September 6 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

basil, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, gourmet greens, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, summer squash, peppers, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

As opposed to veggies nicely arranged on my table, this week I thought I’d show you how they actually (often) arrive to my home.  In this GIANT plastic bag. On veggie day each week, I hand my veggie-picker-upper (husband) several re-usable bags, stocked inside with more re-usable, smaller bags. This, in high hopes that the veggies will reach me, all neatly categorized and organized, in their own earth-friendly self-contained vessel. Suffice it to say, I have learned to just be thrilled that the veggies arrive, giant plastic bag and all.  When I caught sight of yesterday’s haul, I knew it was no ordinary CSA delivery. It held the very best of late summer, as well as a taste of fall. It held all that September means to me…the last gorgeous basil (not just a bunch-o-basil, but two full plants!), cucumbers, and corn; piles of zucchini and eggplant; the premier of the sweet peppers and tomatoes. Plus a lot more, including kohlrabi. I have no idea what this is, but can’t wait to find out. The abundance was so great, I heaved the bag over my shoulder, huffed-and-puffed up the stairs, and set it on the scale.  I just had to know. Twenty-eight pounds!  Here we go…I’d say I’ve got my work cut out for me this week. And the great thing is, it doesn’t feel a bit like work.

Friday – grilled pizza fest

fontina, onion, & fennel pizza (Martha Stewart)
gourmet greens salad

Saturday – late-summer soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
butter lettuce salad (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
country bread

lemon sunshine zucchini bundt cake (Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice)

Sunday –  tzatziki with a twist

grilled halibut with fennel tzatziki (Cooking Light)
simple zucchini saute (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 8 2013)

Monday – move over basil

pasta with sweet corn pesto (Katherine Deumling, SIO blog, Wk. 15, 2013)
tomato, basil salad (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)

Tuesday – salad for supper

shrimp, cucumber, & avocado salad (Whole Foods Market)
baguette

Wednesday –  k is for kohlrabi

kohlrabi-sesami slaw (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled steak

Thursday –  what’s a tian, you say?

torpedo onion & pepper tian (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog Wk. 15, 2013)
polenta


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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

fontina, onion, & fennel pizza (Martha Stewart)
gourmet greens salad

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, caramelized fennel and onion on a no-sauce pizza, simply dressed with fontina cheese.  Leave it as is, or set out the required toppings at your house – pepperoni, sausage, whatever.  Most anything would be stupendous with a base of this golden soft fennel and onions.  I do know that I’ll be adding slices of tomato to mine – at the end, so as not to make anything mushy.  Either follow Martha’s lead (but double if you’re making more than one pizza), or this Serious Eats guide to grilling seems pretty fool proof.  I do find it easier to grill pizzas when you make them the individual size.  I haven’t tried Martha’s dough recipe – all are pretty similar.  You can also 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.  Add a salad with just your favorite greens, and a simple vinaigrette of balsamic & EVOO.  Enjoy the grilled pizza…I fear the season may soon be coming to a close.

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
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread

Saturday – late-summer soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
butter lettuce salad (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
country bread

lemon sunshine zucchini bundt cake (Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice)

I must really love this soup. I couldn’t find the recipe, which I picked up once at Whole Foods and have made for years, anywhere online. So I’ve typed it out, and attached it here, because I truly think it’s the most delicious pot of late summer bounty. Even if you’re not a die-hard eggplant fan, give this soup a shot. The eggplant adds just the right flavor to the soup, with none of the “mushiness” its reputation brings. I do realize it’s supposed to be hot; no matter. This soup is a celebration to me, and Saturday’s a night to celebrate. It’s really very easy, just roasting the farm fresh eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and basically adding that plus the broth to sauteed onions & garlic. The delectable flavorings of fresh basil (lots of it!), lemon juice, & a pinch of cayenne are icing on the cake. With your couldn’t-be-simpler butter lettuce salad and a loaf of favorite country-style bread, head outside with this summer soup, and continue to soak up the sunshine.  And because it’s a celebration, and there’s sunshine, and I have more zucchini than I possibly know what to do with, we’ll end the meal with the Martha Stewart zucchini cake adaptation. Speaking of icing on the cake…

Sunday – tzatziki with a twist

grilled halibut with fennel tzatziki (Cooking Light)
simple zucchini saute (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 8 2013)

I simplify this recipe, just tossing some fresh halibut on the grill and brushing it with olive oil and lemon juice.  The freshness of the fennel in the tzatziki sauce will bring more than enough fennel flavoring.  I love this sauce, changing things up a bit from the usual tzatziki suspect – cucumber. Fennel is sweet and a little licorice-y, and fabulous mixed in greek yogurt with a bit of fresh garlic.  I’ll double the sauce recipe, using any leftover as a raw veggie dip, or sandwich spread, over the next week.  Add this simple zucchini sauté to the meal, sprinkling with whatever fresh herbs you might have on hand.

