November 8 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, escarole, fennel, gourmet greens, leeks, potatoes, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Boy, did I have fun unpacking my box. Each item I came across, I had to touch it, feel it, show it off to my kids, exclaiming something about its supernatural size, or otherworldly color. And I just kept thinking, this stuff is literally straight from the organic farm (just about) down the road. There’s been no super-sizing to make it impressive in stature; no color enhancements to make its hue stand out; no “special treatment” to make it plump and perfect in the supermarket. How lucky are we to live in a place where produce like this can arrive at our door each week? And set the stage for meals as you like them. This week, I like them pizza & a movie homey, kicked up a notch harissa-ey, and with a bit of magic curry-ey. And then some.

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
green salad with oil & vinegar (Marcella Hazan)

Saturday – wedding soup

escarole, orzo, & meatball soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

Sunday  – magical curry

beet and beef curry (Salon)
basmati rice/naan

Monday – burgers & deep fried onion (not at all) rings

roasted delicata squash rings (Culinary Society)
WOW mushroom veggie burgers, Chez Marie

Tuesday – turn on the heat

harissa-roasted root veggies over cous cous (Food and Wine)

Wednesday –  roasted chicken, weeknight style

roasted chicken, apples, & leeks (Real Simple)
simple roasted delicata squash (Chez Pim)

Thursday –  sammie night

chicken, pear butter, and brie panini
escarole salad with dijon vinaigrette (Food and Wine)


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Friday –  TV trays, movie, & pizza

roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
gourmet greens with oil & vinegar (Marcella Hazan)

IMG_1084Pizza Night inspiration again came in the form of the Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty pizza menu. Their northwest seasonal pies are always creative, but not so much that they’re downright weird. In this one, just roast some thinly sliced potatoes and leeks with a little olive oil in a hot oven, stirring occasionally, until everything seems lightly golden and soft. Tellegio, a highly stinky but mild-flavored cheese (produced only in the autumn and winter when the cows are tired!) is the perfect Italian match. Plus pancetta…pizza heaven! 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. Add the purest of Italian salads, and pizza night is a wrap!

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
parsley pesto & potato pizza 

Saturday – wedding soup

escarole, orzo, & meatball soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crusty bread

I love that Italy has a traditional wedding soup. Apparently, having less to do with joining a couple, than with melding meat, veggies, & pasta in a big ‘ol pot. Deb swears this is weeknight simple, but I’m not taking any chances. Mixing the meatball mixture, rolling it into cute little balls, and letting it chill – not at all difficult, but I’ll want to allow for some good meatball energy. Saturday seems perfect for that. You just simmer the carrots, orzo, escarole, and uncooked meatballs together, until the perfect union occurs. Escarole is the authentic addition to this soup; if I have meatball success, I’ll be sure to be repeating with downright any green! Pass the parmesan and hunks of crusty bread!

Sunday – magical curry

beet and beef curry (Salon)
basmati rice/naan

This Pakistani dish, chukandar gosht (beets and meat curry), does indeed sound magical. It’s meant for slow-simmering on the stove top, to bring out the magic, I presume. Deep, south asian aromas and flavors, rich, sweet beet earthiness…these things can only be enhanced by some Sunday meat (I’ll choose beef) and my big red pot. I’ve never heard of amchoor (dried mango powder) – if I don’t see it at first glance at the market, I’ll skip it. The fresh cilantro and lemon zest as garnishes sound like flavor-a-plenty. You can choose to serve this in a big wide soup bowl, over a scoop of rice. Or on its own, with naan for dipping. Being that it’s Sunday, I think rice and naan are in perfect order.

