August 31 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

basil, cabbage, carrots, corn, gourmet greens, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon

What’s for Dinner?

My bin this week held the very best of late summer. It held all that September means to me…gorgeous ears of sweet corn; more piles of sweet peppers, tomatoes, and oh-so-fragrant basil, and a surprise golden Oregon watermelon. Plus some tastes that will be with us through the fall and winter with the onion varieties and Napa cabbage. Here we go…I’d say with this (weighty) abundance, I’ve got my work cut out for me this week. And the great thing is, it doesn’t feel a bit like work.

Wednesday – summer chowder

corn chowder with sweet peppers & bacon (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
mixed green salad
country bread

Thursday –  umi, yummy!

miso-pork & veggie noodles (Umi Organics)

Friday – return of the tv trays

classic margherita pizza (The Splendid Table)
the mothership tomato salad (Food Network, Jamie Oliver)

Saturday – savoring the pesto

pasta with classic basil pesto & sliced tomatoes (Serious Eats)
grilled shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

Sunday –  cabbage, asian style

cabbage slaw with ginger tahini dressing (The Kitchn)
grilled korean bbq beef short ribs

Monday – labor day bbq

green salad with oregon berries (Aviva Goldfarb, pbs.org)
watermelon salad with feta and mint (Simply Recipes)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled sausages

Tuesday – soup & sammies

curried coconut carrot soup (The Kitchn)
thai chicken panini (The Sweet Life)


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Wednesday – summer chowder

corn chowder with sweet peppers & bacon (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
mixed green salad
country bread

When I picked up my veggies, and once again saw fresh corn, along with potatoes and peppers in the same bountiful basket, I just knew I had to make a chowder. Especially with the cool-off, which we  hope is temporary, but certainly lends itself to a wonderful chowder night! This is one of those recipes that lends itself to tinkering, but I’ll make it just as Katherine suggests, minus the parsley sauce. This soup is packed with corn fresh off the cob, chopped red peppers, onions, and potatoes, as well as a bit of chopped bacon (could substitute smoked paprika, if you like). Unlike many chowder recipes, this one uses milk and broth instead of cream, so maintains its relatively heart-healthy status. With a chunk of hearty country bread and a mixed green salad of just farm fresh gourmet greens sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar, this is a wonderful way to blissfully embrace the unmistakable chill in the still-summer air.

Thursday –  umi, yummy!

miso-pork & veggie noodles (Umi Organics)

Thanks to the Olympic-themed “noodle luge” held recently at the King Farmer’s Market, I discovered these delectable locally-made fresh, organic ramen noodles. Noodle Luge–or Nagashi Somen–is a popular summer pastime in Japan. With a small bowl in one hand and chopsticks in the other, participants lined up along a bamboo flume to try to catch fresh ramen noodles as they flowed past. It was more of a challenge than I’d imagined, with a delicious reward! The “caught” noodles were taken to a toppings bar to add Umi special sauce and an assortment of fresh, local veggies from market vendors. I’ve been awaiting my chance to put this together in my own kitchen…minus the luge! With several fabulous sounding recipes on their website, I chose the miso-pork noodle bowl, knowing I’ll doctor up the serve-yourself-toppings bar with whatever my veggie box offersthis week. I’ll skip on the mushrooms, only because I don’t have them now, and lightly stir-fry or roast the following, just until softened a bit:  thinly sliced red peppers, carrots, onions, and shredded cabbage. I’ll also chop one of my heirloom tomatoes, but leave that deliciously raw. This dish looks to be a simple three-step process, quick enough for a weeknight – make the gingery pork concoction, roast the veggies (while doing the pork), and boil the noodles. Chopped herbs would also be a nice accompaniment. Set out the vegetable garnishments for each diner to create their own fabulous Umi bowl!

Friday –   return of the tv trays

classic margherita pizza (The Splendid Table)
the mothership tomato salad (Food Network, Jamie Oliver)

The days of grilling our pizza may be waning, but the start of the school year means the return of the all-hands-on-deck pizza making ritual. Break out the tv trays, pick a good movie, and generally everyone’s in with this weekly ritual. This week, with tomatoes this abundant and fresh, I just can’t help but highlight a pizza where they shine. The classic margherita pizza…this is the quintessential “less is more pizza”, where the essential ingredients are tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. This recipe from The Splendid Table shows how easy it is to whip up a super simple tomato sauce. But given all of my fresh tomatoes, and the go-ahead from Naples, my fresh tomatoes will replace the sauce. Lynn also includes a thin-crust recipe, or follow this prior Pizza Night post for a no-fail recipe I rely on each week. It makes enough for two pizzas, even three rolled out in the super thin, best-for-margherita style. I’ll make one of the truly classic three-ingredient pizzas, and then shake it up a bit with the others. The Splendid Table IMG_1084gives several great suggestions for variations – the main tip is not to overload, just flavor. I’ll use some thinly sliced red onions and sweet peppers; a crumbling of Italian sausage would be just perfect here too. Because tomatoes are the main event tonight, instead of my usual go-to green salad, I’ll do a tomato salad instead. Don’t be scared off by the title – “mothership” just means LOTS of tomatoes, not lots of ingredients or steps. A very simple vinaigrette and some sea salt is all that’s needed to put the finishing touch on a big bowl of tomatoes of many shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s a real treat to go to the farmer’s market this time of year to get a first-hand look at the unbelievable tomato offerings.

