I’m in a CSA, and that means I have no control over what vegetables come to my house every week. For some reason, perhaps climate and soil conditions, the farm likes to send us the weird little alien plant known as kohlrabi.
“Kohl-whatty?” You may ask. It’s OK, I’d never heard of the stuff until a couple of years ago, when I did a story on CSAs in j-school and asked someone what the most bizarre vegetable they’d received was. Then I joined one myself and had to figure out how to cook with the stuff.
Kohlrabi looks like a turnip mated with an oversize Brussels sprout and gave birth to an alien baby. It has a mild and sweet taste, with a texture similar to broccoli stems. The bulb is what you really want, but when you get it there will probably be long stems with leaves attached.
Once you get past being mildly intimidated by a strange-looking new vegetable, it’s time to figure out what exactly you can do with it. Our favorite unicorn Selena Macintosh suggested slicing it thin and storing in a sealed container with ice water until it gets really crisp, then serving it with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That sounds tasty, but I decided to be a little more complicated (and carb-loving) and bake some kohlrabi bread.
I took this recipe, which was made for bread machines, and used these instructions to convert it to the traditional method. After crossing my fingers that the yeast that had been in my fridge for who knows how long would stand up to the proofing process, not to mention a little of my own paranoia that it would never rise enough to make a decent bread, I got the loaf in the oven.
It turned out pretty decent. The thing I would change about how I did it is that I would make sure the kohlrabi was chopped up much finer. I used a pretty standard blender and it came out to little chunks, whereas a puree would probably lead to a smoother bread. Maybe if I bust out the hardcore Cuisinart it’ll work out better. Or maybe I’ll add a few drops of water to it so that it blends more efficiently. But, even with that, the taste was good. You could get the mild veggie flavor but it didn’t overpower the bread itself. There was enough flavor that you didn’t need to do much else to eat it. Maybe a little smear of butter or a dip in some olive oil, but you could easily eat this savory loaf by itself.
My only caveat: eat it within a few days of baking. I noticed it lost some freshness after awhile.