june 13 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

chard, gourmet greens, lettuce, mizuna, parsley, turnips, green onions

What’s for Dinner?

I realize summer’s official start is not until June 21st. But for me, (and many others, I’m sure) it sure feels like it kicks off the minute school’s out for the year! Meals seem to morph a bit, not only with the change in the season and bounty, but also with the change in the rhythm and pace. More time for all-hands-on-deck meal preparation; more flexibility for impromptu picnics; more hot nights, where salads and sandwiches are the perfect antidote; more of a taste for a bit lighter fare, fare that can be served hot, warm, or room temperature; more parties and potlucks, where people enjoy sharing in what the season offers; and more grilling outside, plain and simple. And each week my gorgeous farm box from Sauvie Island Organics provides the grand impetus and inspiration for all of these simple summertime pleasures. Enjoy this week’s menu, just a taste of what this season brings to our dinnertime rituals…

Friday – school’s out pizza night!

kids’ choice pizza

Saturday – picnics o’ plenty

peanut sesame noodle salad with mizuna (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
edamame

Sunday  – fathers’ faves

spaghetti with swiss chard & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chicken & shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

strawberry shortcake (Cook’s Illustrated)

Monday – farm fresh frittata

frittata with green onions, parsley, & ricotta salata (Bon Appetit)
gourmet greens salad

Tuesday –  salad daze

taco salad (Cook’s Illustrated 30-Minute Meals)

Wednesday – BBQ bliss

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
grilled lettuce (Simply Recipes)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

Thursday – summer sammies

chimichurri, cheese & steak paninis (Joyful Healthy Eats)

pickled turnips  (SIO Farm Blog, Wk. 6 2012)


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Friday – school’s out pizza night!

kids’ choice pizza

This week, kids (or kids-at-heart) rule…school’s out! I’ll solicit the kids for their very favorite Pizza Night combinations, and let them go to town. A celebratory meal for sure! Some ideas my own kids shouted out were:  pizza margarita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, thinly sliced basil); pepperoni & kalamata olive; canadian bacon, pineapple & red IMG_1084onion; sausage & roasted red pepper. We’ll see what the finalists are come Friday, and I’ll set out a giant toppings bar for each person to create their own individual masterpiece for the grill (the small size is perfect for this purpose). In addition to their classic favorites, topping choices will come right out of my CSA box: sautéed chard and farm fresh garlic, chopped parsley, and thinly sliced green onions. This Serious Eats to guide to grilled pizza is pretty fool proof. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. The ingredients should be at-the-ready, as the dough cooks lickety-split on the grill. These Friday night grilled pizza parties will be this season’s mainstay! I can’t wait to see the summer bounty that will grace the tops.

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 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 
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, & fontina cheese pizza
grilled pizza with asparagus, scallions & fontina
pizza with green garlic & arugula 

Saturday – picnics o’ plenty

peanut sesame noodle salad with mizuna (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
edamame

We like any excuse for a picnic! A concert, a ball game, beach day, visitors in town, a bike ride…even just the sunny weather. And a good sesame noodle recipe is worth holding onto – it makes lots, so is great for sharing, and can really be served at any temperature. This one is made extra special by the addition of peanut butter in the dressing. Toss it into a food processor or blender (with a few other Asian-ish ingredients), pour it over any noodles, and add what you like. Scallions (green onions) seem like a must, but I’ll forsake her suggestions of cucumber and peppers and instead use hakurei turnip matchsticks for the wonderful crunch. I’ll also use my bunch or two of mizuna, a mildly peppery and spicy Japanese green. Tossing thinly sliced mizuna with the just-drained and dressed noodles, it will wilt to the perfect texture. Along with a big bowl of lightly salted edamame, and maybe even a little pre-made sushi treat, this is summer picnic fare at its finest…fresh from the farm.

Sunday –  fathers’ faves

spaghetti with swiss chard & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chicken & shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

strawberry shortcake (Cook’s Illustrated)

This Smitten Kitchen recipe for pasta and greens shows that with very few ingredients, and a little twist on the usual, you can make something really extra special. Garlic chips?!? Add them to pasta, oil, cheese, olives, and our gorgeous swiss chard, and this could be the meal! To make it more Father’s Day special, add these grilled chicken and shrimp skewers, with just a little lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. If you have a nice lettuce to serve them over, great; if not, our colored veggie is already covered, in the most delicious way. And for dessert, our dad’s very favorite one of all:  fresh strawberry shortcake. Father’s Day couldn’t fall in a more appropriate month, given June is the Northwest’s prime strawberry time. Often I’ll go right to the shelves of the grocery store for the “shortcake” portion of this quintessential spring/summer dessert. A good pound cake, bakery-made shortcakes, biscuits, or even those spongy slightly twinky-like cakes, all do just fine in this dessert, especially when you’ve got strawberries like ours. But, one time a year, I get out my apron and my Cook’s Illustrated recipe, and go to town. The shortcakes really don’t take long to make, and are so worthwhile, with their light sprinkling of crunchy sugar on top. Sandwiched between are the world’s most delectable strawberries and a dollop of slightly sweet vanilla whipped cream. Invite lots of fathers to this gathering (or take bits and pieces along to someone else’s…)! It’s straight-from-the-farm fare that will please not only them, but also the granddads, kids, and everyone in between.

