january 1 weekly menu | winter table

Farm (Still) Fresh

beets, celeriac, chicory, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, radicchio, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

If you’re anything like me, it’s time to press the reset button, food-wise. The holidays will do a number on our eating routine, for sure! I’m allowing myself a clean-out-the-fridge week before my first CSA delivery of the new year. Believe it or not, I’ve got several still farm fresh veggies on hand…from my Thanksgiving delivery (and before!). Amazing how some of these heartier, cold-weather items last and last. And last. I’ll devote this first week 2016 to emptying the root cellar and refrigerator, making room for what’s sure to be a luscious load come Friday!

There’s really no reason for these winter months (the “dark months”…) to bring emptiness, disappointment, or bewilderment to your meal planning efforts. Against popular thought, the Northwest does grow amazing and abundant produce in the winter and early spring months! AND, there’s a CSA that accumulates this wealth, and delivers it right to my doorstep! I am a happy Hood River Organic (HRO) CSA member…check them out Hood River Organic. And speaking of winter abundance, check out what the Portland Farmers Market has going on this season. The perfect chilly-weather Saturday – indulge in some steaming coffee and scrumptious farm fare, peruse the vendors to pick up your week’s dinner delights, then hit a movie at Fox Tower, a PAM exhibit, or some Nordstrom shopping!

Friday – bacon for health, chicory for wealth

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
braised chicory (Culinate)

Saturday – mochi inspired

mochi in shoyu dipping sauce (Koda Farms)
winter squash ramen (Katherine Martinelli)
tempura shrimp

mochi ice cream

Sunday – a little lebanese

fall-toush salad (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
beet, orange, & black olive salad (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
world market sambousak, hummus, & babaganoush

Monday – krazy for kohlrabi

beef and barley stew with kohlrabi & carrots (Nourish Evolution)
hearty country bread

Tuesday – plenty

celeriac and lentils (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
radicchio salad (Tasty & Sons)

Wednesday – detox at its finest

roasted delicata squash with quinoa salad (Food and Wine)

Thursday – sammie night

delicata squash and goat cheese panini
parsnip fries (Martha Stewart)

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Friday – bacon for health, chicory for wealth

hoppin’ john (Emeril Lagasse)
braised chicory (Culinate)

Today I’m ready to fully engage in this beloved Southern New Year foodie customs: black-eyed peas for luck, bacon (or ham hock!) for health, and cabbage for money. Given I’ve got no cabbage, but two giant heads of chicory, I’m going with this braised version which looks quite simple and is certain to bring that fabled wealth. Serve everything over rice with a Louisiana hot sauce sampler. Happy New Year, indeed!

Saturday – veggie ramen

mochi in shoyu dipping sauce (Koda Farms)
winter squash ramen (Katherine Martinelli)
tempura shrimp

mochi ice cream

This is what happens when you “stop by” Uwijimaya. A stroll through the aisles conjures up so many Asian-inspired feasts! We got sidetracked at the Japanese New Year freshly made mochi table. Now I’ve had mochi covered ice cream, but had never seen it quite like it was displayed here. I consulted the nearest expert shopper, who excitedly explained to me that the Japanese often have pre-New Year’s mochi pounding parties. Sweet steamed rice is literally pounded with a heavy mallet, resulting in large slabs of smooth mochi. These are further broken into small balls, which are pan fried to soften and brown a bit, then dipped in a sweetened soy sauce (shoyu). She said just to let your taste buds guide you with the sauce, sweeting with brown sugar as you like. We’re game! In addition to the mochi, I had to quickly (before I left the store!) brainstorm ways to stay true to my clean-out-the-veggies theme this week. With some fresh ramen in hand, I knew we were headed in the right direction. It’s a very flexible dish…add what you love. I’ll be using a chopped, roasted delicata squash, some shiitake mushrooms, soft boiled eggs, and green onions. One more stop in the freezer section for some very tasty pre-prepared tempura shrimp and mochi ice cream, and we had ourselves a Japanese feast in the making! New Year’s style.

Sunday – a little lebanese

fall-toush salad (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
beet, orange, & black olive salad (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
world market sambousak, hummus, & babaganoush

Still on a bit of a New Year’s kick, I am fondly remembering a prior year Lebanese-themed celebration. My assignment was a salad or two. Both of these choices honor the perfectly wonderful winter veggies still happy as clams in my root cellar. I’ll repeat, creating an at-home family meal for four. Fall-toush salad is a play on summer’s quintessential fattoush salad. It’s a classic Levantine pita bread salad, generally made with height-of-summer produce. Everything in it is fresh, crisp, and bright…tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, lemon, etc. For this chillier, darker season, I’ll instead use squash and brussels sprouts – delicious, with bright hints of summer in the fresh herbs and citrus. Take your pick of winter squash – just know the delicatas win every time in the “ease” category. No peeling required! With two giant baking sheets, I see no reason not to roast the squash and the brussels sprouts at the same time, just removing the sprouts first. The other salad is a delectable beet, orange and black olive salad. Be sure to use the extra salty, wrinkly black olives; to simplify, I’ll skip the orange flower water and use juice drippings instead. And off to World Foods  to pick up the sides! The little crescent-shaped meat pies called sambousak are truly delectable. Ground beef, onions, pine nuts, Lebanese spices, all wrapped up in a crispy dough. With some of their hummus, babaganoush, and maybe some wood-fired pita bread, it’s a dinner worthy of a last-night-of-winter-vacation celebration!

