january 15 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

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

What’s for Dinner?

People are always asking me, ‘What the heck do you get in your CSA in the winter?!?” Well, surely I’ve mentioned the wonderful winter fruit that arrives each week! SO many varieties of tasty local apples and pears. These are not what I plan my dinners around, certainly, but sure do make a nice fruit salad at breakfast, a perfect snack, and an every-day lunch box treat. The apples and pears are also a regular dinner-time additions to my salads. And PIES! But the mainstay CSA delivery is lots and lots of those gorgeous veggies – sometimes a little less kale and a little more cabbage or chard; sometimes a little less beets and a little more parsnips or celeriac. But the great thing is, we never feel like we’re eating the same thing over and over again. Even with regular dinners like “pizza night” or “sammie night”, the veggie combinations and preparations are endless.

I’m declaring it “use what you have week” at our house, noticing a trend in the difficulty level of opening and closing my freezer and pantry. I uncovered lots of frozen turkey, a result of my “I didn’t cook Thanksgiving dinner but I must still make a turkey” burst. And my pantry is truly over-stocked, with the tried-and-true staples, as well as some fancy pants straight-from-the-docks-of-Garibaldi canned seafood. I’ll liven things up with inspiration from the New Seasons Market Flyer, tossing a dash of zesty citrus into each dinner…a little bit of a de-winterizer in these cold, dark January days.

Friday – old school pizza, tv trays, movie

old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)
beet, avocado, and citrus salad (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse)

Saturday – south of the border 

turkey and green chili enchiladas (America’s Test Kitchen)
tri color slaw with lime dressing (The Kitchn)

blood orange margaritas (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

Sunday  – goin’ retro

tuna noodle casserole (Simply Recipes)
beet, lemon, and gorgonzola salad (Bon Appetit)

blood orange olive oil cake (Smitten Kitchen)

Monday – the 10 minute meal

crispy black bean tacos with zesty cabbage slaw (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

Tuesday – chili & cornbread + lime

jalapeno cornbread with honey lime butter (The Comfort of Cooking)
turkey chipotle chili (New Seasons Market)

Wednesday – cabbage & curry

green curry chicken & cabbage with lime  (BBC Good Food)
white rice

Thursday – sammie night

roasted beet, goat cheese, & citrus panini (Williams Sonoma)
roasted delicata squash rings (Culinary Society)


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Friday –  old school pizza, tv trays, movie

old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)
beet, avocado, and citrus salad (Alice Waters, Chez Panisse)

After our New Year’s celebration of all things “shi shi” in the world of Portland pizza, it’s fun to turn our attention to really what couldn’t be more opposite. Portland’s Old Town Pizza is legendary, both for its straight-forward and delicious pies, as well as its storied past. Complete with a grand old bar, creaky floors, and alleged ghosts, it expresses the soul of old Portland. To kick off this long weekend, we’re going old school, either visiting this local pizza joint that’s been around for decades, or trying to replicate it ourselves. One of their specialty pizzas I remember well is the Dragon Lady, a healthy (as pizzas go) veggie option loaded with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, and capers. IMG_1084At home, I’d use my farm fresh mushrooms, sauteed leeks instead of onions, sundried tomatoes, and a good helping of artichoke hearts and capers for an extra special zing. Follow this previous Pizza Night post for a no-fail dough recipe I rely on each week. It makes enough for two pizzas, even three if rolled out in the super thin, best-for-crispy-pizza style. With a traditional red sauce (I’ll use canned Cento) and shredded mozzarella, this ought to be a close approximation to the creation of this wonderfully unique and quirky local institution. I’ve got beets coming out my ears, so in the spirit of winter citrus, I’ll make this amazing Alice Waters salad. Simplify the dressing as much as you want – often my beet salads are just dressed with olive oil and vinegar (any kind). But citrus with beets is amazing, and a winter classic, so I’ll probably take the extra minute for the zest.

Other pizza combinations:

winter squash and wild mushroom 
leek, crimini mushroom, and prosciutto
portabella mushroom & roasted red pepper
shitake mushroom
leek, sundried tomato, and goat cheese
caramelized leek, mushroom and Italian sausage pizza
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and rosemary
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
spinach and chive pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
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
caramelized fennel, onion, and sweet pepper pizza 
pizza with red and yellow peppers
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
ricotta and gremolata pizza
parsley pesto & potato pizza 
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
roasted acorn squash & gorgonzola pizza 
winter squash pizza 
butternut squash and caramelized onion galette
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza
potato & rosemary pizza 

Saturday – south of the border

turkey and green chili enchiladas (America’s Test Kitchen)
tri color slaw with lime dressing (The Kitchn)

blood orange margaritas (Deb Perleman, Smitten Kitchen)

What a gorgeous dinner this will make! Deep green enchiladas, a bright and vibrant slaw with purple cabbage, orange carrots, and green cilantro, and a magnificent orange margarita. With tomatillo enchilada sauce straight from the jar, it’s just a matter of adding some flavor to the turkey (shredded rotisserie chicken would be a great stand-in) with onion (I’ll use leeks), garlic, and Mexican spices. Add the frozen corn if you like the extra color and texture. Then wrap and roll, dousing it all with cheese and sauce before baking. I’ll use just my red cabbage and carrots for the slaw, with a super lime-ey dressing that I’ll spiff up with a little garlic and cumin. The blood orange margaritas make this Mexican feast Saturday-night-special!