Other summer pizza combinations:
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
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

Saturday – savoring the pesto

pasta with classic basil pesto & sliced tomatoes (Serious Eats)
grilled shrimp skewers (Bon Appetit)

Here’s a special Saturday dinner that honestly couldn’t be simpler, and features our soon-to-be-gone fresh basil. My go-to pesto recipe is literally five ingredients tossed in the food processor. I don’t even measure the basil, just pack it in. If it looks like a double batch, I double the other ingredients. Pesto is one of those things you can adjust as you go to make it taste just as you like it. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of lemon juice for a little zest. We cook up any shaped pasta, douse it with pesto, give it a good mix until it’s just green enough. When it’s in the serving bowl, I love to just add slices of farm fresh tomatoes to the top; not only gorgeous, but delicious too. I’ll add these grilled shrimp skewers (skip the chicken this week – peel and deveined shrimp at a fantastic price this week at New Seasons!) seasoned with just a little lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. I’ll serve them over a bed of mixed greens, but if you skip that, our colored veggie is already covered, in the most delicious way.

Sunday – cabbage, asian style

cabbage slaw with ginger tahini dressing (The Kitchn)
grilled korean bbq beef short ribs

An entire head of cabbage can sometimes seem a bit intimidating. In the winter I think of cooking it down in an Asian stir-fry, yakisoba, or the like. In summer, I go to a variety of mayo-less slaws, that are nearly meals in themselves. This one from The Kitchn certainly could be a stand-alone, especially since it has edamame – you could easily add shredded chicken for a complete dinner. I’ll use red onions instead of green in the dressing, just one type of cabbage, replace the beet with thinly sliced red pepper, and skip the raisins. Modify to your heart’s content, the result is sure to be amazing with the slightly spicy, zesty, gingery, soy dressing. The rest of the dinner will be done on the grill – these made-by-someone else Korean BBQ’d beef short ribs (I can always find them at New Seasons) are sensational.  Most markets have several BBQ-ready Asian selections – pick your favorite!

Monday –  labor day bbq

green salad with oregon berries (Aviva Goldfarb, pbs.org)
baked beans (The New Basics Cookbook, Julee Rosso)
grilled corn on the cob (Serious Eats)
grilled sausages

Ahhh, Labor Day. What the heck is Labor Day?!? Maybe it’s a day I’m not supposed to labor. And I won’t…too much. A last outdoor grill-fest doesn’t feel like work at all – feels like a celebration for sure. Again I find myself scurrying to make those things I associate with summer. I can’t resist a salad doused with just-picked Oregon berries. Surely there’ll be some left at the farmer’s market! This green salad is perfect, dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette, and sprinkled with height-of-the-summer berries and local farmers’ cheese. Use pine nuts, hazelnuts, whatever nuts, and a favorite fresh farmer’s cheese. I’ll also use some of my watermelon in this classic summer salad, flavored with minced red onion, lime juice, and mint. Once a summer I also like to make these homemade baked beans. These just belong at a homespun BBQ. The first time I used this recipe, the addition of ketchup struck me as strange…cheap, or cheating, or something. Not so! A perfect combo of ingredients for a rich mapley, molassesy, bacony baked bean dish. SO worth the soak of beans overnight, which is really the only work. With some simple grilled corn on the cob, and tossing a mixed variety of sausages on the grill, it’s a Labor Day BBQ that is homey and traditional, pays good tribute to our surrounding farmers and what they bring us all summer, and is a real crowd-pleaser. Ruby Jewell ice cream sandwiches are the dessert-o-choice, considering it’s the don’t-labor-too-much day. These ice cream sandwiches are out of this world (yes, I’ve had one or ten too many this season!), and end-of-summer celebration worthy for sure!

Tuesday – soup & sammie

curried coconut carrot soup (The Kitchn)
thai chicken panini (The Sweet Life)

I’ve been on the hunt for a fabulous special-occassion carrot soup, and I think this is it. When you think “carrot soup” it can seem a bit mundane, bland even. But liven it up with onion, coconut milk, curry powder, ginger root, chile flakes, this becomes a soup just made for the first course of some very special meal. With Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas beef tenderloin, or New Year’s crab cakes? Surely I’ll need to have a trial run, so I’ll make it tonight with these simple thai chicken paninis. Ripe for tinkering, they’re a cheese-less sandwich, made instead with a peanut/soy/sesame sauce and layered with sliced chicken and veggies of choice. I’ll use thinly sliced carrots, peppers, red onions, and chopped cilantro from the herb pot.

“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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