Kohlrabi and Zucchini in Cabbage Leaves

Sauteed Kohlrabi and ZucchiniOne of my favorite parts of belonging to a CSA is the unknown – what will be in the box? How will I use it? My goal, of course is to ensure everything gets eaten during the course of the week – which forces a certain creativity on the last meal or two.

I served this vegetable dish as a main course for two, though you can easily scale, or even modify the ingredients. Remember to peel the kohlrabi well – you want to eliminate both the skin and the stringy layer underneath.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchinis, diced into 1″ cubes
a handful of snap peas, remove strings and blossoms
4 medium kohlrabi, peeled and diced  into 1″ cubes
stem of a summer onion, diced
large cabbage leaves
a handful of croutons per person *
2tbsp. butter
2tbsp. heavy cream
several drops of lemon juice
kosher salt to taste (I find the shape and size of the flakes important)
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
leaves from two sprigs thyme (fresh herbs are critical to the overall flavor, I suspect marjoram or savory would be excellent substitutions)
bowl of ice water

Directions

Prepare your ingredients.

Ingedients

(This can be done anytime during the cooking.) Bring a pot of water boil that will fit the cabbage leaves.  Cook each leaf for several minutes in the boiling water until soft, but still capable of holding its shape. Remove from water and stop the cooking by submerging in cold water. Place a cabbage leaf in the bottom of each bowl or on each plate.

Cabbage Leaf Cooking

Meanwhile heat a large saute pan (or cast-iron skillet) over medium** heat for several minutes.  Melt the butter in the pan, waiting until the foaming starts to subside. Add red pepper flakes and onions. Cook until the onions start to soften – a couple of minutes.

Add the kohlrabi pieces. Stir to coat with butter. Salt the kohlrabi. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the zucchini.  Salt again. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened.

Cooking

Add the pea pods and thyme, cooking for a couple more minutes until the snap peas are bright green and the aroma thyme fills the air.

Add the croutons to the pan, stir to mix and then spoon the mixture into the cabbage leaves on the plate.

Put cream in a small bowl, add several drops of lemon juice and whisk immediately. Dollop generously onto food and enjoy!

* Croutons can be made easily by tossing cubes of breads with butter and then cooking in the oven on low (200°F or lower) until done.  I normally use left over heels or slightly stale ends.

** Medium heat is not always the middle of your dial.  I roughly define this temperature as the correct temperature for frying an egg, such that it does not run excessively and only crisps the edges. If the vegetables are browning early in the cooking you are using too high of heat. If you can’t hear a constant sizzle, your heat is probably too low.

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Zucchini and Garlic Sauce for Pasta

Zucchini has arrived at the market. Here’s an extremely quick dinner for you.

For 4

olive oil
dried red pepper flakes
2 zucchini
3 garlic cloves
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp. salt
herbs (I used one stem of oregano and one stem of mint.)
pepper

  1. Rinse and slice zucchini into about a 1/2 inch dice. Slice garlic.
  2. Heat a pan over medium-low. Drizzle in olive oil.
  3. Saute zucchini until brown, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and a sprinkle of red pepper. Cook for 4 minutes more.
  5. Add stock and and deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over fresh pasta with Parmesan.

Zucchini Bread – Two Ways

chocolate zucchini bread and regularWe didn’t want to appear to be novice gardeners. Even though this was our first year for a real garden, we knew enough to try to avoid the onslaught of a vigorous zucchini harvest. And so, in our wisdom, we decided to only plant two zucchini plants. Little did we know that even that would produce way more zucchini than two people could eat.  And thus, I found myself one Saturday morning, facing off against this giant veg.  My task: eliminate the zucchini. Both of these recipes are a little different than traditional zucchini bread and can be easily scaled up if you’re going to wage your own war against this prolific squash.

Chocolate Hazelnut Zucchini Bread

This recipe produces a moist chocolate loaf. Serve with fromage blanc or just plain.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbls. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
7 tbls. cocoa powder
2 cups AP flour + 2 tbls.
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups prepared zucchini
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Prepare the zucchini: Cut off the top and bottom. Decide if you are going to peel your zucchini. If you have a larger, tougher squash, you will want to peel it. I prefer to do so, as it makes the bread lighter and less vegetal. If a strong zucchini taste is what you want, then don’t peel. Grate your zucchini on the large side of a box grater. Place it in a colander and place this over a large bowl. Weight your zucchini down, so that it will begin to drain. (A glass bowl works well.) Let drain for 30 minutes to an hour.

  1. With a mixer, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce together. In a small bowl, mix butter, vanilla, and cocoa. Whisk this into the egg mixture.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the zucchini.
  4. Toss the extra 2 tbls. of flour with the mini chips and nuts. Add to mixture.
  5. Fill two greased and floured loaf pans half full. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes. (Test with toothpick – if your zucchini was really wet, you may need some more time.)

Zucchini Bread

If you peel the zucchini, this bread could almost pass for a lighter type of pound cake. It goes well with jam or under mixed berries.

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbls. lemon juice (optional)
6 tbls. butter, melted and cooled
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 – 2 1/2 c. prepared zucchini

Follow the above directions for preparing the zucchini and assembling the bread. Bake at 375F for 60 minutes.

Zucchini Frittata

Got eggs? Got zucchini? You’ve got dinner! Adapted from Gourmet’s yellow cookbook.

zucchini, about 1 pound, grated
1 tbls. olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
herb of choice (oregano, thyme), about 2 tsp. chopped
3/4 tsp. salt (divided)
1/2 tsp. pepper (divided)
6-7 eggs*
1/2 cup milk*
1 cup ricotta (homemade!) or fromage blanc

  1. Whisk together eggs, milk, ricotta, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (I use cast iron.) Add the zucchini and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until it just begins to become golden. Add the herbs, remaining seasons, and garlic. Cook for one minute. 
  3. Pour egg mixture over zucchini mixture, pouring from the outer edge into the center (almost in a spiral.) Lift up the edges off the cooked egg and swirl pan to let the uncooked egg trickle under. Cook on the burner for a total of about 3-5 minutes. (It will still be wet on top.)
  4. Pop it under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Serve warm or cold, picnic style.

*(For two people, adapt the recipe by using about 4-5 eggs and 1/4 milk. Use a smaller pan, if you want a frittata with some depth. This recipe is pretty forgiving, so experiment!)

A Simple Trick for Delicious Zucchini

At this time of year, you might just be tempted to scream, “Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini! Too much zucchini!!” Here’s a very simple trick that I learned from experiments in pizza-making. To make zucchini disappear quickly, try:

Garlic Oil
2-3 cloves garlic
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Slice the garlic. Add to a small skillet with oil and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low until the garlic just begins to brown. (If you allow it to brown, it will have an entirely different flavor, and you don’t want this.) Pull the oil off the burner and cool briefly.

Wash the zucchini. Chop off the ends. (If it’s prickly, peel partially with a potato peeler.) With a sharp knife, slice lengthwise into thin planks. Brush on both sides with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, on both sides, until tender.

That’s it! It’s so simple but makes for irresistable zucchini. Try this oil on any other vegetable that you want to grill.