june 5 weekly menu | spring table

Farm Fresh

beets, cilantro, green onions, parsley, radishes, spinach, rainbow chard, shiitake mushrooms, spring salad greens, strawberries

What’s for Dinner?

I’m savoring the last couple weeks of my Hood River Organic CSA. The variety and freshness of the produce I’ve received each week since November, from our own Hood River area, has been amazing. And when I get unexpected treats like Hood Strawberries, it is just so exciting! I’ve got my work cut out for me, still whittling away at the ten bunches of green onions from last week. Add one more to the mix, and I’m still sprinkling these gems on everything, at every meal. With temps souring, there is surely lots of outdoor cooking and eating this week. My veggies, as always, couldn’t be a better starting point.

Friday – grilled pizza +  jelly doughnuts

grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage (Serious Eats)
salad of spring greens (Food Network)
doughnuts & strawberry dipping sauce (Bon Appetit)

Saturday – pesto surprise

cilantro pesto pasta (Simply Recipes)
bbq chicken (101 Cooking)
chard salad (Food52)

Sunday  – french picnic

chard tart (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
radishes with butter & sea salt (Williams Sonoma)
crusty baguette

Monday – cheers for chimichurri

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
simple beet salad (Self)

Tuesday –  pancakes in the pm

spring greens with sesame ginger vinaigrette (Five Heart Home)
scallion pancakes (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

Wednesday – java-licious

java sauce salmon with wilted spinach (Saucebox)
coconut black rice

Thursday – sammie night, roll-your-own-wrap

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)
kettle chips


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Friday – pizza +  jelly doughnuts

grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage (Serious Eats)
salad of spring greens (Food Network)
doughnuts & strawberry dipping sauce (Bon Appetit)

With the summer heat arriving full throttle this weekend, we’ll take pizza night outside for sure. This Serious Eats guide is quite fool proof. For a simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. The recommended approach is smaller pizzas – think individual sized, which will be perfect for everyone to design their own.  The ingredients should be at-the-ready, as the dough cooks lickety-split on the grill. Again, this guide speaks thoroughly to good topping choices for grilled pizzas. I’m going to sauté some kale in a bit of olive oil and garlic until tender, then lightly sauté the mushrooms to a golden brown, and finally some yummy Italian sausage.  To complete the line-up, sauce (or pesto?), and cheese of your choice, along with a sprinkling of fresh scallions. Let everyone have a turn at designing their own grilled pizza!
IMG_1084For an even simpler version, grab your dough from Hot Lips, New Seasons, or nearly any favorite pizza place. Our salad will be a lickety-split version – gourmet spring greens, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, high quality olive oil, and salt and pepper. With greens this fresh and delicious, nothing more is needed. For dessert, doughnuts! It’s National Doughnut Day, a completely made up and ridiculous holiday. But, I must admit. I do love a good doughnut. Most any kind, really, but I’m especially partial to the maple bar. But given the irresistible strawberries right now, maybe we’ll go with jelly-filled. Kind of. Grab a few of your favorite basic fluffy, glazed doughnuts, cut them into pieces, and dip into a super simple Oregon strawberry sauce.

More seasonal pizza ideas:

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
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, and fontina cheese pizza
spinach and chive pizza
grilled pizza with kale, mushroom, & sausage
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
classic margherita pizza
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
roasted red potato pizza with taleggio, roasted leeks & pancetta
sausage, leek, & shitake pizza
potato & rosemary pizza 
old town’s dragon lady (mushrooms, leeks, etc.)
pizza with kale raab, leeks, and olives 
pizza with fennel sausage, braising greens and chives
egg, ham, and spinach pizza
shaved asparagus pizza 
dandelion greens, Italian sausage, & fontina cheese pizza
grilled pizza with asparagus, scallions & fontina

Saturday – pesto surprise

cilantro pesto pasta (Simply Recipes)
bbq chicken (101 Cooking)
chard salad (Food52)

Everyone loves the quintessential basil pesto. But give this cilantro version a whirl, and you’re in for a real treat. Instead of garlic and parmesan, the flavor additions to the zesty cilantro are chiles and onion. I’ll use green onion instead of red. The almonds, instead of pine nuts, are a wonderful complement to the cilantro as well. I’ll toss the whole batch with a pound of cooked pasta, passing red chile flakes at the table for those desiring a little extra spice. A wonderful HOT weather accompaniment will be these couldn’t-be-simpler grilled chicken breasts. I love to do bone-in, skin-on, to retain the moisture and flavor. I’ll double this recipe, and brush with a family-favorite Podna’s BBQ sauce. And with so much chard coming my way this spring, here’s my go -to when using it in a salad. It certainly has earned a coveted place at our dining table, turning into a “most-requested”. I adore this Food52 recipe…the perfect balance of crunchy, garlicky, and zesty. I buy pre-made bakery breadcrumbs, then just sauté those lightly in a little more olive oil and garlic. It’s literally a two minute process. I do not use the full quantity of breadcrumbs suggested, maybe half that amount instead, just enough for a good crunch and flavor throughout the salad. The lemony dressing is a perfect finish.

