Yesterday was another gray and dreary Saturday. My husband had to work all weekend, so we had no outdoor play time on the agenda. With a million-and-one things to be done, I figured it would be a good opportunity to attend to some of those to-do’s still stubbornly lingering on my list. I really needed to tend to the veggies…those sadly neglected winter roots and greens cluttering up the countertop and causing chaos in the fridge. I got up early to keep the hubby company as he prepared for his workday Saturday and I was feeling a little badly about his working weekend predicament. We do look forward to our weekend wandering and it’s always a little disappointing when grown-up responsibilities interfere with outdoor adventure opportunities. But then again, he didn’t seem to mind, there was much to be done and I always find some sort of adventure in the kitchen.
First things first…I needed a plan. Even the most unexpected adventures always start out with some sort of plan. I needed a destination (where was I going with this?), I needed to find a route and map it out. I needed to inventory my gear. I haven’t been keeping up with my CSA box lately and with so many plastic produce bags stuffed in the drawers and crowding the shelves in the fridge, I didn’t even know what I had anymore. So the first order of business was to pull it all out, wash, sort and see what I had to work with. I ended up with quite an array. Turnips, rutabaga, onions and beets. Fennel, apples, oranges and leeks. Spinach, kohlrabi, thyme and savory. And several rather large radishes of two different varieties. The next order of business was to search for inspiration, decide on a destination and hopefully locate a useful recipe or two. Thank goodness for Pinterest, I thought…or maybe not. I am not the type of person who is quick to zero in on exactly what it is I am looking for in life. I love to ponder the possibilities, but too many choices will quickly overwhelm me. People such as myself, should not be granted entrance into the Land of Pins, for we have far too many interests. If you are at all like me, it’s best you steer clear of Pinterest!
Two hours later I found myself completely overwhelmed by the many possibilities and drowning in recipes (sometimes I think this might be how my husband feels mapping out potential adventure routes on the topo…oh, so many places to go!). I could make kohlrabi pancakes…with carrots or potatoes? Or maybe kohlrabi-cabbage slaw? Soup would be good for the turnips, but which…this one or that? Or maybe some soup with fennel and leeks instead. Or a fennel-apple salad perhaps? And what about the radishes? And the beets. Spinach, too. Oh dear. I fear I may not accomplish much in the kitchen today. I gave up on the recipes altogether and simply started chopping. The marvelous thing about root veggies is that they lend themselves so well to roasting. And having a big batch of roasted roots on hand is indeed a marvelous thing.
I chopped the large turnips, but reserved the smaller ones, still holding out hope that I would zero in on one of those soup recipes. I used the last of the small white potatoes, the scrawny sweet potato, the rutabagas, the onions and a few of the beets. I had a bag of organic heirloom baby carrots from the store, so I tossed those in, as well. Drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, tossed with a handful of fresh, aromatic herbs, they went into the oven at 325 degrees and emerged about 45 minutes later, perfectly roasted and absolutely delicious. Perhaps not the most adventurous choice, but sometimes the simplest choice is best.
I always love roasted roots and a big bowl of these with a little green salad on the side makes a perfectly satisfying meal for me. They are great to have in the fridge for snacking and packing a healthy lunch. They are a wonderful addition to any Abundance Bowl, salad or soup. I served them alongside some chicken and coconut-creamed kale for dinner that night and my hubby thought it was delicious! My produce bounty yielded a rather large pan of roasted vegetables, yet it hardly made a dent in my supply. Now what? That overwhelmed sensation slowly began to subside as I set my sights on one, single vegetable and calmly approached the recipe pile. Kohlrabi. Now where will this lead me?
Kohlrabi is a funny looking fellow, but he’s kinda sweet. He has a flavor and texture resembling that of a broccoli stem, though milder and sweeter. I have only used this interesting vegetable once before and I remember making some sort of fried fritter. I rustled up this recipe for kohlrabi-potato pancakes with a cashew cream. Perfect for using up the last baby golden potatoes and you know I love anything topped with cashew cream! I modified the recipe slightly, using an egg instead of the flax alternative. I flavored my cashew cream with fresh rosemary and thyme from my CSA supply. These pancakes were simple to make and tasted great for a light lunch yesterday, but the leftovers were even better for breakfast today.
I have plenty of Herbed Cashew Cream left over and it can be used in a number of ways. It is a tasty and healthy alternative to mayonnaise. It’s great for sandwiches, salads or a simple dip for crackers or veggie sticks. It is also a decadent addition to a creamy vegetable soup or stew. I was beginning to get into the swing of things, going with the flow and wondering where this adventure would take me next. I focused in on another vegetable with which to approach the recipe pile. This time it was the fennel. I found a recipe for a simple, yet flavorful soup using the leeks, the apples and a dollop of cashew cream, too.
At the end of that gray, moody day, I had a pile of dirty dishes you wouldn’t believe (I am still recovering from that). I still have a bunch of beets, some spinach, a few turnips and more kohlrabi. But I have a little more space in the fridge. I have some healthy food, I tried something new and I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure in the kitchen.
Sometimes the grandest adventures happen in your kitchen :)