August 31st, 2014 ~ Weekly Dinner Menu



Baked Ricotta & Honey Stuffed Squash Blossoms  |  Za’atar Rubbed & Grilled NY Strip Steaks  |  Haricots Verts & Freekeh with Minty Tahini Dressing  


Omelettes with Goats Cheese & Sautéed Pink Oyster Mushrooms  |  Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette


End~of~Summer Eggplant Bake  |  Sliced & Seasoned Summer Tomatoes


Summer Corn Risotto with Lobster Mushrooms  |  Tomato & Arugula Salad


Perfect Fish Tacos  |  Sweet Chili Cabbage Slaw  |  Pickled Jalapeños  |  Cilantro~Avocado Cream


Grilled Vietnamese~Style Pork Chops  |  Fresh Plum Salsa  |  Chopped Kale salad with Garlic~Lemon Vinaigrette


FM 8-30-14 Collage

Just look at those stunning pink oyster mushrooms in the top right hand corner of the photo above!  Aren’t they beautiful?  Mushrooms were not on my radar this week at the farmer’s market but these caught my attention as I approached the tables at Far West Fungi in the SF Ferry Building.  Their blush pink color stood out among the other brown varieties on display and their delicate folds made them look like something a ballerina would wear.  A crowd of shoppers stopped to snap photos of these elegant~looking fungi as I carefully selected a few for my market basket.  When I inquired as to their flavor I was told not to be fooled by their exquisitely fine appearance, in fact they have a deeply rich flavor similar to that of steak.  Their soft texture makes them a fast cooker, requiring no more than a 2-3 minute sauté.  With that being said,  I knew they would be destined for a delicious dinner omelette this week.  Now, in the row of baskets just below these beautiful pink oyster mushrooms, sat a pile of decidedly unattractive red~orange toned behemoths {see third row, 2nd picture in of the photo above}.  Attention grabbing in their own right, these lobster mushrooms were everything those pink beauties were not…heavy, dense and disfigured…but those bright colors amidst a sea of brown left me curious.  Once again I inquired as to their flavor and was told that they closely resemble the richly flavored meat of the crustacean after which they are named.  With the sweet summer taste of the corn risotto we so enjoyed last week still fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help but think that these would make a wonderful addition to that vegetable risotto.  Unlike the pink oysters, this hearty variety of fungi requires a period of long slow cooking, perfect for a risotto preparation.  The bright red~orange color of the mushrooms, which only fades slightly during the cooking process I have been told, will add a pop of color to the pale yellow corn risotto this week.

Mushrooms in hand, I set off to finish my weekly shopping with no menu plan in mind.  Corn and tomatoes were a certainty and those eggplants…how could you pass by those beauties without picking a few up?  The spinach looked spectacular…large, rippled, firm leaves…and the squash blossoms, so hard to find last week, were just sitting next to the spinach yesterday.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the Baked Ricotta & Honey Stuffed Squash Blossoms I made last Sunday as an appetizer, loosely following this recipe {substituting Panko and grated parmesan for the cookie crumbs} and when Mallory saw the squash blossoms this week she made a firm request for a repeat appearance on this week’s menu…they were fabulous and these blooms are around for such a short time.  Arugula is a favorite green of ours, especially at this time of year, its peppery bite is a perfect match for sweet summer tomatoes.  My favorite egg lady from Rolling Oaks Ranch had some beautifully colored eggs this week which will be used for those omelettes I mentioned earlier and those Dapple Dandy pluots, with their tender, sweet, rosy pink flesh were also too pretty to pass up.  Well, I think I did fairly well for not having a shopping plan…simply strolling about the market stalls picking the prettiest produce I could find.  Now it’s time to see how it all comes together.

