january 9 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, cabbage, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, turnips, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

Maybe I should picture my fruit more often…I got lots of incredulous “You get beautiful fruit like that too?!?” Well, yes I do. My winter CSA, Hood River Organic, is something special indeed. They are an organic farm nestled in the gorgeous Hood River Valley, growing their own produce, as well as partnering with nearby farmers to bring the best that the region has to offer to consumers through their CSA program. I guess I just get used to the fact that during these supposed dark winter months, my table is piled high with local bounty, veggies and fruit, each week. Not to mention the optional items I can include in my box any time – bakery bread, apple & pear butters, cheese, eggs, honey, the list goes on. Fresh, yummy goods provided by their nearby farm partners and friends. Not to mention gorgeous gorge-grown fruit.

Kicking off this new veggie year, with the family around the table, I surveyed them. I asked “What do you want more of this year, dinner-wise?” Son: “More ceviche!” Daughter: “More Mexican!” Husband: “Less squash soup.” (Not quite what I was looking for…!) And my own two bits: “More fish!” Well, I was set in the ceviche department, given the gorgeous and selfless(?) Christmas gift cookbook. More Mexican? That’s just too easy – guaranteed each week’s delivery contains something that can be molded into a south-of-the-border delight! And more fish? With trout, sea bass, and cod on the menu, I’m feeling good in that department! I’ve also planned a Golden Globes celebration (veggies and bubbly do work well together), a football fest, and several weeknight, veggie-centric meals that can be made in a flash.

Friday – polenta “pizza”, tv trays, & movie

mushroom & herb polenta (Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi)

Saturday – more ceviche

orange glazed winter squash (Martin Morales, Ceviche)
sea bass ceviche (Martin Morales, Ceviche)
peruvian rice (Martin Morales, Ceviche)

Sunday – golden globes, surf & turf, ruby red

moet ruby red

pnw trout & filet mignon (Food and WineFood Network)
market salad with asian flavors (The Kitchn)

parsnip spice cake (Bon Appetit)

Monday – football, schmootball

sloppy joe sliders (Cooking Light)
parsnip fries (Martha Stewart)
warm leek & goat cheese dip (Food and Wine)

Tuesday – more mexican

fish tacos with cabbage slaw (The Kitchn)

blood orange margaritas (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Wednesday – pasta aplenty

pasta with beets, greens, & pine nuts (Bon Appetit)
roasted chicken

Thursday – sammie night

banh mi sandwiches with sriracha mayo (Inquiring Chef)
quick-pickled turnips (Andrew Cohen, High Ground Organics)

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Friday – polenta “pizza”, tv trays, & movie

mushroom & herb polenta (Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi)

A break from the tried-and-true traditional pizza. The photo sold me…a big pizza board, nearly covered with an abstract shape of set polenta, smattered with golden sautéed mushrooms and melty teleggio cheese. YUM! I’ll use instant polenta, which cooks in a flash, doubling the recipe to make two “pizzas.” A quick conversion of his European measurements from the recipe: 4 cups mushrooms, 2.25 cups stock, 1/2 cup polenta, 3 oz. parmesan, 2.5 T butter, and 4 oz. teleggio. I’ll use crimini and shitakes from my CSA, but use whatever mix of mushrooms you love – ’tis the season! I’ll skip the truffle oil since I don’t have it (although it would be fabulous!) and add whatever fresh herbs I either have on hand or out my back door. Spread the cooked polenta (before topping) on a pizza stone or cookie sheet, maybe with a sheet of parchment paper underneath just to be safe. Time to get going on all those Golden Globe contenders!

Saturday – more ceviche

orange glazed winter squash (Martin Morales, Ceviche)
sea bass ceviche (Martin Morales, Ceviche)
peruvian rice (Martin Morales, Ceviche)

51RcjrgMi3L._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_This may qualify as my favorite holiday gift of the year…a Peruvian cookbook given to me by my twelve year-old son. As he presented it to me, he said, “A win-win. You love to cook; I love ceviche!” How often I’ll actually use this book is up for question, but the precious thought behind it, and his showing off of the tactile faux tile cover, earned it a permanent spot in my over-crowded cookbook shelves. It truly is a gorgeous book, bringing colorful, healthy, and delicious sounding tastes of Peru to the home kitchen. Time to crack it open, with my veggies in mind. I’m going for the one of the most straight-forward ceviche recipes (yes, because I’m more than a bit afraid!) with the very recognizable fresh fish, chili, onion, and lime flavor combination. The recipe calls for a cooked sweet potato, adding a beautiful color and texture to the dish. I think I’ll buy one, and reserve my winter squash for the side dish. It’s a mixture of fresh orange juice and traditional mulling spices cooked into a glaze, and drizzled over a sweet potato. It will be just as fabulous over my cooked and sliced winter squash. Finish the dinner off with this ultra-simple rice infused with garlic and cumin. A win-win, indeed!

