October 16 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

beets, cabbage, carrots, chicory, fennel, gourmet greens, red onions, winter squash

carrots, celeriac, escarole, gourmet greens, kale, leeks, sweet peppers, potatoes, radicchio, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Well, a week or so late, but not a veggie short, in preparation for our belated celebration of National Kale Day. It’s a little-known early October holiday, dedicated to celebrating this dark, leafy green, superfood superstar. Talk about a nutritional powerhouse – loads of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and a whole host of other good-for-body-and-soul stuff. And the great news is, just as we are lamenting the gradual disappearance of our beloved late summer veggies, kale is here to stay; it thrives in the cooler pacific northwest “dark months”. So stock up on those favorite go-to recipes – raw, cooked, smoothies, salads, chips…the possibilities are endless.  Enjoy this kale-a-day week!

The other special thing about this week, is it’s a “twofer”. Skipping out of town for a few days last week left me with double-the-veggies. Literally, two CSA deliveries of veggies awaited my return. Not to panic. My mind went to theIMG_8027 near future, when my beloved Sauvie Island Organics will cease their season, just after Thanksgiving. I’m planning a cooking vacation, just before I give my winter CSA (Hood River Organic) a call! With a little extra effort in the kitchen this week, a stash of freezer bags and my big freezer, I’ll have that first chilly, hectic week of December covered. At least dinner-wise, and that’s no small feat!

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

kale, roasted pepper, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)
chicory caesar salad (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

Make-Ahead:

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

Saturday – a soup to stand your fork in

kale and white bean stew (Smitten Kitchen)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

Make-Ahead:

lentil fennel bacon soup  (The Macrina Bakery)

Sunday – fall at its finest

apple kale slaw (Alicia Ross, Kitchen Scoop)
braised red cabbage (SIO Blog, Katherine Deumling)
roasted winter squash halves (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
pork tenderloin with maple glaze (Bon Appetit)

Make-Ahead:

curried coconut carrot soup (The Kitchn)

Monday – south of the border, veggie style

kale, squash, & black bean enchilada casserole (Little Spice Jar)
gourmet greens salad

Make-Ahead:

celeriac, apple, potato soup (Tiny Urban Kitchen)

Tuesday breakfast for dinner

blueberry kale smoothie (My Recipes)
baked kale & eggs (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
salted toasty bread

Make-Ahead:

minestrone soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

Wednesday – post-summer grilling

kale salad (Simply Recipes)
grilled chicory wedges
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
grilled marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

Make-Ahead:

golden potato-leek soup (Cooking Light)

Thursday – sammie night

kale chips (Eating Well)
sammies with beef & balsamic onion marmalade (Serious Eats)

Make-Ahead:

beef barley soup (Martha Stewart)

____________________________________________________

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

kale, roasted pepper, & feta pizza (Annie’s Eats)
caesar salad (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

This week, to kick off our kale celebration, on the pizza it goes! Follow this previous Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. It makes IMG_1084enough for two pizzas, even three if rolled out in the super thin, best-for-crispy-pizza style. I’ll double the topping requirements here, and use some roasted sweet peppers (could do some red onion right along with the peppers) instead of the sun dried tomatoes called for in the recipe.  This is a “no sauce” pizza; the garlic and red pepper infused oil (simple!) provides the base instead. If you have kids (or adults) that just might not buy into the idea of kale on pizza, throw some pepperoni and olives on the toppings bar. I’ll use half of one of my giant heads of pan di zucccero chicory in an Alice Waters’ caesar, substituting a squeeze or two of anchovy paste, and some good-as-homemade store bought croutons to make it even more Friday night simple.

Other seasonal pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza 
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
fresh ricotta and red onion pizza
sweet onion pizza
pizza with grilled fennel and parmesan
eggplant & tomato pizza
caramelized onion, kale, & corn flatbread
classic margherita pizza
potato & rosemary pizza
pizza with red and yellow peppers

Make-Ahead:

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

With the weekend upon us, it’s a great time to try to make a dent in some of those carrots. I’ll make this Mark Bittman breakfast/snacking bread, from his series of fruit (& veggie!) and nut breads. It’s chock-full of carrots, making it super moist, and contains the surprising crunch of toasted almonds. Brown sugar adds just the right molassesy sweetness, with a splash of orange juice providing the zing. Customize the flour mixture as you wish depending on the density you prefer. This surely will be a go-to for a tasty breakfast, toasted with some butter or honey. In addition, slices on the go will make a fabulous snack throughout the coming week. Another idea is to double the recipe, using half the batter in a loaf pan (best for slicing and toasting) and half in muffin tins (best for on-the-run snacks).

