march 14 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, collard greens, kale raab, micro greens, parsnips, squash, mushrooms, potatoes, sunchokes

What’s for Dinner?

Not one but two luck-’o-the-Irish inspired meals! St. Paddy’s Day is just too fun to limit us – green beer, shamrock cookies, potatoes every which way…I love it all. Our local, picked-at-their-peak veggies from Hood River Organic inspire us to put it all together. And, finally, we’ll welcome the first day of spring on Thursday March 20th – yeah!!! Check out the Portland Farmers Market Blog for all of the fun and festivities that will mark the occasion at Saturday’s first market of the season. Go early, get a steaming cup of coffee, sample some delicious fresh-baked pastries and other hearty breakfast options, chat with our local farmers and see their gorgeous goods, enjoy the music, …soon enough, it’ll be time for lunch. Options abound!

Friday – sushi + salt & straw birthday bash

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
stir-fried japanese kale (Relish)
edamame

fancy pants ice cream (salt & straw)

Saturday – the farmers return

sunchoke and artichoke heart linguine (Diane Morgan, Roots)
farmer’s market surprise

Sunday  – rich & creamy collards

barley risotto with beans & greens (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Monday – stout 2 ways + corned beef & cabbage 

corned beef & cabbage (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
irish soda bread
guinness stout

chocolate stout cake (Bon Appetit)

Tuesday – st. paddy’s, take 2

twice-baked irish potatoes with stout onions & kale (Ivy Manning, The Farm to Table Cookbook)
guiness stout

Wednesday – LQLCSD

pasta with garlicky kale raab (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Thursday – spring cleansing (minus the crazy)

raw beet & sprout salad (Debra Meadow, PFM Blog)
bacon & parmesan frittata (Food and Wine)


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Friday – sushi + salt & straw birthday bash

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
stir-fried japanese kale (Relish)
edamame

fancy pants ice cream (salt & straw)

It’s birthday season at our house! My not-so-little boy just turned 11, I snuck in my 29th (with a fabulous no-cooking celebration at Por Que No and JaCiva!), and now my baby girl turns 14!!! Which makes nearly fourteen times she has requested sushi for her special day. Over the years, we’ve accumulated all the necessaries for a “sushi party”:  lots of chopsticks, rectangular sushi plates and dipping bowls, bamboo rolling mats, and wasabi always on hand! Sushi-making is fun, festive, and easy – anyone can do it. The essential ingredients:  sushi rice, nori (the seaweed sheets, available at most any store), and fillings (minus the fish – I’ll save that for the experts!). Ignore Mark Bittman’s complicated chef-inspired recipe for sushi rice; all you need is what Mr. Morimoto recommends – short-grain japanese rice, rice vinegar, and sugar. We’re only making maki at our house – the traditional mat-rolled sushi with the seaweed on the outside and the rice and fillings on the inside. It takes a bit of practice to get good at spreading the rice over the nori – moistening your finger tips is essential. Then the fun part: arrange the fillings. IMG_6921Don’t be tempted to over-stuff the sushi – this will just create complications when trying to roll it. Let these chefs, along with your own imagination and inspiration (and veggies in the fridge!) be your guide to choosing what you want as fillings. What always makes the cut at our house:  slices of cooked egg, avocado, and pickled radishes (Uwajimaya). What we’ll add this week:  cooked beets, sauteed mushrooms, and raw leeks all sliced into thin matchsticks, some micro greens, and bits of this japanese sautéed kale. IMG_6923I’ll make that super simple, skipping the sprouts and substituting leeks for green onions. Just like a toppings bar, set it all out, and let people go at it, stuffing and rolling their own combinations as they please. Since only a small bit of the kale will be used in the sushi, I’ll serve it as a healthy and flavorful side, along with lots of edamame, for a full-on Japanese meal. Dessert…a special request for Salt & Straw ice cream. A taste of summer in March, which doesn’t go AT ALL with our Japanese-inspired sushi feast. But, hey, what are birthdays all about? Birthday girl choice, no questions asked. Even if there is a line out the door, in the rain. The salted caramel cupcake ice cream is just sure to be worth every minute, and birthday-worthy for sure.

Saturday – the farmers return

sunchoke and artichoke heart linguine (Diane Morgan, Roots)
farmer’s market surprise

Gosh, seems like no time has passed since the market was last open. Just the long blink of a cold, dark January and February. And now the farmer’s market at PSU is back! With no rain, and maybe even a little sunshine in tomorrow’s forecast, it’s the perfect day to go peruse, find old favorites, and see what newbies are there. The only thing on my dinner menu is this sunchoke pasta. I’m intrigued – I’ve belonged to a CSA for several years, and not once have I seen a sunchoke in my delivery. I had to look up what the heck it was! I’ve learned that it’s also known as a Jerusalem artichoke, looks a bit like a knobby ginger root, and has a sweet, nutty flavor a bit reminiscent of an artichoke, and can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s a funny-looking “tuber”, and has a nickname I’d rather forget (starts with an “f”; rhymes with artichoke). No matter, I’m going for this straightforward Diane Morgan recipe, using leeks instead of red onions. As for the rest of the meal, we’ll just have to see what the market brings! A farm fresh cheese platter? Freshly baked bread? Another veggie that I didn’t receive in my box (fat chance!)?

