What on God’s green earth is that?!

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That was my question when I saw this in my CSA share this past weekend:

I’ve seen and eaten a plethora of different veggies in my lifetime thus far but I had never seen this little baby before. At first I thought it was a really strange beet. But no, it’s kohlrabi. The word “kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage-turnip” so I guess that’s what those German folks thought it tasted like. Turns out they were right. I’ve heard others say it tastes like a turnip/apple combination but I think it’s safe to say it’s more cabbage-y than apple-y. However, it is probably a little sweeter than you might be imagining. Kohlrabi looks like it should be a root vegetable like a potato or a rutabaga but it actually grows on top of the ground. Fascinating!

On to the eating. You can eat kohrabi raw or cooked. You’ll just need to slice off the “tentacles”  and either slice the veg to eat as a snack with dips (tonight we’re planning to slice the bulb with a mandolin slicer and use those as “chips” to eat with our hummus!) or prepare it to be cooked. You can see in the picture above that the inside of the veg is a pale green-ish color as opposed to the dark purple color you see on the outside. Tricky, huh?

I haven’t tried this recipe for kohlrabi puree yet but the next time I get it in my CSA share I’m definitely trying it. It’s like mashed potatoes but with kohlrabi. The recipe is from Farmgirl Fare, where she also writes about the strange veg:

4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, quartered
3 Tablespoons cream (or milk, chicken stock, olive oil, or water)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peeling them if the skins seem tough. Rinse the leaves (discarding any that are yellow) pat them dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. Cut the bulbs into 1-inch chunks.

2. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown.

4. Add the mushrooms and the reserved kohlrabi leaves to the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.

5. Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the mushroom mixture and the cream (or whatever substitute you’re using). Purée until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Serve warm.

As she mentions, you can even eat the kohlrabi greens. See how they look a little like swiss chard, with the purple vein down the center?

If you find yourself face to face with kohlrabi in the future, don’t be scared! Calmly refer back to this post and that of the Farmgirl. As for the rest of my first CSA share, it looks pretty normal:

We’ve got some lettuce, bok choy, radishes, salad turnips, broccoli rabe, an ear of popcorn, asian braising mix, potted oregano, and of course, the kohlrabi. I officially love CSAs! Can’t wait to tell you what I make with everything!

When life gives you something squishy…

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…juice that sucker!

Life gave me a squishy cantaloupe. GROSS. I’d like to say I wasn’t pissed about it but that’s just not true. Who do I look like, the Dalai Lama? Who likes going to the store to buy a melon of any sort only to get home, cut it open, and find it’s too ripe to eat. It’s like cutting a tomato for a sandwich only to find that its all grainy and squishy inside. The good news about either of those pieces of produce is that they can still be used for juicing. Woooo, the silver lining appears! I even read an article about a study that found that the more ripe a fruit is the more loaded with antioxidants it is. I’m really not making that up. See, read. I’d give you the link to the actual study but I’m pretty sure it’s in German.

Aside from the increased antioxidants in super ripe cantaloupe [can-ta-loo-pay (like Guadalupe) in my mind], the ready to eat fruit still has some really amazing benefits. Some even consider cantaloupes to be one of the healthiest fruits. Yes, they have a good amount of sugar in them but they also have Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, potassium, and B vitamins. The American Cancer Society even recommends eating melons for their ability to fight certain cancers. Fighting potential cancer with a cantaloupe sounds like my kind of war. That’s right on up there with having a glass of red wine to help keep your heart healthy.

Now, I imagine that if you don’t like cantaloupe, you’d hate this juice. But I love cantaloupe so I really enjoyed it. It’s really delicious and refreshing on its own but just for kicks I added an orange to the juice you see on the left there. It was delicious too. So next time you buy a too-ripe fruit, remember that you should only stay mad for 2.5 seconds and then you must go find your juicer. Cheers!

Re-blog!

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Look it! My friend Lauren wrote a little something about my garden so today, instead of reading my thoughts, you’re reading her thoughts about some of MY favorite hobbies. Pretty sweet.

From the Inside Out

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin

Growing up, I imagined at one point I would have a quaint little garden of my own, where I could spend hours and hours in the sun growing and nurturing the plants. Just kidding. I didn’t really. I mean, growing up on the farm, we had a garden. It was a small one, but I remember as a kid how nice it was when my mom would go and pick the fresh lettuce or even better, the fresh blackberries which she would mix them into vanilla ice cream. We could sit on the porch out back and watch fireflies come up out of the corn fields. Do any of you siblings remember that?

While my mom is an excellent gardener…

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Wine Down

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One of my favorite things about Connecticut is that there are quite a few wineries here. As much as I love and miss South Carolina, wineries are something we just don’t really have there. Last weekend I went with my good friends, Lauren and Kate, on an impromptu trip to a winery near us in Wallingford, CT. Sometimes you just need to take a couple of hours to wind down and reset yourself, which is exactly what we did. I really don’t have much to say in this post but I got a few really beautiful pictures while we were there. Since I don’t have time to write a thousand words anyway, they’ll probably describe our visit better than I could :)

Who needs Instagram when God gives you this:

Future wine grapes:

As you must know by now, I like all things baby. So naturally I have a picture of baby grape buds:

While we were enjoying our wine a storm was rolling in. At the bottom of this picture, above the ridge line, you can see the rain darkening the horizon. Cool, huh?

