april 26 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, cauliflower, chard, kale, leeks, mushrooms, radishes, spinach

What’s for Dinner?

Wow!  This was an exciting week in Portland’s vegetable world!  Deborah Madison, the queen of “veggies are the main event” (and founder of the pioneering Greens in San Francisco) was here to promote her new book Vegetable Literacy.  It’s not only gorgeous, it reads like a novel.  A novel describing our many families of vegetables, where they come from (a botanist’s dream), how they work interchangeably, and how to bring out their best and use every part in simple, elegant, plant-based recipes.  Her sidekick, at the Powell’s/Clyde Common supported event, was our own local vegetable hero, Diane Morgan.  Her cookbook, Roots, is a must have for every Northwest home chef – lots of the veggie underworld for us!  Look to this week’s menu for some gems from these women and their ingenious books, of course featuring our own farm fresh bounty.

Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

spinach and chive pizza  (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday – farm fresh frenzy + steak

honey roasted radishes (Diane Morgan, Fine Cooking)
spaghetti with asparagus & shitake mushrooms (Bon Appetit)
grilled new york steak

rhubarb crisp (Cherry Country/Portland Farmers Market)

Sunday – gaga over goose feet 

quinoa salad with chard & avocado (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)
grilled chicken, red onion, and mint kebabs (Bon Appetit)
grilled pita triangles

Monday – speedy, soulful gourmet

strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)
asparagus & crab stuffed sole

Tuesday – crazed cauliflower

cauliflower with saffron and pasta (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)

Wednesday –  put an egg on it

beet hash with chicken sausage and eggs (Diane Morgan, Roots)

Thursday –  it’s a wrap!

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)
potato chips (from the bag!)

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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & homemade pizza

spinach and chive pizza (Deb Perlman, 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!  The inspiration for this week’s pizza again came from the Lovely’s Fifty Fifty menu – they’re serving a delicious-looking spinach, green garlic, fromage blanc, & chive pizza.  Deb Perlman at The Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for ramp pizza that I think could be similar, as she suggests spinach and something “onion-y”.  Chives, green garlic…?  I’ll skip all the convoluted parts and use canned sauce and pre-shredded mozzarella!  Well, if I feel fancy, maybe an option of fromage blanc also – that just sounds too good!

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
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza

Saturday – farm fresh frenzy + steak

honey roasted radishes (Diane Morgan, Fine Cooking)
spaghetti with asparagus & shitake mushrooms (Bon Appetit)
grilled new york steak

rhubarb crisp (Cherry Country/Portland Farmers Market)

I am fairly certain many of you will head to the farmers market on Saturday (Portland sunshine = happy people = enthusiastic crowd at the market.)  And it’s probably a good bet that no one will be able to resist that spring asparagus in full throttle.  This Saturday evening feast is therefore our first tribute to Diane Morgan, as well as a nod to that incredible asparagus.  In this roasted radish recipe, Diane reminds us of two very important facts:  first, radishes are not just a raw & crunchy salad afterthought; second, use the entire radish – the greens are delicious!  The sweet honey will be perfect to tranform the sharp bite into something calmer and a bit more comforting.  Regular balsamic vinegar I’m sure would work just fine here.  The spaghetti in this pasta dish acts purely as a vehicle for our incredible produce:  asparagus, shitake mushrooms, leeks (I’ll replace the shallots with these), and chives (still fresh from last week!)  Grab some special occassion New York steak at New Seasons while it’s at a fabulous price this week.  Marinate it in a simple olive oil, balsamic, garlic vinaigrette, and grill it up as a perfect “side” to this farm fresh feast!  And because it’s Saturday, and because the spring rhubarb is rampant, I just have to try this dessert.  While we have to wait another few months for cherries fresh from the tree, Cherry Country has shared this recipe for a rhubarb crisp with reconstituted dried cherries.  Stop by their booth at the farmers market downtown and try some of their dried cherries & chocolate – yum!

Sunday – gaga over goose feet 

quinoa salad with chard & avocado (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)
grilled chicken, red onion, and mint kebabs (Bon Appetit)
grilled pita triangles

I wish this article had pictures of the finished quinoa salad – it’s really a thing of beauty.  The original recipe calls for quinoa greens (I’m not sure I even realized there was such a thing!); really, any chopped green in that “goosefoot family” will do.  What?!?   Beet, chard, quelite, amaranth, or spinach…all greens with leaves resembling the shape of a goose’s foot – who knew?  Deborah says she uses black quinoa purely as a color choice, as a backdrop to the other rainbow of veggies in this dish.  I’ll use this week’s gorgeous green chard; combined with some fresh mint you’re sure to see at the market, and maybe some local favorite feta or ricotta-like cheese, this salad is a looker!  I can’t wait to taste it!  An easy-peasy side would be these grilled minty chicken kebabs.  (Although unnecessary, because, as Deborah points out, quinoa is one of the few plant foods that is a complete protein.)  Add some lighly olive oiled, salted, & grilled pita triangles for a great crispy accompaniment.

