November 6 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

carrots, celeriac, gourmet greens, kale, leeks, radicchio, shallot, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

You never know what a week might bring, food-wise. This past week, for me, brought an American Colonial Heritage Feast! It’s fun (and deliciously rewarding) to have crazy foodie friends. Along with the little known (or UNknown) National Sandwich Day, my gorgeous autumn veggies were put to very fine use indeed.

Friday – pizza night

pizza with leeks, sundried tomatoes, and goat cheese (Bon Appetit)

Saturday – colonial heritage feast

Appetizers
Preserved Root Vegetables (GourmetThe Prarie Homestead)
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese with Oatcakes and Onion Rye Bread
Fried Cabbage and Onion Cakes (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
Dried Wild Game
Selection of Hard Apple Cider and Beer
Soups
Cream of Peanut Soup
Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Native Herbs (Food Network)
Whole Grain and Seed Bread with Freshly Churned Butter
Main Course
Stuffed Loin of Pork
Creamed Celery with Pecans
Corn Pudding
Stewed Pompion with Leeks (Plymouth Plantation Cookbook)
Colonial Salad of Chess and Foraged Greens
Nectar Creek Wildflower and Ginger Root Mead
Dessert
Apple and Currant Pudding
Apple Pie (Smitten Kitchen)
Freshly Whipped Cream
Plymouth Tea
Clear Creek Distillery Apple Brandy
Arundel Cane Rum, British Virgin Islands

Sunday – no cook sunday

breakfast:

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

dinner:

colonial style, take two

Monday – steak & salad

steak with radicchio, pear, & blue cheese salad (Bon Appetite)

Tuesday thai style

curried celeriac soup (Mark Bittman, The New York Times)
thai chicken skewers

Wednesday – doozy of a salad

farro, radicchio, & roasted celeriac salad (Bon Appetit)
roasted chicken

Thursday – national sammie day, celebrated

italian sammies with kale butter (Ashley Gartland, Dishing Up Oregon)
kettle chips

____________________________________________________

Friday – pizza night

pizza with leeks, sundried tomatoes, and goat cheese (Bon Appetit)

This couldn’t-be-simpler pizza with caramelized leeks and goat cheese looks like a perfect ending to the week. Substituting sun dried tomatoes for fresh is the name of the game in these cold autumn and IMG_1084winter months. Double this recipe if you’re making more than one pizza. A sausage sampling could be just the thing to add to the toppings bar! I’ll use my tried and true New Basics crust recipe – see Pizza Night, or make it ultra-simple by picking up pre-made dough from any number of markets or pizza restaurants.

Other pizza combinations:

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
fennel sausage & onion pizza 
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard 

Saturday – colonial heritage feast

Appetizers
Preserved Root Vegetables (Gourmet; The Prarie Homestead)
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese with Oatcakes and Onion Rye Bread
Fried Cabbage and Onion Cakes (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
Dried Wild Game
Selection of Hard Apple Cider and Beer
Soups
Cream of Peanut Soup
Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Native Herbs (Food Network)
Whole Grain and Seed Bread with Freshly Churned Butter
Main Course
Stuffed Loin of Pork
Creamed Celery with Pecans
Corn Pudding
Stewed Pompion with Leeks (Plymouth Plantation Cookbook)
Colonial Salad of Chess and Foraged Greens
Nectar Creek Wildflower and Ginger Root Mead
Dessert
Apple and Currant Pudding
Apple Pie (Smitten Kitchen)
Freshly Whipped Cream
Plymouth Tea
Clear Creek Distillery Apple Brandy
Arundel Cane Rum, British Virgin Islands

