October 25 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

cabbage, carrots, fennel, gourmet greens, leeks, parsley, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

It’s funny how a table graced like this can turn into a week of beer-fest and caramel apples pre-trick-or-treating! Luckily, there’s also a healthy smattering of Savoy cabbage rolls, a hearty vegetarian chili, gargantuan salads, and a festive Halloween carrot pumpkin soup. Enjoy!

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

ricotta and gremolata pizza

Saturday – retro rolls

cabbage rolls (Giuliano Hazan)
green salad with oil & vinegar (Marcella Hazan)

Sunday  – american beer day

chunky vegetarian chili (Whole Foods Market)
cornbread with leeks & beer (All Recipes)
beer!

Monday – crispy, crackly, tart…potatoes?

mustard roasted potatoes (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
roasted salmon & leeks with butter (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)

Tuesday – mmm…licorice

spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, & fennel (New York Times)
roast chicken

Wednesday –  sammie night

gremolata, sliced chicken, & fontina panini
carrot fries (Martha Stewart)

Thursday –  trick-or-treat

farmer john’s pumpkin soup (Sunset)
crusty bread

caramel apples (Kraft)


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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & pizza

ricotta and gremolata pizza

I regularly consult the Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty menu (truly some of the best pizza the northwest has to offer), just to see what they’re doing with the local produce on their imaginative pizzas. What struck
IMG_1084me immediately this week was the “bellwether ricotta with gremolata”. Gremalata = great way to use fresh parsley! It is merely a chopped mixture of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. I’ve always made it as a condiment for fish or chicken…what an idea to spread it on pizza! I’ll be very generous with the parsley, probably using at least half the bunch. This is a no-sauce pizza, with the gremolata standing in. You can either brush the unbaked crust lightly with olive oil (and a sprinkling of salt) or just mix a bit of olive oil into the gremolata to make it a bit more spreadable and add another delicious flavor. I recommend the addition of some olive oil, if only because this allows the leftover gremolata to keep nicely in the fridge – I’ll be using it for sammie night soon. Any good ricotta will do, but I do know the Sonoma-based Bellwether is outstanding. You could easily add a favorite meat – one that still lets the intense flavors in the gremolata still shine through. Prosciutto? Chicken? Follow this previous Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. It makes enough for two pizzas, even three if rolled out in the super thin, best-for-crispy-pizza style.

Other pizza combinations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
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
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
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard 
classic margherita pizza
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza 
pizza with red and yellow peppers
potato & rosemary pizza
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza

Saturday – retro rolls

cabbage rolls (Giuliano Hazan)
green salad with oil & vinegar (Marcella Hazan)

Here we go, retro revival again. Went back to the ’50’s a a couple weeks ago with my stuffed peppers. This time, it’s a special-request-by-my-German-husband! Ahhh, the foods of our youth. I’m glad to oblige, actually – they’re kind of fun to make! Basically you make a filling of some type of meat, onions, rice, & some seasonings. This gets wrapped up (burrito style) by the boiled cabbage leaves, then the whole kit-and-kaboodle is cooked together, and usually covered with a sauce (either bechamel or tomato). Given Marcella Hazan’s recent death (and my cook-fest of several of her recipes!), when I stumbled up on this cabbage roll recipe by her son Giuliano, I knew this is the one I’d try. In true Hazan style, simplicity and straight-forward ingredients rule. I’ll use ground beef and lots of my farm-fresh parsley. I can’t imagine I’ll need more than my one giant head of Savoy cabbage – if some of the leaves are extra large (which they tend to be), just use half a leaf for rolling. This recipe is different than others I’ve tried in that it cooks slowly on the stove-top until there’s very little liquid left. He says “done” there; I say serve with your favorite tomato sauce, either smothering everything in the pan and heating, or serving a bowl of warmed sauce separately at the table. And since we went the Hazan route, back to the easiest salad ever – wonderful greens, and the highest quality salt, olive oil, and red wine vinegar you can muster.

Sunday – american beer day

chunky vegetarian chili (Whole Foods Market)
cornbread with leeks & beer (All Recipes)
beer!

Forget my disappointment over missing National Kale Day! In my crazy food-blog following, I was somehow notified that it was American Beer Day on October 27th. (Believe it or not, within the same week are: National Bologna Day, National Good & Plenty Day, and National Mince Meat Pie Day. Suffice it to say, I choose what to celebrate quite selectively). Beer Day, for sure, though. Especially when I the first thing that came to mind is this delicious Whole Foods recipe for a chili packed with two types of beans, bulgar, and veggies of your choice. And a beer! The bulgar adds a wonderful texture, converting even those prone to thinking chili is not chili without MEAT. This week, I’ll use a leek or two (instead of the onion), a few carrots, and with a quick trip to the farmer’s market, a selection of peppers. I’ll forsake my normal cornbread choices (which often includes packaged Bob’s Red Mill mix) and give this recipe with beer in the batter a shot. It’ll add great flavor, along with the jalapeños & green onions (I’ll use a leek). Now add a little northwest brew sampling, and I think we’ve done this holiday (?) right.

