march 2 weekly menu | winter table

Farm Fresh

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

What’s for Dinner?

My favorite night of the year has arrived…the Oscars. My veggies star in a pizza and bubbly (and popcorn) kind of celebration. And I’m so excited to see these mounds of fresh spinach. Spring must be around the bend. But still some delicious winter to enjoy – celery root, hearty greens, and mushrooms.

Friday – crab fest

chard & beet salad (ABC, The Chew)
cracked Dungeness crab + melted butter
bread

Saturday – espinacas con garbanzos 

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)

Monday – weeknight risotto

red chard risotto (Epicurious)
roast chicken

Tuesday –  salad for supper

spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perleman)

Wednesday – one pot, 20 minutes

pasta with garlicky kale raab (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)
sautéed shrimp

Thursday – soup & sammie

celery root bisque (Bon Appetit)
grilled cheese sandwich

__________________________________________________

Friday – crab fest

chard & beet salad (ABC, The Chew)
cracked Dungeness crab + melted butter
bread

There’s no simpler way to enjoy the surprise bounty of fresh Pacific crab than just piling it on a platter, and digging in! We usually reserve this tradition for Christmas and the occasional winter birthday, but hey, seize the moment! I’ve seen it featured at many markets this week. It couldn’t be a simpler, or more social dinner, with the crab pieces stacked high in the center of the table, and everyone equipped with their own crab “tools” and a personal candle-lit butter warmer. The only accompaniments needed are a salad and crusty bread. I’ll veer from the salad recipe a bit, using thinly ribboned chard instead of kale, green onion instead of red onion, and roasted beets. I’ve got no dill, so I’ll just toss in some nuts and blue cheese, goat cheese or feta, and the simple oil and vinegar dressing. Keep the butter hot, and this crab fest could go on for quite some time!

Saturday – espinacas con garbanzos 

spinach and chickpeas (Deb Perleman, The Smitten Kitchen)
salted toasty bread

Mmmm…Deb Perleman describes this as straight “from a tapas bar in Spain”. I’m in. A gorgeous bunch of spinach is featured in this simple dish, loaded with amazingly complex smokey, spicy, tangy flavors. I’ll use canned chickpeas for a shortcut, but will give the toasted-in-olive-oil bread crumbs a shot. Deb says the essence of this recipe would be preserved even if you skip this bread crumb part (just sauté the garlic, and continue without the bread); the final dish will just be a bit saucier. In Spain, they would eat this on little fried bread toasts. I’ll go simple, skip the fried, and use a baguette – just slice, brush lightly with olive oil, and give a little sprinkling of salt before broiling. A healthy, tasty, full-meal-deal, even if we aren’t eating tapas in Madrid.

Sunday – pizza & bubbly, oscar mania

leek & mushroom pizza with blue cheese (Emmy Cooks)

The annual Academy Awards…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 and green onions, 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. Forget the salad tonight – sides will be popcorn, licorice, and other favorite movie treats.

Monday – weeknight risotto

red chard risotto (Epicurious)
roast chicken

I’ve made this risotto recipe for years. The red chard makes the color of the final dish just gorgeous. Not to mention, it’s delicious, and lets this fresh veggie shine. I try not to get all caught up in the proportions or timing of the broth adding and stirring of risotto. Heck, I don’t even heat the broth first. After the onion, chard, and rice are sauteed in olive oil, I just add a little broth, cook a little, add a little broth, cook a little, stirring in the parmesan to taste at the end. To complete the meal, I’ll add a made-by-someone-else roast chicken.

Tuesday –  salad for supper

spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perleman)

A gorgeous, first-of-the-season spinach salad…for dinner! Skip the warm bacon vinaigrette if you don’t want the hassle of bacon-frying, but it sure is good! (You would mix olive oil with the dijon and vinegar instead.) With a small sprinkling of chopped leeks, instead of the red onion, and maybe even some toasty croutons, this is a salad that can easily stand on it’s own as a heart-healthy and delicious dinner. Slices of the last night’s roast chicken will make a perfect accompaniment to our main dish spinach salad.

Wednesday – one pot, 20 minutes

pasta with garlicky kale raab (Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen)
sautéed shrimp

In this Smitten Kitchen post, Deb highlights an end-of-the-farmers-market-day meager bunch of broccoli raab. It’s a perfectly detailed run though of how to create something big, bold and beautiful from nearly nothing. That large bunch of gorgeous kale raab from HRO is far from “nearly nothing”, that’s for sure! Raab is available only in the spring, when over-wintered plants in the brassica family (such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, and broccoli) begin to flower and send out seed shoots. When the kale flowers, the stalks lengthen, and the leaves change shape and become very tender and sweet. Raab is most tender before the florets actually flower, and is wonderful sautéed, braised, stir fried, grilled, or raw in hearty salads. In this recipe, a short, chunky, clever-shaped pasta of your choice is combined with our kale raab and just four other miracle ingredients that together make a sensational and complete one pot, 20 minute meal – olive oil, garlic (lots of it!), red pepper flakes, and salt. That’s it. Taste it and you’ll see why I love our local farmers, Deb Perelman, and the kitchen! A quick weeknight accompaniment (and fan-favorite at my house) is some quickly sautéed shrimp – olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkling of lemon juice is all you need.

Thursday – soup & sammie

celery root bisque (Bon Appetit)
grilled cheese sandwich

The celery root bisque is a go-to for me. The rich, velvety, decadent concoction defies the simplicity of its ingredients and preparation. It’s a simple cook it, purree it, cream it process, in really no time at all. A sprinkling of green onions on top would be delicious. Round out the dinner with quick and easy grilled cheese sandwiches!

“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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