July 11 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

beets, fava beans, fennel, garlic, gourmet greens, kale, lettuce, summer squash

What’s for Dinner?

Blueberries!!! That’s what. Twenty-one pounds’ worth…our annual haul from a trip out to the blueberry fields of Sauvie Island. I’ll freeze some (a lot!) and still have loads leftover to grace the dinner (and breakfast, and lunch, and dessert) table. Combined with four more pounds of fava beans, a couple heads of romaine larger than my own head, and summer squash galore, I’d say this season is in full swing!

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Friday – grilled pizza fest

summer squash, basil & sun dried tomato pizza (Cooking Light)
gourmet greens salad

blueberry cobbler (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)

Saturday – dinner a la deborah 

pasta with golden fennel (Deborah Madison, Local Flavors)
beets with fava beans and mint (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)

blueberry crisp (Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

Sunday – berries x 3

brunch:

blueberry muffins (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)
summer squash ricotta frittata (Simply Recipes)

dinner:

grilled chicken salad with local berries (wildblueberries.com)
grilled bread (Bon Appetit)

blueberry sorbet (Simply Recipes)

Monday – find a friend

cacio e pepe with peas & favas (New York Times)
kale salad with blueberries and goat cheese (Jessie Monds)

Tuesday – northwest nirvana

caesar salad + shrimp (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
grilled salmon with blueberry sauce (Bon Appetit)
favorite nw bakery bread

Wednesday –  picnic perfect

blueberry-wheat berry salad (David McHugh)
cheeses/salamis/baguette

Thursday –  berry sammie?!?

kale sandwiches with favas & avocado (Self)

blueberry crumb bars (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

summer squash, basil & sun dried tomato pizza (Cooking Light)
gourmet greens salad

blueberry cobbler (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)

Pizza Night IMG_1084this week will celebrate the beginnings of a long and wonderful summer squash season. I’ll substitute sun-dried for off-the-vine tomatoes (still watching and waiting on my 12 tomato plants…) and any basil that didn’t get made into pesto from last week’s delivery. Double the recipe for a good-sized pizza dinner. I almost always stick to my dough recipe from The New Basics cookbook, imbedded in the above post. Or the one in Serious Eats guide to grilled pizza  – it is pretty fool proof as well. 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. Our salad will be the freshest of gourmet greens, sprinkled lightly with good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. And tonight, we’re not going to skip dessert! If you try your hand at just one homemade blueberry dessert this summer, make this the one. Truly, it is out of this world, and defines blueberry-picking season for my family. Quite often, tired and dirty post-picking, we come home, drop the boxes of blueberries every-which-where, pull out my well-used and blue stained Cook’s Illustrated recipe, and whip up the cobbler. Dinner is an afterthought, maybe. The filling is mounds (and mounds) of blueberries, plus a little cinnamon, sugar, and lemon zest. (I actually use the filling part of this recipe all year long with my frozen blueberries for a sort of compote – wonderful over ice cream, waffles, oatmeal, whatever.) The biscuit topping comes together in just a few minutes, and is so very extra special with the sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on top. You can bake it in whatever you like, but I love mine in a tried-and-true cast iron skillet – fresh out of the oven, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you just can’t get more good-old-fashioned-summer than that!

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 – dinner a la deborah 

pasta with golden fennel (Deborah Madison, Local Flavors)
beets with fava beans and mint (Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)

blueberry crisp (Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

This pasta dish is similar to one I recently posted with caramelized fennel, onions, and greens. It’s a simpler version, highlighting just the fennel, in that oh-so-yummy brown and sweet and caramely state.  I’m adding this beet and fava bean salad from Deborah Madison’s newest masterpiece. Using all of my red beets and half my giant fava bean load, plus a little mint from my herb pot, it’ll add the perfect pops of color (and taste!) to the dinner table. The lemon vinaigrette is simple:  5 T olive oil, 2 T lemon juice, 1 t. lemon zest, a finely minced shallot, s & p. This is fresh and wonderful over most any grain or veggie (or chicken, or shrimp…) combo. We’ll finish it off with the simplest of blueberry crisp recipes from one of her first (and most famous) books. Homey, rustic, and best of all EASY. You really just can’t beat a fresh fruit crisp.

