Menu Plan Monday ~ An experiment

I’m trying an experiment. All over the web, I’ve been running across food blogs where people post on Mondays their projected meal plan for the week. I’ve been wanting to try a little more menu planning, in the hopes of having a little less “Oh man, we’re already starving, everything takes too long to cook, there’s nothing to eat, let’s wander around the house in a daze.” Looking at other people’s meal plans has been extremely helpful and inspiring, both in terms of content and form (seeing how many recipes people plan for in a week, etc.).

Because my energy varies so wildly, I worry that creating a formal menu plan will be setting myself up for failure, in a public forum, no less. So I’ve decided to make myself a very unstructured list of possible recipes, based on what veggies we have for the week, and then post my actual week’s menu after the fact. The menu will still be out there for other folks to get ideas and recipes from, and it will be a realistic reflection of the kind of menu one chronically fatigued, vegetarian, mostly gluten-free, CSA-subscribing cook can actually make, with assistance of course from her energetic, vegan, not-home-during-the-day partner in crime.

I will be linking this post to the giant Monday menu compendium over at I’m an Organizing Junkie, which links to over 300 bloggers and their menus for the week!

For the week of August 10th… (GF means gluten-free)

Sunday

Brunch: Egg sandwich with GF toast, dry farmed tomatoes, basil, and nettle mustard
Fruit salad of green melon, nectarines, peach, strawberry, and cherries, with meyer lemon-honey-lavender flower dressing.

Dinner: Rice bowl with black rice, kale, beet greens, serrano chile, garlic, and onion with avocado and sesame-ginger grilled tofu

Monday

Breakfast: Leftover rice bowl

Lunch: 100% buckwheat soba noodles (GF) with grilled portabello mushrooms with garlic (made on our tiny George Foreman grill) and sauteed zucchini with lemon

Dinner: Raw kale salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado
Raw beet salad with mustard vinaigrette

Tuesday

Brunch: Decadent breakfast taco

Dinner: Annie’s GF macaroni & cheese made with local goat yogurt, Shady Lady tomatoes, and gai lam (Chinese broccoli)

Wednesday

Breakfast: Local goat yogurt with white nectarine and yellow peach

Lunch: away from home

Dinner: Summer gratin (vegan) with Huckleberry potatoes, Yellow Finn potatoes, green and yellow summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, Shady Lady tomatoes, and basil

Thursday

Brunch: Fried egg atop summer gratin

Dinner: away from home

Friday – away from home

Saturday

Breakfast: Leftover summer gratin

Lunch: away from home

Dinner: Annie’s GF macaroni & cheese made with local goat yogurt, Roma tomatoes, and gai lam (Chinese broccoli)

Sunday

Breakfast: Fruit salad of green melon, white nectarine, strawberries, and peach

Lunch: 100% buckwheat soba noodles (GF) with peanut sauce (recipe to come later this week), gai lam, and cherry tomatoes

Dinner: Corn tortilla quesadillas with local Spring Hill Dairy Gianna cheese, avocado and salsa

Raw raw raw!

Farmer B has left for the East, and only the farm gods know when we’ll meet again. She left us the best possible gift to remember her by, however – a huge bag full of farm-fresh produce. Tiny sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and enormous amounts of curly kale. Duck and I spent the day with her before she boarded her train and we all decided to check out the Grand Lake farmer’s market for the first time. That impressive market, which is quite a party with live music, slides for the kids, and stands with prepared food of all kinds, yielded up Japanese eggplants, dry-farmed tomatoes, mountain blueberries, and perfectly ripe avocados, among other treasures.

We may still be mourning the loss of our favorite farm girl, but a body’s got to eat, right? It’s been robust at mealtimes for the past couple days, with my Cafe Gratitude-style rice bowl and Duck’s buckwheat soba with portobella mushrooms and zucchini, so I wanted something very light tonight. I wanted kale salad.

Raw Kale Salad with Avocado & Cherry Tomatoes

Specifically, I wanted a kale salad someone brought to a potluck I went to a few months ago, but with my brain fog I can now no longer remember who made it or what it tasted like, just that it was heavenly and I was so surprised and delighted at how tender and wonderful raw kale could be.

So I used the awesome-pants search feature over at Food Blog Search to seek out some kale salad recipes. I found a few different ones, but several of them involved lightly sauteeing the kale, and this quest had become, for me, all about the raw. I found one totally raw salad (with some variation) in three different places. I first read about it on the I Am Gluten Free blog, and then found another version on the Diet, Dessert, and Dogs blog, and finally watched a YouTube video of it being made! By this time I was sold. This isn’t the salad I went looking for, but it fit perfectly with the ingredients I had on hand, sounded delicious, and I was apparently going to get to do something called “massaging the kale.”

I decided to accompany it with a raw beet salad (I used a New York Times recipe as my starting point) and finish it up with a slice of green melon for dessert. (I know, the food combiners, who taught me about eating raw, are rolling over in their wheatgrass patches at my eating melon after a meal…) All in all, a delicious and incredibly colorful dinner.

The recipes are so simple, but I’ll write them out anyways. The part I’ve expanded on is the kale salad directions; every time I massaged the kale my hands would get oily and slippery and then I’d go to pick up a knife to cut open the avocado, etc. and it would be a bad scene. (Somehow the Raw Coach in the video doesn’t seem to have this problem!) So I thought a little guide to what order things should be done in would be helpful. Continue reading

Gypsy Peppers and Shady Ladies: Week of August 6th

It has once again been a long while since I’ve picked up a box. While I was in New York I was anxious about missing out on summer bounty by not being home for my July boxes. But for me, summer bounty means an abundance of summer fruits, which isn’t really the focus of the Eatwell box. I don’t actually care much for tomatoes, and, while I’m not at the freak-out stage some people get to during zucchini season, I feel entirely neutral towards summer squash, which has been a weekly staple all summer.

A new addition this week was Gypsy sweet peppers. I can’t eat bell peppers anymore, but that’s because their skins don’t agree with my stomach, and the reading I’ve been doing about Gypsy peppers seems to say they have thinner and more tender skins than their bell cousins. This gave me hope until I did an image search for Gypsy peppers, which turn out to be long and slim. Mine are large and squat and dark green and, frankly, they look like bell peppers. So we’ll see what happens… Only time (and digestion) will tell.

In this week’s box of summer bounty:

Heirloom tomatoes (3 medium)
Cherry tomatoes (a large strawberry-basket full)
Shady Lady tomatoes (4 small)
Cantaloupe (a good-sized one)
Zucchini (1 large green, 1 small yellow)
Nectarines (2 small ones)
Peach (1 large one, unfortunately mostly mushed)
Onions (3 lovely white ones)
Albion strawberries (1 pint basket)
Peppers of some sort (Gypsy? Bell?)
Basil (a large healthy bunch)