November 20 weekly menu | fall table

Farm Fresh

beets, carrots, celeriac, kale, onions, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes, radicchio, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Well that load certainly isn’t fitting atop my table! In the spirit of celebration and gratitude, Sauvie Island Organics bestowed a double share upon all of its CSA members. Whoopie! So kind, so generous, so much! The bad news: I’m headed out of town for the week, and not cooking for Thanksgiving! Oh dear.

Where there’s veggie will, there’s always a veggie way. I’ll spend part of my Friday digging into this giant load. I’ve got a three-part mission. First, a dinner to greet us upon our return home. There’s nothing finer than coming home from vacation – generally late, generally tired, and always with suitcases full of dirty clothes – to an already prepared home-cooked meal in the freezer. Second, a soup to be served at my own post-Thanksgiving day turkey dinner. With all of this goodness, and my delight in cooking, I just can’t skip it entirely; we’ll have round two, sometime upon our return. And third, a brown bag dinner for the trip. Anything’s better than the “picnic pack” offered upon the airplane; this bag is sure to be filled with veggie delights to kick off a Thanksgiving week away, California desert style.

Friday – brown bagging it

curried chicken sandwich with radicchio (Food Network)
carrot sticks
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (Pop Sugar)

Thanksgiving – away from home style

hors d’ oeuvres
chop fennel salami
olympia provisions saucisson d’ alsace
rogue river crater lake blue
portland creamery oregon chevre
ayers creek red current jam
la mancha hazelnuts
cherry country dried cherries
vincent family dried cranberries

main course
northwest cranberry sauce (The Kitchn)

dessert
california date and walnut pie (Saveur)

Make Ahead:

sunday supper 

celeriac, potato, leek, & apple soup (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)
orange, sage pork chops
crusty bread

turkey day, belated

celery root bisque with thyme croutons (Bon Appetit)

____________________________________________________

Friday – brown bagging it

curried chicken sandwich with radicchio (Food Network)
carrot sticks
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (Pop Sugar)

Probably the most “delicate” produce item I received this week was the two gorgeous heads of radicchio. They’ll certainly last, but given the opportunity, I’ll dig into one! These curried chicken sandwiches with shredded radicchio are simple and will make a perfect airport-picnic main course. Because I’m in a hurry, I’ll skip the crispy pancetta (or bacon?), and go straight to a pre-cooked chicken breast compliments of Zupans. Chop this and the radicchio up, and mix with the dressing of zesty lime, sweet honey, and spicy curry powder and ginger. Because I’m not a mayo fan, I’ll use plain Greek yogurt as a stand-in. Healthier, and I like the flavor better. Piled between a sliced ciabatta roll and wrapped tightly, this sandwich will be a crunchy and flavor-filled delight come mid-travel-dinner time. After adding a healthy dose of farm fresh carrot sticks, you really don’t need another thing. However, I’d sure love to roast one of my pumpkins and whip up these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, both for dessert and to take along as a treat to share with friends. The extra pumpkin puree freezes nicely, so no worries about wasting a thing.

Thanksgiving – away from home style

hors d’ oeuvres
chop fennel salami
olympia provisions saucisson d’ alsace
rogue creamery crater lake blue
portland creamery oregon chevre
ayers creek red current jam
la mancha hazelnuts
cherry country dried cherries
vincent family dried cranberries

main course
northwest cranberry sauce (The Kitchn)

dessert
california date and walnut pie (Saveur)

Thanksgiving in the California desert, a first for us. Yes, I’ll surely miss the smells in my own home kitchen. And I’ll dream of what I would-a and could-a done with that overly generous delivery of farm fresh veggies this week. But, I’ll treasure being amongst friends we’ve missed so much in the California sunshine.

For appetizers, I get to show off some of our Oregon bounty! All it took was a quick trip to the Portland Farmers Market to amass a delectable array of hors d’ oeuvre offerings. I started with two types of salami, one from Chop, chock-full of fennel and crushed anise seed and peppers, and an Olympia Provisions Alsatian pub salami flavored with clove, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon (can you say Thanksgiving?) I added two renowned Oregon cheeses, an award-winning Rogue Creamery blue and a Portland Creamery chevre. I love cheeses either with a hearty, savory salami, or in an entirely different direction, with a fruity, sweet compliment. So I picked up a jar of Ayers Creek Farm red current preserves. These small-batch, pectin-free jams from the first fruit pickings of each season yield sprightly, slightly runny preserves in such unique flavors. To round out the appetizers, a selection crunchy, chewy finger foods – dried, tart, and all natural cherries from Cherry Country; Vincent Family dried cranberries from the bogs of Southern Oregon; and delicate out-of-this-world La Mancha roasted hazelnuts.

We also volunteered to make the cranberry sauce, knowing nothing could beat the fresh northwest cranberries I could pick up at the market. They keep and travel well, which makes them great candidates for sharing across the miles. I’ll make this one, heavy on the fresh cranberries, where just a bit of sweet honey and autumney spices are added. Including cardamom pods, which I think sounds fabulous. The great thing about cranberry sauce is that whatever isn’t devoured at the actual Thanksgiving feast is just ripe for use the rest of the long weekend – on toast, waffles, mixed in yogurt, or alongside cheese plates.

As for dessert, knowing the Coachella Valley is the date capitol of the world, I just had to contribute something date-packed. This is a fabulous-looking crustless pie, packed with California dates and walnuts (could use pecans). Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream for a decadent finish. I can’t wait for this one! I’ll also add a pumpkin pie, because you just can’t have Thanksgiving without it, and an apple pie, another nod to our northwest specialties. I’ll do those the lazy way, though, supporting the local Palm Springs bakery economy. And knowing I’ve got those sugar pie pumpkins awaiting me at home, which surely will call for a homemade pie-fest real soon.

Make Ahead:

sunday supper 

celeriac, potato, leek, & apple soup (Martha Rose Schulman, NYT)
orange, sage pork chops
crusty bread

Given that I had every ingredient on hand for this sweet and savory fall soup, this was an obvious choice in my make-ahead mission. I love arriving home from vacation, knowing dinner’s nearly ready that night! This soup just requires some quick peeling and dicing of the celeriac, potatoes, and apples. Thrown on top of sauteed leeks and onions, with some chicken broth added, it just cooks away until everything is soft and ready for the immersion blender. A wonderful mixture of fall flavors (which, by the way, would be right at home on the Thanksgiving table as well)! Once cooled, I ladel it into a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer. Upon arriving home, just a quick stop at the store for whatever looks good at the meat counter – I recently saw some orange sage pork chops that would fill in nicely. Of course, adding just freshly baked bread and maybe a simple green salad would work great too.

turkey day, belated

celery root bisque with thyme croutons (Bon Appetit)

I’ll surely not be able to resist my own turkey day celebration. Yes, it will likely be in the first week of December. I’ll just have to get over that! My celebration may be more low-key, and even weeknight style, but being able to assemble a selection of Thansgiving-ey, fall dishes, especially given my veggie offerings awaiting, is just too tempting. And then there’s the leftover turkey…another favorite dinner creation opportunity for me. So, before vacation, I’ll make this celery root bisque, a holiday go-to for me. The rich, velvety, decadent concoction defies the simplicity of its ingredients and preparation. It’s a simple cook-it, purree-it, cream-it process, in really no time at all. Since I’m freezing it for a couple weeks, I’ll wait to add the cream (I’ll use half and half) until it’s warmed and ready to serve, along with the sprinkling of fresh thyme and some crunchy bakery croutons. This soup makes a perfect start to any ultra special occasion meal, and freezes very nicely if you’re inclined to make-ahead.

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