Sunday – golden globes, surf & turf, ruby red

moet ruby red

pnw trout & filet mignon (Food and WineFood Network)
market salad with asian flavors (The Kitchn)

parsnip spice cake (Bon Appetit)

As a movie junkie, the season’s award nights suck me in. And the Golden Globes, well, those include dinner! I’m always trying to sneak a peak at their plates, wanting to know just what the Beverly Hilton’s fancy chefs will be dishing up on this on this night of pomp and glam. I’ve located the official menu…not everything from their So. Cal. seasonality matched what I might be able to drum up from my box, but some for sure! Surely the ruby red sparkly cocktail is a must…Moet & Chandon Champagne, raspberry, tarragon, and lemon combine to make this delicious special occasion cocktail.Their main dish will be steelhead trout and filet mignon – both northwest specialties. I’ll go super simple, searing them just in a bit of olive oil butter on the stovetop. The California market salad created for this special event looks rather complicated and cumbersome. I’ll come up with my own northwest version, using suggestions from this Kitchn recipe of shredded cabbage, grated carrots and beets (I’ll add in turnips!), with a simple soy and lime based dressing. The Golden Globe attendees will be partaking in some fancy-pants desserts, that do look delectable. I’m going to use this as an opportunity to make this spice cake I’ve been eyeing, ever since the parsnip pile-up started in my fridge! It’s made in a rectangular baking dish, and topped with a gingery, cream cheese frosting. Skip the frosting if you want, and enjoy the cake during the week ahead…a wintery spice cake with your coffee at breakfast, or tucked in the brown bag for a lunch time treat.

Monday – football, schmootball

sloppy joe sliders (Cooking Light)
parsnip fries (Martha Stewart)
warm leek & goat cheese dip (Food and Wine)

We’ll join the masses and tune in, if only briefly, to Monday’s National Championship game. I’ll make it weeknight festive, with a finger-friendly menu that uses lots of gems from the box. These sloppy joe sliders are perfect game food. I’ll likely use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, and substitute leek for the onion. You could also add grated parsnips and chopped mushrooms. Just increase the tomato sauce and other liquids a bit, if you think it’s getting a bit thick. Instead of traditional french fries, I’ll go for the parsnip fries again, given their warm reception last week. Just cut your parsnips into thin fry-shaped pieces, drizzle with olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt, and bake until lightly golden brown. Perfect, along with Oregon favorite Kettle Chips, to dip into this creamy, yummy leek dip.

Tuesday – more mexican

fish tacos with cabbage slaw (The Kitchn)

blood orange margaritas (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

My daughter’s request of “more Mexican” is so easy accommodated. Everyone loves taco night, and it’s extra special when there’s fish involved! My beautiful head of cabbage this week steered me right in this direction. This cabbage slaw is simple; I’ll use olive oil instead of mayo, probably doubling the oil and lime juice, as I’ve got a lot of cabbage! You can also be sure I’ll forgo any massage, drain, squeeze steps here. More work, minimal difference. For the fish, any flakey white variety will work. Although the lightly crisped fish that this recipe creates is definitely worthwhile, if you shy away from the flour dredging and pan-frying, just cook the seasoned fish (salt, pepper, smoked paprika) in a cast iron pan on the stovetop. And I couldn’t resist this margarita recipe, considering blood oranges are in winter abundance. Enjoy them while they’re here!

Wednesday – pasta aplenty

pasta with beets, & pine nuts (Bon Appetit)
roasted chicken

Since I always pre-roast my beets right when I get them, pasta dishes like this, especially accompanied by a roasted-by-someone-else chicken, come together in a flash. All the beet roasting takes is a hot oven, beets wrapped in foil, and about an hour of cooking time. Peel when cool, and you’ll be one happy camper later in the week. Since my beets came without greens I’ll skip that part, and substitute leeks for onions. Green enough! Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for added flavor. Sounds like a terrific combination, and with fun-shaped pasta and lots of parmesan, one that everyone will dig into. Pick up a chicken from your favorite market, saving any leftover for the sammie night to come.

Thursday – sammie night

banh mi sandwiches with sriracha mayo (Inquiring Chef)
quick-pickled turnips (Andrew Cohen, High Ground Organics)

If you’re unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a specific type of vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette. This strange sounding combination developed when the French colonized Vietnam, thus introducing the baguette. Now they’re a mainstay, available at restaurants and street vendors everywhere. Ingredients vary, but typically include some type of meat, chili peppers, pickled veggies, and a sauce or spread ranging from mild to spicy. To assemble the sandwiches, it’s just sliced, toasted baguettes, roasted chicken (leftover from last night), the sriracha mayo (I’ll use Greek yogurt) spread, and your pickled veggies. Pickling turnips is oh-so-simple, basically soaking the thin slices in salt/sugar/vinegar water – no effort at all. I’ll skip the cucumbers, using any zesty slaw left from taco night as a perfect filling. Be sure to offer extra chopped cilantro – makes Vietnamese and Thai dishes truly out of this world.

“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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