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December 2005

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Produce News

Weird Produce: Trying Something New this Holiday Season!

by Andy Johnston, Produce Manager

It’s that time of the year again. Time to start planning the holiday menu. Turkey, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes—all traditional holiday standards for most of us. How about something different, maybe something new that could soon become a family tradition!

Kohlrabi, salsify, pomegranates, sunchokes, celeriac, fennel, yah, I know what you’re thinking, “What do I do with this stuff?” If you’re the cook in the family, as I am, things can get a little crazy in the kitchen around the holidays. I’ve put together some wonderful recipes containing some “not-so-familiar” produce items here at the Co-op. Give them a try!!

So many of the weird produce items we carry at this time of the year are locally grown storage crops. Not only are you trying something new, you are also supporting local farmers. I recommend the salsify from West Star Farms; this stuff is all the rage at gourmet restaurants. You can try it at home without the gourmet price tag. Check out the recipe kiosk near customer service in the produce aisle. Here you’ll find recipes for just about every produce item you can find, including the “weird” ones.

Have a great holiday season, and have fun in your kitchen!!

Salsify with Parmesan

Recipe from: Pete’s Frootique
2 lb salsify, scrubbed and trimmed
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper

Place the whole, unpeeled salsify roots in a steamer basket over two inches of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 10-12 minutes, until barely tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water, and then peel and slice in 4-inch lengths.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, and sauté the salsify for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, and season with salt and cayenne pepper, or serve atop bruschetta.

Serve this on thick slices of toasted Italian bread that have been rubbed with a cut garlic clove and drizzled with olive oil. Serves 4-6.

Lamb Stew with Chestnuts and Pomegranates

Recipe from: Unknown
1 lb chestnuts, roasted and shelled
2 onions
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp turmeric, ground
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 cup walnuts, minced fine
1/4 tsp mint, crushed
1 cup pomegranate juice, fresh
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced fine
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh mint as garnish

Directions: Heat the oil in a heavy casserole over medium heat then sauté the onions and garlic for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high; add the meat, turmeric, salt, pepper, and brown meat on all sides. Stir in the saffron, cinnamon, mint, walnuts, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Add lemon juice, pomegranate juice, and chestnuts. Stir well, then cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve over a bed of saffron rice. Serves 6

NOTE: You may add other fruits such as prunes, raisins, apricots, apples, etc. to this dish. Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra fruit(s) as a total amount.

Celeriac Bisque

Recipe from: Ditty’s Sunday
Supper
1 1/2 lb celeriac
1 yellow onion
3 ribs fresh celery
4 cups turkey stock
Sour cream or crème fraîche (optional)

Directions: Peel celeriac and cut it into 1” cubes. Peel and coarsely chop onion and celery. Place the celeriac, celery ribs and onions in a large pot and add 3 cups of turkey stock. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat about 30 minutes or until the celery root is very tender. Puree all ingredients (including the liquid) in a food mill. Add more stock as needed to get the consistency of bisque.

To serve, reheat over a low flame and top with a dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche or a combination of the two (depending on what you have leftover over from Thanksgiving dinner).

Rosemary Roasted Fennel and Zucchini

Recipe from: VegWeb
1 fennel bulb
1 zucchini
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp pinenuts
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut ends off fennel and then cut bulb into 1/3 inch thick slices. Cut zucchini in half then cut each half into 4 or 6 sticks (1/2 inch thick). Layer zucchini sticks and fennel slices in baking pan—try not to overlap much. Drizzle with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Sprinkle on vegan Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. Serve immediately! Serves 4

German-Style Stuffed Kohlrabi

Recipe from: Gourmet
8 kohlrabies (about 5 lbs), bulbs peeled, stems discarded, and the leaves trimmed of tough center ribs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup cooked long-grain rice
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves plus additional for garnish if desired
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp dried marjoram, crumbled
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions: Trim 1/4 inch from the root end of each kohlrabi bulb so the bulb will stand upright, scoop out the pulp from the opposite end with a small melon-ball cutter or spoon, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells, and chop it fine (there will be about 2 3/4 cups). In a large kettle of boiling salted water cook the kohlrabi leaves for 3 minutes, or until they are just tender, drain them well, and chop them fine (there will be about 2 cups).

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is golden and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. To the bowl add the pork, the rice, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the paprika, the marjoram, the caraway seeds, the tomato paste, the eggs, 1/2 cup of the kohlrabi pulp, 1/4 cup of the chopped kohlrabi leaves, and salt and pepper to taste and combine the mixture well. Divide the mixture among the kohlrabi shells, mounding it, and arrange the shells in a shallow flameproof baking dish just large enough to hold them in one layer. Scatter the remaining pulp and leaves in the dish and pour in the broth. Bring the broth to a boil and simmer the shells, covered partially, for 30 to 50 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with a sharp knife. Transfer the shells with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving the cooking mixture in the baking dish, and keep them warm.

In a small saucepan cook the flour in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat, whisking, for 3 minutes and whisk in the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking, simmer it for 1 minute, and stir it into the reserved cooking mixture, a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook the sauce over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is thickened. Return the stuffed shells to the baking dish and garnish them with the additional parsley. Serves 4-8.