December 29 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, potatoes, squash

What’s for Dinner?

What a sight to come home to…a “bonus” CSA share from Sauvie Island Organics! This is just one of the many ways our local farms are so friendly and flexible. Miss a week of veggies while you’re away in August? No problem, they said. Enjoy a winter bulk box in December instead! (I had no idea what this was, but was quite agreeable.) Perfectly timed in the midst of the holidays, I got this gift on my doorstep. Thank goodness my winter CSA takes a break this week, or I just might have had to find a good home for these. It wouldn’t have been hard. Let’s see what kind of week I might create with twenty-some pounds of welcome-home veggies. It’ll be a good one to kick off the new year, for sure!

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza 

potato & rosemary pizza (Gourmet)

Saturday – spaghetti & meatballs…the lazy way

spaghetti & meatballs
beet and arugula salad (Giada De Laurentiis)

Sunday  – pearly root veggies

pearl barley and root vegetable pilaf (Bon Appetit)
parmesan halibut fillets

Monday – fried chickpeas…sign me up!

carrot soup, tahini & crisped chickpeas (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)
crunchy pitas

Tuesday – “no rules” New Year’s Eve

bagna cauda (hot veggie bath) (Marcella Hazan)

butternut (pumpkin) pie (The Splendid Table)

Wednesday – bacon for health, cabbage for money

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
butternut squash cornbread (about.com)

Thursday – put an egg on it

roasted delicata squash salad (101 Cookbooks)
+egg


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Friday –  TV trays, christmas movie, & pizza

potato & rosemary pizza (Gourmet)

The Gourmet recipe is included just a guide as to how to pre-prepare the potatoes. 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. Use the amount of potatoes that seems
IMG_1084reasonable – two pounds seems like a lot for pizza toppings! I would do these ahead, having them all ready for the topping assembly line. Potatoes and rosemary on pizza is a wonderful, wintry combination. Experiment with the cheeses -mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, chevre – they all sound amazing. For the meat-lover…can you say bacon?!? Seems like this pizza would be best without the red sauce, but you might need some for the one who can’t live without their tried-and-true pepperoni! My solution to the very loose “colorful” veggie requirement I have is a bag of Earthbound Farms arugula. Piled on top of pizza just out of the oven – perfect!

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
classic margherita pizza
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza 
pizza with red and yellow peppers
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
ricotta and gremolata pizza
parsley pesto & potato pizza 
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
roasted acorn squash & gorgonzola pizza 
winter squash pizza 
butternut squash and caramelized onion galette
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza (Bon Appetit)

Saturday – spaghetti & meatballs…the lazy way

spaghetti & meatballs
beet and arugula salad (Giada De Laurentiis)

We’re taking it easy, these days between the frenzied holidays. This means eyeing the fabulous looking pre-made meatballs in the New Seasons flyer, and knowing they spelled dinner-made-easy. I’ll use some of my frozen tomato sauce, made for just these times. By all means, grab your favorite jar from the store if your freezer doesn’t contain such craziness. With the italian-inspired beet and arugula salad, use what you’ve got, and don’t fret about the rest. Remember to pre-roast the beets so the salad is purely an assembly endeavor, not one hindered with roasting. I’ll use arugula from last night’s pizza topping, blue cheese, dried cranberries, and some sort of nut. With a good balsamic and EVOO, the missing pieces just won’t matter so much.

Sunday – pearly root veggies

pearl barley and root vegetable pilaf (Bon Appetit)
parmesan halibut fillets

The pilaf recipe is actually part of a larger roasted chicken dish. I go back to it again and again, just for the pilaf part, making it a bit healthier by using a couple tablespoons of olive oil instead of the bacon and bacon drippings. And I modify the recipe, using whatever root vegetable is calling out, and MORE of it – this week, I’ll use carrots and beets. The beets will be pre-roasted from last night; it won’t hurt them a bit to cook with the carrots a little. And you can’t get simpler than these big-time-on-sale, pre-prepared parmesan halibut fillet from New Seasons Market. Just toss in your oven at home for twenty minutes, and viola, an amazing main course to accompany the pilaf. If you’re not lucky enough to have a New Seasons near you, duck into your own local market to see what pop-in-the-oven goodness they might have in the seafood department.