With the  modern-day Turkey Day just around the corner, what a delight it was to have a “preview”, of sorts. This meal, however, was more about honoring and celebrating the humble origins of our own, harvest-time, national cuisine. Along with some other passionate cooks, we attempted to conjure up how an original Colonial feast might have looked, and tasted. We had some pretty bland beginnings! But, we did discover, that in utilizing our own local bounty (some of which is surprisingly similar to that of the Pilgrims!) we could indeed create a luscious feast, in which the whole was certainly more than the sum of its parts. With my week’s veggies at hand, I set to work on the items with attached recipes. Certainly, preserving those precious root vegetables through the endless, snowy winters was a priority. I chose my carrots and beets as good pickling candidates; the results were surprisingly tasty, especially the carrots soaked in an apple cider vinegar and dill seed brine. Mind you, I went for the “quick” pickling method – no canning required, just pour a vinegary brine over the veggies and let them soak overnight. The nuts and dried fruits were just as the our forefathers must have snacked on…well, almost. We chose local roasted Oregon hazelnuts and walnuts, dried currants, cranberries, and cherries, and freshly picked persimmons. Doing our best research, we were fairly certain goats provided milk and cheese in these early times. How wonderful, then, that I found this luscious Alsea Acre chèvre at the Portland Farmer’s Market. As the vendor described to me, “This was milk on Wednesday, cheese on Friday, and at the market today.” Couldn’t have tasted fresher – it was indeed a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Served simply with dark onion rye bread from Fressen – divine! My next contribution to the hors d’ oeuvre course were these truly colonial cabbage and onion cakes. The original recipe states: “Boil them separately, and mix them in the proportions you like; add butter, pepper, and salt, and either stew them or fry them in a cake.” Which is exactly what I did, with a farm fresh, lightly browned, tasty fritter as a result. As for the dried wild game, with no bow and arrow or carcass drying racks at my disposal, I went straight to Pono Farm’s stand at the market for some of their outstanding beef jerky. Next, a soup course, complete with a smooth and creamy peanut soup and steamed mussels. I volunteered for the mussels, feeling certain the abundance of sea life was a main source of sustenance in these early times. As luck would have it, in an ocean across the country, the same holds true. I found some fabulous Washington Penn Cove mussels, which I steamed in a simple concoction of butter, leeks, garlic, and wild herbs. A Pearl Bakery multigrain boule with freshly churned market butter made for fantastic dipping. I had a bit of a break, as others took charge of the main course. My only contribution was the stewed pompion (pumpkin); I cheated a bit, using my acorn squash instead of a pumpkin, and made it more savory than sweet, sauteeing the mashed squash in butter and softened leeks. I felt my fortune in not having to cook the squash upon an open fire for an entire day! The main course plate did indeed resemble what we think of as “Thanksgiving”, and what those pilgrims might have shared with the Native Americans. Maybe not quite so fancy, but wild pork, foraged celery and greens, and their precious corn and pumpkin all very likely feasting candidates. We had some debate as to whether apples were indeed native to our land. For the sake of tasty desserts, we decided yes! I made a packed-with-local-apples very traditional pie, which was served with the most amazing and original apple currant pudding, delicate and perfectly spiced. Freshly whipped cream topped both desserts, and a tea straight from Plymouth was a lovely complement. The rest of the evenings drinks held true to history as well, with an awareness of the early settlers’ genuine fear of the sickness that could result from drinking water. From morning until night, everyone (including the kids!) imbibed beer, hard cider, and other assortments of spirits. Our Nectar Creek mead, Clear Creek apple brandy, and Caribbean rum made nice stand-ins.

Sunday – no cook sunday

breakfast:

brown sugar carrot bread with almonds (Mark Bittman)

dinner:

colonial style, take two

I made this Mark Bittman carrot bread a few weeks ago; it was one of the tastiest treats of fall. It was so simple, I do know this is the one kitchen creation I can commit to, post Colonial Feast Over-do. It’s a 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).

As for dinner, I could barely close the refrigerator after the gourmet American heritage dinner. I plan to open it up, and see what already prepared dinner items spill out – I have a feeling, there’s more than enough of everything. “Leftover Night”…I always announce this with not even a hint of embarrassment. Pure genius!

Monday – steak & salad

steak with radicchio, pear, & blue cheese salad (Bon Appetite)

How’s that for balance? I’m not a big steak-eater, but when I see the stars align in a way I just can’t deny, I go for it. First, I got two beautiful heads of radicchio. And with pears in perfect season, and local blue cheese choices galore at the market, I couldn’t resist this salad. I’ll mix the more bitter radicchio with my gourmet greens for a tasty combination. This Bon Appetite recipe combines the salad with hearty steak, certainly to be enjoyed together, with fabulous complimentary flavors and textures. I could look for a steak-substitute no more…The New Seasons Market Flyer was advertising amazing looking New York steaks this week. Deal done.

Tuesday –  thai style

curried celeriac soup (Mark Bittman, The New York Times)
thai chicken skewers

So many giant bulbs of celeriac, so little time. They were beginning to invade my fridge. I they do indeed look like something that might invade. My celeriac interest became reinvigorated when I stumbled upon this Mark Bittman recipe for a seemingly complex flavored curried version, without the complex preparation.  After cooking the peeled, chopped celery root in butter, onions (I’ll use leeks), broth, and a few key spices, it’s pureed right in the pot, adding milk or cream and chopped cilantro at the end. For a full meal (and delicious) deal, add some pre-made thai chicken skewers from your favorite market.

Wednesday – doozy of a salad

farro, radicchio, & roasted celeriac salad (Bon Appetit)
roasted chicken

Here’s a wonderful potential one-bowl dinner. Farro’s a nutritional dynamo; cooked, and combined with wholesome and tasty pre-roasted celeriac cubes (I’ll substitute for the beets) and thinly sliced radicchio, this could easily stand on it’s own for a meal. The simple garlicky dressing is added when the farro is warm, allowing the flavors to soak in especially nicely. With some thick slices of lightly oiled and salted bakery bread, you could call it a day here. But a made-by-someone else roasted chicken would also be a nice accompaniment, and could be a nice bonus in our sammie night endeavors tomorrow.

Thursday – national sammie day, celebrated

italian sammies with kale butter (Ashley Gartland, Dishing Up Oregon)
kettle chips

I discovered I’d missed National Sandwich Day…this was on the news! Portland’s certainly got no shortage or inventive sandwich shops. Sammie night is a regular occurrence around here…casual, quick, and everyone can tweak it how they like it. In celebration of the holiday-I-never-knew-I-was-missing, I’m going to a tried and true in my house. These doozies with “kale butter” are right up my alley! No excess of real butter, just kale and onion (I’ll use leeks…) cooked until they are literally the consistency of butter. Pile that on your favorite bakery bread, add a good dose of cheese (and some sliced chicken from last night?), and bake until warm and melty. Add the bowl (bag) of Kettle Chips – everyone’s happy!

“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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