September 3 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

corn, carrots, eggplant, gourmet greens, kale, leeks, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

We’re seeing the very best of late summer produce, with the sunshine to go with it. My box this week held all that September means to me…crunchy corn and sweet carrots, deep purple eggplant, two-hander tomatoes, and piles of summer squash. What a haul! Perfect to get back into the school-year-swing. Food-wise, at least.

Friday – zucchini x 3

power breakfast:
blueberry kale smoothie (On Food and Baking)
zucchini coconut muffins (Two Peas and Their Pod)

lunchbox delights:
carrot sticks & kale chips (Eating Well)
turkey + veggie wraps (Whole Foods Market)
zucchini oat chocolate chip cookies (Nestle Toll House)

pizza party dinner:
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza (Cooking Light)

Saturday – don’t let it end 

grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
kale, carrot, & avocado salad (Whole Foods Market)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties)
grilled sausages

chocolate & zucchini cake (Chocolate and Zucchini)
homemade vanilla ice cream (Cuisinart)

Sunday –  100 foot journey, gourmet

beef bourguignon a la hassan (Floyd Cardoz, The Hundred Foot Journey)

Monday – 100 foot journey, in-a-flash

omelette aux fines herbes (Le Cordon Bleu)
simple gourmet greens salad

Tuesday – btsn, ignore the assignment

rigatoni with eggplant puree (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday – simple food, indeed

sweet corn soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
baguette

Thursday –  sammie night

grilled eggplant & tomato sandwich (Simply Recipes)
sliced tomatoes
pita chips

____________________________________________________

Friday –   zucchini x 3

power breakfast:
blueberry kale smoothie (On Food and Baking)
zucchini coconut muffins (Two Peas and Their Pod)

lunchbox delights:
carrot sticks & kale chips (Eating Well)
turkey + veggie wraps (Whole Foods Market)
zucchini oat chocolate chip cookies (Nestle Toll House)

pizza party dinner:
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza (Cooking Light)

When life starts gifting zucchinis (from the CSA, from the neighbors, from the “take me” table…), I enlist in the three-meal-zucchini-plan. No longer is it good enough to include them as a dinnertime delight…breakfast and lunch (and dessert!) are perfectly acceptable summer squash homes as well. Yes, this does mean a bit of pre-baking for the morning muffins and lunch box cookies. Well worth it, and often a popular homework break! With the school year underway, gone are the leisurely 10 a.m. breakfasts, and lunch stops at the food carts, or wherever we happen to be. Back to reality, which means getting my kids out the door early, with something healthy and energizing in their system. Young or old, kale smoothies are the thing. Add blueberries, and I think you get super-powers. I’ll also make a batch of these zucchini coconut muffins. Not only are they downright delicious, but they also have lots of redeeming health benefits. Wrapped in the freezer, I can pull a couple out each morning and it sure makes that early-morning-routine a little easier to muster through. And despite the rude awakening of the morning-lunch-packing duties, with kale chips and carrot sticks at the ready, it’ll be a snap. Whip up your own kale chips, save a bundle, and be amazed at the kids’ (and adults’!) plea for more. Add a simple wrap or sandwich – it’s surprising what you can do in a hurry with some local veggies at the ready. I just keep some whole wheat tortillas and spreadable cream cheese or hummus on hand, and more often than not, I’ve got fresh-from-the-farm goodies to wrap up inside. Toss a couple of these extra special Toll House cookies into the lunch box too!

We’re calling it a party tonight! After all, we did survive the first week of non-summer-vacation! With everyone anxious to get back on some sort of routine, Pizza Night is just the thing. IMG_1084Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. As always, I’ll head to the tabletop for pizza inspiration. This week, I’m going to use thinly sliced zucchini and tomatoes, as well as some yummy caramelized leeks. All this entails is a hot skillet, a little olive oil, and thinly sliced leeks, low and slow until they’re brown and caramelly. They make any pizza extra special!  This Serious Eats guide to grilling seems pretty fool proof.  I do find it easier to grill pizzas when you make them the individual size.  Skip the tube-o-dough and either use my go-to 5 minute recipe from The New Basics, the Serious Eats recipe, or grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. This is a simple, sauceless pizza, gaining all of its flavor from farm fresh toppings; I would definitely brush the crust with some olive oil and give it a sprinkling of salt.