Monday –  burgers & deep fried onion (not at all) rings

roasted delicata squash rings (Culinary Society)
WOW mushroom veggie burgers, Chez Marie

I have so many dishes that I look forward to cooking with winter squash. But when I receive delicatas, with their relatively light and “delicate” flesh, and (best of all!) thin, edible skin, I know the simplest of preparation is in order. I want to preserve the subtle essence of this squash, AND I want to conserve my peeling efforts (think sledge hammer) for those thicker, more stubborn-skinned winter squash. The mere mention of roasted delicata squash rings resembling onion rings, to go with a burger, had me sold. You can either slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then thinly slice cross-ways into half-rings. Or, for the full “ring” effect, merely slice the whole squash into rounds, then use a knife or spoon to remove the seeds & pulp from each ring. Then, like so many farm-fresh veggies, all it really needs is a drizzle of evoo, salt & pepper before roasting in the oven to a golden brown. As for the burger part, I’m opting for this yummy-sounding veggie burger from Chez Marie. As you may know, our own local Burgerville took Marie out of her garage and into big-veggie-burger-business a few years back. Her healthy and delectable patties are now available at many local stores and businesses, and come in lots of tasty and unique flavor combinations, with more on the horizon. I pick them up in the freezer section of New Seasons, and always have a box on hand for a quick and healthy oven, skillet, or BBQ dinner. I’ve never tried the WOW mushroom burger, but based on the name alone, I have high hopes. Any of her numerous flavor combinations would I’m sure be stellar, but this one, along with the delicata squash rings, just cried out to me. I’ll opt for the indoor grill (my trusty, ridged cast iron skillet) for the simplest, quickest, and healthiest of weeknight “burger & fries” dinners. If I’ve got five minutes to spare, the toppings bar is always a hit – Rogue River blue cheese, Tillamook cheddar, pickles, and even caramilized leeks if you’re feeling fancy.

Tuesday – turn on the heat

harissa-roasted root veggies over cous cous (Food and Wine)

Mmmm…mounds of fall veggies, tossed with harissa, honey, lemon juice, & evoo, and roasted until tender and browned? Sounds like my kind of meal. If you’ve never used harissa, it’s an amazing North African condiment with chili peppers, paprika, and olive oil. It’s widely available at grocery stores. Be sure to give it a test before adding to your dishes – the spicy factor can vary greatly. I don’t have parsnips this week – no problem. I’ll up the ante on the carrots, fennel, and potatoes. I’m also going to mix in a can of drained chickpeas at the end of the roasting, just giving them enough oven time to get thoroughly warm and coated with this amazing sauce. This recipe calls for currants, slivered almonds, and cilantro to be mixed into the cous cous…delicious, I’m sure, but if you’re pressed for time, simple cous cous in the microwave is your answer. The harissa roasted veggie feast will more than remedy any Plain Jane cous cous.

Wednesday – roasted chicken, weeknight style

roasted chicken, apples, & leeks (Real Simple)
simple roasted delicata squash (Chez Pim)

OK, this is one of those dishes where you read the title and assume it’s a long, involved, weekend type thing. Not so. It’s a small list of ingredients you can count-on-one-hand, none of which are fancy or require excessive chopping and dicing. It’s just what it says – pieces of chicken, tossed in a pan, with some apple and leek slices, and seasoned with just rosemary sprigs, evoo, and salt & pepper.  Put this couldn’t-be-simpler squash in at the same time, just know it will be done first. Let it sit and soak into the flesh while the chicken finishes. Fall (and Wednesday night) at it’s finest.

Thursday – sammie night

chicken, pear butter, and brie panini
escarole salad with dijon vinaigrette (Food and Wine)

If there were a panini season, I think autumn would be it, in my house. I was trying to figure out why exactly I’m drawn to making these so much right now, and the only thing I can come up with is our love of apple butter, pear butter, and pumpkin butter. Which, of course, are fall flavor delights. And thank goodness, are not actually butter. One can only have so many pieces of toast. And in my mountain of veggies, I can always find something that’ll feel right at home in a panini, or that will make a wonderful sammie side. Tonight, I’m certain to have chicken pieces leftover, which can so easily be cut into some slices or chunks, and are already pre-seasoned beautifully. Spread with a little HRO pear butter, and top with your favorite cheese (I think brie would be a stellar choice). Brush slices of your favorite hearty bread with olive oil or melted butter, and a little sprinkling of salt, and grill until golden and oozing. While this is in the making, whip up this mustardy vinaigrette for the escarole salad.

“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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One response to “November 8 weekly menu | fall table”

  1. Aniko says :

    Teri, I’ve had that roasted chicken w/ leeks and apples recipe for year, and everybody loves it!

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