A few notes on this week’s menu…

SUNDAY:  Like most today, we are enjoying a relaxing summer Sunday at home this holiday weekend.  There is not a trace of fog in sight, the sun is bright and warm and our little cove is studded with white sailboats…it finally feels like summer here on this, the last weekend of the season.  As I mentioned before, the Baked Ricotta & Honey Stuffed Squash Blossoms I served as a late afternoon appetizer last Sunday were a huge hit so they are back again this week.  Substituting a mix of Panko and grated parmesan cheese with a few chopped chives {instead of the cookie crumbs called for in the original recipe} gives a savory coating to the blossoms and is a nice contrast to the sweet ricotta filling…

Squash Blossom Collage

In a continuing effort to give meat its proper place {as a specialty item rather than a staple} in our weekly dinner rotation, Sunday dinner has come to be the stage where we entertain our carnivorous side.  This evening, prime New York strip steaks will be rubbed with a favorite homemade za’atar spice blend {using this recipe} and grilled to medium rare.  After resting, the finished steaks are then sliced and served.  The Middle Eastern flare will continue in our side dish, Haricots Verts with Freekeh & Minty Tahini Dressing {I will be substituting toasted pine nuts in place of the walnuts as a matter of personal preference}.  Freekeh is the next “hot” super grain, don’t you know?  Well, I didn’t until now and this side dish will be our first try.

MONDAY:  Michael leaves this morning for business meetings in France and Belgium this week.  He returns on Friday evening but not before he  has the chance to meet up with Maddie in Philadelphia for dinner on Thursday evening…the first visit since she left for the East coast over a month ago {we are all very excited!!}.  Here at home, simple omelettes, studded with some fresh goats cheese, become a hearty {and easy} dinner when topped with a quick sauté of pink oyster mushrooms.  Fresh spinach leaves tossed with this Warm Bacon Vinaigrette round out our dinner tonight.

TUESDAY:  Those beautiful eggplants and a few pieces of a crusty sour loaf from Acme Bakery will be turned into this End~of~Summer Eggplant Bake.  A few thick slices of tomato, simply seasoned with a sprinkling of  salt & pepper make a wonderful side to this easy summer dinner.

WEDNESDAY:  I made this Sweet Corn Risotto last week and it was a HUGE hit!  Pairing summer corn with lobster is a summer treat, as in this summer soup, so when I discovered those lobster mushrooms my first thought was to give them a go in that wonderful risotto.  This is the recipe I hope to share with you this week, but if mushrooms aren’t your thing go ahead and give the original recipe a try before all the wonderful summer corn is gone…it was FANTASTIC!  As a side, my favorite summer salad…tomatoes, sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper, are topped with a handful of arugula and a drizzle of olive oil…

Tomato & Arugula Collage

THURSDAY:  The kids LOVE fish tacos so when I came across the recipe  for “Perfect Fish Tacos” in the current issue of Bon Appetit I felt compelled to give it a try.  The batter used to coat the fish before frying is made from a combination of all-purpose flour and white rice flour and also features the addition of club soda, which I find interesting {I don’t do much frying}.  We will be giving these Pickled Jalapeños a try as well but, instead of the mayonnaise based slaw BA suggests as a topping for the tacos, I am preparing two of our favorites:   Sweet Chili Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage Slaw Collage

And Cilantro~Avocado Cream

Cilantro Avocado Cream Collage

FRIDAY:  Michael is home and, after a long week of traveling, a home~cooked meal is in order.  One of his favorites is on the menu tonight…Vietnamese~Style Pork Chops & Fresh Apple Salsa…but I will be substituting in~season Dapple Dandy pluots for the apples in the accompanying salsa.  Pork and plums make for a tasty combination and I think the seasonal twist on the salsa will have a wonderful flavor.

Pork Marinade Collage

Apple Salsa Collage


An easy Kale Salad with Garlic~Lemon Vinaigrette will round out this end~of~the~week dinner…

Kale Salad Collage

As for the zucchini I brought home, well, that will go into our favorite Zucchini Bread

Intro Collage

And the cherry tomatoes will be turned into a tomato jam, recipe to follow.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

K Medium

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