June 14 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

arugula, broccoli, fennel, garlic, gourmet greens, lettuce, kale, radishes

What’s for Dinner?

I realize summer’s official start is not until June 21st.  But for me, (and many others, I’m sure) it sure feels like it kicks off the minute school’s out for the year!  Meals seem to morph a bit, not only with the change in the season and bounty, but also with the change in the rhythm and pace.  More time for all-hands-on-deck meal preparation; more flexibility for impromptu picnics; more hot nights, where salads and sandwiches are the perfect antidote; more of a taste for a bit lighter fare, fare that can be served hot, warm, or room temperature; more parties and potlucks, where people enjoy sharing in what the season offers; and more grilling outside, plain and simple. And each week my gorgeous farm box from Sauvie Island Organics provides the grand impetus and inspiration for all of these simple summertime pleasures.  Enjoy this week’s menu, just a taste of what this season brings to our dinnertime rituals…

Friday – grilled pizza fest

kids’ choice pizzas
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

Saturday – picnics o’ plenty

fennel salad with oranges, arugula & olives (Saveur)
broccoli, chickpea, & tuna salad (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)
baguette and cheeses

Sunday –  BBQ bliss

grilled rib-eye (Oprah)
grilled lettuce (Simply Recipes)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

dad’s favorite strawberry shortcake

Monday – farm fresh frittata 

garlic and greens frittata (Katherine Deumling, Edible Portland)
arugula salad (allrecipes.com)

Tuesday – salad daze

cobb salad (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Wednesday –  summer sammie

kale sandwiches with avocado (Mark Bittman)
broccoli & radish crudites
pita chips

Thursday –  potluck mania

pasta with fennel and greens (Cooks Illustrated)

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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

kids’ choice pizzas
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

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, kids (or kids-at-heart) rule…school’s out!  I’m going to solicit the kids for their very favorite pizza combinations, and let them go to town.  I will make the sauce with my delicious fresh garlic (garlic, canned tomatoes, s&p!).  Some ideas my own kids shouted out were:  pizza margarita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, thinly sliced basil); pepperoni & kalamata olive; canadian bacon, pineapple & red onion; sausage, mushroom, & roasted red pepper.  We’ll see what the finalists are come Friday, and I’ll set out a giant toppings bar for each person to create their own individual masterpiece for the grill (the small size is perfect for this purpose).  A big batch of torn fresh arugula will be at-the-ready for those loving those peppery greens atop their pizza.  This Serious Eats to guide to grilled pizza seems pretty fool proof.  For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. The ingredients should be at-the-ready, as the dough cooks lickety-split on the grill.  These Friday night grilled pizza parties will be this season’s mainstay!  I can’t wait to see the summer bounty that will grace the tops.

Other pizza 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
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard

Saturday – picnics o’plenty

fennel salad with oranges, arugula, & olives (Saveur)
broccoli, chickpea, & tuna salad (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)
baguette & cheeses

We like any excuse for a picnic!  A concert, a ball game, beach day, visitors in town, a bike ride…even just the sunny weather.  I love to survey my veggie loot to i.d. good candidates for salads that travel well and don’t easily wilt or get mushy.  These are just two favorites.  The first one starring fennel is an amazingly fresh and easy way to enjoy fennel in its crunchy, just-picked state.  I have to admit, the first time I got fennel in my CSA box, I laughed out loud.  I guess I had just never bought it – complete with it’s tall stems and wild fronds, it’s a bit intimidating!  And although the fronds can be a wonderful herb garnish, mostly what you’ll use is just the bulb.  The flavor is sweet and slightly licorice-like.  The best thing to use in slicing fennel oh-so thinly is a mandolin (which I don’t have.)  I’ll either employ my Magimix, or just slice as thinly as I can with a sharp knife.  Be sure to save all that wonderful orange juice that gathers as you slice your oranges; add this to the dressing as well.  Any of your favorite olives are good in this salad – we enjoy green as well.  The broccoli salad is super yummy and picnic-worthy too.  I’ll use at least a pound of it in this Italian-inspired tuna & bean combination.  I’ll skip the pepper and celery, and toss in some thinly sliced radishes instead for the color and crunch.  Add whatever fresh herbs you’ve got, and the tangy lemon vinaigrette.  Along with a fresh baguette and a selection of cheeses, this is summer picnic fare at its finest…fresh from the farm.

