may 8 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

asparagus, cilantro, dandelion greens, mushrooms, green onions, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, spicy greens

What’s for Dinner?

We’ve got yet another humble marker to the end of the root vegetable season…dandelion greens! To some, dandelion is a pesky yard weed. To others, a nutritionally packed delicacy. They are delightfully bitter, enjoyed especially when paired with something rich (think cheese, bacon, etc.). I’ll use them two ways this week – on pizza, and in a salad, first infused with warm garlic oil. Also in the box…green onions galore! Six bunches, to be exact, and I’ll do my darndest to find them a home at dinner. And it’s a week packed with holidays; not only is it Mother’s Day this week, it’s also National Burger Week. I just couldn’t skip it; mid-week burgers, three ways, in celebration. We’re leaving Grandma in charge toward the end of the veggie week. Lucky for her, I’m big on the make-ahead meal – cilantro stars in these simple dinner solutions.

Friday – pizza, tv trays, movie

dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza

Saturday – aussie barbie potluck

aussie burgers (Martha Stewart)
wheat berry salad with spicy greens & scallions (Anthony Cafiero, The Oregonian)

Sunday  – mom’s choice

make-it-together-brunch:

strawberry yogurt parfaits
fast eggs florentine (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Fast)
big crumb rhubarb coffee cake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

a-lot-of-fuss dinner:

pasta with butter & parmesan + asparagus (Mark Bittman)
grilled salmon

Monday – burgers, my style 

bean + spinach burgers (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
grilled scallions (Food Network)

Tuesday –  burgers take 3

mushroom turkey burgers (Martha Stewart)
chips, radishes & cilantro pesto dip  (Simply Recipes)

Wednesday – 9 minute meal

cilantro pesto pasta (Simply Recipes)
roasted chicken
veggie crudites

Thursday – byob

chicken, bean, & cilantro pesto burritos


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Friday – pizza, tv trays, & movie

dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza

This week, my dandelion greens have inspired me to return to this Ivy Manning recipe from her Farm to Table cookbook. Dandelion greens on pizza? Ivy doesn’t steer us wrong too often – this combo is a winner. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add some sliced garlic until it just barely begins to brown. Remove the garlic, and add the greens, cooking for 30 seconds just to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. That’s it. Add these garlic-infused, earthy greens to your topping line-up. Ivy’s combination suggests browned Italian sausage and grated fontina cheese (Willamette Valley Cheese Company would be a great choice) – sounds good to me! Plus, of course, a generous sprinkling of some of our many farm fresh scallions. Let this prior Pizza Night post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional.    

More seasonal pizza ideas:

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
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
classic margherita pizza
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza
potato & rosemary pizza 
old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and chives
egg, ham, and spinach pizza
shaved asparagus pizza 

Saturday – aussie barbie potluck

aussie burgers (Martha Stewart)
wheat berry salad with spicy greens & scallions (Anthony Cafiero, The Oregonian)

I don’t know much about the whole Aussie barbie thing, but all of the sudden I’ve got TWO on the calendar! My hunch is it’s a good excuse to stand around a barbecue, eat grilled meat and drink Australian wine. Although someone else is in charge the main deal, I am indeed intrigued by the Aussie burger, and will be making space for it soon in my meal-planning. Apparently, necessary ingredients beyond the beef are grilled onions, fried eggs, and sliced beets. I’ve heard they eat a lot of pickled beets; I think Portland’s own Unbound Pickling would be a fine choice here. As for my own contribution to the barbie, I had this clever plan to contribute what’s rumored to be the Australian national salad – the rocket & beetroot salad. After the farm forecast, I anticipated being in  half-luck, with a load of arugula (rocket) on the way, and a great excuse to head to the Saturday farmer’s market to find my beets. And then this is what happens with a CSA…harvests change, even on the morning of delivery. Lo and behold, no arugula this week – replaced with spicy mixed greens and more green onions. That made six bunches of scallions in the box! I just could not make my rocket salad without the rocket. So, when your CSA box gives you scallions, so the saying goes, make a scallion salad. Or something like that. The one that came immediately to mind is this wheat berry salad created by Tabla Mediterranean Bistro’s chef. It was just made for the spicy mixed greens, mustard greens, and loads of scallions that have come my way. It’s also a perfect potluck dish – feeds a crowd and delicious served at any temperature. After the wheat berry boiling time, this salad is a snap – just throw in thinly sliced peppery greens, lots of green onions, and your favorite farmer’s cheese, add the simple, lemony dressing, and you’re done. I think this time I’ll saute my greens up with some green garlic I’ve got left, just to take a bit of the bite out, before adding them to the salad. I’m going to add some chopped, toasted hazelnuts, a spring goat cheese that I pick up at the market, and as a nod to the Aussie nature of the event, some chopped pickled beets (see above – not only do they eat them on burgers, but just about every-other-way as well!). At home, this salad plus a hearty loaf of bread is dinner. At an Assie barbie, I think it’s a fine accompaniment to all of that grilled meat. Can’t wait to see what the other Down Under delicacies might be…

