april 11 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

braising mix, chives, collard greens, kale raab, kale, leeks, micro greens, mushrooms, radishes, sunchokes

What’s for Dinner?

There’s something new and red to holler about…radishes! If you see them at the market, they could be in lots of gorgeous shades of white, purple, or pink as well. This first-of-the-season peek at the radish brings so many possibilities. Crunchy, peppery, and truly perfect with nothing more than a sprinkling of sea salt. Use them in their raw state for a bit of sass and zing – salads, sandwiches, on a crudite platter; for a mellower flavor, simply roast or stir-fry. And don’t forget the radish greens…nutritious, delicious, and farmers market full and fresh. As you can see, I also got greens galore, in every size, shape, and variety. My table is toppling with what some might consider just a giant pile ‘o greens. But this market connoisseur (geek) and home chef is thrilled by such volume & variety in the greens department. Enjoy the continued sneak peek into spring!

Friday – pizza, TV trays, & movie

double radish salad (Portland Farmers Market)
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and chives

Saturday – radishes, south of the border style

radish and avocado salad (Food.com)
quesadillas with leeks, kale, mushrooms, and poblano cream sauce (Dona Tomas)

Sunday  – chicken & biscuits

roast chicken with kale raab, potatoes, & garlic parsley jus (Bon Appetit)
chive biscuits (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

Monday – sammie night

chicken sandwiches with chive butter (Bon Appetit)
smashed roasted jerusalem artichokes (Gourmet)

Tuesday –  collard greens, for the hal-ib-ut

collard greens miniera (Gourmet)
grilled halibut

Wednesday – worth every stir

spring leek risotto (Deborah Madison, Local Flavors)
microgreen salad (The Crankin’ Kitchen)

Thursday – polenta o’ plenty

white cheddar polenta with braised greens, mushrooms, & pancetta (SIO Blog, Emily Thomson)


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Friday – pizza, TV trays, & movie

double radish salad (Portland Farmers Market)
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and chives

IMG_1084

Springtime Pizza Night…still as festive, still as fun, the offerings just a bit different each week. Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. Friday is the perfect night for this, not only as an end-of-the-week celebration, but because I can literally pick and choose veggies off my table to top the pizzas! We’ll start with the liveliest of radish salads, taking full advantage of the peek of freshness radish leaves. Any vinegar will do here. For the pizza inspiration, I looked no further than the Lovely’s Fifty Fifty menu – one of our favorite local pizza joints. They take full advantage of all of our local farm fresh produce, not only for their salads, but for their creative and inspiring pizzas as well. Saute up some fennel sausage (or any favorite,) as well as some of our chopped braising greens and garlic. With a sprinkling of farm fresh chives, it just sounds fabulous! Other recent pizza creations:

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 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.)
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 

Saturday – radishes, south of the border style

radish and avocado salad (Food.com)
quesadillas with leeks, kale, mushrooms, and poblano cream sauce (Dona Tomas)

I’m eeking out the last of the cilantro I bought last week, planning an entire meal around this and my gorgeous radish delivery. The salad is bright and simple, adding just a bit of lime juice, cilantro, and sea salt to the main ingredients. The crunchy, spicy radishes find a match made in heaven with smooth, creamy avocado. I’ll make a meal of these mushroom-inspired quesadillas. I’ll slowly caramelize my leeks (instead of a shallot,) use all of my crimini mushrooms, and substitute the asparagus with sautéed kale. It’s green, has a great texture, and will also be perfect with the poblano cream sauce. Don’t be scared away by making a cream sauce – this one is simple and SO worthwhile. It really makes the meal. I do know asparagus is starting to make its big spring appearances, so go for it if you see it and want it! Some simple sautéed shrimp, chopped into pieces and sprinkled into the quesadillas, would be an incredible addition that surely would satisfy those in search of a meaty entree. Mexican magic from my CSA box!

