It's amazing just how many wonderful, unique vegetables there are in the world. Have you ever come across something a little strange looking and wondered what you can do with that? Maybe guest contributor Angela Freeman can be your guide.
"What is THAT?" you might wonder as you browse through the supermarket and come across a vegetable that looks like it came not from a delivery truck, but from a flying saucer. Rest assured, those weird veggies came from right here on planet earth, and can help you liven up your menu for the week. Here some suggestions for enjoying them.
1. 4 Things to do with Kohlrabi
Buzzfeed.com offers some helpful insights on weird veggies. It describes kohlrabi as having a "crunchy, starchy texture" and "a mild, slightly sweet cabbage-like flavor." Kohlrabi is at its best when the bulb is about two to three inches in diameter. Larger bulbs are generally tougher and not as tasty. Peel away the green exterior until you get to the white inside. Some things you can do with Kohlrabi are:
• Make slaw. The dressing will soften the veggie but not so much that you miss the crunch.
• Bake Kohlrabi fries for a delicious and healthy snack.
• Use it as spring roll filling
• Add it to a salad.
2. 5 Things to do with Garlic Scapes
These beautiful green strings are the above ground part of a garlic plant, and the taste mirrors that of their underground relative – only it's milder. With garlic scapes, you can:
• Add them to salad to give it a little punch of zest.
• Blanch them like you would do to green beans.
• Make pesto.
• Add to a stir-fry.
• Use the less flexible part of the garlic scapes as grilling skewers.
3. 3 Things to do with Celeriac
Also known as celery root, this strange-looking veggie has a milder taste than celery proper. How can you tell which celery roots to buy? Stick to ones that feel dense, since larger roots tend to have hollow middles. An online list of things to do with celery root gives the following suggestions for enjoying it:
• Use it in a winter salad.
• Make celery root chips.
• Use a bed of celery root purée as a bed for a fish fillet.
4. 3 Things to do with Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes are not artichokes from Jerusalem. They're actually from sunflowers. A sweet, crunchy, nutty flavor makes them scrumptious. Look for fresh, firm ones with pale brown skin and as few knobs as possible. You can cook them as you would potatoes. Try them:
• In a soup.
• Dipped in batter and fried.
5. 3 Things to do with Romanesco Cauliflower
This chartreuse-colored, fractal masterpiece of nature has a taste akin to that of cauliflower. Choose firm heads with no sunburn or discoloration. Latimes.com recommends steaming it and dressing it up with a vinaigrette, but additional ideas include:
• Blanch it, sauté it, and then add it to pasta.
• Roast it with olive oil and some flavorful spices.
• Mash it. Add milk and grated cheese (parmesan or Asiago) along with garlic and crushed red pepper.
6. 3 Things to do with Chayote
The pastel green "vegetable pear" known as Cho-cho fruit in the Carribean lends itself to both eccentricity and authenticity. When choosing the right Chayote vegetable, make sure that the body is firm but gives only slightly when pressed. Make sure the green is rich; it doesn't necessarily have to be deep in color.
A few things you can do to whet your island appetite include:
• Boil it, slice it, and serve it as a side dish with other unique vegetables
• Peel it, pan fry it in coconut oil, and serve with plantains (fried or baked)
• Peel it, boil it, mash it like a pumpking and serve along side a Bammy Patty and Jerked Chicken, all garnished with coconut oil
7. 3 Things to do with Kimchi
Kimchi is fermented cabbage from the Korean region. It has its own umami that gives it the versatility to jump from dish to dish. A few of the dishes include:
• Sautee it in walnut oil with other veggies, spice to taste, serve as a side dish
• Pan fry it, add noodles, serve with garnish
• Sauce pizza crust, add cheese, add Kimchi, bake and serve
Is the kitchen calling your name yet? With all the fun and adventurous cooking ahead of you, you should make sure that your homeowner’s insurance coverage will be there for you in case an accident like a fire happens and you need to replace your belongings.
The next time you visit the supermarket, don't be afraid of the odd-looking selections in the produce aisle. Your palate and your family will thank you for your shopping bravery and cooking know-how.