february 13 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, collard greens, kale, leeks, mushrooms, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

There’s no way around it. Dessert is where it’s at this week at our house. With Valentine’s Day, a birthday, Mardi Gras, and my own homespun pie cooking day, we’ve already covered most of a week with days deserving of dessert. I’ll try to make make up for it with the sweet-free days shaping up in the utmost of healthy, veggie-centric ways.

Friday – pizza, pie, & pics

roasted beet pizza (Cooking Light)

chocolate-crusted banana cream pie (Bon Appetit)

Saturday – very veggie love fest

spaghetti with beef & mushroom sauce (Better Homes and Gardens)
garlic bread (Gourmet)

chocolate beet cake (Nigel Slater, Tender)

Sunday – special request birthday dinner

kale caesar salad (Julia Child)
macaroni & cheese (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
fire on the mountain chicken wings

soft snicker doodles (Food.com) + ice cream

Monday – three Bs

beet, balsamic, blue cheese pasta (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Fast)

Tuesday – collards & king cake

red beans and rice (+ collards) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

Wednesday – taco night, kind of

southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)

_____________________________________________________

Friday – pizza, pie, & pics

roasted beet pizza (Cooking Light)

chocolate-crusted banana cream pie (Bon Appetit)

I’m upping the ante on our regular Friday Pizza Night. Just one week until the Oscars, and that means many home-movie-viewing opportunities. And after a bake-fest with my dear pieIMG_1084 friend, I’m adding homemade pie to the festive Friday lineup.

I’ve tested the waters before with pizza featuring thinly sliced golden winter beets; the pizzas were gobbled up. I’m OK with my pizza turning a little red, so I’m going for it with my deep red beets. This is a sauceless version, with just a sprinkling of feta (or any cheese sprinkling you want). I’ll replace the shallots with some thinly sliced leeks. For a simpler version, gIMG_4106rab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. Remember to roast all of your beets at once (hot oven, wrapped in foil, for about an hour) to have them at the ready for the rest of the week. With a glass of bubbly and a slice of pie, we’re ready to settle in – keep the flicks a rolling!

Saturday – very veggie love fest

spaghetti with beef & mushroom sauce (Better Homes and Gardens)
garlic bread (Gourmet)

chocolate beet cake (Nigel Slater, Tender)

Valentine’s Day is a family affair at my house. I look forward to celebrating the day made for love, hearts, sweets, and all things red – even dinner. With a beautiful mix of mushrooms, I’ll make a tried-and-true classic spaghetti sauce. The mushrooms will stand in place of the pepper and celery, and add a rich, special-occasion flavor. I’ll fancy up my CSA-box baguette by making this simple garlic bread. And follow it all up with the most delicious-sounding cake ever – moist, chocolatey, and with a Valentine’s addition of beets!

Sunday – special request birthday dinner

kale caesar salad (Julia Child)
macaroni & cheese (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
fire on the mountain chicken wings

soft snicker doodles (Food.com) + ice cream

My little boy is turning twelve! His birthday dinner choice this year is chicken wings – the juicy, saucy, fatty decadent ones that every pre-teen should enjoy to their heart’s content! Those I’ll outsource to a local expert. The rest I can handle, starting with the only heart-healthy thing on the menu – a kale salad. His request was caesar, and I knew the kale from my box would make an extra special one. This homemade macaroni & cheese has graced many a kids’ birthday dinner table at our house. And despite the fact that it’s from Cook’s Illustrated, it really is not the 10-pan, 30-step undertaking that many of their recipes seem to be. It’s surprisingly non-cook’s-illustrated-complex! For dessert, his very favorite cookies in the “whole wide world,” as he’s said since he was tiny. Alongside birthday boy’s choice of Tillamook mint chip and cookies and cream ice cream…oh, it’s good to be twelve!

Monday – three Bs

beet, balsamic, blue cheese pasta (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Fast)

This is a “test run” recipe from my new Mark Bittman cookbook, How to Cook Everything Fast. 51SzFWY20lLI was lucky enough to hear Mark speak at a recent James Beard Public Market event. He makes it so simple, sharing how we can all do the right thing for our local food system (and our bodies!) by choosing and preparing fresh ingredients efficiently. The book is laid out so that, with a list of simple ingredients at the ready, you can cook as you read. Even beets! In this recipe, they are not pre-cooked, but rather chopped up small and cooked as you go. This recipe was originally intended for brussels sprouts, but like all his recipes, he suggests creative and versatile variations. This combination of chicken (optional), beets, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and walnuts looks to be a perfect quick and healthy kick-start to the week.

Tuesday – collards & king cake

red beans and rice (+ kale) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

This red beans and rice dish is a favorite, and I just know the collard greens addition will be a delicious way to get a little taste of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. (If you’re a purist, just make a quick side of sautéed collard greens.) I prepare it a little differently than the recipe suggests. king_cake_beads_and_babyI would sauté the onion (I’ll use leeks), garlic and bacon together in a little olive oil first, then add bunch of chopped collards until they soften a bit. Proceed with the rest of the recipe, adding the liquids, bringing to a boil, and baking. The quick version would be to use canned beans (2 cans) and just simmer on the stovetop until the flavors meld and it is the consistency you want. Add a side of browned cajun chicken sausage links and famous New Orleans Abita beer, break out the beads, and we’ve got a Mardi Gras party! For an extra special ending, pick up a King Cake at any local bakery.

Wednesday – taco night, kind of

southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

For these stuffed squash, any variety of winter squash will work nicely. I often leaving out the sausage and add more veggies.  The delicata squash I received this week will be perfect! You can throw the squash in the oven for roasting anytime (I often do this in the morning, but these delicatas cook quickly); then all that’s left during the dinnertime rush is the filling and warming. I’ll saute some leeks, use chopped portabellos in place of any meat, skip the bell peppers, and a can of chopped tomatoes – fresh are still a long way off! Any cheese you usually like with Mexican works here. We love this with some warm corn tortillas, and maybe a bit of sour cream, salsa, and guac. I can’t quite pass it off as “taco night”, but it’s close!  Scoop any leftovers out, filling and all, wrap it in a flour tortilla, and it’s a perfect lunchbox burrito!

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)

This week, I have got SO many gorgeous portabello mushrooms, I know I’ll be using these in sammie night. These plus some deeply caramelized leeks (instead of onions) and an amazing sounding sun-dried tomato mayo…wow! I don’t have a fancy panini maker like is described in this Serious Eats recipe. Instead, I break out the cast iron ridged grill pan, pile the sammies in, and weigh 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. If you don’t want to mess with the mayo in these sammies, choose a 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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