Archive | October 2015

October 24 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

carrots, celeriac, corn, gourmet greens, kale,  parsley, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Eight ears of corn on the cob, and it’s almost November! This, along with two types of gorgeous green kale, was reason enough to seek out my favorite salsa at the Portland Farmers Market. Mexican dinner, times two, this week! Also, a National Beer Day celebration, a scrumptious carrot cake with apple cider and olive oil, and several other warm and comforting fall favorites.

Friday – pizza night stand-in

baked mac ‘n cheese + winter squash (Food Network, Ellie Krieger)
kale & apple salad (Food Network)

Saturday – hot mama!

pork carnitas (Cooks Illustrated)
garlicky kale & corn (Tastebook)
Hot Mama chips & salsa

apple cider margarita (Krystal’s Kitch)

Sunday – minestrone, pot pourrri style

autumn minestrone with garlic bruschetta (Ina Garten, Food Network)

carrot cake with cider and olive oil (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Monday – weeknight tortilla soup

tortilla soup (Simply Recipes)
mixed greens with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Tuesday nat’l beer day, chili style

turkey chili with kale & corn (TheKitchn)
cornbread with beer (All Recipes)
beer!

Wednesday – delicate & weeknight do-able

delicata squash soup (A Chow Life)
roasted chicken
crusty bread

Thursday – sammies + crunchy salad

celeriac remoulade (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
gremolata, sliced chicken, & fontina panini

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Friday – pizza night stand in

baked mac ‘n cheese + winter squash (Food Network, Ellie Krieger)
kale & apple salad (Food Network)

Pizza night on hold. I’ve got a back-up of veggies, winter squash and kale to name a couple. A nice change of pace, as well as certainly a popular family choice, will be this warm, cheesey, ooey, gooey, comfort dish by the name of mac ‘n cheese. A kid’s favorite, scaled up to please the adults (and hold some nutrients!) as well. I baked and pureed one of my acorn squash from last week (couldn’t quite get to the last of it…), but any winter squash would be delicious here. This recipe looks quite straight forward – while I’m boiling the pasta (shells, penne, any shape’ll do), I’ll also be making the quick sauce with the squash, milk and cheeses. I’ll skip the ricotta since I don’t have it, and use my Tillamook extra sharp and my Beecher’s flagship. Get creative here, or just use what’s in your deli drawer. The pasta and cheesey squash sauce (or is that squashy cheese sauce?) get mixed together, tossed in a baking pan, and sprinkled with a little parmesan and breadcrumbs. Add a simple kale salad, fancied up with apples (and dates or other dried fruit if you want), and it’s the perfect fall stay-at-home evening.

Saturday – hot mama!

pork carnitas (Cooks Illustrated)
garlicky kale & corn (Tastebook)
Hot Mama chips & salsa

apple cider margarita (Krystal’s Kitch)

My trips to the Portland Farmer’s Market are certainly not about veggie buying! I go for the experience, to bask in the season, and often to pick up a little dinner inspiration. This week, it came in the form of salsa sampling at the Hot Mama booth. I couldn’t decide, so I picked up two, knowing with eight ears of corn, and greens galore, delicious Mexican dinners weren’t far away. One of my very favorites is pork carnitas. The word carnita literally means “little meats”. Traditionally, chunks of pork are cooked in lard, then slowly braised over a number of hours to get a most tender, fall-apart meat. It’s not until the end that the pork is crisped up with additional heat. In this CI recipe, the lard is skipped, and a sensational and simple mix of Mexican-esque seasonings are added to the pork before slow-roasting in the oven for a couple of hours. The browning is achieved at the very end, when the pork is shredded and inserted under the broiler for just a couple of minutes. ( I skip the cumbersome pan-transferring step, and just toss the shredded meat in the liquid and broil in the stock pot.) This recipe makes a lot, which I welcome – tortilla soup is on the week’s menu, and the leftover pork will surely go right in that. I’ll also saute up a head of thinly sliced kale, and lots of my corn (off the cob!) in some garlic and olive oil. With some warmed corn tortillas, I’ll set our a taco buffet, with the pork and veggies as the prime stuffing, along with whatever additional goodies you love. Sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, sour cream…and of course, our Hot Mama salsa. Sticking with our theme, but adhering to the season, I’ll give these apple cider margaritas a shot as the final piece to this Mexican feast.

