The element of surprise is one of the pleasures of being a CSA member. You never know what vegetables will be in the share from week to week.
So when chefs Michael Karkut and Derek Lathan of Graze restaurant took the challenge of cooking with a box of produce from Rosebank Farms, they found at least one ingredient they rarely encounter: kohlrabi.
It’s a mild member of the turnip family and a “vessel for other flavors,” Karkut says. So the Graze team harnessed the vegetable for an Apple and Kohlrabi Soup.
“It’s almost like a potato soup,” Karkut explains. “It was fun to get it ... (and) something interesting for people to play with.”
Karkut and Lathan are partners with house manager Bradford Bobbitt in the two-year-old restaurant, located in the same shopping center as Whole Foods. Karkut is from New Jersey and trained at Johnson & Wales University; Lathan is a Charleston native whose experience includes four years at The Trellis in Williamsburg, Va.
Their CSA box also included some summer-to-fall transitional veggies, such as cucumbers, zucchini, pole beans and plum tomatoes, which they turned into a interesting assortment of dishes.
Apple and Kohlrabi Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sweet apples, peeled and chopped
1 pound kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped
21/2 cups vegetable stock
21/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
Toasted pistachios for garnish
Melt butter in a large pan with a lid. Add onions and apples and cook gently until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook 2 minutes.
Add vegetable stock, milk and bay leaf to pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes or until kohlrabi is tender. Let cool a few minutes and remove bay leaf.
Puree soup until smooth. You may want to strain the soup through a fine sieve if the kohlrabi is especially fibrous. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with toasted pistachios.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon orange zest
Whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well-blended. Stir in oil, vanilla extract, zucchini, pecans, chocolate chips and orange zest. Stir in sifted ingredients. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove loaves from pans and cool. Chill before slicing. Serve with whipped cream.
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons red pepper powder
2 chopped scallions
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Peel cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut into ¼-inch slices. Add minced garlic, red pepper powder, chopped scallions, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and mix together. Season to taste. Refrigerate to chill before serving.
½ pound tasso ham, diced
2 small onions, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
8 bell peppers, diced
2½ cups dark roux (recipe follows)
2 gallons shrimp stock (recipe follows)
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 pound okra, sliced
½ pound pole beans, cut into desired length
Salt and cayenne pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled (heads and shells reserved)
A pinch of gumbo filé powder, or to taste
Cooked rice for serving
Garnishes (optional): fried okra and sauteed shrimp
Saute diced tasso ham. Render fat. Add diced onions, celery and bell peppers. Cook until soft. Add dark roux and warm. Add cold shrimp stock, diced tomatoes and okra and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Add pole beans and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Season with Tabasco and gumbo file powder just before serving. Serve over rice with fried okra and sauteed shrimp.
3 bell peppers
4 roma tomatoes
1 bunch celery
2 large carrots
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
5 cloves garlic
2 pounds shrimp heads and shells
2 gallons water
Chop all vegetables. Add all ingredients to stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain. Refrigerate until ready to use.
1 pound butter
3 to 4 cups flour
Combine butter and flour in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until dark brown or the color of chocolate. Do not let the roux burn.