april 25 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

chives, collard greens, kale, micro greens, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, radishes, spinach, sunchokes

What’s for Dinner?

It’s a little confusing, these beginning of spring weeks. The sun, teasingly warm and nearly blinding, gives way without warning to dark skies dumping rain and hail. The produce still reflects this – tender spring herbs and greens, amidst the sturdiest of roots. This week’s dinners reflect this general confusion – that’s my excuse, at least. The comfort foods we’ve come to count on, still in high demand. Not much more comforting than a stay-in Blazer’s pizza night, or a pot pie supper. But there’s a definite nod to the warmth of the season yet to come – shed the jacket, unearth the grill, and celebrate with sangria and a May Day BBQ.

Friday – pizza night + Trail Blazers

spinach and chive pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday – spring fling pot pie

spring vegetable pot pie (Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Today)
with cheddar chive biscuit topping

Sunday  – steak frites (plus chips!)

curly kale crisps (Making Life Delicious)
oven-baked french fries (The New Basics)
grilled rib-eyes (Oprah)

Monday – speedy, sole-ful gourmet

strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)
asparagus & crab stuffed sole

Tuesday –  espinacas con garbanzos + sangria

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

summer sangria (Martha Stewart)

Wednesday – mid-week sunshine celebration

shredded kale salad with radishes (Serious Eats)
grilled salmon with lemon chive butter (Art Food Life)

Thursday – may day bbq

grilled spring veggies (Mark Bittman)
grilled burgers


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Friday – pizza night

spinach and chive pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

IMG_1084

It’s Trail Blazer mania! Admittedly, I’m not a huge basketball fan. But what an excuse to combine game night with our end-of-week pizza and TV tray celebration. Let this prior Pizza Night post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional. With my Hood River Organic box just delivered, I can literally pick and choose veggies off my table to top the pizzas! The inspiration this week came from a very memorable visit to Lovely’s Fifty Fifty. We enjoyed a spring spinach, green garlic, fromage blanc, & chive pizza pie. Deb Perleman at The Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for ramp pizza that I think is similar – she suggests spinach and something “onion-y” as alternatives. Chives will be my choice. I’ll skip all the convoluted parts and use canned sauce and pre-shredded mozzarella! Well, if I feel fancy, maybe a little fromage blanc – that just sounds too good! Add some salami for the meat-lovers in your group.

More pizza ideas:

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 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and chives
egg, ham, and spinach pizza

Saturday – spring fling pot pie

spring vegetable pot pie (Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Today)
with cheddar chive biscuit topping

Who doesn’t love a pot pie?!? I’ve experimented with so many…from the very elaborate, multi-step Cook’s Illustrated versions (with the homemade double crust, of course) to the somewhat simpler “skillet” type, to the cheater’s rendition complete with frozen vegetables and store-bought puff pastry. The great news is, you can’t really go wrong – they’re all good! Veggies you love, meat if you choose, a rich creamy sauce, capped off somehow by a buttery, slightly crunchy pastry. This Ruth Reichl recipe is a winner; I’ll modify it a bit here to encompass my spring vegetables on hand. It’ll be less winter comfort, and more spring fling. Pot pie doesn’t seem complete without those mini pearl onions (a godsend, peeled, from the frozen department!), but skip them if you’d like  (just use veggie or chicken broth) – we’ll more than make up for it. If you do use them, I’d halve the amount as their flavor is quite strong. As for the rest, I’m going to use my leeks instead of the onion, potatoes, and lots of the collard greens, mushrooms, and radishes I receive this week. Yes, radishes – they add a wonderful and surprising color, texture, and flavor. I’m skipping the celery, parsnip and peas – we’ve got so many other spring veggies. A perfectly legal and tasty topping to this pot pie would be a sheet of frozen puff pastry. If you do this, I like to cut it into eight pieces that roughly resemble what you’d scoop out as a serving. Just makes it a bit easier to dish up. I will forge ahead with the cheddar biscuit topping. Because it is so darned delicious!!! Well worth the very few minutes that it takes to pull together these drop biscuits. Use whatever cheese you’d like, but the extra sharp cheddar is wonderful. And, bonus, use a handful of our chopped fresh chives in place of the scallions.

