I have made it my mission to cook as many healthy, locally sourced and seasonal recipes as possible this summer. Not just because it’s summer and I have to be seen in a bathing suit in a week (eek!), but mostly because when I eat well, I feel well, and that is really the most important thing to me when it comes to my
diet eating habits. I hate using the word diet because I really don’t believe in them. I feel that by restricting the foods I eat I often crave them more, leading to binge eating which is never, ever a good look. I am quite petite, so I do have to eat less than other non-vertically challenged people, but watching what I eat is far different from restricting what I eat. As you can see on this here blog, I do have a pretty strong sweet tooth, which I used to always try to deny. But I found when I didn’t have that cookie, I’d wind up eating 10 later in the week, and that just wasn’t working. When I allow myself to eat smaller portions of things I like, and truly enjoy them without feeling the guilt, then the cravings disappear and it turns into a lifestyle of conscience eating, rather than endless weeks of diets that fall short.
While I will indulge in moderation, I do try to stay healthy in most of the meals I eat. In my opinion, Michael Pollan, a man described as a “foodie intellectual” (my kind of person!) really hit it on the head when he wrote “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan defines food as not the type of junk food that’s packaged and filled with chemicals and preservatives (what he describes as “Edible Food Substances”) but the real, well-grown, unprocessed food that is nutritionally sound and satisfying to our bodies. Of course it can be hard to avoid these “edible food substances” and I will have a hard time not reaching out for that handlful of potato chips every now and again, but as long as the majority of my meals are based on eating “real” food, mostly plants and in moderation, it’s amazing how much better I feel.
To help me in my summer mission of eating healthy, I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm-share with my co-worker, splitting the fresh, locally sourced bounty each week. We’ve gotten pounds of beautiful vegetables: broccoli, radishes, summer squash, fennel and more greens than I know what to do with. Because my refrigerator is constantly overflowing with leafy greens, begging to be turned into something healthy and delicious, I can’t help but want to spend more time in the kitchen rather than hit the button on my computer and order from Seamless.
One of the most awesome benefits of joining a CSA is the introduction to new delicious vegetables I’ve never even heard of, leading to endless possibilities of creativity in the kitchen. This weeks share included this alien-like vegetable called Kohlrabi, a vegetable popular in Germany that is sort of a cabbage/turnip cross-breed. It has the same consistency of a turnip, that is slightly sweet/spicy, giving these fritters a lovely flavor. Kohlrabi leaves are also edible and can be substituted in chard or kale recipes. I am totally onboard with the kohlrabi and excited for future bounties of this delicious vegetable. When vegetables taste this good, it makes it so easy to eat healthy.
Kohlrabi and Summer Squash Fritters with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
Adapted from Blooming Glen Farm
For the yogurt-dill sauce
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain greek yogurt, like Fage
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
For the fritters
- 1 bulb kohlrabi, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 medium summer squashes (zucchini, yellow squash, or a mixture of both), roughly chopped
- 2 spring onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the yogurt-dill sauce: Add the yogurt, lemon juice and dill to a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
For the fritters: Add the kohlrabi pieces, summer squash, spring onion and thyme to the bowl of an electric food processor. Pulse until vegetables are finely chopped, about 1 minute. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the vegetables until they are roughly grated). After either method, add the shredded vegetables to a medium bowl and toss with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
After the vegetables have been sitting for 10 minutes, press the shredded vegetables into a colander to release excess moisture Or, if you have cheese cloth, wrap the vegetable mixture in a cheese cloth and squeeze to release as much moisture as possible. This will help the fritters keep their shape and avoid sogginess.
Add the grated vegetables back into a medium bowl, and mix in the egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Form the mixture into balls, about 2 inches in diameter, squeezing out liquid as you form (the more liquid the less likely the fritters will stay together in the pan). Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat until quite hot. Add the balls into the plan, and press them down with a spatula. Cook for 3-4 minutes on either side until golden brown.
After both sides are browned, stack them on a plate and dollop with the yogurt-dill sauce.
Fritters are best eaten immediately.