may 31 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

arugula, bok choy, gourmet greens, green garlic, lettuce, kale, radishes 

What’s for Dinner?

Holey Moley!  I am not easily impressed (overwhelmed) by veggie volume, but my pick-up this week definitely inspired a nervous chuckle.  My “summer CSA”, Sauvie Island Organics (SIO), launched its season this week.  Maybe my eyes got wide because it’s been awhile since I personally physically loaded the weekly bounty into my take home bags (my “winter CSA” provided a box direct to my doorstep.)  And even though I received an email ahead of time, detailing each of the farm fresh items I was to receive, it really wasn’t until I lay my own eyes on the giant box of produce that was to become my family’s dinners, and touched it all with my own two hands, did it come full force.  I loved listening to a fellow customer, who’d come to pick up her very first CSA share ever.  She was oohing, and aahing, making noises between pure delight and sheer bewilderment.  I struck up a conversation with her, assuring her that she’d surely end up loving this CSA relationship on which she was embarking.  She smiled brightly and said, “Look at all these veggies I’m going to figure out what to do with!  My mother would be so proud!”  I agree.

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

pizza with green garlic & arugula (Martha Rose Shulman, NYT)
gourmet greens & radish salad (Martha Stewart)

Saturday – bok choy with a twist

mediterranean bok choy (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
grilled sockeye salmon
grilled bread (Bon Appetit)

Ruby Jewell ice cream sandwiches

Sunday – spring kale bake

chicken and kale casserole (Martha Stewart)
spring salad (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

rhubarb snacking cake (Deb Perlman, Smiten Kitchen)

Monday – al fresco trattoria

grilled steak with arugula (Gourmet)
focaccia

Tuesday – 7 minute savory

baked kale, tomatoes, & egg (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
crusty bakery bread

Wednesday – sandwiches & chips (2 ways)

egg salad with radishes & arugula (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
kale chips (Food Network)
“real” chips

Thursday –  oh joi!

joi choi, radish, and broccoli stir-fry (Asparagus to Zucchini, SIO Blog)
rice

_____________________________________________________

Friday –   TV trays, movie, & pizza

pizza with green garlic & arugula (Martha Rose Shulman, NYT)
gourmet greens & radish salad (Martha Stewart)

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, I can’t resist the simplicity of using my first farm-fresh green garlic in this easy sauce (basically just saute it with canned tomatoes!).  Either follow this recipe for a good looking whole wheat crust, refer to the Pizza Night blog above for my favorite go-to crust, or pick up ready-to-bake one at your local store or pizzeria.  This pizza is topped minimally with torn fresh mozzarella –  quintessential rustic Italian.  You could pick up a made-by-someone-else roast chicken (rest to be used in Sunday’s dinner), and add little bits of shredded chicken also.  And don’t forget the arugula…some people think it odd to pile a salad on top of their pizza, but I think it’s delicious!  Especially just-picked arugula, with its peppery but still mildly sweet taste.  Put the arugula on the pizza just after it’s out of the oven.  And really, don’t be shy, pile it on and sprinkle some good quality salt on top.  Of course, for those still not quite convinced of the salad-on-pizza concept, piling it on individual slices works too.  I’ll also serve a very simple salad using my mountain of gourmet greens.  I receive a giant bag of these gourmet greens each week through SIO, so it’s a rare meal that we don’t have a gorgeous green salad gracing the table.  Tonight I’ll thinly slice some radishes to mix in, and maybe toss in some blue or goat cheese before mixing with an easy balsamic vinaigrette.  The night of two salads – one atop pizza, one aside!

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
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza

Saturday – bok choy with a twist

mediterranean bok choy (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
grilled sockeye salmon
grilled bread (Bon Appetit)

Ruby Jewell ice cream sandwiches

It’s coming back to me already…as soon as I saw that giant bok choy, I remembered.  Bok choy a-plenty in the Oregon springtime, that’s for sure.    It lends itself to so many amazing Asian stir-fries, noodle dishes, soups, etc.  But I thought I’d use my first head of bok choy this week on something non-Asian, reminding myself of those possibilities as well.  Bittman’s original version does not include the chard – I’ll skip it. The capers, olives, and balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice) give it a very distinctive Mediterranean flair.  With a fillet of grilled copper river sockeye (first-of-the-season, featured at New Seasons this week) adorned with just lemon juice, salt and pepper (and maybe a little bit of that fresh garlic!), this makes a really no-fuss meal.  Don’t forget the bread, to soak up the juicy broth – either a simple grilled version, brushed lightly with olive oil, rubbed with our fresh garlic and sprinkled with salt, or maybe one of these fancier ones.  The smear of fresh ricotta with lemon juice, or the buttered, thinly sliced radish versions are speaking to me!  And since I’m sure to be at the market Saturday, I just have to pick up a few of those Ruby Jewell ice cream sandwiches they’ll be selling this week – check out these amazing flavors!

