february 26 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, mushrooms, winter squash

What’s for Dinner?

My first delivery of spaghetti squash of the season…yippee, they are such a fun vegetable, with their “noodles” of squash! I got two, so I can do one tossed just like pasta with butter and parsley (and parmesan?), and one stuffed with south-of-the-border goodness. It’s a week of celebrations too. My birthday, for one, which is always celebrated in a no-cooking kind of way. Followed by my home-kitchen attempt at emulating our favorites! And the Oscars, where my veggies star in a pizza and bubbly kind of celebration.

Friday – paley’s inspired

cabbage salad with apples, hazelnuts, & chèvre vinaigrette (Bon Appetit)
root vegetable  hash (The Splendid Table)
grilled quinault river steelhead (Mark Bittman, NYT)

Saturday – indian veggie bliss

curried lentil stew with veggies (Gourmet)
basmati rice
naan

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)
kale and raw vegetable salad with goat cheese dressing (Vitaly Paley, Imperial)

Monday – salmon cakes, weeknight version

baked spaghetti squash (The Kitchn)
salmon cakes (Whole Foods)

Tuesday – midweek gourmet

carrot, parsnip, leek risotto (Z Tasty Life)
northwest clams steamed in butter & wine (Savory Sweet Life)
baguette with truffle butter

Wednesday – taco night, kind of

tri color slaw with lime dressing (The Kitchn)
southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

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Friday – paley’s inspired

cabbage salad with apples, hazelnuts, & chèvre vinaigrette (Bon Appetit)
root vegetable  hash (The Splendid Table)
grilled quinault river steelhead (Mark Bittman, NYT)

So, I didn’t actually cook this, but I am sure inspired to do so, after Friday’s birthday outing to Paley’s Place restaurant. I do hope to try replicate my dinner choices, if not with the exact Paley’s recipe or chefs, in the same thoughtful and seasonal spirit. A fairly straightforward savoy cabbage salad (I’ll use very thinly sliced purple cabbage) with apples and hazelnuts was made quite extraordinary with mache mixed in, and dressed with a delightful chèvre vinaigrette. I do believe you could just replace the dijon in this recipe with an ounce or two of creamy goat cheese, mixing with a whisk or quickly in a blender, for a similar effect. And I’ll use my just-delivered Hood River apples and some chopped Albina Brothers sweet & salty hazelnuts, and forgo the dried fruit. The very straight-forward root vegetable hash is right up my alley. I’ll use carrots, beets, and leeks (instead of onions) as well as a couple parsnips I’ve got lingering in the fridge. This mixture, roasted until golden brown, would make a delicious side for many dishes. With the grilled northwest trout, it made the perfect combination. Steelhead is a very close relative to salmon, so whatever simple preparation suits you is great – grilled, broiled, baked, poached, whatever. And dressed simply with a little butter, lemon, and any herbs you might have on hand. I don’t dare try to repeat the special birthday dessert I was treated to! A hand pulled cheese strudel, served with creme fraiche, Oregon grape jam, and apple compote…so truly out of this world, I didn’t even miss the cake. 

Saturday – indian veggie bliss

curried lentil stew with veggies (Gourmet)
basmati rice
naan

This lentil-based dahl has that magic formula of fresh garlic and ginger, cooked until fragrant with curry powder, turmeric, and cumin. The rest is really up to you – nearly any veggie will shine. I’ll use lots of my farm fresh carrots, leeks (instead of onions), and a head of kale instead of spinach, which I’ll cook along with the lentils. The final little hot spice oil is yummy, but not at all essential. While cilantro adds a magnificent flavor to Indian food, you could use parsley as a nice, wintry change of pace. Add naan, either freshly made from a favorite Indian restaurant, or my newfound fave Trader Joe’s frozen version, for the perfectly chewy, authentic dipper.

