may 29 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

bok choy, garlic, kale, romaine, mixed greens, mizuna, turnips

What’s for Dinner?

Nope, that’s not an optical illusion. My veggies this week literally nearly cover the entire kitchen table. Sauvie Island Organics (SIO), my “summer CSA,” has officially launched its season! And despite receiving an email ahead of time, detailing each of the farm fresh items I was to receive, it really wasn’t until I lay my own eyes and hands on this giant bunch of produce did it come full force. I’ve got my cooking work cut out for me this week…this is a job I’ll take on any time!

Friday – one pot, 20 minutes, feed a crowd

pasta with garlicky kale + beans (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday – down under delicacies

bush tucker
shrimp on the barbie

beetroot and rocket salad (All Recipes)
beef curry over rice

lamingtons (Saveur)
strawberry pavlova (Nigella Lawson, NYT)

Sunday  – serve yourself sammies 

banh mi sandwiches with sriracha mayo (Inquiring Chef)
mizuna and baby turnip salad (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
pickled turnips  (SIO Farm Blog, Wk. 6 2012)

Monday – kale-sadillas + mojitos

kale & black bean quesadillas (The Kitchn)

Tuesday –  tiny, tender, tantalizing

baby bok choy with garlic and ginger (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
asian skewers
brown rice

Wednesday – the perfect caesar

classic caesar salad + chicken (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

Thursday – pizza night pot pouri 

pizza with new garlic (Martha Rose Shulman, NYT)


Friday – one pot, 20 minutes, feed a crowd

pasta with garlicky kale + beans (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)

Welcome to the last two weeks of school. AKA, potluck time. Performances, plays, and portfolio sharings; jump-ups, graduations, and recitals. You name it, there’s an event, many of which come along with a potluck dinner. Usually with two last names in the family, these “assign a course by your last name” events work out for me – I just choose! But shoot! As luck would (not) have it, this time both name choices pointed to a main dish. What could I make quickly on a Friday early evening, would transport easily, could be served at any temperature, and would be satisfying enough to be considered a “main dish”? Oh, and make any sort of dent in that veggie pile! My answer lies in this Smitten Kitchen post, where Deb highlights an end-of-the-farmers-market-day meager bunch of broccoli raab. It’s a perfectly detailed run though of how to create something big, bold and beautiful from nearly nothing. That large bunch of gorgeous kale from Sauvie Island Organics is far from “nearly nothing”, that’s for sure! So, I’m replacing the broccoli raab with kale – a green, is a green, is a green is my motto. In this recipe, a short, chunky, clever-shaped pasta of your choice is combined with kale and just four other miracle ingredients that together make a sensational and complete one pot, 20 minute meal – olive oil, garlic (lots of it!), red pepper flakes, and salt. That’s it. To make a full-meal-deal, vegetarian style, add a can of white beans after you’ve sautéed the garlic. Taste this dish and you’ll see why I love our local farmers, Deb Perelman, and the kitchen!

Saturday – down under delicacies

bush tucker
shrimp on the barbie

beetroot and rocket salad (All Recipes)
beef curry over rice

lamingtons (Saveur)
strawberry pavlova (Nigella Lawson, NYT)
australian tea

Wow! My second Aussie barbie in two weeks, after a lifetime of zero! This one might not qualify so much as an official “barbie”; seems more of an Aussie-themed feast, the hosts of which have just spent months exploring (and eating) down under. Apparently, the general cuisine in Australia, save a few specialties, is much like it is here – a virtual fusion of many cultures and ethnicities. And as for the specialties, I’m not so sure I need to try them all. One reminder of the unique flavor of vegemite, and I don’t need to taste that again, forever. And tell me, who would in their right mind want to eat a kangaroo?!? In contrast, tonight’s menu looks quite tame and ultra delicious. I have learned that bush tucker, also called bushfood, is any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by Aboriginal Australians. Traditional offerings range from witchetty grubs to lemon myrtle encrusted crocodile; our version will look more like an appetizer platter of macadamia nuts, figs, crackers with lemon myrtle seasoning, apples, and specialty cheeses. And, of course, to round out the hors d’oeuvre course, shrimp on the barbie. I jumped quickly in the cooking assignments, nabbing a salad that is so familiar to me, I could make it in my sleep. Only a minor translation necessary: beetroot = beets, and rocket = arugula. It was truly unbelievable to me, that of the nearly fifty weeks a year it seems my CSA brings me beets, this was not one of them. Nothing a quick trip to the farmer’s market couldn’t fix. I’ll improvise just a wee bit, and instead of using all rocket, I’m using my SIO mixed greens. They are are wonderful combination of all of the delicate greens in season, with arugula and other peppery varieties always mixed in. And I will take this recipe’s suggestion and mix in some roughly chopped raw beetroot leaves – this is a new one for me. I’ll sprinkle the salad with chopped local walnuts and a delicious crumbling of Black Sheep Creamery cheese. The main course is a traditional curry, served commonly throughout Australia – I can’t wait to learn about the preparation details. I also volunteered for one of the dessert items, lamingtons, which I’ve come to learn are an essential Australian tea cake, named for a Queensland ruler way, way back. It’s a simple concept – sponge cake, dipped in chocolate, rolled in coconut. I’ll splurge on the ingredients; when a recipe is so straightforward, you really need to go premium. Forget any talk of milk chocolate – Theo dark chocolate will be my dipping choice. The other sweet ending, again an Australian mainstay, looks to be made for us Oregonians. It was not my assignment, but I was intrigued enough to see what it was all about. It’s a meringue base, spread with a layer of freshly whipped cream, and topped with strawberries flavored with balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Before June’s up, I’m giving this one a shot! While the menu looks truly scrumptious, I’m most happy to have learned a couple of Australian words of late, and can’t wait to indulge with my mob of fellow food and wine wankers.

