Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu Suggestions for December Shared Harvest

These menus are light on meat and dairy. Flexitarians, pescatarians, carnivores can add their favorite additional protein sources.

WEEK 1

Mushroom barley soup, loaded with carrots. See recipe below.

With so few fresh leafy greens it would be a shame to cook the kale. Frozen or purchased brussels sprouts would work in this kale and soba noodle salad, or substituting finely shredded cabbage would be good too. Several times in the last few weeks I’ve made spicy rutabaga saute, because it’s so easy and a versatile side dish.

Cook up a whole pound of black beans to make a dinner or two for now and another couple later. Half can be served immediately with rice, roasted sweet potatoes, and shredded cabbage, plus your preferred accoutrements. Quick-pickled carrots would be good too.

When preparing the beans and sweets, freeze 2 cups of beans for black bean-sweet potato burgers later on; even double the sweet potato can be roasted and frozen for later.

Also make extra rice to freeze or to use for the next night’s dinner. I’m very interested to try leek-ginger-fried rice. Spicy rutabaga saute would probably be good with this too.

Farfalle with beets and beet greens is fairly easy and delicious. Assuming the beets will arrive topless, thawed blanched greens or purchased frozen spinach could be substituted. This would be delicious on any grain.

Another meal might feature roasted parsnips or parsnip fries. Depending how dedicated you are to eating local, roasted parsnips also make wonderful salads together with celery and apples.

WEEK 2

Lentil soup seems to take well to turnips. Here’s a delicious-sounding Italian version with walnuts, or a roasted carrot and turnip red lentil soup with coriander, ginger, and thyme. I would make the latter without pureeing it.

There are many versions of pasta puttanesca; I typically make the Silver Palate cookbook’s version from pantry stores and fresh (or previously frozen) parsley.

Around this time of week will be the start of Hannukah. Whether you celebrate or not potato pancakes will hit the spot (and use some of our abundant potato stores). I also love sweet potato pancakes, but any vegetables can be used: parsnips, celery root, turnips, carrot, leek, etc. Celery root remoulade would be good with latkes too.

One of our favorite “pantry” pizzas is an old James McNair combination of sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and chevre. Cashew cheese or can be substituted for goat cheese. Use winter radishes to make a salad or slaw with apples.

Here’s an idea for incorporating roasted spiced chick peas into a vegetable bowl dinner– where any root could substitute for potatoes.

WEEK 3

A soup with parsnips, either chicken or vegetable

Butternut squash lasagna with celery root salad. The lasagna can be made vegan with cashew “cheese” and non-dairy béchamel.

Turnip and potato curry, served with spicy carrots coins and millet. Make enough millet to have leftovers for black bean burgers.

If you cooked and froze black beans and sweet potatoes earlier, black bean sweet potato burgers will come together quickly.

I plan to try one of Martha Rose Shulman’s rice bowl recipes that includes marinated tofu and baked sweet and sour cabbage. I’m sure green cabbage would be equally good.

Mujadara (lentils and rice with caramelized onions); a slightly more complicated version; or one-pot mujadara with leeks and greens. A yogurt salad with beets or carrots would be nice with this.

 

Mushroom barley soup:

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup whole barley

1 lb white or cremini (or any other fresh) mushrooms, sliced or chopped (I like smaller pieces)

2 Tb olive oil

1-2 Tb butter or earth balance

~6 medium carrots, ¼-1/2″ dice

1 large onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

½-1 tsp dried thyme

2-3 Tb white wine or sherry (optional)

2 Tb soy sauce

Salt and pepper

water

Soak dried mushrooms in boiling water to cover (1.5-2 cups)

Put barley and 3 cups water in a pan, bring to boil, cover and simmer. While it’s simmering you can chop and saute the vegetables.

Saute fresh mushrooms in a wide soup pot in a small amount olive oil and butter or earth balance on fairly high heat. Sprinkle s&p. Let them sit in the pan to release liquid and keep cooking until pan is dry and mushrooms browned. Remove from pan and set aside. While the mushrooms are browning I chop the onions and garlic. While the onions are sauteeing, I cop the carrots.

After setting aside the browned mushrooms, add a bit more oil and saute onions with pinch of S&P on med high heat.

When soft and starting to brown add carrots and garlic, more s&p.

Meanwhile line a fine mesh strainer with a paper towel or cheesecloth or coffee filter, wet it with water, and strain dried mushrooms and their cooking liquid, squeeze all liquid out AND SAVE. Rinse mushrooms further under cold water and mince. Add to pan, along with ½-1 tsp dried thyme (crumble to dust as much as possible between fingers).

When carrots softened if desired could deglaze pan with a few Tb white wine or sherry.

Add liquid from soaked dried mushrooms, soy sauce, the barley and its cooking water (at whatever degree of doneness it happens to be at this point), and another 2-4 cups water, depending on how soupy you like your soup.

Continue cooking until barley is soft, season to taste with salt and pepper. Freezes well and is delicious over next few days, may want to add more liquid as barley continues to absorb it.

 

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