march 8 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, celeriac, collard greens, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, mustard greens, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

With the sun shining, now for actual days in a row, it’s time to start thinking in earnest about the spring CSA sign-ups.  Check out my new “what’s a CSA” page for all the nuts and bolts related to CSAs.  The Oregonian (and other Northwest publications) will historically have a FoodDay dedicated to our local options – I’ll be on the watch for sure.  In the meantime, just one more week until the Portland Farmers Market opens back up for many, many magnanimous months of local produce in the Park Blocks at PSU.  Thank you Hood River Organicfor this table toppling with bounty from our beautiful Columbia Gorge!

Friday – TV trays, movie(s), & pizza

roasted golden beet and caramelized leek pizza (Cooking Light)

Saturday – sushi & s’mores birthday bash!

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
sauteed mustard greens (Simply Recipes)
edamame
s’mores ice cream cake (Bon Appetit)

Sunday – polenta aplenty

polenta gratin with mushrooms and fontina (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
grilled top sirloin with micro greens

Monday –  harissa, harissa, have you heard enough?

carrot salad with harissa, feta, & mint (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
curry chicken sausage links

Tuesday –  super simple dal

simplest dal with celery root (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
naan

Wednesday – louisiana vs. local

shrimp with bacon and collards (Martha Stewart)
rice

Thursday – smoky skillet kielbasa

kielbasa vegetable skillet (Debra Meadow, PFM Blog)
baguette


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Friday – TV trays, movie(s), & pizza

roasted golden beet and caramelized leek pizza (Cooking Light)

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. Friday is the perfect night for this, not only as an end-of-the-week celebration, but because I can literally pick and choose veggies off my table to top the pizzas!  There are just endless combinations, even in the depth of winter.  This week, be brave – try beets on your pizza!  I realize I posted this idea just a few weeks ago, and have been lamenting the fact that I didn’t actually get to make it yet this winter!  Who knows why…Pizzicato, per chance?  I originally picked up this recipe at the Portland Farmers Market.  Dubious at first, after one trial I was sold – the sprinkle of salt and drizzle of honey on the finished pizza creates an extra special touch.  Double this recipe for two pizzas.  I’ll stick with the feta recommendation, and add caramelized leeks instead of shallots.  With the beets pre-roasted, the rest of pizza night is a snap to put together, especially with a kitchen full of helpers!  And try this:  put any leftover beets, (after using some thinly sliced on the pizzas) cut into large chunks, onto a platter with your favorite dip.  Guaranteed they’ll disappear before your eyes.

Other recent winter pizza creations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
potato and rosemary 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
kale, sundried tomato, & feta
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza 
portabella mushroom & roasted red pepper pizza

Saturday –  sushi & s’mores birthday bash!

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
sauteed mustard greens (Simply Recipes)
edamame
s’mores ice cream cake (Bon Appetit)Kathryn BDay

Yes, it’s birthday season at our house!  My little boy just turned 10, I snuck in my 29th  (with a fabulous no-cooking celebration at St. Jack and  Saint Cupcake), and now my baby girl turns teen –  13!!!  One of my fondest memories is of her as a sushi-eating baby.  Not sure if this was pediatrician-approved, but she sure devoured it!  Over her years, we’ve accumulated all the necessaries for a “sushi party” as she calls it:  lots of chopsticks, rectangular sushi plates and dipping bowls, bamboo rolling mats, and wasabi always on hand!  Sushi-making is fun, festive, and easy – anyone can do it.  The essential ingredients:  sushi rice, nori (the seaweed sheets, available at most any store), and fillings (minus the fish – I’ll save that for the experts!).  Ignore Mark Bittman’s complicated chef-inspired recipe for sushi rice; all you need is what Mr. Morimoto recommends – short-grain japanese rice, rice vinegar, and sugar.  We’re only making maki at our house – the traditional mat-rolled sushi with the seaweed on the outside and the rice and fillings on the inside.  It takes a bit of practice to get good at spreading the rice over the nori – moistening your finger tips is essential.  Then the fun part: arrange the fillings.  Don’t be tempted to over-stuff the sushi – this will just create complications when trying to roll it.  Let these chefs, along with your own imagination and inspiration (and veggies in the fridge!) be your guide to choosing what you want as fillings.  What always makes the cut at our house:  slices of cooked egg, avocado, and pickled radishes (Uwajimaya).  What we’ll add this week:  cooked beets, sauteed mushrooms, raw carrots, and raw leeks all sliced into thin matchsticks, some micro greens, and bits of the above sautéed mustard greens.  Just like a toppings bar, set it all out, and let people go at it, stuffing and rolling their own combinations as they please.  Since only a small bit of the mustard greens will be used in the sushi, I’ll serve it as a wonderful accompaniment, along with lots of edamame, for a full-on Japanese meal.  Quite possibly a quick pick up of miso soup and gyoza at Restaurant Murata (our favorite celebratory sit-on-the-floor sushi place!) if I hear rumblings  – out of my league for sure!  But the s’mores ice cream cake is not, especially when you take the short-cuts I do!  The homemade graham cracker crust is essential – the addition of lightly toasted almonds makes it amazing.  Then, the birthday girl gets to choose her ice cream flavor(s), and with purchased fudge sauce (can you say Fran’s?!? or Ruby Jewell?!?), good old fashioned marshmallow creme and marshmallows, it’s a done-deal.  A taste of summer in March, which doesn’t go AT ALL with our Japanese-inspired sushi feast.  But, hey, what are birthdays all about?  Birthday girl choice, no questions asked.

