Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi


This week’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery included two Kohlrabi bulbs.  I had no idea what to do with them as I have never cooked with Kohlrabi and don’t recall ever eating one.  I also had mounds of Kale from my Community Garden plot.  So what to do?  I entered Kohlrabi and Kale into my search engine and up popped a recipe that sounded perfect. I learned that both vegetables are from the same family (brassicas) so work nicely together.  I was sold.  So I tweaked the recipe a bit and tried it out on my family today.

Here are the ratings from my husband Patrick and son Calvin:

Calvin ***** (five peas)

Patrick: *** (three peas)

Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi


  • 1 1/4 pound kohlrabi, bulbs peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds kale (2 bunches), stems and center ribs discarded
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped


Slice kohlrabi into 1/2 inch slices.  Then slice each 1/2 slice into quarters.  Then slice in half each of these quarters.

Whisk together lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing.

Finely chop kale. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add Kohlrabi. Sauté for about 1 minute. Then add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in skillet reduces. When all of kale is slightly wilted, sauté with 1/2 teaspoon salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Add pistachios.

(I adapted this recipe from the September 2009 edition of Gourmet magazine.  The original recipe can be found at


Squash Struggles

Another big eggplant and tomato harvest.  So I looked for a recipe. I found what sounded like a very tasty dish. Trouble was, it called for squash and well, let’s just say I suck at squash.  Three years going and each year, I struggle.  The first year crop was wiped out by powdery mildew after producing two little yellow crook necks.  Figuring the shade was a contributing factor, I moved my planting the next year to big pots on my sunny patio.  I was thrilled when I got three really good sized zucchinis. Then the plants wilted and died. I learned that a squash borer got to them and learned more about the little pests than I cared to know.  I tried to cut them out and save the plants but no luck.  Not to mention I got totally grossed out by the sight of the borer grub photos as I was researching what to do.  I think this contributed to my less than aggressive search for them.

So this year we transformed Calvin’s no-longer-being-used sand box into a squash planter.  All was well.  That is, until the plants were over come by the dreaded powdery mildew. I continue to work hard to stave off defeat by spraying the leaves with an organic mixture of mainly soy bean oil and rosemary. It worked great last year but not so great this year.  I am thinking it is because the sand box plot is less sunny than the patio pot area. Anyway, not sure who will win, me or the powdery mildew. But for now, all I have is one small scallop squash trying to grow. (As back up, I got a big pot this past weekend and planted more squash in it and placed it on the patio).

At least I take solace in knowing that my community supported agriculture farmer is also struggling with squash and not getting the yields he had hoped to get. (He explained this sad fact in his recent e-mail to those of us who wait excitedly each week for our “share.”)  So even real farmers have  troubles too.

Oops.  I digressed.  Back to the recipe.  Okay, so I did not have squash and put the recipe away until either my crop or the farmer’s land produced.  But then low and behold, Patrick and Calvin came home from the community garden plot with two beautiful zucchinis!   Anne, a fellow plotter, gave them to the two while they were watering our plot.  Thank you, Anne!

So Patrick, Calvin and I each give this recipe five peas ••••• (our new rating system from 1-5.)  I gave it five peas despite the fact that I suffered a significant burn on my leg. The downside of a tiny kitchen is the lack of counter space, thus requiring use of a stepping stool to place the roaster full of vegetables that I had just pulled out of the oven. Well, I forgot it was there and backed into it.  Result: a burn with blisters.   No peas for that! Oh, well.

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables, Tomatoes, and Basil

Epicurious  | April 2000

Bon Appétit Outdoor Entertaining

yield: Makes 10 servings

Great served warm or at room temperature.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I substituted green and pale yellow bell peppers that came in my CSA delivery)
  • 1 1/2 medium eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 large yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I substituted the zucchini that was given to us by a fellow community garden plotter)
  • 2 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (I substituted more eggplant since that was what I had from my community garden plot)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (I used a bit more than the recipe calls for)
  • 1 1/2 pounds penne pasta
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 1/4 tablespoons dried
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar  (I used a bit more than the recipe calls for)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450° F. Spray large roasting pan with nonstick spray. Combine red bell peppers, eggplant, crookneck squash, and butternut squash in prepared pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, approximately 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain; reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid.

