Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kohlrabi-Potato Pancakes with Avocado Cream & Fond Food Memories, by Melissa Graham

Culling out a single food memory from my childhood would be impossible as there are so very many. My mother, a great cook and food enthusiast, sought to make food interesting, an adventure ever day.

We took family field trips to farm stands on the east end of Long Island, that showed me real food in its natural state. 

Photo courtesy of Melissa Graham
She was also a gracious and creative hostess. I remember her making and serving dinner by candlelight for a Colonial Williamsburg dinner, clambakes, and cocktail hours that lasted several hours on our family sailboat. But of course, I'd be remiss in not recalling our family’s very popular, annual survival party - an outdoor event on New Year's Day. Yes, she served too much food and people drank too much. But I’ll always recall the laughter that those parties inspired.

She was willing to experiment. At the family table, I tried so many different cuisines as a kid - I remember the fondue pot, the wok, the crepe pan, and of course her famous krumkakers filled with sweetened whipped cream.

Most importantly, she showed me the importance of family dinner. While I may forgo the candles that my mom laid out each night, we continue this tradition every night, one that keeps our family strong.

She wasn’t perfect. There was the occasional Dorito, coke and McDonald's visit. Although she made what some may now consider mistakes, it's comforting to know that if you get all the big stuff right, things will turn out okay.

Melissa Graham, a former attorney, is the founding Executive Director (or “Head Spear”) of Purple Asparagus, an award-winning 501(c)(3) non-profit that educates children, families and the community about eating that’s good for the body and the planet. Melissa resides in Roscoe Village with her husband, Mike, and 11-year old son, Thor, in a rowhouse built in 1896. 

From December 1st through December 8th, The Kids' Table will be donating 5% of all class proceeds to Purple Asparagus.  This includes all of the Tots Can Cook, Kids Can Cook and Teens Can Cook programs at both the Lakeview and Wicker Park locations.  

Kohlrabi-Potato Pancakes with Avocado Cream

Photo courtesy of Melissa Graham
Potato Pancakes is a recipe that brings many back many fond memories of Sunday dinners with my extended family. My grandmother, of Swedish descent, married my grandfather, whose family had emigrated from Germany in the early years of the 20th century. I don’t remember much Swedish food, but every Sunday, our family table was filled to the hilt with German dishes. While I’m loath to admit it, I was a picky eater until I hit high school, so my grandmother’s vast culinary skill was lost on me with one epic exception: potato pancakes. I loved them, slathered with sour cream and, in the summer, dusted with sprinkles of chive from her garden. The addition of kohlrabi was inspired by our farm share and provides a nice sharp counterpoint to the creaminess of the potatoes. 


1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled
1 kohlrabi bulb, peeled
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and trimmed
2 teaspoons chopped chives
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Up to 1/4 cup vegetable oil or clarified butter

Coarsely grate the potato, kohlrabi, and onion in a food processor. Wring out any excess liquid from the vegetables by wrapping them in a clean, lint-free dish towel and squeezing it out.

Dump the drained vegetables into a medium bowl. Add the eggs, flour, and salt and mix until combined.

Heat a large, preferably non-stick, sauté pan over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil or clarified butter. When hot, drop 1/4 cup sized dollops of the batter into the pan. Press down on the cakes with a spatula to flatten. Cook until browned, a few minutes. Flip and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan to a plate or a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter. The pancakes can be reheated in a 350º F oven. Serve warm, garnished with chopped chives and avocado cream.

Makes 10 pancakes


1/2 avocado
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt to taste

Puree together the avocado, sour cream, and lime juice. Salt to taste.

Makes about 1/2 cup

What kids can do (with appropriate tools and adult supervision)
*Wring out liquid from veggies
*Crack eggs
*Measure and mix
*Season and taste

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe here dear. I will definitely use it for my party at Chicago event space. It will be a small party with my friends and family members and I think this dish is perfect for such parties.