Other sumer pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza

Saturday – don’t let it end

grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
kale, carrot, & avocado salad (Whole Foods Market)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties)
grilled sausages

chocolate & zucchini cake (Chocolate and Zucchini)
homemade vanilla ice cream (Cuisinart)

Feels like you’re cheating, when you stumble upon both the time and the weather for a September outdoor grill-fest. I find myself scurrying to make those things I associate with summer, which for some reason (laziness, eating out too much, forgetting, who knows?!?) I just haven’t had enough of. The first being grilled, sweet, succulent, mouth-watering, late summer corn on the cob. Zero work, huge reward. Another one of those “just screams summer” dishes is homemade baked beans. They just belong at a homespun BBQ. The first time I used this recipe, the addition of ketchup struck me as strange…cheap, or cheating, or something. Not so! A perfect combo of ingredients for a rich mapley, molassesy, bacony baked bean dish. SO worth the soak of beans overnight, which is really the only work. And with just-plucked potatoes, these garlicky oven-browned potatoes are a good stand in for fries. With this simple kale/carrot salad, and some Olympic Provisions sausages tossed on the grill, dinner is served. For dessert… this chocolate and zucchini cake recipe from the delightful Chocolate & Zucchini food blog. She describes it as “voluptuous”; one last whirl of the ice cream maker, and we’ve got a match made in heaven. If you feel like eeking out a late summer grill gathering with friends, this one’s a winner.  It’s homey and traditional, pays tribute to our local farmers and what they’ve brought us all summer, and is simple and do-ahead for the chef!

Sunday – 100 foot journey, gourmet

beef bourguignon a la hassan (Floyd Cardoz, The Hundred Foot Journey)

I dare not read any high-brow reviews of 100 Foot Journey, the newly released comedy-drama based on a novel by the same name. I’m just taking my pure and simple enjoyment of this sweet for the senses film and running with it. Straight to the kitchen! Filmed in a ridiculously picturesque village in the south of France, this (ultra-predictable) conflict of cultures and cuisines is enticingly laced with food and cooking imagery. That was enough for me! The symbolic dish uniting the two restauranteurs is one steeped in two hundred years of French tradition, given a makeover by young rockstar Indian chef. Come to find out, it’s a real recipe, created by New York chef Floyd Cardoz who felt this story echoed his own. He was the magic behind the food in the movie. I was so taken, I’m giving this Indian-style beef bourguignon a shot. Of course, with some modifications to suit my veggie array, and my schedule. I’ll likely halve the recipe, do the slow cooking over the weekend, and serve it as a Monday pull-out-of-the-fridge special. The fine print actually states that it’s richer and better after sitting for a day or so. I’ll use my own farm fresh carrots, cut into small chunks, diced leeks instead of onion, and skip the turnips. And give yourself a break – use baby pearl onions straight from the freezer section, peeled and ready to roll. The night it’s served, use some boiled, fork-mashed red potatoes as a bed for the stew. Monday’s looking better already!

Monday –  100 foot journey, in-a-flash

omelette aux fines herbes (Le Cordon Bleu)
simple gourmet greens salad

Day two’s nod to my feel good movie of the week sticks to tradition. Just a pure and simple celebration of summer flavors with the classic French omelette. A weeknight friendly supper for sure. Use fresh herbs you have and love – any would be delightful. I’m going with parsley, chives, thyme, as well as a generous sprinkling of halved bite-sized tomatoes just off the vine. Our salad will be a lickety-split version – gourmet greens, drizzled with wine vinegar, high quality olive oil, salt and pepper.

Tuesday – btsn, ignore the assignment

rigatoni with eggplant puree (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

I say ignore those rigid food assignments at the many Back To School Night potlucks that are on the horizon. Pick a late summer veggie in full swing, find a pasta recipe that utilizes it, and nine times out of ten, you’ve got a seasonal crowd-pleaser. For me, the go-to veggie this week is eggplant – one can only make so much babaganoush! I do think this recipe might please even those non-eggplant-lovers amongst us. It’s pureed, so seems like a sauce instead of mushy chunks. No one will probably even know there’s eggplant in it – it’ll just taste great! I’m mostly excited to use the pint of my very own cherry tomatoes in the dish! Use basil if you don’t have mint, although I’m finding the mint in my pot hard to stop!

Wednesday – simple food, indeed

sweet corn soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
baguette

Looking for weeknight simple? Look no further than this Alice Waters sweet corn soup. I’ll use my leeks, instead of an onion, which will add wonderful flavor. Three ingredients (four, if you count water) and five minutes of cooking time, and you’ve got a summer soup that tastes even more delicious than fresh corn on the cob doused in butter. And without the messy hands and corn in the teeth! I’ll serve it as a main meal, with a dollop of creme fraiche and a fresh baguette. You could easily add a roasted-by-someone-else chicken for those that would miss the meat.

Thursday – sammie night

grilled eggplant & tomato sandwich (Simply Recipes)
sliced tomatoes
pita chips

Now this is a veggie burger. Not the kind in the frozen food aisle, which are remarkably good. Not the homemade kind, where the simple often turns complex. But truly just a “burger” made with veggies, where thick and hearty, grilled slices of a globe eggplant stand in for a beef patty. With some tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil tucked in too, you may never go back. And the time is here where I try to find a place for tomatoes each and every night at the dinner table. It’s not difficult, especially since I’m inclined to simply slice several large tomatoes, put them on a platter with a sprinkling of EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, and call this a side dish. Heck, I’d call that a meal! Tomatoes in the sandwich, tomatoes on a platter, thank goodness for the extra large bag of pita chips, my kids will exclaim.

“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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