Sunday –  BBQ bliss

grilled rib-eye (Oprah)
grilled lettuce (Simply Recipes)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

dad’s favorite real strawberry shortcake (Cook’s Illustrated)

The day in honor of the dads in our life.  The great thing for those doing the honoring, is that providing a grill-fest of a dinner is both delicious and easy-as-pie (or shortcake!).  Cliche, but grilled steak on father’s day…this one, with the combination of brown sugar, garlic, rosemary, & a pinch of cayenne, is a winner.  And I’m going to take a break from chopping the lettuce, and throw it on the BBQ.  It’s the trendy, hip, restaurant thing to do, but it’s also really tasty and easy.  Although this recipe is for grilled romaine, I’m going to give it a shot with my sturdy head of green leaf lettuce.   Just brush it all over with the simple vinaigrette before grilling, and watch carefully for scorching.  Use any of your favorite bakery bread – I’m using a big, hearty Como loaf.  It all works the same, but the larger the loaf, the less slicing, brushing, and turning on the grill.  And for dessert, our dad’s very favorite one of all:  fresh strawberry shortcake.  Father’s Day couldn’t fall in a more appropriate month, given June is the Northwest’s prime strawberry month.  Many times during strawberry season I go right to the shelves of the grocery store for the “shortcake” portion of this quintessential spring/summer dessert.  A good pound cake, bakery-made shortcakes, or even those spongy slightly twinky-like cakes, do just fine in representing this dessert, especially when you’ve got strawberries like we’ve got.  But, one time a year, I get out my apron and my Cook’s Illustrated recipe, and go to town.  The shortcakes really don’t take long to make, and are so worthwhile, with their light sprinkling of crunchy sugar on top.  And sandwiched between are the world’s most delectable strawberries and a dollop of slightly sweet vanilla whipped cream.  YUM!

Monday –  farm fresh frittata 

garlic and greens frittata (Katherine Deumling, Edible Portland)
arugula salad (allrecipes.com)

Frittatas are our year-round friend.  But I especially enjoy them in the summer, when there are so many sensational and varied veggies to add to the mix.  Also, they are really meant to be tinkered with – eggs, cheese, and whatever vegetable combo appeals to you.  This week, I’ll use my kale, but it could just as easily be chard, broccoli, whatever.  I also love frittatas in the summer because they cook in a flash (so don’t heat up the kitchen) and can really be served at any temperature – just-out-of-the-oven hot, luke warm, or even room temperature.  Add a very simple arugula salad – think greens, oil, any vinegar, and a little shaved parmesan.  Any of these other recipe additions are delicious (tomatoes, pine nuts, avocado, etc.) but unnecessary, with the luxury of ultra flavorful farm fresh arugula. An amazingly delicious and satisfying summer supper that I’ll go to again and again.

Tuesday – salad daze

cobb salad (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

It feels so great when the lettuces of spring and summer arrive – fresh spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, romaine, red leaf, green leaf, and any combination of mixed gourmet greens.  We can finally move away from the salads of fall and winter, built around sturdy salad greens like cabbage, chicory, mustard, and the like.  And with these more delicate lettuces overflowing my CSA box each week, I guarantee I’ll turn to salad for dinner, often.  This does not imply that the dinner will be “wimpy” or leave anyone hungry.  Take this cobb salad, for example…chicken, eggs, bacon, blue cheese!  Truly a full meal in a salad bowl.  Salads are also so ripe to express your own individual tastes and preferences – built it around perky, fresh lettuce and a tasty dressing.  In this cobb, I’ll use a mixture of my green and red leaf lettuces, and my radishes instead of tomatoes.  I’ll probably choose either the chicken (roasted by someone else) or the bacon, because I know any extra will be a perfect addition tomorrow’s kale sandwiches!  Sometimes I skip the meat all together, throwing in a can of hearty garbanzo beans.  Any way you do it, everyone will love this beautiful salad, arriving at the table looking like a work of art with its stripes of savory goodness decorating the top.

Wednesday – summer sammie

kale sandwiches with avocado (Mark Bittman)
broccoli & radish crudites, hummus
pita chips

I’m not talking about the afterthought, it’s-all-we-have-in-the-house sandwiches. Although, nothing does beat a good PB&J in a pinch!  Another summer meal that keeps your kitchen cool and your dinner plans healthy and simple are farm fresh sandwiches.  Think wraps, grilled (or not) paninis, or just traditional on good whole grain bread.  Encase it however you love; the headliner is what’s inside.  And SIO provides some truly delectable veggie filling options…this week, lacinato kale!  With a quick bean spread, the thinly chopped kale will be hearty and delicious.  Again, any chicken or bacon from the cobb prep would be a winning choice in these sandwiches too.  Buy your favorite hummus, with some broccoli (I like to barely blanch mine first) and radish crudités, and of course some pita chips – the sides are a cinch.

Thursday –  potluck mania

pasta with fennel and greens (Cooks Illustrated)

Summer is the season of potlucks.  People are more willing and eager to gather because we can be outside.  One of the dishes that very often accompanies me is this scrumptious pasta and fennel combo. Kid eaters and adult eaters, served hot or room temp, along with grilled items, or not…this pasta seems to satisfy it all!  Really, anytime I get a bulb of fennel, I think of this dish.  It’s the healthier version of the other go-to pasta dish we all know and love.  The one with tomatoes, basil, and loads of melty brie. Well, this take on a favorite is just as well-received, and maybe even a tad bit healthier, given the added greens and lack of triple cream cheese.  The fennel is caramelized with olive oil and onion until it’s soft and nearly spreadable.  The greens (ANY will be great!) are thrown in the boiling water with the pasta.  Mix the whole lot together (with a can of white beans, if you want) with some freshly grated parmesan, and off you go, potluck after potluck.  My kids often request that I “make it just for us,” just so they can eat more, share less.

“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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