february 24 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, cabbage, carrots, fennel, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes

What’s for Dinner?

It’s a week of festivities, plain and simple. My birthday, for one, which is always celebrated  in a mom’s choice kind of way. And this year happens to share a date with the Academy Awards, one of my favorite holidays! My veggies will star in a pizza, bubbly, and cake kind of celebration. As if that’s not enough, Mardi Gras falls mid-week, and certainly a little red beans and rice (+kale) is in order!

Friday – paley’s inspired

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

Saturday – potluck, roman candle style

roman candle tuscan calvary kale salad

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)

Monday – grab your chopsticks

yakisoba with pork and cabbage (NYT)

Tuesday – king cake & kale

red beans and rice (+ kale) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

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)
orange and fennel salad (Robin Miller, Food Network)

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Friday – paley’s inspired

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

When I saw the trout on special at New Seasons this week, I was taken back to a fabulous dinner I enjoyed recently at Paley’s Place restaurant. I will attempt to replicate my dinner choices, if not with the exact Paley’s recipe or chefs, in the same thoughtful and seasonal spirit. A fairly straightforward cabbage salad 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 and 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. Trout 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.  

Saturday – potluck, roman candle style

roman candle tuscan calvary kale salad

I drew the salad assignment for a weekend potluck. When I saw my two heads of lacinato kale in the box, I knew just what I’d bring. In addition to the Roman style flatbread pizza, Roman Candle‘s salad and veggie offerings are simply brilliant. Their kale salad, with thinly sliced raw kale, sarvecchio (speciality parmesan), garlic, chiles, lemon, and breadcrumbs, is out of this world. While they don’t officially publish their recipe for this out of this world kale salad, a home version is easy to attempt, and anything close is still delicious. I toast a half a cup or so of purchased breadcrumbs with lots of garlic and a good sprinkling of red chile peppers in some olive oil on the stovetop. With a simple dressing of high quality olive oil and lemon juice, and a hearty dose of shredded parmesan, along with the toasty, flavored breadcrumbs, you just can’t go wrong. I’m even going to use my red Russian kale this week…surely won’t be the exact same texture, but the flavors will still be there.

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)

The annual Academy Awards and my birthday…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. The sides tonight…well, we’re just going to pretend we’re at the movies! Red vines, popcorn, and milk duds, to name a few. Maybe birthday cake would be over the top?

Monday – grab your chopsticks

yakisoba with pork and cabbage (NYT)

Asian egg noodles, mixed with a simple sauce and quickly stir-fried pork (or chicken, or shrimp, or tofu…), cabbage, & carrots, make a fast and fabulous weeknight yakisoba. With farm-fresh carrots and cabbage, it’s sure to be tastier than the more expensive take-out version, and be on the table in no time flat. Break out the chopsticks for some added flair!

Tuesday – king cake & kale

red beans and rice (+ kale) (Rosso & Lukins, The New Basics)
cajun chicken sausage links

king cake

This red beans and rice dish is a favorite way to get a little taste of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I like to add winter kale to the pot, to make it a lovely one-dish meal. (If you’re a purist, just make a quick side of sauteed kale – works the same as the chard in this Bon Appetit recipe.) I prepare it a little differently than the recipe suggests. king_cake_beads_and_babyI would sauté the onion (you could also use leeks), garlic and bacon together in a little olive oil first, then add a head of chopped kale just until it softens a bit. Proceed with the rest of the recipe, adding the liquids, bringing to a boil, and baking. The quick version would be to use canned beans (two cans) and just simmer on the stovetop until the flavors meld and it is the consistency you want. Be sure to offer an array of Louisiana hot sauces as well. Add a side of browned cajun chicken sausage links and famous New Orleans Abita beer, break out the beads, and we’ve got a Mardi Gras party! For an extra special ending, pick up a King Cake at any local bakery.

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 green 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. 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. One large spaghetti squash is plenty here – just quarter the cooked squash, and fill each quarter on individual plates or wide bowls. I’ll saute some onions or leeks, use sliced mushrooms instead of 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)
orange and fennel salad (Robin Miller, Food Network)

This week, I have got SO many gorgeous mushrooms, I know I’ll be using these in sammie night as well. These plus some deeply caramelized leeks or 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. For a side, the simplest raw fennel salad ever. Thinly sliced fennel and oranges, topped with a red wine vinaigrette. Add the dried cranberries if you’ve got them for a bit of tart and chewy!

“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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