Your Questions Answered: What Should I Make With Apricots?

I have this friend Angel. She really lives up to her name.  So when she came to me last week with a food dilemma, I knew I would have to help. Angel is the Curator of the Cohere coworking community here in Old Town, where I tap out these blogs each week in the company of very smart, very fun, very good looking people. Angel has purchased a fruit share from  Grant Family Farms for Cohere members to enjoy this summer.  While we’ve been enjoying the fruit grab and go style, Angel recently found herself with knee deep in an apricots. She came to me seeking assistance with a quite fantastic dilemma:

What do you do with pounds and pounds of apricots?

Well first up, let’s celebrate.  You are about to get to eat some really delicious stuff.  Sure, you can store them (and we’re going to get to that, but let’s talk dessert first) but Angel was specifically seeking  treat recipes.  So Angel, this is for you.  My two favorite apricot treats, both easy and delicious.

Apricot Crumble
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Fruit Base
1lb    Apricots
3T    Sugar
1T     Flour

Crisp Topping
4T      Butter, melted
6T      Turbinado or Regular Sugar
1/2c   Oats
1/2c   All-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2T      Sliced Almonds

Prepare fruit: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pull apart apricots at their seam, remove pits, and tear them one more time into quarters, placing them in a small baking dish (one that holds two to three cups is ideal). Stir in sugar, flour and pinch of nutmeg.

Make topping: Melt butter and stir in sugar, then oats, then flour, salt and almonds until large clumps form. Sprinkle mixture over the fruit. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes and serve warm.

I made this crumble as an afternoon treat for my fellow Coherians.  I served it with ice cream and a touch of the apricot lemon syrup recipe that follows.  I assure you, not a bite was left.  It only takes a few minutes to assemble, and will get rave reviews.

In addition to the crumble, I made a quick apricot lemon syrup.  I love fruit syrups and put them on ice cream, pancakes, pound cakes, or eat them directly out of the jar when no one is looking.  Fruit syrups are excellent for canning and make a great gift that looks like it took way more work than it actually did.

Apricot Lemon Syrup
1lb    Apricots, Pitted and diced finely
1c     Sugar
1/4c  Lemon Juice
2T    Butter

In a saucepan over high heat combine the Apricots, Lemon Juice and Sugar, stirring constantly.  Bring to a full boil.  Add sugar, and continue stirring to a rolling boiling.  Remove from heat and transfer to jars or serving container.

Serve sauce hot or cold, to your preference.

This recipe can be adapted to a variety of summer fruits (cherries, strawberries, plums, etc.).  The formula for success:

1lb Fruit : 1lb Sugar : 2 Tbsp Butter

If you would like to stock away some of those apricots for later, your choices include dehydrating, freezing, or canning.  To prepare apricots for storage you will need to pit, blanch and peel the apricots (find an explanation of blanching here).  Apricots need to be suspended in liquid for freezing or canning.  You can use water alone for freezing, but apricots fare better with sugar added.  Adding sugar is a necessity for canning apricots.

If you would like to learn more about canning, Kathy Hatfield (of Raspberry Hill Farm) will be doing 2 canning demonstrations in the store on August 14th and 28th from 1 to 4pm.

Do you have a great apricot recipe you would like to share?  Know of a good canning resource?  Share with us in the comments!

And don’t forget, this Saturday, July 31st, I will be at the Cupboard from 1 to 4pm, answering your veggie questions, offering delicious samples, and looking forward to meeting you. Please stop by!

Your Questions Answered: What Do I Do With Kohlrabi?

If I was giving out vegetable awards, I would for certain save my “Most likely to have come from the set of Star Trek” award for my friend, the kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi?  Stay with me.

About 2 weeks ago, my good friend Laura contacted me wondering what she should do with the “stinky purple tuber” she’d found in her share.  Never one to back away from an opportunity to assist others acclimate to new veggies, I obliged.  So here it is Laura, all about the kohlrabi, just for you.

Kohlrabi, the veggie, is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, though kohlrabi draws taste comparisons from a wide variety of vegetables, depending upon whom you ask.  I’ve heard the taste of kohlrabi compared to everything from broccoli stems to turnips to radishes to cabbage to apples.  Personally, I lthink kohlrabi tastes like a spicy broccoli stem, but that’s just my opinion.  Kohlrabi may be either purple or light green in color, and are most often found without leaves, though you may come across one with the leaves still attached.

So what are you supposed to do with this thing?

Let’s start with the leaves.  If you were fortunate enough to find one with the leaves still attached, don’t throw them away!  Kohlrabi leaves are edible, even raw, and are quite tasty.  I prefer to boil the leaves for a few (3) minutes and toss them with sesame oil or butter and Parmesan.  Kohlrabi leaves are similar to cabbage in texture and flavor, though I think they have a bit more spice to them than cabbage.  Many kohlrabi soup recipes utilize both the bulb and the leaves as well.

