August 15 weekly menu | summer table

IMG_7810

Farm Fresh

carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, gourmet greens, lettuce, leeks, parsley, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

My first-of-the-season deep purple globe eggplants! I can’t wait to make baba ganoush, a late summer favorite around here. This, in addition to trying to emulate a couple of lingering vivid vacation meal memories. Enjoy this fabulous summer bounty!

Friday – grilled pizza fest

eggplant & tomato pizza (Bon Appetit)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – roughin’ it, rogue style

bruschetta (Simply Recipes)

green salad with oregon berries (Aviva Goldfarb, pbs.org)
pasta primavera (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled pork tenderloin (Williams-Sonoma)

lemon sunshine zucchini bundt cake (Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice)

Sunday –  tutin’ their horn

cucumber & trout bites (My Recipes)

roasted carrot and fennel soup (Serious Eats)

lemon popovers (Gourmet)
panzanella (bread & tomato salad) (Simply Recipes)
sumac crusted salmon (Food and Wine)

blueberry kuchen (Food52)

Monday – let the potlucks begin

carrot, cucumber, hummus platter

caprese salad (the kitchn)
feta wheat berry salad (Gourmet)

grilled hot dogs & burgers

Tuesday – baba ga-what?

baba ganoush (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 17 2013)
chicken skewers
simple greek salad (Bon Appetit)

Wednesday –  jooray for jalapeños!

roasted tomato-jalapeno salsa (Rick Bayless)
cucumber-jalapeno salad (The Creekside Cook)
grilled fish
warm corn tortillas

Thursday –  sammie night

grilled summer squash & brie sandwiches (Whole Foods Market)

____________________________________________________

Friday –   grilled pizza fest

eggplant & tomato pizza (Bon Appetit)
gourmet greens salad

IMG_1084

Pizza Night! This week, I’m going to use one of my eggplants and a yummy sweet onion I’ve got left on grilled pizzas. This is a simple, sauceless pizza, gaining all of its flavor from farm fresh toppings; I would definitely brush the crust with some olive oil and give it a sprinkling of salt.  And I think I’ll be able to add my own tomatoes – yippee! Yes, they are the cute, miniature variety, but halved and scattered over the top…delic! Refer to this Serious Eats guide to grilling. Skip the tube-o-dough and either use my go-to 5 minute recipe from The New Basics (see Pizza Night post above), the Serious Eats recipe, or grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. Our salad will be a lickety-split version – gourmet greens, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, high quality olive oil, and salt and pepper. With greens this fresh and delicious, nothing fancier is needed.

Other pizza combinations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
potato and rosemary 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
portabella mushroom & roasted red pepper
shitake mushroom
leek, sundried tomato, and goat cheese
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and rosemary
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
spinach and chive pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza

Saturday – roughin’ it, rogue style

bruschetta (Simply Recipes)

green salad with oregon berries (Aviva Goldfarb, pbs.org)
pasta primavera (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled pork tenderloin (Williams-Sonoma)

lemon sunshine zucchini bundt cake (Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice)

The Family Oregon Bucket List Trip…four days of rafting on the Wild ‘n Scenic Rogue River. The food, of course, is not what you’re there for. I was mentally prepared for Oscar Meyer hot dogs, baked beans from a can, and fruit cocktail. Oh, lucky for us, how wrong I was. These rafting companies have most certainly caught on to the local foodie movement in a big way. Three meals a day, prepared by someone else, along the breathtaking banks of the world famous Rogue – what could be better? (Oh…that they also do the dishes, and set up your tents?!?) Tonight’s menu is a sampling of what our rafting group shared, that first magical night. I spoke at length to the head guide, who shared with me her drive to combine the intricate and tricky task of river-meal-planning (and packing, and keeping cold while riding down the rapids in hundred plus degree outside temperatures…) with her passion for connecting with the local farmers and ranchers of Southern Oregon. You knew things were headed in a good direction when along came a passed appetizer plate of just-made brushetta! This simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvre spoke volumes in terms of what was to come…no ordinary camping meal. I love that Simply Recipes describes bruschetta as “summer on toast”. Pretty much sums it up! It is merely chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and maybe a bit of vinegar, spooned over lightly grilled or broiled bread. Theirs was topped with a beautiful, giant Oregon blackberry. Dinner started with a lovely fresh green salad, dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette, and sprinkled with height-of-the-summer berries and local farmers’ cheese. I’ll use a head of my romaine, and will peruse the farmer’s market for whatever red(ish) or blue(ish) berries catch my eye. Use pine nuts, hazelnuts, whatever nuts, and a favorite fresh farmer’s cheese. Next came a seasonal pasta primavera, packed with broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc. I found this Mark Bittman recipe, where he advocates updating the dated version a bit, resulting in a lighter and more flavorful dish. Less cream to cover the freshness and taste of the veggies; thoughtful vegetable choices, making them harmonize with specific herbs and cheeses. I’m going for the carrot version that’s topped with ricotta, ricotta salata, and lots of our farm fresh parsley. We also had grilled pork tenderloin, prepared lovingly by another of our kilt-wearing, guitar-playing, long-bearded guides. It was the perfect complement to the meal. This simple marinade is a keeper – goes with most things without even thinking. And, while I’m not exactly sure of the zucchini cake recipe that was prepared for us, it shared some qualities with every single dessert that was magically pulled out of that floating kitchen. It was homemade with care (back “home” by the wife of the company owner!), fresh, flavorful, and used local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible. While we won’t be devouring every last crumb as we take in the soothing sounds of the riffle flows, or the dazzling views of soaring eagles, with a name like “lemon sunshine” it’s sure to bring a smile wherever might be.

