November 1 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

carrots, chard, gourmet greens, joi choi, onions, parsley, turnips, sweet peppers, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Really, it’s the last of the sweet peppers. At least that’s what my CSA keeps telling me. So, what a pleasant surprise it’s been each week when a few more of these late summer beauties keep showing up. Thank you, sunshine! More parsley (yes, I can plan a meal around parsley!), cute little acorn squash just waiting to be stuffed, gorgeous chard, and two giant heads of bok choy. I’ll join team raw, and in addition to the tried-and-true stir fry, give the bok choy a try in an asian autumn slaw. Enjoy!

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

parsley pesto & potato pizza (Food and Wine)

Saturday – beyond pot roast

green salad with pears & mustard vinaigrette (New York Times)
red wine brasato with glazed root vegetables (Bon Appetit)

Sunday  – a sizzler of a soup

lentil soup with sausage & chard (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

Monday – pork & greens

pork stir fry with bok choy (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
asian noodles

Tuesday – taco night, kind of

southwestern stuffed acorn squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

Wednesday –  go raw

bok choy, carrot & apple slaw (Martha Stewart)
asian skewers
rice

Thursday –  sammie night

apple & brie panini with pumpkin butter (Little Bites of Everything)
crudites


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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & pizza

parsley pesto & potato pizza (Food and Wine)

In addition to using my parsley here and there though out the week, I’m going to again use the bulk of the bunch as a pizza topping! After last week’s gremolata (parsley, garlic, lemon), I was intrigued by how else it could be used on pizza. Parsley pesto…I love it! I’m a big fan of stretching the classic idea of what we think of as pesto, starring that height-of-summer-basil. Here, we use parsley instead of basil, along with walnuts, garlic, and olive oil. It’ll be a gorgeous shade of deep green, perfectly perking up those potatoes. I’ve got a few of my red potatoes left from last week; I’ll just slice them up thinly and roast for a little bit while I’m preparing the crust. And the pizza assembly is simple – a layer of potatoes, a drizzle of parsley pesto, lightly topped with shredded fontina and parmesan.
IMG_1084Maybe potato on one pizza, thinly sliced chicken on the other? Or salami? Keep any leftover parsley pesto in the fridge. Use it to top eggs, dip veggies or a baguette into, or spread on a sandwich. 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
ricotta and gremolata pizza

Saturday – beyond pot roast

green salad with pears & mustard vinaigrette (New York Times)
red wine brasato with glazed root vegetables (Bon Appetit)

I’m not a big “meat and potatoes” kind of gal, but about once a year I pull out this recipe for “brasato”, or braised beef in barolo wine. I had it once at a friend’s and determined this was the type of pot roast that feels fancy enough for company, and tastes extra delicious, not resembling that flavorless, dried out version we’re all familiar with. It is braised, slowly and steadily, for about three hours in a wonderful concoction of lightly browned onion, celery, carrot, herbs, and reduced red wine (does not have to be a fancy one!). Besides browning this small amount of veggies and the roast before going into the oven, all of the time for this dish is inactive oven cooking time. You can even make it ahead, and simply reheat when you’re ready. It holds its moisture and flavor beautifully after such special cooking treatment. I’ll make the veggie side dish with my turnips and carrots – it’s a simple sauté, finished with simmering in the brasato braising liquid. The meat is sliced and served on a platter, surrounded by the glazed root veggies. Fancy! Delicious with a favorite crusty bread to soak up all those extra juices. For the side salad, I’ll serve my go-to greens and autumn pear salad I picked up eons ago in one of those sold-in-every-city Junior League cookbooks. This NYT dressing is a super close approximation – just red wine vinegar, a little mustard and lemon juice, and some olive oil, salt,& pepper (I often skip the garlic). I make this year-round, but in the fall, I toss thinly sliced pears or apples in with the greens. Another delicious fall fruit would be figs. For even more texture and flavor pizzaz, toss in some chopped, toasted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, whatever) and a handful of cheese (feta, gorgonzola).