Saturday – a soup to stand your fork in

kale and white bean stew (Smitten Kitchen)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

Dark hearty greens and white beans are just a match made in heaven. I’ll switch up this Deb Perleman recipe, replacing kale with the called for chard. Deb varies from the tried-and-true beans and greens soups; what she was going for was a thick and hearty stew consistency, which is achieved by adding pureed tomatoes, and reducing the broth. As luck would have it, the recipe also calls for carrots and celery (little cubes of celeriac will work just great!). I’ll use one of my red onions in place of the shallots. I’ll surely serve this stew ladeled over a piece of toasted garlic bread, topped with a lightly poached egg. Sprinkle with any fresh herbs or cheese you love – YUM! With my beets roasted and at-the-ready, this traditional beet salad with a honey dijon vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment. Mix in any greens, if you like. We often enjoy the salad with no greens at all, just lots of favorite nuts and cheese.

Make Ahead:

lentil fennel bacon soup  (The Macrina Bakery)

I stumbled upon this soup once when I was at Macrina Bakery in Seattle, a local favorite – it’s been a keeper ever since! I patiently wait out the seasons to make this fall and winter favorite once again. The time is now, and not only do I have fresh fennel, but also carrots, and onions. I’ll use fire-roasted canned tomatoes since my fresh are long-gone. I did write myself a note to use either two pounds fresh, or two fourteen ounce cans. Grab the lentils and baconand you’re in for a real taste treat. The soup simmers for a while, developing an unbelievably rich flavor. When it cools, Top with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, and serve with your favorite crusty bread for dipping.

Sunday –  fall at its finest

apple kale slaw (Alicia Ross, Kitchen Scoop)
braised red cabbage (SIO Blog, Katherine Deumling)
roasted winter squash halves (Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe)
pork tenderloin with maple glaze (Bon Appetit)

Apples (+kale!), winter squash, and maple-ey pork…fall is here! I’ll put it all together in a Sunda Supper, that really is fairly effortless. The recipe for the apple kale slaw is crunchy, fresh, and delicious. When I use kale in a salad (raw), I always chop it in super skinny ribbons. This trick, along with dressing the salad ahead of time, helps to make the chewy texture of the raw kale salad really wonderful, instead of a difficult-to-get-down deterrent. This is my favorite go-to recipe for delicata squash. I’ll cook it for less time, as a delicata is quicker to soften than an acorn (or any other winter squash). I keep it relatively healthy by cutting down on the butter, but still doing a bit of browning with some fresh sage (if you’ve got it). I’ll use the fresh sage on the pork too, cooking it all up in my trusty cast iron skillet. The addition of braised red cabbage will be a treat for the eyes, and the stomach! It just needs a bit of inactive cooking time, to soften the cabbage, and deliciously meld the perfect-for-fall flavors.

Make-Ahead:

curried coconut carrot soup (The Kitchn)

I’ve been on the hunt for a fabulous special-occassion carrot soup, and I think this is it. When you think “carrot soup” it can seem a bit mundane, bland even. But liven it up with onion, coconut milk, curry powder, ginger root, chile flakes, this becomes a soup just made for the first course of some very special meal. With Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas beef tenderloin, or New Year’s crab cakes? Surely I’ll need to have a trial run, served weeknight simple with just a hunk of good crusty bread.

Monday – south of the border, veggie style

kale, squash, & black bean enchilada casserole (Little Spice Jar)
gourmet greens salad

To save a bit of prep work, I’ll make a multi-layered veggie Mexican casserole instead of the traditional individual roll-up style enchiladas. I’ll improvise a little, using an entire acorn squash, a head of sautéed kale, a can of fire roasted tomatoes instead of salsa, twelve corn tortillas, and an entire jar of Fronterra enchilada sauce. For easier squash preparation, I generally bake the halves in a 400 degree oven for a half an hour or so, before attempting to peel and cut into bite-sized chunks. Then, added to the black bean, onion, kale, spice mixture, it’s just a matter of heating and melding the south-of-the-border flavors. When you’re ready to assemble, you really can’t go wrong, just keep layering, and it’ll all work out delightfully in the end. My salad will be dressed with a simple olive oil, lime, cilantro vinaigrette. Add avocados, pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkling of Mexican cheese for a hearty, tasty salad side.

Make-Ahead:

celeriac, apple, potato soup (Tiny Urban Kitchen)

Well, perfect! A soup not only highlighting my autumn root vegetables, but also including some of Northwest’s gorgeous apples. Leeks, instead of onions, would be fabulous in here. Eyeballing this recipe, I’ll double it, knowing I’m making it ahead for a full-meal-deal dinner (just add bread!). And a superb one it will be, with its mix of sweet and savory. And come prep time, you could surely add bacon-ey to the mix,  crumbling bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta on top. With a fresh baguette, either browned into garlicky croutons to float on top, or served as is, soft and chewy for dipping, this is a dinner I’ll surely look forward to!