Combine pasta, roasted vegetables, tomatoes, and basil in large bowl. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and garlic. Toss to combine. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten, if desired. Mound pasta on platter. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature.

Read More

Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes, Oh, My!

A trip to the community garden this past weekend resulted in the harvesting of a few white eggplants called “ghostbusters,” a purple eggplant called “little fingers,” multiple beautiful banana peppers and a few tomatoes. Together with some garlic and onions from my last Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery and mixed herbs from my patio garden, all of these fresh out of the garden wonders were chopped up.  Then the peppers, onions and garlic were slowly sauteed with olive oil until tender, then combined with brown ground beef and slowly cooked for quite a spell. Salt and pepper made their grand entrance to the mix during the cooking process. Using my lovely Le Creuset french oven pot, the eggplant was then layered with the meat/pepper/onion/garlic mixture and put in the oven for more slow cooking. Result:  Poof! yummy creation.  Well, more like a drawn out “poooooooooof,” given the slow cooking process, but you get the point.

This Week's CSA Delivery

I am so totally loving this summer of harvesting and cooking. Now I just need to get moving to find new recipes because this week’s CSA delivery arrived last evening and my community garden plot and patio container garden are both on the verge of an eggplant, tomato and green bean explosion. Oh. my!

Double Header: Quinoa-Stuffed Red Cabbage Salad and Israeli Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Sugar Snaps

I was searching for a recipe for my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivered red cabbage and the red quinoa that I had in my cupboard. I came across a blog with an interesting-sounding recipe for Quinoa-Stuffed Red Cabbage Salad.  I decided to try it out and am very glad I did.  It was incredibly flavorful and went really well with a recipe for Israeli Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Sugar Snaps that I found in Bon Appetit.  The couscous was amazingly tasty and a perfect use for the couscous that had been in my cupboard and some fresh asparagus and frozen peas that had been unused from a previous meal.  So the double header, Quinoa and Couscous, was a bit hit.  (It’s baseball season so I could not resist a bit of baseball analogies.)

I made an adaption to the quinoa recipe.   Rather than goat cheese (I am not a fan), I used feta cheese.  Here is the recipe that I pulled from

Quinoa-Stuffed Red Cabbage Salad

1 head red cabbage

For the Stuffing:

1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup baby carrots, fine dice
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

For the Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2 tbsp shallots, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Crumbles to goat cheese to taste (about 1/4 cup) (optional)

If you’ve never rolled cabbage leaves, you should. They look great once cooked, makes for a nice presentation and teaches you patience! Yes, it’s a bit challenging, but also fun if you enjoy playing with food. So, here’s a major tip for those of you who will attempt this for the first time (it only takes one time and you’ll crack the rolled cabbage code too): Boil the cabbage whole and start peeling the leaves as they soften and become flexible enough to roll with no resistance. The core takes more boiling time. My suggestion is to submerge the entire head in simmering water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove the head from the water (keep water on heat), gently peel away as many softened leaves as you find. Once you notice resistance, return remainder back to simmering water and repeat process until you have enough leaves or you get bored, whichever comes first. Cut alongside the rib and each softened leave will yield at least two rolled pieces.
While the cabbage in under water, prepare the stuffing. Soak the quinoa grains for about 5 minutes, discard water then rinse under running water and let dry for a few minutes. Finely dice the carrots, mince the garlic and chop the parsley. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, adding fresh corn, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.To assemble, simply place about a tablespoon of the stuffing mixture in the middle of the leave androll parallel to the veins (important tip to eliminate resistance). No need to tuck in the ends. As you roll, line the bottom of a narrow deep pot with the rolls, tightly packed.
Once first layer is complete, start another placing the rolled cabbage perpendicularly to the previous layer(important tip to prevent the rolls from getting loose). Once all leaves are rolled, cover the rolls with just enough water to simply submerge the top layer, juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of salt. Cover pot, bring to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool to luke warm. Remove rolls and serve at room temperature with vinaigrette below.