Sunday –  frenchy picnic

chard tart (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
radishes with butter & sea salt (Williams Sonoma)
crusty baguette

Although I’m sure this homemade David Leibovitz tart crust is out-of-this-world, I already skipped it when I purchased the dough from the freezer section at Trader Joe’s. Make it in a tart pan, make it in a pie pan, you can’t go wrong. The chard and onion (I’ll use scallions, barely sautéing) filling will be fabulous, and more than make up for cheating on the crust. I’ve got farm fresh new garlic left from last week, and love that this recipe feels less guilt-inducing because it uses milk instead of cream. The filling’s a snap to put together; bake it during a cooler time of day, and load it in the picnic basket! With some French style radishes, and a crusty baguette, this is all you need for a fabulous outdoor beat-the-heat meal.

Monday –  cheers for chimichurri

grilled steak with chimichurri sauce (Serious Eats)
simple beet salad (Self)

When I get a bunch of parsley (beware, these bunches can become GIANT as the season progresses…) my favorite thing to do is to get out the food processor and make a batch of chimichurri sauce. There’s usually so much parsley, I can reserve a handful of two for the sprinklings I’ll need throughout the week, and still have plenty for this amazing Argentinian sauce. The basics:  parsley, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes (make it as spicy or not spicy as you’d like). You can easily freeze this sauce also, if you won’t be using it right away. So weekday simple though – a steak on the barbecue, sliced into thin strips on a serving platter, drizzled heartily with this fresh and fragrant chimichurri sauce. This week I’ll be using the fabulous New York steak featured at New Seasons, but any steak is a good choice. If I’m cooking for a crowd, flank steak world wonderfully. If there’s extra sauce, it’s wonderful on sandwiches and wraps too. My beets have been pre-roasted and sliced (during an hour of calm, and I would suggest cool), and are ready for a simple olive oil & vinegar dressing.  Walnuts and goat cheese make it extra fancy and delish!

Tuesday – pancakes in the pm

spring greens with sesame ginger vinaigrette (Five Heart Home)
scallion pancakes (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)

For an ultra simple weeknight dinner, give these scallion pancakes a whirl. They are uncomplicated and unmessy, and quickly put to work one entire bunch of scallions. I’ll likely double the pancakes recipe, making it the main course. I’ll also whip up this Asian inspired salad, using the recipe mostly for the sesame soy dressing. I’ll use my mixed spring greens, sliced radishes, green onions, and toasted almonds. You could easily toss some pre-made asian fish or chicken kebabs on the grill too!

Wednesday – java-vicious

java sauce salmon with wilted spinach (Saucebox)
coconut black rice

Customer samples do indeed pay off. At least in my own individual market research, on only myself. I recently sampled a salmon offering at New Seasons that I found truly out of this world. They recreated this menu item from Sauceboat restaurant, where farm fresh spinach, Northwest salmon, and this wonderfully sweet, sour, and spicy sauce combine in culinary perfection. I’ll halve the sauce recipe, although looks as if it can be saved and used again quite easily. It’s a simple mixture of kitchen staples – butter, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, lime juice, and soy sauce. I’ll be grilling the fish, brushing it before placing on the BBQ, and then drizzling it over the finished dish of wilted spinach topped with salmon. New Seasons also introduced me to an out of this world black rice, which had been cooked in coconut milk instead of water…well worth that one extra ingredient. Pretty fancy for a backyard barbecue, with nearly zero effort!

Thursday – sammie night, roll-your-own-wrap

elephant’s shelly wraps (Elephant’s Deli)
kettle chips

This veggie wrap is an ideal Thursday night choice, at least in my house, where these dinners are often a hodge-podge of veggies, desperately trying to clear out the fridge before the Friday CSA delivery. They lend themselves perfectly to that frenzy. As well as the frenzy of the head-out-of-town chaos that certainly ensues any evening before a school’s-out vacation departure. The greens, hazelnuts, apple, and grapes are key ingredients, with the fruit pieces adding just the right sweetness. I’m going to go crazy, and instead of broccoli, carrots, sugar peas and cabbage, I’ll do bits and pieces of whatever I’ve got left. Any of my week’s contenders would add fabulous flavor and texture – an assortment of greens (spring lettuce, spinach, or chard),  chopped beets leftover from last night’s salad, and crunchy radishes and green onions. Whatever veggies you choose, pick up some of those giant spinach tortillas, then take a look at a YouTube instructional on how to wrap the perfect wrap, and just go for it! Make sure that all of your veggies & fruit are chopped very small, to ease in the wrapping part. I’m going to put everything into one big salad bowl, toss it with dressing, and have roll-your-own-wraps-night. A key ingredient is Elephant’s own Stackhouse dressing – with a friendly phone call, you can order this yummy dressing and they’ll have it in their store for you the very next day! Ingredients are:  mustard, tamari, agave, tahini, cider vinegar and oil. If you prefer not to bother with Elephant’s pre-made (although I think it would be a worthwhile purchase, good on many a salad and sandwich!) then create your own vinaigrette with these flavors in mind. With all of that healthy salad goodness, what better side than some delicious Northwest Kettle Chips. Good and bad, when New Seasons has these on sale for $1.99 per large bag…I came home with four flavors!

 “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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