Monday –  farm fresh frittata

frittata with green onions, parsley, & ricotta salata (Bon Appetit)
gourmet greens salad

Frittatas are our year-round friend. But I especially enjoy them in the summer, when there are so many sensational and varied veggies to add to the mix. Also, they are really meant to be tinkered with – eggs, cheese, and whatever vegetable combo appeals to you.  This week, I’ll keep it super simple, using my green onions and parsley; adding some good ricotta salata steps it up a notch, and is all the “fancy” you need. With the increase in temperatures, this dinner is also nice because it cooks up in a flash (so doesn’t heat up the kitchen) and can really be served at any temperature – just-out-of-the-oven hot, luke warm, or even room temperature. Add a very simple green salad – think greens, oil, any vinegar, and a little shaved parmesan. Any other additions are delicious but unnecessary, with the luxury of ultra flavorful farm fresh gourmet greens. An amazingly delicious and satisfying summer supper that I’ll go to again and again.

Tuesday – salad daze

taco salad (Cook’s Illustrated 30-Minute Meals)

In good conscience, it’s hard for me to really call this dinner a “salad”. But it’s really fabulous! Leave it to Cook’s Illustrated, even the 30-minute version, to make things look more complicated than they are. The only real cooking part is the ground beef (or chicken, or turkey, or black bean…) mixture. The rest is chopping and shredding – ANOTHER giant head of lettuce, more scallions, grated cheese, avocado, olives, cilantro, tortilla chips…whatever you like! Two giant time-savers:  buy a bottle of some sort of southwest/lime/vinaigrette (the CI version is really good, though, and worth it if you have a few minutes), and skip the entire fussy “final assembly” section. I just make a giant bowl of shredded lettuce, and all else sits on the toppings bar, allowing everyone create their own perfect, personalized taco salad. My son’s “taco salad” often amounts to a pile of chips, cheese, and olives. And sometimes dressing.

Wednesday – BBQ bliss

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
grilled lettuce (Simply Recipes)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

The outdoor grill is a cook’s dream in the summer. Less dishes, and more help, that seems to just materialize when the BBQ is involved! This week, grill night is built around parsley! When I get a bunch of parsley (beware, these bunches can become GIANT as the season progresses…) my favorite thing to do is to get out the food processor and make a batch of chimichurri sauce. There’s usually so much parsley, I can reserve a handful or two for the sprinklings I’ll need throughout the week, and still have plenty for this amazing Argentinian sauce. The basics:  parsley, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes (make it as spicy or not spicy as you’d like). You can easily freeze this sauce also, if you won’t be using it right away. So weekday simple though – a flank steak on the barbecue, sliced into thin strips on a serving platter, drizzled heartily with this fresh and fragrant chimichurri sauce. If there’s extra sauce, it’s wonderful on sandwiches and wraps too (see sammie night tomorrow!).  I’m going to take a break from chopping the lettuce, and throw it on the BBQ. It’s the trendy, hip, restaurant thing to do, but it’s also really tasty and easy. Although this recipe is for grilled romaine, I’m going to give it a shot with my sturdy head of magenta lettuce. Just brush it all over with the simple vinaigrette before grilling, and watch carefully for scorching. Use any of your favorite bakery bread – I’m using a big, hearty Como loaf. It all works the same, but the larger the loaf, the less slicing, brushing, and turning on the grill.

Thursday – summer sammies

steak, fontina, & chimichurri cheese panini (Joyful Healthy Eats)

pickled turnips (SIO Farm Blog, Wk. 6 2012)

I’m not talking about the afterthought, it’s-all-we-have-in-the-house sandwiches. Although, nothing does beat a good PB&J in a pinch! Another summer meal that keeps your kitchen cool and your dinner plans healthy and simple are farm fresh sandwiches.  Think wraps, grilled (or not) paninis, or just traditional on good whole grain bread.  Encase it however you love; the headliner is what’s inside. And SIO provides some truly delectable veggie filling options. I can’t resist using the steak and chimichurri from last night for a fabulous end-of-the veggie-week sammie night. I’ll choose my bread, add some fontina, as well as a smattering of whatever veggies might be still around come Thursday. A sprinkling of green onions? Some chopped, sauteed chard? Crispy lettuce? And for a nice side, we love these quick-pickled turnips (just means some soaking in a water/vinegar/salt/sugar combo for a while). Crunchy and delightful, aside nearly any sammie.

 “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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