Farmers’ markets are unpredictable. What’s being sold one week in abundance may not be sold at all the next week. Sometimes this is a seasonal shift, sometimes vendors just run out of produce early and sometimes, well, who knows? The size and shape of produce at farmers’ markets is also unpredictable and never as uniform as it is at grocery stores. Fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This unpredictability is what I love about farmers’ markets, but I wouldn’t be an honest Worker Bee if I didn’t admit it’s a little frustrating at times.
Like yesterday when I went to the farmers’ market set on buying a bundle of large kohlrabi that I intended to hollow out and stuff with ground buffalo. I wandered from stall to stall but kohlrabi was nowhere to be found. Some vendors had sold out already for the day (it was only 10 a.m.!) and others had sold out for the summer (it’s only July!) Finally, I spotted what looked like kohlrabi on a vendor’s table and raced towards it. What I found was indeed the knobby member of the turnip family I was looking for. But these were not the baseball-sized kohlrabi I remember my Dad digging out of our garden and eating like an apple. No, these were baby kohlrabi. After I peeled them, they would be no bigger than apricots. There was no way I could hollow out and stuff them with anything. The vendor shrugged. “It’s all we have,” she said.
Back in my kitchen, I got creative. While I’m sure the stuffed kohlrabi would’ve been good, the Kohlrabi Buffalo Wraps I came up with instead were so delicious I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch. The tomato paste and paprika are added in small amounts, but really intensify the flavor of the buffalo. The kohlrabi slaw is crisp and cool and the leaves can be wrapped around just about anything – as a variation, form the ground meat into patties and use the kohlrabi leaves as a hamburger “bun.” This is exactly the type of light but satisfying meal I love during the summer. So here’s to the unpredictability of farmers’ markets and the creativity they inspire in all of us.
Kohlrabi Buffalo Wraps
8 small kohlrabis (or 3-4 large ones)
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons unprocessed palm oil
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3/4 pound ground buffalo (or other ground meat)
3 tablespoons finely chopped dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the stems from the kohlrabi then pull the leaves off the stems and set them aside (throw out the actual stems). Put a pot of water on to boil – this will be used to blanch the leaves.
Using a paring knife, peel the kohlrabi then grate each one. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle over the grated kohlrabi.
Over medium heat, saute the onion in butter or olive oil until it is soft and just starting to brown.
Put the ground buffalo in a bowl and mix in dill, parsley, paprika and tomato paste. Add the buffalo to the onion, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Buffalo typically has less fat and doesn’t need to be cooked as long as other meats – if the inside of the meat is just slightly pink, it’s a good time to turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
By now, your pot of water should be boiling. Add the leaves and cook for three minutes, then drain and cool in a colander.
Serve the kohlrabi slaw, kohlrabi leaves and ground buffalo on separate plates and assemble the wraps as you eat them. To make a wrap, pile a spoonful of kohlrabi slaw and buffalo in the middle of a leaf, wrap the leaf around it like a bundle and just pop it in your mouth. Serves 2-3 people.