September 19 weekly menu | summer table

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Farm Fresh

beets, escarole, eggplant, gourmet greens, turnips, onions, sweet peppers, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

In this week that straddles the seasons, we’ll all feel a noticeable shift I’m sure. Apples, pears, and pumpkins will be in the air. So tempting, but I’m still devoted to the amazing late summer farm haul. And my garden tomatoes, which have finally hit their stride. So I’m digging up my favorite tomato sauce recipes. Frozen in gallon zip-loc bags, there’s nothing better than getting home on a cold, wet, fall or winter night, knowing you’ve got a stash of summer’s best tomato sauce in your freezer!

Friday – favorite september soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
gourmet greens salad
country bread

Saturday – on-their-own-pizza night

pizza with peppers + salami (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday – turnip turn-around

turnips (+ greens) in coconut curry (Vikas Khanna, Flavor First)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
naan

Monday – simple (last-of-the-summer) grill

beet & quinoa salad (Martha Shulman, NYT)
grilled salmon & red onions

Tuesday – hello fall

escarole, orzo, & meatball soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

Wednesday – (nearly) no fuss ratatouille

pasta with ratatouille (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
roast chicken

Thursday –  sammie night

chicken, apple butter, and cheddar panini
escarole salad with dijon vinaigrette (Food and Wine)

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Friday –  favorite september soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
gourmet greens salad
country bread

Pizza night’s moving to Saturday this week, in favor of a flavor-packed summer soup that can be made ahead and at the ready. Those who’ve played themselves silly on the evening soccer field (not me!) will welcome the smell and sight of this dinner in the pot. Funny how this soup has developed into a family (and friend, and whoever tries it) favorite. I picked up a recipe card long ago at a Whole Foods; it’s barely legible now – too many spatters and spills, folds and copies. I’ve typed it out, and attached it here, as it is astonishingly nowhere to be found on the great world wide web. At least this very particular version, which I think is so worthwhile… the most delicious pot of late summer bounty. Even if you’re not a die-hard eggplant fan! It adds just the right flavor here, with none of the “mushiness” its reputation brings. It’s really very easy, just roasting the farm fresh eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, then adding the resulting roasted veggies plus the broth to sauteed onions & garlic. The delectable flavorings of fresh basil (lots of it!), lemon juice, and a pinch of cayenne are icing on the cake. I’ll sprinkle my gourmet greens with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sea salt for a couldn’t-be-simpler salad. Add a loaf of favorite country-style bread for some delectable dipping!

Saturday – on-their-own pizza night

pizza with peppers + sausage (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

I’m going to simplify this as much as possible, leaving pizza night entirely up to the kids as the adults enjoy an anniversary evening on the town. Leave it to Alice Waters to have this as part of her Chez Panisse Vegetable collection. Simple and gorgeous and healthy (as pizzas go…). Deb has done amazing justice in splendid photos – with peppers like this (and like I’ve got!) not much enhancing is needed. This is a no-sauce pizza – the dough is just brushed with some garlicky olive oil. But use sauce if it sounds better! Since I’m a use-what-you-have kind of gal, I’m going with my sweet peppers, a little thinly sliced red onion, and some IMG_1084parsley. Add just enough sweet peppers so it doesn’t become topping-heavy. No one likes to pick up a slice of pizza, only to have the whole top go tumbling onto your lap.We’ll skip anything resembling fancy and just sprinkle chopped parsley over the just-out-of-the-oven-pizza. I’ll likely add some salami (kid points). Follow this previous Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. Except this week, when the grocery store dough will be my friend. No further kid-entertainment needed…pizza dough, a rolling pin, and a toppings bar and the evening is complete. Well, maybe a couple pints of Ben & Jerry’s favorites…

Other sumer pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza 
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread
classic margherita pizza
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza 

Sunday – turnip turn-around

turnips (+ greens) in coconut curry (Vikas Khanna, Flavor First)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
rice, naan

I normally reserve Indian for the cooler weather – so hearty, comforting, and often ripe for the slow cooker. But here we are, at the last official weekend of summer, going out with the most glorious September warmth and sunshine. And I’m going to cook Indian food. It’s a sly move to try to get the family more enthusiastic about turnips (they go into the category of “I’ve seen enough” before they’ve really even gotten going). You’d think by now, years into this CSA thing, I’d be a pro at turnips. Not so. Katherine Deumling has some fabulous turnip tips on the SIO blog this week. I’m pretty good at cutting them up and serving them as snacks with hummus. Or on a meal time raw veggie tray. Or julienned in a salad. But it seems each time I try a cooked version, they get less than a warm welcome at the dinner table. When I came across this Indian-inspired dish, I thought maybe I’d hit the jackpot. Nothing crazy or complex in the ingredient list or preparation, it uses not only turnips, but also red onion and tomato from this week’s farm haul, and the flavors look spectacular (especially the coconut milk!). I’m going to go a little nuts, and boil my washed and roughly top turnip greens for a super healthy addition. I’ll just toss them in during the final cooking of the curry. A dandy summery accompaniment will be these chicken kebabs. They are a snap to put together. And moist and delicious, marinating for a bit in a yogurt based sauce. With some basmati rice and some made-by-someone-else naan, I have high hopes of a turnip turn-around!

Monday – simple (last-of-the-summer) grill

beet & quinoa salad (Martha Shulman, NYT)
grilled salmon & red onions

Here’s a hearty beet and grain salad that, once you pre-cook the beats, is easy to either make ahead and store, or assemble at the dinner rush. I’ll skip the spinach and the endive, serving it over a bed of my escarole. The bitter greens will do well with the combo of the hearty blue cheese and sweet balsamic vinaigrette. With the weather still holding, grill up some northwest salmon and thick red onion slices – just lightly brushed with olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs if you’ve got them. A super simple but oh-so tasty greeting to the weeknight frenzy, and farewell to the summer season.

Tuesday – hello fall

escarole, orzo, & meatball soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

I love that Italy has a traditional wedding soup. Apparently, having less to do with joining a couple, than with melding meat, veggies, & pasta in a big ‘ol pot. And a marvelous melding it is. The big ‘ol pot this on night will be our welcome to the first day of fall. Deb swears this is weeknight simple – I’m in. Mixing the meatball mixture, rolling it into cute little balls, and letting it chill – not at all difficult, but you’ll want some good meatball energy. After this, you just simmer the carrots, orzo, escarole, and uncooked meatballs together, until the perfect union occurs. Escarole is the authentic addition to this soup, but could surely be replicated with downright any green! Pass the parmesan and hunks of crusty bread! Hello Fall!

Wednesday - (nearly) no fuss ratatouille

pasta with ratatouille (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
roast chicken

I adore ratatouille. The darling rat-as-a-chef movie, and the quintessential late summer veggie dish. Alice Waters, with her no-fuss approach to vegetables, does it perfectly. And this time in September is its glory moment. All of those ingredients – zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, eggplant, and tomatoes – comprise our season-ending gems. All get cooked together until soft and infused with the basil and garlic. Doesn’t take long, then you’re ready for anything – hot, cold, or room temperature; as an appetizer spread on grilled bread, as a side to grilled steak (or grilled anything), mixed in pasta, as a potato-topper, etc. You get the picture. I’ll mix it in some fun-shaped pasta, and serve with a made-by-someone-else roasted chicken.

Thursday – sammie night

chicken, apple butter, and cheddar panini
escarole salad with dijon vinaigrette (Food and Wine)

If there were a panini season, I think autumn would be it. The only reason I can come up with is our love of apple butter, pear butter, and pumpkin butter. Which, of course, are fall flavor delights. And thank goodness, are not actually butter. In my mountain of veggies, I can always find something that’ll feel right at home in a panini, or that will make a wonderful sammie side. Tonight, I’m certain to have chicken pieces leftover, which can so easily be cut into some slices or chunks, and are already pre-seasoned beautifully. Spread with a little seasonal fruit butter, and top with your favorite cheese (I think Beecher’s flagship cheddar is a stellar choice). Brush slices of your favorite hearty bread with olive oil or melted butter, and a little sprinkling of salt, and grill until golden and oozing. While this is in the making, whip up the mustardy vinaigrette for the escarole salad.

“What the Kale?!?”

Don’t panic and get out the compost bin if all of the sudden you have a giant veggie delivery coming your way, and you still have a fridge full.  Here are a few suggestions for preserving the bounty!  (Soups and stews freeze wonderfully in those gallon zip lock freezer bags.)

table lessons

the delicious pursuits of an ethical eater

Urban Farm Table

using your local bounty every day

Epicurious.com: New Recipes

using your local bounty every day

101 Cookbooks

using your local bounty every day

Cook With What You Have

Classes and resources for healthy, delicious, and quick meals

Sauvie Island Organics Farm Blog

using your local bounty every day

using your local bounty every day

Simply Recipes

using your local bounty every day

America's Test Kitchen

using your local bounty every day

smitten kitchen

using your local bounty every day

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