february 22 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, kale, leeks, mushrooms, mustard greens, parsnips, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

I hope many of you discovered the new-this-season winter farmers market downtown at Shemanski Park.  It was truly a sight for the eyes, and a feast for the nose and stomach, with a very different vibe than the sprawling buzz of the full action summer market.  I trust it will become a mainstay of our Portland winters.  The PFM blog this week gives ingenious suggestions for this time of year, whether you’re a die-hard cook, or prefer the pre-prepared route. And speaking of cooking, An Evening With Michael Pollan is coming to the Newmark in May.  Powell’s Books, in conjunction with OPB, is hosting this event which is sure to be an engaging look into the question of why cooking matters.  I hope something in this week’s menu appeals to you enough to give cooking a shot – you really can’t go wrong with local bounty like this!  Thank you Hood River Organic!

Friday – TV trays, movie(s), & pizza

caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza (The New Basics)

Saturday – harissa, your new best friend

moroccan chicken with carrot puree (Saveur)

Sunday – Oscar mania fancy finger food + bubbly

wild mushroom, leek and chèvre galettes (Bon Appetit)
crispy parsnip chips (Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Table)
walnut-mushroom pate (Lizzy Caston, Mushroom Farmers Grow…)
leek toasts with blue cheese (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
mini beet and goat cheese salads (The Endless Meal)
bruschettta with winter greens pesto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)

Monday –  kick start the week

wheat berry salad with mustard greens (Anthony Cafiero, The Oregonian)
baguette

Tuesday –  taco tuesday

fish tacos with chipotle cream (Ellie Krieger, Food Network)
blood orange margaritas (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday – baked potato bar

baked potato soup (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Thursday – home version Whole Bowl

kale rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

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Friday – TV trays, movie(s), & pizza

caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza (The New Basics)

IMG_1084

Super fun, interactive, and delicious way to use those veggies –Pizza Night!  Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making.  I think this combination is sure to please everyone; we’ll instead debate the movie selection, with the high stakes Academy Awards just around the corner!  Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Pirates!Band of Misfits, Wreck-it Ralph…?  Or will mom and dad prevail (with their discretion called into judgement) with Beasts of the Southern Wild?  Whip up another pizza – it could be a two-movie evening!

Other recent winter pizza creations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
potato and rosemary 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
roasted golden beet and leek 
kale, sundried tomato, & feta

Saturday –  harissa, your new best friend

moroccan chicken with carrot puree (Saveur)

I came across this recipe while searching for just the right way to make a carrot puree.  Belonging to a CSA means a lot of carrots; I’m always trying to come up with ways to enjoy them that are a bit different from my old stand-bys in soups, salads, lunch boxes, and, when I’m fancy, roasted in the shape of french fries.  I wanted a carrot puree that didn’t feel like I was serving baby food.  This looks like the ticket, the entire meal seeming very company-worthy.  Harissa is a good sauce to get to know; it’s an incredibly tasty North African chili-based condiment, and can be found at most grocery stores.  It’s adds the perfect kick to dressings, grilled meats, sautéed veggies, roasted potatoes, etc.  In this Saveur recipe, I’ll use my leeks instead of the onion, and some of my mustard greens (purchased arugula would work well also.)  The mix of sweet, spicy, and bitter flavors will be fabulous, I’m sure, and leave baby food the last thing on our minds.

Sunday – Oscar mania fancy finger food + bubbly

wild mushroom, leek and chèvre galettes (Bon Appetit)
crispy parsnip chips (Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Table)
walnut-mushroom pate (Lizzy Caston, Mushroom Farmers Grow…)
leek toasts with blue cheese (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
mini beet and goat cheese salads (The Endless Meal)
bruschettta with winter greens pesto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)

The annual Academy Awards…time for girlfriends, finger food, and champagne!  It took me a while to discover that neither my children nor my husband had quite the appreciation for the red carpet moments, the glamorous gowns, or the all-night fanfare that I did.  This evening’s “meal” is devoted to choosing which local-bounty-inspired hors d’oeuvres strike your fancy, then sitting back to enjoy the glamor of it all.  For the galettes, I’d skip the dried mushrooms, and use any of your freshly foraged ones.  It’s fun to cut the puff pastry into star shapes for the Oscar celebration.  I’ll serve the mushroom pate with thick pita crackers, and even some raw veggie crudités.  If you have any micro greens left from last week, they’d make the perfect topper for the crispy beets.  Otherwise, any green will do.  And I generally spread this delicious winter greens pesto over lightly olive-oiled and browned baguette.  (Many stores also make their own crostini for this same purpose.)  Popcorn, licorice, and milk duds are absolutely perfectly acceptable accompaniments to this Oscar-worthy spread of veggie nibbles.