Monday –  speedy, soulful gourmet

strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)
asparagus & crab stuffed sole

Another thing we’ve all probably been diving into is those big, beautiful California strawberries, just teasing us, week after week, until ours make their grand entrance.  Rumor has it, there might be a few strawberries at the Portland Farmers Market this weekend – the early birds might be in luck!  After a winter’s worth of pears and apples, I can’t wait!  I love a basic strawberry and spinach salad, simple but pretty and tasty.  There are lots of variations of this tried-and-true combination; the basic ingredients beyond the berries and spinach are a good cheese and nut of your choice.  Goat cheese provides just the right creamy, tangy complement, and the crunch can come from sliced almonds, toasted hazelnuts, whatever!  And don’t worry about the raspberry vinegar – any good vinegar will be wonderful (a champagne version maybe?)  It’s just really a treat to have our tender salad greens back, after their long winter nap.  And who could resist this New Seasons, featured-this-week stuffed sole.  Not just any stuffed sole…sole filled to the brim with fresh, local asparagus and our own amazing dungeness crabmeat!  I’d say the very few minutes that it will take to prepare this gourmet weeknight supper will be well worth it!

Tuesday – crazed cauliflower

cauliflower with saffron and pasta (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)

OK, just one more from Vegetable Literacy, then you’ll have to just take yourself to Powell’s to have a looksie yourself.  Here she takes something beige and beige (pasta and cauliflower) and adds the bright colors and tastes of parsley and red pepper flakes, along with surprising saffron!  I love that her dishes are often like works of art, minus the exhausting time at the easel.  The vegetables, with a few creative and ingenious twists, speak for themselves.  Don’t be put off by saffron’s expense – a little goes a long way, and you’ll find another delicious use for it.  (Hint:  Trader Joe’s generally carries a very affordable option.)  Deborah suggests adding shrimp as a heartier variation (omitting the cheese); I’m sure chicken would be delicious too.  Be sure to read Serious Eat’s tips for one-pot simplification…it is a Tuesday, after all.

Wednesday put an egg on it

beet hash with chicken sausage and eggs (Diane Morgan, Roots)

I don’t know if Portlandia has had fun with this trend, yet.  If not, they should.  Birds, eggs, they’re everywhere.  You cannot peruse a restaurant dinner menu without eggs jumping out from seemingly unlikely places.  Diane Morgan is hip with it!  (Look for this recipe buried under the section highlighting the merlin red beet – any beet will be great.)  Hash is one of those one-pot wonders, where your veggies, starch, and protein all combine beautifully together.  And, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as it’s also a dish ripe for customization.  I love this variation, starting with the traditional potatoes, but then branching wildly and bravely with the addition of beets (and no pre-roasting required!)  Choose any sliceable sausage that you love (or skip it), then add the eggs on top.  The egg trend assumes you love the warm, runny yolk spreading throughout your dish as you cut into it.  If this isn’t your thing, cook the egg to a consistency that appeals to you.

Thursday – it’s a wrap!

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)
potato chips (from the bag!)

OK, I’m probably the last to make this discovery, but this veggie wrap from Elephant’s Deli is the best!  And I think it’s an ideal Thursday night choice, at least in my house, where these dinners are often a hodge-podge of veggies, desperately trying to clear out the fridge before the Friday CSA delivery.  These wraps lend themselves perfectly to that frenzy.  I think the kale, hazelnuts, apple, and grapes are key ingredients, with the fruit pieces adding just the right sweetness.  I’m going to go crazy, and instead of broccoli, carrots, sugar peas and cabbage, I’ll do bits and pieces of whatever I’ve got left.  Any of my week’s contenders would add fabulous flavor and texture.  The beets and cauliflower I’d steam until barely tender.  Whatever veggies you choose, buy some of those giant spinach tortillas, watch a YouTube instructional on how to wrap the perfect wrap, and go for it!  Just make sure that all of your veggies & fruit are chopped very small.  You could even create a fillings bar with all of the various veggies, letting each person make their own perfect combination.  It seems the key ingredient is Elephant’s own Stackhouse dressing – with a friendly phone call, you can order this yummy dressing and they’ll have it in their store for you the very next day!  Ingredients are:  mustard, tamari, agave, tahini, cider vinegar and oil.  If you prefer not to bother with Elephant’s pre-made (although I think it would be a worthwhile purchase, good on many a salad and sandwich!) then create your own vinaigrette with these flavors in mind.  With all of that healthy veggie goodness, what better side than some Tim’s Cascade potato chips!

“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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2 responses to “april 26 weekly menu | spring table”

  1. Michelle Hege says :

    I made the spinach strawberry salad Sunday night. It was delicious!

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