Sunday – a sizzler of a soup

lentil soup with sausage & chard (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

Beans & greens, beans & greens, beans & greens. When people wonder out loud and incredulously what I do with the mountains (and mountains) of greens I get all year long (in so many forms, I can’t even mention!), this is what I first think. I do not conjure up images of night after night of soggy, overcooked greens, sadly perching on the side of some much more respected main course. Instead, my greens become my main course. Somehow, someway, most of the time, I am drawn to ideas that use these most healthful and glorious greens in a full-meal-deal main course. So often, this comes in the form of a dish with whatever greens I’ve got, with protein-packed legumes. These are a smart meat substitute, packing a punch in the high-nutrition, low-bad-for-you department. Combined with dark, leafy greens? A match made in heaven. This recipe looks straight-forward and adaptable. If you don’t eat meat, skip the sausage…there’ll be plenty of flavor without it. Whatever you do, however, don’t skip the sizzling garlic oil that is drizzled, along with a sprinkle of romano cheese, over the finished soup. I put this dinner on a Sunday, only because of the forty minute cooking time. But it could just as easily be a  one-pot, weeknight winner-of-a-dinner for sure. A soft and chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside bakery bread is all you need for the finishing touch.

Monday –  pork & greens

pork stir fry with bok choy (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
asian noodles

Mark Bittman is the master of boiling these things down to the very basics, often resulting in meals that can be pulled together in literally fifteen minutes or less. It’s nothing more than preparing a simple garlicky soy-lime sauce, cooking the thinly sliced pork (or whatever meat you want), then lightly sauteeing the bok choy until it barely wilts. I often separate out the thick stalks from the greens, cooking the stalks for just a minute or so ahead of the rest. I’ll take his suggestions and add a bit of lime zest, a small pinch of crushed red pepper, and a drizzle of sesame oil. And take a look at his variations…substitute (or supplement!) with your favorite veggies. I’m just sure I’ll be adding a couple handfuls of sliced turnips in with those bok choy stalks. Check out the fresh noodle section of your favorite market – guaranteed they’ll have an Asian noodle that strikes your fancy. They boil up super fast, and will be perfect to smother with our stir fried pork and greens.

Tuesday – taco night, kind of

southwestern stuffed acorn squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

My first cutest-ever acorn squash of the season! This recipe calls out specifically for acorns, but really any winter squash variety will do. This is a repeat fall and winter dish in our house; more often than not, I end up leaving out the sausage and adding more veggies. You can throw the squash in the oven for roasting anytime (I often do this in the morning!); then all that’s left during the dinnertime rush is the filling and warming.  I’ll use carrots and red peppers this week, as well as a can of chopped tomatoes. Any cheese you like with Mexican works here. We love this with some warm corn tortillas, and maybe a bit of sour cream, salsa, and guac. I can’t quite pass it off as “taco night”, but it’s close!  Scoop any leftovers out, filling and all, wrap it in a flour tortilla, and it’s a perfect lunchbox burrito!

Wednesday – go raw

bok choy, carrot & apple slaw (Martha Stewart)
asian skewers
rice

Another weeknight calling into action my not-so-secret-formula:  make one thing, buy the other. My veggies get the homemade treatment, and I find some other inexpensive, convenient, and healthy option to fill it all in. I don’t remember ever doing raw bok choy, but it looks like a great candidate for an Asian slaw. Sliced thinly with apples and carrots and mixed all together with a zesty, gingery dressing (you could also use lime juice instead of lemon), it’ll be the perfect partner to some made-by-someone-else skewers. New Seasons always has a good selection of Asian chicken, pork, and beef skewers, ready to just pop under your broiler or on your grill at home. Want even one less step? Head to the bento box line at Phil’s Uptown Meat (or another favorite bento purveyor) for the pre-cooked, ready for the table version.

Thursday – sammie night

apple & brie panini with pumpkin butter (Little Bites of Everything)
crudités

We’re on a roll with this sammie night thing. Everyone seems to find their own easy and yummy variation of what we’ve got going on. This week, with pumpkin in the air and on the mind, I couldn’t resist a jar of pumpkin butter from the store. Of course, good on toast, good on pancakes, good on waffles, good off the spoon. But also good on sammies, I think! With some thinly sliced apples and prosciutto, and some melty brie, this pumpkin butter is going to fit right in. Clean-out-the-fridge crudités will be carrot slices, turnip slices, and maybe even some sweet red pepper slices, all dipped in that parsley pesto we saved for just such an occasion!

“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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