april 5 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, braising greens, carrots, collard greens, kale raab, leeks, micro greens, mint, mushrooms, parsnips, pea shoots, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

Each week, a little less winter, and a little more spring.  We’ve got those sweet and tender pea shoot tendrils again (this time we’ll eat them raw), along with fresh mint!  You may have smelled it before you saw it.  And this is how it works…those small but mighty gestures of spring allow us to view those potatoes and parsnips in a whole new light.  A pea shoot, mint, and crispy pancetta salad?  Oven browned potatoes don’t seem quite so boring now!  A fresh mint mojito?!?  This will make even the toughest customer welcome the braised greens gone Mexican.  Enjoy this week’s menu; peruse the farmers market if you can, to get a sneak peek of the spring treats headed our way soon.

Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives (Deb Perlman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday – minty mojitos

braised greens & mushroom tacos (Serious Eats, Rick Bayless)
mexican beans
cool mojitos (Sunset)

Sunday – more minty

pea shoots, crisped pancetta, and mint vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)
lemon-mint halibut (Bon Appetit)
oven-browned potatoes (Goumet)

Monday – monday meatballs

asian beet & carrot salad (Heather Christo Cooks)
asian chicken meatballs
rice

Tuesday – pasta with greens and beans

spaghetti with collard greens, white beans & bacon (Cook’s Illustrated The Best 30-Minute Recipes)

Wednesday – soup’s on!

parsnip-almond soup (Ashley Gartland, Dishing Up Oregon)
baguette

Thursday – farm-fresh frittata

leek, sun-dried tomato & goat cheese frittata (Mark Bittman, Kitchen Express)
shaved carrot & micro green salad (Kitchen Apparel)

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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives (Deb Perlman, The Smitten Kitchen)

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!  This week, kale raab pizza!  Sound crazy?  I don’t think so – Alice Waters (where this recipe originally came from) had it right when she dreamt up this loose combination where she used brocolli raab and onions.  I’ll make two of these pizzas, adjusting the toppings accordingly.  Instead of roasting the onions, I’ll caramelize the leeks slowly in olive oil, then use the same pan to proceed with the raab part.  With the nicoise olives, and a bit of mozzarella, any bitterness of the kale raab will quickly be replaced by a divine combination of fresh spring greens, sweet soft leeks, and perfectly salty olives and cheese.  Put some Olympic Provisions salami on the toppings bar, and you might be surprised who thinks kale raab might be a cool addition to their creation too!

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
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza

Saturday – minty mojitos

braised greens & mushroom tacos (Serious Eats, Rick Bayless)
mexican beans
cool mojitos (Sunset)

In doing some “research” for an upcoming Mexican gathering with friends, my mouth was just watering for some Rick Bayless fare.  An American cooking genius, he’s gained fame and fortune through his culinary devotion to the truest, most authentic Mexican food and how to best deliver that to the public. His restaurants, hands-on teaching, television series, and prepared foods line have all done just that.  This is not to mention his great commitment to environmentally sound agricultural practices and avid support of the local farmer – he’s the full package.  Next time you’re in Chicago, make Frontera Grill or Topolobampo (or both!) must stops!  In the meantime, here’s a simple and delicious interpretation of his braised greens tacos.  I’ll use all of my braising greens, and caramelize leeks instead of onion.  Some of those sauteed criminis would be a perfect addition, adding a little meatiness to the tacos.  I’ll skip the homemade salsa, and let everyone choose a favorite Frontera jar from the store – a Rick Bayless salsa sampling! And since it’s Saturday, I’ll stray from the can, and slowly cook these out-of-this-world Mexican beans.  Each time I make them I wonder why oh why I ever use canned beans.  It’s really ridiculous how simple they are:  soak a pound of beans (any kind – I’m using the black beans I got as a surprise from HRO last week) overnight (or use the quick soak method), cover with chicken broth about one inch above the beans, add one half of a white onion, a couple whole cloves of garlic and 1 tsp. of salt.  After bringing to a boil, cover the pot and cook very slowly (on low or warm) for an hour.  Test them at this point, but I usually add a bit more salt and cook for another half hour or even more. Use them for Mexican night, then either freeze the rest or use them again this week. Beans, sauteed greens, and an egg on top?  Yum!  Add a minty mojito (easily translated into a virgin version with just ginger ale or sparkling water for the kids) to tonight’s dinner, celebrating our fresh mint and a Saturday evening!