Sunday – tutin’ their horn

cucumber & trout bites (My Recipes)

roasted fennel and carrot soup (Serious Eats)

lemon popovers (Gourmet)
panzanella (bread & tomato salad) (Simply Recipes)
sumac crusted salmon (Food and Wine)

blueberry kuchen (Food52)

By day four of the raft trip, feeling (and looking) more than a little like a river rat, civilization came our way. The re-entry was soft and gentle with a long-awaited stay at the Tu Tu Tun Lodge, where the Rogue River meets the Pacific Ocean. Possibly any place with a bed off the ground and a flushing toilet would have seemed as luxurious. They are known for their family-style dinners, served over multiple courses in the cozy lodge dining room. With the gong of the bell, diners gather on the beautiful, flower-enveloped porch. The backdrop stunning – the lower Rogue, where it’s widened into calmer and tamer waters before emptying into the ocean. And the food beyond compare, much of it from the expansive on-site gardens and local waters. With my veggies in mind, I tried to take intricate mental notes so I might put together my own version. One of the starters was just so simple, yet delicate and sophisticated. Slice a cucumber (thick enough to be sturdy finger food) and top it with smoked fish and a dollop of creme fresh, lemon juice, and dill. We had trout; could easily be salmon or other smoked fish. At the tables, the deep tureen of summer soup was awaiting. A roasted fennel and beet one was served to us; I’ll improve with my veggies on hand, making this fennel and carrot version. The ingredient list is short – mostly the veggies I’ve already got. I’ll replace the onion with my leeks this week, and roast along with a fennel bulb I’ve got on hand, and my carrots. I’ll toss the roasted & caramelized veggies in a soup pot, and after adding the little bit of butter and wine, puree with an immersion blender. Done! At the lodge, the soup was served with thin and crispy homemade herbed crackers. I can say right now that at this point, dinner would most likely be complete at my house. But in the spirit of the “full meal deal” Tu Tu Tun style, I’ll forge ahead. Post soup, a basket of steaming, fluffy popovers arrived. I’ve never tried my hand at these, and was assured there was no magic in the crispy shell surrounding the light, airy, almost custardy insides. It’s all about the eggs propelling the batter just as they begin to set. And forget the popover tin, I’m told – a muffin tin is just fine. I’ll give it a whirl, and see what results! For the salad, a rustic panzanella salad, which is merely chunks of stale bread tossed with garden fresh cucumber, tomatoes, and basil. The bread soaks up the juices, and with a dousing of olive oil, this salad just screams summer. The main course featured a northwest salmon encrusted with ground sumac, which are deep red berries normally ground in to a powder that’s tart and fruity. While this recipe I found looks fabulous, with the fish as part of a larger roasted tomato, greens & parsley salad, I’m simplifying and just doing the fish, grilled with a coating of salt, pepper, and sumac. The idea will be there. And for the grand finale, a humble German cake, or “kuchen”. It’s a typical cake you’d find in home kitchens, as well as coffee shops, and is often just a straight forward batter covered with seasonal fruit and a light cinnamon, sugar streusel. The Tu Tu Tun served it with a dollop of honeyed creme fraiche. I can’t imagine actually pulling all of this together in one meal, but I’ll sure have fun trying!