Sunday – rich & creamy collards

barley risotto with beans & greens (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
baguette

Risotto gets a bad rap as being super labor-intensive. With your minimal ingredients chopped and ready to roll, it’s really no longer than any other dinner. You just need to be around for the add broth, stir, add broth, stir repetitions – generally for around a half an hour – well worth it! Forget the home-cooked beans – I’ll use canned white. I saw that one commenter used collard greens instead of the called for escarole; last time I made this I gave it a shot, and it was two thumbs up all around. She had a brilliant suggestion of putting the chopped collards in with the simmering broth, and then adding them to the risotto at the end. That gives them a good chance to cook and lose a touch of their bitterness, making them a perfect complement to the earthy barley, thyme, and leeks (which I’ll use instead of onions). Add a warm, buttered HRO baguette, what could be better?

Monday –  stout 2 ways + corned beef & cabbage 

corned beef & cabbage (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
irish soda bread
guinness stout

chocolate stout cake (Bon Appetit)

Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day pass you by without the savory satisfaction of making your own corned beef & cabbage. An easy one pot Irish wonder! And the traditional “boiled dinner” really need not be ho hum and mushy. I like this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated  – you choose veggies you like best and throw them in the pot based on their cooking time. And I really simplify it – I skip the self-brining process, and just buy a ready-to-roll corned beef brisket from New Seasons. That’s it – the beef brisket, and whatever veggies strike your fancy. I’ll use all of my potatoes, parsnips, and leeks from HRO, and splurge on a purchased head of cabbage because it sticks together in those nice, perfect wedges. My leeks will replace onions – I’ll slice them lengthwise in half, and add them with the cabbage so they cook so they’re just tender, but not mushy. No carrots this year, so this will be a first – some par-roasted squash cubes will stand in! One essential tip:  cover the meat with 24 oz of stout beer (and water if needed) – it brings a wonderfully Irish flavor. If you’re going to be out and about, I’ve also done this in the oven, basically covered, low and slow. A 325 oven, starting to add the veggies at around 3 hours. Serve with grainy mustard, horseradish, or this delicious horseradish cream sauce. Add some traditional Irish soda bread from the New Seasons bakery, and pass the Guinness! (Don’t forget the amazingly simple possibility of reuben sandwiches the rest of the week too!) We’ll finish with this decadent chocolate stout cake – I’ll bake it in a bundt cake pan and skip the frosting. A treat that will serve the lunch boxes well throughout the week! If you have a sweet tooth but want to skip the cooking, the Irish Coffee Mousse featured at New Seasons this week is outstanding! Maybe just a tad, with a cup of deep, dark coffee to get this Irish day rolling!

Tuesday – st. paddy’s, take 2

twice-baked irish potatoes with stout onions & kale (Ivy Manning, The Farm to Table Cookbook)
guiness stout

I just hate to leave St. Patrick’s Day for another entire year. Because there’s Irish-style stout in the house, I think I’d better use it in these scrumptious stuffed potatoes. If I have leeks left, I’ll use those instead of onions, or do a combo. Browning these in stout?!? YUM, and so worth the time it will take (um, just have a stout while you stir occasionally.) Either pre-bake the potatoes another time, or put them in the oven while you cook the onions, leeks, and kale. All that’s left is the potato mashing, combining it all together, and doing the “twice baked” part until the cheese (Irish cheddar?) is melty and delicious. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this!

Wednesday – LQLCSD

pasta with garlicky kale raab (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Lightning-Quick Lazy and Completely Satisfying Dinner, Deb coins it. For those of you who delight in food and cooking (even just thinking about it) and don’t know Deb Perelman, you should. Her sense of humor is contagious, and she makes the kitchen fun. This post of hers, wherein she highlights an end-of-the-farmers-market-day meager bunch of broccoli raab, is a perfectly detailed run though of how to create something big, bold and beautiful from nearly nothing. That large bunch of gorgeous kale raab from HRO is far from “nearly nothing”, that’s for sure! Raab is available only in the spring, when over-wintered plants in the brassica family (such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, and broccoli) begin to flower and send out seed shoots. When the kale flowers, the stalks lengthen, and the leaves change shape and become very tender and sweet. Raab is most tender before the florets actually flower, and is wonderful sautéed, braised, stir fried, grilled, or raw in hearty salads. In this recipe, a short, chunky, clever-shaped pasta of your choice is combined with our kale raab and just four other miracle ingredients that together make a sensational and complete one pot, 20 minute meal – olive oil, garlic (lots of it!), red pepper flakes, and salt. That’s it. Taste it and you’ll see why I love our local farmers, Deb Perelman, and the kitchen!

Thursday – spring cleansing (minus the crazy)

raw beet & sprout salad (Debra Meadow, PFM Blog)
bacon & parmesan frittata (Food and Wine)

Welcome, Spring! I’m going to celebrate by bringing out the Magimix, again! Let your food processor do all of the beet work for you this week – looks like you just shred them, peel and all, for this raw, cleansing salad. I’ll double the recipe (using a combination of whatever beets I get), all of my micro greens, and adding a crumbling of chevre, blue, or whatever cheese I picked up at the Saturday market. To go with this, a very simple frittata – they are a true weeknight wonder. Healthy, delicious, and versatile. A little oil or butter, eggs, and whatever combination of meats, veggies and cheeses you can dream up. Since we have (more than) our fair share of veggies in the raw salad, I’ll modify this Food and Wine recipe to include bacon, cheese, and whatever veggies I muster up after quick glance in the end-of-the-veggie-week-fridge. Small cubes of winter squash (mini pumpkin!) would be fabulous in this combo!

“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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