april 19 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, cauliflower, chives, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, pea shoots, potatoes, radishes, spinach

What’s for Dinner?

We’ve got yet another humble marker to the end of the root vegetable season…dandelion greens!  To some, dandelion is a pesky yard weed.  To others, a nutritionally packed delicacy.  They are delightfully bitter, enjoyed especially when paired with something rich (think cheese, bacon, etc.)  I’ll use them two ways this week – once on pizza!  And once as a salad with a warmed garlicky vinaigrette.  What sounds good to you?  Give something new a shot – you’ll be glad you did with spring produce like this!

Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza

Saturday – burgers & chips, two ways

curly kale crisps (Making Life Delicious)
oven-baked french fries (The New Basics)
grilled hamburgers/veggie burgers

Sunday – spring fling pot pie

spring vegetable pot pie (Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Today)
with cheddar chive biscuit topping!!!

Monday – micro green madness 

buttermilk asparagus & micro green salad (101 Cookbooks)
roasted chicken

Tuesday – dandelions for dinner?!?

cauliflower pasta risotto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)
dandelion greens with warm balsamic vinaigrette (Whole Foods Market)

Wednesday –  mid-week sunshine celebration

avocado, beet & pea shoot salad (Lunch Box Bunch)
grilled salmon with lemon chive butter (Art Food Life)

Thursday –  espinacas con garbanzos + sangria

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perlman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

summer sangria (Martha Stewart)

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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

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, Ivy Manning and her Farm to Table cookbook inspires me to try this pizza with dandelion greens!  I’ve eyed it for a long time, wondering, wondering…really?!?  Dandelion greens on pizza?!?  Ivy doesn’t steer me wrong too often, so let’s give it a shot, since now we’ve got a big beautiful bunch of them to play with.  Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add some sliced garlic until it just barely begins to brown.  Remove the garlic, and add the greens, cooking for 30 seconds just to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.  That’s it.  Add these garlic-infused, earthy greens to your topping line-up.  Ivy’s combination suggests browned Italian sausage and grated fontina cheese (Willamette Valley Cheese Company would be a great choice) – sounds good to me!

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
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and rosemary

Saturday – burgers & chips, two ways

curly kale crisps (Making Life Delicious)
oven-baked french fries (The New Basics)
grilled hamburgers/veggie burgers

Yes, kale chips are all the rage.  You can even buy them packaged, in a chip bag.  Let me know how that works out, next time you’re on a long car trip, with the kids searching through the snacks for the Ruffles or Lays, and  they find a bag of kale chips instead.  But, we do love them…maybe just at home, under not-so-desperate circumstances.  My daughter made and brought kale chips to a large group of fifth graders under the premise of “bring a vegetable or fruit that is likely unfamiliar to your classmates.”  I swear, I had half the parents emailing me for the recipe after reports of deliciousness from their kids.  My standard formula is simple, resulting in bite-sized “chips” of a salty, crunchy, healthy snack.  The recipe I’ve included above caught my attention because, firstly, they’ve left the leaves whole – so artistic looking!  Like a faux whole-leaf salad on the table!  It also is unique in that it shows kurly kale (the green variety); kale chips generally seem to be made with lacinato kale (the flat, dark leafed variety), maybe because it lies flatter and is easier to cut into nice chip shapes.  It really doesn’t matter – both work great.  Watch the oven and cooking temperature – they can burn easily.  You just want them barely crisped.  This New Basics recipe for french fries is my go-to.  Something about the pre-soaking of the potatoes (any kind!) in the water-vinegar mixture makes them turn out perfectly every time.  I don’t bother with the sauteeing and draining of the potatoes – go light on the butter and olive oil, and just pour over and mix with potatoes and salt on a rimmed baking sheet.  Grill up some burgers (ground beef on sale at New Seasons this week), and put together a toppings bar with everyone’s favorites.  Mine will include some Rogue River blue cheese, our gorgeous micro greens, and maybe some sauteed mushrooms.  Combined with our chips (x2), heaven!

Sunday – spring fling pot pie

spring vegetable pot pie (Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Today)
with cheddar chive biscuit topping!!!

I love pot pies!  I’ve experimented with so many…from the very elaborate, multi-step Cook’s Illustrated versions (with the homemade double crust, of course,) to the somewhat simpler “skillet” type, to the cheater’s rendition complete with frozen vegetables and store-bought puff pastry.  The great news is, you can’t really go wrong – they’re all good!  Veggies you love, meat if you like, a rich creamy sauce, capped off somehow by a buttery, slightly crunchy pastry.  This Ruth Reichl recipe is a winner; I’ll modify it a bit here to encompass many of our spring vegetables on hand.  It’ll be less winter comfort, and more spring fling.  Pot pie doesn’t seem complete without those mini pearl onions (a godsend, peeled, from the frozen department!), but skip them if you’d like  (just use veggie or chicken broth) – we’ll more than make up for it.  If you do use them, I’d halve the amount as their flavor is quite strong.  As for the rest, I’m going to use my leeks instead of the onion, potatoes and carrots that I’ve still got in line in the fridge, and all of the collard greens, mushrooms, and radishes I receive this week.  Yes, radishes.  I’m skipping the celery, parsnip and peas – we’ve got so many other spring veggies.  A perfectly legal and tasty topping to this pot pie would be a sheet of frozen puff pastry.  If you do this, I like to cut it into eight pieces that roughly resemble what you’d scoop out as a serving.  Just makes it a bit easier to dish up.  I will forge ahead with the cheddar biscuit topping.  Because it is so darned delicious!!!  Well worth the very few minutes that it takes to pull together these drop biscuits.  Use whatever cheese you’d like, but the extra sharp cheddar is wonderful.  And, bonus, use a handful of our chopped fresh chives in place of the scallions.  Sunday supper, anyone?

