September 14th, 2014 ~ Weekly Dinner Menu



Roasted Chickens with Rosemary, Lemon & Honey  |  Roasted Beets & Carrots with Goat Cheese & Pistachios


Beet Green Pasta


Grilled Fig Salad with Spiced Cashews


Grilled Pork Chops with Grapes  |  Roasted Green & Red Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette


Harvest Salad with Gorgonzola, Bacon & Grapes


Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Purée


9-13-14 Farmers Market Collage

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.”  ~  Helen Hunt Jackson


Most of the afternoons here in the SF Bay area remain warm and sunny these September days but the dwindling light of early evening serves as a reminder that autumn is most certainly on its way.  Even the horses up at the ranch, who spend their afternoons basking in the warm sun, have begun to grow their winter coats in response to the changing light.  Subtle signs heralding the changing seasons are also visible at the farmers’ markets…the gems of summer {tomatoes, carrots, corn} now share space with a growing number of autumn jewels {eggplant, beets, grapes and apples}.  In my own kitchen, I find myself turning on the oven a bit more and roasting, instead of grilling, and my summer craving for corn was replaced this week with a taste for beets.

A few notes on this week’s menu:

SUNDAY: A few weeks ago, I included a little appetizer of these baked squash blossoms on our Sunday dinner menu. That little, late afternoon nibble {enjoyed about an hour before dinner while lounging on the deck} was delicious but, even more so, we all enjoyed the time spent chatting and relaxing before the start of a hectic week.  Today, we revisit the Sunday “app” with one of the children’s favorites…thickly~sliced radishes spread with a bit of Irish butter and sprinkled with a bit of coarse sea salt, a satisfying alternative to potato chips.  With an over~abundance of rosemary growing in the garden at the moment, I decided on this recipe for our roasted chickens tonight substituting the red torpedo onions I found yesterday at the farmers’ market for the shallots called for in the original recipe.  This recipe served as the inspiration for tonight’s warm salad and I will be halving the recipe and adding in some chunky carrots along with the beets.

MONDAY:  I will make good use of the greens chopped from our beets yesterday in a simple pasta dish slightly adapted from Alice Waters in Chez Panisse Vegetables.  This meatless meal consists of a chiffonade of beet greens and fresh mint, sautéed onions and garlic, currants {I will be using golden raisins} and cooked pasta.

TUESDAY:  The tender, naturally sweet flavor of figs deepens with caramelization either over a grill or under a broiler.  This rich fruit adorns tonight’s dinner salad which features Asian flavors {Chinese five~spice powder, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh ginger, scallions and toasted black sesame seed} and some crunch with the addition of seasoned and roasted cashews.  I am slightly adapting the original recipe  by coating the cashews with a mixture of raw honey and melted ghee in place of  sugar and butter.  Also, in order to save a bit of time, I will be caramelizing the figs in the oven, under the broiler, instead of preparing a charcoal grill.  {Note:  Doubling the amount of cashews called for in the original recipe will provide extra nuts for snacking the rest of the week}.

WEDNESDAY:  For tonight’s dinner, I am following this recipe, where thick~cut pork chops are brined and then cooked on the grill.  A sweet, fruity mixture of skillet~roasted grapes and garlic and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar tops the chops {Note:  I am substituting deep purple and seedless “Fantasy” grapes from the farmers’ market because I could not find the Concord variety and, although the Fantasy grapes do not have that distinctive Concord flavor they are incredibly sweet with a much deeper flavor than the green and red varieties.}   For our side dish, green and red beans will be blanched and then skillet~roasted before being tossed with this Dijon Vinaigrette.

THURSDAY:  Another dinner salad, which will make good use of the grapes not used for last night’s dinner.  The recipe for this hearty Cobb~style salad also features toasted hazelnuts, crisp bacon and rich Gorgonzola dolce.

FRIDAY:  A slightly adapted version of the recipe made popular by Giada DeLaurentis can be found here.  I prepared the purée on Sunday, while my eggplant and tomatoes {I used Early Girls in place of cherry tomatoes} were still at their peak of freshness and then I transferred the purée to a couple of canning jars and stored in the refrigerator.  For tonight’s dinner, all that needs to be done is to gently reheat the sauce, lightly toast the pine nuts and cook the pasta!


Have a wonderful week everyone!

K Medium

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