Monday –  fried chickpeas…sign me up!

carrot soup, tahini & crisped chickpeas (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)
crunchy pitas

I love a smooth and creamy carrot soup. And this would be plenty for me for dinner, really. Fortunately, I’ve got others to consider, and thus things like protein and full meal come to mind. This recipe that just came out from Smitten Kitchen seemed perfect, as it makes more of a full-meal-deal out of carrot soup, with all of its delicious-sounding add-ins. I’m going to try them all!

Tuesday – “no rules” New Year’s Eve

bagna cauda (hot veggie bath) (Marcella Hazan)

butternut (pumpkin) pie (The Splendid Table)

New Year’s Eve comes with it a lot of hype and expectation. I’m setting the bar low, planning only the hors d’ oeurves and dessert. My hunch is we’ll be perfectly content with some board games, some bubbly, and foraging the fridge for those Christmas treats we all received and want to share. Fancy salamis, nuts,
IMG_2316cheeses & spreads – time to break them all out, toss a baguette in the center, and call it dinner. I will make the festive bagna cauda, compliments of Marcella Hazan (although there are many versions out there). It’s a type of fondue, where a hot bath of butter, olive oil, anchovies, and lots and lots of garlic star. Anchovies from the can are just fine, as is the paste in the tube. I put everything together in a pan on the stove, and then transfer it to a ceramic fondue pot to keep it warm. Surrounding it can be whatever veggie you like, plus chunks of hearty bread to soak up all the drippings from your plate. I’m going to set out all four of the veggies I got this week – beets, carrots, potatoes, and squash. Quite a different spread from the one pictured here, but it all works. I’ll pre-roast all of these (except maybe the carrots – it’s great to have one variety with a nice big crunch) until they’re barely tender. Then you stab then with the fondue fork, soak in the bubbling flavored bath, and dig in. Dessert is inspired by our absolute love for pumpkin pie, wanting the season to never end, and the big, fat butternut squash sitting on the counter. Many swear that making a pumpkin pie with winter squash instead is truly better! I’ve yet to give it a shot, but from the looks of this recipe, how could you go wrong?!?

Wednesday – bacon for health, cabbage for money

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
butternut squash cornbread (about.com)

I’m repeating a wonderful New Year’s tradition I learned last year from my dear Southern friend, Sandy:  black-eyed peas for luck, bacon for health (!), cabbage for money, and cornbread with honey for its pure comfort. Who doesn’t need these things in their life?!? I’ll use a recipe from Emeril which uses a ham hock instead of bacon. I’ll skip the green pepper, and instead chop up an entire small head of cabbage, which I just happen to have waiting its turn, patiently in the crisper (saute this with the onion, garlic, and celery). Because cabbage is bulky, and because I won’t be feeding ten, I’m sure to reduce the quantity of black-eyed peas – maybe half a pound instead of a full. With more winter squash staring me in the face, I can’t wait to put a spin on the classic southern cornbread and add some pureed butternut. With just five active minutes, you can turn a butternut squash (or any variety, really) into a wonderful ingredient to have on hand (think soups, pastas, pies, etc…) It’ll add great flavor, moisture, and richness to this basic cornbread recipe. If you’re short on time or energy, Bob’s Red Mill corn bread mix will do just fine. Whatever method you go with, don’t forget to slice and butter it while it’s warm, and add that essential drizzle of honey!

Thursday – put an egg on it

roasted delicata squash salad (101 Cookbooks)
+ egg

The last thing I’d call this hearty, succulent looking mix of golden, roasted squash & potatoes, slathered with a bold miso/harissa combo,finished with a little crunch of  marconas, is a salad. I’d call it my main meal, for sure, especially with each serving topped with an as-you-like-it egg. I’ll be skipping the kale (for once, I have none!) but upping the ante on the squash and potatoes, adjusting the dressing quantity as seems fit.

“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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