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I know I should eat more vegetables. I even like vegetables! But I get tired of plain ol’ veggies, and hate to take the time for anything fancy.
Monday evening, I was craving vegetable stew. There wasn’t much to choose from, though, so I basically cleaned out the refrigerator: a couple of small carrots, the tail end of a bunch of celery, one large parsnip – and four kohlrabis that had gotten pushed to the back of the shelf last summer (they were sprouting seed stalks but still tasted fine). I chopped everything up and put it in a pot with some frozen spinach and a little water. The only thing I left out was the three beets – I just wasn’t in the mood for a potful of red stew!
The cooking aroma was surprisingly good for such a random combination, and the concoction looked appetizing too. The problem was that the kolrabis softened up only enough to show that they were tough and spongy. I added a package of frozen peas and then, not to be stymied by a root vegetable, pureed the mixture. (For a heartier dish, I could have pureed some canned beans in with everything else.)
I stirred plain yogurt into that night’s serving, and enjoyed Cream of Refrigerator Soup. It looked something like split-pea soup, but none of the individual vegetables dominated the flavor (not even all those kohlrabis). Instead, everything had mellowed together, like a stew that’s been in the fridge overnight, with a tangy overtone contributed by the yogurt.
Yesterday, I put a spoonful of peanut butter into a pan, gradually stirred in some of the leftover vegetable puree, then reheated it slowly. That was really good, too, and appeared on the menu as African Refrigerator Stew.
I doubt that I will ever again have two carrots, a few stalks of celery, one parsnip, and four sprouting kohlrabis to deal with, but I will certainly remember this experience. What I learned is not a new recipe, but a simple new technique for getting more vegetables into my diet – dump whatever sounds good into the pot and then puree it!