September 7 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

carrots, cucumber, eggplant, gourmet greens, green beans, jalapeños, leeks, lettuce, melon, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes

What’s for Dinner?

In addition to all of those amazing veggies pictured above, northwest peaches are at their height right now – get them while you can, and eat (and drink) up. Think peachy margaritas! And even as we enjoy the last of the summer peaches and a quintessential BLT, the weather will be shifting, as will the seasonal veggie offerings and my own meal planning. With a lentil and veggie curry and some spicy Sichuan fare, it’s a sure sign of fall, just around the corner.

Wednesday – dahl for dinner

weeknight veggie curry (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
sukhi’s somosas

Thursday –  build-your-own BLTs

bacon, lettuce, & tomato sandwich
chopped salad (Gourmet)

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

sweet onion pizza (Better Homes and Gardens)
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

Saturday – spicy sichuan style

sichuan green beans (Serious Eats)
sichuan eggplant with minced pork (China Sichuan Food)
white rice

Sunday –  speaking of margaritas…

peach margaritas (Bobby Flay)
grilled garlic-lime fish tacos (Martha Stewart)
peach, pepper, & sweet onion salsa (Cooking Light)

Monday – purple peruvian potatoes

peruvian roasted purple potatoes (Food Network)
grilled peruvian fish (icuban.com)
gourmet greens salad

Tuesday – chopstick challenge

noodle salad with eggplant (Deborah Madison, The Greens Cookbook)
edamame

____________________________________________________

Wednesday – dahl for dinner

weeknight veggie curry (Katherine Deumling, SIO Blog)
sukhi’s somosas

Being that it’s still officially summer, I don’t really think of this as a stew. Maybe late summer soup. Or veggie dahl. Whatever you call it, it’s healthy, delicious, and simple. It’s a go-to of mine when I have a hankering for Indian food, and makes a terrific vehicle for nearly any late summer vegetable you have on hand. This lentil-based dahl has that magic formula of fresh garlic, Indian spices, and coconut milk. The rest is really up to you. I’ll use thinly sliced green cabbage I have left, and lots of chopped carrots, leeks, and tomatoes. The fresh cilantro and mint add a magnificent flavor to Indian food. Ladle the stew over a nice wide bowl of basmati rice, and sprinkle with additional herbs – YUM! I often add naan from my favorite Indian restaurant or food cart, but this week I’m trying something new. I discovered these little gems at a recent potluck, with someone describing them as “better than any restaurant version around”. Makes them worth a shot in my book, and they were easy to find at New Seasons. Somosas are a delightful Indian street food, with a savory and perfectly spiced filling wrapped up in a delicate crust. These even come with a spicy, cilantro chutney for dipping.

Thursday – built-your-own BLTs

bacon, lettuce, & tomato sandwich
chopped salad (Gourmet)

There’s no real recipe to share here. It’s just more of an easy, delicious tomato season dinner idea: the “built your own” BLT sandwich. These are traditionally made on white bread – I think Dave’s Killer Bread makes the healthiest “white” bread around. Make an assembly line, with the toaster at the head and all of the fabulous ingredients to follow: pre-cooked bacon, farm-fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and as extra special additions, avocado and basil. You could spread the bread with traditional mayo, or a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This could stand on its own as dinner for sure, but because I’ve got veggies coming out my ears, I’ll add this chopped salad, packed with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and red onion. Croutons and black olives make mine a kid favorite!