Sunday – spring kale bake

chicken and kale casserole (Martha Stewart)
spring salad (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

rhubarb snacking cake (Deb Perlman, Smiten Kitchen)

Don’t let the term “casserole” make you think “grandma”.  This is a not-too-heavy one, using lots of our farm-fresh kale (could really use any green), as well as those fun giant pasta shells that are a family favorite.  The addition of lemon juice gives it a nice light & bright spring bent.  Add your green garlic, along with any other fresh herbs you have on hand, to your heart’s content.  My herb pots are brimming with thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives, etc.  (Take note, tomatoes!)  A perfect accompaniment will be this spring salad detailed on the SIO blog by Katherine Deumling.  I’ve got cheese-lovers in my family, so I’ll add some bits of delicious fresh cheese I’m sure to pick up at Saturday’s farmer’s market.  The freshly toasted sunflower seeds will add a perfect, salty crunch.  For dessert (since it’s still the weekend!) I just have to try this rhubarb snacking cake!  Because I love the name, and because Deb Perlman says its an improvement over the Martha Stewart rhubarb crumb bars I made last week.  I can’t just take her word for it.

Monday –  al fresco trattoria

grilled steak with arugula (Gourmet)
focaccia

Let’s kick-off the work week with this classic Italian grilled steak salad.  The weather man says sunshine and hot – this is a wonderful, no-time, al fresco delight.  I’ll use whatever peppery arugula I have left, mixed in with a head of my gorgeous lettuce.  A sprinkling of blue cheese  would be a wonderful addition.  And I’ll pick up some handmade-by-New Seasons, chewy, Italian focaccia as a perfect partner to this trattoria-inspired meal.

Tuesday – 7 minute savory

baked kale, tomatoes, & egg (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
crusty bakery bread

She had me at “this takes about 7 minutes to pull together.”  Plus this recipe makes great use of our (mounds) of kale and green garlic.  With fire roasted tomatoes, and smoked paprika, this dish is sure to be delicious, especially with a favorite crusty bread to soak up the juices.

Wednesday – sandwiches & chips (2 ways)

egg salad with radishes & arugula (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
kale chips (Food Network)
“real” chips

This is the perfect, 80 degree, dinner-on-the-deck-dinner.  I’ll follow Katherine’s guidelines in making these fabulous looking open-faced egg salad sandwiches, topped with vibrant, crunchy, thinly sliced radishes.  I can’t wait to invest the five minutes she says homemade aioli takes!   If I’ve got kale left, I’m sure to make some kale chips, if only to alleviate my own guilt from the giant bowl (bag) of Lay’s that are a sure winner at sandwich night.  Yes, lacinato kale works best for kale chips, just because it lies flatter and has more of a leaf-to-stem ratio. But I’ve found that any kind of kale works just fine if you just quickly remove the leaves from the center stalk and spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Crispy, salty, and yummy, kale chips are the perfect green finger food!

Thursday – oh joi!

joi choi, radish, and broccoli stir-fry (Asparagus to Zucchini, SIO Blog)
rice

Bok choy, joi choi, I’m not exactly sure of the difference.  Both are basically a super nutrient-rich form of Chinese cabbage.  You get two very different textures from one crazy large plant.  I tend to cut my choi into one inch or so ribbons, then separate it into two piles – leaves, and stalk.  I put the leaves in at the very end of the cooking, even after the pan is off, stirring them to incorporate with the sauce, other veggies, etc.  This way they are cooked ever so slightly, and don’t become a mushy mess. The stalks get sauteed a bit more, and are light, sweet, and crisp, very similar to other cabbages.  In this loose recipe posted on the SIO blog years ago (some things, like stir fries, never go out of style!) I’ll use one of my giant heads of joi choi, a bunch of my radishes, and my green garlic, but skip the broccoli since (thank goodness!) I didn’t receive any this week.  Instead, maybe some shrimp?  Or frozen edamame?  Any way you look at it, stir fry is a healthy, easy, flexible weeknight meal.  That’s good; my hunch is I’ve got a lot more joi choi headed my way!

“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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