Sunday, July 05, 2009

ahhhh, summer veggies

I took a long drive into the country today with my 86 year old cousin. We were in search of farm fresh berries and other treats of the farm stands. New England is full of little family farms with fruit and veg stands in front of them.

All spring we have been buying asparagus from a farmer that just put the asparagus out on a table with a cash box and a sign saying "Honor System: $3 a bunch. Please pay here."I never saw the farmer, but we bought his asparagus weekly until one day the season was over and there was no more table. I like that about the countryside here. The Honor System works.

Today's adventure netted small ears of fresh corn, beets the size of peaches that were surprisingly crisp and robust, a bunch of basil, little pickling sized cukes and fresh scallions. Then, to our delight - strawberries and raspberries from Kate, the slim, smiling grey haired, apple-cheeked woman who raises them organically.

But the mystery item that I did not get was kohlrabi. Wikipedia says that the name comes from German words meaning "cabbage" and "turnip", and that Kohlrabi is one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in Kashmir.

That being said....I have never had it. My mother never cooked it. I have never seen it on a menu. No one I have ever visited has served it.

It is the mystery vegetable.

It looks like alien food, beamed down from Saturn, or from a galaxy far far away.
I have looked up recipes on the net, but they seem improbably varied -- from use in a salad to a casserole with dill sauce to a baked and stuffed version. Has anyone out there actually eaten one of these?

They will probably appear in my dreams, singing kohlrabi songs, doing a kohlrabi dance.

I'll keep you posted.


Blogger Jayne said...

LOL... reminds me of a mutant veggie! Love that story about the honor system roadside stand. :c)

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Funky Grampa said...

"Goodness Gracious Sakes Alive!" My mother's favorite expletive. She would be astonished to have kohlrabi designated a mystery veggie. It was the crown treat of her summer garden and our summer meals.

She fixed it many ways. The two I remember with great fondness and a certain drool were raw, peeled and eaten like an apple right out of the garden. And two mashed with potatoes and served with dill gravey.

My Mom was born of Swedish Immigrants in the Upper Mid-west. I don't know if kohlrabi was ethnic, regional or what. I just know they are very hard to find now in our city farmer's market and I miss them.

10:09 AM  
Blogger TSannie said...

Hi Mata H. Can't remember where I saw your blog for the first time, but I'm glad I did. I enjoy your writing style.
I also enjoy that you have found asparagus on a farm stand! Never have I seen asparagus even in the farmer's markets around where I am. I see you're from New England - if it happens to be lower Fairfield County in CT, I'd love to know where this farmer's stand is for next spring. There simply is nothing better than farm fresh asparagus!

I've added you to my blog roll - I have enough now that I need a reminder of my favorites.

Till next time! And I've never had kohnrabi either!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Jayne - I love that stand -- and the practice is not uncommon around here with small family farms.

Funky - mashed with dill gravy -- YUM...white gravy or brown?

TS - Thanks! The best farm stands for asparagus are in an area called "asparagus valley" -- the soil must be especially conducive to fabulous asparagus -- that is the area of Northampton/Hadley/Whately/Hatfield and environs...all in Hampshire County.

1:14 PM  

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