July 19 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

carrots, chard, dill, gourmet greens, lettuce, onions, potatoes, summer squash

What’s for Dinner?

The heat is on, and we’ve got some great outdoor grilling, some salads-for-supper, and even an escape-the-heat retreat with a slow cooker detour. This amazing variety of farm fresh goodness, will taste extra special with a carrot cake birthday celebration, some home-blended milkshakes, and a best-of-the-berries margarita fest!

Friday – grilled pizza fest

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – summer slow cooking?!?

slow cooker chard dal (Anupy Singla, The Indian Slow Cooker)
carrot & cumin salad (BBC Good Food)
naan

carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)

Sunday – gremolata + grill

grilled salmon with parsley-dill gremolata
wheat berry salad with dill & red onion (Gourmet)
grilled summer squash (Cooking Light)

Monday – burgers & fries

simplest bean burgers + chard (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

Tuesday – step aside, starkist

seared albacore tuna salad (Northwest Palate)
baguette

Wednesday –  pass the margs

triple-berry margaritas (Bon Appetit)

roasted carrot & avocado salad (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
chicken quesadilla with avocado-cucumber salsa (The New York Times)

Thursday –  everything but the kitchen sink

torpedo onion & potato frittata (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog Wk. 8, 2013)
salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Cooking Light)

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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

Super fun, interactive, and delicious way to use those veggies – Pizza Night!
IMG_1084Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. Go with the traditional, oven-baked version, or for some summer fun, grill up the pizzas outside. This Serious Eats guide to grilled pizza seems pretty fool proof, so I’ll stick with that.  For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. This week, I couldn’t resist this tangy, sweet, & just a little bit salty and spicy, red onion “marmalade” pizza from Smitten Kitchen.  There is no way I’d ever embark on a fresh ricotta-making adventure; my store-bought tub will do just fine.  I will gladly, however, spend a few minutes making this onion marmalade, using a ton of my farm fresh red onions.  You basically caramelize them with some brown sugar and balsamic vinegar until the mixture is thick and has an almost spreadable quality to it.  This becomes the “sauce”, which is then dolloped with fresh ricotta and topped with thinly-sliced prosciutto…sounds amazing to me!  If you’re making two pizzas, double this recipe.  And since I’m grilling them, I’ll make more of an individual-sized, oblong pizza for ease of on and off the grill.  Add a simple salad with some farm fresh greens, drizzled lightly with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.  A happy Friday, indeed!

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
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
roasted beet pizza
spinach and chive pizza
summer squash, basil & sun dried tomato pizza

Saturday – summer slow-cooking?!?

slow cooker dal + chard (Anupy Singla, The Indian Slow Cooker)
carrot & cumin salad (BBC Good Food)
naan

carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)

When I came across this NYT piece by Mark Bittman, I felt instantly justified in my seemingly crazy notion that I’d pull out the slow cooker in mid-July. Being that it’s my husband’s birthday, I knew someone would be very happy if the celebration somehow included much-beloved Indian fare…a trip to a restaurant, food cart, or possibly even our own home kitchen. With this gorgeous chard from the farm this week, along with Bittman’s blessing to beat the heat, I immediately thought of a rich and creamy crock pot dal. I’ll use one of my red onions, a can of chopped tomatoes, and an entire bunch of my chard (instead of spinach).  Throw it all in, push the button, and viola, dinner! Add some naan from your favorite Indian restaurant, to scoop up all of this delicious green goodness.  A  grated carrot salad with cilantro and mint will be a fresh and crunchy side.  And speaking of carrots, with three pounds on my  hands, I’ve got plenty to spare for this classic Cook’s Illustrated carrot cake.  It’s packed with what it should be – carrots!  No nuts, raisins, etc. to get in the way of what we all really want – the classic rich and indulgent cream cheese frosting.  And since it’s the height of summer, and a birthday celebration, I’ll just have to find a local ice cream that would be right at home here.  I’m partial to Ruby Jewell – maybe Singing Dog Vanilla Bean, Malted Vanilla with Pecan Toffee…there’s even a Carrot Ginger!  May just have to try all three for this birthday bash.