Prepare the dressing by mincing shallots, soaking them in the vinegar for 10 minutes. Add mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk grapeseed oil in. Add minced parsley and goat cheese. Drizzle over the cabbage to your liking.

Israeli Couscous with Asparagus, Peas and Sugar Snaps

Israeli couscous is small, round, toasted pasta with grains about the size of peppercorns. Serve this dish chilled or at room temperature.

BY Jeanne Kelley
Bon Appetit: June 2010


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous (6 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup shelled fresh green peas or frozen, thawed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Test Kitchen Tip
To trim asparagus, hold onto the top of the stalk with one hand and bend the bottom of the stalk with your other hand. The stalk will snap, separating the woody end from the tender top.
Ingredient Tip
Some sugar snap peas have a tough string running along the top of the pod. To remove it, snap off the leaf end and pull the string.
  • Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, and lemon peel in small bowl; set dressing aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until most of couscous is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add 13/4 cups broth, increase heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if too dry.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, green peas, and remaining garlic clove. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.
  • Add couscous to bowl with vegetables. Drizzle dressing over. Add chives and cheese; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Cooking under a Cloud

It was a tough weekend. Recovering from a major sinus infection and, never having had one before, I waited until it was full blown before I went to the doctor. Now, how was I to know that the fact that I could not open my mouth very far, could not chew without pain and everything I ate tasted like rusty metal was a result of a sinus infection? I have never had one so how was I to know?

Further, if I ever thought of one, it was with the assumption that the pain was around the forehead and nose, not the jaw for goodness sakes. I am not big on going to the doctor and usually just brave things out and let my body deal with it. But the day before my scheduled departure for Iraq, colleagues pressed me to get it checked out rather than wait until I got to Iraq to see how things developed. So I called my doctor who graciously squeezed me in, diagnosed the infection and prescribed antibiotics as a necessity not an option (given my adversity to antibiotics except when absolutely critical). Consequently, my scheduled trip to Iraq was not to be. I was very bummed as I was really looking forward to going. But there will be another opportunity….

My energy levels were not optimal but I am not so great at taking it easy so I figured cooking would be a good thing to occupy myself with. I decided to make a balkan dish that my friend Teuta had made many times. So, I chopped up the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) onions and garlic.  I sauteed them with olive oil, pepper and salt. Then added the cubanelle peppers from my community garden plot, a yellow pepper I bought and some oregano, basil and marjoram from my backyard container garden.

Sauteed Onions, Peppers and Herbs

While that was going on, I blanched in boiling water for a few minutes the squash that came from the CSA.

So all seemed to be going well. Despite my illness and low energy levels, I was holding my own. Until I set the spatula on fire.  You know, I just don’t know what happened. I have set wooden spoons on fire before.  One burned right through so I had to toss it. But the spatula was metal. I guess I just had too much going on for my half functioning self. I admit that I did notice that flames were shooting out from the pot of water that I was boiling to blanch the squash. But I must also admit that I thought it was strange but my brain was not functioning at its full level so nothing registered on the first flame sighting. It was not until the smell factor kicked in.  Ahhh, then my brain got it because it had sight and smell to work with.  My really cool metal spatula had flames shooting off it and something was burning to a crisp. Apparently, the morning’s eggs (from the CSA) were still on the spatula and that and splattering oil from the meat was enough to start the little bon fire. After rescuing the stapula, I sadly looked at it and wondered whether all that charred mess would clean off.

Vowing to be more careful, I turned to draining the cooked ground beef. I lifted the heavy pot to drain the liquid into a container. Well, this did not go so well. Somehow a piece of very hot ground beef was released and landed on my exposed toe. I screamed. Shock more than pain. Then Gnogi the Corgi ate the evidence as it bounced off my toe. At this point, I wondered if maybe even cooking was a bit too much for me. But I was too far into the process to give up.  So I soldiered on. I combined the vegetable and meat, added some tomatoes that my friend Elizabeth and I had canned last Fall and cooked all that down.