Monday –  crispy, crackly, tart…potatoes?

mustard roasted potatoes (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
roasted salmon & leeks with butter (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)

Mmmm…a combo of crispy roasted potatoes with delicious whole grain mustard. Dishes highlighting mustard definitely feel fall-ish to me, but usually it’s in the form of a marinade or sauce for meat or fish. The veggie twist here looks great! A simple sauce is made, using a yummy whole grain mustard, a little butter & evoo, lemon juice, and just a couple other seasonings. The chunked potatoes are coated in this, spread on a pan, and roasted until crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the mustard grains darken and become crackly. I’ll be halving this recipe, which will allow (in my small oven) one pan for the potatoes, one pan for the salmon – compromise on the temp (hotter is probably better to get those potatoes nice and crunchy!). A butter roasted salmon will be a simple and delicious accompaniment; I’ll think my leeks could fit right in here too. Use just the white and light green parts, quartering them lengthwise, and maybe then cutting them crosswise. I’ll use half butter, half evoo, toss the leeks in this melted mixture, and roast first (maybe for 10-15 minutes), before adding the salmon for another ten or so minutes. The leeks just need a little head start on the fish; when they’re a bit softened, give them a stir, and push them to the side before adding the salmon to roast.

Tuesday – mmm…licorice

spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, & fennel (New York Times)
roast chicken

I’m going to make a fennel variation of this classic (and easy!) pasta dish. People say the fennel bulb has a mellow licorice-like flavor. I say it doesn’t taste anything like the black licorice twists I could so easily eat by the pound! I think it’s the word choice…let’s go with anise. However you describe the flavor of fennel, it’s really heavenly. The only modification to this recipe is to trim, core and slice thinly two fennel bulbs. After the garlic is sauteed and set aside, add 1/4 cup water (I’m using my big pasta pot for all of this), a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and the sliced fennel to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly tender. Uncover and cook until fennel is kind of caramelized and soft, about 5 minutes. Now take this out of the pan (put with the garlic), and proceed with the recipe. When you add the garlic back in, you’ll add the fennel back in too. I’ll add in just a splash of lemon juice too. It’s truly amazing how such minimal ingredients can create a dish so complex and delectable. Add a made-by-someone-else roasted chicken for the full-meal-deal!

Wednesday – sammie night

gremolata, sliced chicken, & fontina panini
carrot fries (Martha Stewart)

Pull out that container of gremolata you made, and slather it on these grilled sandwiches. Choose a hearty country bread that you love (and, in my house, that will hold up well to the squishing between cast-irons it receives!). With some sliced chicken leftover from last night, and some fontina cheese, it’s a healthy, nearly effortless meal. I’ll also cut up some carrots into nice fry-size pieces, tossing them on a baking sheet with olive oil & salt, and roasting them until they’re browned and a little crispy. Not exactly french fries, but delicious indeed!

Thursday – trick-or-treat

farmer john’s pumpkin soup (Sunset)
crusty bread

caramel apples (Kraft)

Here it is…one of the most anticipated nights of the year for kids, and one of the most challenging for parents! Especially on a weeknight…the rush, rush home from school; finding the sure-to-be scattered parts and pieces of the costumes; wardrobe, hair, and make-up duties; an attempt to get something decent into everyone’s bellies before the candy-fest takes over. My solution…soup night, with one I’ve made ahead and have at-the-ready. This soup is festive and healthy. I’ll used canned pumpkin for ease (this, and I haven’t seen one yet from my CSA – I’m sure they’re coming!). It makes a large batch, which is great – never know who might stop by on Halloween! I kick up the seasonings a bit, with these slight modifications: 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 T chopped ginger, 1 t. salt, a dash of nutmeg and cloves. I also always add the spices at the end of the veggie saute, to get them nice and hot and incorporated before adding the liquids. With some warmed crusty bread and butter, everyone’s sure to get in some sustenance. For an extra fancy touch, serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and a sprinkling of pepitas (pumpkins seeds)! I do realize it’s counter-intuitive to serve dessert before trick-or-treating, but I have a real thing for caramel apples. And making them at home (the cheater’s Kraft wrapped caramel version!) just seems like the right thing this week. I’ll just slice up one or two of them for everyone to have a nibble – isn’t the apple supposed to clean your teeth? Maybe not with caramel attached.

“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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