Archive | September 2014

September 26 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

carrots, chard, fennel, gourmet greens, kohlrabi, leeks, potatoes, sweet peppers

What’s for Dinner?

Well, for starters a giant head of kohlrabi. This is what’s delightful about joining a CSA. Would I ever actually buy a kohlrabi  in the grocery store? No way. What comes in my box is what our farmers and our climate created, and is right for the season and the land where we live. I’ll give anything a whirl, and hope for the best. All successes? No way. But what I learn along the way, what my family learns while sitting around our dinner table, are things all the more valuable and memorable when we fail. And an opportunity to try it next time another way! I’m feeing a little arrogant now, like an old hand at kohlrabi, since I did get to experiment last year a bit. I’m excited to make it in a traditional Hungarian way, and some fresh and crunchy closer-to-home ways as well. Beyond kohlrabi, it’s a week packed with tailgate parties (parking lot or home style!), salutes to Oktoberfest, and apples…glorious Northwest apples.

Friday – tailgate, csa style

warm fennel and parmesan dip (Martha Stewart)
pureed beet spread with yogurt & za’atar (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
carrot & pepper crudites
salted toasty bread
wings

Saturday – healthy start  + pizza

breakfast:
garden harvest bread (Cooking Light)

dinner:
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza (Martha Stewart)
gourmet greens salad

Sunday – oktoberfest celebration, Gustav’s style

german beer

potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce (Williams-Sonoma)
sauteed swiss chard (Bon Appetit)
rouladen (Gustav’s)
buttered egg noodles

apple sharlotka (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Monday – rainy days & mondays

lentil bacon soup (The Macrina Bakery)
rustic country bread

Tuesday – hungarian comfort

creamy kohlrabi soup (about.com)
roasted chicken

Wednesday – mid week oktoberfest

german potato salad (Food Network)
braised kohlrabi (Jenn Louis, Lincoln)
beer brats (NYT)

Thursday – sammie night

toasted chicken, brie & apple sandwiches (Sunset)
apple-kohlrabi-jalapeno slaw (Grant Butler, The Oregonian FoodDay)

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Friday – tailgate, csa style

warm fennel and parmesan dip (Martha Stewart)
pureed beet spread with yogurt & za’atar (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
carrot & pepper crudites
salted toasty bread
wings

This is how it goes when you have a high-schooler. “No, I absolutely do not want to go to the soccer tailgate party Friday.” Until, of course, game day, when she absolutely cannot miss such event. “And by the way Mom, bring food.” OK, Friday Pizza Night re-scheduled for more pressing causes. One look in the fridge, and I know it’ll be a dips & spreads type contribution. Which is awfully easy, when I’ve got a large bunch of beets pre-roasted & peeled staring me in the face. Thank goodness I ran out of time or energy for whatever my original purpose was for these! I’ve made this Yotam Ottolenghi beet spread before, generally to rave reviews. The color is vibrant and gorgeous, and it has so many other tasty and good-for-you ingredients (hazelnuts, yogurt, goat cheese) it really could stand on it’s own as lunch or dinner. If you want to get fancy, lightly brush some good, hearty bakery bread with some EVOO, sprinkle it with crunchy salt, and serve it alongside the beet spread. Otherwise, any untoasted, sliced bread is great, and so are good old pita chips. With one of my just-delivered bulbs of fennel, I’ll also make this warm fennel and parmesan dip. The fennel is browned and roasted until it’s soft, then combined with just olive oil, parmesan, and salt and pepper. Again, the perfect accompaniment would be salted toasty bread, but for a tailgate, we’re just not picky. Cut up raw veggies make excellent dippers too! I threw wings on the menu list, just to be more tried-and-true tailgatey, but also something you might pick up at any market to easily compliment one of these spreads and make it a friday night home tailgate.