Monday – kick start the week

wheat berry salad with mustard greens (Anthony Cafiero, The Oregonian)
baguette

This recipe by Tabla Mediterranean Bistro’s chef was just made for the perfectly spicy, peppery mustard greens that have come my way!  I’ve made it in the summer, for a portable picnic meal, but I think it will be equally delicious in the winter.  Wheat berries are the true whole grain – they are the whole wheat kernel, before any amount of processing takes place.  They take a while to cook (inactive, boiling time), but are so worth it!  Packed with fiber, protein, and iron, they have a subtle nutty, earthy flavor and a nice chewy bite.  After the boiling time, this salad is a snap – just throw in the thinly sliced mustard greens and leeks (instead of green onions because…I’ve got them!) and the simple, lemony dressing, and you’re done.  Some chopped, toasted nuts would be a wonderful addition (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, whatever!).  This and a warm HRO baguette is the full-meal-deal at my house.  But, if there’s some of those Moroccan chicken breasts left, they would be the perfect side.

Tuesday – taco tuesday

fish tacos with chipotle cream (Ellie Krieger, Food Network)
blood orange margaritas (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Everyone loves taco night, even fish taco night.  Tilapia is a mild, sweet flavor that is a smart, sustainable substitute for snapper.  (And is featured this week at New Seasons.)  After a simple lime marinade, I’ll cook the fish in my grill pan on the stovetop.  Then the fun part:  the topping bar!  The chipotle cream will just be chopped chipotles, a little lime juice & salt, and either sour cream or plain yogurt (forget the straining step!).  Get the family involved by having them shout out their favorite toppings.  Around here, it will be a couples types of salsa, some chopped leeks, and black olives (not the fancy kind – seems the retro, wear-on-your-fingers version makes an appearance at nearly all of our topping bars!). I’ll skip the corn and cabbage and use what I’ve got – some wonderfully deep green lacinato kale, chopped into thin strips and sauteed simply in some olive oil, garlic, and salt.  And I couldn’t resist this margarita recipe, considering blood oranges still seem in winter abundance.  Now that’s a taco night sure to please anyone!

Wednesday – baked potato bar

baked potato soup (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Try as I might, I’ve got potatoes coming out my ears.  And because my family loves a topping bar (see above!), I thought I’d give this baked potato soup a whirl, using whatever potatoes have landed on my table recently.  The coming weekend’s weather looks grizzly, at best; this soup will ease the pain, I just know it.  I can guarantee I’ll skip any labor-intensive garlic chopping/mashing steps, and just look forward to the flavor that the nearly whole boiled head is sure to bring. Our toppings will include all of the traditional items:  sour cream, chives, cheddar cheese and cooked, chopped bacon (or veg substitute) –  essential for that true baked potato bar experience.  It will also include some slightly non-traditional ones too:  some freshly foraged, chopped & sauteed crimini or portabella mushrooms, as well as some thinly sliced, lightly sauteed kale.  It’s amazing to me what happens when the “weird” veggie toppings are placed amongst the tried-and-true…not really so weird, it seems.  Quite possibly downright delicious!

Thursday – home version Whole Bowl

kale rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

Everyone needs the “shouldn’t go out again…what can I throw together quickly?” dinner.  I think this looks like a great candidate.  Reminds me of the Whole Bowl food cart, claiming to serve “love in a bowl.” We all need a bit of that by Thursday.   The minimal ingredients and suggested accompaniments are ripe for experimentation with various grains, greens, and, you guessed it, toppings.  I’m going to prepare it as written, with my HRO kale, brown rice, and a poached egg.  I’m sure New Seasons will carry the Middle Eastern spice blend za’atar; seems like it’s a staple I’m going to need to add to my stovetop cooking essentials.

“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.

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