July 24 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

beans, beets, corn, cucumber, eggplant, gourmet greens, parsley, sweet onions, summer squash, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

Lots of “firsts” this week for me…the first I’ve seen of beans, corn, tomatoes, and Walla Walla Sweets! I get so excited at the first tastes of these gems, I often do very little preparation. Just enjoying them in their simplest form, with just a little salt, olive oil, and browning, caramelizing, or grilling is such a treat. Even the veggies that aren’t so “new” at this point still feel fresh and exciting. Parsley, that I never tire of, especially when I convert it into a very special Argentinian sauce. Summer squash that seems to arrive by the armload again and again – with so many uses from pizza to indian to eggs to bread – it just never gets old to me. And beets, that I mentally convert to “summer beets” (event though there is no such thing), and continue to use them in fresh, new ways. Ever had a beet burger, or a BLB?

Friday – grilled pizza fest

summer squash, tomato & basil pizza (Cooking Light)

Saturday – summer indian bliss

aloo baingan (Manjula’s Kitchen)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
raita (Bon Appetit)
naan

Sunday – still cheering for chimichurri

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
oven roasted beans (Food Network, Emeril Lagasse)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

Monday – grilled onions with a side of brats

salad with shaved cucumbers & buttermilk dressing (The New York Times)
grilled onions (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)
grilled brats

Tuesday – beet burgers

beet, rice, & goat cheese burgers (New York Times)

Wednesday –  ricotta frittata + zucchini + zucchini

summer squash ricotta frittata (Simply Recipes)
sliced tomatoes

zucchini bread (Cooking Light)

Thursday –  BLBs

bacon, lettuce, & beet sandwich
cucumbers, pita chips, & hummus

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Friday –   grilled pizza fest

summer squash, tomato, & basil pizza (Cooking Light)

Pizza Night IMG_1084this week will celebrate the beginnings of a long and wonderful summer squash and tomato season. I’ve got basil in my pot, but any herb would be good here. Even a sprinkling got the parsley I got this week. Double the recipe for a good-sized pizza dinner. I almost always stick to my dough recipe from The New Basics cookbook, imbedded in the above post. Or the one in Serious Eats guide to grilled pizza  – it is pretty fool proof as well. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. The ingredients should be at-the-ready, as the dough cooks lickety-split on the grill. Our salad will be the freshest of gourmet greens, sprinkled lightly with good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

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 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
pizza with green garlic & arugula  

Saturday – summer indian bliss

aloo baingan (Manjula’s Kitchen)
chicken tikka kebabs (Bon Appetit)
raita (Bon Appetit)
naan

With a few potatoes left from last week, the eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumbers in my box for some reason inspired me to cook up an Indian dinner. I normally reserve Indian for cooler weather – seems hearty, comforting, and often ripe for the slow cooker. But here we are in late July – I must have a craving, and I think we can make it speak “summer” too. This aloo baingan recipe from Manjula is a winner. Most of the ingredients beyond veggies will be in everyone’s pantry. And it’s a flexible recipe – I’ll use half eggplant, half zucchini. The vegetables are browned on the stove-top, then mixed with the oil-spice mixture at the end for the final cooking. You could use all summer squash if you’re not an eggplant fan. A dandy warm-weather accompaniment will be these kebabs, which are a snap to put together. They’re moist and delicious, marinating for a bit in a lemon-garlic-yogurt based sauce. I’ll round it out with a cucumber-green onion raita (yogurt-based Indian condiment) and some made-by-someone else naan. YUM!

Sunday – still cheering for chimichurri

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
oven roasted beans (Food Network, Emeril Lagasse)
grilled garlic bread (Epicurious)

Dinner once again, built around all of this pretty parsley! When I get a bunch my favorite thing to do is to get out the food processor and make a batch of chimichurri sauce. If I used my summer deliveries of parsley just for pretty sprinklings atop a finished dish, or a flavor-enhancing light mix-in, I’d never get to fully enjoy these most fresh, fragrant, and flavorful GIANT bunches. I can easily reserve a handful or two for the sprinklings I’ll need throughout the week, and still have plenty for this amazing Argentinian sauce. The basics:  parsley, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes (make it as spicy or not spicy as you’d like). You can easily freeze this sauce also, if you won’t be using it right away. Grill up any steak on the barbecue (I’m using New York, featured at New Seasons) slice into thin strips on a serving platter, and drizzle heartily with the  chimichurri. If there’s extra sauce, it’s wonderful on sandwiches, wraps, and eggs of any sort. To accompany the steak, grilled, sweet, succulent, mouth-watering, summer corn on the cob – there’s nothing like it. I am so excited about this first delivery! Zero work, huge reward. I’ll add these no-effort roasted beans, caramelized until just tender crisp. For an extra special Sunday Supper, add this simple grilled garlic bread. Use any of your favorite bakery bread – I’m using a big, hearty Como loaf. It all works the same, but the larger the loaf, the less slicing, brushing, and turning on the grill.

