Roasted Kohlrabi and Eggs with Mustard and Honey

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My husband Scott, knowing how much I love vegetables came home last night bearing the gift of kohlrabi, actually he brought kohlrabi, beets, carrots, lettuce and broccoli , what a nice guy!  The following morning, after I checked my emails  I googled kohlrabi in search of information and recipes.   I did find several intriguing recipes including one by Jeremy Fox of Ubuntu fame. I liked his recipe for kohlrabi that called for roasted eggs.  I’ve never roasted eggs in the oven and wanted to see them come out  as he described, with freckled  brown syrupy spots.  This is most definitely a slow food movement kind of recipe as the eggs are roasted in a 250° oven for 2 hours along with the kohrabi and then we get serious and turn the oven up to 375° and continue roasting it for an additional hour!  Wow, good day to catch up on stuff around the house!  The kohlrabi is also called a German turnip and is said to grow almost anywhere, I guess that means it’s grows like a weed.    It is the same species as a wild cabbage plant and it comes from the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussels sprouts.  In ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’, Mark Bittman writes that kohlrabi is in the cabbage family but that it should be treated like a turnip.  It should be peeled before it’s roasted unless you have managed to get your hands on some baby kohlrabi then peeling is optional.  The taste and texture are similar to a broccoli stem, but milder and sweeter.  It can also be eaten raw and is commonly eaten in Kashmir where they will eat it for lunch or dinner 3 to 4 times a week. I don’t want to seem ungrateful  but I only received 3 kohrabi bulbs, not even enough for one lunch in Kashmir.  Another ingredient in this recipe that caught my eye is the fresh sorrel, a perennial herb that is used a lot in soup and sauces but  can also be added to salads.  I don’t usually grow sorrel but this year I put a few plants in my herb garden.  I was thinking about making pesto but I’m happy to use it in this recipe and I probably will  have enough to make pesto.

Ingredients and Directions

4 eggs

1/4 cup olive oil

8 small green kohlrabi bulbs

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

4 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard

Sea salt

1/2 cup chopped fresh sorrel, plus several small leaves for garnish

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Put unpeeled eggs in a bowl of hot water.  Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil in an 8×8 pan, add the kohlrabi, turn to coat and cover with aluminum foil.

Remove the eggs from the water and set directly on the oven rack.  Put the pan with the kohlrabi on another rack and roast for 2 hours.  Eggs will be brown with dark brown freckles.  Remove the eggs, crack all over under running water, don’t peel and put in a bowl of cold water.  Turn the kohlrabi and  re-cover, increase the oven temperature to 375° and continue roasting until soft when pierced by a knife.  Remove foil and continue roasting the kohlrabi until browned, about 30 minutes longer.

In a small saucepan, heat the mustard seeds over medium high heat until they start to pop, 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water, bay leaves, vinegar and honey.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered until mustard seeds are tender, 15-20 minutes.   Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.

Peel and chop the eggs, mix with the sorrel in a medium size bowl.

While the  kohlrabi bulbs are still warm, cut in wedges.

Spoon the sorrel-egg mixture either on to 4 individual plates or a large platter.  Arrange the kohlrabi on top and drizzle with the honey mustard sauce.  Add a few sorrel leaves to the top.

Serves 4

Polenta Gratin with Provençal Vegetables

I spent most of the day trying to figure out my new camera and took a gazillion photos of this polenta gratin, of course most of them are not fit for prime time. I hope the photos I post here do it justice, because it is a wonderful vegetarian entrée, a hearty baked polenta gratin filled with melted Parmesan cheese and layered with scrumptious vegetables and herbs. So as a result of struggling with my camera I’m posting my meatless Monday dish just in time for farmers market Tuesday, so you can hopefully purchase some of the vegetables from your local farmers if you decide to try this delicious vegetarian dish this week.

