june 20 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

broccoli, gourmet greens, green onions, lettuce, mustard greens, potatoes, turnips

What’s for Dinner?

With the official first day of summer upon us, I’ll mark the occasion by switching my oil cloth to “summer” and breaking out my cherry pitter. And you’re at the right place if you might be in search of some weeknight dinners in a flash. Mom is leaving the coop, with some very able-bodied chefs at home. I have high hopes that my Sauvie Island Organics haul will still be the centerpiece, with many a tale of the dinners prepared together. Everyone’s set for success…some better-the-next-day-salads in the fridge, weather perfect for a steak barbie, a fifteen-minute eggs & toast dinner, and the pizza delivery number super handy!

Friday – pizza night change up

broccoli calzones (Martha Stewart, Everyday Food)
mixed greens salad

Saturday – picnics & clafoutis…summer’s here!

old-fashioned oregon potato salad (James Beard, The New James Beard)
chicken with tarragon (James Beard, JBF)

cherry clafoutis (James Beard, JBF)

Sunday  – higgins turns 20

crusted salmon with braised greens and new potatoes (Greg Higgins)
butter lettuce with mustard vinaigrette (Williams Sonoma)

Monday – salad daze

broccoli slaw (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
baguette

Tuesday –  twice as nice

broccoli slaw (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
grilled steak

Wednesday – eggs ‘n toast (plus!)

fried eggs with greens (Martha Stewart)
crusty bakery bread

Thursday – sammie night, dad style

mustard greens caesar (Bon Appetit)
grilled  burgers


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Friday – pizza night change up

broccoli calzones (Martha Stewart, Everyday Food)
mixed greens salad

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 

When you get five pounds of broccoli, you start getting creative. Beyond steamed, beyond stir-fry, beyond all of the tried-and-true ways of enjoying broccoli. I remember making these a while back, to rave reviews. I’ll use a couple pounds of my broccoli, chopped into small pieces. It’s a simple recipe, softening the broccoli with onions (I’ll use my farm fresh scallions!) and garlic, combining with the cheese mixture, and assembling the calzones. The combination of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella is just right with the broccoli. I swear by this Basic Pizza Dough in the New Basics cookbook – takes just a few minutes in the mixer in the morning, and you’ll have homemade pizza dough awaiting you in your fridge come dinnertime. Or, grab your favorite pre-made dough from nearly any market or pizza joint. I’m not sure why Martha keeps the pizza sauce separate here; I see no harm in spreading a thin layer on the bottom of the calzone before assembling. But these are equally delicious as a no-sauce alternative. Add a salad of mixed greens sprinkled lightly with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Pizza night, reinvented, with broccoli in the leading role.

Saturday – picnics & clafoutis…summer’s here!

old-fashioned oregon potato salad  (James Beard, The New James Beard)
chicken with tarragon (James Beard, JBF)

cherry clafoutis (James Beard, JBF)

On the heels of a spring James Beard celebration, what perfect timing to enter picnic season. Oregon’s own legendary James Beard loved a good picnic. In his memoir, he writes, “Since my earliest recollections of food, I have fancied picnics and eating out of doors more than any other fashion of eating. It is perfectly true that under these circumstances food tastes better. One relishes the fresh air and the escape from crowds, and delights in being simply oneself.” In that spirit, I’ll kick off the summer with a picnic menu in his honor. I was lucky enough to preview this IMG_7766absolutely amazing potato salad recipe; I’ve been awaiting just this moment, when my new potatoes arrived from the farm. The texture of this salad was beyond perfect, with special attention payed to just done potatoes. I’ll use my green onions as a stand in for both the diced onion and the chives. And I do think homemade mayo is so worth it! As a picnic accompaniment, of course any ready-made chicken would fit the bill nicely – fried, roasted, whatever. A simple homemade version would be Beard’s chicken with tarragon, which is basically browned and simmered chicken pieces, flavored impeccably with shallots, herbs, and wine. In pure picnic style, it can be served at any temperature. For the finale, as a summer solstice celebration, I just have to try Beard’s cherry clafoutis. A clafoutis is merely a wonderfully light cross between a custard and a cake. I’ll skip the cognac and orange rind, letting the fresh Northwest cherries shine. There really isn’t an easier dessert to make, and again, perfect for a picnic. Make it in a pie or cake pan, bring it along, and cut in to wedges come serving time. I’m so excited to break out my Happy Summer to Me gift from last June 21st…one of those cool cherry pitters I’d wondered for so long if I needed. Yes, indeed I did!

