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Exploring Food: Escarole and Kohlrabi

Margaret Sheets

Picking up my second CSA share was fun. Instead of picking it up at the farm, I went to the Famers Market in downtown Traverse City to collect my goods. Seeing all the local farmers and such a wide array of flowers and food was so exciting.

The day was rainy and dreary, but that stopped no one. All the farmers were still there, and the parking lot was still full of customers checking out the fresh produce. It took me a few minutes to locate the Loma Farm tent, but it gave me time to wander around and check out what was being sold. I spotted Nic, the owner of Loma, and he greeted me with a warm smile and took me to a table stacked with boxes of fresh vegetables.

I filled my bags with my share for Week 2: cauliflower, spinach, garlic scapes, escarole, kohlrabi, and my personal favorite, strawberries. I was very excited for the week ahead, smiling as I headed back to my car.

My share had two things I had never heard of—escarole and kohlrabi. It took me a few tries to learn how to pronounce both words correctly. Escarole looks just like lettuce, but is slightly more bitter to the taste. Kohlrabi is unique looking. It looks like a bulb with lettuce-like leaves sprouting out of it. It is best eaten raw and tastes like a cross between broccoli and rhubarb.

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After looking up recipes for both of these vegetables, I chose an easy one that uses both escarole and kohlrabi in a little sauteé dish with a mix of a few other things.

First I washed the greens. Then I poured about a half-tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan. I added a bit of garlic before the pan got too hot so it would melt in and the flavor would be stronger.

While waiting for this to cook a bit, I took on the daunting task of cutting the kohlrabi. Thank goodness for YouTube! I simply searched “how to cut kohlrabi,” viewed a short video, grabbed my knife, and gave it a go. First I cut off the stalks sticking out, working from the bottom, then the top, finally the sides. I peeled the kohlrabi until it looked like a peeled apple. Then I made little slices.

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I tasted one; it was crunchy and definitely tasted like broccoli. But while Nic told me I could eat it raw I wanted to create a little something more with it.

So I put the spinach and escarole into the fry pan, stirred it while it simmered, and then added some kohlrabi cubes. I stirred it together while sprinkling in some salt and pepper. I continued cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes, until the greens were shriveled and the kohlrabi was slightly golden brown.

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I decided the veggies looked done, so I put them on my plate as a little side salad. I topped it with tomatoes and paired it with a piece of chicken, and my dinner was complete!

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I tried a forkful of the escarole and kohlrabi and was surprised by the taste! It was very good, and the kohlrabi gave it a little extra crunch that I really enjoyed.

This creation was so easy to make and it can be individualized with different seasonings and salts. It takes very little time and I highly recommend it.

I am really loving creating new things and expanding my cooking horizons. My share this week had lots of wonderful things; I am looking forward to picking up my new one on Wednesday at the farmers market!

 

Margaret Sheets is the 2016 events intern at Taste the Local Difference® and she is a senior at Albion College. You can contact her at events@localdifference.org

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