Sunday – polenta aplenty

polenta gratin with mushrooms and fontina (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
grilled top sirloin with micro greens

Plenty is one of those cookbooks that I feel I know and love, even though I don’t actually own it (hint, hint kids, husband, mom…).   Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetarian recipes have proven foolproof and flavorful beyond imagination.  I saw this one in the Oregonian, and immediately knew I’d have to put it to use with my HRO mushrooms.  Instead of the variety of mushrooms he suggests (which I’m sure are fabulous,) I’m going to use all of this week’s portabellas.  The only real bit of time involved in this recipe is the hour the polenta bakes before scattering the sautéed mushrooms and cheese over the top.  This gratin, I think, just begs for a grilled steak.  Keep it simple – salt, pepper, EVOO, maybe a little garlic.  Throw it on the barby if weather permits, otherwise pan-fried is great.  I love my cast iron grill pan for this, beautifully emulating those professional grill marks we all know and love. (Paninis, steaks, whatever!)  I’m going to mix my micro greens with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, and serve alongside (on top?) of the grilled steak.  A sprinkling of Rogue River Blue anyone?

Monday – harissa, harissa, have you heard enough?

carrot salad with harissa, feta, & mint (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
curry chicken sausage links

Now that I’ve made friends with my 30-pound Magimix food processor (thank you, parsnip latkes, for the necessary inspiration to unbox it!), I seek out opportunities to shred, slice, and dice.  It literally takes longer to wash the bowl than to shred an entire mountain of veggies.  You won’t believe what just a bit of harissa and some essential herbs and spices will do to transform plain old carrots.  (Harissa is just one of those condiments you need to have around, like ketchup and mustard.  It’s a North African spice paste that makes just about anything more delicious.)  Suddenly, carrots become the mouth-watering centerpiece:  salty and smokey, fresh and tangy, bright and minty.  Add a side of roasted potatoes (with harissa!), and curry chicken sausage links featured at New Seasons this week, and you’ve got yourself a mean Monday night dinner!

Tuesday – super simple dal

simplest dal with celery root (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
naan

A beautiful way to transform our celeriac (not really a “looker”) into something complex and creamy.  Just peel, chop, and add an entire celery root to the pot before cooking.  Don’t forget the naan – essential for dipping or scooping!   You can find it at New Seasons, Trader Joe’s, or for an extra special weeknight treat, from your favorite Indian restaurant or food cart (our favorite is Bombay Chaat House – add an order of their samosas for an addition you won’t regret!). If this delicious dal isn’t gobbled up all in one sitting, it’s a wonderful lunchbox favorite.  Add in a few thin mints, and what lunch could be better?

Wednesday – louisiana vs. local

shrimp with bacon and collards (Martha Stewart)
rice

Do not despair over more collard greens!  What a treat to have a green that so brilliantly shines with just a bit of bacon or smoked paprika.  With our leek (instead of the onion) and some sumptuous shrimp?!?  It’ll be a simple weeknight skillet supper that everyone will love.  Add a bit of fun with a Louisiana vs. Local hot pepper sauce sampling – so many to choose from, here’s the perfect voting venue!

Thursday – smoky skillet kielbasa

kielbasa vegetable skillet (Debra Meadow, PFM Blog)
baguette

I found it!  The absolutely perfect end-of-my-veggie-week recipe!  My family gives each other knowing glances when I announce “potpourri night,” trying to put a fancy spin on these use-or-lose-it dinners.   The dilemma:  I’ve got another beautiful box of veggies arriving the next day, how can I unite every remaining vegetable morsel in my refrigerator into an pleasing and delicious dinner?  Sometimes it means fudging recipes just a wee bit to pack them with my own (numerous) veggie combos; sometimes it means more than an average number of veggie “sides” on the table; sometimes, like in this case, the recipe literally invites you to use any and all veggies, and pretty much guarantees it will be fabulous.  AND, it is super fast and easy, relying on the flavors of real, whole, high-quality foods:  an array of fresh, local, seasonal veggies, and the smoky richness of an Olympic Provisions applewood smoked kielbasa.  Sea salt and pepper.  That’s it.  Take a look at the author’s suggestions – some amazing possibilities for adding sweetness, bitterness, crunch, and color.  We’ll see what Thursday brings in our house…the current vision is my head of hearty kale, along with chopped celery root.  Reality doesn’t always match vision, though, and I love that this recipe could accommodate bits and pieces of my entire CSA box!  Including, a side of warmed buttered HRO baguette, or if I’m feeling fancy, garlic bread.  Just a hunch, but I don’t think they’ll be a lot of “potpourri night” complaints.

“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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