August 9 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, gourmet greens, green beans, kale, lettuce, onions, zucchini

What’s for Dinner?

Yippee…my first delivery of green beans!  Lightly blanched, with just a sprinkling of sea salt, the easiest of summer treats.  I sometimes do this ahead of time, and then use the beans, along with carrots, cucumbers, etc. on a veggie platter for dipping.  This week, I was drawn into using them in a dinner salad with whole toasted almonds.  I also got my first eggplant of the season – the cute, little Japanese variety.  They’re sure to be scrumptious sliced on a pizza, as well as roasted so their meaty insides can be used in an asian noodle salad.  So many options!  With produce like this, you just can’t go wrong!

Friday – grilled pizza fest

eggplant & tomato pizza (Bon Appetit)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – grilled onions with a side of brats

salad with shaved cucumbers & buttermilk dressing (The New York Times)
grilled onions (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)
grilled brats

Sunday –  no stress lasagna

summer lasagna (SIO Blog, Week 13 2009)
crusty italian bread

Monday – morning muffins + summer sammies

breakfast:
carrot coconut morning glory muffins (Eating Well)

dinner:
grilled summer squash & brie sandwiches (Whole Foods Market)
crudités & dip

Tuesday – tasty toasty almonds + beans

green bean salad with fried almonds (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chicken & shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

Wednesday –  chopstick challenge

noodle salad with eggplant (Deborah Madison, The Greens Cookbook)
edamame

Thursday –  egg-topped pot pouri

summer vegetable ragout (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)

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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, I’m going to use those pretty little Japanese eggplants and a yummy sweet onion on grilled pizzas.  This Serious Eats guide to grilling seems pretty fool proof.   Skip the tube-o-dough and either use my go-to 5 minute recipe from The New Basics, the Serious Eats recipe, or grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. This is a simple, sauceless pizza, gaining all of its flavor from farm fresh toppings; I would definitely brush the crust with some olive oil and give it a sprinkling of salt.  And I think I’ll be able to add my own tomatoes – yippee!  Yes, they are the cute, miniature variety, but halved and scattered over the top…delic!  Our salad will be a lickety-split version – gourmet greens, drizzled 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
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan

Saturday – grilled onions with a side of brats

salad with shaved cucumbers & buttermilk dressing (The New York Times)
grilled onions (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)
grilled brats

I loved Katherine’s idea to just grill up those delicious Walla Walla sweets, and have them at-the-ready to use whenever the whim strikes.  Pizzas (above), burgers, sandwiches, salads, and yes, bratwursts.  I have a sauerkraut-loving family, so our usual go-to over brats is a big jar of Bubbies kraut.  But with these gorgeous onions at my disposal, I’m going to grill those up instead.  A lightly toasted bun, Olympic Provisions bratwursts, grilled onion, ketchup & mustard – not much could be easier or more scrumptious.  And speaking of Olympic Provisions, they have a simple butter lettuce & cucumber salad with a nice buttermilk dressing that just seems to go with everything on the menu.  Grilled brats too!  I’ll follow this NYT recipe, using whatever lettuce I have, and thinly shaved cucumber instead of radishes.

Sunday – no stress lasagna

summer lasagna (SIO Blog, Week 13 2009)
crusty italian bread

Yes, I realize lasagna doesn’t exactly scream out “summer”.  But I really love a good vegetarian lasagna, and when I find recipe that includes so many of my August veggies, it’s hard to resist.  The trick with lasagna is to not let the recipe make it seem too complicated to attempt!  Three layering components:  noodles (can definitely be the no-boil kind), sauce (store-bought, with our sautéed garlic, onions and zucchini mixed in), and a cheese-egg-boiled kale mixture.  Don’t get all uptight about the order or what cheese goes where – it all ends up in the same place, and as long as you have two or three layering pieces, you’re set. It is nice to end with the sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan if you think that far ahead. This is a perfect “company” meal, with your favorite bakery’s crusty Italian bread on the table, and maybe a summery appetizer.  Cucumber-feta toasts, surrounded by a pile of mini tomatoes from the garden?

Monday –  morning muffins + summer sammies

breakfast:
carrot coconut morning glory muffins (Eating Well)

dinner:
grilled summer squash & brie sandwiches (Whole Foods Market)
crudités & hummus

I’m going to kick off the week with these amazing sounding carrot muffins. Made with applesauce, honey, and just a wee bit of coconut oil, (not to mention piles of carrots!) they look like a super nutritious and delicious way to start the day.  I often make muffins, wrap them each tightly, and freeze them if only for that week, to pull out as an instant breakfast or snack throughout the week.  With the boatload of carrots I got this week (and maybe just a few hanging around from last…), why not use some for breakfast?!?

For dinner, what a great use for our zucchini (or summer squash of any type) – sandwiches!  Use a few of those big slices of Italian bread from last night, and the only work involved in this dinner is standing at the grill for a few minutes to lightly garlic & brown it, as well as the zucchini.  Everyone can make their open-faced sandwich how they want it…brie, fontina, chèvre to start, getting it just a little melty.  Then our squash, tomatoes, and whatever thinly sliced farm fresh greens you have.  A crudite platter of carrots, cucumbers, and even lightly blanched green beans, accompanied by your favorite made-by-someone else hummus, completes this summer sammie night.

Tuesday – tasty toasty almonds + beans

green bean salad with fried almonds (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chicken & shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

She had me at “fried almonds”.  YUM!  Everyone loves a little crunch in a green bean salad.  This Italian version uses some fennel I’ve still got (I’ll skip the celery), an onion (the Walla Walla sweet will be just great in  here), and our green beans.  With a simple vinaigrette and the lightly fried-in-olive-oil whole almonds, this could easily be a stand-alone dinner.  But I don’t think there’ll be any complaining if we add these grilled chicken and shrimp skewers , with just a little lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. If you have a nice lettuce to serve them over, great; if not, our colored veggie is already covered, in the most delicious way.

Wednesday – chopstick challenge

noodle salad with eggplant (Deborah Madison, The Greens Cookbook)
edamame

Deborah Madison’s brilliance, once again.  Generally, an Asian noodle salad is something everyone gets excited about.  The soy/sesame oil based dressing is generally the clincher, and can be tweaked with anything from ginger to spicy oils to vinegar to peanut butter.  This version has a little of everything.  I’ll use a big bunch of chives from the herb pot in place of the green onions.  The asian eggplant seems to be the star in this pasta salad – just the flesh is used, and soaked in the ultra-flavorful dressing.  I’m just certain I’ll use more than the one called for in the recipe.  The rest of the veggies will be impromptu – carrot for sure, and I don’t see why I can’t skip the snow peas and sprouts, using slivered cucumbers and maybe a little shredded kale instead.  Depending on the veggies you choose, they can either be blanched slightly, or just added in before the final mixing for a nice crunch and a really pretty salad for supper.  Serve with a big bowl of blanched and salted, packed-with-protein, edamame.

Thursday –  egg-topped pot pouri

summer vegetable ragout (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)

This is the perfect Thursday meal for us…pot pouri at its finest.  Always trying to use the last of the veggies before the new delivery makes its appearance.  Seems like an Italian version of stir-fry to me.  But rather than just barely cooking the vegetables, they are really well cooked, covered, until the flavors meld and combine.  The magic in the formula I’m sure is in the onion, the smashed garlic, the fresh herbs, and the drizzle of very good olive oil at the end.  Beyond this, any veggies would be delicious in this ragout.  Serve with pasta and a side of grilled meat, or as Katherine suggests, with an egg cooked your way and some nice bread.

“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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