July 18 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

carrots, cucumbers, garlic, gourmet greens, lettuce, napa cabbage, onions, summer squash

What’s for Dinner?

The heat is on, and we’ve got some great outdoor grilling, a warm-weather Indian feast, and a first-of-the-season carrot cake. And with four bulbs of garlic, I’m certain it will make its way into every meal. Nothing wrong with that!

Friday – move over pie

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)

Saturday – tackling the pasta maker 

fava bean pesto pasta (Portland Farmer’s Market)
big italian salad (Food & Wine)
garlic bread (Simply Recipes)

Sunday – birthday celebration, indian style

quick indian cabbage salad (Serious Eats)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
raita (Bon Appetit)
naan

Monday – kebabs, take 2

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

Tuesday – fruit & veggies

grilled salmon with red onion & nectarine salsa (Williams Sonoma)
grilled summer squash (Cooking Light)

Wednesday –  pass the margs

triple-berry margaritas (Bon Appetit)

roasted carrot & avocado salad (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
chicken quesadilla with avocado-cucumber salsa (The New York Times)

Thursday –  everything but the kitchen sink

torpedo onion & summer squash frittata (Meatless Monday)
salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Cooking Light)

____________________________________________________

Friday –   move over pie

fresh ricotta and red onion pizza (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
gourmet greens salad

carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
IMG_1084Summer Pizza Night! Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. Go with the traditional, oven-baked version, or for some outdoor fun, grill up the pizzas outside using this Serious Eats guide. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. This week, I couldn’t resist this tangy, sweet, & just a little bit salty and spicy, red onion “marmalade” pizza from Smitten Kitchen. There is no way I’d ever embark on a fresh ricotta-making adventure; my store-bought tub will do just fine. I will gladly, however, spend a few minutes making this onion marmalade, using a ton of my farm fresh red onions. You basically caramelize them with some brown sugar and balsamic vinegar until the mixture is thick and has an almost spreadable quality to it. This becomes the “sauce”, which is then dolloped with fresh ricotta and topped with thinly-sliced prosciutto…sounds amazing to me! If you’re making two pizzas, double this recipe. And since I’m grilling them, I’ll make more of an individual-sized, oblong pizza for ease of on and off the grill.  Add a simple salad with some farm fresh greens, drizzled lightly with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. And in celebration of our first Sauvie Island Organics sweet and crunchy carrots, this classic Cook’s Illustrated carrot cake. It’s packed with what it should be – carrots! No nuts, raisins, etc. to get in the way of what we all really want – the classic rich and indulgent cream cheese frosting. And since it’s the height of summer and we do need to cool off, I’ll just have to find a local ice cream that would be right at home here. I’m always partial to Ruby Jewell, but this week we branched out. Scoop…the local, small batch ice cream cart well worth seeking out. Let’s see, with carrot cake, the possibilities are ample. Madagascar Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Bourbon Buttered Pecan, Cinnamon, Triple Threat Ginger, Oregon Hazelnut, Apricot Almond Cardamom, Toasted Coconut with Pecans, Dulce de Leche, Churro Sebroso, and the list goes on. My personal favorite:  Oatmeal and Brown Sugar. Why not with carrot cake?!? A happy Summer Friday, indeed!

leek, sundried tomato, and goat cheese
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and rosemary
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
roasted beet pizza
spinach and chive pizza
summer squash, basil & sun dried tomato pizza

Saturday – tackling the pasta maker

fava bean pesto pasta (Portland Farmer’s Market)
big italian salad (Food & Wine)
garlic bread (Simply Recipes)

Time to kick aside the pasta maker fears. It was a beautiful and heartfelt Mother’s Day gift, and the day has come to unpack it with zeal. Having zero experience in this department (as well as zero Italian genes) I’m anticipating a challenge. So, I’m going minimalist with this fava bean pesto sauce. With nearly ten pounds of fava beans having found their way to my kitchen in the last couple of weeks, suffice it to say I’ve got some to spare for this fava-based pesto. I think I’ll start here, given it’s within my repertoire, to build my confidence. I’ll also make this hearty romaine salad, skipping the other greens, and adding chick peas for a punch of protein. I’ll also toss in some chopped green onions and cucumber instead of the celery. Can’t go wrong. Which is great, because my hunch is there are plenty of potential pitfalls in the from scratch pasta!