Monday –  grilled onions with a side of brats

salad with shaved cucumbers & buttermilk dressing (The New York Times)
grilled onions (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog, Wk. 11 2013)
grilled brats

I loved Katherine’s idea to just grill up those delicious Walla Walla sweets, and have them at-the-ready to use whenever the whim strikes throughout the week. Pizzas (above), burgers, sandwiches, salads, and yes, bratwursts. I have a sauerkraut-loving family, so our usual go-to over brats is a big jar of Bubbies kraut. But with these gorgeous onions at my disposal, I’m going to grill those up instead. A lightly toasted bun, Olympic Provisions bratwursts, grilled onion, ketchup & mustard – not much could be easier or more scrumptious. And speaking of Olympic Provisions, they have a simple lettuce & cucumber salad with a nice buttermilk dressing that just seems to go with everything on the menu. Grilled brats too! I’ll follow this NYT recipe, using my gourmet greens and thinly shaved cucumber instead of radishes.

Tuesday – beet burgers

beet, rice, & goat cheese burgers  (New York Times)

Inspired by the veggie burgers served at Eatin’ Alive at the Portland Farmer’s Market, I decided to put my beets to great use in these healthy, vibrant veggie burgers. As always, my beets were at-the-ready, having roasted them right when I unpacked them from the box. In this recipe, after tossing the beets in a food processor, it’s just a simple and tasty mixture of grated beets, pre-cooked brown rice, pureed white beans, and whatever herbs you want to toss in. This week, parsley is a perfect candidate. I’ll chill the mixture, and followthe tip to moisten my hands before forming patties to prevent any sticking. No hassle, no problem – this makes six good-sized burgers that I’ll toss on a well-oiled outdoor grill, making sure to cook them until a bit of a crust has formed on the bottom before attempting to flip. I’ll serve them as one might a very traditional hamburger, on a whole wheat bun, with all the fixings: lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, a sprinkling of goat cheese, and certainly some of those grilled Walla Walla Sweets we’ve made for just such an occasion! A full meal deal, in one giant, scrumptious, RED beet burger.

Wednesday – ricotta frittata + zucchini + zucchini

summer squash ricotta frittata (Simply Recipes)
sliced tomatoes

zucchini bread (Cooking Light)

A simple, farm fresh frittata is a seasonal dinner (or brunch) at it’s finest. With the some of the summer squash in my CSA box, I’ll make this rich and delicious version, with a bit of ricotta added, making it extra smooth and creamy. Add whatever herbs and cheese strike your fancy – you just can’t go wrong. In the height of summer, I love to serve a frittata with a platter piled with sliced tomatoes, maybe dressed lightly with a sprinkling olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Since it kind of feels like a “brunchy” dinner, what better time to whip up this zucchini bread that’s super light, moist, and summery. I skip the egg substitute, and just use three whole eggs. I also sometimes add 1/2 cup or so of plain yogurt, just for a little extra moistness and flavor. Lots of pure vanilla and a heaping teaspoon of lemon zest make this zucchini bread so scrumptious and different from the (also delicious) fall variety, spiced with more of the nutmegs, cinnamon, etc. It’s dinner’s like this that make me downright excited about any overabundance of zucchini or yellow summer squash.

Thursday –  BLBs

bacon, lettuce, & beet sandwich
carrots, pita chips, & hummus

There’s no real recipe to share here. It’s more of a fun weeknight dinner idea: The BLB (Bacon Lettuce and Beet) Sandwich. I came across the idea recently at one of our favorite Bend restaurants, Jackson’s Corner. All you need is bread, bacon, lettuce, and beets! And, of course, whatever other condiments or add-ons you want to use to jazz up your sandwich. With this week’s tomato-fest, I can certainly envision a BLTB sandwich creation (Bacon+Lettuce+Beet+Tomato)! Any bread that’s hearty enough to hold up to all of these hearty ingredients is great – sourdough, hearty grain, whatever. I often toast my bread, and brush it lightly with olive oil and balsamic, plus a bit of mustard. With sliced, crunchy & crisp cucumbers and some pita chips and hummus…such an simple dinner, and yet so, so good.

“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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