September 4 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

carrots, corn, dill, eggplant, escarole, frisee, gourmet greens, kohlrabi, onions, peppers, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

I learned the hard way that this week was no ordinary CSA delivery. Our family’s designated veggie-picker-upper (my hubby!) got sidetracked, busy, confused, whatever, and forgot his duty! Yikes – I scrambled and begged, and thanks to the good folks at Sauvie Island Organics, was able to pick them up at a nearby friendly restaurant. A big, burly chef handed me my entire plastic crate of veggies. In one giant bin, all at once…I nearly collapsed. I tried to play it cool, somehow get out the door on my own, and hobble down the streets of downtown, genuinely sweating by the time I reached my car. It held the very best of late summer, as well as a taste of fall. It held all that September means to me…the last gorgeous ears of sweet corn; more piles of sweet peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant; a giant bundle of oh-so-fragrant dill; some new fall-ish surprises from the chicory family. Plus a lot more, including kohlrabi! Here we go…I’d say with this (weighty) abundance, I’ve got my work cut out for me this week. And the great thing is, it doesn’t feel a bit like work.

Friday – return of the tv trays

escarole & bacon pizza (Martha Stewart)

Saturday – nacho saturday

veggie nachos (Rachael Ray)
green salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Sunday –  late-summer soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
country bread

Monday – labor day bbq

frisee salad (Martha Stewart)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled eggplant (Fine Cooking)
grilled sausages

Tuesday – k is for kohlrabi

kohlrabi-sesami slaw (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled korean bbq beef short ribs

Wednesday –  btsn, take 2

wheat berry salad with carrots and dill (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

Thursday –  sammie night

chicken salad sandwiches with walnut-dill pesto (Food Network)
kettle chips


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Friday –   return of the tv trays

escarole & bacon pizza (Martha Stewart)

The return of the school year routine also promises the return of regular Friday Pizza Nights in our house. When we pull it off, it’s a a wonderful, all-hands-on-deck, end-of-the-week celebration. It also happens to be a day we can literally pick and choose veggies off the table to top the pizzas! It’s a super fun, IMG_1084interactive, and delicious way to use those veggies –Pizza Night! Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making. This week, I’ll use my head of escarole not in a salad, but as a pizza topper. The escarole’s bitterness is toned down by cooking it, as well as with the addition of bacon, cheese and my red onion. I’ll also  offer slices of fresh tomato as a post-oven topping. Follow my go-to 5 minute recipe from The New Basics, or grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place.

Other summer pizza combinations:
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread

Saturday – nacho saturday

veggie nachos (Rachael Ray)
green salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

If the Oregonian can have a Nacho Week, so can I! Well, at least a Nacho Night. My family members are generally good sports when it comes to all the darned veggies we eat. Generally. The occasional grief I get tends to come from my pre-teen boy, who will say things like, “Why can’t you cook normal things?” So when an idea strikes me that just may fall within his criteria, and my mix of veggies cooperates, I need to jump. This week, veggie nachos. Loaded with chips, cheese, and Mexican beans I’ve got left from taco night last week, all I need to do is add the right combo of veggies straight from the farm. Good contenders? Corn, red onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and jalapeños I’ve got left from another recent delivery. In truth, I won’t really use a recipe at all. I’ll start by roasting thinly sliced peppers, jalapeños, and onions, and two ears of corn off the cob, in a very hot oven until soft and golden. I’ll spread a single layer of chips on a large baking sheet, cover them with Mexican beans that I’ve pureed with a scoop of chipotle chiles, evenly distribute the roasted veggies, then top with a layer of whatever cheese you like. I’ll use a mixture of cotija and cheddar. Repeat. Surely I’ll use an entire large bag of chips in order to stand up to all of this good topping. Once the nachos are just heated through and the outside chips are just starting to brown, I’ll pull them out and add the toppings that do better outside the oven: chopped tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Better than any restaurant cheese-heavy, veggie-light versions, certainly! To slightly balance the “chips for dinner”, I’ll add a Mexican-style green salad. This CI recipe is a winner for a quick dressing I use for any salad accompanying a Mexican dinner. (And no real need to use the blender – a whisk will do just fine.) Some ideas for mix-ins: Mexican cheese (cotija, queso fresco, manchego…), sliced (seeded) jalapeños, green  or red onions, cilantro, chives, sliced radishes, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, sliced avocado. When I’m in a hurry, it’s olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper whisked in a little bowl, poured over a salad of greens, tomatoes, and cilantro. Nacho Night, gone just a little bit healthy.