Sunday – birthday celebration, indian style

quick indian cabbage salad (Serious Eats)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
raita (Bon Appetit)
naan

I know someone (my hubby!) will be very happy indeed if this birthday celebration includes much-beloved Indian fare. I normally reserve Indian for cooler weather – seems hearty, comforting, and often ripe for the slow cooker. But here we are in mid-July. I sought inspiration from my CSA box, and it came quickly in the form of a beautiful head of cabbage. Instead of braising, I’ll keep it raw and make this indian inspired cabbage salad. Minimal ingredients, ten minutes to pull together, and coated with a spice-infused oil – all sound good to me. I’ll double the recipe, and use my entire cabbage head, a few carrots, and even some green onions. A dandy summer accompaniment will be these kebabs (yes, kebabs twice in a row, what could be better?!?). Reminiscent of his favorite restaurant dish, chicken tikka masala, these kebabs look like a snap to put together. And moist and delicious, marinating for a bit in a yogurt based sauce. I’ll round it out with a cucumber-green onion raita (yogurt-based Indian condiment) and some made-by-someone else naan.

Monday – kebabs, take 2

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

These are the kebabs I go to again and again when assembling a Greek-inspired dinner. With the red onions and cucumbers from the farm this week, that’s a natural. I’ll also add chunks of zucchini (or yellow summer squash) to the kebabs. A special treat this week will be making my own homemade tzatziki sauce with a just-picked cucumber. It’s simple, fresh, and healthy, made mostly with just Greek yogurt and grated cucumber, plus some herbs from the pot. I like to use lemon juice instead of vinegar, but either works. Pass the sauce around the table as a delicious accompaniment to the kebabs. To complete the Greek meal, all it takes is five minutes and your favorite cous cous. For a rich, nutty flavor, I sometimes go for the whole wheat, pearl cous cous.

Tuesday – fruit & veggies

grilled salmon with red onion & nectarine salsa (Williams Sonoma)
grilled summer squash (Cooking Light)

Super simple weeknight grill-fest. One that features another summer fruit that has hit its prime…nectarines (or peaches). Of course, nothing is better than just biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy one, and devouring it apple-style. But I also love using them in salads and salsas (and of course, pies!). Here, northwest salmon is simply grilled side-by-side with some thick red onion slices. It’s served “tower style” with the onions as the base, followed by the salmon. A zesty, sweet, mildly spicy nectarine salsa becomes the topper! And if you want to watch kids (and adults!) gobble up summer squash and zucchini, try it on the grill with just olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s a hit every time! If I have zucchini, I often attempt to cut it long-ways (with mixed success – hard to get those slices uniform thickness!) for less labor-intensive flipping, less falling through the grill, and a really pretty presentation!  The Cooking Light suggestions to fancy it up are nice; I also sometimes drizzle a bit of good balsamic vinegar after cooking.

Wednesday – pass the margs

triple-berry margaritas (Bon Appetit)

roasted carrot & avocado salad (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
chicken quesadilla with avocado-cucumber salsa (The New York Times)

Well, the chunked carrots, tossed into a hot oven sound familiar. But so, so very different from any winter version we were serving months ago. Deb suggests rainbow carrots from the market (which would be really pretty)…whatever farm fresh carrots you’ve got are perfect, and will be tossed simply with olive oil and cumin, adding the peak-of-the-season avocados at the end, with a sprinkling of lemon juice. This took me in a Mexican direction, probably for no other reason than I love Mexican (and a good margarita!). And what can we do in a flash as an accompaniment? A quesadilla, of course. While this NYT version looks like a lengthy ingredient list, don’t be scared away. It’s mostly little tid-bits for the height-of-summer avocado-cucumber salsa – YUM! I’ll go to any farmer’s market in search of these amazing diva cucumbers. The rest is old-school…chicken (pre-roasted by someone else, then shredded), cheese of choice, and tortillas, corn or flour. If the heat continues, I’ll try to toss these (gently) on the grill for an all-outdoor event. Complete, of course, with a pitcher of farmer’s market triple-berry margaritas!

Thursday –  everything but the kitchen sink

torpedo onion & summer squash frittata (Meatless Monday)
green salad with balsamic vinaigrette (Cooking Light)

The Thursday night frittata is not by accident at my house. Often-times I’m trying desperately to clean out the old, make room for the new. Veggies, that is. This recipe for a frittata looks great, using some of our red onions and summer squash. Have some chard or other greens? Saute them up and use them as well. Nearly any veggie is a good frittata candidate – just make sure there’s ample room in the pan to pour in your beaten eggs. I’ve got a few little tomatoes making their appearance, so instead of adding the sun dried, I’ll chop and sprinkle some off-the-vine ones over the cooked frittata. And when you’ve got eggs for dinner, a modest green salad is just right. Favorite additions of mine include sliced avocado, and maybe some chopped green onion (I’ll use the torpedo onion ends). A sprinkling of blue cheese?

“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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