Sunday – steak frites (plus chips!)

curly kale crisps (Making Life Delicious)
oven-baked french fries (The New Basics)
grilled rib-eyes (Oprah)

Yes, kale chips still all the rage. You can even buy them packaged, in a chip bag. For a very pretty price, I might add. Make them at home, for a fresh and frugal treat! My standard formula is simple, resulting in bite-sized “chips” of a salty, crunchy, healthy snack. The recipe I’ve included above caught my attention because, firstly, they’ve left the leaves whole – so artistic looking! Like a faux whole-leaf salad on the table! It also is unique in that it shows kurly kale (the green variety); kale chips generally seem to be made with lacinato kale (the flat, dark leafed variety), maybe because it lies flatter and is easier to cut into nice chip shapes. It really doesn’t matter – both work great. Watch the oven and cooking temperature – they can burn easily. You just want them barely crisped. This New Basics recipe for french fries is my go-to. Something about the pre-soaking of the potatoes (any kind!) in the water-vinegar mixture makes them turn out perfect every time. I don’t bother with the sauteeing and draining of the potatoes – go light on the butter and olive oil, and just pour over and mix with potatoes and salt on a rimmed baking sheet. A juicy steak is a winner accompaniment to both of these. This grilled rib-eye recipe allows me to whip up a sort of wet rub that comes together in less than five minutes, slather the steaks in it, and not give the “main course” another thought. I love my cast iron grill pan for this, beautifully emulating the BBQ on these wet nights, complete with those grill marks we all know and love. I’m going to mix my micro greens with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, and serve alongside (on top?) of the grilled steak. A sprinkling of Rogue River Blue anyone? Combined with our chips (x2)…heaven!

Monday –  speedy, sole-ful gourmet

strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)
asparagus & crab stuffed sole

Those big, bold California strawberries just tease us, week after week, until ours make their grand entrance in May (crossing our fingers). After a winter’s worth of pears and apples, I can’t wait! I’m going to treat us to a preview, with a strawberry and spinach salad – simple, pretty, and tasty. There are lots of variations of this tried-and-true combination; the basic ingredients beyond the berries and spinach are a good cheese and nut of your choice. Goat cheese provides just the right creamy, tangy complement, and the crunch can come from sliced almonds, toasted hazelnuts, whatever! And don’t worry about the raspberry vinegar – any good vinegar will be wonderful (a champagne version maybe?).  It’s just really a treat to have our tender salad greens back, after their long winter nap. And who can resist this New Seasons, featured-this-week, ready to pop in the oven, stuffed sole. Not just any stuffed sole…sole filled to the brim with fresh, local asparagus and our own amazing dungeness crabmeat! I’d say the very few minutes that it will take to prepare this gourmet weeknight supper will be well worth it!

Tuesday – espinacas con garbanzos + sangria

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

summer sangria (Martha Stewart)

Mmmm…Deb Perleman describes this as straight “from a tapas bar in Spain”. I’m in. A gorgeous bunch of spinach is featured in this weeknight-simple dish, loaded with amazingly complex smokey, spicy, tangy flavors. I’ll use canned chickpeas for a shortcut, but will give the toasted-in-olive-oil bread crumbs a shot. Deb says the essence of this recipe would be preserved even if you skip this bread crumb part (just sauté the garlic, and continue without the bread); the final dish will just be a bit saucier. In Spain, they would eat this on little fried bread toasts. I’ll go simple, skip the fried, and use a baguette – just slice, brush lightly with olive oil, and give a little sprinkling of salt before broiling or grilling. A healthy, tasty, full-meal-deal, even if we aren’t eating tapas in Madrid. With the year’s first eighty degree day, a pitcher of Sangria, and al fresco dining, we can pretend!

Wednesday – mid-week sunshine celebration

shredded kale salad with radishes (Serious Eats)
grilled salmon with lemon chive butter (Art Food Life)

Hard to imagine, but the forecast is looking good for few nights in a row of outdoor dining. The grill can be a blessing on the weeknights – there is nothing simpler than grilling a piece of fresh, healthy fish. Salmon is this northwest native’s easy go-to, topping the fillets this week with a bit of lemon chive butter once they’re cooked. A perfect use for our farm fresh chives! I’ll add a nearly effortless kale salad. I use the basic formula again and again – kale, the minimal dressing ingredients, toasted pine nuts (or any nuts), and parmesan (or any cheese). I pre-dress the chopped kale a bit before dinner time, to soften it up. In addition to the nuts and cheese, sliced radishes and a handful of micro greens would be right at home here as well. Now, a glass of sauvignon blanc, and cheers to the sunshine!

Thursday – may day bbq

grilled spring veggies (Mark Bittman)
grilled burgers

I may not get to delivering mini bouquets door-to-door, but I should certainly be able to pull together a May Day barbecue. This is potpourri night at its finest. The sky is really the limit, in terms of spring veggies on the grill, as Mark Bittman describes. I’m hoping to do leeks and sunchokes. And I’ve got a hunch I’ll be trying the kale too, given the four mammoth bunches that turned up in my CSA box! Potatoes and mushrooms are other good candidates…whatever’s left in the fridge. Brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, onto the BBQ it goes. While you’re at it, grill up some burgers too – then it’ll really feel like May! A toppings bar is the final piece. Mine will include some farmer’s market cheese, our gorgeous micro greens, and chopped chives. The hot-off-the-grill leeks and mushrooms are burger fixins at their finest.

 “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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