march 13 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

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

What’s for Dinner?

Two holidays in one week! A sushi-making birthday fest, and a St. Paddy’s Day feast. Well, not just one feast, but three, all in celebration of our favorite go-green holiday.

Friday – even more lovely

kale with crushed tomatoes, calabrian chiles & feta (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty)

Saturday – sushi fest

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
stir-fried japanese kale (Relish)
edamame

mochi ice cream tower

Sunday – buttery marsala mushrooms

chicken and mushroom marsala (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
russian red kale salad (NPR)
crusty bread

Monday – Mexican kick off

squash with chili lime vinaigrette (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crispy, cheesy quesadillas (theKitchn)

Tuesday – stout 2 ways + corned beef & cabbage 

corned beef & cabbage  (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
irish soda bread
guinness stout

chocolate stout cake (Bon Appetit)

Wednesday – st. paddy’s, take 2

twice-baked irish potatoes with stout onions & kale (Ivy Manning, The Farm to Table Cookbook)
guiness stout

Thursday – sammie night, reuben style

grilled reubens + greens (LA Times)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

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Friday – even more lovely

kale with crushed tomatoes, calabrian chiles & feta (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty)

IMG_1084

Straight to the Lovely’s Fifty Fifty menu once again – I’ve been eyeing their spring menu, looking so forward to a pizza dinner outing. If not this weekend, I can make it myself (albeit, not nearly as well!) Lovely’s takes full advantage of all of our local farm fresh produce in their creative and inspiring pizzas. I’ll replace spinach in one of their menu items, and use my kale raab. I’ll remove any heavy stems, and roughly chop the leaves. In a large sauté pan coated with olive oil, add the kale, season with salt, pepper, and some chopped calabrian chiles (available in a jar), and cook over high heat until the greens are tender. Add the garlic at the end, just for a few seconds. My pizzas will be lightly sauced (standing in for the crushed tomatoes), spread with the peppery kale raab mixture, and sprinkled with feta cheese. Any bitterness from the raab is perfectly balanced with the spicy calabrians and the salty feta. See this Pizza Night post for a step-by-step instructional for pizza making.

Saturday – sushi fest

veggie sushi (Mark Bittman, NYT), (Masaharu Morimoto, The Food Network)
stir-fried japanese kale (Relish)
edamame

mochi ice cream tower

It’s birthday season at our house! My not-so-little boy just turned 12, and now my baby girl turns 15!!! Which makes nearly fifteen times she has requested sushi for her special day. Over the years, we’ve accumulated all the necessaries for a “sushi party”:  lots of chopsticks, rectangular sushi plates and dipping bowls, bamboo rolling mats, and wasabi always on hand! Sushi-making is fun, festive, and easy – anyone can do it. The essential ingredients:  sushi rice, nori (the seaweed sheets, available at most any store), and fillings (minus the fish – I’ll save that for the experts!). Ignore Mark Bittman’s complicated chef-inspired recipe for sushi rice; all you need is what Mr. Morimoto recommends – short-grain japanese rice, rice vinegar, and sugar. We’re only making maki at our house – the traditional mat-rolled sushi with the seaweed on the outside and the rice and fillings on the inside. It takes a bit of practice to get good at spreading the rice over the nori – moistening your finger tips is essential. Then the fun part: arrange the fillings. IMG_6921Don’t be tempted to over-stuff the sushi – this will just create complications when trying to roll it. Let these chefs, along with your own imagination and inspiration (and veggies in the fridge!) be your guide to choosing what you want as fillings. What always makes the cut at our house:  slices of cooked egg, avocado, and pickled radishes (Uwajimaya). Possible veggie additions include cooked beets, sauteed mushrooms, and raw leeks and carrots sliced into thin matchsticks, and bits of this japanese sautéed kale. IMG_6923I’ll make that super simple, skipping the sprouts and substituting leeks for green onions. Just like a toppings bar, set it all out, and let people go at it, stuffing and rolling their own combinations as they please. Since only a small bit of the kale will be used in the sushi, I’ll serve it as a healthy and flavorful side, along with lots of edamame, for a full-on Japanese meal. Dessert…a special request for mochi ice cream. This is a Japanese confection made with pounded sticky rice and an ice cream filling. And I’m in luck, as they are available, ready-to-serve at Uwijimaya and Trader Joe’s! Flavor offerings are impressive: red bean, berry, coffee, chocolate, cookies & cream, mango, green tea, vanilla, just to name a few. She says she’ll forgo the cake in favor of a mochi tower. Seems a little crazy, but, hey, what are birthdays all about? Birthday girl choice, no questions asked.