Sunday – goin’ retro

tuna noodle casserole (Simply Recipes)
beet, lemon, and gorgonzola salad (Bon Appetit)

blood orange olive oil cake (Smitten Kitchen)

With my Garibaldi canned albacore tuna in the pantry (a lovely Christmas gift each year!) I just couldn’t resist this classic tuna noodle casserole. It will take you back to yesteryear, when using canned cream of mushroom soup and crumbled potato chips was the only way. Nowadays, there’s certainly more gourmet ways, and certainly a bit healthier ways, but I say live a little…break out the canned soup and bag o’ chips! After all, we are adding our own farm fresh mushrooms, and using local, gourmet Kettle chips! The only thing I’m going to muck with is using my leeks instead of onion, and upping the ante on the pasta – I’ll use one full pound, sensing the milk, butter, & cheese in the recipe supports this. I’ll “splurge” on some purchased broccoli since my box didn’t contain any real substitutes, and it really does fit nicely in this recipe.  This makes it a one-dish, full-meal-deal. But, given my overload of beets, I’ll add this delightful salad packed with beets and dressed with a perfect lemony, gorgonzola vinaigrette. And because it’s a three-day weekend, and because I got a little too ambitious with buying blood oranges, I’m going to try this very simple olive oil cake. What makes it extra special is the oranges in the batter, as well as in the honey-compote topping. There’s nothing in this dessert that you wouldn’t already have in your fridge or pantry (besides maybe the oranges.) I say get while the getup’s good with this fabulous winter fruit!

Monday –  the 10 minute meal

crispy black bean tacos with zesty cabbage slaw (Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen)

I’m a self-proclaimed Costco junkie, for very specific items. One being organic canned beans. Yes, I’ll admit, I don’t always think enough ahead to use those certainly better-tasting dried beans. So, with a massive overload of canned black beans, and a this fabulous ten-minute, Mexican-inspired recipe, I’m sold! Especially when one of the key ingredients is one from my veggie box! You can even afford to take a few extra minutes to spiff up the recipe in a way I’m sure would be worth it. For me, I’ll saute some garlic and onion along with the cumin, before adding the can of beans to meld flavors and mash. This step alone I believe will take it beyond the kids’ lunch quesadilla to a more grown up & tasty rendition. And I do think all that’s needed to take it to even another level is the addition of a farm fresh cabbage slaw (instead of from the bag). Even with just the called for olive oil, lime juice, green onions, & cilantro, the ultra crunchy and flavorful cabbage will be the magic that’ll make the meal. Add fresh guacamole, and a salsa sampling, and you’re surely still within that weeknight 30-minute limit we all love.

Tuesday – chili & cornbread + lime

jalapeno cornbread with honey lime butter (The Comfort of Cooking)
turkey chipotle chili (New Seasons Market)

This is a wonderful weeknight chili – super flavorful, but doesn’t require hours of stove time. Again, I’ll dig out my frozen post-Thanksgiving turkey. Ground beef, turkey, or chicken would all substitute just fine. Or, no meat at all, just add another can of your favorite beans. This recipe from New Seasons Market is a bit heavy on the spice factor – I’d reduce the chipotles to maybe one or two chiles. Add a toppings bar of chopped green onions and avocado, grated cheese, and fresh lime wedges. If you’re short on time, Bob’s Red Mill has a great corn bread mix that will save you several steps. Or better yet, buy it pre-made at your favorite market. Adding the two minute homemade honey lime butter would be well worth it, and be right in line with our citrus week!

Wednesday –  cabbage & curry

green curry chicken & cabbage with lime  (BBC Good Food)
white rice

The pantry investigation also revealed a jar of Trader Joe’s green curry sauce, which is a life-saver on a weeknight. This recipe is more an inspiration for me, since I’ll not make my sauce homemade. Instead, I’ll scour the freezer and my veggies for the items to saute – likely a chicken breast, sliced turnips, and whatever cabbage and leeks I’ve got left. Meld the flavors as the sauce heats, then dish up over Thai style rice, with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Thursday – sammie night

roasted beet, goat cheese, & citrus panini (Williams Sonoma)
roasted delicata squash rings (Culinary Society)

I’ll modify this Williams Sonoma classic sandwich, using chèvre as the cheese choice this week, and adding thinly sliced oranges to round out our sensational citrus-ey week. Lots of bakeries will have a nice walnut bread, but any hearty country bread will do. Forget the mayo, sprinkle with a little balsamic and olive oil instead. Sliced chicken would fit right in on these sammies as well. As a sensational side, these super simple squash rings. When I receive delicatas, with their relatively light and “delicate” flesh, and (best of all!) thin, edible skin, I know the simplest of preparation is in order. I want to preserve the subtle essence of this squash, AND I want to conserve my peeling efforts (think sledge hammer) for those thicker, more stubborn-skinned winter squash. You can either slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then thinly slice cross-ways into half-rings. Or, for the full “ring” effect, merely slice the whole squash into rounds, then use a knife or spoon to remove the seeds & pulp from each ring. Then, like so many farm-fresh veggies, all it really needs is a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting in the oven to a golden brown.

“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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