August 16 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

beets, broccoli, carrots, chard, cilantro, gourmet greens, lettuce, onions, potatoes, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon

What’s for Dinner?

It’s a good week when I’ve got enough tomatoes piled on my counter to serve as inspiration for two sammies-for-dinner nights! You just can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned BLT. Add in a caprese version, and it’s summer sandwich heaven. I’ve got fresh cucumbers and red onions, the staples for a Greek inspired meal. And sweet peppers, onions, and cilantro screaming Mexican. Plus, a first-of-the-summer watermelon from my CSA, plus lots of other fresh summer bounty…we’re set for salads o’ plenty, grill-fests, and summer pizza nights.

Wednesday –  build-your-own BLTs

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

sliced watermelon

Thursday –  purple peruvian potatoes

peruvian roasted purple potatoes (Food Network)
grilled peruvian fish (icuban.com)
roasted broccoli with garlic (Food Network)

Friday – pizza night

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

Saturday – grilling, Mexican style

tacos with grilled chicken, peppers & onions (Food and Wine)
chard salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Sunday – pastaworks at home

pastaworks farro salad + beets (Pastaworks)
grilled onions
grilled bratwurst

Monday – make-your-own tzatziki

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

Tuesday – cream-of-the-crop summer sammie

tomato, mozzarella, & basil paninis (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)


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Wednesday – built-your-own BLTs

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

sliced watermelon

There’s no real recipe to share here. It’s just more of an easy, delicious height-of-tomato season dinner idea: the “build 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 this a kid favorite! For dessert? We’ll slice right into that extra special orange-fleshed melon from Gathering Together Farm – YUM!

Thursday –  purple peruvian potatoes

peruvian roasted purple potatoes (Food Network)
grilled peruvian fish (icuban.com)
roasted broccoli with garlic (Food Network)

When I did 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 simple roasted broccoli for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.

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 – grilling, mexican style

tacos with grilled chicken, peppers & onions (Food and Wine)
chard salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

I love this special time of year when I receive such a variety of peppers. So easy to roast or grill, their varied flavors are a fabulous addition to any Mexican meal. This week I have spicy Anaheim and sweet yellow peppers, which will be wonderful together. I’ll grill it all – chicken, peppers, and one of my many choices of  onions. I’ll serve the tacos along with a Mexican-style green salad, this week using thinly sliced chard as my greens. This CI recipe is a winner for a quick dressing I use for any salad accompanying a Mexican dinner. (And no real need to use the blender – a whisk will do just fine.) Some ideas for mix-ins: Mexican cheese (cotija, queso fresco, manchego…), sliced (seeded) jalapeños, green or red onions, cilantro, chives, sliced radishes, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, sliced avocado.

Sunday – passworks at home

pastaworks farro salad + beets (Pastaworks)
grilled onions
grilled bratwurst

This Pastaworks farro salad serves as a blank canvas for me quite often. Farro is a virtual nutritional goldmine, and offers a wonderful full-bodied texture and flavor. Instead of the called for kale, I’ll add a potpourri of veggies: roasted beets and thinly sliced beet greens this week. No matter the veggies you add, it holds a divine combination of earthy, sweet, tart, and spicy – adjust the harissa to your own personal spicy barometer. Have fun trying different nut, seed, and dried fruit combinations here as well. A quick trip to the grill with sliced onions and brats rounds out the meal perfectly!

Monday –  make-your-own tzatziki

grilled chicken, red onion, summer squash kebabs (Bon Appetit)
tzatziki yogurt cucumber sauce (Whole Foods Market)
cous cous

These are the kebabs I go to again and again when assembling a Greek-inspired dinner.  And with the red onions and cucumbers from the farm this week, that’s a natural. I’ll also add chunks of summer squash to the kebabs. A special treat this week will be making my own homemade tzatziki sauce with these cutest ever just-picked cucumbers. It’s simple, fresh, and healthy, made mostly with just Greek yogurt and grated cucumber, plus some herbs from the pot. I like to use lemon juice instead of vinegar, but either works. Pass the sauce around the table as a delicious accompaniment to the kebabs. To complete the Greek meal, all it takes is five minutes and your favorite cous cous. For a rich, nutty flavor, I sometimes go for the whole wheat, pearl cous cous.

Tuesday – cream-of-the-crop summer sammie

tomato, mozzarella, & basil paninis (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)

Sammie night number two this week, as I just can’t resist making an all-time favorite. With tomatoes just plucked from the vine, and fresh basil from the pot, there’s really nothing like this quintessential summertime sandwich. You don’t need a panini press, and you don’t need pesto sauce. Just a skillet and any form of basil you like – I often just layer the whole leaves on there. Whatever bread you love and will hold together on a skillet or press is great. These are also wonderful with thinly sliced prosciutto or chicken.

“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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