Not to point fingers or anything, but there are a lot of people who think Southern food is just about eating pig and frying things. Not that there is anything wrong with some pulled pork or an occasional piece of fried chicken, but I think that it’s the side dishes that make the Southern table different. And no matter what Food Network might be showing you, most Southerners do not just eat deep-fried macaroni & cheese for dinner. We are blessed with a very long growing season, so we have access to lots of great vegetables most of the year. Most Southern cooks know how to cook veggies – green beans, cream corn and squash casserole, etc. One vegetable dinner I make in the summer is a Southern summer vegetable succotash. It’s a great way to use up all those veggies in your CSA box this week.
If you subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) each summer, you know the secret thrill that comes from opening your box each week and seeing your farm fresh treasures. Unfortunately, there is often the “what tha’…” moment when you get a vegetable that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, let alone know how to cook. This week’s WTH vegetable was the kohlrabi. I’ve cooked kohlrabi before, mostly in a stir fries, but it’s not ever on my shopping list. I got a text from one of my friends who got the same thing in her box asking “how do I cook this?”. This became another CSA box challenge. I decided to do some research on how to use kohlrabi.
When I opened up my first CSA box* of the season last week, the first thing that I saw was a bundle of colorful Rainbow Chard sitting on top. Besides being so vibrantly beautiful, they were big. Big enough to use in a stuffed roll recipe. I often make a vegetarian Greek stuffed grape leaf, or dolmades, so I decided to adapt my dolmades recipe to make stuffed chard leaves.
With my chard as a starting point, I pulled fresh mint and oregano from my garden and then looked to my pantry for black rice (which, like wild rice, has a nice nutty flavor) and some Turkish red pepper flake, called Kirmizi Pul Biber, that my brother just gifted to me.