Sunday – berries x 3

brunch:

blueberry muffins (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)
summer squash ricotta frittata (Simply Recipes)

dinner:

grilled chicken salad with local berries (wildblueberries.com)
grilled bread (Bon Appetit)

blueberry sorbet (Simply Recipes)

So many berries (and veggies!), so little time. We’ll sneak in a Sunday brunch to showcase some of our harvest! Another Cook’s Illustrated favorite…these muffins are actually called “The Best Blueberry Muffins”.  I couldn’t agree more.  And they’re just ten minutes of prep time! The recipe calls for frozen blueberries, I’m sure mainly to prevent IMG_3413the berries from mashing up and bleeding purple throughout the batter. I find that if you use very fresh, firm berries, this really isn’t a problem. Even if it is, there are far worse things than purple muffins. To make these muffins extra special (and extra decadent!), dip the tops in melted butter after they’re cooled, followed by a second dip in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. YUM! With an easy frittata, this is summer brunch at it’s finest. I’ll substitute my summer squash for the zucchini and add whatever herbs strike my fancy. Now to rest up for dinner…

Salad for supper, using (yes, more) of our blueberry haul…a simple grilled chicken and berry salad. Make it your own way with what you’ve got and love. I’ll use my gourmet greens or romaine, but any mix of spring greens, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc. would be delicious. Fire up some chicken on the grill (or just shred some already roasted by someone else…), add some fresh berries-of-choice, and a favorite farm fresh cheese. The berry vinaigrette will be the defining, pull-it-all-together piece; I’m sure it would work just as well with any berry. Add some simply grilled bread with olive oil and sea salt, or try one of these fancier versions, any of which would be amazing with our full-meal-deal summer salad. We’ll end with a zesty blueberry sorbet – grandma’s ice cream maker gift just keeps on giving!

Monday –  find a friend(s)

cacio e pepe with peas & favas (New York Times)
kale salad with blueberries and goat cheese (Jessie Monds)

Maybe you’re like me, and have received the gift of nine pounds of fava beans in the last two weeks. You might be feeling a bit tired of removing the beans from the pod, blanching them, and peeling each bean individually. A few solutions come to mind:  give the gift of favas to a neighbor – you may be introducing them to a culinary delight they might never have otherwise had; throw them on the grill – everyone then shucks their own, and there’s no bean-peeling required; find a friend (or a gaggle of kids), and one of you set to work shucking, blanching, and peeling, while the other focuses on other dinner duties. The combination of peppery, cheesy (two kinds!), and sweet looks downright delish. I think I’ll double the recipe for a family of four (and to use MORE favas). The kale salad recipe here is for a strawberry version – my blueberries will fill in nicely. I’ll make it a bit less fussy – balsamic vinegar instead of fig; all olive oil instead of a combo; and just one type of berry. Choose your favorite farm fresh goat cheese, and however you make it is sure to be scrumptious.

Tuesday – northwest nirvana

caesar salad + shrimp (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
grilled salmon with blueberry sauce (Bon Appetit)
favorite nw bakery bread

How lucky are we, to have all of these foodie delights right in our own backyard?!? I’ll use my GIANT head of romaine for an Alice Waters caesar (read simple, veggie-focused), a squeeze or two of anchovy paste, and some good-as-homemade store bought croutons. The extra special addition will be a couple handfuls of pre-cooked Oregon pink shrimp.  And what could be more Northwest than salmon with blueberry sauce?!? Alaskan sockeye fillets are featured this week at New Seasons. Dishes like this make getting in your weekly dose of salmon easy. I’ll use my blueberries in this quick, tart, and sweet pan sauce to spoon over a simply grilled salmon fillet. And so gorgeous on the plate – pinky/orangey salmon, deep blue berries, and vibrant green mint. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Wednesday – picnic perfect

blueberry-wheat berry salad (David McHugh)
cheeses/salamis/baguette

The weather’s heating up again…no better excuse for a picnic! An outdoor concert, an evening hike, or just a visit to a park – we love any excuse to break out the picnic basket.  I like to find salads that travel well, and this seems to fit the bill. AND uses my blueberries, as well as another near-perfect berry as well…the wheat berry. Boil these ahead of time, as they take a while to get soft. You can then just have them at-the-ready in the fridge, for easy final assembly. This salad has those wonderful qualities of crunchy, nutty, and sweet, all rolled up together. Alongside some farmer’s market cheeses, salamis, and a fresh baguette, these salads make a picnic worth attending.

Thursday –  berry sammie?!?

kale sandwiches with favas & avocado (Self)

blueberry crumb bars (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

In this past Food Day tribute to the avocado, I discovered the most wondrous fact. The avocado is indeed a fruit – a berry no less! With those luscious, rich, creamy fruits on my mind, it fits right in with our week of berry-filled meals. Let’s add the avocado berry to these simple and healthy kale sandwiches. Find that friend again, for the shelling of the fava beans. Or if you’re done, done, done with that, buy a can of chickpeas – they’d be a dandy stand-in. OK, and one last blueberry treat. My mouth was literally watering as I was perusing the photos of these blueberry bars on Smitten Kitchen. We couldn’t end the week with anything less. Plus, the bars cut up neatly into 36 cute little rectangles. Perfect for a potluck, picnic, party, or heck, just the weekend at home!

“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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