The first step in enjoying a kohlrabi bulb is to trim the outer skin from the bulb.  Small, young kohlrabi will have a more tender outer layer, which is edible, if you find that to your liking.  On more mature kohlrabi, you will need to remove the outer layer, an exercise is patience and paring skills. Once the skin is removed the entire bulb is edible, and you won’t find any hard core (though I’m still waiting to find one, it just seems like there should be a core). Depending on the recipe, I find kohlrabi and ideal food to pull out my mandolin slicer for, as it’s consistency and structure are similar to a potato and a mandolin will make quick work of a kohlrabi, particularly for slices or strands.

Kohlrabi is great raw or cooked and can be boiled, baked, or steamed, though it seems that boiling is the most preferred method.   Once cooked, try mashing with butter and salt or a little olive oil and Parmesan.

I prefer to eat kohlrabi raw, and love it added into salads, with dip or hummus, or in a slaw.  I like to pair raw kohlrabi with carrots, celery, broccoli, cabbage, or apples. My favorite being apples.  The only reason I skipped them this time around is that apples aren’t in season locally, and we You’ll find below a great quick salad I made this week utilizing a few kohlrabi and the great carrots included in our share.  I think it is a great side dish for a bbq or potluck, though with our heat wave still continuing, I’ve been enjoying it as a main course, as I am still avoiding the stove at all costs.

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad
2 Medium Kohlrabi, Peeled and Cubed
2 Cups Carrots, Sliced
1/2 cup Raisins
2 T. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. Lemon Juice
Dash olive oil
Dash salt
Honey to Taste

Mix the kohlrabi, carrots and raisins in a serving bowl.

Mix all remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour over kohlrabi, carrot and raisin mixture.

Serve cold.

I prefer to give this recipe to let the vinaigrette soak in and work it’s magic, though it can be eaten right away if you’re pinched for time.

A final note:  If you are curious about kohlrabi, but have never tried it, please stop by on Saturday from 1 to 4pm.  I’ll be offering tips and tricks and answering any veggie questions you may have. Plus, I’ll be sure to bring some extra kohlrabi for sampling!

Do you have any great kohlrabi recipes?  I’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments below!

We’ve Got The Beet: Beet Cooking Tips and a Great Beet Salad

I have this fantasy that one day I will build my dream kitchen.  Part of that dream kitchen includes my own personal veggie bar filled with delicious veggies at the ready for salads, stir frys, omelettes, and more.  It’s going to be a thing of beauty, I tell you, and will certainly bring me an abundance of friends, friends who can’t wait to eat at Sarah Jane’s veggie palace.

Until that happens, I’m settling for the next best thing.  On any given day, my fridge is stocked with a wide assortment of Pyrex, each holding a different fruit or veggie, each washed, trimmed, and cut; ready to be tossed into salads or recipes at a moment’s notice.

The method of cleaning and trimming my veggies the day my CSA share arrives each week has been a part of my routine for a while now.  Having things at the ready not only saves time, it’s saved my sanity, and empowered me to waste very very little of my share.  I’m extra excited to see this week’s share, especially our first beets, cucumbers, and radishes for the season.  I can’t wait to put them in their little containers and see what amazing recipes they find their way into!

Our share for this week includes:

Beets, Red and Golden
Carrots
Cucumber
Blue Kale
Lettuce
Onion
Radishes
Chives
Mint
Italian parsley

Beets were never really a part of the menu when I was growing up, so getting beets was super intimidating at first.  In fact, I would say my two largest stumbling blocks to transitioning to local eating were beets and kale. This is sweetly ironic, as I consider both favorite foods now.

Quick beet cooking and eating facts:

  • Beets can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Beet greens are edible, raw or cooked.
  • Beets can be boiled, steamed, or baked.
  • Beet skin is edible, but most people prefer to remove the skin before eating.

If you are new to handling beets, a word of warning:  Beet juice is a vibrant red, a vibrant red that stains.  Take it from me, and my experiences with stained fingers, wood cutting boards, and red spotted t-shirts (Boiling beets?  Be sure to use a deep pot), taking some extra care as to how you handle beets is a good idea. I would take care with beets, avoiding porous or white surfaces and would not handle beets while wearing white.

Beets offer more than the bulb to enjoy.  Beet greens have a slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor to them and are great included in salads raw, steamed, boiled or cooked in a saute´.  With heartier beet greens, be sure to give the stalks extra cooking time, much like you would with chard, or you will be chewing quite feverishly to get them down.

