September 12 weekly menu | summer table

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Farm Fresh

carrots, cilantro, corn, lettuce, garlic, gourmet greens, jalapeños, onions, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

When your CSA box contains cilantro, corn, jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes, all in one very special delivery, the coming week just must be chock full of Mexican meals. Lucky me, I’m going to a south-of-the-border potluck…my choices are endless! The fiesta got me thinking about margaritas, which got me thinking about peach margaritas. Peaches are at their height – get them while you can, and eat (and drink) up!

Friday – pizza night

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – south of the border potluck

spicy jalapeño cornbread (Cooking Light)

esquites (the kitchn)
corn & black bean salad (Simply Recipes)

mexican carrot cake (Saveur)

Sunday –  speaking of margaritas…

white peach margaritas (Bobby Flay)

grilled garlic-lime fish tacos (Martha Stewart)
corn and tomato salsa (Food Network, Emeril Legasse)
mixed greens with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (Gourmet)

Monday – herb pot inspired

farfalle with zucchini and mint pesto (Sara Bir, Oregonian Food Day)

Tuesday – taco (salad) tuesday

taco salad (Cook’s Illustrated 30-Minute Meals)

Wednesday – simplest italian

pasta with tomato sauce with onion & butter (Marcella Hazan)
authentic Italian salad (Giuliano Hazan)

Thursday –  potpourri at its finest

torpedo onion & summer squash frittata (Meatless Monday)
tomato peach salad (John Taboada, Navarre)

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Friday –  pizza night

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

IMG_1084For this week’s Pizza Night, I can’t resist this tangy, sweet, & just a little bit salty and spicy, red onion “marmalade” pizza from Smitten Kitchen. I’ll skip the ricotta-making adventure; my store-bought tub will do just fine. I will gladly, however, spend a few minutes making this onion marmalade, using my farm fresh red onions. You just caramelize them with some brown sugar and balsamic vinegar until the mixture is thick and has an almost spreadable quality to it. This becomes the “sauce”, which is then dolloped with fresh ricotta and topped with thinly-sliced prosciutto. If you’re making two pizzas, double this recipe. Add a simple salad with some farm fresh greens, drizzled lightly with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. It’s a routine easy to sink back into!

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 

Saturday – south of the border potluck

spicy jalapeño cornbread (Cooking Light)

esquites (the kitchn)
corn & black bean salad (Simply Recipes)

mexican carrot cake (Saveur)

This is what happens when I’m going to a potluck. I can never easily settle on just one thing to contribute. Instead I spent much too long mulling over the possibilities, always with the goal of incorporating my farm goods. It ends with either bringing too much, or somehow trying to incorporate all my ideas into the week ahead at home. How perfect that the potluck this week had a Mexican theme! While I’m not exactly sure that cornbread represents an authentic Mexican specialty, the flavors are there, and nothing beats a cornbread made with fresh corn, right off the cob. Of course, I’ll replace the pickled jalapeños with my fresh. The recipe’s a cinch, and so fun baked right in a cast iron skillet – perfect for serving as well. Another distinct potluck possibility is a fresh corn salad. I’m inclined to go with this version called “esquites”, which I’d never heard of before. The inspiration is from something called “elotes” which is a popular Mexican street cart corn on the cob. It’s grilled and served with an array of seasonings and condiments – lime juice, cotija cheese, chili powder, and maybe a little seasoned mayo. Esquites combines all of these components into an easier to eat and share salad. The other fresh corn salad I’ve made time and again is the Simply Recipes version. More ingredients (though most are right from my tabletop!), more meal-like because of the addition of hearty black beans. I’d replace the green onion easily with my red. This is a super fresh, zesty, and healthy dish. And, since I’ve got carrots, it’s hard to resist a good carrot cake. Although this recipe isn’t really labeled as “Mexican”, it sure spoke that to me. Packed with carrots, it had the extra special additions of cinnamon, coconut, and pineapple – flavors that surely take one south of the border. I’ll use a fresh, finely chopped pineapple (a wonderful excuse for a pineapple purchase!). Use your own discretion and taste buds as to the addition of chopped nuts and raisins. To keep things simpler (and healthier) I may just skip the cream cheese frosting, and serve it in squares perfect for finger food dessert.