Tuesday – breakfast for dinner

blueberry kale smoothie (My Recipes)
baked kale & eggs (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
salted toasty bread

Sometimes you just have to mix things up, and do breakfast for dinner. This hearty kale, tomato, and egg dish hardly counts – savory dishes like this can really go either way. Katherine’s recipe had me at “this takes about seven minutes to pull together.” She took a version from Food52 (a personal fav), and with a few tweaks and modifications, transformed it into a weeknight wonder for the whole family. Plus the dish makes great use of my (mounds of!). I’ll use regular garlic, and suggest a generous sprinkling of chives or green onions. With fire roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika, along with cooked-to-your-own-liking eggs, the flavors are delicious, satisfying, and complex. Don’t forget some favorite bakery bread, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, then lightly toasted – perfect for soaking up the juices. With the super powers of a kale smoothie as a side, you could just as easily have your main course be pancakes or waffles (apple? pumpkin?), oatmeal, french toast, or a bowl of cereal. With some frozen blueberries (or any berries!) and kale leaves, you can whip up tasty smoothies in no time – adjust quantities for however many smoothie drinkers you have. I’ll skip the almond butter and wheat germ, keeping it simple. The dinner is really just one step beyond eggs ‘n toast – one giant, scrumptious step.

Make-Ahead:

minestrone soup (Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food)

I tend to think of minestrone soup in a “use what you have” kind of fashion. I’ll certainly have my pick-of-the-veggie litter when assembling this! In looking at Alice’s recipe, I’ll probably add another carrot or two, use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, skip the summer green beans and zucchini, and instead of chard, I’ll chop up a half a head of either chicory or cabbage. Acorn squash and potatoes are wonderful minestrone additions, as well. Her recipe is adaptable to the season – truly whatever you’ve got and like, keeping beans, veggie, and broth proportions in mind. If you’ve frozen this ahead, save the chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan for serving atop the steaming hot bowl.

Wednesday – post-summer grilling

kale salad (Simply Recipes)
grilled chicory wedges
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
grilled marinated flank steak (Simply Recipes)

I’m not ready to give up the grill just yet. You can prepare the five-ingredient-or-less marinade way ahead of time, and just let the steak absorb the flavors for as long as you like. After grilling, I’ll sprinkle generously with my fresh chives still growing in my pot , and cut it into thin slices for a help-yourself platter. As long as I’ve go the grill out, I’m giving grilled chicory wedges a shot. Similar to grilled romaine, just keep a part of the core intact, brush with olive oil, and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grill until soft and golden. These simple garlic roasted potatoes make a straight-forward and delicious side. And let’s not forget our National Kale Week celebration…a simple kale salad it is! I love this honey, balsamic vinaigrette, and so many combinations of nuts, seeds, cheeses, and fruits are possible. With steak, I think I’ll go dried cranberries, chopped hazelnuts, and blue cheese crumbles.

Make-Ahead:

golden potato-leek soup (Cooking Light)

This Cooking Light version of potato-leek soup is deceptively rich and buttery. Surprise! It has just one tablespoon of butter and a little bit of milk or cream. It sure doesn’t lack in flavor though – fresh thyme and just-picked potatoes and leeks make all the difference.  You can make it as chunky or smooth as you like when you’re mashing at the end of cooking. This soup freezes nicely. Upon serving, don’t skip the cheddar toasts, as they’re really delicious dunkers. Especially good with a sharp or extra robust cheese – Tillamook extra sharp or Beecher’s flagship cheddar would make excellent choices.

Thursday – sammie night

kale chips (Eating Well)
sammies with beef & balsamic onion marmalade (Serious Eats)

I’ll take full advantage of the extra grilled steak from last night. When I tried to think of the best veggie to marry with the steak in a panini, the onions jumped front and center. Let images of sweet and chunky caramelized onion dance in your head. Thinly slicing the onions is the only “work”. The rest is ultra slow cooking, with a little sugar and vinegar, stovetop time. What you’ll have in the end the most flavorful jam (or chutney, or condiment) ever. I’ll toss any extra into a lidded glass container and into the freezer. In addition to a sandwich filling, it’s an excellent pizza topping, toasty bread spread, pasta mix-in, and egg sidekick. Kale makes its appearance tonight in the form of three-ingredient “chips” – kale leaves, salt & olive oil. Whip up your own kale chips, save an absolute bundle compared to the bag at the market, and be amazed at the pleas for more.

Make-Ahead:

beef barley soup (Martha Stewart)

This homemade beef barley soup is a proven crowd-pleaser. I love this recipe because it uses so many additional veggies – I’ll use lots of my carrots and onions or leeks, and substitute celeriac and potatoes for the called for parsnips and mushrooms. Basically any veggie combo will work! What a joy that will be, knowing that this hearty, warming soup is just a a quick thaw away from the dinner table.

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