Sunday –  mom’s choice

make-it-together-brunch:

strawberry yogurt parfaits
fast eggs florentine (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Fast)
big crumb rhubarb coffee cake (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

a-lot-of-fuss dinner:

pasta with butter & parmesan + asparagus (Mark Bittman)
grilled salmon

I love to be in the kitchen with my kids, and this is may be the one day of the year it happens without coercion. The menu is mom’s choice, but certainly I chose with the chefs in mind. It’ll be a relaxing, sip-your-coffee, divide-and-conquer brunch prep endeavor. I get dibs on the coffee cake, as baking seems like a special treat to me. Combined with my first fresh rhubarb from the farm, this opportunity just cannot be missed. Looks to be a decadent layering of creamy cake, tart rhubarb, and sweet crumble. With a trip to the farmer’s market to grab those sweet, early strawberries, what fun to put them in a dessert glass or bowl, layering with yogurt-o-choice (a little honey and real vanilla bean go far in making plain yogurt feel awfully special occasion!) and maybe a little granola. The eggs florentine dish is my answer to traditional eggs benedict – it’s heart-healthier, it uses loads of my farm fresh spinach, and it doesn’t require any high-maintenance hollandaise-making! Bittman has rendered this florentine a one-pot-meal, wilting the spinach in a simple cheese sauce, and then poaching the eggs in little spinach wells. (Missing from this online version: make small indentations in the spinach/cheese mixture, crack an egg in each one, put the lid on the pan, and poach for a few minutes.) Each toasted English muffin will provide a crunchy base for an egg surrounded by a mound of cheesy spinach goodness. A piece of lightly browned Canadian bacon would be right at home sandwiched in here as well. 

Dinner revolves completely around a selfish desire to pay proper tribute to my Mother’s Day present from last year…a pasta maker. As much as I loved the love and thought behind the gift, finding just the right time and space to delve into homemade pasta is a bit daunting. I thought this day of mom-doing-just-what-she-wants presented the perfect opportunity. For me. The lucky news is there is no shortage of outstanding pre-made pastas – choose away. Then the dinner becomes nothing more than the cheesy butter pasta that every mom can make in her sleep. Plus asparagus, because who can resist it at every store and farmer’s market in town right now? To complete the meal, some grilled Alaskan sockeye salmon (featured this week at New Seasons) – just lightly brushed with olive oil, and maybe with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of scallions and fresh herbs after cooking.

Monday –  burgers, my style

bean + spinach burgers (Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything)
grilled scallions (Food Network)

I’m a sucker for a good veggie burger recipe, really preferring it over any “real” burger. Here’s a 20 minute, weeknight version, using canned beans. Your choice – black, kidney, lentil, chickpeas, whatever. And I’m following his bean-and-spinach version. Bittman recommends a cast-iron skillet; if it’s warm and you want to be outside, toss these on the grill, with a light oiling first to avoid any stuck or broken burgers. Our toppings bar will feature chopped fresh chives from my herb pots and cheese-slices-of-choice. Given I’ve got green onions coming out my ears, here’s a tasty and simple side that can be cooked on the grill right alongside the burgers. I’ll grill up a couple bunches, knowing their potential on a veggie platter throughout the week.

Tuesday – burgers take 3

mushroom turkey burgers (Martha Stewart)
chips, radishes, & cilantro pesto dip (Simply Recipes)

Burgers take three, in this National Burger week. Again, a bit healthier alternative, with our loads of mushrooms playing a starring role. I’ll be using green onions instead of red, and upping the ante on the mushrooms to at least a pound. After sautéing until golden, these are just mixed in with the ground turkey and any fresh herbs you might have (I’ll be using cilantro) before forming the patties for the grill. Serve with whatever toppings you love on a burger. For the side tonight, I’m making a couple of batches of this fabulous-sounding cilantro pesto. The recipe calls for almonds – you could certainly use any nut. I’ll substitute green onions for red, for obvious reasons. One quick and easy batch of pesto, lots of tasty uses. Tonight, as a dip with some pita chips and our farm fresh crunchy radishes.

Wednesday – 9 minute meal

cilantro pesto pasta (Simply Recipes)
roasted chicken
veggie crudites

I consider the pesto a make-ahead meal in itself, really. With grandma and the kids in charge of the kitchen, no one will be complaining when the entire dinner prep consists of a walk to the store to pick up a made-by-someone-else roasted chicken, and boiling a package of pasta. Mix the cilantro pesto into the warmed pasta, reserving some if you want as a dipper for the chicken. Dinner…in the time it takes to cook noodles! We’re sure to have radishes, mushrooms, and leftover grilled scallions on hand for a ready-made crudite platter.

Thursday – byob

chicken, bean, & cilantro pesto burritos

In our house, that means “Build Your Own Burrito.” A mom-free kitchen really can’t go wrong with this. I’ll suggest that someone saute lots of chopped green onions, some taco seasoning mix, a can of black beans, and some chicken shredded from last night’s leftovers. With a zapping of the flour tortillas, that’s it. Serve with grated cheese and cilantro pesto for a fresh twist on the ordinary burrito toppings.

 “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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