Sunday – speaking of margaritas…

white peach margaritas (Bobby Flay)

grilled garlic-lime fish tacos (Martha Stewart)
corn and tomato salsa (Food Network, Emeril Legasse)
mixed greens with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (Gourmet)

With Mexican on the mind, and our precious northwest peach season coming soon to a close, I think it’s just the right time for weekend margaritas at home. Besides a peach pie, I just can’t think of a better use for our amazing northwest peaches. For the dinner, fish tacos just couldn’t be simpler, or healthier. With a good piece of white fish, some olive oil, garlic, and lime juice, you’re in business. I often make them with a cabbage slaw, but this week when I saw my ten ears of corn and pile of tomatoes, I was reminded of fresh summer relish I also like alongside tacos. Martha has a recipe attached, but I’m going to use this one from Emeril which kicks it up a notch. He calls for habanero peppers, but I’ll use a couple of my jalapenos. You can do raw corn salsa, or do as Emeril suggests and cook it just ever so briefly. The salsa is also delicious as a chip dipper, so you may consider doubling the recipe, just to have around. I’ll serve a side salad with this zesty lime dressing, some small garden tomatoes, and if I’m feeling fancy, a sprinkling of cotija cheese and roasted pumpkins seeds.

Monday –  herb pot inspired

farfalle with zucchini and mint pesto (Sara Bir, Oregonian Food Day)

While some of the herbs in my pots are showing tell-tale signs of the end, the mint just keeps on coming. This recent Food Day recipe takes full advantage, plus uses lots of fresh summer squash in a delightful way (reports a friend who got to it before I did). The details of the pesto call for mint + parsley + basil; I’ll be inclined to just use mint and a bunch of my farm fresh cilantro. The fresh herb concept will be there, in a combination that’s sure to work as well. With a quick sauté of diced zucchini, it’s all tossed together over pasta of your choice and sprinkled with feta. Add a made-by-someone else roasted chicken if someone will miss the meat.

Tuesday – taco (salad) tuesday

taco salad (Cook’s Illustrated 30-Minute Meals)

In good conscience, it’s hard for me to really call this dinner a “salad”. It’s definitely chock full of protein – the recipe calls for ground beef, but I’ve used ground chicken, or turkey, or even canned black beans. Leave it to Cook’s Illustrated, even the 30-minute version, to make things look more complicated than they really are. The only real cooking part is the ground beef mixture, to which I’ll add a jalapeño or two. The rest is chopping and shredding – my giant head of lettuce, tomatoes, corn-off-the-cob, grated cheese, avocado, olives, cilantro, tortilla chips…whatever you like! Another one of our jalapeños will spice up the cilantro-lime dressing. Skip the entire fussy “final assembly” section. Just throw the romaine and the beef mixture together in a large bowl, and let everyone make their own perfect, personalized taco salad at the toppings bar.

Wednesday simplest italian

pasta with tomato sauce with onion & butter (Marcella Hazan)
authentic Italian salad (Giuliano Hazan)

Possibly Marcella Hazan’s most famous recipe, and it has just three simple ingredients. Tomatoes, butter, and onions. I can’t wait to try it with my vine-ripened tomatoes. Add this authentic Italian salad, compliments of Marcella’s son Giuliano, and this is weeknight gourmet, in a flash. Dressing the salad follows Marcella’s firm direction: ample good quality olive oil, the best red red vinegar you can get your hands on, and a sprinkling of sea salt. The greens should be coated just before serving. The amped up version can include any of a number of ingredients sure to transport you right to Italy…tomatoes, fennel, avocado, cucumber, arugula, sweet peppers, etc.

Thursday – potpourri at its finest

torpedo onion & summer squash frittata (Meatless Monday)
tomato peach salad (John Taboada, Navarre)

The Thursday night frittata is not by accident at my house. Often-times I’m trying desperately to clean out the old, make room for the new. Veggies, that is. I’ll use some red onions, summer squash, and then who knows? Have some chard or other greens? Saute them up and use them as well. Nearly any veggie is a good frittata candidate – just make sure there’s ample room in the pan to pour in your beaten eggs. Instead of the sun dried tomatoes, I’ll chop and sprinkle some off-the-vine ones over the cooked frittata. Add a sprinkling of flakey sea salt for a fantastic finish. And I can’t let another week go by without making John Taboada’s (of Navarre) quintessential end-of-summer salad. So uncomplicated, it doesn’t need a recipe:  lots of heirloom tomatoes, about half as many peaches, a handful of fresh basil leaves, equal parts EVOO and balsamic vinegar, and sea salt to taste. Cut fruit into whatever bite-sized pieces you enjoy, sprinkle with roughly chopped basil, drizzle the dressing over, and stir. Enjoy.

“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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