Monday –  let the potlucks begin

carrots, cucumber, chips, & dip

caprese salad (the kitchn)
feta wheat berry salad (Gourmet)

grilled hot dogs & burgers

Say it isn’t so. With just a couple weeks of summer in front of us, the gather & greet potlucks are just beginning.I do realize the simplest path to these lies in the magic of the many wonderfully prepared dishes and deli trays that grace our Portland food grounds. But my empty-the-fridge, use-my-veggies mentality always causes me pause, for good or bad. What can I do with the farm fresh goodies I’ve got? This week, it’s simple! With quintessential summer grill items on the docket, I think in nearly no time I can put together these other perfect-for-a-picnic sides. A large platter of sliced cucumber and carrots is a no-brainer; I’ll add a pre-pared spinach dip or hummus, as well as a mountain of pita chips (adds to the popularity…). The caprese salad is just really not a recipe – slice and layer any tomatoes you’ve got. (It’s prettier and tastier if there’s a mixtures of tomato types.) Between and betwixt the layers, add in thinly sliced mozzarella, and a hearty sprinkling of slivered basil. A drizzling of good olive oil, salt and pepper, and this composed “salad” is just so deserving of summer centerpiece status. Another go-to potluck item of mine is a grains/veggie/herb/cheese salad. Wheat berries, farro, bulgar, barley, quinoa, cous cous, pasta…the sky’s the limit when it comes to a grain. The same goes with the combinations of veggie add-ins. I’ll skip this recipe’s roasted red peppers, and add some thinly sliced zucchini. And lots and lots of finely chopped parsley with a zesty vinaigrette. It’s a salad that travels well, and is as hearty as a hot dog or a burger for those that just might opt-out. Dessert is someone else’s territory – I always save room.

Tuesday – baba ga-what?

baba ganoush (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 17 2013)
chicken skewers
simple greek salad (Bon Appetit)

I’ll build dinner around homemade baba ganoush, that delectable, surprisingly-simple-to-make, Middle Eastern spread –  just roasted eggplant, EVOO, and various seasonings. It’s as easy as throwing the eggplant in the oven for a while, then mixing the soft pulp with a few other ingredients. A great accompaniment is some prepared-by-someone-else chicken skewers to just toss on the grill. Serve with warmed pita triangles and crudites to scoop up the baba ganoush. With one of my heads of fresh lettuce, I’ll make the simplest of Greek salads, with a lemony, red vinegary, mix of the same farm goodness, but with the essential olives and feta cheese. If you’re lucky to have any baba ganoush left, use it all week as a scrumptious baguette, pita chip, or veggie dip, or as a delicious addition to so many simple sandwiches (such as tomato!).

Wednesday - jooray for jalapeños!

roasted tomato-jalapeno salsa (Rick Bayless)
cucumber-jalapeno salad (The Creekside Cook)
grilled fish
warm corn tortillas

You just can’t not make salsa when you’ve been given four perfect, farm fresh jalapeno peppers. Often I’ll do pico de gallo, a fresh, uncooked, chopped variety. This week I thought I’d trying roasting the jalapeños and tomatoes, adding to a deeper flavor. No mortal and pestle here – into the food processor everything goes, and in no time, a heavenly roasted salsa for dinner. With a crunchy and zesty cucumber, jalaleno, lime salad, a nice piece of grilled white fish is all you need to complete dinner. I’ll let it sit for just a few minutes in some lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. When the fish is nearly cooked, onto the grill go the corn tortillas, flipping just once until they’re slightly charred. With a platter of fish broken into manageable chunks, and a mountain of warm tortillas, people can attack the dinner as please – taco-style, or neat-and-tidy separates.

Thursday – sammie night

grilled summer squash & brie sandwiches (Whole Foods Market)

For dinner, what a great use for our zucchini (or summer squash of any type) – sandwiches! Use some thick slices of hearty bread, and the only work involved in this dinner is standing at the grill for a few minutes to lightly garlic & brown it, as well as the zucchini. Everyone can make their open-faced sandwich how they want it…brie, fontina, chèvre to start, getting it just a little melty. Then our squash, tomatoes, and whatever thinly sliced farm fresh greens you have.

“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

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 195 other followers

%d bloggers like this: