Call me unadventurous, but I’d have to be three Shiners in before I’d consider trying a calf fry. Same goes for liver and onions, or caviar, or sweetbreads. I guess I wouldn’t make a very good reality show contestant. But this week, staring me down in the kitchen like an ingredient ripped straight from the finals of Iron Chef, was something I’d never seen before. Emanating from all around its spherical base sprung short stems and bright green leaves. This small alien spaceship had landed on my counter, and it was on the menu for the evening. A few Googles later, I learned what it was and decided how to cook it. You see, one great thing about Texas is that the gardening season lasts year-round. We’ve got greens in the spring, peaches in summer, pumpkins in fall, and root veggies in the winter. When I picked up our first share of veggies and eggs from Johnson’s Backyard Garden in Austin, I was greeted with a box full of rainbow chard, parsley, lettuce, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes. . . and the aforementioned alien spaceship with leaves. Turns out, tiny extraterrestrial beings hadn’t infiltrated my CSA (community-supported agriculture) share; no, my local farmers had supplied me with kohlrabi, a member of the cabbage family. They can be eaten raw (they’re snappy, crunchy, and slightly sweet, almost a flavor cross of its namesakes, the cabbage and the turnip) or prepared any number of ways. We opted for roasting, which tends to bring out the natural sweetness in all vegetables. It’s also easy to do, quick to clean up, and perfect for leftovers. Roasted Kohlrabi and Friends* 2 medium kohlrabi, peeled 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled if desired 2 sweet potato, about 10 ounces, peeled 5-6 cloves garlic, left whole 3-4 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 400. After peeling the root vegetables, cut them all into like-sized pieces, a little less than one-inch cubed. (This ensures they will cook evenly.) Mix them together with the garlic on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix again to evenly distribute the oil, and place into the hot oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 20 minutes, then give the vegetables a good stir. Continue to bake until all vegetables are tender and slightly browned along the edges, about 20-30 minutes longer. Serve warm, preferably with a pot roast and beer bread. * We prepared this with sweet potatoes and carrots; you can add or substitute russet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, or brussels sprouts. Posted by Amber Byfield. Image: Flickr member TheBittenWord.
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