Sunday – chicken & biscuits

roast chicken with kale raab, potatoes, & garlic parsley jus (Bon Appetit)
chive biscuits (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

My go-to quick and easy add-to-your-homemade-veggie-dish-item is a roasted chicken. And usually, I say pick it up from someone who’s done it for you. But, since it’s Sunday, I’m going to fill my house with the wonderful aroma of a home cooked one! This recipe incorporates our kale raab (substituting for the broccoli raab) and potatoes; the raab stalks will be nicely tender, and the leaves lightly toasted and crisped. Skip the simple pan sauce if it seems too fussy (and just sprinkle heartily with fresh chives!), but it’s really just a little broth, lemon & wine stirred with the pan juices to make decadent-sounding jus to drizzle over the sliced chicken. If I had to choose between fussing with a sauce, or fussing with biscuits, the biscuits would win each time. The fresh chives shine in these Sunday night biscuits that you’ll be oh so glad you spent ten minutes whipping up!

Monday –  sammie night

chicken sandwiches with chive butter (Bon Appetit)
smashed roasted jerusalem artichokes (Gourmet)

Sammie night’s moving to Monday this week, in order to use that scrumptious homemade chicken from last night. Couldn’t be a simpler way to begin the week! Fresh herb butter makes anything extra special, even a good old fashioned sandwich. The farm fresh chives will speak volumes in this, as will the delicate micro greens that I’ll use instead of watercress. While you’re assembling the sammies, toss the sunchokes with a bit of olive oil and bake. In this version, a final “smash  and brown” step makes them crunchy and downright close to a french fry!

Tuesday – collard greens, for the hal-ib-ut

collard greens miniera (Gourmet)
simple baked halibut

Yes, halibut is expensive. Oh, but when it’s the first-of-the-season, so sweet and mild, direct from Alaska, it’s worth every penny. And New Seasons has it featured this week at an extra-special price. Go get some  – quick! I usually just rub it with a bit of olive oil, some salt & pepper, and maybe a sprinkling of lemon juice and fresh herbs. My chives will be perfect here. Bake it at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes – that’s it. My collard greens will stay fresh and bright and green in this miniera dish – collards cut into thin ribbons, then truly barely cooking them in a beautiful bacon flavor – just until they are bright green and slightly wilted. You could add a little garlic to the pan with the bacon, and I usually sprinkle my collards with lemon juice when I think they’re done. Slightly bitter, perfectly tangy, bacon-ey bliss!

Wednesday – worth every stir

spring leek risotto (Deborah Madison, Local Flavors)
microgreen salad (The Crankin’ Kitchen)

Risotto is another wonderful way to experiment with whatever spring is bringing. I don’t buy into the “it’s too much work, that stirring, stirring, stirring…” complaint. From stovetop to table, doesn’t seem to be any longer than any other relatively quick weeknight meal. You just need to not venture far from the kitchen for too long – do the other dinner time essentials (table setting, newspaper reading, homework managing, and wine drinking) while you occasionally add a little broth and give a little stir. And really, whatever you get from your CSA or strikes your fancy at the market works well in a risotto. Asparagus tips or spring peas would be a fabulous modification. This simple one will let the fresh flavors of leeks and green garlic shine (don’t worry if you don’t have that – regular garlic is fine, just quite not as spring-special). And I’ll serve my micro greens in their simplest state, with an easy garlic (forget the cooking!) and mustard vinaigrette. Sprinkle with a few chopped nuts, your favorite cheese and some of our farm fresh chives – delicious and beautiful.

Thursday – polenta o’ plenty

white cheddar polenta with braised greens, mushrooms, & pancetta (SIO Blog, Emily Thomson)

Polenta…no longer fuddy duddy peasant food, that’s for sure. It is a super versatile, humble cornmeal dish that can be baked, fried, grilled, or simply cooked gently on the stovetop with some butter & parmesan for a wholly satisfying, rich and delicious dish. This week’s braising mix lends itself wonderfully as a polenta “topping” – any greens would work beautifully.   In this recipe, I double the polenta portion and make it in a wide bottomed pan suitable for serving as well. When the polenta seemed “done” (not grainy or hard to the bite), I let it settle in the pan after mixing in the not-to-leave-out butter (the essential rich and creamy part of the best polenta!) The lightly sautéed and braised mushrooms, greens, and garlic were then spread over the top, with the grated white cheddar adding a finishing touch. Just before serving, warm it in the oven, letting the cheese get just barely browned. You could skip the pancetta and mix in some white beans with the greens and mushrooms for a wonderfully rich and satisfying full meal deal. See where your taste buds and diners take you. A little Italian bacon is hard to pass up.

“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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