Here’s is another of the best of my photographic attempts, sans fork! This is going to be a busy week and today is the only day I have to spend working on my blog, so here goes with the recipe, the dishes in the kitchen will have to wait. I used several sources to get ideas for this recipe and besides following the directions on the package to cook the polenta, I did my own thing with the selection of the vegetables, the cooking and the layering of them in the gratin. Random question, does anybody have a good recipe for kohlrabi? My husband, Scott just came home from Veritable Vegetable with a load of beautiful veggies including kohlrabi, hmm, what to do with this bulbous green veggie? First the recipe for my gratin.

Ingredients and Directions

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on baking dish
1 small head garlic, cut about 1/8 inch of the top off the head
1 red onion, chopped in medium pieces
2 zucchini, sliced in rounds
1 red bell pepper, medium size slices
1 green bell pepper, medium size slices
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
4 small tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 small bunch sweet basil, roughly chopped in small pieces
1 cup polenta
4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the oven to 450°F

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the red onion, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and the head of garlic on the baking sheets. Brush the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until soft and browned. Remove from the oven and cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and mix in with the vegetables.

    In a medium bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, sweet basil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

    Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and slowly whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often. Be careful not to burn yourself as the hot polenta has a tendency to jump out of the pan at the unsuspecting stirrer! Cook and stir until it thickens and is cooked through. Take a spoonful out and let cool before tasting, it should be done in 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

    Prepare a medium size baking dish by brushing it with a small amount of olive oil. Place all the roasted vegetables on the bottom of the dish, evenly distributing them. Cover the vegetables with half of the cooked polenta. Place all of the tomato mixture over the first layer of polenta. Pour the remaining polenta over the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of Parmesan cheese.

    Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for about 25 minutes. The gratin should be hot and the cheese on top melted. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

    Serves 6

    Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

    Rosemary olive oil crackers, what a fun recipe to make and serve with a salad or as part of a cheese course for a party. They are simple to make, the only thing you need to know is that the dough is fairly stiff to roll out but very forgiving, once you make your first batch of crackers you’ll be hooked! I like to eat them plain or with strawberry jam.

    I think it’s going to rain again this weekend. It’s good for the garden and we need the water but I think we’re all ready for some sunshine, what a change from last year when everything was so dry. I’m looking forward to taking a digital photography class tomorrow morning, I hope to improve my picture taking skills and especially to learn more about lighting for photography. If it doesn’t rain I may go to the farmers market and look for herbs!

    Ingredients and Directions
    adapted from ‘The Herb Farm Cookbook’ by Jerry Traunfeld

    2 cups European-style artisan flour from King Arthur Flour, or 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 1/2 cup rye, barley or white whole wheat flour
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling on top of crackers
    4 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup whole milk
    1/4 cup cold water, more if needed
    1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel, for sprinkling on top of crackers

    Preheat the oven to 425°F

    In a medium mixing bowl stir together the artisan flour or flours with the salt and rosemary.Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub the mixture together between your fingers breaking up any lumps until the mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal. Sir in the milk and the water to form a medium stiff dough, if it is too dry add more water a little bit at a time.

    Line a baking sheet( about 16×12) with parchment paper, remove the parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough into a rectangle the same size as the pan. Roll it up on the rolling pin and unroll it on the parchment. With a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dough into crackers, 6×4 grid for 24 crackers. Brush the tops of the crackers with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and the Fleur de sel. Place the parchment paper back into the baking sheet.

    Bake the crackers until they are browned around the edges and in spots through out the crackers. Slide the crackers on to a rack to cool. If the crackers in the middle of the pan are not done enough, return them to the oven for 3-4 more minutes. I brushed the tops with a little more olive oil while they were cooling. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Store for up to one week in an airtight container.

    Makes 24 crackers

    Sage and Goat Cheese Corn Bread

    I was checking on my herb garden when I saw the sage flowering and I knew it was the perfect time to try this corn bread recipe. Another excellent recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, ‘The Herbal Kitchen’ by Jerry Traunfeld. The sun came out this afternoon and I hope it’s here to stay for awhile, maybe for the rest of spring and summer, wouldn’t that be nice?