And last, but farthest from least, the reason why mini trips like this are more than worth it:

Happy Wednesday :)

There’s a reason Olive Oyl loved Popeye

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It certainly wasn’t because of his tall stature, his flowing head of hair, or his love of clean air (note the ever present pipe). It was because of his muscles and his affinity for spinach, of course! Popeye made his debut in 1929 and even way back then, it was pretty well known that spinach was good for you. Even then, the entertainment industry subliminally, or in Popeye’s case, not so subliminally, tried to introduce kids to the idea that eating veggies was fun. I totally experienced this first hand. My brother John and I used to watch Popeye all the time, especially on Saturday mornings. I feel pretty certain that if we ate spinach at all, it was because Popeye thought it was cool (therefore it must have been, right?). I really miss those days.

“I yam what I yam!” Or in the context of this post, “You are what you eat.” If you are indeed what you eat Popeye was made of all these things, just to name a few: so much Vitamin A and Vitamin K, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. And to boot, one cup of raw spinach (think salad) has only seven tiny baby calories and zero cholesterol or saturated fat. Spinach really packs a huge nutritional punch. See what I did there? No wonder Olive Oyl loved him. Shoot, I love him. Can we get a modern day Popeye up in here for all my single girls?

Now, I must say, unless you’re making spinach and artichoke dip or something like that, canned spinach is gross. Sorry, Popeye. Spinach can be a little finicky to grow but almost every single grocery store, in America anyway, sells fresh spinach in the produce department. This is my baby spinach plant that really hasn’t even grown into toddler spinach yet. I was not lying when I said it can be finicky.

If you’re in need of a super simple spinach recipe to try, try this one. It’s a great side dish recipe for both spinach lovers and apprehensive spinach eaters. And in my opinion simple is almost always the way to go. In parting, I’ll leave you with this serious thought for the day: AC thinks I look like Olive Oyl. See any resemblance?

Even if you do, at least my feet aren’t as big as hers. I’ve got that going for me! Now, if only he had muscles like Popeye ;)

Tis the Season!

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Strawberry season, that is! I f-ing love strawberry season. So much so that I use the real expletive in my head. This morning I woke up earlier than normal just to make sure I got to the market early so I could stock up on these babies since the season is only about two weeks long. It was even raining. But did I let that stop me? NOPE. I make things happen. These are the berries from Rose’s Berry Farm up in Glastonbury.

What do I plan to do with all these strawberries, you ask? That’s a fair question. My friend, Ahna, and I have a jam plan. The goal is to buy as many fresh strawberries as possible (because they taste exponentially better than store bought berries) and freeze them until we both have time to do some canning. I’ll have to channel my inner grandma for this task but I’m pretty pumped about it. Plus, I’ll finally be able to say, “Oh sorry, can’t be there, I have a jam sesh today.” Since I’m not musically inclined at all, this is likely the only time I’ll be able to say that.

Beautiful, right?? Aside from the jam plan, there are SO many things you can do with these amazing berries. You can make good ole fashioned strawberry shortcake, smoothies, homemade ice cream, strawberry sauce for your ice cream, strawberry and balsamic salad dressing, and of course you can just eat them alone. I also make an amazing vegan strawberry cupcake that will make my score at the farmers’ market feel right at home. So delicious. You should go grab some fresh picked strawberries. Although, I wouldn’t recommend going to the market I went to this morning since by now they miiiiight be gone.

Strawberry Bobblehead Bliss :)

PS – I’ll be sure to post pictures of my jam sesh. That should be entertaining. Happy Weekend!

Sexy Sticks

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Get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about asparagus. I know, I know. This sounds like it’s going to be as entertaining as watching white paint dry with your most annoying relative. But it won’t be! I’ll tell you why asparagus is sexy.

1. It has such a cool growth pattern.

  • Although it takes about 3 years to grow before its first harvest, an asparagus plant can continue to produce stalks for 10-20 years. Did you know that?? That just amazes me. Before I learned this I kinda thought that Michelle Duggar was the only thing that produced for up to two decades. One of the gardeners in our community garden grows asparagus in her plot so I’m lucky enough to show you a true to life picture that I took just yesterday. It’s a little difficult to see because of the asparagus “fern” growing around it but it just grows straight out of the ground like this:

2. It is really good for you.

  • Asparagus has loads of calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. And that isn’t even the full list! I just stopped because I promised this would be entertaining. It even has some protein so stop asking me where I get my protein from! Just kidding, you can ask me whatever you want :)

3. It spruces up ANY plate and makes you look like a domestic super star.

  • This is a fact. Asparagus makes your dinner look like the P. Diddy (or whatever he goes by these days) of your dinner world. This is a dinner that I made the other night which consisted of a grilled portobello mushroom cap topped with tomato, basil, and sweet onion quinoa with a side of grilled asparagus. I’ll post that recipe later on if you want it but see how much better the plate looks because I added that sexy greenery? Even when asparagus isn’t the star it plays a great supporting role.

4. It’s so easy to prepare. Of all the ways you could prepare asparagus, this is my favorite way:

  • First, wash your asparagus and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Second, snap off the very bottom of each piece of asparagus. It tends to be very tough and the spear is much better without it.
  • Third, place all of the stalks on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and use your [clean] hands to toss everything together so each spear is coated with the flavorful additions.
  • Your last step is to bake the asparagus until you hear it sizzling in the oven. That’s what I do but if you aren’t preparing other things in the kitchen and can’t keep an ear out, bake it for about 12-15 minutes or until tender, which I guess is how normal people know when to take something out of the oven.

Asparagus is an early spring veg and it’s at the very, very end of it’s season so get your ass to the produce department or farmers’ market before it’s not anymore!

Happy Thursday! :)