Sunday – more minty

pea shoots, crisped pancetta, and mint vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)
lemon-mint halibut (Bon Appetit)
oven-browned potatoes (Goumet)

A modern twist on the classic pea-mint combination!  This salad looks incredibly fresh and springy.  I’ll pick up some delicate spring salad greens at the market for this beauty.  The crispy pancetta, along with the mint and pea shoots, will be just right with a simply prepared lemony halibut fillet.  I’m making roasted potatoes instead of the fava bean portion of this halibut recipe (but will sure come back to it when favas are in the box!)  just following the fish sauté part.  No need for any herbs on the potatoes – let the flavor of the fresh mint from our other dishes shine.

Monday –  monday meatballs

asian beet & carrot salad (Heather Christo Cooks)
asian chicken meatballs
rice

I wasn’t sure that there was such a thing as an “asian beet” recipe.  But, amazingly, I found many last week after deciding that sauteed pea shoots might want another veggie companion at the asian-themed dinner table.  Most seemed more complicated than need be.  This one was really a simple but inspiring and fresh mix of flavors and textures.  The beets are soft and cooked (ahead actually…pre-cooked and at the ready!) but the carrots are raw and crunchy.  The addition of rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger pull it all together, along with the cilantro and green onion (I used my chives).  Pair with the pre-made bite-sized asian chicken meatballs (just heat and serve!) featured in the New Seasons deli this week.  I’m all about taking advantage of someone else’s time and expertise in the kitchen, especially when it’s a partner like New Seasons.  It’s the great compromise – local, fresh, seasonal veggies that I concoct into dinner, and a convenient, healthy, inexpensive “side by someone else” added to the mix.  Serve with your favorite rice – often I go to the very delicious Bob’s Red Mill sweet brown rice.

Tuesday – pasta with greens and beans

spaghetti with collard greens, white beans & bacon (Cook’s Illustrated The Best 30-Minute Recipes)

Yes, it’s a popular theme, this “greens and beans” idea.  But it’s so easy, so Italian, and so loved by children (and others!) really no matter what the green.  Some variation of this makes many a weeknight dinner menu at my house.  This Cook’s Illustrated version takes a classic spinach/bacon combination and varies it just a bit to include our gorgeous collards and some cannellini beans, making it the perfect full-meal-deal.  It’s already a 30-minute-meal, but I just may cheat and use purchased already-toasted bread crumbs from New Seasons, eliminating one more step.  Add the beans to the skillet with the broth, and add chopped greens into the boiling water with the pasta.  Fontina, being a wonderfully melt-able Italian cheese, seems the perfect choice.  But whatever cheese strikes your fancy (or that you’ve got in your cheese drawer!) works.

Wednesday – soup’s on!

parsnip-almond soup (Ashley Gartland, Dishing Up Oregon)
baguette

I don’t get to Portland’s Park Kitchen often enough.  They are masters of using our Pacific Northwest seasonal ingredients in really creative, yet not so fussy, ways.  This soup (although reminding us of the winter we’re trying desperately to leave behind…) looks amazingly silky and flavorful.  I guarantee I’ll skip out on the Kumquat-Caperberry garnish – too much fuss for a weeknight for me!  By all means, give it a whirl if you’ve got time and intrigue.  It does look amazing!  I’ll settle for a sprinkling of additional toasted sliced almonds and maybe some feta cheese.  A soft, warm HRO baguette for dipping, and we’re set.  For those who will miss the meat, add a made-by-someone else roast chicken – it would be an ideal accompaniment.

Thursday – farm-fresh frittata

leek, sun-dried tomato & goat cheese frittata (Mark Bittman, Kitchen Express)
shaved carrot & micro green salad (Kitchen Apparel)

I love the frittata on a Thursday – the perfect dinner dish to help clean out that veggie crisper before the Friday CSA box arrival.  I use eight eggs for a family of four, and then just eyeball the amount of other ingredients.  If you’ve got leek left, great.  If not, use whatever you’ve got!  Just about any veggie is a good candidate for a frittata.  Just sauté first to soften, before adding the eggs and cheese.  The salad may sound boring, but check out those photos – gorgeous, and I think would inspire anyone to build a meal around raw carrots and micro greens!  Her recipe is for one, so adjust accordingly.  I’ll skip the avocado oil (using olive oil instead) – maybe we need an actual avocado?  And I might use chives that I’ve got instead of the spring onion.  One thing I won’t change is the blood orange and balsamic combo – it would make even your least favorite veggie a winner!

“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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One response to “april 5 weekly menu | spring table”

  1. KirstenKR says :

    Looking forward to trying the beet salad idea! Have just been roasting them to add to salad but they are starting to stack up, need to use them before the next bunch arrives. Great menus this week…

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