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Quick Hit: Golden Kohlrabi Carrot Fritters

If your winter market is giving you nothing but odd roots and bulbous members of the cabbage family, you might be looking for ideas on what to do with these strange vegetables. Well, here is a seriously great way to work kohlrabi into your menu.

In good German tradition, I’ve steamed and braised kohlrabi, which yields delicious results but gets a bit bland and predictable after many iterations. So, I was looking for a new way to use two aging bulbs. Enter Smitten Kitchen and her cheerleading for FRITTERS and the solution to all your dinner travails. Seriously, fritters are great.

TheKitchn (my go-to site for basic recipes) provided a link to this kohlrabi carrot fritter recipe at http://www.acouplecooks.com/2013/01/kohrabi-fritters-with-avocado/ – I wasn’t going to get fancy with avocado but I did have some leftover Chinese takeout rice on hand. Lo, golden kohlrabi carrot fritters.

I used two eggs, instead of one, plus a bit of flour and what amounted to about 1/4 cup or so of the cold white rice (mixed into the shredded kohlrabi and carrots along with the eggs and flour) to make the fritters, and served them with sambal-oelek mayo. Highly recommended.

 

Delicious Delicata

The delicata squash – I first encountered it at my farmer’s market, where I picked it up at random because I was tired of the reliable standby butternut squash and recently disappointed by the acorn squash as well. It has a friendly look to it – striped, thin-skinned,  and on the smallish side, its shaped a bit like a zucchini or eggplant.

It is, as far as I can tell, the unknown squash – so far, no one I have mentioned this delicious squash to has heard of it. After I picked in an experimental frame of mind, I searched the food blogs for inspiration on how to deal with it. The Kitchn had this recipe for dip and I went with it because it seemed easy. Once I tried it, I never looked for another delicata squash recipe idea because it was so very delicious. In December, I made this at least five times in as many weeks. If you can find a delicata, make this now. Bring it to your next pot-luck party.

Apart from using it as a dip, this works wonderfully as a pasta sauce.

If you find yourself without milk, cream, and Gruyère, take heart. One variation I found to be very successful was to use a bit of butter instead of the milk, and then to add a triangle of the Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Original spreadable cheese (one triangle for a smallish squash, two won’t go amiss here). An excellent, smoothly creamy cheesy dip that works excellently on crostini as well as penne pasta or farfalle or even elbow mac.

Make the delicata squash your new friend if you haven’t met before. It is well worth it.

Green Bean Stir Fry

Green beans, abundant all summer and into the fall, too often get cast in the overlooked side dish role – see also the Thanksgiving mainstay green bean casserole, which many consider bland and boring. Unless the green beans happen to be undercooked, in which case the unpleasant crunch turns eaters against green beans. Which is too bad, because handled properly, green beans are lovely, and you do not have to stick to just steaming them or hiding them in a casserole. Try a stir fry. Basic green bean stir fry ingredients:

  • About one pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 – 4 scallions (depending on size), sliced
  • About 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • For the sauce: Soy sauce (or Tamari), mirin, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sambal oelek

Continue reading

Purple Cauliflower Pasta

Roasted cauliflower and tahini are a magical combination, so of course all I could think of to improve on this combo was to add pasta. Behold: You’ll need (For one to two people, scale up as needed for a larger dinner):

  • 1 small head of purple cauliflower (it can be white or cheddar cauliflower too, but the purple ones look cool and are more nutritious)
  • 2 – 4 oz spaghetti (or linguine) – depending on how hungry you are. Measure using your thumb and forefinger (see item #2 at this link or watch this video) – about the diameter of a U.S. quarter
  • tahini sauce recipe, as seen on The Kitchn for a tofu and chickpea stir fry:
    • 1/4 cup tahini,
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs water,
    • 2 Tbs soy sauce,
    • 2 Tbs rice vinegar,
    • 2 tsp honey,
    • 1 tsp diced fresh ginger

What to do: Continue reading

Quick Hit: Orecchiette Olio

Olio: a happy mix of various items. In this case, sort of like a pasta potpourri, a miscellaneous medley of delicious items, combined into a harmonious whole. This one also works as a cold salad the next day for lunch.

  1. Cook the orecchiette pasta according to package directions. The small “ears” indentations work well to hold the peas, etc. but other small shapes like farfalle or elbows would also work here. I used about a cup (dry pasta, maybe 4 oz), but adjust as needed to feed more people.
  2. You can cook the peas right along with the pasta. About a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup should do well. If they’re fresh, wait to add them to the water until the pasta is nearly cooked. The frozen peas could join immediately or go in for the last 5 minutes or so. I’m still experimenting with that, so do whatever works best for you.
  3. While the pasta cooks, chop 2 -3 scallions (depending on size and how much you like them).
  4. Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve some of the pasta water for later.
  5. Toss the hot orecchiette and peas with the chopped scallions, about 15 oz of chickpeas, either canned (rinse those well first) or cooked from dried chickpeas (if you can plan ahead and have these on hand) and some crumbled feta cheese, about 1/4 cup. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water (start with 1 Tbs) to make a bit of a sauce. Add more if things seem too dry.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature or serve slightly cold the next day.

 

Restoratives

Some days just take all the starch out of you. On such a day, many people might say, why bother with dinner, let’s just have a drink. I say, why not have both?

In the cocktail department, you might try the Cheery Herring – the bourbon certainly makes it appropriate for fall. Why search for a “herring cocktail” in the first place? That’s a whole other story. Just know that this cocktail has grapefruit juice, so you can tell yourself it supplies necessary vitamins while you imbibe. It’s a bit muddy looking but tasty, and I don’t think you need the Swedish fish garnish (I didn’t have any on hand).

Dinner, on the other hand, offers something truly nourishing: Turnip Greens Colcannon (i.e. mashed potatoes with greens) – a home-made remedy to replenish what the day may have knocked out of you, plus nutrients. Also known as comfort in a bowl. Continue reading

A Late Summer Dish to Herald Fall

In recipe-free cooking, sometimes the idea of beef stew can lead you to a plate of green beans and tomatoes with sage (and chicken sausage) instead. My actual starting point was polenta, which called for something rich, saucy, and comforting to top it. While I kept circling back to the idea of beef stew, I didn’t have the necessary ingredients and was too lazy to go shopping. And so, back to the fridge and the counter top for whatever late-summer produce had accumulated there.

What I had to work with: a bag of slightly shriveled green beans, mixed cherry tomatoes (yellow, gold, red) at the end of their season, and a bundle of sage, which makes a great bridge between summer and fall. Continue reading