Kathy, of Raspberry Hill Farm, included a great recipe with our share this week for beet salad.  She offers it her highest endorsement, and I trust any recipe she endorses.

Jeweled Beet Salad

This is a beautiful, slightly crunchy salad, somewhat like a beet slaw.

Serves 6.

4 medium-size beets with greens, preferably 2 red and 2 golden
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2 T chopped fresh chives
2 T chopped fresh mint
1 T fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Separate the beet greens from the roots. Chop the stems into ¼-inch pieces and the
leaves into ¼-inch ribbons. Peel the roots and grate with a grater or food processor.
Combine the greens and grated roots in a steamer and steam over boiling water for
about 5 minutes, until tender. Immediately plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.

Drain well.

Whisk together the vinegar, chives, mint, and orange juice in a medium bowl. Whisk in
the oil until it is fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens and
beets and toss to mix. Taste again and add more salt and pepper or vinegar if desired.

Crumble three quarters of the cheese over the salad and toss to mix. Garnish with the
remaining cheese and serve.

I’d love to hear your beet recipes and tips! Please leave a comment!

We’ve Got The Beet: Beet Cooking Tips and a Great Beet Salad

I have this fantasy that one day I will build my dream kitchen.  Part of that dream kitchen includes my own personal veggie bar filled with delicious veggies at the ready for salads, stir frys, omelettes, and more.  It’s going to be a thing of beauty, I tell you, and will certainly bring me an abundance of friends, friends who can’t wait to eat at Sarah Jane’s veggie palace.

Until that happens, I’m settling for the next best thing.  On any given day, my fridge is stocked with a wide assortment of Pyrex, each holding a different fruit or veggie, each washed, trimmed, and cut; ready to be tossed into salads or recipes at a moment’s notice.

The method of cleaning and trimming my veggies the day my CSA share arrives each week has been a part of my routine for a while now.  Having things at the ready not only saves time, it’s saved my sanity, and empowered me to waste very very little of my share.  I’m extra excited to see this week’s share, especially our first beets, cucumbers, and radishes for the season.  I can’t wait to put them in their little containers and see what amazing recipes they find their way into!

Our share for this week includes:

Beets, Red and Golden
Carrots
Cucumber
Blue Kale
Lettuce
Onion
Radishes
Chives
Mint
Italian parsley

Beets were never really a part of the menu when I was growing up, so getting beets was super intimidating at first.  In fact, I would say my two largest stumbling blocks to transitioning to local eating were beets and kale. This is sweetly ironic, as I consider both favorite foods now.

Quick beet cooking and eating facts:

  • Beets can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Beet greens are edible, raw or cooked.
  • Beets can be boiled, steamed, or baked.
  • Beet skin is edible, but most people prefer to remove the skin before eating.

If you are new to handling beets, a word of warning:  Beet juice is a vibrant red, a vibrant red that stains.  Take it from me, and my experiences with stained fingers, wood cutting boards, and red spotted t-shirts (Boiling beets?  Be sure to use a deep pot), taking some extra care as to how you handle beets is a good idea. I would take care with beets, avoiding porous or white surfaces and would not handle beets while wearing white.

Beets offer more than the bulb to enjoy.  Beet greens have a slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor to them and are great included in salads raw, steamed, boiled or cooked in a saute´.  With heartier beet greens, be sure to give the stalks extra cooking time, much like you would with chard, or you will be chewing quite feverishly to get them down.

Kathy, of Raspberry Hill Farm, included a great recipe with our share this week for beet salad.  She offers it her highest endorsement, and I trust any recipe she endorses.

Jeweled Beet Salad

This is a beautiful, slightly crunchy salad, somewhat like a beet slaw.

Serves 6.

4 medium-size beets with greens, preferably 2 red and 2 golden
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2 T chopped fresh chives
2 T chopped fresh mint
1 T fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Separate the beet greens from the roots. Chop the stems into ¼-inch pieces and the
leaves into ¼-inch ribbons. Peel the roots and grate with a grater or food processor.
Combine the greens and grated roots in a steamer and steam over boiling water for
about 5 minutes, until tender. Immediately plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.

Drain well.

Whisk together the vinegar, chives, mint, and orange juice in a medium bowl. Whisk in
the oil until it is fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens and
beets and toss to mix. Taste again and add more salt and pepper or vinegar if desired.

Crumble three quarters of the cheese over the salad and toss to mix. Garnish with the
remaining cheese and serve.

I’d love to hear your beet recipes and tips! Please leave a comment!

Raspberry Hill Farms Share From July 22nd

CSA share from Raspberry Hill Farm including radishes, lettuce, carrots, onions, cucumber, chives, mint, parsley, and kale.