january 2 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, cabbage, leeks, mushrooms, squash, turnips

What’s for Dinner?

New year, new veggies, new menus! No reason for the winter months (the “dark months”…) to bring emptiness, disappointment, or bewilderment to your meal planning efforts. Against popular thought, the Northwest does grow amazing and abundant produce in the winter and early spring months! AND, there’s a CSA  that accumulates this wealth, and delivers it right to my doorstep! I am a happy Hood River Organic (HRO) CSA member…check them out Hood River Organic. Speaking of winter abundance, check out what the Portland Farmers Market has going on this winter. The perfect chilly-weather Saturday – indulge in some steaming coffee and scrumptious farm fare, peruse the vendors to pick up your week’s dinner delights, then hit a movie at Fox Tower, a PAM exhibit, or some Nordstrom shopping!

Friday – bacon for health, cabbage for wealth

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
braised cabbage (Emeril Lagasse)

Saturday – pizza night returns, old school style

old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)

Sunday – detox pho

pho with beef, mushrooms, cabbage (Epicurious)
quick-pickled turnips (Andrew Cohen, High Ground Organics)

Monday – my apologies, julia

mushroom bourguignon (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Tuesday – a little lebanese

beet, orange, & black olive salad (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
world market sambousak, hummus, & babaganoush

Wednesday – more detox

roasted delicata squash with quinoa salad (Food and Wine)

Thursday – sammie night

portabello panini (new york times)

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Friday – bacon for health, cabbage for wealth

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
braised cabbage (Emeril Lagasse)

A day late, but not a black eyed pea short. I’m surely not the only one that spent New Year’s Day sleeping too late, battling the dead Christmas tree, and thinking I couldn’t possibly eat (or cook!) another bite after too many holiday indulgences. But today I’m ready to fully engage in the beloved Southern New Year foodie customs: black-eyed peas for luck, bacon for health, and cabbage for money. Who doesn’t need these things in their life?!? For the Hoppin’ John, I’m using some frozen ham I had on hand, but a ham hock is easy and adds tremendous flavor. And it’s my lucky day that cabbage arrived today – this braised version looks simple and is certain to bring that fabled wealth. Serve everything over rice with a Louisiana hot sauce sampler.

Saturday – pizza night returns, old school style

old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)

Before the holidays are over, we plan to go old school, either visiting a local pizza joint that’s been around for decades, or trying to replicate it ourselves. Fair warning:  this place does not serve anything resembling shi-shi. Portland’s Old Town Pizza is legendary, both for its straight-forward and delicious pies, as well as its storied past. Complete with a grand old bar, creaky floors, and alleged ghosts, it expresses the soul of old Portland. One of their specialty pizzas I remember well is the Dragon Lady, a healthy (as pizzas go) veggie option loaded with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, and capers. IMG_1084At home, I’d use my farm fresh mushrooms, sauteed leeks instead of onions, sundried tomatoes, and a good helping of artichoke hearts and capers for an extra special zing. Follow this previous 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. With a traditional red sauce (I’ll use canned Cento) and shredded mozzarella, this ought to be a close approximation to the creation of this wonderfully unique and quirky local institution.

Sunday – detox pho

mushroom & cabbage pho (Epicurious)
quick-pickled turnips (Andrew Cohen, High Ground Organics)

A perfect place to kick start the New Year…Vietnamese food. It’s known to be among the world’s healthiest, and focuses on both the yin and the yang to (thankfully!) re-balance the body. Not to mention a steaming bowl of pho has got to be among the most comforting meals around. I’ll skip the homemade broth, and use their tips for enlivening a store bought version. This recipe calls for protein-packed beef, anti-oxidant rich mushrooms, and everyone’s favorite super-green: kale (I’ll substitute with cabbage.) And don’t forget the all-important toppings bar, adding a bright and zesty note, as well as pleasing textures. As a simple side, I’ll make these quick-pickled turnips. In just an hour (of inactive soaking time) you can have the same crunchy, sour, pickled veggies you often get at Asian restaurants.

Monday – my apologies, Julia

mushroom bourguignon (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Although this bourguignon lacks what some might consider an essential “b” ingredient, I guarantee it is NOT going to feel like any sacrifice! It follows our holiday-over-indulgence-detox-night quite nicely. It has all of the indulgence of the Julia Child classic, without the rich, heavy beef. And, more importantly, without the day’s commitment – it’s been brilliantly translated into a weeknight meal. I’ll use my portabellas and shitakes from the box, and substitute chopped leeks for the finely diced onion. Get the pearl onions (classic bourguignon!) in a bag from the freezer case – no one needs to stand peeling a hundred tiny onions. Served over egg noodles with a dollop of sour cream, this is the moment your kids just might declare they love mushrooms!

Tuesday – a little lebanese

beet, orange, & black olive salad (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
world foods sambousak, hummus, & babaganoush

I turned to my beloved Plenty cookbook this year for our New Year’s Eve festivities. The hostess mentioned “Lebanese”, and could I bring a salad or two. Of course, I scurried to honor the perfectly wonderful root veggies that had patiently awaited our arrival back home, after a week away. This is what’s great about the winter veggies…no hurry to use them! I made “fall-toush,” a play on summer’s quintessential fattoush salad. It’s a classic Levantine pita bread salad, generally made with height-of-summer produce. Everything in it is fresh, crisp, and bright…tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, lemon, etc. For this winter celebration, I instead used squash and brussels sprouts – delicious, with bright hints of summer in the fresh herbs and citrus. The other dish I made was this beet, orange and black olive salad. Be sure to use the extra salty, wrinkly black olives; to simplify, I skipped the orange flower water and used juice drippings. If you’ve got extra red cabbage, this could substitute for the radicchio. My family called for a repeat this week, especially if we could go to World Foods and pick up the sides! The little crescent-shaped meat pies called sambousak are truly delectable. Ground beef, onions, pine nuts, Lebanese spices, all wrapped up in a crispy dough. With some of their hummus, babaganoush, and maybe some wood-fired pita bread, it’s a dinner worth a do-over!

Wednesday – more detox

roasted delicata squash with quinoa salad (Food and Wine)

OK, back to detox and healthy eating. I detoured a bit, with the draw of the sambousak. Quinoa is our beloved superfood, packing loads of protein in it’s tiny seed. I’ll use dried cranberries instead of raisins in the salad, just because I buy them in bulk from Vincent Family Farms enjoying them on everything from oatmeal to roasted squash. I will buy a bag of arugula for this, both because it sounds delicious, and I’ll use half of it tomorrow night on the portabello paninis.

Thursday – sammie night

portabello panini (new york times)

A great way to kick off 2015 sammie nights. I break out the cast iron ridged grill pan, pile the sammies in, and weight them down with whatever heavy object is in sight. Another pan, a bag of sugar, etc. After a little patience and a flip, you’ve got perfectly golden, melty, grilled sandwiches. They often appear on my Thursday dinner menus, as they work well on this clean-out night (always have to be thinking of that bursting veggie box arriving Friday morning…). Nearly any veggie can find a home in a sammie, and finding a veggie side from what’s left in the fridge is usually quite simple. Even if it’s carrot sticks and dip! This week, I have got SO many gorgeous portabello mushrooms, I know I’ll be using these. Instead of the outdoor grill, I’ll cook them under the broiler until tender, sizzling, and brown around the edges. The NYT recipe suggests bacon as an addition to the lightly dressed arugula and grilled portabellos; if you’re looking to continue in a heart-healthy, cleansing style, forgo the bacon, and add a thin layer of your favorite cheese. Blue cheese, goat cheese, parmesan, really whatever strikes your fancy!

“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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