may 23 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

asparagus, chard, chives, kale, mushrooms, mint, mustard greens, radishes, spinach, sunchokes

What’s for Dinner?

With the sun (mostly) shining now, it’s time to start thinking in earnest about the spring CSA sign-ups. Check out my  “what’s a CSA” page for all the nuts and bolts related to CSAs.  The Oregonian has also done a nice job of detailing out some options. The Portland Farmers Market is open in full force as well, bringing so many of these farms to us each week in the Park Blocks and elsewhere around the city. You just can’t escape it…farm fresh is where it’s at! Thank you Hood River Organicfor this table toppling with bounty from our beautiful Columbia Gorge! Stay tuned, next week kicks off my summer CSA’s (Sauvie Island Organics) season. I can’t wait!

Friday – pizza, tv trays, & movie

grilled pizza with asparagus, scallions & fontina (Food and Wine)

Saturday – rice pudding, rediscovered

curried red lentil & chard stew (Bon Appetit)

kheer (rice pudding) (Manjula’s Kitchen)

Sunday  – 7 minute savory

baked kale, tomatoes, & egg (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
crusty bakery bread

Monday – it’s all about the pie

orzo salad with spinach (Bon Appetit)
strawberry spinach salad (garlic roasted sunchokes (The Kitchn)

garlic roasted sunchokes (The Kitchn)

grilled marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

strawberry rhubarb pie (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Tuesday –  switched up sammie night

steak and swiss chard paninis (Real Simple)
crunchy radishes

Wednesday – shitakes & chop sticks

stir-fry with mushrooms & mustard greens (Bon Appetit)
brown rice

Thursday – hooray, harissa!

pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
baguette


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Friday – pizza, tv trays, & movie

grilled pizza with asparagus, scallions & fontina (Food and Wine)

Recently we gave Deb Perleman’s version of asparagus pizza a shot. Piled high with “tangled asparagus,” minimally dressed underneath with just cheese and chives, it was a real winner. This one from Food and Wine is similar, but with grilled asparagus instead of tangled, and fontina and pecorino instead of mozzarella and parmesan. And lucky for me, I’ve got a pile of green onions left from last week. Let this prior Pizza Night post be your step-by-step guide for easy homemade crust, or pick up a ready-made version from your local pizzeria or market. I’d double this recipe, making two pizzas. All that’s left is a quick grilling of the green onions and asparagus, some workers at the pizza station. Be sure to have some chopped chives handy for a final sprinkling on the hot pies.

More seasonal pizza ideas:

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
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
spinach and chive pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
classic margherita pizza
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
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
shaved asparagus pizza 

Saturday – rice pudding, rediscovered

curried red lentil & chard stew (Bon Appetit)

kheer (rice pudding) (Manjula’s Kitchen)

It’s spring…let’s not call it stew. Maybe soup. Or dahl. Whatever you call it, it’s healthy, delicious, and simple. It’s a go-to of mine when I have a hankering for Indian food and have lots of greens on hand. Any will work – spinach, kale, chard, whatever. Add a sprinkling of fresh chives, and a side of warm naan from your favorite Indian restaurant or food cart…Bombay Chat House is our favorite! I have to admit, my true motivation in creating an Indian meal, besides being speedy and a great vehicle for my greens, is an opportunity for a very special dessert. Special in the sense that this traditional Indian dessert recipe made me disprove a long-standing myth in my own mind: that I did not, could not, would not ever like rice pudding. It was a texture thing. Or a temperature thing. Or a weird flavor thing. Or something. That is, until I made it myself, in my own kitchen, saw what was actually in it (surprisingly, not much besides rice and milk!), and experienced first-hand those heavenly smells wafting from the pot. I was asked to bring a sweet to a recent book group Indian-themed gathering. My immediate inclination was to find a local Indian bakery, and show up with a platter of cute little Indian treats. Fortunately for me, the Indian friend I consulted regarding a bakery recommendation said, without hesitation, “Oh, you must make kheer!” I put aside my hesitations, visited Manjula’s blog and youtube videos, and was quickly intrigued. Maybe rice pudding is not always in a large vat, at the end of a standard Indian buffet, with questionable ingredients and a not-so-pleasant consistency. After comparing a few recipes, I did settle on Manjula’s, but with a couple of modifications: I doubled the rice to increase the thickness (maybe fixing that texture thing for me) and used half coconut milk (because I love coconut). The result was a unanimous YUM! Serve it hot, cold, or anywhere in between. You might be inspired to create a meal around it too!

Sunday –  7 minute savory

baked kale, tomatoes, & egg (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
crusty bakery bread

Originally posted on the Sauvie Island Organics blog, Katherine’s recipe had me at “this takes about seven minutes to pull together.” With this meal sandwiched between more labor-of-love intensive meals (homemade rice pudding! pie!), a recipe that touts such a speedy delivery is first on my list. Plus the dish makes great use of my (mounds of!) kale this week. Four large bunches! We haven’t gotten green garlic yet, so regular will do, and I’ll suggest a generous sprinkling of chives or green onions. With fire roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika, along with cooked-to-your-own-liking eggs, the flavors are delicious, satisfying, and complex. Don’t forget the favorite crusty bread to soak up the juices. The dinner is really just one step beyond eggs ‘n toast – one giant, scrumptious step, well worth those seven minutes.