    I got lucky when I took this picture of the sage leaves on my deck, the sun just appeared for a few minutes before it went behind a cloud! It kind of reminded me that summer is right around the corner and I’m ready for it. Baking this sage and goat cheese cornbread made the house smell so good. I’m going to serve it for dinner tonight with a green salad with tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, shallots and a homemade vinaigrette with more fresh herbs. I want to do more savory baking and continue trying all the incredible recipes I’ve been collecting.

    Ingredients and Directions
    Preheat the oven to 375°F

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened for the pan
    18-20 large sage leaves
    3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
    1 cup all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons organic cane sugar
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 large eggs
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/4 cup olive oil
    4 ounces, 1 cup, crumbled goat cheese

    Smear the butter all over the inside of a 9-inch glass Pyrex pie plate. Press the sage leaves into the butter in a circular pattern, saving 8-9 for the sides.

    Stir in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together with a wire whisk in a medium size bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and olive oil in a second bowl. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until the lumps smooth out. Stir in the cheese.

    Carefully spoon the batter over the sage leaves in the pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the bread springs back in the middle when you press on it. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan. Carefully loosen the sides with a small knife, then flip the corn bread onto a serving plate with the sage leaves on top. Serve while warm to savor the warm goat cheese and sage leaves.

    Serves 8

    Green Bean, Basil and Radish Salad

    Why has everything gone wacko? Who knows? All I know is that after a couple of weeks of vacation followed by a baking spree that left the people around me rolling their eyes in disbelief and a weekend of wedding festivities topped off by eating a piece of red velvet wedding cake, I had a hankering for my old friends, healthy vegetables. I was so into my piece of wedding cake and I kept looking at my husband’s slice, then I started eying a tray of wedding cake slices on plates that was left on a table next to me and I seriously started thinking, how tacky is that to nab another slice of wedding cake, I mean how often do you even see red velvet cake and it was so good! Plus I did dance quite a bit and must have burned a few calories, yeah right. Anyway, I was left with that sensation of desire for more red velvet cake that I usually satisfy by making the darn thing and eating it! Only this time I’m really feeling the effects of all my indulgences in my enlarging waistline which I couldn’t believe the skirt I just bought 6 weeks ago was tight, yuck! So, it’s back to my good buddies in the vegetable section of my local market. I’m really lucky that I love vegetables because many people don’t like them, my friend Margaret who was told by her doctor to eat more veggies is struggling to eat salads. I don’t have that problem, I just really have a sweet tooth, as we say. I come from a long line of Danish butter loving people, that I really identify with, and for the next while I need to break with that tradition and try not to put sour cream on my beets and things like that. The other thing that’s gone wacko is I can’t get my camera to focus, go figure so I used my husband’s camera and I can’t get that to focus either, must be a problem that’s going around! So, I’m posting this recipe with the most focused photo of the bunch, I will persevere and get to the bottom of this focus problem, I think it’s called get new glasses!

    I’m going to try a few new recipes from ‘The Herbal Kitchen’ by Jerry Traunfeld, this is one of my favorite cookbooks that is of the healthier variety in my collection. I’m starting with this salad recipe and I’m sure they will get progressively less healthy as I go along.

    Ingredients and Directions

    6 servings, I ate almost the whole thing myself, do you think there’s a problem?

    1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
    2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    1 pound fresh green beans
    1 bunch radishes, cut into wedges, about 2 cups
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1/2 cup thin shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano

    Stir the shallots and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit for awhile to mellow the flavor of the shallots.

    Boil the beans in a large pot of salted water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Drain the beans and plunge in a bowl of ice water, drain again and dry off.

    Add the beans to the shallots and toss in the radishes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on a platter and top with the shaved cheese.

    Think red radishes and not red cake! Just be sure to use tender green beans and you will be happy with this combination of colorful vegetables. You can also try different herbs in place of the basil, like tarragon or dill. Goat cheese might be a nice switch from the Parmesan.

