january 23 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, collard greens, kale, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips

What’s for Dinner?

I’ll kick off the dinner week with National Pie Day. Who knew that day could include the likes of collard greens, mushrooms, and parsnips?!? Followed of course by chocolate cream, key lime, apple, or wherever your sweet tooth takes you. I’ve also used all these tasty winter greens in a German feast, sammie night, and a couple “whole bowl” weeknight specials. The magic of mushrooms is just the cherry on top.

Friday – pie + pie

beef & stout pie (Pacific Pie Co., Imbibe Magazine)

buyer’s choice sweet pie

Saturday –  happy birthday, german style

german beer

sautéed greens (Bon Appetit)
rouladen (Gustav’s)
buttered egg noodles

apple sharlotka (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday – lighten up!

roasted beet & potato soup (Deliciously Ella)
baguette

Monday – pull out the chicken card

rejuvinating bowl (Deliciously Ella)
roasted chicken

Tuesday – rich & creamy collards

barley risotto with beans & greens (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday – whole bowl, take 2

wild mushroom rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

Thursday – sammie night

braised greens, leek, & white bean panini (Eating Well)

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Friday – pie + pie

beef & stout pie (Pacific Pie Co., Imbibe Magazine)

buyer’s choice sweet pie

Well, that’s an easy answer. Pie plus pie equals Friday Night Bliss! It’s National Pie Day, and even if you don’t normally celebrate (or know about) this fabulous holiday, jump on the best excuse ever to enjoy pie for dinner! I have honored the day in past years at Pacific Pie Co (get your entries into the pie contest for Saturday’s competition!), not only enjoying delectable sweet slices, but discovering their signature Aussie-style savory pie. I’ve learned of it’s ultimate flexibility, creating my own home, CSA box rendition. I always cut the beef in half (at least), and then adjust the veggies according to what I have and don’t have. This year, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, and thinly sliced collards. I don’t bother with the individual ramekins, using any large stove-top-to-oven baker. You can prep the filling whenever you’ve got a little chunk of time, then all that’s left is plopping the store-bought puff pastry on top for the final baking. This recipe, with its very unique ingredients of rehydrated dried prunes and stout beer (don’t leave these out!), is incredibly rich and flavorful. It could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the beef and substituting equal amounts of your-choice veggies.

And for the dessert…homemade pie is the most fun and fabulous, of course! BUT, given life’s obligations and complications, maybe more realistic to let someone else do the home baking for you!  Here’s a listing of some local favorites (Sweet Dreams of Portland Pies, OregonLive). I would add Baker & Spice to that list for sure. I’m going to be hard pressed not to make the trek to Bipartisan Cafe to bring home one of their out-of-this world chocolate cream pies – truly dreamy! Go crazy…after all, it has been nearly four weeks since Christmas pie!

Saturday – happy birthday, german style

german beer

sautéed greens (Bon Appetit)
rouladen (Gustav’s)
buttered egg noodles

apple sharlotka (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

We’re celebrating a birthday, German-style, with Grandma. She gets to decide whether we stay in or go out on the town. If we dine out, the decision is simple – Der Rheinlander 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 that takes you straight to Munich. It’s a heart-no-so-healthy indulgence for sure –  Bavarian pretzels dipped in Swiss cheesy fondue, decadent potato pancakes, homemade spatzle, and a hearty sampling of bratwursts, schnitzels, and the like. But, if Grandma fancies staying in, I’ll cook up my own dinner ala Reinlander, highlighting the always popular (in this family, at least) 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, I’ve watched the German relatives assemble it this way, securing it all with a toothpick, and baking. This fancied-up version 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 (birthday) 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 land in my CSA box this week.

Sunday – lighten up!

roasted beet & potato soup (Deliciously Ella)
baguette

After a two-pie-dinner and a German feast, Sunday looks to be the day to atone for any culinary indiscretions. I make my share of beet soups, but this one looks especially enticing (and beautiful!). Adding hints of coconut, cumin, and chile takes it in an entirely different direction. And, besides the beets roasting on their own for a bit, the recipe looks quick and easy. Especially when I toss all of the ingredients in my soup pan and use an immersion blender to whip it up. Although the potato croutons look tempting, I’ll skip them and scatter some favorite pre-made ones atop. Add a warm, buttered CSA-delivered baguette (any just maybe a small cheese plate…), what could be better for a simple, healthy Sunday Supper?

Monday – whole foods chicken day

rejuvinating bowl (Deliciously Ella)
roasted chicken

I’m sure there’s a more official name for it, but I’ve discovered that Whole Foods celebrates rotisserie chicken Monday. Not only can you pick up one of their pre-roasted chickens for like $6, they’ll give you a chicken stamp card…buy ten, get one free. Incentive enough for me, on those Mondays when I’m not quite sure how it’s all going to come together. Today, I’ll pair it with another yummy looking dish from Deliciously Ella (thanks to a friend for turning me on to this site!). I adore these “whole bowl” meals, where several simple and healthy pieces come together in a perfect union. This one especially appealed to me, after a recent trip out to dinner when I found myself devouring all of the sweet potato that was on someone else’s plate! I do love them, and they’ve never made an appearance in a CSA delivery, so how easily they are forgotten. No longer…I will buy a batch, and satisfy this craving for sure! I’ll substitute thinly sliced collard greens for the spinach, which means I’ll cook them first, sautéing/braising in a little olive oil and garlic until they are bright green and no longer bitter. Then just add all of the other ingredients at the end. With the tahini-based dressing, some sliced chicken will be right at home alongside (or on top of?) this whole bowl.

Tuesday – rich & creamy collards

barley risotto with beans & greens (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Risotto gets a bad rap as being super labor-intensive. With your minimal ingredients chopped and ready to roll, it’s really no longer than any other dinner. You just need to be around for the add broth, stir, add broth, stir repetitions – generally for around a half an hour – well worth it! Forget the home-cooked beans – I’ll use canned white. I’ve used collard greens instead of the called for escarole – two thumbs up all around. She had a brilliant suggestion of putting the chopped collards in with the simmering broth, and then adding them to the risotto at the end. That gives them a good chance to cook and lose a touch of their bitterness, making them a perfect complement to the earthy barley, thyme, and leeks (which I’ll use instead of onions).

Wednesday – whole bowl take 2

wild mushroom rice bowl (101 Cookbooks)

As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of the “whole bowl” dinner approach. While it’s fresh in my meal-planning-mind, and with wild mushrooms toppling off my table, I’ve just got to honor them as star of a their own whole bowl. I’ll have the rice at-the-ready, in the rice cooker. A quick saute of any of my wild mushrooms, collard greens, and maybe some shredded leftovers from chicken-card-Monday. (Try as I might, tofu isn’t a mealtime staple for me…) Although the author has said replacing red pepper flakes for the Shichimi Togarashi spice mixture is perfectly acceptable, a trip to Uwajimaya might be fun and fruitful.

Thursday – sammie night

braised greens, leek, & white bean panini (Eating Well)

I really don’t get anxious when I get bunches and bunches of collard greens, knowing there’s always something yummy like these grilled veggie paninis, they can be part of. I’ll use canned beans and a leek instead of a shallot in this white bean spread. My hunch is you could find a pre-prepared version in the deli or near the hummus. Grilled on hearty wheat bread in the cast iron skillet, these are a full meal deal. Of course, adding some Kettle Chips might make for an even more enthusiastic crowd reception.

“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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