february 23 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

beets, celeriac, chard, garlic, green onions, kale raab, leeks, mushrooms, spinach,

What’s for Dinner?

A mountain of mushrooms, again! Along with a huge pile of beautiful greens, and a couple of scary looking celery bulbs, amongst the other winter veggie staples! I’m perfectly poised for a Friday night pizza fest, plus home movie (after movie) night – all those Academy Award nominees we haven’t yet managed to see! Add in an Olympics celebration complete with bibimbap, and this week anything but the same ‘ol, same ‘ol!

Friday – homemade pizza & movies

kale with crushed tomatoes, calabrian chiles & feta (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty)

Saturday – keep-it-simple lasagna

veggie lasagna (SIO Blog, Week 13 2009)
spinach salad
crusty italian bread

Sunday – olympic send off

bibimbap – korean vegetable rice bowl (My Korean Kitchen)

Monday – indian veggie bliss

curried lentil stew with veggies (Gourmet)
basmati rice
naan

Tuesday – spaghetti, celeriac style

spaghetti with thyme-chili celeriac puree (Serious Eats)

Wednesday – creamy, cheesy polenta

white cheddar polenta with kale, mushrooms, & pancetta (SIO Blog, Emily Thomson)

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

_____________________________________________________

Friday – homemade pizza & movies

kale with crushed tomatoes, calabrian chiles & feta (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty)

IMG_1084

Straight to the Lovely’s Fifty Fifty menu once again – I’ve been eyeing their menu, looking so forward to a pizza dinner outing. If not this weekend, I can make it myself (albeit, not nearly as well!) Lovely’s takes full advantage of all of our local farm fresh produce in their creative and inspiring pizzas. I’ll replace spinach in one of their prior menu items, and use my kale raab. I’ll remove any heavy stems, and roughly chop the leaves. In a large sauté pan coated with olive oil, add the kale, season with salt, pepper, and some chopped calabrian chiles (available in a jar), and cook over high heat until the greens are tender. Add the garlic at the end, just for a few seconds. My pizzas will be lightly sauced (standing in for the crushed tomatoes), spread with the peppery kale raab mixture, and sprinkled with feta cheese. Any bitterness from the raab is perfectly balanced with the spicy calabrians and the salty feta. See this Pizza Nighpost for a step-by-step instructional for pizza making.

Saturday – keep-it-simple lasagna

veggie lasagna (SIO Blog, Week 13 2009)
spinach salad
crusty italian bread

This is my simple, every-season vegetarian lasagna. I keep this recipe on hand as a “starting point”, using whatever seasonal veggies jump out at me. The trick with lasagna is to not let the recipe make it seem too complicated to attempt! Three layering components:  noodles (can definitely be the no-boil kind), sauce (store-bought, for me) and a cheese, egg, boiled kale or chard or spinach mixture. Don’t get all uptight about the order or what cheese goes where – it all ends up in the same place, and as long as you have two or three layering pieces, you’re set. It is nice to end with the sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan or mozzarella if you think that far ahead.  I’ll add the simplest of spinach salads, with just fresh spinach leaves sprinkled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Along with your favorite bakery’s crusty Italian, this is winter comfort food at its finest.

Sunday – olympic send off

bibimbap – korean vegetable rice bowl (My Korean Kitchen)

Everyone’s squeezing in the last bit of Korean anything before the Olympics come to another sad close. I’m going to celebrate the occasion with bibimbap! A fancy name for what’s really just a Korean rice bowl, featuring loads of your-choice seasonal veggies, a really yummy chili pepper sauce, and an egg, if you please. I’ll use a bunch spinach, shiitake mushrooms, some leftover roasted spaghetti squash, mung bean sprouts and raw chopped green onions for sprinkling on the final bowls. I’m serving my bibimbap with pan fried tofu instead of the beef – this simple recipe is just delicious. A key ingredient is the “gochujang” Korean hot pepper paste, readily available at any our many well-stocked Asian markets. As a side, I’ll go with Choi’s kimchi, a mainstay at the Portland Farmer’s Market, also sold at New Seasons, Whole Foods, etc. We’ll plop ourselves in front of the grand closing ceremonies, the dramatic olympic replays and the tear-jerking human interest stories. It’s always sad to see it end!

Monday – indian veggie bliss

curried lentil stew with veggies (Gourmet)
basmati rice
naan

This lentil-based dahl has that magic formula of fresh garlic and ginger, cooked until fragrant with curry powder, turmeric, and cumin. The rest is really up to you – nearly any veggie will shine. I’ll use leeks (instead of onions), and a bunch of chard, which I’ll cook along with the lentils. The final little hot spice oil is yummy, but not at all essential. While cilantro adds a magnificent flavor to Indian food, you could use parsley as a nice, wintry change of pace. Add naan, either freshly made from a favorite Indian restaurant, or my newfound fave Trader Joe’s frozen version, for the perfectly chewy, authentic dipper.

Tuesday – spaghetti, celeriac style

spaghetti with thyme-chili celeriac puree (Serious Eats)

I have to admit, I still get a bit nervous when I see those celeriac bulbs. But I’ve done enough with them to know their great transformative abilities. From knobby, hairy, dirty to smooth, creamy, and delightful, with a mildly sweet parsley and celery flavor. In this recipe, the celeriac is cooked and mashed with garlic, fresh red chili, and thyme to create a silky sauce for your favorite pasta. Sprinkling with fresh parsley and parmesan would make it extra special.

Wednesday – creamy, cheesy, polenta

white cheddar polenta with kale, mushrooms, & pancetta (SIO Blog, Emily Thomson)

Polenta…no longer fuddy duddy peasant food, that’s for sure. It is a super versatile, humble cornmeal dish that can be baked, fried, grilled, or simply cooked gently on the stovetop with some butter & parmesan for a wholly satisfying, rich and delicious dish. This week’s chard lends itself wonderfully as a polenta “topping” – any greens would work beautifully. In this recipe, I double the polenta portion and make it in a wide bottomed pan suitable for serving as well. When the polenta seems “done” (not grainy or hard to the bite), let it settle in the pan after mixing in the not-to-leave-out butter (the essential rich and creamy part of the best polenta!) The lightly sautéed and braised mushrooms, greens, and garlic are then spread over the top, with the grated white cheddar adding a finishing touch. Just before serving, warm it in the oven, letting the cheese get just barely browned. You could skip the pancetta and mix in some white beans, for a wonderfully rich and satisfying vegetarian dish. See where your taste buds and diners take you. A little Italian bacon is hard to pass up.

Thursday – sammie night

caramelized leek & mushroom panini (Serious Eats)
beet salad with goat cheese & walnuts (Jennifer Segal, Serious Eats)

This week, I have got SO many delicious mushrooms, I know I’ll be using these in sammie night as well. These plus some deeply caramelized leeks (instead of 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. With my beets roasted and at-the-ready (key step…miss this and you’re doomed on a weeknight!) this traditional beet salad with a honey dijon vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment. In the winter, we often enjoy this beet salad with no greens at all, just lots of favorite nuts and cheese.

“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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