Monday – krazy for kohlrabi

beef and barley stew with kohlrabi & carrots (Nourish Evolution)
hearty country bread

I’ve sure seen lots of knotted purple and green kohlrabi at the market lately. And I’ve got enough to pass around in my fridge! It’s a fantastically versatile vegetable, with a taste somewhere between broccoli stalks and cabbage. It can be eaten raw (like a radish) or cooked (like a potato). It is sweet, yet peppery. Give it a whirl! I just cut the ends off, then with it standing on one flat end, take a sharp knife and peel down the sides to remove the outer layer. It’s ready to chop into any shape at this point. I brought this soup out over winter break, a pot that I’d made previously and frozen for just such an occasion. We poured it in a crock pot, and plugged it in in the ski lodge! Instant warm and comforting dinner on the frigid slopes. The soup got rave reviews, adults and kids alike. Given my plethora of kohlrabi and onions, I’m going at it again. It’s a prime recipe for substitution – squash for carrots, leeks for onions, potatoes for kohlrabi, etc. Visit your local bakery for the heartiest, chewiest, tastiest homemade country loaf you know. Served alongside (and as a dipper for) homemade beef barley soup, this combo is a proven crowd-pleaser.

Tuesday – plenty

celeriac and lentils (Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty)
radicchio salad (Tasty & Sons)

Do not be afraid of the celeriac! It’s crazy-looking to say the least, but once you chop the tops off, and take the hairy, gnarly outside off the bulb, it’s a rather innocuous looking, celery-flavored veggie. I just cut the top and bottom off the bulb, set it on a flat end on a cutting board, and with a small, sharp knife, peel in big strips from top to bottom. I usually end up jumping on it’s rich, elegant side, in creamy soups and gratins. This recipe from famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi uses celeriac, chopped in large pieces and just boiled briefly, in this mix of celery root and lentils (I’ll just use regular brown). For those of us still using the American-style of measuring:  I’ll use about 1/4 cup hazelnuts (just browning them briefly and removing them from one of the other pans I’ll use), one cup of lentils, and 3 cups of water. The warm lentils soak up the simple vinaigrette. I’ll add some of my pre-roasted sweet peppers, along with the celeriac, in the final mixing of this hearty main course. Serve alongside this amazing radicchio salad from Tasty & Sons. Be sure to soak the cut radicchio in very cold water for a bit before serving – this magically removes any unpleasant bite. I’m going to cheat and use New Seasons croutons instead of roasting my own bread crumbs – just chop them roughly in a food processor or put them in a ziploc and pound away to your own desired crumbliness. With a lemony, garlic dressing and a handful of chopped green olives, this salad is really out of this world.

Wednesday – detox at its finest

roasted delicata squash with quinoa salad (Food and Wine)

With just a few more winter squash on my counter, I’m excited to try this recipe which uses quinoa, the beloved superfood. It packs loads of protein in it’s very tiny seed. I’ll use dried cranberries instead of raisins in the salad, just because I buy them in bulk from Vincent Family Farms enjoying them on everything from oatmeal to roasted squash. Perfect with the chopped apple. I’ll use red onion instead of shallots – it’ll all mix together beautifully with the honey, garlic and herbs. I will buy a bag of arugula for this, both because it sounds delicious, and I’ll use half of it tomorrow for sammie night.

Thursday – sammie night

delicata squash and goat cheese panini
parsnip fries (Martha Stewart)

A great way to kick off 2016 sammie nights. I break out the cast iron ridged grill pan, pile the sammies in, and weight them down with whatever heavy object is in sight. Another pan, a bag of sugar, etc. After a little patience and a flip, you’ve got perfectly golden, melty, grilled sandwiches. They often appear on my Thursday dinner menus, as they work well on this clean-out night (always have to be thinking of that bursting veggie box arriving Friday morning…). Nearly any veggie can find a home in a sammie, and finding a veggie side from what’s left in the fridge is usually quite simple. Even if it’s carrot sticks and dip! This week, my inspiration is this amazing Fraga chèvre I picked up at the Portland Farmer’s Market. The cheese monger herself said the one with the greek olive topping is the best. What veggie would go well with this, layered in a grilled sandwich? Winter squash, I decided, along with a bit of arugula if I’ve got some left. I’ll cut the seeded delicata squash into half rings, and roast it in a hot oven sprinkled with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread any hearty bread with a generous layer of goat cheese (or any cheese!), layer the rest in, and pop it in the cast iron. And for my one remaining veggie…parsnip fries! Make these simple roasted parsnips for someone who has always wrinkled their nose at the word “parsnip” – I think you’ll change their tune.

“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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One response to “january 1 weekly menu | winter table”

  1. Karen says :

    Two things today: 1. I’m so glad to hear I am not alone in cooking hearty veggies weeks later. I thought I was lame for doing this, and 2. Your ideas for spending a Saturday morning after the farmers market are great! And motivates me to make an early morning visit. Thanks again!

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