Saturday – healthy start + pizza

breakfast:
garden harvest bread (Cooking Light)

What’s the next best thing to starting the weekend at Baker & Spice bakery, with a thick slice of their ultra-moist garden bread, packed with carrots and zucchini, and sprinkled with slivered almonds? Baking up a version of my own! No one does it as well as Baker & Spice, but it’s not the time to be so particular – I’ve got farm-fresh carrots, apples are appearing everywhere, and there’s one big-ole zucchini in my fridge staring me in the face! I love this with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and slivered almonds on top.

dinner:
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza (Martha Stewart)
gourmet greens salad

The mere mention of “caramelized fennel and onions” could turn some noses. Try it – I think you’ll find it a family favorite, on anything from pizza, to pasta, to sandwiches, etc. Caramelize is just a fancy word for cook in olive oil until very soft IMG_1084and golden. I think the addition of some of my gazillion sweet red peppers would be fabulous. (I’ll save some of this concoction to go alongside the bratwursts midweek.) Use whatever cheese you like – mozzarella, fontina, sauce or no sauce. Italian sausage and black olives would be sure winners on these too. Follow this prior Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. It makes enough for two pizzas, even three if rolled out in the super thin, best-for-crispy-pizza style. Add a simple salad with some farm fresh greens, drizzled lightly with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

Other seasonal pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza 
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread
classic margherita pizza

Sunday – oktoberfest celebration, Gustav’s style

german beer

potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce (Williams-Sonoma)
sauteed swiss chard (Bon Appetit)
rouladen (Gustav’s)
buttered egg noodles

apple sharlotka (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

We’ve made Gustav’s Bier Stube an October tradition. Along with its fancier counterpart, The Rheinlander, it offers up a lot of top notch reasons to celebrate. Authentic German fare, self-proclaimed best German beer selection in Portland, and a cozy, kitschy ambience perfect for Oktoberfest minus the Munich. I do look forward to this once a year indulgence in Bavarian pretzels dipped in Swiss cheesy fondue, decadent potato pancakes, homemade spatzle, and a hearty sampling of bratwursts, schnitzels, and the like. Given a Sunday supper opportunity, I’d like to cook up my own dinner ala Gustav’s. To start, I’ll try my hand at potato pancakes; I’m sure to purchase the applesauce given the menu list! But applesauce and sour cream are musts as toppers to these traditional delights. One Gustav’s specialty I’ve never tried, but am sure intrigued by, is the rouladen. It’s a very traditional German dish, and is simply mustard, pickles, bacon, and onion rolled up in thinly sliced beef and cooked. For years, taking instruction from grandma-in-law and mother-in-law, I’ve made it the easy way – rolling up thinly sliced beef that had been spread with mustard and layered with the other key ingredients, securing it all with a toothpick, and baking. Having seen this recipe on the Gustav’s site, I just might have to try the fancied-up version, which consists of browning and cooking in a red wine veggie sauce. I’ll substitute my leeks for the onions, and serve over buttered egg noodles. For a veggie side, I’ll make this quick sautéed swiss chard. It’s a go-to side with anything really, considering how easy it is. Add a sprinkling of apple cider or red wine vinegar over the chard, and it’ll be right at home in this German dinner. For dessert, Gustav’s offers a traditional apple strudel. While amazing, I’m not bothering with the layers and layers of dough, and will instead make this simple apple cake. It’s actually sort of a combination of a cake, pie, pancake, and clafoutis, and the best part is that it really couldn’t be easier. AND it’s pretty darned healthy, as cakes go. No butter, little sugar, mostly apples. I’m going for it, with whatever northwest apples catch my eye at the market this week.

Monday – rainy days & mondays

lentil bacon soup (The Macrina Bakery)
rustic country bread

When rain is in the Monday forecast, something’s just got to pull us through. My remedy will be this comforting lentil soup, compliments of my favorite Seattle’s bakery, Macrina. It would surely give Baker & Spice a run for its money, if it lived in the same city. I stumbled upon this soup once when I was visiting (my coffee and pastry time must’ve moved right on into lunch…) and have waited out the seasons to make it once again. I do think of it, each time I get fennel from my CSA, and wait, wait, wait until it feels like soup time again. The time is now, and not only do I have fresh fennel, but also tomatoes, carrots, and onions (leeks). Grab the lentils and bacon, and you’re in for a real taste treat. I wrote myself a note that last time I made it that I used about two pounds of whatever type of tomatoes I had. It simmers for a while, developing an unbelievably rich flavor. Top with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, and serve with your favorite crusty bread for dipping.

