march 29 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, chives, collard greens, kale, kale raab, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, pea shoots, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

We’ve got another sure sign of spring added to the mix this week – sweet and tender pea shoots. Don’t be shy or hesitant with these – you’ll want to use them when they’re at their freshest. As for the rest, I think it might be possible to use nearly all of the above farm fresh produce in one hugely indulgent and delicious Easter day! Want the holiday to relax and let someone else do the cooking? Check out this amazing-sounding Farmed and Foraged Spring Feast offered through the Portland Farmers Market.  Whatever your plans, enjoy the local spring bounty!

Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

pizza with caramelized leeks, mushrooms, and Italian sausage (The New Basics)

Saturday – “spring!” says the pea shoot

stir-fried pea vine shoots (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)
hoisin glazed salmon (Simply Recipes)
brown rice

Sunday – Easter celebration, coconut two ways  

brunch:

breakfast strata with greens, gruyere, and sausage (Gourmet/Eggs On Sunday)
fruit salad
carrot bread with cream cheese icing (Better Homes and Gardens)
coconut bread (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

dinner:

herbed deviled eggs (Martha Stewart)
sliced hard boiled eggs
cheese and salami selections (+ beets!)
baguette

nettle soup (Saveur)

winter greens gratin (Bon Appetit)
simple potato gratin (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled local spring lamb with rosemary and garlic

sweet coconut creation  (Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)

Monday – kicked up egg salad

curried egg salad sandwiches with micro greens (Real Simple)

Tuesday –  not-so-classic cobb

kale cobb salad (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Wednesday – kale what?

pasta with kale raab and chicken (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)

Thursday – cream of mushroom soup

hungarian mushroom soup (Mollie Katzen, The Moosewood Cookbook)
baguette

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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

IMG_1084pizza with caramelized leeks, mushrooms, and Italian sausage (The New Basics)

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! This week we’ll go back to using this basic pizza crust and sauce recipe. Use the same pan to caramelize the leeks (on low, slowly, slowly), then saute the mushrooms, then fry up the sausage. As they’re each done, put them on the toppings bar, and see what else anyone might like to add. Combinations are endless!

Other recent pizza creations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
potato and rosemary 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
kale, sundried tomato, & feta
portabella mushroom & roasted red pepper
shitake mushroom
leek, sundried tomato, and goat cheese

Saturday – “spring!” says the pea shoot

stir-fried pea vine shoots (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)
hoisin glazed salmon (Simply Recipes)
brown rice

Pea shoots, the tendrils of the green pea plant that just scream “spring!”, must be all the new rage. Either that, or I’ve just never paid that much attention, until they’re in my CSA box looking for a place at the dinner table! In the last week, I’ve seen these on several restaurant menus – beautifully presented in their raw form in salads, adding a wonderful sweetness and texture to pastas and risottos, more traditionally stir fried in Asian dishes, and, just plain, sauteed on their own with maybe just a bit of garlic and oil (maybe sesame oil?). Their fresh pea-ish flavor stands out on its own. Because they are so delicate and tender, use them within the first day or two that you receive them. Serve along with a simple asian-inspired salmon (Coho is featured this week at New Seasons) and your favorite rice.  Healthy, fresh and delicious in a flash!

Sunday – Easter celebration, coconut two ways  

brunch:

breakfast strata with greens, gruyere, and sausage (Gourmet/Eggs On Sunday)
fruit salad
coconut bread (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
carrot bread with cream cheese icing (Better Homes and Gardens)

dinner:

herbed deviled eggs (Martha Stewart)
sliced hard boiled eggsIMG_3706
baguette
local cheese and salami selections (+beets!)

nettle soup (Saveur)

winter greens gratin (Bon Appetit)
simple potato gratin (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled local leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic

sweet coconut creation (Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)

Not that we need two complete feasts on the same day that the Easter Bunny brings pounds of peanut butter eggs, peeps, and chocolate bunnies. I say pace yourself, start early, and it’ll work out gorgeously!

I love a breakfast strata for these brunch celebrations. Assemble it the night before, let it sit and soak and meld flavors overnight, and the morning is simple – just throw it in the oven to bake.  Stratas are the perfect opportunity to be creative. Bread, milk, and eggs are the base, but then just add whatever you think sounds wonderful. Any cheese, any breakfast meat, any veggie. I love this one because I’ll use my HRO baguette, collard greens, and leeks. My hunch is after the wonderfully rich and decadent Gruyere cheese addition, I’ll forgo the sausage, but some might consider that a sin. Don’t forget to sprinkle the finished strata with some of those fresh chives! A perfectly lovely Easter brunch with the seasonal veggie strata as the centerpiece, flanked by a luscious fruit salad and two gorgeous spring breads (sounds maybe just a tad healthier than calling them what they really are – cakes!) But, this carrot “bread” is so packed with carrots, it might actually have some counterbalancing effects. I skip the candied carrots on top – I’ve got candy coming out my ears by this point, believe me. And the coconut “bread” I just couldn’t resist. Coconut, cinnamon, browned butter, vanilla?!? The only thing better might be if I served it with a little rhubarb compote, which I just might, after Saturday’s visit to the farmers market.

