July 25 weekly menu | summer table

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Farm Fresh

beets, cilantro, cucumbers, fennel, gourmet greens, kale, lettuce, onions, summer squash

What’s for Dinner?

Wow! I received the two most mammoth Walla Walla sweet onions! I can’t wait to put them to good use…on pizza, in dips, and yes, shaped like a ring (but not deep fried!). And after a thoroughly delightful viewing of Chef, the movie, I’m chomping at the bit to try my hand at cubanos! What luck that I received two big bunches of farm fresh cilantro, essential in the pork marinade for these amazing Cuban sandwiches. This cilantro will also come in quite handy in my day-late National Tequila Day tribute!

Friday – nat’l tequila day (observed)

strawberry margaritas (Food Network)

roasted beet salad with red onion, poblano, & lime (Rick Bayless)
chicken, cilantro, & onion tacos

Saturday – cubanos, el jefe style

mojo pork cubanos (Roy Choi)
cuban green salad with avocados (Chow)

Sunday –  grilled pizza fest

sweet onion pizza (Better Homes and Gardens)
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

Monday – raw genius

kale and raw veggie salad (Vitaly Paley, Imperial)
pre-assembled kebabs

Tuesday – summer soup

spicy summer squash soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
cucumber fennel salad (A Taste of Home)
baguette

Wednesday –  how sweet it is!

baked onion rings (Martha Stewart)
quinoa garden cakes (Whole Foods Market)
salad with peaches & feta (Serious Eats)

Thursday –  sammies & chips

roasted beet, goat cheese, & avocado sandwiches (Serious Eats)
crudites & chips with sweet onion dip (Martha Stewart)

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Friday –   nat’l tequila day (observed)

strawberry margaritas (Food Network)

roasted beet salad with red onion, poblano, & lime (Rick Bayless)
chicken, cilantro, & onion tacos

Fresh cilantro, with the root and full stems attached, is a special treat. More vibrant, fragrant, and longer-lasting than store-bought cilantro, there are just so many uses. And just in time for a day-late celebration of national tequila day! I’ll hit Mexican first this week, with this Rick Bayless inspired beet salad. Poblano chiles, manchego cheese, lime juice, cilantro…classic Mexican flavors that will take our beets deliciously in a south-of-the-border direction. In this recipe, the beets aren’t even peeled – just chopped into bit-sized pieces and roasted along with the chiles. Some super simple tacos I go to again and again are these tasty minis, with the corn tortillas thrown on the grill to get them just a bit browned. Saute lots of garlic and onion in some olive oil, then mix in some shredded chicken from a made-by-someone else roaster. When everything’s hot, stir in a good bunch of chopped cilantro. At the table, I just let people fill their own tacos with this yummy chicken/onion/cilantro mixture, some beans-of-choice from a can, and maybe a sprinkling of cotija Mexican cheese. These tacos are really nothing like the traditional American version, stuffed to capacity, dripping with cheeses and sour cream – they are light and fresh and perfect for sampling an array of summer salsas while you sip a fresh, summer fruity margarita.

Saturday – cubanos, el jefe style

mojo pork cubanos (Roy Choi)
cuban green salad with avocados (Chow)

These Cuban sandwiches are the definitive star in the “comfort comedy” movie Chef. Fair warning…do not go hungry. Munching movie popcorn does absolutely nothing to satisfy as you are watching dish after mouth-watering dish prepared on the big screen. El Jefe becomes the food truck where Jon Favreau re-ignites his passion for food and cooking, with people lining up in droves for one of his pork cubanos. Real life acclaimed L.A. chef Roy Choi consulted on this movie project, inventing this particular version of the famed sandwich. The pork shoulder needs to marinate overnight, so I’m starting this one a day ahead. With lots of fresh cilantro, as well as citrus, garlic & olive oil, it’s a straight-forward recipe that just requires adequate flavor-soaking time. When I actually assemble the cubanos, I’ll be skipping the boiled ham, knowing the pork (+cheese+pickles+mustard) will be plenty. To make it a complete dinner, I’ll add this Cuban-inspired green salad, with one of my giant heads of romaine as the base. It’s a classic green salad, with a Latin twist, including black beans and caramelized onions. The recipe calls for red onion, but I’m sure to use one of my sweets, as well as a large  handful of chopped cilantro sprinkled on the finished salad. If only I knew how to use Twitter, I might even be able to garner a few guests!

