kohlrabi could be paired with sweet ingredients. More testing is needed.
With the purple kohlrabi I set out again to make a slaw, but in the process, I had a minor accident with the V-Slicer. I have the occasion here to mention Band-Aids again, but I will spare you the details. Let's just say, I didn't finish making that salad, and I am lucky to still have a thumb with which to hit the space bar on the keyboard. Ouch!!
That's the end of the kohlrabi trials, at least for now.
Thank you to Alanna at A Veggie Venture, for providing the farmers' market logo. It's available to anyone who's blogging about their farmers' market finds.