Tuesday – hungarian comfort

creamy kohlrabi soup (about.com)
roasted chicken

Kohlrabi came my way this week, and in a big way, as you can see. Thank goodness I was led to this soup once by a friend from Hungary. She makes a variety that’s more chunky – carrots, parsnips, pasta pieces, etc. She suggested I try the more traditional Hungarian kohlrabi soup – a silky, creamy version. It was a winner, especially on a weeknight with its truly minimal ingredients and prep time. This recipe uses vegetable stock (could use chicken) and milk; you could also mix some sour cream with a bit of hot liquid (to prevent clumps) and add that for a little thicker version.  I’ll add a generous smattering of chopped fresh chives at the end. My hunch is any fresh herbs you’ve got hanging around would work well. With a made by someone else roasted chicken, it’s a wonderful fall meal.

Wednesday – mid week oktoberfest

german potato salad (Food Network)
braised kohlrabi (Jenn Louis, Lincoln)
beer brats (NYT)

Who doesn’t need a mid-week beer & brat night during October?!? I’ve got the components for more German fare, and I’m going for it. You could make the potato salad ahead of time, but being that’s it’s a Germany-style version, there’s really no need as it’s ultra no-fuss – cooked potatoes, bacon, & onion (I’ll use leeks), mixed in with a tangy mustardy dressing. You could literally make this while the brats were braising. As for the bratwursts, pick up your favorite variety nearly anywhere, along with a favorite German beer. They are cooked in a beer broth, with added onions (leeks) and a little butter. When they’re cooked through, I just drain the cast iron skillet, and brown them up right in that same pan. I’m serving them bun-free, with some of that caramelized onion/pepper/fennel mixture from pizza night. If you’re still staring that kohlrabi in the face, give this ultra simple one line recipe a try! (Scroll down the SIO blog to “kohlrabi notes”.) It’s sure to be a winner, given that it’s from the famed Jenn Louis, and it fits right in with our weeknight oktoberfest menu.

Thursday – sammie night

toasted chicken, brie & apple sandwiches (Sunset)
apple-kohlrabi-jalapeno slaw (Grant Butler, The Oregonian FoodDay)

Yes, this is a bit different from the toasted cheese of my youth. Wonder Bread, margarine, and Kraft Singles. Boy, were they delicious though! I don’t know if they’d heard of such concoctions back then…a sandwich with apples on it? Such a simple concept to put the luscious combination of apples and cheese into a sandwich! Plus some of my sliced chicken from the other night.  If you have apple butter, great. If not, just the thinly sliced apples will do just fine, and add such a nice crispness. Having said that, apple butter is one of those fall things you should have around. On toast, on cheese sandwiches, on hunks of cheese, stirred into yogurt, in pancakes…the list goes on and on. And contrary to the name, it does not have butter in it. It is just called that because of its extraordinary smooth and creamy texture. As you can imagine, I’m having some on my sandwiches! The kids are not big fans of the recipe-suggested rye bread, so I’ll be using some other thick country bread and cooking the paninis in my cast iron grill pan, with another cast iron on top of the sammies as they cook to press them down. Then for the slaw…I got this recipe once when I bought a bottle of the uniquely northwest Blossom Vinegar. There are so many delicious flavors – I love to pick up one of each at the farmer’s market and give them as small holiday gifts. This slaw features their apple-jalapeno variety; apple cider and some finely minced jalapeños would do nicely also. I’m substituting the napa cabbage with what’s left of my giant kohlrabi. With crispy apples, sweet peppers, and fennel, this is one good salad.

“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.)

Urban Farm Table

using your local bounty every day

Epicurious.com: New Recipes

using your local bounty every day

101 Cookbooks

using your local bounty every day

Cook With What You Have

Classes and resources for healthy, delicious, and quick meals

Sauvie Island Organics Farm Blog

using your local bounty every day

using your local bounty every day

Simply Recipes

using your local bounty every day

America's Test Kitchen

using your local bounty every day

smitten kitchen

Fearless cooking from a tiny NYC kitchen.

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The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

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