Monday –  move over basil

pasta with sweet corn pesto (Katherine Deumling, SIO blog, Wk. 15, 2013)
tomato, basil salad (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)

Yes, I should be getting going on these basil plants, with lots of basil pesto. I’m sure I will.  In the meantime, this recipe posted by Katherine on the SIO blog was screaming to me.  Corn pesto?!?  It has the same tried-and-true pesto ingredients we’re used to (olive oil, garlic, cheese, nuts, etc) but with the added delight of bacon, corn, & a pinch of red pepper flakes.  I’m likely to make this over the weekend, and store it in the refrigerator, at-the-ready, for the weeknight meal.  Forget all the fancy steps – just boil a pound of pasta, and mix in the corn pesto plus a big handful of chopped fresh basil. YUM!  And the tomato salad needs no recipe – fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, s&p.  Mix it up in a bowl, layer it on a platter, whatever strikes your fancy.  These are the flavors of summer to savor!

Tuesday – salad for supper

shrimp, cucumber, & avocado salad (Whole Foods Market)
baguette

I’m eeking out the remainder of the summer salad-is-the-main-deal dinners. This one looks week-night easy and healthy as well. I’ll use a whole head of my lettuce, and won’t skimp on the cucumbers and tomatoes, since I’ve got those coming out my ears too. I can’t imagine I’ll go to the lengths of serving the shrimp salad in avocado shells, but will rather just mix the whole kit-and-kaboodle together in a giant salad bowl and let everyone help themselves. The baby shrimp are favorites in my house, and are featured this week at New Seasons. If you don’t have cilantro or mint, don’t sweat it – use basil or whatever you’ve got. All will be coated with a citrus-ey, zesty dressing that’s sure to delight on another warm summer evening.

Wednesday – k is for kohlrabi

kohlrabi-sesami slaw (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled steak

What the heck is kohlrabi, you might ask? I really had no idea. I do remember that’s is the veggie that starts with “K”, as noted in the Eat Your Alphabet board book I used to so fondly read to my kids. They would ask “What is kohlrabi?”; I would nod, smile, and turn the page quickly. Well, like I’ve said, you never know what your CSA might bring you. Now I get to learn. The best I’ve come to understand it, it’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. I was drawn to the recipes I saw that used it in a slaw, like this one from Mark Bittman. Either thinly slice the kohlrabi by hand, or toss it in a food processor to shred. The rest of the dinner will be done on the grill – simple grilled corn on the cob and steak. If you want anything fancier marinating your steak than EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, s&p, consult the marinade aisle of your favorite market. There’s some wonderful pre-made ones out there that make those weeknight grilled dinners a real breeze.

Thursday –  what’s a tian, you say?

torpedo onion & pepper tian (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog Wk. 15, 2013)
polenta

It’s Deborah Madison again (of Greens fame, San Francisco), this time with a recipe recommended in the SIO blog. Again, I get to learn something new. A “tian” is a dish of finely chopped vegetables cooked in olive oil & baked au gratin. Who knew? Fair warning:  this recipe looks super simple to assemble, but does require 90 minutes of baking time. I’ll choose a night that I’m sure to be home and available to stick something in the oven well ahead of the hunger cries. Or, like Katherine suggests, assemble & bake it whenever you’ve got a 90 minute stretch near the oven, and plan to serve it the next night, as it just gets better as the flavors meld. Did you see that part about tomatoes “melting into a jam?” I’m going to take Katherine’s suggestion and serve it with polenta – any polenta will be great. Bob’s Red Mill if you’re inclined to whip it up yourself, then you can serve it either creamy style from the pan, or spread in a baking dish and cut into pieces for broiling or grilling. In a hurry?  Grab the tube-o-polenta from the store, brush some olive oil on top, and give it a quick broil or minute on the BBQ. This would all be delicious with a made-by-someone else roast chicken, if someone will miss the meat.  Or lickety-split quick grilled chicken sausages.

“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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2 responses to “September 6 weekly menu | summer table”

  1. Brenna Vance says :

    I met your parents tonight at the Mariners game and they talked all about you and your website. Looking forward to all the new dinner ideas!

    Thanks,

    Brenna

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