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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo Serving suggestion of kohlrabi casserole. If you don't find the German turnip, you can easily use cauliflower in its stead.

Kohlrabi casserole

and award-winning author Bruce Wilson

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

It is funny how a scent or a taste can bring back childhood memories. Those memories are even more precious if a certain ingredient is rare, such as kohlrabi is for me. The vegetable is also known as German turnip and you don’t find it often in our Roswell grocery stores. When I do, I always buy a bunch, peel and cut them and put them in the freezer.

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My grandmother only used kohlrabi for stews, but I loved the mild-flavored turnip so much, I hunted for another good recipe — this was in the early 1990s in Germany, so my hunt didn’t go as smoothly because the internet was still in its baby shoes toddling around and it was pretty much a chaotic mess trying to find something. Long story short, a friend found a recipe that she shared with me for stuffed kohlrabi. Fast forward and I am in Roswell where the kohlrabi turnips — when they turn up — don’t say I’m not witty with this intended pun — are itsy bitsy tiny. So, out of the stuffed kohlrabi became a kohlrabi casserole, which I am glad to share with you here.

Kohlrabi casserole

Serves two

Ingredients:

8 small kohlrabi turnips, peeled and sliced (1/4 inch)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup broadleaved parsley, chopped

1/2 cup ham, cut in chunks

White pepper

1 Tbsp butter, unsalted

Preparations:

In a deep pot bring water to boil and add the kohlrabi. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the blanched kohlrabi. Mix the garlic, goat cheese with the cream cheese, parsley and white pepper. Usually you don’t need any salt because goat cheese has plenty of salt. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 380º F. In an ovenproof baking pan, stack one layer of kohlrabi slices and top each with the cream cheese mix, top with some of the ham. Repeat until full, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Add the mozzarella cheese and top with the butter, cut in little chunks.

Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve with rice or by itself if you follow the KETO diet.

This recipe works well with cauliflower instead of the rare kohlrabi.

Books for comfort:

Today, I want to introduce you to the book “No Place That Far” by award-winning author Bruce Wilson. I received the novel as e-Book for reviewing purposes prior to publication.

The story plays in the early 1900s following the anti-hero, really a quite brutal villain. It starts in the aftermath of a gunfight with vivid descriptions of the scenery when J.D. Hooper steals from his victim. To hide his bloody deed, he sets him and a building on fire, which recurs every time Hooper has to hide a crime, wreaking havoc in Memphis as he handles his new career as bill collector for another crook. Always on the run, Hooper’s character is multi-faceted so you can almost empathize with him, especially as Wilson shows that Hooper does have some redeeming character traits. The real hero, hunting Hooper, appears only in chapter 7 and — while being described as an honest detective, Noah Jensen, who works for the railroad — is rather bland compared to the villain Hooper who struggles with his own character flaws. Fighting scenes and Hooper acting as revenging criminal brings this book to a different level of entertainment. Most redeeming feature is Hooper’s unwillingness to hurt a pregnant wife of a politician or how he tries — in his intelligent brutal way — to protect a young innocent girl. The novel is not really a Western, though it definitely has Western elements, it is rather a fusion of American Noir novels and a darker Western genre. The author keeps the readers on their toes, with spins and turns that nobody can see coming.

It is a refreshing spin on bad versus good, instead of the other way around and worth one’s time, following this killer’s hunt for money and a home, which leads him from Kentucky to Tennessee, to Texas and into Arizona where his fate plays out.

Submitted Photo
Author Bruce Wilson.

Wilson knows the Southwest where the bigger part of the story plays. His biography says that the author is a historian and educator living in Silver City and Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is a graduate of California State University-Fullerton and Western New Mexico University where he currently teaches American History. His first novel, “Death in the Black Patch,” was a finalist for the Laramie Book Award and the New Mexico Book Award. A third book is in the works.

The book was published by Artemesia Publishing LLC out of Tijeras, New Mexico. It is going to be available on July 14 as paperback and e-Book. For more information, visit apbooks.net.