Sunday – grilled pizza fest

sweet onion pizza (Better Homes and Gardens)
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

IMG_1084With tequila having taken center stage on my normal Friday Pizza Night, I still hope to squeeze it into the weekend. This week, with these first Walla Walla sweets, I just have to make a simple caramelized onion pizza. Add whatever else you like, but I guarantee it’ll be delicious even with just onions and a ricotta/mozzarella cheese combination. I may add some sun dried tomatoes, and some oregano, basil, or parsley from the herb pots, but the sweet, farm fresh onions will star. Given the weather forecast, we’ll be grilling these outside, making four individual sized pies – one large onion should be plenty. This Serious Eats guide to grilled pizza seems pretty fool proof. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place.  Add a simple green salad, and let’s call it Sunday Supper, Summer Style.

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

Monday –  raw genius

kale and raw veggie salad (Vitaly Paley, Imperial)
pre-assembled kebabs

The gorgeous lacinato kale this week reminded me of this amazing raw kale salad I stumbled upon once at Imperial restaurant in Portland. I make it with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayo. The salad is brilliant – with kale as the base, it can so easily be seasonally modified to include many farm fresh favorites. I’ll add shaved carrots and summer squash, as well as some grated raw beets. I’m thinking the MagiMix (ultra-sonic food processor) is perfect for the job – shredded, grated, any small, thin version will work well coated with this divinely tangy goat cheese dressing. Vitaly Paley was not a James Beard outstanding chef semifinalist for nothing! I’ll pick up some pre-assembled chicken or fish kebabs for an easy throw-on-the-barbie accompaniment.

Tuesday – summer soup

spicy summer squash soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
cucumber fennel salad (A Taste of Home)
baguette

Summer doesn’t really scream soup, but I do love to throw in a seasonal veggie soup occasionally. It is just so very different from all of the heartier, heavier autumn and winter soups. I often make an Alice Waters’ version, knowing she’ll keep it light and simple. Here I’ll use my yellow squash (as well as a few zucchini hanging around from last week) in this rendition of a summer squash soup, pureeing it with the magic immersion blender. What’s going to make this one extra special is the addition of a dollop of cilantro cream (instead of her called-for mint cream), It’s just Greek yogurt with as much chopped cilantro as you want, and maybe a sprinkling of lemon juice too. Add a cucumber, fennel (and onion if you wish) salad for a cold, crunchy counterpoint to the soup. With a fresh bakery baguette, we’re set for summer soup night.

Wednesday how sweet it is!

baked onion rings (Martha Stewart)
quinoa garden cakes (Whole Foods Market)
salad with peaches & feta (Serious Eats)

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned deep fried onion rings?!?  I for one make sure to visit Burgerville during their summer month or two of showcasing the local Walla Walla sweets, fried to golden (gargantuan) perfection. It’s somehow different, and less guilt-inducing, if I don’t actually have to witness that deep fryer! In fact, I often feel so blissfully unaware, I order them with a summer berry shake! At home, I’m going to make these baked onion rings instead. It’s a good tip to separate the dry mixture into a few different bowls, so you don’t end up with a gloppy mess that you’re attempting to coat onions in. Martha calls for a mixture of flour and crushed cornflakes in which to dredge the rings – it makes a nice crunch. You could also use any combination of flour, bread crumbs, or panko (Japanese style bread crumbs). I’ll also whip up these quinoa garden cakes. With grated carrots, zucchini, and kale (I’ll substitute this for the spinach), they are a perfect potpourri weeknight meal. Use what you’ve got in the veggie drawer! I also like the suggestion of one reviewer to saute the veggies in garlic and olive oil – it’ll add to the flavor, as well as reduce the kale volume. I’ll use a cilantro (not dill) greek yogurt combination as the topper – the same one from last night’s soup treat. Add a quick green salad with some long-awaited plump, juicy peaches & farmer’s market cheese of choice.

Thursday –  sammies & chips

roasted beet, goat cheese, & avocado sandwiches (Serious Eats)
crudites & chips with sweet onion dip (Martha Stewart)

The critical beet tip for beet sammie night success? Roast them ahead of time. Any time. But don’t wait until the often frenetic dinner hour – you’ll very likely skip ‘em. Believe me, I speak from some experience of beets straight to the compost bin! BUT, if you take an hour to roast the beets while you’re home doing something else, you’re set for whatever you might want to do with them. (Quickly peel and slice after they’ve cooled.) I don’t put anything on the beets while roasting – just wrap tightly in foil, and cook in a HOT oven. With our beets cooked and ready to roll, this sandwich night should be a breeze. I’ll pick up a favorite bakery bread, and double the ingredients for four hungry sandwich eaters. Slivered almonds add some crunchy and delicious protein, but pre-made shredded chicken would be right at home in these sammies as well. With a platter of farm fresh crudites (cucumbers and whatever else my crisper offers up) to dip in this easy and crowd-pleasing onion dip, we’re set. Oh, and of course, a bag of Kettle Chips. Because, really, what is onion dip without just a few potato chips?

“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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