february 10 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

carrots, fennel, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, squash

What’s for Dinner?

A week with not one, but two holidays! I use the term “holiday” a bit loosely, but sure makes dinnertime more amusing, and more likely to include yummy sweet treats! My table is teetering with Hood River Organic winter bounty, perfect to healthfully round out the menus amidst all of this decadent dessert. The freshly foraged mushrooms are still coming – they’ll star in a red, rich and luscious Valentine’s Day pasta sauce. And for the 14-year-old-boy birthday celebration, the least I can do is add a giant kale salad alongside his vote for the best-burger-in-town. As for the rest, take a look, join in where your palate is tempted, and celebrate all that our amazing Northwest winter offers us.

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza!

caramelized onion & fennel and Italian sausage pizza (The New Basics)

Saturday – break out the barby

balsamic roasted carrots (Gourmet)
mashed parsnips and potatoes (Simply Recipes)
grilled steak with blue cheese butter (Melissa Clark, New York Times)

Sunday – parsnip pancakes?!?

parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
roast chicken

Monday – the frittata is your friend

potato leek frittata (Martha Stewart)

Tuesday – a very veggie love-fest

mushroom and herb spaghetti (A Food Centric Life)
garlic bread (Gourmet)
heart-shaped carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)

Wednesday – nutty, chewy, sweet weeknight risotto

barley risotto with squash (Ivy Manning, The Oregonian)
baguette

Thursday –  special request birthday dinner

kale caesar salad (Julia Child)
sauteed mushrooms (Better Homes & Gardens)
burger & truffle fries, Little Big Burger

chocolate chip cookie cake (Food.com) + ice cream

_____________________________________________________

Friday – TV trays, movie, & pizza

caramelized onion & fennel and Italian sausage pizza (The New Basics)

Super fun, super interactive, super delicious way to use those veggies –Pizza Night!  Let this prior post be your inspiration and step-by-step instructional for pizza making.  This New Basics recipe is a foolproof one I go to again and again for the thin, crispy crust. As for the toppings, I wait until my box arrives, and see what veggies-as-pizza-toppings inspire me. This week, I IMG_1084immediately pulled out my fennel and onions, sliced them thinly, and slowly caramelized them in a bit of olive oil until soft and golden. Put carmelized onions or leeks with just about anything, and it’s sensational.  With sauce, chees, and these caramelized gems, that could be a fabulous pizza on its own. But adding Italian sausage would be a real treat! Experiment beyond mozzarella if you’re adventurous – chevre, fontina and many other cheeses would be the perfect complement, depending on your veggies of choice.

Other Winter Pizza Suggestions:

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 – break out the barby

balsamic roasted carrots (Gourmet)
mashed parsnips and potatoes (Simply Recipes)
grilled steak with blue cheese butter (Melissa Clark, New York Times)

The addition of a good balsamic vinegar over these roasted carrots make them extra yummy and perfect for a steak accompaniment. The other natural choice is some buttery, creamy mashed parsnips and potatoes. If you’ve never tried this combination, you’re in for a treat. Not as strong as just plain parsnips, and just the right amount of sweetness. With New York steak featured at New Seasons this week, here’s a no-brainer. Make them extra special with this simple blue cheese butter. With the sun making an appearance and temperatures reaching nearly fifty, this is an occasion for the barbecue!

Sunday – parsnip pancakes?!?

parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill (Deb Perlman, Smitten Kitchen)
roast chicken

Here’s recipe that inspired me to master my mammoth Magimix food processor. The speed and ease with which it grated my first batch of parsnips astounded me.  The machine soon became my  best friend. So occasionally when I receive parsnips in my box, I whip up these latkes, in honor of that moment. And now I know how truly easy latkes are to make. A family-friendly weekend event, I’m going to call it! Add a New Seasons roast chicken, or whatever made-by-someone else side sounds good with these fancied up potato pancakes.

Monday – the frittata is your friend

potato leek frittata (Martha Stewart)

If you belong to a CSA, the frittata is probably already your friend. It is so versatile – breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and is delicious with pretty much any veggie you can imagine. This simple one here will be perfect for our northwest potatoes, and I’ve modified it to include the season’s abundant leeks. I think you could skip the potato pre-cooking (and thus another dirty dish!), if you thinly slice and just cook them longer (and give them a flip)  in the frittata pan. I’ll make it for dinner, and I’m sure it will be very hearty. But if you’re inclined, add a little bacon, prosciutto, or sausage.  With some luck, any leftover will be ready for the breakfast table in the morning!

Tuesday –  a very veggie love-fest

mushroom and herb spaghetti (A Food Centric Life)
garlic bread (Gourmet)
heart-shaped carrot cake (Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe)

Valentine’s Day is a family affair in my house. We’ve all eaten 100 conversation hearts (and other unmentionables) by dinner time, but still look forward to celebrating the day about love, hearts, sweets, and all things red and pink! I have a simple formula: anything red followed by anything heart-shaped! With those beautiful crimini mushrooms, I’ll make a fairly traditional red pasta sauce. I’ll fancy up my HRO baguette by making this garlic bread. And follow it all up with the most delicious carrot cake ever, shaped like a heart! (A heart pan is just one of those things one must own.) Any extra batter can be thrown into a muffin pan – call it breakfast! Because this cake is chock-full of carrots, I say we’ve redeemed ourselves from any chocolate overload that just may have occurred…

Wednesday – nutty, chewy, sweet weeknight risotto

barley risotto with squash (Ivy Manning, The Oregonian)
baguette

Risotto becomes a healthy weeknight meal with two little tweaks. One:  use pearl barley, that is not only nutritionally packed but also delicious. Two:  like beets, roast the squash ahead of time – any time you might just be hanging around doing something else for an hour (not even!). And, of course, I’ll use whatever winter squash I have. I always cut the squash in half, seed it, and stick it in the oven face side down until I think it’s tender enough to cut into big slices, peel with a knife, and chop into chunks. This week, though, I’ve got spaghetti squash. Even easier! Just scoop out the barely tender threads to toss into the risotto. In this particular dish, you could have the squash completely ready ahead of time to throw in the pot near the end. If you do this, just saute the garlic and sage with the onion. An amazingly rich and fabulous anytime dinner, made extra special with the addition of a warm HRO baguette.

Thursday – special request birthday dinner

kale caesar salad (Julia Child)
sauteed mushrooms (Better Homes & Gardens)
burger & truffle fries, Little Big Burger

chocolate chip cookie cake (Food.com) + ice cream

My baby is turning fourteen! His birthday dinner choice this year is burger and fries – the juicy, saucy, fatty decadent meal that every teenage boy should enjoy to his heart’s content! Those I’ll outsource to a local expert. The extra special addition of sautéed mushrooms will come right from my CSA box. It’s funny how kids hate mushrooms. Until they’re sautéd  in lots of garlic and butter. And the only heart-healthy thing on the menu – a kale salad, will be a bit of a twist on the usual. His favorite is a caesar, and the kale from my box wil make an extra special one. For dessert, since he’s not a cake guy, a giant, soft chocolate chip cookie. Alongside birthday boy’s choice of Ben & Jerry’s pints…oh, it’s good to be fourteen!

“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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