Sunday – minestrone, pot pourrri style

autumn minestrone with garlic bruschetta (Ina Garten, Food Network)

carrot cake with cider and olive oil (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Kind of starting things backwards this week. Normally I’d put a soup like this at the end of my CSA week, in a “use what you have left” fashion. Minestrone soup is perfect for that! This week I’ll have my pick-of-the-veggie litter when assembling this seasonal classic. I’ll get to use some peeled and diced delicata squash, carrots, diced celeriac (instead of celery), leeks (instead of onions), canned tomatoes (instead of fresh), and purple cabbage (instead of spinach) since I’ve got half a head hanging around. If you do use cabbage or kale or some other hearty green instead of spinach, just saute it up with the onions, carrots, etc. at the beginning to allow for some softening time. Be sure to finish with a good-sized handful of fresh chopped parsley along with that grated parm! And I’m not going to let this favorite carrot cake recipe pass me by…Deb describes it as “an October farmer’s market haul in a loaf pan”. Lots of freshly grated carrots, pressed apple cider, olive oil replacing any butter, and just the right combination of the usual fall spices. Looks to be heavenly, but not overly sweet. Perfect for tonight’s dessert, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If by chance there’s some remaining, it makes a lovely breakfast, lightly toasted and slathered with butter.

Monday – weeknight tortilla soup

tortilla soup (Simply Recipes)
mixed greens with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Another soup night…I’m sensing a seasonal trend. But this one was inspired with my Hot Mama chips and salsa purchase at the Portland Farmer’s Market. The basics are simple: a tomato-chili based broth, simmered with pre-shredded meat , poured over fried corn tortilla strips. My version is simple (and weeknight friendly!) using my leftover pork carnitas, tossing in a cup or two of fresh corn, and topping with crumbled thick-cut corn tortilla chips from the bag. The chips become moistened (but not soggy, if you have good ones) and then the soup is garnished with your choice of delicious toppings. Avocado, cilantro, green onions, cheese and lime are standard. With my gourmet greens this week, I’ll make a simple and scrumptious Mexican-inspired salad to go alongside the soup.

Tuesday – national beer day, chili style

turkey chili with kale & corn (TheKitchn)
cornbread with beer (All Recipes)
beer!

Bet you didn’t know it was American Beer Day on October 27th!?! (Believe it or not, within the same week are: National Bologna Day, National Good & Plenty Day, and National Mince Meat Pie Day. Suffice it to say, I choose what to celebrate quite selectively). Beer Day, for sure, though. Especially when I the first thing that came to mind is this chili packed with lean turkey, black beans, corn, and kale. And a beer…I tend to pack in the veggies, often adding more than called for. To make the chili “soupy” enough, just add a beer to the called for liquids. It adds great richness and flavor. I’ll forsake my normal cornbread choice (often packaged Bob’s Red Mill mix) and make this version with beer in the batter. With jalapeños, green onions (I’ll use a leek), and some pilsner, it’s a sweet and spicy taste treat. Now add a little northwest brew sampling, and I think we’ve done this holiday (?) right.

Wednesday – delicate & weeknight do-able

delicata squash soup (A Chow Life)
roasted chicken
crusty bread

This delicata squash soup has a rich faux creaminess; it has zero cream and just a touch of butter. A small crumbling of blue cheese provides the magic! The detailed steps of the recipe seem to have disappeared off of the world wide web. No problem…since there’s truly minimal ingredients, just improvise the cooking method. I’ll sauté a leek and fresh herbs in the butter, add peeled, cubed squash, and cook in the broth until tender. Puree in the pot with a good immersion blender, and sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over each individual serving. Add a made by someone else roasted chicken, and some crusty bakery bread for another easy but oh-so satisfying soup night at home.

Thursday – sammie + crunchy salad

celeriac remoulade (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)
gremolata, sliced chicken, & fontina panini

A tart celeriac salad (remoulade is the Frenchie way of saying this) will make the perfect side to our sammie night. Of course, Alice Waters bring us the no-frills, all-flavor version. Sprinkle with lots of fresh parsley. As opposed to letting the rest of my parsley linger in the crisper, I’ll whip up a quick batch of gremolata…just a fancy term for the condiment comprised of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. It has so many uses – alongside chicken, pork, fish; mixed in nearly any soup; sprinkled over pasta with butter and parmesan. And tonight, spread on grilled sammies. Choose a hearty country bread that you love (and, in my house, that will hold up well to the squishing between cast-irons it receives!). With some sliced chicken leftover from last night, and some fontina (or any) cheese, it’s a healthy, nearly effortless meal.

“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.)

Urban Farm Table

using your local bounty every day

Epicurious.com: New Recipes

using your local bounty every day

101 Cookbooks

using your local bounty every day

Cook With What You Have

Cook delicious & healthy food every day

Sauvie Island Organics Farm Blog

using your local bounty every day

using your local bounty every day

Simply Recipes

using your local bounty every day

America's Test Kitchen

using your local bounty every day

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