September 13 weekly menu | summer table

Farm Fresh

cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, gourmet greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, peppers, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, melon

What’s for Dinner?

No wonder my bags were so heavy this week at veggie pick-up! My share contained a head of napa cabbage and a summer melon, both as big as my head, along with so many other late summer and early fall gems. It’s just the best time of year for cooking (and eating)!

Wednesday –  chimichurri chicken

grilled chicken skewers with chimichurri (Whole Foods)
gourmet greens salad
garlic bread

Thursday –  OK to cheat

pasta with no-cook tomato sauce & fresh mozzarella (Cook’s Illustrated)
salad with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)

Friday – sammie night

kale sandwiches with avocado (Mark Bittman)
carrots & cucumbers, pita chips, hummus

Saturday – nacho saturday

veggie nachos (Rachael Ray)
green salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Sunday –  inspired by mooncakes

stir fried beef with peppers, onions, & black pepper sauce (Serious Eats)
white rice
sliced melon

Monday –  national cheeseburger day!

cheeseburgers
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

Tuesday – umi, yummy!

miso-sesame veggie noodle bowls (Umi Organics)


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Wednesday – chimichurri chicken

grilled chicken skewers with chimichurri (Whole Foods)
gourmet greens salad
garlic bread

Whenever I get a giant bunch of parsley from the farm, I “go big.” This means a big batch of chimichurri, instead of trying to whittle away at the herb, one small tablespoon at a time. I don’t even measure – just put the entire bunch of parsley in the food processor along with the few other ingredients, give it a whirl, and you’re done. Tonight, it’ll be perfect on simple grilled chicken skewers. Surely there’ll be leftovers of this fabulously tangy, spicy sauce – perfect for eggs, sandwiches, etc. throughout the week. Add a salad of mixed greens sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar and some bread toasted with butter and garlic.

Thursday –  OK to cheat

pasta with no-cook tomato sauce & fresh mozzarella (Cook’s Illustrated)
salad with red wine vinaigrette (Martha Stewart)

In addition to the plethora of roasted and slow-cooked tomato sauces I’ll make and freeze (and wait for that snowy night…fingers crossed!), with summer not yet a distant memory, I still like to pull out this no-cook recipe. It seems like cheating, there’s so little to it. It’s a bit like a caprese salad, but with pasta mixed in. And Cook’s Illustrated likes to put in green onions instead of the basil, which is actually a nice change about right now. A complete meal with a simple green salad!

Friday –   sammie night

kale sandwiches with avocado (Mark Bittman)
carrots & cucumbers, pita chips, hummus

I’m not talking about the afterthought, it’s-all-we-have-in-the-house sandwiches. Although, nothing does beat a good PB&J in a pinch! Another weeknight meal that keeps your kitchen time at a minimum and your dinner offerings healthy are farm fresh sandwiches. Think wraps, grilled (or not) paninis, or just traditional on good whole grain bread. Encase it however you love; the headliner is what’s inside. And Gathering Together Farm provides some truly delectable veggie filling options…this week, kale! With a quick bean spread, the thinly chopped kale will be hearty and delicious. Chicken or bacon would be a winning choice in these sandwiches too, for the meat-lovers in your house. Buy your favorite hummus to accompany carrot sticks, cucumber rounds, and of course some yummy pita chips – the sides are a cinch.

Saturday – nacho saturday

veggie nachos (Rachael Ray)
green salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (CI, The Best 30-Minute Recipe)

Nacho Night is always popular around here, and this time it’ll be veggie nachos. Loaded with chips, cheese, and canned beans, all I need to do is add the right combo of veggies straight from the farm. Good contenders? Sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños I’ve got left from another recent delivery. And since corn is still in season, surely I’ll pick some up at the market to use in these delicious nachos. In truth, I won’t really use a recipe at all. I’ll start by roasting corn off the cob, thinly sliced peppers and summer squash, jalapeños, and onions in a very hot oven until soft and golden. I’ll spread a single layer of chips on a large baking sheet, cover them with the refried bean mixture, evenly distribute the roasted veggies, then top with a layer of whatever cheese you like. I’ll use a mixture of cotija and cheddar. Repeat. Surely I’ll use an entire large bag of chips in order to stand up to all of this good topping. Once the nachos are just heated through and the outside chips are just starting to brown, I’ll pull them out and add the toppings that do better outside the oven: chopped tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Better than any restaurant cheese-heavy, veggie-light versions, certainly! To slightly balance the “chips for dinner”, I’ll add a Mexican-style green salad. 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 salad mix-ins: Mexican cheese (cotija, queso fresco, manchego…), sliced (seeded) jalapeños, chopped red onion, cilantro, chives, sliced radishes, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, sliced avocado. When I’m in a hurry, it’s olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper whisked in a little bowl, poured over a salad of greens, tomatoes, and cilantro. Nacho Night, gone just a little bit healthy.

Sunday – inspired by mooncakes

stir fried beef with peppers, onions, & black pepper sauce (Serious Eats)
white rice
sliced melon

With an impromptu purchase of too many mooncakes, I’ll head in an Asian direction with these amazing veggies. I’m inspired by all of my sweet peppers this week, so will use them (plus either an onion or a leek) in this wonderfully flavorful Chinese pepper steak served over steamed white rice. Since I have such a giant head of cabbage, I’ll toss this into the stir fry as well. For dessert, do as the Chinese do, and serve melon and mooncakes! Slice this week’s sweet local melon and add a variety platter of mooncakes. You will see them available so many places right now, with the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival just around the corner.

Monday –  national cheeseburger day!

cheeseburgers
garlic roasted potatoes (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

In honor of this surely little-known foodie holiday, we’ll kick off the school week with a good old-fashioned cheeseburger! Forever trying to balance cooking with so many veggies with a teenage boy who cries out for normal food, I just couldn’t skip out on a chance to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day. I’ll caramelize a sliced farm fresh onion, making it the perfect burger filler! Other toppings will include lettuce and sliced tomatoes, pickles, and of course, cheese of choice. The roasted potatoes are a no-brainer, “french fry” stand-in. Even if my potatoes are purple this week! The simplest, quickest, and healthiest of weeknight “burger & fries” dinners ever!

Tuesday – umi, yummy!

miso-sesame veggie noodle bowls (Umi Organics)

Thanks to the crazy “noodle luge” held once 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 line 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. Thanks to Umi noodles being a regular item at New Seasons now, I can put this together in my own kitchen…minus the luge! With several fabulous sounding recipes on their website, I often go with the Kakiko’s miso-sesame sauce and then doctor up the serve-yourself-toppings bar with whatever my veggie box offers. This week, I’ll lightly stir-fry or roast the following, just until softened a bit:  zucchini matchsticks, sliced onions, and shredded cabbage. Thinly sliced raw leeks would be wonderful on top, and tofu or edamame perfect protein additions. This dish is a simple three-step process, definitely quick enough for a weeknight – make the miso-sesame sauce, roast the veggies, 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!

“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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