Sunday –  higgins turns 20

crusted salmon with braised greens and new potatoes (Greg Higgins)
butter lettuce with mustard vinaigrette (Williams Sonoma)

What better way to celebrate the birthday of a landmark Portland restaurant than by re-creating one of its tried and true menu items. Especially when it’s a thirty-minute recipe! A recent Oregonian tribute described Greg Higgins as possessing a “devout belief that vegetables — local vegetables — were entitled to full kitchen attention and meticulous presentation, even during the gray months when fresh Northwest vegetation means potatoes and kale.” His personal commitment to local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman were at the core of his cooking and menu, and he’s stayed true to that twenty years later. The once novel and quirky concept has, of course, now become commonplace. I think that’s worth celebrating! This salmon creation sounds amazing, and so true to Higgins’ ideals. After a quick searing, salmon fillets are lightly sprinkled with a breadcrumb mixture including fresh horseradish, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley (which I’ve still got plenty of!). Into the oven it goes for just a few short minutes. This is served along straight-forward roasted new potatoes, and braised greens of choice. I’m going with the mustard greens, and forgoing the fish sauce braise. They wilt down so quickly and nicely, I’ll just sauté them very quickly in a little olive oil and garlic. I’ll serve a simple butter lettuce salad along with this meal. With straight-from-the-farm tender butter lettuce, dressed in nothing more than a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and any fresh herbs you might have, I’m certain this salad would be Higgins-approved.

Monday –  salad daze

broccoli slaw (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
baguette

This menu serves two purposes. First, when the weather heats up, there’s nothing better than salad for supper; it just speaks of the season. And second, when you choose hearty salad such as these, your work is done for two nights – I’m thinking ahead to the mom-less kitchen tomorrow! Tonight’s version will be served alongside a baguette, and maybe some farmer’s market cheeses. Tomorrow night’s, alongside boys’ choice grilled steak. The slaw is a fun surprise, and a great texture, with the broccoli (I use stems and all) sliced thinly like in a traditional cabbage version. The crunchy, sweet, nutty combo in this dish is just perfect; it’s also ripe for your own tweaking…any dried fruit, any toasty nut, and for me, just green onions, instead of the red. I usually prefer to use a good plain yogurt instead of mayo, but with my James Beard homemade mayo already prepared, I’ll go whole hog! Either works great in this tangy dressing. Any good slaw temps me as a potluck potential too. I’ve brought this wonderful Deb Perlman broccoli version to many summer gatherings. As for salad number two, this Pastaworks farro salad serves as a blank canvas for me often. Farro is a virtual nutritional goldmine, and offers a wonderful full-bodied texture and flavor. Instead of the called for kale, I’ll add a potpourri of veggies: green onions, sliced turnips, and mustard greens this week. No matter the veggies you add, it holds a divine combination of earthy, sweet, tart, and spicy – adjust the harissa to your own personal spicy barometer. Have fun trying different nut, seed, and dried fruit combinations here as well.

Tuesday – twice as nice

broccoli slaw (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
pastaworks farro salad (Pastaworks)
grilled steak – boys’ choice

Today marks the beginning of “boys in the kitchen.” I’ve let them off easy, starting them out with two gorgeous, substantial salads at the ready. Their only mission: a stop at the store for a nice looking steak, and a few minutes at the grill. They might think to salt, pepper, and olive oil it before it goes on the BBQ; boys (at least mine) don’t care so much about things like marinades and sauces. Thinly sliced grilled flank steak would fit the bill nicely here as an accompaniment to the farm fresh salads.

Wednesday – eggs ‘n toast (plus!)

fried eggs with greens (Martha Stewart)
crusty bakery bread

I just might be able to sell my husband on a dinner idea that’s really just a step or two beyond eggs and toast. I’ll boil this recipe down considerably – none of the fancy sage-chili butter, and no mushrooms (just because we didn’t get any). All this truly entails is a cast iron skillet, some melted butter and garlic, and a couple minutes sauteeing the greens. This week’s spicy mustard greens will be wonderful here! The only other step is a fun one – making wells in the greens and cooking up the eggs. I’ll suggest a generous sprinkling of green onions over the final creation. The flavors here are delicious, satisfying, and complex. Don’t forget the favorite crusty bread (toasted, with butter & a sprinkling of salt?) to soak up the juices.

Thursday –  sammie night, dad style

mustard greens caesar (Bon Appetit)
grilled  burgers

One of my favorite (and easiest!) go-to dinners in the summer is a grilled burger and salad. And without the fries, a caesar seems to fit in nicely because of its heartier nature. This Bon Appetit recipe uses raw mustard greens in a caesar-esque kind of way. I’ll opt for pre-made croutons, and make the dressing with my trusty anchovy paste (1 fillet = 1/2 to 1 tsp. paste). With the unique twist of gruyere, this caesar is one you won’t want to miss. With the boys in charge, this is definitely a dinner they can handle. Croutons from the bag, dressing pre-made by mom, all they need to do is shred the greens, grate the gruyere, and toss. A stop at the market for a couple pre-made burgers, and a little grill-side bonding, a good old fashioned hamburger completes this meal. I’ll give a gentle reminder that there’s no better place for farm fresh lettuces and chopped scallions than atop a good burger!

 “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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