april 17 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

arugula, collard greens, green onions, kale raab, leeks,  mushrooms, mustard greens, radishes, spinach

What’s for Dinner?

My box once again is loaded with zesty red radishes! If you see them at the market, they could be in lots of gorgeous shades of white, purple, or pink as well. These first-of-the-season peeks at the radish brings so many possibilities. Crunchy, peppery, and truly perfect with nothing more than a sprinkling of sea salt. Use them in their raw state for a bit of sass and zing – salads, sandwiches, on a crudite platter; for a mellower flavor, simply roast or stir-fry. And don’t forget the radish greens…nutritious, delicious, and farmers market full and fresh. As you can see, I also got greens galore, in every size, shape, and variety. My table is toppling with what some might consider just a giant pile ‘o greens. But this market connoisseur (geek) and home chef is thrilled by such volume & variety in the greens department. Enjoy the continued foray into spring!

Friday – pizza, TV trays, & movie

pizza with salami, mushroom, & arugula 
double radish salad (Portland Farmers Market)

Saturday – break out the barbie

burgers with caramelized mushroom & leeks (Simply Recipes)
dandelion greens with warm balsamic vinaigrette (Whole Foods Market)

Sunday  – bbq night, take 2

collard greens miniera (Gourmet)
grilled halibut
baguette

Monday – ribs & raab

spinach salad with sesame ginger vinaigrette (Five Heart Home)
soy-sesame kale raab & radishes (my recipes)
hawaiian-style beef flanken ribs
brown rice

Tuesday –  radishes, south of the border style

radish and avocado salad (Food.com)
quesadillas with leeks, kale, mushrooms, and poblano cream sauce (Dona Tomas)

Wednesday – long live the casserole

spinach salad with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)
mushroom marsala pasta bake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Thursday – sammie night, wrap style

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)


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Friday – pizza, TV trays, & movie

pizza with salami, mushroom, & arugula
double radish salad (Portland Farmers Market)

IMG_1084

Springtime Pizza Night…still as festive, still as fun, the offerings just a bit different each week. Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. We’ll start with the liveliest of radish salads, taking full advantage of the peek-of-freshness radish leaves. Any vinegar will do here. For the pizza inspiration, I needed nothing more than that ultra-fragrant pile of arugula. I’ll make the most basic salami and mushroom pizzas, and just out of the oven, sprinkle with chopped green onions and mound them with the freshest of springtime arugula. Other recent pizza creations:

Other pizza combinations:

leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
portabella mushroom & roasted red pepper
shitake mushroom
leek, sundried tomato, and goat cheese
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
spinach and chive pizza
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
classic margherita pizza
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza
old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
winter squash and wild mushroom 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and rosemary
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
classic margherita pizza
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
roasted acorn squash & gorgonzola pizza 
winter squash pizza 
butternut squash and caramelized onion galette
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza
potato & rosemary pizza 
old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)

Saturday – break out the barbie

burgers with caramelized mushroom & leeks (Simply Recipes)
dandelion greens with warm balsamic vinaigrette (Whole Foods Market)

A little (lot) of 30 Second Miracle, and my algae-encrusted BBQ is ready to roll! Nothing like a steady stream of sunshine in the forecast to inspire some de-winterizing. My inaugural barbecue burger bash was set when I stumbled upon this retro recipe, with the mounds of grilled onions (I’ll use leeks) and mushrooms piled atop a seasoned burger dripping with melted swiss. This will be extraordinary in its own right – I’m skipping the dried mushrooms, and making the most of my fresh. I’ll use my dandelion greens in a salad on the side. Any innate bitterness will be toned down and enhanced with a garlic-infused oil which is the base for a simple, warm vinaigrette. Adding your favorite cheese to this salad seems like a winning idea.

Sunday – bbq night, take 2

collard greens miniera (Gourmet)
simple baked halibut
baguette

Taking full advantage of the sunshine and clean barbecue, we’ll grill outdoors again. And try to slightly atone for our Saturday burger madness with a beautiful fillet of halibut. When it’s the first-of-the-season, so sweet and mild, direct from Alaska, it’s truly worth every penny. I usually just rub it with a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and maybe a sprinkling of lemon juice and fresh herbs if you’ve got them. Bake it at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes – that’s it. My collard greens will stay fresh and bright and green in this miniera dish – collards cut into thin ribbons, then truly barely cooking them in a beautiful bacon flavor – just until they are bright green and slightly wilted. You could add a little garlic to the pan with the bacon, and I usually sprinkle my collards with lemon juice when I think they’re done. Slightly bitter, perfectly tangy, bacon-ey bliss!

