We had kohlrabi last week; it came in the CSA share we've been getting from Henry's farm this summer. I was surprised at my husband's excitement when he saw the kohlrabi.
“This was one of mom's favorite vegetables,” he told me. “She used to grow this in the garden every summer.”
Once again I learned something new about my husband.
Now, kohlrabi isn't one of the vegetables I grew up with (corn, peas, green beans.) I didn't have a clue about what to do with it – good thing he knew!
Summer brings vegetables – whether they are from the garden, the produce department at the local grocer's or from the farmer's market, one has to do something with them, preferably something delicious.
To that end, I've been dipping into Alice Water's book The Art of Simple Food. The recipes are simple and delicious. Published by Clarkson Potter in 2007, this is more than a cookbook; it's a way of thinking about being in the kitchen as well as a collection of recipes. It is, as the cover tells us, “notes, lessons, and recipes from a delicious revolution.”
You can read about Alice Waters at the Chez Panisse website, and find out about how her landmark restaurant, with a network of over 60 local suppliers, makes the most and the best of in-season, locally grown produce while attracting a loyal, enthusiastic clientele.
Alice Waters has also been the driving force behind the “Edible Schoolyard” project – a garden and a kitchen project for schools that incorporates lessons into the work involved in feeding ourselves. This project has been criticized by some for seeking government funding. I'll leave the politics of the project to you to decide; the practical application of learning through life skills is one that's been proven to help children learn.
But back to the book – this book is fun, interesting, and practical. I'll be trying the marinated beet salad later today with fresh beets from our farm share last week, and I'll be sharing the 4-3-2-1-cake recipe with a granddaughter later this summer. Who knows what other recipes I'll be trying – the potato salad looks good, easy and quick to make.
I've sometimes heard of cooks who've cooked their way through a favorite cookbook. I don't know if I'll try every recipe in this book, but I know I'll be trying a lot of them.
What cookbooks do you enjoy most? What's your favorite summer recipe? Share your recommendations in the comments section!