february 28 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, celeriac, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, potatoes, squash

What’s for Dinner?

A mountain of mushrooms, again! Along with a huge pile o’ leeks, and a cute little pumpkin, amongst the other winter veggie staples! I’m perfectly poised for a Friday night pizza fest, plus home movie (after movie) night – all those Academy Award nominees we haven’t yet managed to see! Add in an Oscar celebration complete with veggie-inspired festive finger foods, and a weeknight Mardi Gras bash, and this week anything but the same ‘ol, same ‘ol!

Friday – pizza, TV trays, & oscar movie

kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)

Saturday – a sizzling finish

roasted beet salad with micro greens (Molly Birnbaum, Oprah)
pasta, white beans & garlic-rosemary oil (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday  – oscar mania fancy finger food + bubbly

beet dip with goat cheese & hazelnuts (Yotam Ottolenghi)
walnut-mushroom pate (Lizzy Caston, Mushroom Farmers Grow…)
bruschettta with winter greens pesto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)
wild mushroom, leek and chèvre galettes (Bon Appetit)
leek toasts with blue cheese (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

Monday – soup night

celeriac, apple, potato soup (Tiny Urban Kitchen)
baguette

Tuesday – fat tuesday

red beans and rice (+ kale) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

Wednesday – whole bowl, mushroom style

shitake mushroom rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

Thursday – sammie night

squash, manchego, & balsamic onion grilled cheese (Food Network)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)


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Friday – pizza, TV trays, & oscar movie

kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)

Friday Pizza Night is back in full force, especially with the Academy Awards right around the corner. Lots of movie options available now for home viewing! Kale on pizza may not be everybody’s thing, but I think it’s the perfect wintery topping. Chopped kale is sautéd just until it’s wilted, and adds a hearty, chewy note to a vegetarian pizza.
IMG_1084Unlike many other greens, it does not get soggy or slimy, standing up well as a pizza topper. As tomatoes are nowhere in sight here in the Northwest, this is the perfect opportunity to taste test some of those sundried varieties. 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. I’ll double the toppings listed in the Annie’s Eats recipe. This is a “no sauce” pizza; the garlic and red pepper infused oil (simple!) provides the base instead. If you have kids (or adults) that just might not buy into the idea of kale on pizza, throw some pepperoni and olives on the toppings bar – see what happens. Just maybe they’ll find the pizza prettier with some green.

Saturday – a sizzling finish

roasted beet salad with micro greens (Molly Birnbaum, Oprah)
pasta, white beans, & garlic-rosemary oil (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

I’ll modify this salad recipe just a bit, using my entire bunch of golden beets with my micro greens, instead of the arugula. Pistachios and goat cheese, walnuts and gorgonzola, pick your own favorite nut and cheese combination! Again, the critical beet tip:  roast them ahead of time. Any time. But don’t wait until the often frenetic dinner hour – you’ll very likely skip ‘em. Believe me, I speak from some experience of beets straight to the compost bin! Take an hour to roast the beets while you’re home doing something else, then you’re set for whatever you might want to do with them. (Tonight in a salad; tomorrow in an Oscar party spread, for example…) I don’t put anything on the beets while roasting – just wrap tightly in foil, and cook on high heat, peeling once they’ve cooled. Couple this with a rich and hearty pasta and bean dish that seems just the perfect winter comfort food. It uses a surprising amount of veggies – leeks (instead of onion), celeriac (instead of celery), carrots, and parsley are all chopped up finely before sautéing in olive oil with garlic and a bit of tomato paste. It makes the most fragrant, flavorful base as a sauce for the beans & pasta. White beans, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil….mmmmmm, straight from Italy. Don’t skip the showy (but simple!) finish – a drizzle of sizzling garlic-rosemary olive oil plus a sprinkle of sea salt on each bowl.