Monday –  micro green madness 

buttermilk asparagus & micro green salad (101 Cookbooks)
roast chicken

Although it has not made it’s way to my CSA box yet, seeing the first of that fresh, young, spring local asparagus is just a thrill.  I’m going to buy some myself at this week’s farmer’s market.  The last thing I need is more veggies, but I can’t resist, especially since I came across this recipe for a fabulous-sounding salad brilliantly utilizing my micro greens also.  If this isn’t spring-on-a-plate, I don’t know what is!  The author uses posole (hominy) – a delicious choice, and although not as special, the canned version would work just fine.  Other choices are chickpeas, farro, orzo…get creative.  Or just use what’s in your cupboard.  The more important and memorable parts, guaranteed, are going to be those verdant veggies.  Pick up a made-by-someone-else roast chicken, add a warmed, buttered baguette…I’d say we’ve got a great start to the week!

Tuesday – dandelions for dinner?!?

cauliflower pasta risotto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)
dandelion greens with warm balsamic vinaigrette (Whole Foods Market)

I saw this cauliflower pasta recipe posted on Katherine’s site some time ago, and have been eagerly awaiting my own cauliflower to try it out.  Her inspiration comes from a recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  Dorie’s version, being delectably French, has loads of butter and mascarpone.  I’ll tell you one thing…I’m going to try that naughty French cauliflower risotto sometime!  But for now, we’ll lighten up a bit, and let the veggies shine.  I love that she uses the entire head of cauliflower – heart, stem, and all.  You could easily substitute your leeks for the onions.  Katherine made the brilliant suggestion of adding vibrant color and contrasting flavor to the plate through your salad choice.  Perfect – more fun with dandelion greens.  And, again, we’re toning down and enhancing their bitterness with a garlic-infused oil.  This time, it’s in a simple, warm vinaigrette which we’ll pour directly over the greens to wilt them just slightly.  Adding your favorite cheese to this salad would be amazing.

Wednesday mid-week sunshine celebration

avocado, beet & pea shoot salad (Lunch Box Bunch)
grilled salmon with lemon chive butter (Art Food Life)

I’m keeping my fingers crossed here, but the forecast looks good for a mid-week dinner al fresco!  The grill can be a blessing on the weeknights – there is nothing simpler than grilling a piece of fresh, healthy fish.  I’m going to nab some of those New Seasons coho salmon steaks advertised this week, topping them with a bit of lemon chive butter once they’re cooked.  A perfect use for our farm fresh chives!  I’ll add a nearly effortless salad highlighting our spring beets and pea shoots.  I’ll use all of my beets (pre-roasted and at-the-ready!) and pea shoots, and double the zesty lemon juice dressing.  A rich and creamy avocado sounds like the perfect complement.  I’ll skip all of this recipe’s fancy presentation steps (although beautiful) and just whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together before tossing it with all of the salad ingredients.  Now, a glass of sauvignon blanc, and cheers to the sunshine!

Thursday – espinacas con garbanzos + sangria

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perlman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

summer sangria (Martha Stewart)

Mmmm…Deb Perlman describes this as straight “from a tapas bar in Spain”.  Let’s go!  I’m going to use my first-of-the-season gorgeous bunch of spinach in this weeknight-simple dish, loaded with amazingly complex smokey, spicy, tangy flavors.  I’ll use canned chickpeas for a shortcut, but will give the toasted-in-olive-oil bread crumbs a shot.  Deb says the essence of this recipe would be preserved by just skipping this bread crumb part (just sauté the garlic, and continue without the bread); the final dish will just be a bit saucier.  In Spain, they would eat this on little fried bread toasts.  I’ll go simple, skip the fried, and use my HRO baguette – just slice, brush lightly with olive oil, and give a little sprinkling of salt before broiling or grilling.  A healthy, tasty, full-meal-deal, even if we aren’t eating tapas in Madrid.  With a pitcher of Sangria, we can pretend!

“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.)

  • spinach stracciatella soul (Gourmet); add eggs when re-heated, just before serving
  • provencal greens soup (The New York Times); add eggs and croutons when re-heated, just before serving

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