Friday –  pizza night

sweet onion pizza (Better Homes and Gardens)
gourmet greens with balsamic vinaigrette (Mark Bittman, NYT)

IMG_1084For this week’s Pizza Night, even with my table toppling with so many veggie choices, I’m going with a simple caramelized onion pizza.  Add whatever else you like, but I guarantee it’ll be delicious even with just onions and a ricotta/mozzarella cheese combination. I may add some sliced tomatoes from the garden, and some oregano, basil, or parsley from the herb pots, but the sweet, farm fresh onions will star.  Add a simple salad with some farm fresh greens, drizzled lightly with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

Other sumer pizza combinations:

spinach and chive pizza
shaved asparagus & parmesan pizza
leek, chard, & corn flatbread
kale, sundried tomato, & feta pizza
pizza with green garlic & arugula
pizza bianca with goat cheese & chard
zucchini, sliced tomato, & leek pizza 

Saturday – spicy szechwan style

szechwan green beans (Serious Eats)
szechwan eggplant with minced pork (China Sichuan Food)
white rice

After a three-week trip to China this summer, I’ve been reluctant to actually put to test anything I may have learned in an amazing Sichuan cooking class I took. But now is the time, as a practice session for a soon upcoming China photo sharing slideshow and potluck. Although I will invoke the flavors and the spirit of dishes I learned to make, it will not be a reproduction. Little did I know, the reason Sichuan dishes, even vegetable dishes, are so darned delicious is because everything is deep fried. Deep fried, and then stir-fried. There goes my idea that I’m being so healthy when I order the eggplant! I found these two recipes that use the key ingredients necessary in all Sichuan cooking, minus the deep fryer. Surely they will not be as good, but hey, we’re not in China! I will use a small amount of ground pork in both dishes, although this bean recipe calls for greens instead. The pork, even a very small amount (like an eighth of a pound!), adds just the right flavor and texture. With some white rice and a Tsingtao beer, a fun Saturday night bringing back the flavors of China, using the bounty of Oregon.

Sunday – speaking of margaritas…

peach margaritas (Bobby Flay)
grilled garlic-lime fish tacos (Martha Stewart)
peach, pepper, & sweet onion salsa (Cooking Light)

With our precious northwest peach season coming soon to a close, I think it’s just the right time for weekend margaritas at home. Besides a peach pie, I just can’t think of a better use for our amazing northwest peaches. For the dinner, fish tacos just couldn’t be simpler, or healthier. With a good piece of white fish, some olive oil, garlic, and lime juice, you’re in business. I often make them with a cabbage slaw, but given our northwest peaches at their finest, I’m going with a peachy salsa which incorporates sweet onions (instead of green) and jalapeños (instead of habanero). I’ll skip the arugula, just piling in more of the freshness I’ve got on hand. The salsa will also be delicious as a chip dipper, so you might just consider doubling the recipe for this seasonal delight!

Monday –  purple peruvian potatoes

peruvian roasted purple potatoes (Food Network)
grilled peruvian fish (icuban.com)
gourmet greens salad

When I tried to do a bit of research about what really is the difference between purple potatoes and more common red or yellow potatoes, I kept running into writings about Peruvian food. I took this as a sign, and found these two Peruvian-inspired recipes, both using quintessential cilantro and oregano in their flavorings. I’ll be using salmon, but seems you could  use any firm fish you love. Add a simple green salad sprinkled with red wine vinegar and olive oil for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.

Tuesday – chopstick challenge

noodle salad with eggplant (Deborah Madison, The Greens Cookbook)
edamame

Deborah Madison’s brilliance, once again. Generally, an Asian noodle salad is something everyone gets excited about. The soy/sesame oil based dressing is generally the clincher, and can be tweaked with anything from ginger to spicy oils to vinegar to peanut butter. This version has a little of everything. I’ll use a big bunch of chives from the herb pot in place of the green onions. The asian eggplant seems to be the star in this pasta salad – just the flesh is used, and soaked in the ultra-flavorful dressing. I’m just certain I’ll use more than the one called for in the recipe. The rest of the veggies will be impromptu – I’ll skip the snow peas, using slivered carrots and thinly sliced cucumber, instead. I do always purchase the bean sprouts, as it adds wonderful texture to this dish. Depending on the veggies you choose, they can either be blanched slightly, or just added in before the final mixing for a nice crunch and a really pretty salad for supper. Serve with a big bowl salted, packed-with-protein, edamame.

“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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