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)
kale and raw vegetable salad with goat cheese dressing (Vitaly Paley, Imperial)

The annual Academy Awards…time for make-ahead pizza and bubbly! The red carpet moments, the glamorous gowns, and the full-evening fanfare that Oscar Night brings…this evening’s meal will be an easy one to make ahead, invite people to serve themselves at their leisure, and sit back to enjoy the glamor of it all. I’m upping the ante on our weekly Pizza Night, dressing it up, so to speak. A sautéIMG_1084ed leek and mushroom pizza, with a sprinkling of blue cheese, just screams special occasion, especially when it’s served with champagne. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. In the continued spirit of Vitaley Paley, I’ll also add this amazing raw kale salad which is often on the menu of his Imperial restaurant in Portland. I use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayo, and double the carrot ribbons instead of using zucchini. The salad is brilliant – with kale as the base, it can so easily be seasonally modified to include many farm fresh favorites.

Monday – salmon cakes, weeknight version

baked spaghetti squash (The Kitchn)
salmon cakes (Whole Foods)

While salmon cakes might not originally strike you as a weeknight friendly option, they surely are, especially when you use healthy and easy canned northwest salmon. I used a lovely Christmas gift we received, straight from The Garribaldi Cannery. You can incorporate any bits and pieces of veggies you have on hand. While I’m assembling the salmon cakes, my spaghetti squash will be in the oven. No preparation necessary…just scrape the squash “noodles” out once it’s fully cooked, and toss with some butter, chopped parsley, and high quality sea salt.

Tuesday – midweek gourmet

carrot, parsnip, leek risotto (Z Tasty Life)
northwest clams steamed in butter & wine (Savory Sweet Life)
baguette with truffle butter

It’s funny what ends up inspiring my dinners. This idea began with a simple and seasonal risotto I was served at a meeting recently. It was a beautiful vegetable risotto, with carrots, parsnips, and leeks playing starring roles. It was presented beautifully, in a shallow, wide-mouthed bowl, with tomato sauce spooned delicately around the edges of the risotto. The sauce was not incorporated into the risotto, it was just an added flavor and texture, where the eater could control the amount in each bite. I’ll skip the sauce this time, instead making these crispy carrot and parsnip “chips” to scatter over the top. Consistent with my 2016 mission to eat more seafood, and inspired by a New Seasons special, steamed manilla clams in butter, garlic, and wine will accompany. This “dish” is literally a five minute deal, while you’re spooning up the risotto! Of course, you need some bread for soaking up the clam juices, and what better to top it than a pre-made truffle butter.

Wednesday – taco night, kind of

tri color slaw with lime dressing (The Kitchn)
southwestern stuffed  squash (Jessie Price, Eating Well in Season)
corn tortillas

My slaw will be more “bi-color”, using my gorgeous deep purple cabbage and carrots, with a super lime-ey dressing spiffed up with a little garlic and cumin. It’s a delicious cold and crunchy salad to go alongside the warm, Mexican-inspired squash. Any variety of winter squash will work nicely, even this week’s spaghetti squash. I often leaving out the sausage and add more veggies. You can throw the squash in the oven for roasting anytime, then all that’s left during the dinnertime rush is the filling and warming. I’ll saute some leeks, use chopped portabellos in place of any meat, skip the bell peppers, and a can of chopped tomatoes – fresh are still a long way off! Any cheese you usually like with Mexican works here. We love this with some warm corn tortillas, and maybe a bit of sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. I can’t quite pass it off as “taco night”, but it’s close! Scoop any leftovers out, filling and all, wrap it in a flour tortilla, and it’s a perfect lunchbox burrito!

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

This week, I have got SO many gorgeous portabello mushrooms, I know I’ll be using these in sammie night as well. These plus some deeply caramelized leeks (instead of onions) and an amazing sounding sun-dried tomato mayo…wow! I don’t have a fancy panini maker like is described in this Serious Eats recipe. Instead, I break out the cast iron ridged grill pan, pile the sammies in, and weigh 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. If you don’t want to mess with the mayo in these sammies, choose a favorite cheese. Blue cheese, goat cheese, parmesan, really whatever strikes your fancy. With my beets roasted and at-the-ready (key step…miss this and you’re doomed on a weeknight!) this traditional beet salad with a honey dijon vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment. In the winter, we often enjoy this beet salad with no greens at all, just lots of favorite nuts and cheese.

“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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