january 24 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, squash, turnips

What’s for Dinner?

Maybe I should picture my fruit more often…I got lots of incredulous “You get beautiful fruit like that too?!?” Well, yes I do. My winter CSA, Hood River Organic, is something special indeed. They are an organic farm nestled in the gorgeous Hood River Valley, growing their own produce, as well as partnering with nearby farmers to bring the best that the region has to offer to consumers through their CSA program. I guess I just get used to the fact that during these supposed dark winter months, my table is piled high with local bounty, veggies and fruit, each week. Not to mention the optional items I can include in my box any time – bakery bread, apple & pear butters, cheese, eggs, honey, the list goes on. Fresh, yummy goods provided by their nearby farm partners and friends. This week’s menu has a smattering of everything, but pays special tribute to the five bags of quinoa I uncovered during a much-needed new year’s pantry clean-out. I had the right idea – it is the perfect whole grain! Quick-cooking, a complete protein, and taste great too!

Friday – homemade pizza, TV trays, movie

winter squash pizza (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)

Saturday – baked spuds…smooth, creamy, in a bowl

baked potato soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Simply Recipes)
country bread

Sunday  – goin’ retro

tuna noodle casserole (Simply Recipes)

Monday – winter salad for supper

beet & quinoa salad (New York Times)
cheese plate & walnut bread

Tuesday – weeknight bento secret

turnips and leeks in miso butter (Diane Morgan, Roots)
choose-your-own-bento

Wednesday – gourmet in a flash

honey glazed carrots (Food Network)
garlic herb sockeye fillet
baguette

Thursday – burger & fries

quinoa garden cakes (Whole Foods Market)
parsnip “fries” (Bon Appetit)


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Friday –  homemade pizza, TV trays, movie

winter squash pizza (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables)

Any winter squash will do for this pizza– this week I got cute carnival squash, which are very similar to acorn. Just pre-bake the squash (halved, seeds out, face down, high heat) a bit before you try to slice and peel – makes the process easier.
IMG_1084Then adjust your cooking time for the remainder of the sliced squash roasting – just until they’re tender and starting to turn golden. While the garnishment of the parsley, sage, and lemon I’m sure is delicious, skip it if it sounds too fussy. I’m going to include some of my fresh mushrooms instead. Add sausage, prosciutto, or whatever strikes your fancy, if you want to also add some meat. See this Friday Night Pizza post for tips and details about crust, etc. And remember, the dough is enough for three pizzas – if you have someone who will wrinkle their nose at the idea of squash pizza, make one a tried and true pepperoni!

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
potato & rosemary pizza 
old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)

Saturday – baked spuds…smooth, creamy, in a bowl

baked potato soup (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Simply Recipes)
country bread

Seems my potatoes keep stacking up faster than I can use them. The solution…a thick, hearty, winter-worthy soup which embodies all of the flavor of baked potatoes, plus all the fun of topping it yourself. I’ll use whatever potatoes I’ve got – mixing and matching is just fine. With my leeks, and the infusion of a head worth of garlic, it will be flavor-full indeed. And for the toppings bar…the recipe suggests chopped chives (I’ll use a finely chopped leek), bacon bits, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. I’ll get some thick cut pepper bacon to fry up in chunks rather than bits. I’ll also saute up some fresh mushrooms, and set out a bowl of sliced olives for good measure. With a simple kale salad, using any nuts and any dried fruit you like (although I am very partial to Vincent Family dried cranberries lately), and some good hearty bread for dipping, this is a Saturday night supper worth staying in for.

Sunday – goin’ retro

tuna noodle casserole (Simply Recipes)

With the darling three-year-old cousin coming to visit, and some fancy straight-from-the-docks-of-Garibaldi canned albacore tuna in the pantry, I just couldn’t resist this classic tuna noodle casserole. It’s sure to please everyone, I think – even the most finicky, miniature eater. And it will take you back to yesteryear, when using canned cream of mushroom soup and crumbled potato chips was the only way. Nowadays, there’s certainly more gourmet ways, and certainly a bit healthier ways, but I say live a little…break out the canned soup and bag o’ chips! After all, we are adding our own farm fresh mushrooms, and using local, gourmet Kettle chips! The only thing I’m going to muck with is upping the ante on the pasta – I’ll use one full pound, sensing the milk, butter, & cheese in the recipe supports this. And replacing the broccoli with my kale. I’ll chop in into ribbons, and just as the recipe says, drop it in with the nearly cooked pasta. This makes it a one-dish, full-meal-deal.

