For the past couple of weeks I’ve been hearing from so many loved ones on the mainland about the snow. The enchantment of the first soft snowfall. It called to my memory the quiet hush that descends during and after a snow. I remembered the magic of awakening the morning after a fall that came silently in the night. I could see in my mind’s eye the blue sky with the colorful and grateful songs birds flocking to my feeder outside the kitchen window. I recalled the sense of a spacious day when school was cancelled or I could be late for work because of the snow. I could almost feel in my body the freedom and joy I experienced skiing down a mountain in fresh fluffy powder. I could smell the evergreens and taste the creamy hot chocolate. And I became wildly nostalgic and, yes, even jealous.
Then we got some of our unspeakably charmed Kauai December weather. The brilliantly clear night skies that go on forever. Stars too numerous to even fathom. Nights crisp enough to pull up my down comforter. Days so warm that a dip at mid-day was precious, even though the water had that winter chill in it. And, then I remembered . . .the snow is always whiter on the other side of the ocean.
I hope to have many more days of savoring the fresh snow with loved ones. But, today I treasure Kauai and the super sunset turning the western sky pink behind my coconut palms.
And tomorrow I shall be up at pre-dawn in that chilly air, ready to harvest for our loyal farm customers. I surely am not taking for granted the garden packed full of vegetables and the orchards brimming with citrus. I know fresh local food becomes scarce in those colder climates I have just waxed poetic about. Two things we are growing now are kohlrabi and fennel. Both might easily be found in late fall markets on the mainland.
Kohlrabi ~These little sputnik-shaped vegetables come in green or purple, can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste a lot like broccoli stems. The word kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip) though kohlrabi is more related to cabbage and cauliflower than to root vegetables. We usually eat them raw, just peeled, sliced and added to a salad, but they are also delicious cooked and are often used in Indian cuisine. I also like them peeled and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Fennel ~ Forever I steered clear of fennel, as licorice is not my favorite flavor. Then I discovered roasted fennel and my old bias was blasted out of the water. Just slice the fennel bulb in quarters and put in a baking dish. Coat it with olive oil and sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes until the fennel begins to caramelize.