August 2 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

basil, carrots, chard, cucumbers, fennel, gourmet greens, lettuce, onions, summer squash

What’s for Dinner?

With fresh fennel, cucumbers, and red onions, we’ve got the staples for a couple of Greek and Middle Eastern inspired feasts.  Add in the colossal heads of romaine and swiss chard, plus lots of other summer bounty, and we’re set for salads ‘o plenty, spaghetti (not with meatballs!), as well as summer soups and grill-fests.

Friday – grilled pizza fest

pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan (New York Times)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – steak & spaghetti

spaghetti with swiss chard & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
simplest marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

Sunday –  make-your-own tzatziki

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

Monday – a taste of Ned Ludd

lettuce, basil, & cucumber salad (Jason French, Ned Ludd)
grilled salmon

Tuesday – squash soup- summer style

summer squash soup (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Wednesday –  stuff it!

baked falafel in pitas (Mark Bittman)
greek salad with fennel (Food 52)

Thursday –  farm fresh frittata

swiss chard frittata (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
carrot salad with lemon & herbs (The New York Times)

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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan (New York Times)
gourmet greens salad

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, fennel will star!  Anyone who thinks they don’t like fennel should really give it a shot in it’s amazing golden, caramely, soft, chewy, and sweet state.  It’s quite a different animal than when it is raw and crunchy.  If you don’t own a veggie grill pan, either keep the fennel more intact by just cutting it in half and slow-grilling it, or just cut it thinly and caramelize it in some olive oil on your stove top.   You can either follow this NYT recipe for crusts, or this Serious Eats guide to grilled pizza seems pretty fool proof.   I’ll use pre-made pizza sauce, let the kids have fun at the olive bar, and probably add some Olympic Provisions or other favorite salami to the topping line-up.  Some chopped farm fresh basil will make an amazing sprinkling over the tops!  For an even simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place.  Our salad will be a lickety-split version – gourmet greens, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, high quality olive oil, and salt and pepper.  With greens this fresh and delicious, nothing fancier is needed.

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
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza

Saturday – steak & spaghetti

spaghetti with swiss chard & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
simplest marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

This Smitten Kitchen recipe for pasta and greens shows that with very few ingredients, and a little twist on the usual, you can make something really extra special.  Garlic chips?!?  Add them to pasta, oil, cheese, olives, and our gorgeous swiss chard, and this could be the meal!  To make it more weekend or company-worthy, add a simple grilled flank steak and some garlic bread to the dinner line-up.

Sunday – make-your-own tzatziki

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

These are the kebabs I go to again and again when assembling a Greek-inspired dinner.  And with the red onions and cucumbers from the farm this week, that’s a natural.  I’ll also add chunks of summer squash (or zucchini, I’ve still got some hanging around…) to the kebabs.  A special treat this week will be making my own homemade tzatziki sauce with a just-picked cucumber.  It’s simple, fresh, and healthy, made mostly with just Greek yogurt and grated cucumber, plus some herbs from the pot.  I like to use lemon juice instead of vinegar, but either works.  Pass the sauce around the table as a delicious accompaniment to the kebabs.   To complete the Greek meal, all it takes is five minutes and your favorite cous cous.  For a rich, nutty flavor, I sometimes go for the whole wheat, pearl cous cous.

Monday –  a taste of Ned Ludd

lettuce, basil, & cucumber salad (Jason French, Ned Ludd)
grilled salmon

This salad looked perfect for my absolutely giant head of romaine I received this week (one of two, actually!).  And it’s a creation from the chef at our own Ned Ludd (haven’t been – must try!).  I’m going to use the basil puree (just olive oil and lots of basil, plus the lemon juice, in a food processor) as a dressing, tossing everything together just before serving.  With the crunch of our cucumber, and the creamy goat cheese, this is sure to be hearty and fabulous.  Grill some fresh Alaskan coho salmon (featured this week at New Seasons) – just lightly brushed with olive oil, and maybe with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fresh herbs after cooking.

Tuesday – squash soup- summer style

summer squash soup (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Last week when I made a summery, pureed carrot soup, I realized how much I was missing our soup and baguette meals!  Soup is a seasonal natural in our colder months – warm, comforting, and hearty, it’s a perfect on those chilly nights.  But as I was enjoying my carrot soup, I realized there are just some flavors that come alive in the summer, and what better vehicle than soup.  Again, these are recipes generally without the meat, without the bulk, and without a lot of work.  This summer squash soup recipe is similar to the Alice Waters summer carrot soup I love so much –  the main ingredient speaks for itself.  The sweet flavor of our summer squash is just enhanced with an onion, a few carrots, and a sweet potato (if you wish), plus butter, all cooked and pureed into a velvety, creamy goodness.  And we get to make a pistou!    I actually have no idea what a pistou is, but what I’m seeing is I mix some herbs from my pots with some olive oil and salt, and it becomes a fresh, minty drizzle for the top.  With a baguette pulled straight from the bag, sliced table-side , and offered with a hunk of butter and a pinch of flakey salt, this is a much different soup night that the hearty minestrone you’ll be serving come November.

Wednesday – stuff it!

baked falafel in pitas (Mark Bittman)
greek salad with fennel (Food 52)

Falafel, in case you’ve never had it, is generally a deep-fried ball or patty made with garbanzo beans and lots of Middle Eastern spices.  It’s generally served in a pita, often topped with various veggies and a tahini sauce.  I stumbled upon this Mark Bittman recipe for baked falafel, and decided I’d give it a shot, not necessarily skipping the deep fryer due to health reasons, but more because of the mess-factor.  Baking just seems easier!  And speaking of easier, although bean-soaking is far from difficult, if you didn’t plan ahead, just use about three cans of drained garbanzo beans.  Beyond that, it’s our onion from the farm, lots of fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever you’e got), and some garlic, spices, and tahini, all thrown into the Magi Mix (my bff of food processors).  The next part is just like making cookies – for dough into balls, flatten them a bit if you wish, and bake.  You can either stuff your pita with these tasty treats, or leave a bit of room and add some shredded lettuce, chopped cucumber & red onion, baby tomatoes (my plants are finally giving me a few of these!).  Either way, a drizzling of the extra tahini sauce, or a dollop of tzatziki made the other night, would be perfect.  Serve with this simple Greek-style salad, featuring more of our farm fresh fennel, and my other gargantuan head of romaine.  Another delicious option would be stuffing the pita with the salad, leaving room for a few falafel balls, and having a pile of napkins at the ready for the whole messy, mouth-watering endeavor.

Thursday –  farm fresh frittata

swiss chard frittata (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
carrot salad with lemon & herbs (Joel Robuchon, The Complete Robuchon)

Olive oil, onion, chard, eggs…dinner!  Especially wonderful in the warm weather, frittatas are just as good steaming hot right out of the oven as they are cooled to room temperature and served with a chilled white wine, al fresco.  Alice Waters, of course, does it simply and right.  Add whatever other veggies you have and love – just saute them up with the chard & make sure there’s room to pour the egg over the top.  I’m going to add a little Frenchie-inspired grated carrot salad, adding a nice crunch and a little zing from lemon juice and fresh herbs.  Either enjoy it on it’s own as a salad, or do as the recipe suggests and spread it over toasted baguette slices.

“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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