So, brunch was early, right? After munching a few more jelly beans, having a hard-boiled egg (you know, for DSCN0090protein), it’s already time for Easter dinner! We have a very fortunate tradition of going to our friends’ family farm and winery for the big affair. He is from Italy, so we do it like Italians, whole grilled spring lamb (neighbor’s!) and all. (I close my eyes for this part.) The other wonderful Italian part is the gorgeous appetizer platter with sliced hard boiled eggs, an array of cheeses and salamis, a sliced baguette and some quince paste. I think I could easily sneak in some roasted, sliced beets, and they’d be right at home here too. And Easter is not complete without some special-event deviled eggs – our chives will add a beautiful green sprinkling over the top. Sitting on the deck, overlooking the vineyards and mountains, sipping a beautiful Apolloni sparkling rose, and watching the kids hunt for Easter eggs – couldn’t get much better than this.  Then, believe it or not, comes the actual feast part. Minus the nettle soup. Yes, I listed it.  Yes, I pictured it.  Yes, I’ve made it for Easter. No, I’m not making it again!  See the gloves on my hands?!? There was a reason for that, and I will forevermore appreciate the courageous efforts in the kitchen when I indulge at a restaurant. IMG_3681But it is the season, and it was fun, and it was magnificent with Easter dinner. Have at it – you may be more sturdy and adventurous than me!  There’s always a unique and wonderful au gratin potato dish – this one looks perfectly simple and less heavy than many. You could easily incorporate some of those fresh mushrooms here. Feel free to use any potatoes you might have – some may fall apart more easily, but who cares?  I’ll also make this winter greens (we’ll call them spring greens now) gratin. I’ll use all of my kale and any other greens I have, pulling out the Magimix for those fresh breadcrumbs from my HRO baguette, and  adding a sprinkling of chives. And for dessert, (since we only had “bread” this morning) we’ll have to indulge in this coconut bunny cake or coconut chick cupcakes (or both!) Ina’s coconut cake recipe, along with the rich and luscious cream cheese frosting, is the perfect base for your own Easter creativity and whims!

Monday – kicked up egg salad

curried egg salad sandwiches with micro greens (Real Simple)

After lots of cooking and feasting yesterday, sandwiches are the perfect, simple, start-of-the-week dinner. Not to mention the satisfaction of using eight of our beautiful pastel (or more likely marbled, glittered, tie-dyed, tattooed or stickered) dyed eggs. Spice up the tried-and-true egg salad sandwich with a little curry powder and fresh chives. The recipe suggests pumpernickel bread; use what you like. I’ll use some of the hearty multi-grain sandwich bread delivered from HRO. A mound of micro greens will make a peppery, wonderfully textured addition to the sandwich. Serve with some everyone-loves Tim’s Cascade chips, and maybe a slice of leftover bunny cake!

Tuesday –  not-so-classic cobb

kale cobb salad (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

I’m going to muck with the classic cobb, and make it just a little chewier than normal. Use very thinly sliced kale leaves, and dress the salad a bit ahead of serving it to give the kale a chance to soften up a bit. Choose any of the rest of the ingredients that make a cobb perfect to you. Again, we’re using our Easter eggs! Plus more of our fresh chives. I’ll skip the tomatoes and add some roasted sliced beets for a unique twist on the red. I would suggest purchasing a made-by-someone else roast chicken, and using part of it this night in the salad, and part of it another night in the pasta/kale raab dish. Then, whether you want to dirty a pan frying bacon is entirely up to you, and your level of bacon love.

Wednesday – kale what?

pasta with kale raab and chicken (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)

See last week’s post if kale raab is something you’ve never heard of, but you’re intrigued. Yes, Mark Bittman suggests broccoli raab for this recipe – kale raab is close enough. Oh, and he proposes using sweet Italian sausage in this dish. I’m sure that’s wonderful, but I’ll use what I’ve got, and chicken it is. Pasta recipes like this are a breeze to put together, can be made delicious with minimal ingredients (the essential one:  garlic), and generally everyone devours whatever’s in the mix. Even if it’s something entirely new and unfamiliar, possibly like spring fresh kale raab.

Thursday – cream of mushroom soup

hungarian mushroom soup (Mollie Katzen, The Moosewood Cookbook)
baguette

I’m sure many of you may have eaten this soup at the New Seasons deli – it’s one of their very popular standards. It’s a far cry from the molded-into-a-can-shape soup that I remember “cooking” as a child. This modern version is wonderful way to put our mushrooms to use this week. Add to the portabellas (cut several ways into bite-sized slices) any type of mushroom you love.  f you’ve got leeks left, use these instead of the onion. As for the paprika, this is considered the national spice of Hungary! Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat. Let you taste buds be  your guide! Modifications New Seasons makes to this Mollie Katzen recipe, if you want it exactly how they prepare it:  double the broth, butter, and mushrooms; 2 T dill and no parsley, soy sauce, or lemon juice. I’ll probably skip the dill and add chives, assuming I’ve got some left after so many delicious uses this week!

“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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