    Island Dream Bars

    These bars are plain looking and maybe with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and an orchid on the plate to dress them up they might look a little more tempting but one bite of the buttery cookie crust with a gooey rich topping full of macadamia nuts and coconut will convince you that these are heavenly island dream bars just the thing to bake at home after a memorable trip to Hawaii.

    While driving to Punalu’u Black Sand beach to see the green sea turtles we passed acres of macadamia nut trees, ML Macadamia Orchards, I think it’s interesting that macadamia nuts were introduced to Hawaii from Australia in 1882. I just assumed macadamia nuts were always in Hawaii. I love the sign we saw in one of the orchards that said, Macnuts, I wonder if MacDonald’s knows about that! Anyway I love macnuts and I like to buy them raw and unsalted. They contain palmitoleic acid, which may aid in fat metabolism and possibly reduce stored body fat. I hope that bit of info makes you feel better about trying this recipe. This time I’m going to give you the recipe first and show you the turtle later.

    Ingredients and Directions for Island Dream Bars
    adapted from King Arthur Flour ‘ All-Purpose Baking Cookbook’

    Cookie Layer

    1 stick unsalted butter
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt


    2 cups dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    2 large eggs, well beaten
    1 cup medium shredded unsweetened coconut
    1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
    1/2 lime, zested

    Preheat the oven to 300°F

    To make the cookie layer

    In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the flour and salt, the mixture will be crumbly. Pat the crumbs into a foil lined and greased 9×13 pan. Bake the cookie layer for 10 minutes, while you prepare the topping. Turn the oven up to 325°F.

    To make the topping

    In a medium size bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and baking powder. Stir in the eggs, mixing until smooth, then add the coconut, macadamia nuts and lime zest, mix until well combined. Transfer the topping mixture to the cookie crust in the pan and spread it out as evenly as possible. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if you like mix confectioners’ sugar with coconut flakes before sprinkling.
    Cool and remove from pan, using aluminum foil, before cutting into bars.

    Makes 2 dozen 2 & 1/2″ bars

    I just have to include the green sea turtle because he is so cute!

    Mini Mango Bread

    After spending the day hiking and exploring Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a few slices of mango bread in a day pack or back at the lodge with a cup of hot tea would have been a welcome treat! This recipe is adapted from ‘Baking’ by Dorie Greenspan, a cookbook that I would describe as a treasure trove of baking goodies. The recipe is easy to adapt, I added finely chopped crystallized ginger which I love in breads, scones, muffins or cookies. I also like the size of the mini breads, nice for sharing with tea. I loved hiking in the park and went a little crazy taking pictures of ferns in the rain forest, I could start a blog about ferns with all my photos!

    Okay, just one more!

    Descending through rain forest on the Kilauea Iki trail into the still steaming crater, back out and around the rim of the volcano was amazing, my husband Scott took this photo looking out onto the Kilauea crater.

    We also hiked out onto the lava flow which closed the Chain of Craters Road by the ocean and enjoyed incredible views of the windy coast and the cliffs.

    The haze in the air is from the volcanic gas, it looks like smog and is dangerous to breathe.

    I also saw a Nene bird, an endangered Hawaiian goose, and I think he saw me too!

    And for those of you who don’t have Dorie Greenspan’s masterpiece, ‘Baking’, I’ll share my adapted recipe for fresh mango bread.

    Ingredients and Directions for Mango Bread

    3 large eggs
    3/4 cup canola oil
    2 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
    2 cups diced mango, I used 2 large peeled and pitted mangoes
    Grated zest of 1/2 lime

    Preheat the oven to 350°F

    Butter and flour or spray mini bread pans, depending on the size, 6-8 little bread pans.

    Whisk the eggs and oil together.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
    Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together with a wooden spoon. The batter will be thick, more like dough than a batter. Not to worry, stir in the mango, crystallized ginger and zest. Divide the batter up between the mini pans and smooth out the tops with a spatula.

    Bake for 35-40 minutes, depending on size of mini pans. The loaves should be browned and a thin knife inserted should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before unmolding the loaves.

    Wrapped in plastic the bread should keep for about 4 days at room temperature.

    Serves 12-16