Sunday –  serve yourself sammies

banh mi sandwiches with sriracha mayo (Inquiring Chef)
mizuna and baby turnip salad (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
pickled turnips  (SIO Farm Blog, Wk. 6 2012)

If you’re unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a specific type of vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette. This strange sounding combination developed when the French colonized Vietnam, thus introducing the baguette. Now they’re a mainstay, available at restaurants and street vendors everywhere. I plan to have a sammie sunday, for “linner” (late lunch, early dinner). With the family scattering every-which-way in the pre-dinner hours, sandwiches are something that can sit in a help-yourself kind of way all afternoon. Ingredients vary, but typically include some type of meat, chili peppers, pickled veggies, and a sauce or spread ranging from mild to spicy. I’ll use thinly sliced chicken from a made-by-someone-else rated one, wrapping the leftover tightly in waiting for our chicken caesar night. This recipe shows pickling of carrot & radish matchsticks. I think I’ll do my own “pickling” (don’t be afraid – it’s basically soaking sliced veggies in salt/sugar/ vinegar water) using the SIO recipe, if only because it allows for more volume. I’ll slice whatever turnips I’ve got left thinly (forget the labor intensive matchsticks!) and toss in a large bowl to soak in the pickling solution until I’m ready to serve them. To assemble the sandwiches, it’s just sliced, toasted baguettes, roasted chicken (leftover from last night), the sriracha (chili garlic sauce) mayo spread, and your pickled turnips. I’ll skip the cucumbers and cilantro this week, instead piling the sandwiches high with this zesty mizuna chopped salad. I’ll use baby turnips instead of radishes and keep the lemony vinaigrette separate, inviting everyone to dress their own salad.

Monday –  kale-sadillas + mojitos

kale & black bean quesadillas (The Kitchn)

What does one make to contribute to the “snacks” when invited to a Monday Mojita party. Why, kale-sadillas, of course. (This is not a term I coined.) A winner on two fronts – perfect to bring to a kick-off-the-summer mint mojita fest. And for those remaining at home, a full-fledged delicious dinner. There’s no magic to the quesadilla; here I’ll just sauté a head of kale in a bit of my fresh garlic and olive oil until it wilts and softens. That will serve as my filling, along with black beans and cheese. With some guacamole and a full salsa line-up, these are some quesadillas not just for the kids.

Tuesday – tiny, tender, tantalizing

baby bok choy with garlic & ginger (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
asian skewers
brown rice

Bok-choy-a-plenty in the Oregon springtime, that’s for sure. It lends itself to so many amazing Asian stir-fries, noodle dishes, soups, etc. And this type of bok choy, the baby variety, is my very favorite. It’s so tiny, tender, and flavorful (and cute!). Katherine has a minimalist recipe for the bok choy this week, that is just so easy and intuitive to bring out its natural flavors, and add a hint of asian flair. Just a bit of garlic, ginger, coconut oil, and scallions if you’ve got them. I thought made-by-someone-else asian skewers (chicken, beef, salmon, whatever…) would be the perfect accompaniment. Add a side of brown rice for a wonderfully healthy weeknight meal.

Wednesday – the perfect caesar

classic caesar salad + chicken (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

Everyone loves a good Caesar. But there are so many bad Caesars out there! Over-dressed, over-anchovied, wilted, soggy, lettuce, mushy croutons…there’s a lot of ways it can go wrong. But when you make it yourself, it can be absolutely perfect, especially when you’re using just-picked romaine. This dinner, start to finish, really can’t take more than a few minutes to prepare. All of the dressing ingredients can go directly into the food processor. (Instead of anchovy filets, I keep anchovy paste on hand to substitute. Or, skip it all together!) I’ll toss the dressing, parmesan, and croutons (local bakeries do them so well…) with an entire head of my fresh romaine. Add some chicken, either in the salad or on the side, and it’s a full-meal-deal in a flash. Bright, crispy, tangy…your own perfect caesar.

Thursday – pizza night, pot pourri

pizza with new garlic (Martha Rose Shulman, NYT)


Switching things up this week, since the weekend was amuck, and we didn’t get our pizza night in. I plan to make a very classic pizza with my beautiful purple-skinned, fresh, young garlic in this super easy sauce (basically just saute it with canned tomatoes!) Either follow this recipe for a good looking whole wheat crust, refer to this Pizza Night link for my favorite go-to crust, or pick up ready-to-bake one at your local store or pizzeria. This pizza is topped minimally with torn fresh mozzarella –  quintessential, rustic Italian. Since Thursday marks the end of my veggie week, I’ll just see what I’ve got left on hand to add to a toppings line-up. Sautéed kale is always a winner.

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 
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, & fontina cheese pizza
grilled pizza with asparagus, scallions & fontina

 “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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One response to “may 29 weekly menu | spring table”

  1. Aniko says :

    If you really end up making the strawberry pavlova, let me know how it turns out, I might make it for Marcell’s birthday if it’s good. Thanks

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