Sunday – oscar mania fancy finger food + bubbly

beet dip with goat cheese & hazelnuts (Yotam Ottolenghi)
walnut-mushroom pate (Lizzy Caston, Mushroom Farmers Grow…)
bruschettta with winter greens pesto (Katherine Deumling, Cook With What You Have)
wild mushroom, leek and chèvre galettes (Bon Appetit)
leek toasts with blue cheese (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)

The annual Academy Awards…time for girlfriends, finger food, and champagne! The red carpet moments, the glamorous gowns, and the full-evening fanfare that Oscar Night brings…this evening’s “meal” is devoted to choosing which local-bounty-inspired hors d’oeuvres strike your fancy, cooking up a few, then sitting back to enjoy the glamor of it all. (Husbands and children excused!) With it’s gorgeous, vibrant red color, this beet spread is a wonderfully festive appetizer. Plus it has so many other delicious and good-for-you ingredients (hazelnuts, yogurt, goat cheese), it really could stand on its own as lunch or dinner. This, along with the mushroom pate or winter greens pesto, would be perfect served with thick pita crackers, and even some raw veggie crudités. Micro greens would make a pretty topper too. For the galettes, I’ll skip the dried mushrooms, and use mixture any of my freshly foraged ones. Cut the puff pastry into star shapes for the Oscar celebration! And if you’re ready for the most straight-forward but special-occasion party appetizer, look no further than these leek toasts! I’ve got a freshly delivered HRO baguette, ready to be lightly salted, toasted, and topped with caramelized leeks and a sprinkling of blue cheese. Popcorn, licorice, and milk duds are of course also on hand to snack on, alongside this Oscar-worthy spread of veggie nibbles.

Monday –  soup night

celeriac, apple, potato soup (Tiny Urban Kitchen)
baguette

Well, perfect! A soup not only highlighting winter root vegetables, but also including my gorgeous green apples included in my CSA box. Leeks, instead of onions, would be fabulous in here. Eyeballing this recipe, I’ll double it, especially considering it is dinner. And a superb one it will be, with its mix of sweet, savory, and bacon-ey, if anyone jumps at the chance to add the crumbled bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta on top. I can’t imagine a more perfect use for my HRO baguette, either browned into garlicky croutons to float on top, or served as is, soft and chewy for dipping. As always, add a made-by-someone else roast chicken if someone will miss the meat.

Tuesday – fat tuesday

red beans and rice (+ kale) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

This red beans and rice dish is a favorite, even when Mardi Gras celebrations are not in order. But, being that it is Fat Tuesday, I’ll pull out this red beans & rice recipe for king_cake_beads_and_babya little taste of New Orleans. Make it weeknight simple by using canned beans, and preparing on the stove top. I don’t have collard greens, which would be a natural match, but I’ve used kale as an addition before. I prepare it a little differently than the recipe suggests. Sauté the onion (I’ll use leeks), garlic and bacon together in a little olive oil first, then add a head of chopped kale, just until it softens a bit. Proceed with the rest of the recipe, adding the liquids, bringing to a boil, and cooking (stovetop, if you’ve used canned beans, simmering until the flavors meld and it is the consistency you want). Two cans of beans is the approximate equivalent of the cup of dried called for, if you go that route. Add a side of browned cajun chicken sausage links, or if you’re brave, go for the Louisiana Red Hots (both on special at New Seasons this week). Add some famous New Orleans Abita beer, break out the beads, and the Mardi Gras party is underway! For an extra special ending, pick up a King Cake at any local bakery.

Wednesday – whole bowl, mushroom style

shitake mushroom rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

These one bowl dinners are the best. I’ll have the rice at-the-ready, in the rice cooker. A quick saute of my shitakes, kale, and maybe some shrimp or chicken, is all that’s left. (Try as I might, tofu isn’t a mealtime staple for me…) Although the author has said replacing red pepper flakes for the Shichimi Togarashi spice mixture is perfectly acceptable, I am intrigued now. A trip to Uwajimaya is in my future next week!

Thursday – sammie night

squash, manchego, & balsamic onion grilled cheese (Food Network)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

I know I’ll cheat on this, and use pre-roasted, peeled, sliced squash (or pumpkin, in my case this week!). But it’s hard to resist that spicy, sweet oven-roasting, so I may just pop it in the oven for a few minutes, giving it a nice coating of the maple syrupy, chili peppery concoction. I’ll definitely caramelize one of my leeks with a bit of balsamic to get an amazing spread. People can opt in or out of the almonds, as their taste buds desire. My trusty ridged cast iron (with another cast iron topping the sandwiches) whips up two paninis at a time. These simple garlic roasted potatoes stand in quite nicely a a french fry accompaniment.

“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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