The meat mixture was then layered with the sliced squash and everything went into a beautiful red Crueset pot that my husband and son graciously got for me for Christmas.  (I know because I made it abundantly clear that I wanted THAT pot for Christmas and nothing else could make me happier. Sad but true. A pot for Christmas was number one on my list. Who knew when I was younger that it would come to a stage where all I wanted for Christmas was a cooking pot. But anyone who knows about Crueset cookware knows that it isn’t just any “pot.”)

Balkan Dish

The Crueset then went into the oven and we had dinner. End of story. Oh, and I also managed to make a salad with lettuce from our patio and porch containers together with tomatoes from the community garden plot. All is well. No further fires or injuries. Now I look forward to the time when my jaw is pain free and the food I eat no longer tastes like rusty metal.

Homegrown Salad

First Tomato Harvest

Tomatoes, Cubanella Peppers and Basil

The first tomato harvest of the year! What a difference a little, well a lot, of sun makes. Growing tomatoes in my home garden has been tough because  my side yard gets limited sun and my patio container garden gets about half of a days worth of sun. My community garden plot, on the other hand, gets full sun all day. The difference in production is amazing. My tomatoes at home are growing slowly but still green. The tomatoes in the community garden plot are growing like crazy and turning red in half the time.  The cubanelle peppers could have grown a bit bigger but I could not wait (well, Calvin would not wait).  So we picked them. We also harvested more basil (there types as shown in the photo above) and created our second batch of pesto. (See earlier post for recipe.)

Can’t wait for the tomato production to get to the levels that I can start canning as we go rather than do the summer end canning with purchased tomatoes. My plan is to can only the community garden tomatoes and combine them with the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery. Maybe, just maybe, there will be enough tomatoes to make and can spaghetti sauce too!  Woo hoo! Well, I better not get ahead of myself…..

CSA Take Away: Red Kale, Napa Cabbage and Raddichio

My Red Kale: Ready to Rumble

This week’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery included Red Kale, Napa Cabbage and Radichio. Having no clue whatsoever on what to do with these greens, I searched around for some ideas. I found tasty recipes from epicurious. Here is how it went down with the Red Kale (stay tuned for the Napa Cabbage and Raddichio adventures):

Quick Sauteed Kale With Toasted Pine Nuts

Bon Appétit | January 2010

by Kate and Scott Fogarty
Don’t be concerned about the amount of kale called for in this recipe. The leaves will cook down considerably in the pan.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

4 bunches kale (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Fold each kale leaf lengthwise in half; cut stem away along crease. Tear leaves coarsely. DO AHEAD:Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Pack kale into resealable plastic bags and chill.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sautéuntil onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add half of kale, packing slightly. Cook until kale wilts, tossing often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining kale and half of pine nuts. Toss until kale is just tender and still bright green, about 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining toasted pine nuts and serve.

My Finished Creation: Incredibly Tasty!

Per serving: 152.9 kcal calories, 67.1% calories from fat, 11.4 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 11.7 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g dietary fiber, 1.9 g total sugars, 9.1 g net carbohydrates, 3.6 g protein
Nutritional analysis provided by Bon Appétit
Postscript (June 20, 2011)  I tried out the recipes I found for raddichio and napa cabbage.  Well, I got some mixed results. The raddichio recipe sounded good but was more suited for the red version that formed a head. My version was not red and was leafy. But I tried it anyway and the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil marinade and dollop of fresh ricotta was tasty. However, Calvin and I were not fans of the overall outcome, although Patrick liked it. Then I was going to try the napa cabbage recipe for a salad but I waited too long and the crunch factor was not high enough for a salad. So I defaulted to old fashioned steaming. Calvin LOVED it and used German honey mustard as a dip. He loved it so much he had seconds. (I love how he loves good healthy food.) So that was a major success, even if the fancy recipe plan was tossed.

Teuta’s Pots of Joy #1

Following up on my Community Supported Agriculture Delivery (CSA) from yesterday, today Teuta and I used the ingredients to create a magical dish.  The plan is that she will share her own creative recipes with me, using the produce from my CSA and gardens.  Today was the first lesson:  Spinach Pie.

Rule #1 (and the only rule actually):  Cook with Love (then add a bit of wine, music and candlelight as you are cooking).

Here is what we did:

Leek, Onion and Spinach Mixture

Leek, Onion and Spinach Pie

Prepare the leeks, beet tops and green onions (from my local CSA).  (With leeks, do not use entire green part but cut down to about a long spoon length.)

Prepare the spinach.

Put all ingredients in a pot and for a few minutes slowly cook with some Irish butter and olive oil

Add some salt

Add some sour cream or yogurt

Add feta cheese as desired

Mix 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup butter together to get ready for the pastry layer dough stage

Layer about half of the philo dough sheets, brushing butter/oil mixture on each sheet in between the layers.


Put the leek and spinach mixture on top of the last sheet.  Then layer the other half of the dough sheets, again brushing butter/oil mixture on each sheet in between the layers.

On the top, put some oil/butter on with a  brush.

Then brush one egg yolk on top.

Decorate with sesame seeds, if you have them and like them.

380 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, until golden brown.

Test with a knife to see if it comes out clean.  If so, you are done.

Covering with a Cloth

Sprinkle a bit of cold water on top and then cover with a clean dry cloth.

Wait 15 minutes.  Then cut it and poof!  Ready to eat.  Amazingly wonderful!

Enjoying the Pie and Working

First Community Supported Agriculture Delivery (CSA)! Woo hoo!

So, I have been wanting to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for the past few years but could not get my head wrapped around the concept and how to do it. My dear canning friend has been doing it for years and raved about it. (We have canned together the past two years.  Our first year was tomatoes and once we managed to survive a year on canned tomatoes without giving ourselves and family botulism. So we did tomatoes again this next year and got really wild: we canned applesauce too.  Gotta live life on the wild side, I say). Anyway, I digress. Back to CSA.

I researched it over the winter and found a farm in Maryland that was offering shares. I signed up figuring my own home harvest could use a boost. Of course that was before we got the Community Garden plot a few weeks back but now I figure that between my home, CSA and community garden plot vegetables, I will be the canning and freezing maven of Takoma Park, not to mention the creative cooking queen trying out innovative recipes to use whatever nature deems we are worthy of harvesting from my home and community garden plots/getting from the CSA that week.

What you ask is Community Supported Agriculture?   It is a way for us to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer in our area.  In short, the farmer offers “shares” to the community. The share is usually a box of vegetables and you pay a seasonal fee for the share and delivery. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box of produce each week throughout the farming season.

Today my first CSA share arrived. I had totally forgot it was coming. So much going on in my peace work and peas work, I am just resorting to taking things as they come and doing the best I can. Anyway, Patrick and Calvin had left the house to walk Calvin’s friend Lila back to her house after an afternoon and dinner playdate (and leaving me with playdate fallout: a house that now looks like a small army of children have laid waste to it). So when I heard a knock on the door, in my most frumpy men’s boxer shorts and way past its prime tank top self, I opened the door thinking it was my family. Instead, it was the CSA farmer. He caught me off guard and I was less than articulate in my conversation with him. So in addition to him probably thinking I have zero fashion sense, he probably thinks I am a woman of few words.

The farmer and I chatted as he glanced but did not comment on all my seedlings on the porch. He left and I eagerly looked at this week’s CSA bounty. It then became clear why my whimpy little seedlings did not so much as prompt a verbal comment from him. He delivered life size produce to me!  How did he do that??!!!  He lives in Maryland too. He had to have suffered from the very wet and cold Spring. But he delivered real life size vegetables. For a minute I got suspicious and wondered if he stopped at Whole Foods before he came by my house. Of course I quickly realized that was crazy talk and just my gardener envy that was coming out.

So, my first CSA bounty includes eggs, beets, leeks, asparagus, green onions and lettuce. Let the cooking begin!