february 7 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, celeriac, kale, leeks, micro greens, parsnips, potatoes, squash

What’s for Dinner?

What better way to kick off the Sochi Olympic Games than with a week’s worth of Russian-inspired dinners! The Eastern European cuisine isn’t one I naturally gravitate toward. Maybe because I don’t know much about it? After my bit of exploration, I found that in my own cooking, I’ve certainly made a semblance of some of the more popular Russian dishes. An occasional stroganoff dinner, admittedly quite Americanized; beet soup, more often in the summer, smooth and chilled; the infrequent rye bread sandwich, stuffed with lots of pastrami & cheese; and of course potato salad, the 4th of July version. I’ve found the perfect time to delve in a little more, see what the Russians really eat, and if my veggies might play a role in a week’s worth of those dinners. Here’s what I came up with…looks pretty tasty to me! Serve with vodka, if you please.

Friday – let the games begin

potato, kale, leek perozhki (Moosewood Restaurant)
apple sharlotka (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday – borscht & brown bread

borscht (Simply Recipes)
rye bread

Sunday  – russian comfort

beef stroganoff (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)
roasted squash (Simply Recipes)

Monday – pancakes, fancied up

blini with smoked salmon (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
celeriac remoulade (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

Tuesday – “russian salad”

salad olivier + micro greens  (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)
olympic provisions kielbasa (Olympic Provisions)

Wednesday – pancakes, take two

chicken, leek, & winter squash blintzes (Food and Wine)

Thursday – sammie night, russian style

grilled cheese & pickled beet sammie on rye (The Best Thing I Ever Ate)
roasted carrots & parsnips (About.com Eastern European)


__________________________________________________

Friday – let the games begin

potato, kale, leek perozhki (Moosewood Restaurant)
apple sharlotka (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Perozhki…those delightful, little baked buns, filled with lots of varieties of meat, fish, or veggies. They’ll make a perfect Russian stand-in for my normal pizza night! Instead of TV trays and movie-night, we’ll plop ourselves in front of the grand opening ceremonies, the dramatic olympic athlete human interest stories, and the onslaught of over-the-top advertising. This Moosewood Restaurant take on traditional perozhkis seemed just right – super simple pastry dough, veggie-centric, and made meal-sized instead of miniscule. I’ll use my potatoes, kale (instead of cabbage), and leeks (instead of onion). The assembly looks just like making calzones – roll out a little circle, spread the filling inside, fold & pinch closed. For that extra special golden color and sheen, brush on the simple egg wash before baking. Serve each with a dollop of sour cream. For dessert, so lucky for us Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen is 1) married to a Russian, and 2) food obsessed. Look at this Russian apple dessert recipe she shared! Kind of a combination of a cake, pie, pancake, and clafoutis, and the best part is that it really couldn’t be easier. AND it’s pretty darned healthy, as cakes go. No butter, little sugar, mostly apples. I’m going for it, with whatever Gorge-grown apples grace my box this week. This festive dinner and dessert combo will get us through at least a few of those 1,529 hours of planned Olympic television coverage.

Saturday – borscht & brown bread

borscht (Simply Recipes)
rye bread

I’ve made my share of beet soups, but for some reason normally they’re a smooth, pureed version. And often in the height of summer, as a chilled dinner treat. I’ll go more hearty and traditional here, incorporating rich beef, the resulting broth, and a number of other winter veggies. This is not a difficult soup to make – I’m choosing Saturday, only because a weekend day is perfect for slowly simmering the beef shank in the morning, then having time to give the broth a good chill. And talk about a goldmine of veggies – I’ll use my beets, carrots, potatoes, kale (instead of cabbage), and leeks (instead of onion). The fresh dill, along with a bit of red wine vinegar, gives borscht its signature flavor. Don’t forget the essential dollop of sour cream! I’m choosing a rye bread from my local bakery…those Russians like their breads dark, dense, and big on flavor. A match made in heaven, with a soup in the same vein.

Sunday – russian comfort

beef stroganoff (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)
roasted squash (Simply Recipes)

I’m sure there’s a more authentic version of beef stroganoff out there, but this is my excuse to cook up a family favorite in the comfort food department. And even though it is from Cook’s Illustrated, it does not have the signature way too many steps and prep time. Russian stroganoff, at least in the beginning, had no mushrooms and no onions – pretty much just beef, mustard, & sour cream. This CI version has all the good stuff – mushrooms & onions included. Plus an amazingly smooth and flavorful sauce. Roast a couple of winter squash for a perfect accompaniment. Sweeten as you like – can be made with generous sprinkles of brown sugar & maple syrup, or none at all. The salt and the butter are the do-not-miss ingredients!