Monday –  it’s all about the pie

orzo salad with spinach (Bon Appetit)
strawberry spinach salad (Whole Foods Market)

garlic roasted sunchokes (The Kitchn)

grilled marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

strawberry rhubarb pie (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Well, it may not be the perfect-Portland 80 degree Memorial Day we all dream of. Maybe we just hope for mid-sixties, and sandals without wet toes. Whatever the weather, we are grilling for a group at my house. Even simpler than what might be a bit more traditional on this day (burgers & hot dogs) is a grilled flank steak. You can prepare the five-ingredient-or-less marinade way ahead of time, and just let the steak absorb the flavors for as long as you like. After grilling, I’ll sprinkle generously with my fresh chives, and cut it into thin slices for a help-yourself platter. Roasted sunchokes will stand in for potatoes, surprising everyone with their unique slightly sweet, artichoke-ey flavor. For a crowd, use at least three pounds, adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. A mix of potatoes and sunchokes would be a great option too. I’ll forgo the rosemary, and again sprinkle with chives when they’re just out of the oven. For the salads, I’ll use my gorgeous spinach, two ways. I’ve made this orzo salad for years…it’s really a perfect picnic or bbq salad and goes with nearly anything. And it provides a hearty alternative for any vegetarians in the group. I’ll use an entire pound of orzo, replace the fresh peppers with about 3/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes, replace the green onions and capers with fresh chives and parsley, and delete the cumin from the dressing. I also usually toast more pine nuts than it calls for. Make your own modifications based on what you have & what sounds good – it’s really a no fail recipe. This week, while the orzo is still hot, I’ll throw in a bunch of chopped fresh spinach – it will lightly wilt, and be a perfect green addition to this pasta salad. I’ll also make this classic, simple spinach salad with fresh strawberries. No need for any fancy oils, just use olive oil. And I’ll use hazelnuts, just because they’re so fun to sample and buy at the farmer’s market. Add a big handful of chopped fresh mint, and this is one memorable salad. For dessert, a classic strawberry rhubarb pie. I’ve learned that while baking your own pie may seem daunting, it’s really a breeze! Especially when you rely on some place like Grand Central Bakery to prepare a perfect crust, every time!. Sold straight from their freezer, your only job is a trip to the farmer’s market for the freshest local fruit. It’s at traditional celebrations like this that I love to grab a tub of our own Northwest Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla and Oregon Strawberry ice cream for classic a la mode selections.

Tuesday – switched up sammie night

steak and swiss chard paninis (Real Simple)
crunchy radishes

In my head, sammie night is often Thursdays, just because it is a great end-of-the-veggie-week way to pull together lots of what I’ve got left. This week, I’m switching things up, with sammie night on Tuesday, taking full advantage of those flank steak leftovers. The only pre-cooking required is a sauteeing of the chard (or kale, or any green) in some olive oil and garlic. Then, with your hearty bread of choice, layer with the garlicky greens, steak, and mozzarella. Weight down the sammies as they’re cooking for a wonderfully golden and crunchy outside. For a side, some farm fresh radishes, with just a sprinkling of salt.

Wednesday – shitakes & chop sticks

stir-fry with mushrooms & mustard greens (Bon Appetit)
brown rice

I’ve gotten a bit of push-back on the mustard greens salad. The taste is not for everyone, I guess. I love the greens in their raw state, peppery and full-bodied for sure. But I can see how some consider them ultra spicy, or bitter, or something that doesn’t quite belong in their salad. So, I’ll cook them up this week, toning them down in the process. This Bon Appetit recipe originally included snap peas. But that’s the great thing about stir-fry – it’s so easily adaptable to what you like and what you’ve got. I’ll use my shitake mushrooms, mustard greens, and very likely substitute chicken for tofu. Again, that texture thing! Bob’s Red Mill sweet and sticky brown rice is perfect with any Asian dish –  especially good for breaking out those chop sticks for some weeknight fun!

Thursday – hooray, harissa!

pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
baguette

The great thing about this main dish salad (besides it being just SO good!) is that a weeknight batch is perfect for lunches in the days to come. It has that divine combination of earthy, sweet, tart, and spicy – adjust the harissa to your own personal spicy barometer. Feel free to add chicken, but I find it dinner-hearty as is. Farro is a virtual nutritional goldmine, and offers a wonderful full-bodied texture and flavor. Have fun trying different nut, seed, and dried fruit combinations. I think I’ll forgo the dried fruit this week, and add lots of chopped radishes instead. Plus any other veggie bits and pieces I might have hanging around.

 “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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