Monday –  ribs & raab

spinach salad with sesame ginger vinaigrette (Five Heart Home)
soy-sesame kale raab & radishes (my recipes)
hawaiian-style beef flanken ribs
brown rice

I’m always on the look-out for the “side” of meat that’ll be the cinch part of the meal. That way I can just focus on a veggie dish (or two), and dinner is still weeknight-simple. I spotted these Hawaiian-style beef ribs at New Seasons – tender slices of thin rib meat, marinated in a tangy Asian sauce. I’ll use my kale raab in this quick recipe where the raab is braised in some soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. It’ll be a perfect combination with the ribs and brown rice. Because I’ve got greens coming out of my ears, I’ll also whip up this spinach salad, giving it an Asian flare with sliced almonds, mandarins, and a sesame soy dressing. Some of my mushrooms and green onions would be right home in this salad too.

Tuesday – radishes, south of the border style

radish and avocado salad (Food.com)
quesadillas with leeks, kale, mushrooms, and poblano cream sauce (Dona Tomas)

I’m eeking out the last of the cilantro I bought last week, planning an entire meal around this and my gorgeous radish delivery. The salad is bright and simple, adding just a bit of lime juice, cilantro, and sea salt to the main ingredients. The crunchy, spicy radishes (plus green onions!) find a match made in heaven with smooth, creamy avocado. I’ll make a meal of these mushroom-inspired quesadillas. I’ll slowly caramelize my leeks (instead of a shallot,) use all of my crimini mushrooms, and substitute the asparagus with sautéed kale raab. It’s green, has a great texture, and will also be perfect with the poblano cream sauce. Don’t be scared away by making a cream sauce – this one is simple and SO worthwhile. It really makes the meal. But, if you steer away from any mid-week time at the stove, just assemble the veggie-rich quesadillas and purchase your favorite salsas and guacamoles as accompaniments. I do know asparagus is starting to make its big spring appearances, so go for it if you see it and want it! Some simple sautéed shrimp, chopped into pieces and sprinkled into the quesadillas, would be an incredible addition that surely would satisfy those in search of a meaty entree. And I’ll certainly sprinkle all with a hefty dose of chopped green onions. Mexican magic from my CSA box!

Wednesday – long live the casserole

spinach salad with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)
mushroom marsala pasta bake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

I love the author’s battle cry: “Long Live the Casserole Rethought with Minimally Processed Ingredients!” Generally a brilliant dinnertime solution, casseroles are often one-pan (or I make them such), are rich and satisfying, and make great lunchtime leftovers. When I eyed my mountains of mushrooms this week, I knew the timing was perfect for this marsala pasta bake. My leeks will work nicely, substituted for the onion. Any fun twirly-shaped pasta is cooked in an intense and rich wild mushroom sauce, surrounded by melty mozzarella, and covered in a crispy parmesan lid. I’ll definitely use a baking dish here…transferring from stovetop to oven to table is a concept every home cook invites. With an ultra simple spinach, sliced mushroom and chopped green onion salad, it’s a full-meal-deal.

Thursday – sammie night, wrap style

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)

This veggie wrap is an ideal Thursday night choice, at least in my house, where these dinners are often a hodge-podge of veggies, desperately trying to clear out the fridge before the Friday CSA delivery. They lend themselves perfectly to that frenzy. The greens, hazelnuts, apple, and grapes are key ingredients, with the fruit pieces adding just the right sweetness. I’m going to go crazy, and instead of broccoli, carrots, sugar peas and cabbage, I’ll do bits and pieces of whatever I’ve got left. Any of my week’s contenders would add fabulous flavor and texture – spinach, arugula, radishes, mushrooms, and green onions. Buy some of those giant spinach tortillas, watch a YouTube instructional on how to wrap the perfect wrap, and go for it! Just make sure that all of your veggies & fruit are chopped very small. I’m going to put everything into one big salad bowl, toss it with dressing, and have roll-your-own-wraps. A key ingredient is Elephant’s own Stackhouse dressing – with a friendly phone call, you can order this yummy dressing and they’ll have it in their store for you the very next day! Ingredients are:  mustard, tamari, agave, tahini, cider vinegar and oil. If you prefer not to bother with Elephant’s pre-made (although I think it would be a worthwhile purchase, good on many a salad and sandwich!) then create your own vinaigrette with these flavors in mind. With all of that healthy salad goodness, what better side than some delicious Kettle Chips!

“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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