Monday –  pancakes, fancied up

blini with smoked salmon (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
celeriac remoulade (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

I’ve always thought of blini as kind of a snazzy party food, often decorated with sour cream  & caviar, served with a glass of bubbly. The Russians like them made with buckwheat flour, topped with many types of pickled fish. I’m going simple here, using an Ina recipe that seems pretty true to tradition, and with a familiar fish. Make a big platter of blini, warming them in the oven as you cook. Serve at the table with slices of purchased smoked salmon and creme fraiche or sour cream, with people decorating their own. A tart celeriac salad (fancy word is remoulade) will make the perfect side. Of course, Alice Waters bring us the no-frills, all-flavor version.

Tuesday – “russian salad”

salad olivier (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)
olympic provisions kielbasa (Olympic Provisions)

Now this is a dinner I can’t wait to try. Salad Olivier is the Russian salad – seems a far cry from the “salad” I’m used to! Mandatory at any New Year’s celebration and special occasions throughout the year, it’s made from very simple ingredients, and (Russian) pantry staples. Apparently, there’s lots of variations passed down from all those Russian grandmothers. All that I saw called for canned peas & carrots. When’s the last time you saw that?!? I’ll use a fresh carrot of my own, and some peas from the freezer, cooking them up quickly in a little water in the microwave. Lighten it up as you wish with low fat mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt (or a mix). In thinking of a meat dish to stand up to that grand salad, I went straight to a historically Russian sausage; one that I could pick up at a favorite meat counter. Olympic Provisions makes this seasoned pork variety, slow-smoked over applewood. I’ll just brown them briefly in a skillet. My HRO micro greens, maybe just sprinkled with a little olive oil, vinegar, and salt, would be right at home on this plate. Maybe not exactly Russian, but a textured, green, healthy, and tasty addition.

Wednesday – pancakes, take 2

chicken, leek, & winter squash blintzes (Food and Wine)

I’m fairly certain I’ll never be completely clear on the difference between a blini and a blintz. I’m making blinis as flat, decorated-on-top, pancakes, and blintzes as more like rolled up crepes. I just knew I had to try them both! Russian style blintzes may be more traditionally served with fresh cheese. Or a sweeter version with syrups and jams. But I’m making the dinner variety, and loved this Food and Wine innovation, using seasonal vegetables. Like beets, roast the squash earlier in the week or day, having it at-the-ready come dinner-prep time. After sautéing up the leeks, put them in a bowl for the filling mixture. Use the same pan for the blintzes, infusing them with a leek flavor, and more importantly, saving a dirty pan! Skip the chicken if you want them vegetarian. Otherwise, a made-by-someone-else roast chicken will do just fine. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. I’m detecting a theme here…Russians not only love their vodka, they’re awfully partial to sour cream!

Thursday – sammie night, Russian style

grilled cheese & pickled beet sammie on rye (The Best Thing I Ever Ate)
roasted carrots & parsnips (About.com Eastern European)

Russians like their pickled veggies! The thought is that their cold, harsh winters are not conducive to fresh produce, so they preserve through pickling. My hunch is their winter bounty looks a lot like my own CSA box…root vegetables, hearty greens, squash, etc. But, they have historically pickled – cabbage, rutabagas, beans, beets, even fruit! This made me think of my jar of pickled beets (given to us by our German grandmother…coincidence?) in my pantry. Perfect for a Russian style sammie night! All you need is pickled beets (or another tasty pickled treat – check out Unbound Pickling for a selection beyond compare!), your favorite cheese (goat cheese does go nicely with beets), some butter and a cast iron skillet. Add some sliced chicken if you’ve got it on hand from the blintzes. Roast up some carrots and parsnips, classic Russian root veggies, into kind of a “chip” accompaniment (I’ll skip whatever fresh herbs I don’t have on hand). For a less heart-healthy chip choice, go straight for the Kettle Chips – I did read that Russians prefer their chips dusted in caviar and crab flavors. I’m thinking sour cream & onion instead – surely the Russians would approve!

“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.)

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “february 7 weekly menu | winter table”

  1. Claudia Lacey McNeil says :

    Hi Teri, Hope they delivered 2 weeks of goodies!! The kids and g-kids all skied down the hill from C Crest to Vista Bridge yesterday. I imagine you’re sorry you missed the excursion. XO, Claudia

    • Teri Simpson says :

      I love it, Claudia!I had to forsake pirozhkis & apple sharlotka because of the storm!Hood River Organic pushed through snow, wind, & ice to deliver all their boxes – mine made it as far as City Market in NW! I was just too exhausted from the FULL day of sledding and snow play to cook!

  2. Jill Dutt says :

    The Beef Stroganoff looks perfect for this Sunday snow day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Urban Farm Table

using your local bounty every day

Epicurious.com: New Recipes

using your local bounty every day

101 Cookbooks

using your local bounty every day

Cook With What You Have

Cook delicious & healthy food every day

Sauvie Island Organics Farm Blog

using your local bounty every day

using your local bounty every day

Simply Recipes

using your local bounty every day

America's Test Kitchen

using your local bounty every day

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: