june 12 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, broccoli, garlic, gourmet greens, kale, butter lettuce, mustard greens, radishes

What’s for Dinner?

I realize summer’s official start is not until June 21st. But it sure feels like it kicks off the minute school’s out for the year! Meals seem to morph a bit, not only with the change in the season and bounty, but also with the change in the rhythm and pace. More time for all-hands-on-deck meal preparation; more flexibility for impromptu picnics; more hot nights, where salads and sandwiches are the perfect antidote; more of a taste for a bit lighter fare, fare that can be served hot, warm, or room temperature; more parties and potlucks, where people enjoy sharing in what the season offers; and more grilling outside, plain and simple. And each week my gorgeous farm box from Sauvie Island Organics provides the grand impetus and inspiration for all of these simple summertime pleasures. Enjoy this week’s menu, just a taste of what this season brings to our dinnertime rituals…

Friday – farm-style car snacks

kale chips (Eating Well)
radish and butter sandwich (Saveur)
other unmentionables

Saturday – BBQ bliss

crispy broccoli with lemon & garlic (Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chinook salmon
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

key lime pie (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday  – caesar with two twists

mustard greens caesar (Bon Appetit)
grilled  burgers

Monday – farm fresh frittata

frittata with broccoli & fresh garlic (Food and Wine)
butter lettuce salad with radishes & herbs (Epicurious)

Tuesday –  picnics o’ plenty

kale panzanella (Hanel, Slonecker, Stevenson, The Picnic)
baguette sandwich

rhubarb crumb bars (Martha Stewart)

Wednesday – whole head o’ garlic

spaghetti with kale & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
beef chili mint kebabs

Thursday – salad + pie

beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

strawberry ginger pie (The Dirty Kitchen)


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Friday – farm-style car snacks

kale chips (Eating Well)
radish and butter baguette (Saveur)
other unmentionables

Dinner on the last day of school is traditionally a celebratory kids’ choice out. But we have to get there first. We’re hitting the road, at the toll of the final school bell of the year. A kick-off-summer car trip to Central Oregon, where pleas for snacks are a certainty, likely within the first ten minutes. With one head of my lacinato kale, I’ll make a batch of tasty, crunchy kale chips. Three simple ingredient – kale, salt, and olive oil. Plus a few minutes in the oven, and you’ve got yourself the same gourmet treat selling for upwards of $8 or $9 a bag! Whip up your own, save a bundle, and be amazed at the arguing over the last crumbs. The other healthy nibble I’ll surely have along is some of these radish and butter sandwiches. Sounds a bit crazy, but absolutely delicious. Crispy, spicy radishes paired with soft, salty butter, both atop thinly sliced baguette for an open-faced snacky sandwich no one will resist. Rest assured, there’ll be other not-so-healthy munchies as well. But we’ll feel a heck of a lot better about the black licorice, M&M-heavy trail mix, and Cheetos volume we consume.

Saturday – BBQ bliss

crispy broccoli with lemon & garlic (Smitten Kitchen)
grilled chinook salmon
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

key lime pie (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

The outdoor grill is a cook’s dream in the summer. Less dishes, and more help, that seems to just materialize when the BBQ is involved! I’m using my  broccoli ASAP – I don’t get much of it (for some unknown reason?) but when I do, I generally eat it prepared in a very simple and straightforward manner, savoring that intense, farm-fresh flavor. We’ll grill all but the broccoli this week; unless you have a veggie grill tray, the best way to make lightly browned, crispy-edged broccoli is roasted in a hot oven. This “recipe” from Smitten Kitchen does this method justice – keeping the ingredients minimal and letting the veggie speak for itself. In this case, flavors are merely enhanced with my fresh garlic, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. What would go alongside this? Virtually anything, is my vote. But likely I’ll lean toward a beautiful chinook salmon fillet, featured this week at New Seasons. Couldn’t be easier, or a more tasty counterpart. Just lightly brush with olive oil, spread some chopped fresh garlic and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice and grill. A sprinkling of fresh herbs after cooking would be a nice bonus. For the grilled bread, use any favorite bakery bread – I’m using a big, hearty country loaf. It all works the same, but the larger the loaf, the less slicing, brushing, and turning on the grill. IMG_4592For dessert on this kickoff-the-summer-bbq-season dinner, I’m going for pure sunshine. The fresh lime flavor is ultra-refreshing and just screams summer. This pie has so few ingredients (graham cracker crust, lime juice, condensed milk, and eggs are the basics) and so little cooking time (I’d call it barely baked) it’s the perfect pie to try your hand at. I was lucky enough to squeeze in Pie Day with my dear friend Liz; we whipped up two summer doozies…Key Lime and Hood Strawberry. Into the freezer they went, for just a couple days, awaiting just the right pie moment. Nowon this first Saturday of summer, post grill and veggie fest, is that moment.

Sunday –  caesar with two twists

mustard greens caesar (Bon Appetit)
grilled  burgers

One of my favorite (and easiest!) go-to dinners in the summer is a grilled burger and salad. And without the fries, a caesar seems to fit in nicely because of its heartier nature. This Bon Appetit recipe uses raw mustard greens, instead of traditional romaine, in a fabulous caesar-esque kind of way. I’ll opt for pre-made croutons, and make the dressing with my trusty anchovy paste (1 fillet = 1/2 to 1 tsp. paste). With the unique twist of gruyere, this caesar is one you won’t want to miss. And talk about simple…croutons from the bag, an ultra-simple dressing using lots of farm-fresh garlic, and cheater pre-made burgers from the market. There’s no better place for any of my many greens than atop a good, first-of-summer burger! Along with cheese, pickles, and the works, of course.

Monday –  farm fresh frittata

frittata with broccoli & fresh garlic (Food and Wine)
butter lettuce salad with radishes & herbs (Epicurious)

Frittatas are our year-round friend. But I especially enjoy them in the summer, when there are so many sensational and varied veggies to add to the mix. Also, they are really meant to be tinkered with – eggs, cheese, and whatever vegetable combo appeals to you. This week, I’ll keep it super simple, using the remains of my already-roasted broccoli, and lots of fresh garlic. I’ll just saute the garlic lightly before adding the broccoli, just to get it warmed. The recipe calls for parmesan, which would be delicious. Some sharp cheddar, or some good ricotta salata, steps it up a notch. With the increase in temperatures, this dinner is also nice because it cooks up in a flash (so doesn’t heat up the kitchen) and can really be served at any temperature – just-out-of-the-oven hot, luke warm, or even room temperature. Add a very simple green salad – think greens, oil, any vinegar, and a little shaved parmesan. Any other additions are delicious but unnecessary, with the luxury of ultra flavorful farm fresh lettuce. An amazingly delicious and satisfying summer supper that I’ll go to again and again.

Tues – picnics o’ plenty

kale panzanella (Hanel, Slonecker, Stevenson, The Picnic)
baguette sandwich

rhubarb crumb bars (Martha Stewart)

We like any excuse for a picnic! A concert, a ball game, beach day, visitors in town, a bike ride…even just the sunny weather. Pack up your dinner, walk just a couple blocks to a park, lay out the picnic blanket, and it seems like quite a special occasion! Tonight, testing out the picnic load capacity of my new bike and basket, we’ll ride to a very special spot along the banks of the Deschutes River. After reading about the Portland Picnic Society recently in the Oregonian (first of all, how do I join?!), I happened upon the author doing a book signing at New Seasons. UnknownOf course, I couldn’t walk away. It’s more than a cookbook, certainly. It’s like the driver’s manual for picnicking! There were several ways I could’ve meshed recipes with my veggie delivery, but I ultimately decided on this kale panzanella (bread salad). The sounds of charred lemon both intrigued me, and made me wonder about the fussy factor. But realizing that it’s merely searing a halved lemon for two minutes on cast-iron, I decided it was worth a shot to see what smokey drama charred lemons might add. The dressing is a snap, and again I’ll substitute anchovy fillets for paste (1 fillet = 1/2 to 1 tsp. paste). You could easily forgo the homemade croutons for your favorite store-bought. I’ll go for the gusto, knowing that when you make them in your own oven, especially this salted-rosemary version, they are indeed extra special, with a soft interior and crunchy outside crust. My picnic dinner was also inspired by the “Ten Best Baguettes” section of the book. From grilled broccolini to roast beef with salsa verde, I knew I’d find something to fit the bill. And these type of baguette sandwiches are ripe for a picnic – the hardy crust protects the gourmet goods inside. You can either bring the baguette whole, slicing and filling table-side, or prepare individual six-inch sandwiches and wrap each with parchment paper ahead of time. I’m going for the turkey with triple creme cheese and apricot jam sandwich, if only because I have some absolutely lovely Tasmanian apricot fruit paste that I cannot wait to enjoy. It was an exquisite gift, brought to me all the way from Australia; not only will it be an extra special addition to tonight’s picnic, it’ll grace a gourme cheese platter or two this week as well. Of course, dessert on a picnic is essential. I adore these rhubarb bars, a farmer’s market version of the all familiar tollhouse bars – simple, sweet-filled, gooey goodness in a pan. Plus streusel topping! And they cut nicely into squares, transport easily in tupperware, and make a superb finger-food ending to any al fresco feast.

Wednesday – whole head o’ garlic

spaghetti with kale & garlic chips (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)
beef chili mint kebabs

This Smitten Kitchen recipe for pasta and greens shows that with very few ingredients, and a little twist on the usual, you can make something really extra special. Garlic chips?!? Add them to pasta, oil, cheese, olives, and our gorgeous kale (any green can be substituted for her beloved chard), and this could be the meal! If it weren’t vacation, I’d definitely stop there. However, I spotted these beef chili mint kebabs in the New Seasons flyer this week…I’m thinking a nice, toss-it-on-the-grill accompaniment.

Thursday – salad daze

beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

strawberry ginger pie (The Dirty Kitchen)

This beet, greens, nuts, and cheese filled salad is surely one I’d qualify as dinner on a warm summer evening. Tonight, though, I’m headed to a gathering where there’s sure to be a full blown spread – I lucked out with two of my favorite assignments…salad and dessert! I was reminded a couple weeks back, when I prepared the Australian version of this salad (rocket IMG_4591and beetroot), what a truly winning and crowd-pleasing dish it is. I’m using my SIO mixed greens, which are wonderful combination of all of the delicate greens in season, with arugula and other peppery varieties always in the mix. I’ll also add some roughly chopped raw beetroot leaves, adding a unique texture and flavor to the salad. I’ll sprinkle it with chopped local walnuts and a delicious crumbling of Black Sheep Creamery cheese. It’s the addition of these local, fresh favorites that really makes the salad shine. And here is my pie moment number two… strawberry ginger pie. Packed with our local hood strawberries, and infused with freshly grated ginger, and a bit of nutmeg and lemon juice, this pie is sure to please. I’ll serve it a la mode, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream –  yum! When someone asks you to bring dessert, and you bring a sensational seasonal pie, often the invitation becomes a standing one.

 “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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