Sunday – buttery marsala mushrooms

chicken and mushroom marsala (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
russian red kale salad (NPR)
crusty bread

I sought this out recipe because two-thirds of a bottle of marsala keeps staring me in the face when I open the fridge…from the last time I made a mushroom marsala dinner. That was a veggie version. Here we’re keeping it ultra simple, but adding chicken. I’ll use leeks instead of an onion, and all of my mushrooms – any kind will do. After browning the chicken, the mushrooms and leeks are sautéed in olive oil and butter, making a divine combination to surround the chicken. The marsala, a bit of broth, and more butter make the resulting mushroom sauce rich and ultra flavorful. With a side of crusty bread for soaking up that sauce, and a simple kale salad, this feels like a fancy dinner that amounts to not much more work than slicing a giant pile of mushrooms. Well worth it!

Monday – mexican kick off

squash with chili lime vinaigrette (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)
crispy, cheesy quesadillas (theKitchn)

Winter squash seems like a thing of the past. Or should be. But I just keep getting it! Seems l love it more when it’s October and November, and I’m anxious to cook winter squash soups, and other autumney delights. I think twisting it in a Mexican direction will help. This is a wonderfully simple and tasty way to incorporate it into a Mexican meal. Wedges of winter squash (any kind) are roasted and drizzled with a zesty cilantro-lime vinaigrette. While the squash is roasting, whip up some crispy quesadillas, stuffed with your favorite cheese, canned beans, and any other tasty fillings that come to mind.

Tuesday – stout 2 ways + corned beef & cabbage 

corned beef & cabbage (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
irish soda bread
guinness stout

chocolate stout cake (Bon Appetit)

Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day pass you by without the savory satisfaction of making your own corned beef & cabbage. An easy one pot Irish wonder! And the traditional “boiled dinner” really need not be ho-hum and mushy. I like this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated  – you choose veggies you like best and throw them in the pot based on their cooking time. And I really simplify it – I skip the self-brining process, and just buy a ready-to-roll corned beef brisket from New Seasons. That’s it – the beef brisket, and whatever veggies strike your fancy. I’ll use my leeks from HRO, and splurge on a purchased head of cabbage and potatoes, because they are a must. My leeks will replace onions – I’ll slice them lengthwise in half, and add them with the cabbage so they cook so they’re just tender, but not mushy. No carrots this year; instead, winter squash cubes will stand in. One essential tip:  cover the meat with 24 oz of stout beer (and water if needed) – it brings a wonderfully Irish flavor. If you’re going to be out and about, I’ve also done this in the oven, basically covered, low and slow. A 325 oven, starting to add the veggies at around 3 hours. Serve with grainy mustard, horseradish, or this delicious horseradish cream sauce. Add some traditional Irish soda bread from nearly any bakery, and pass the Guinness! We’ll finish with this decadent chocolate stout cake – I’ll bake it in a bundt cake pan and skip the frosting. A treat that will keep on pleasing the rest of the week!

Wednesday – st. paddy’s, take 2

twice-baked irish potatoes with stout onions & kale (Ivy Manning, The Farm to Table Cookbook)
guiness stout

I just hate to leave St. Patrick’s Day for another entire year. Because there’s Irish-style stout in the house, I think I’d better use it in these scrumptious stuffed potatoes. If I have leeks left, I’ll use those instead of onions, or do a combo. Browning these in stout?!? YUM, and so worth the time it will take (um, just have a stout while you stir occasionally.) Either pre-bake the potatoes another time, or put them in the oven while you cook the onions, leeks, and kale. All that’s left is the potato mashing, combining it all together, and doing the “twice baked” part until the cheese (Irish cheddar?) is melty and delicious. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this!

Thursday – sammie night, reuben style

grilled reubens + greens (LA Times)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

Desperate to use up some of that St. Paddy’s day corned beef? Search no further than a good grilled reuben sandwich! I’ll use my gorgeous collard greens here in place of the chard, with a leek instead of the shallots. A recipe I’ve used for the “1000 Island” component of a reuben calls for sweet chili sauce (instead of cocktail) to be added to mayo. I think this makes the sammies extra special. The rest is easy – just a good rye (or whatever!) bread, some butter on the outside, your choice of cheese on the inside, and grill away. I love my cast iron grill skillet for this, with the sandwich piled with another heavy skillet on top. A scrumptious reuben in continued celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The healthy addition of our greens are perfectly appropriate. Add a simple beet salad (simple because I pre-roast my beets right when I get them, and there they sit, ready-to-roll, all week!) for a full-meal-deal.

“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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