Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Kohlrabi and Kale, the K Vegetables

The boy got Scattergories for Christmas. It's a board game I used to play with my siblings all the time when we were kids. There is a list of items and a 20-sided die filled with the letters of the alphabet. Then, you roll the dice, it lands on a letter, and everyone has to think of a word for each list item that starts with that given letter. We've been playing it all week, and it's just as fun as I remembered it.

Well, the last few weeks of food in this house could easily fill up a list of words for vegetables that start with the letter K. The weekend before Christmas, my husband and I happened upon a lovely purple ornamental kale at the supermarket. It was bright and crisp and looking at it, I knew what I needed to do. I bought the kale and delightedly took it home to make some delicious, homemade lentil soup.

Lentil soup is one of my favorite things, especially with some french fried onions floating on the top and a handful of shredded cheese melting into the broth. Thus, while I was working my last day before my work winter break (which lasts from Christmas Eve to New Years Day), the husband took my recipe and made lentil soup with a bag of dried lentils and the purple kale. Or rather, he was supposed to make soup.

Having left the soup to boil down too long (the man is just not a soup fan), he created something slightly more dense than a stew, but it still tasted lovely. Thus, it went into a big Tupperware container and I served it to myself as gravy on my Christmas whipped potatoes, for the much needed protein I, as a veggie, don't get from the Christmas turkey (my family doesn't have Christmas ham, as my sister, having puked up ham with a case of childhood flu, refuses to eat most pork products).

Sorry I was too busy eating it to take a Lentil soup picture. Besides, it was so thick, it didn't really look like soup anyway.

Lentil Soup with Purple Kale
What you need:
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/4 c dried lentils
6 c worth of vegetable stock
1 T soy sauce
One bunch of purple kale, minus the stems, chopped

1. Stir fry the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for about 10 minutes in the bottom of a large pot.
2. Add the lentils, stock, and soy sauce to the pot and bring to boil. Then, cover and simmer for an hour or two.
3. When the lentils are thoroughly cooked, bring back to boil and add kale to pot. Let boil for several minutes until the kale is soft.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I just need some lentil soup. And really, it only gets cheerier with those flashes of purple. The lentil soup was pretty to look at, but it's also packed with flavor from the garlic, lentils, and stock. Of course, I,  being the lentil soup lover I am, knew it wouldn't disappoint.

The big shock of the pre-Christmas season was the Kohlrabi Risotto recipe the husband found on the New York Times website. The ten-year-old scarfed this stuff down, even after hearing the word "Kohlrabi," which is a miracle in itself. We subbed in apple cider vinegar for the wine and brown rice for the arborio, but stayed fairly faithful to the original recipe otherwise.

Kohlrabi is a rather mild root vegetable, with a slight tang to it that really contrasted nicely with the slightly sweet taste of the Parmesan cheese. It made for a complex meal that didn't feel overbearing. Both meals were a big success and left us with plenty of leftovers to skimp on meal-planning for the rest of their respective weeks (Kohlrabi, the week before Christmas and lentil soup, the week of). This left more time for such things as Scattergories and reading the new Russell Banks and George Saunders.

There were just no downsides, really.

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