Monday –  winter salad for supper

beet & quinoa salad (New York Times)
cheese plate & walnut bread

In the name of quinoa reduction, I’ll even buy a container of pre-washed, organic spinach for this hearty dinner salad. Quinoa packs excellent texture and nutrition. And that’s before you even hit the beets & dark, leafy greens! I’ll use all of my beets, and whatever type of quinoa I’ve got, forgoing the endive and instead mixing in a hearty dose of my micro greens for added flavor and texture. Rogue River blue will be my cheese of choice; a fresh goat cheese would be delicious as well. And any nut you fancy will be great in this – I’m thinking hazelnuts for my own version. With a salad this hearty, we sure don’t need much else for supper. Except maybe a loaf of dense and chewy walnut bread from your favorite bakery. Keep the blue cheese out, maybe add a hard, crumbly cheddar to the cheese plate, and enjoy!

Tuesday – weeknight bento secret

turnips and leeks in miso butter (Diane Morgan, Roots)
choose-your-own-bento

If you live in Portland, of course you know Phil’s Uptown Meat Market. Deli-counter, coffee bar, butcher shop, wine stop, AND, the grill going outside, cooking up those delicious smelling and tasting kebabs. We’ve come to know them as bento boxes – little to-go containers piled high with rice and your choice of skewered beef, chicken, pork, veggies and even fish if you’re willing to wait a few minutes. In-house made marinades and sauces make these a winner of a quick lunch or dinner on the go. I like to bring home a couple bento boxes (you can also pick these up in many markets that have hot food delis…), and combine them with some Japanese-inspired veggie I’ll cook up at home. This week, I’ll saute some mild, white turnips and sweet leeks in just a bit of butter, then add some Japanese rice wine and miso paste. That’s all it takes to create this wonderfully textured and flavored Asian dish. With the addition of the rice and skewer bento combo, it’s a healthy & easy Japanese feast.

Wednesday – gourmet in a flash

honey glazed carrots (Food Network)
garlic herb sockeye fillet
baguette

This simple yet elegant carrot side dish will elevate your mid-week, prepared-by-someone-else main dish for sure. Farm fresh carrots make such a statement, in their whole state, with just a bit of their green top left intact. I’m likely to toss the carrots with just a bit of olive oil and roast them in a hot oven until they’re lightly browned and tender (roasting, in my opinion, is just the way to go with carrots to avoid that mushy cooked-carrot flash-back). Just drizzle this melted honey, butter sauce over the top for their last few minutes in the oven. Again, New Seasons saves the day (and the main dish) by offering this ready-to-pop-in-the-oven garlic herb salmon in their fish department. With a warm sliced baguette (thank you, HRO!), this dinner comes in at well under our thirty minute weekday goal. But tastes like you ordered it from the finest of restaurants.

Thursday – burger & fries

quinoa garden cakes (Whole Foods Market)
parsnip “fries” (Bon Appetit)

Here’s a different take on my Thursday sammie night. Well, a burger is kind of a sammie, I guess. I’m once again attempting to make a dent in that quinoa I’ve amassed. These quinoa garden cakes do make the perfect end-of-week, pot pouri night meal, though. I’ll use grated carrots & parsnips, as well as finely shredded, cooked kale (I’ll substitute this for the spinach). What you don’t use on the inside, use in the toppings bar – thinly sliced (pre-cooked) beets or squash, micro greens, sauteed mushrooms. I’m skipping the lemon/dill/yogurt sauce, and assembling these as good old fashioned hamburgers, buns and all. Make these simple roasted parsnips for someone who has always wrinkled their nose at the word “parsnip” – I think you’ll change their tune.  I call them parsnip fries, which is a stretch I realize, but everyone seems to devour them!

“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 “january 24 weekly menu | winter table”

  1. Claudia McNeil says :

    Hi Teri, You are taking me back to childhood with tuna noodle casserole. Yours is WAY better…. But don’t tell my mom:). X0, Claudia
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
    ________________________________
    From: Urban Farm Table
    Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2014 12:57:40 -0800
    To: Claudia McNeil
    ReplyTo: Urban Farm Table
    Subject: [New post] january 24 weekly menu | winter table

    Teri Simpson posted: “Farm Fresh beets, carrots, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, squash, turnips What’s for Dinner? Maybe I should picture my fruit more often…I got lots of incredulous “You get beautiful fruit like that too?!?” Well, yes I “

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