Sunday – gremolata + grill

grilled salmon with parsley-dill gremolata
wheat berry salad with dill & red onion (Gourmet)
grilled summer squash (Cooking Light)

Super simple Sunday grill-fest…no recipe needed for the salmon.  Get a fillet big enough for all, brush it with olive oil, s & p, and throw it on the grill. “Gremolata” is a fancy term for equal parts chopped parsley and dill (about a quarter cup), plus some minced garlic, lemon zest, and salt.  I use half the gremolata when the salmon is on the grill; save the other half for extra at the table.  This wheat berry salad (yes, another…I really like them!) is a summer staple of mine…again, the only tiny bit tricky part is planning ahead a little so the wheat berries can be cooked and ready (an hour to an hour and a half). This easy one just calls for red onion and dill (perfect!), but often I kitchen-sink it and add whatever sounds good and is on hand. Diced carrot, summer squash, edamame, dried fruit, or greens (I toss these in while it’s still warm so they wilt a bit).  And if you want to watch kids (and adults!) gobble up summer squash and zucchini, try it on the grill with just olive oil, salt and pepper.  It’s a hit every time!  If I have zucchini, I often attempt to cut it long-ways (with mixed success – hard to get those slices uniform thickness!) for less labor-intensive flipping, less falling through the grill, and a really pretty presentation!  The Cooking Light suggestions to fancy it up are nice; I also sometimes drizzle a bit of good balsamic vinegar after cooking.

Monday – burger & fries

simplest bean burgers + chard (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

Like I’ve mentioned, I’m a sucker for a good veggie burger recipe.  I did try the one I posted from the Sauvie Island Organics blog a couple weeks ago, from Katherine Deumling.  They were out of this world, truly.  My entire family devoured them.  I ended up not making minis, like I thought I would, kind of greek-style, in a pita.  Instead I made giant ones, tucked them inside a grande white very traditional hamburger bun!  OK, as my daughter pointed out, maybe not a “breeze” like I wrote in regards to shelling all those favas, but so worth it.  Since we’re on a veggie burger high, and I’ve got veggies, here we go again.  This recipe truly looks easier – a 20 minute version, using canned beans.  Your choice – black, kidney, lentil, chickpeas, whatever.  And I’m following his bean-and-spinach version, using my chard instead.  Bittman recommends a cast-iron skillet; if it’s hot and you want to be outside, my homemade-veggie-burger-on-the-grill-experiment amazingly went off without a stuck or broken burger last time, so I’m sticking with that.  Our burger toppings bar will feature farm fresh lettuce, grilled red onions, and cheese-slices-of-choice.  The roasted potatoes are a no-brainer, “french fry” stand-in.  Not quite, but as a home (healthier) version, pretty darned good.  Homemade milkshakes anyone?

Tuesday – step aside, starkist

seared albacore tuna salad (Northwest Palate)
baguette

More fish, more fish, more fish.  I’m always trying.  This week, it was the first I’d seen of the west coast albacore tuna harvest – New Seasons has the loins at an amazing price.  Following my summer lot-of-salads-for-supper hopes and dreams, this combines the best of both!  Any gorgeous lettuce will be perfect in forming the base of this hearty main-course salad.  Hard-boiled eggs, white beans (from the can!), olives, and a super easy vinaigrette round out the toppings.  My tuna loin will be cooked on the outdoor grill, while we’re munching away on the fresh frenchie bakery baguette.  The end result will be a far cry from the tuna salad of yesteryear, for sure.

Wednesday – pass the margs

triple-berry margaritas (Bon Appetit)

roasted carrot & avocado salad (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
chicken quesadilla with avocado-cucumber salsa (The New York Times)

Well, the chunked carrots, tossed into a hot oven sound familiar.  But so, so very different from any winter version we were serving months ago.  Deb suggests rainbow carrots from the market (which would be really pretty)…whatever farm fresh carrots you’ve got are perfect, and will be tossed simply with olive oil and cumin, adding the peak-of-the-season avocados at the end, with a sprinkling of lemon juice.  This took me in a Mexican direction, probably for no other reason than I love Mexican (and a good margarita!).  And what can we do in a flash as an accompaniment?  A quesadilla, of course.  While this NYT version looks like a lengthy ingredient list, don’t be scared away.  It’s mostly little tid-bits for the height-of-summer avocado-cucumber salsa – YUM!  I’ll go to any farmer’s market in search of these amazing diva cucumbers.  The rest is old-school…chicken (pre-roasted by someone else, then shredded), cheese of choice, and tortillas, corn or flour.  I envision heat next week, so I’m going to try to toss these (gently) on the grill for an all-outdoor event.  Complete, of course, with a pitcher of farmer’s market triple-berry margaritas!

Thursday –  everything but the kitchen sink

torpedo onion & potato frittata (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog Wk. 8, 2013)
green salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Cooking Light)

The Thursday night frittata is not by accident at my house.  Often-times I’m trying desperately to clean out the old, make room for the new.  Veggies, that is.  This Katherine Deumling loose recipe for a frittata looks great, using some of our red onions and potatoes.  Have some chard (or other greens)?  Saute them up, and throw them in.  Summer squash…same thing.  You can’t really go wrong.  Just make sure there’s ample room to pour your beaten eggs over the mass of veggies.  And when you’ve got eggs for dinner, a modest green salad is just right.  Favorite additions of mine include sliced avocado, and maybe some chopped green onion or chives.  Go green!

“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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