Sunday – late-summer soup

roasted eggplant, pepper, and tomato soup (Whole Foods Market)
country bread

I anticipate this special soup for months, awaiting the exact moment when eggplants, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and onions are all in season and come my way. I truly think it’s the most delicious pot of late summer bounty. Even if you’re not a die-hard eggplant fan, give this soup a shot. The eggplant adds just the right flavor to the soup, with none of the “mushiness” its reputation brings. It’s really very easy, just roasting the farm fresh eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and basically adding that plus the broth to sauteed onions & garlic before pureeing. The delectable flavorings of fresh basil, lemon juice, and a pinch of cayenne are icing on the cake. With a loaf of favorite country-style bread, head outside with this summer soup, and continue to soak up that warm sunshine.

Monday –  labor day bbq

frisee salad (Martha Stewart)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled eggplant (Fine Cooking)
grilled sausages

Ahhh, Labor Day. What the heck is Labor Day?!? Maybe it’s a day I’m not supposed to labor. And I won’t…too much. A last outdoor grill-fest doesn’t feel like work at all – feels like a celebration for sure. Again I find myself scurrying to make those things I associate with summer, which for some reason (laziness, eating out too much, forgetting, who knows?!?) I just haven’t made yet. One of those dishes is homemade baked beans. Really, these just belong at a homespun BBQ. The first time I used this recipe, the addition of ketchup struck me as strange…cheap, or cheating, or something. Not so! A perfect combo of ingredients for a rich mapley, molassesy, bacony baked bean dish. SO worth the soak of beans overnight, which is really the only work. With some simple grilled corn and eggplant, and tossing some bratwurts on the grill, it’s a Labor Day BBQ that is homey and traditional, pays good tribute to our surrounding farmers and what they bring us all summer, and is a real crowd-pleaser. Ruby Jewell ice cream sandwiches are the dessert-o-choice, considering it’s the don’t-labor-too-much day. These ice cream sandwiches are out of this world (yes, I’ve had one or ten too many this season!), and an end-of-summer celebration worthy for sure!

Tuesday – k is for kohlrabi

kohlrabi-sesami slaw (Mark Bittman, NYT)
grilled korean bbq beef short ribs

What the heck is kohlrabi, you might ask? I will always remember that’s is the veggie that starts with “K”, as noted in the Eat Your Alphabet board book I used to so fondly read to my kids. They would ask “What is kohlrabi?”; I would nod, smile, and turn the page quickly. Well, like I’ve said, you never know what your CSA might bring you. The best I’ve come to understand it, it’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. I was drawn to the recipes I saw that used it in a slaw, like this one from Mark Bittman. Either thinly slice the kohlrabi by hand, or toss it in a food processor to shred. The rest of the dinner will be done on the grill – these made-by-someone else Korean BBQ’d beef short ribs (featured this week at New Seasons) are sensational.  Most markets have several BBQ-ready Asian selections – pick your favorite!

Wednesday – btsn, take 2

wheat berry salad with carrots and dill (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

Back-to-school-night, round two. Once again, I’ll ignore the assignment and just bring a potluck contribution based on what my farm delivery looks like. This wheat berry salad is a summer staple of mine…again, the only tiny bit tricky part is planning ahead a little so the wheat berries can be cooked and ready (an hour to an hour and a half). I do this any time during the week when I know I’ll be around. The cooked wheat berries can wait in the refrigerator for days, with no harm. This easy and crowd-pleasing dish calls for just red onion and dill, but often I kitchen-sink it and add whatever sounds good and is on hand. This week, I’ll make it with my farm fresh carrots, as there’s no finer combination with lots of fresh dill. I’ll slice them fairly thinly on the bias, and saute in just a bit of olive oil, until tender and caramelized. Mix it all together, serve it warm, cold, or room temperature. And watch it disappear.

Thursday –  sammie night

chicken salad sandwiches with walnut-dill pesto (Food Network)
kettle chips

With the rest of my dill, I’ll make this zesty pesto to use in a very unique and healthy chicken salad. With the purchase of a rotisserie chicken, this dinner is lickety split, and makes delicious use of my farm fresh dill, red onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. Ungrilled sandwiches such as these are a nice choice for a “make your own” night, where the ingredients can be at-the-ready, and no matter who’s going what direction at what time, a complete and healthy dinner is a very simple assembly process. A handful of Kettle Chips, and no one will even mind if they had to make it themselves.

 

“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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