may 24 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

asparagus, braising greens, chard, collard greens, mushrooms, pea shoots, radishes, kale, spinach

What’s for Dinner?

It’s just exciting to have something delivered that’s not a spring green in the shape of a leaf!  I don’t think I could ever get sick of asparagus…I’m ready to make a creamy soup of it this week.  And I’ve got a Memorial Day BBQ full of delicious traditional grill items, plus spinach, plus spinach.  Two ways…to please even the finicky-est in the crowd!  Enjoy!

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)

Saturday – pesto, neon style

pea shoot pesto pasta (Edible Portland)
grilled halibut

Sunday – move over noodles

lasagna with collard greens (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)

Monday – foot-long franks and singing dogs

orzo salad with spinach (Bon Appetit)
strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)

burgers with grilled portabellas
olympic provisions frankfurters

rhubarb crumb bars (Martha Stewart)

Tuesday – creme d’asperges

cream of asparagus soup (Gourmet)
roast chicken
baguette

Wednesday – beans & greens go Mexican

beans ‘n greens burritos (Mark Bittman, Food Matters)
radish salsa (Martha Stewart)

Thursday –  torta in no time

chard & onion torta (Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Suppers)

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Friday –   TV trays, movie, & pizza

kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)

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, we’ve got kale galore, so kale pizza it is!  Since we always make two (or even three!) pizzas, I’ll double the topping requirements here.   This recipe calls for roasted tomatoes, which I’m sure are incredible.  I’m going to wait (and wait) for my garden fresh ones this summer.  I’ll use some good sun dried ones on this pizza instead.  This is a “no sauce” pizza; the garlic and red pepper infused oil (simple!) provides the base instead.  I think it sounds amazing!  If you have kids (or adults) that just might not buy into the idea of kale on pizza, throw some pepperoni and mushrooms on the toppings bar – see what happens.  Just maybe they’ll find the pizza prettier with some green.

Other farm fresh combinations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
potato and rosemary 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
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
spinach and chive pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread

Saturday – pesto, neon style

pea shoot pesto pasta (Edible Portland)
grilled halibut

Well, a small confession to make.  I’ve had trouble with the pea shoots.  They sure are cute, and squiggly, and fun.  But seems I’ve tried them every-which-way, either cooked (stir fried, etc.) or in a salad (chopped a bit, raw.)  My family acts as if they’re chewing bamboo, with a few gagging noises for effect.  Maybe I’m not cutting enough of the thicker ends off?  But it’s a bit tricky, as they do come all tangled together.  I’ll keep trying, but in the meantime, the very best way we’ve found to enjoy pea shoots is in this gorgeous neon green pesto sauce.  It was a winner with everyone – tasted so fresh and delicious, with none of those chewing-bamboo problems.  I’ll definitely add some of those fresh chives I’ve still got from last week. I also vow to continue trying to make tender, non-pulverized pea shoots –  www.peashoots.com is becoming my friend.  Adding some sweet, mild, direct from Alaska halibut will complete the pesto pasta meal.  It really is worth every penny.  I usually just rub the fish with a bit of olive oil, some salt & pepper, and maybe a sprinkling of lemon juice and fresh herbs before throwing it on the grill for 7 – 10 minutes on each side.

Sunday – move over noodles

lasagna with collard greens (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)

Using no-boil noodles, canned sauce, and barely blanched collard green leaves, this lasagna looks relatively simple to assemble (as lasagnas go…).  And healthy to boot – the collards stand in for the additional pasta that is usually used, and the recipe is light on the cheese front.  Choose your favorite pre-made marinara sauce – if you have a  hankering for italian sausage, saute it up and throw it in with the sauce!  I also love to assemble lasagnas over the weekend, then just throw it in the oven on that crazy, busy weeknight!

