aug 1 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

basil, beans, cucumbers, chard, dill, eggplant, gourmet greens, onions, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

A leading reason many shy away from a CSA, especially in the summer, is being away. I won’t deny it…it’s a bit of a challenge when you’ve got a mammoth amount of veggies headed your way, and you’re headed another way. CSAs offer various solutions, ranging from: give-it-to-a-neighbor; eat-A-LOT-of veggies; get-a-credit; get-double-another-time; etc. With travel on the horizon, I’m still fine-tuning my own solution to this veggie problem. This week, my attempts will revolve around using as much as I can up front, as well as “putting up” – a term which has come to encompass way beyond the canning that brings to mind. Thank goodness there are easier measures, such as put in in a zip loc bag and freeze it! The days and weeks upon your return are truly heaven in the kitchen.

Friday – make-it-yourself summer sammie

tomato, mozzarella, & basil paninis (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)
simple gourmet greens salad

Saturday – on-the-road picnic

green bean salad with fried almonds (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
sliced cucumbers with hummus
baguette

“What the Kale?!?”

Amidst the packing and the pre-travel mayhem, this is what I’ll try to do with “the rest”. I’ll not even put the veggies away this week,  and just see what can be done in an hour or so!

classic basil pesto (Serious Eats)

beyond basil pesto (Portland Farmers Market)

dill gremolata (The Kitchn)

eggplant sauce (Food Network)

balsamic onion marmalade (Serious Eats)

zucchini bread (Cooking Light)

____________________________________________________

Friday –   make-it-yourself summer sammie

tomato, mozzarella, & basil paninis (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)
simple gourmet greens salad

With a delivery of fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes, there just must be room for this all-time favorite. There’s really nothing like this quintessential summertime sandwich.  You don’t need a panini press, and you don’t need pesto sauce. Just a skillet and any form of basil you like – I often just layer the whole leaves on there. Whatever bread you love and will hold together on a skillet or press is great. It’s so easy, in fact, that I feel perfectly comfortable declaring it a “make-it-yourself” night. A salad of just gourmet greens will be ready for do-your-own dressing (a sprinkling of red wine vinegar; a drizzling of olive oil). I’ll also set out a platter of sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, the bunch of basil, some delicious bakery bread, and some olive oil, butter, and salt. Between and betwixt the chaos of vacation-readying, my hunch is everyone will make their way to the stove-top for this quick sammie!

Saturday – on-the-road picnic

green bean salad with fried almonds (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
sliced cucumbers with hummus
baguette

As much as I love a Burgerville stop as a part-way reward on a long car trip, if I have the time and inclination, I do try to use my veggies as part of a car picnic. This Italian green bean salad, delightfully complete with crunchy fried almonds, uses some fennel I’ve still got (I’ll skip the celery), an onion (the red torpedo will be just great in here), and our green beans. With a quick & simple vinaigrette and the lightly fried-in-olive-oil whole almonds, this salad will be worth pulling over for. I’ll throw in a tupperware full of crunchy sliced cucumbers. Along with a tub of hummus and a sliced baguette, it’s a full meal deal, car picnic style. Well, almost full meal. A road trip milkshake will surely make its way to the menu.

“What the Kale?!?”

Ready, set, go…with all my ingredients at-the-ready, in just over an hour (not including summer squash bread cooking time), I was able to stock the freezer with these summertime gems!

classic basil pesto (Serious Eats)

I’ll start here, if only because I know it by heart. You can find many variations of pesto recipes out there, but the classics are nearly identical: the freshest basil possible, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. I have never boiled my basil leaves, as this author suggests. Maybe it would add something, but seems like an unnecessary step to me. Doubling the recipe, I toss everything in the food processor and give it a good whirl. That’s it! I’ll split it into two quart-sized freezer bags, and pop it in the freezer. It makes for a most welcome sight upon returning home. Over pasta, spread on sandwiches, topped on pizza, as a sauce for grilled chicken or fish…the possibilities are many.

beyond basil pesto (Portland Farmers Market)

I don’t really want to call it by it’s given name, winter greens pesto. I think that’s supposed to make you feel better in the dark months, that there’s actually something called pesto that you can indeed make, fresh from the farm. The beauty of this recipe is that you essentially can use any green – chard, kale, beet greens, spinach, collard greens, etc. You’ll notice the similarities to the classic basil pesto recipe. Actually, nearly identical, but I do end up boiling the greens for just a couple of minutes. This week, I’ll make with both of my bunches of chard. And I love to use Oregon hazelnuts with the chard…ultra hearty and flavorful! I’m going to whip this up right on the heels of the basil pesto, with nearly the same ingredients already lined up and just a quick paper towel wipe of the food processor.

dill gremolata (The Kitchn)

And with another half-hearted wipe of the food processor, comes the third saucy, pesto-ey type thing. “Gremolata” is a just fancy term for chopped fresh herbs, plus some minced garlic, lemon zest, and salt. It’s an Italian condiment, traditionally made with parsley. I make it often with a half and half combo of dill and parsley. Given my (over) abundance of dill this week, I’ll be doing a pure dill gremolata. It will brighten up so many dishes – grilled fish, chicken, veggies for sure. Mixed in a warm pasta or pasta salad? With eggs, any style. And of course, spread on sandwiches. In it’s basic format, it is almost a consistency that you could sprinkle. I’m going to be a non-traditionalist, and add a bit of olive oil. This will make it a little more “saucy” which will bind the herbs together, making it a better freezer candidate. You could freeze in an ice tray, pulling out mini green popsicles within the next couple months, whenever the inspiration (or memory) strikes.

eggplant sauce (Food Network)

OK, away from the food processor, and to the skillet. I’m skipping the pasta part for now, just getting the sauce components made. Couldn’t be easier…saute the chopped eggplant in some olive oil until it’s soft, add some garlic and fresh herbs (if you want), as well as a can of crushed tomatoes. Cook until it’s slightly thickened, cool, and toss in the freezer. I’ll so look forward to pulling this out to go over a batch of pasta, along some ricotta and chopped basil.

balsamic onion marmalade (Serious Eats)

Let images of sweet and chunky preserved caramelized onion dance in your head. And best of all, this is something that can be prepared at the same time as the pestos, or anything else. Thinly slicing the onions is the only “work”. The rest is ultra slow cooking, with a little sugar and vinegar, stovetop time. This method is also wonderful with an onion/fennel combo. What you’ll have in the end the most flavorful jam (or chutney, or condiment) ever. I’ll toss mine in a lidded glass container into the freezer. When I pull it out, it’ll be for a pizza topping, a sandwich filling, a toasty bread spread, a pasta mix-in, or a grilled meat dip.

zucchini bread (Cooking Light)

This recipe for zucchini bread (I’ll use my yellow squash) is really light, moist, and summery. I skip the egg substitute, and just use three whole eggs. I also add 1/2 cup or so of plain or vanilla yogurt, just for a little extra moistness and flavor. Lots of pure vanilla and a heaping teaspoon of lemon zest make this zucchini bread so scrumptious and different from the (also delicious) fall variety, spiced with more of the nutmegs, cinnamon, etc. After baking, let it cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap, and then foil. It will freeze nicely for a homecoming breakfast treat. Or, I’ll toss it in my purse for the best car snack ever!

 

 

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One response to “aug 1 weekly menu | summer table”

  1. Claudia McNeil says :

    Hi Teri, Hope you will have a great vacation. Dan and I are in Vermont now. What is your destination? Have fun. I know you will eat well, as always:) Best, Claudia

    Claudia Lacey McNeil cmcneil@realtytrust.com 503-329-3569

    Sent from my iPad

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