Monday –  foot-long franks and singing dogs

orzo salad with spinach (Bon Appetit)
strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)

burgers with grilled portabellas
olympic provisions frankfurters

rhubarb crumb bars (Martha Stewart)

OK, it may not be the perfect-Portland 80 degree Memorial Day we all dream of.  Maybe we just hope for mid-sixties, and sandals without wet toes.  Whatever the weather, we are grilling at my house.  I’ve got some Chez Marie spicy bean veggie burgers, some New Seasons beef, blue cheese and thyme hamburger mix (would be simple to throw together yourself), and some truly over-the-top Olympic Provisions frankfurters.  I’m not a real hot dog kind of gal, but these are really good!  No matter what buns you get, they’ll stick out a few inches on either end – perfect little nibbles!  I’m going to slice my portabella mushrooms, brush them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill them until they’re soft.  They’ll make a perfect topping for any of these bbq delights.  For the salads, I’ll use my two gorgeous bunches of spinach, two ways.  I’ve made this orzo salad for years…it’s really a perfect picnic or bbq salad and goes with nearly anything.  Especially foot-long hot dogs!  I’ll use an entire pound of orzo, replace the fresh peppers with about 3/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes, replace the green onions and capers with fresh chives and parsley, and delete the cumin from the dressing.  I also usually toast more pine nuts than it calls for.  Make your own modifications based on what you have & what sounds good – it’s really a no fail recipe.  This week, while the orzo is still hot, I’ll throw in one bunch of chopped fresh spinach – it will lightly wilt, and be a perfect green addition to this pasta salad.  With my other bunch of spinach, I’ll  make this classic, simple spinach salad with fresh strawberries.  No need for any fancy oils, just use olive oil.  And I’ll use hazelnuts, just because they’re so fun to sample and buy at the farmer’s market!  For dessert, these rhubarb bars – really the perfect bar.  Combined with a scoop of Ruby Jewell ice cream?  Maybe Oregon Strawberry, or Singing Dog Vanilla Bean!  What the heck is this?!?  I can’t wait to find out!

Tuesday – creme d’asperges

cream of asparagus soup (Gourmet)
roast chicken
baguette

The asparagus just keeps coming – I love it!  And, ever since a friend served me this quintessential spring soup, I’ve been dying to try my hand at it.  Of course, after reading through the recipe, I realize why it was so fabulous.  It is mostly made up of just lots and lots of farm fresh asparagus.  Plus, a bit of butter, onion, & broth, pureed until it’s silky smooth.  With it’s fancy French name, it’s nice to know the ingredient list is so simple!  These are times that I adore my immersion blender – just stick it in the pot and go to town pureeing, adding just a little cream (milk would work) and lemon juice at the end.  A sprinkling of fresh-snipped chives (I’ve got them coming out my ears!) would be amazing.  Add a made-by-someone-else roast chicken and a fresh baguette for the irresistible dipping!

Wednesday – beans & greens go Mexican

beans ‘n greens burritos (Mark Bittman, Food Matters)
radish salsa (Martha Stewart)

This is one of those weeknight recipes that lends itself to all sorts of whims and wishes.  For the greens, I’ll use my HRO braising mix and maybe some collards and kale too.  What looks like an absolute TON of greens wilts way down upon cooking, and you’ll want to end up with enough to stuff at least four of those giant tortillas wrapped up in a nice burrito package.  If you’ve got chicken left and want to use it, great!  And whatever kind bean you like.  Combine the burritos with this fresh, crunchy, and delicious radish salsa – I’m including the whole Martha taco recipe, but only using the avocado/radish salsa part tonight.  Add in a toppings bar for people to customize as they wish – sauteed mushrooms, cheese, olives, chopped cilantro, chives, and our favorite ready-made salsas will be in the line-up for us.

Thursday – torta in no time

chard & onion torta (Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Suppers)

Calling this baked egg dish a “torta” I think just means it has a crust.  But not to worry…the crust is simply breadcrumbs pressed into a buttered dish. I think that makes it “fancy weeknight”, in really no time at all.   I’ve got my HRO baguette for those crumbs, but luckily many stores carry great ones at their bakery.  The rest of the recipe calls for sauteing up your chard and onions (plus mushrooms?) with a little butter, mixing in the eggs and cheese, and pouring it in the pan.  Use whatever cheese and herbs you happen to have on hand and love.  And of course, you couldn’t go wrong with a little bacon, pancetta, or sausage added in the mix…

“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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