The egg dishes were easy to prepare and added variety to our weekend breakfast extravaganzas. (Our timelines do not favor innovation on weekdays!) We were especially fond of the Green Gulch Special, named for the farm that supplies Greens Restaurant’s fresh produce. This delightful egg scramble includes shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and peppery watercress with seasoning by cilantro, ginger, sesame, and soy sauce. We also really enjoyed the Mexican Scrambled Eggs with Tortillas and Smoked Mozzarella Cheese.
The Corn Bread, Banana-Coconut Bread, and Apricot-Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake delighted our brunch guests. We served the Banana-Coconut Bread with honey-infused cream chese. It may have been a bit calorie rich, but what a way to go!
We’re scone lovers, but we found the effort involved in making them from scratch wasn’t up to par. Frankly, it’s hard to compete with the variety, freshness, and cost of the scones that we can get at the Beaverton Farmer’s Market.
The pancake recipes were wonderful. Corn pancakes with poached apricots and toasted pecans proved especially tasty.
When my father retired in his middle 60s, he used his leisure time to pursue interests for which he had never previously had the time. Among such pursuits was perfecting the art of baking the perfect loaves of whole wheat bread. My folks enjoyed having toast with butter and jam in the morning, and Dad’s creations were welcome additions to their routine.
Unfortunately, neither the bread baking passion nor the talent appears to have transcended the generational gap. I was faithful to my commitment to prepare all of the recipes in the Fields of Greens cookbook, but my breads did not rise to the level of my father’s standards of excellence. We enjoyed the end products with generous helpings of butter, but it’s unlikely that I’ll repeat the experience.
I will miss the smell of freshly baked bread. It makes the whole house feel warm and inviting.
Sourdough Corn Rye
Viennese Five-Grain Bread
Cracked Wheat Bread
Focaccia Bread with Olives and Fresh Herbs
Though we typically don’t include sandwiches in our diet, we enjoyed every single recipe in this cookbook. They’re really tasty and easy to prepare.
Greens Restaurant prides itself on the innovative use of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. All of this freshness finds full expression in the wealth of salad recipes in Fields of Greens.
The Leafy Greens recipes leverage all kinds of lettuces – romaine, radicchio, arugula, chicory, Belgian endive, watercress, escarole, and spinach, to name a few. They’re paired with an assortment of vegetables and tossed in a wonderful collection of vinaigrette dressings. While I’m unlikely to make exact replicas of these dishes in the future, I’ll keep the dressings in our salad line-up. My favorites: Spinach Salad with Tangerines, Red Onions, and Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette and the Figs and Melon with Orange Vinaigrette.
The beans and grains salads combine the lightness of the grains with flavorful beans and seasoned dressings. The Spicy Black Beans with Chilies and Lime will be a staple in our household.
We also enjoyed the marinated vegetable salads. The Spring Vegetables with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette tops our list.
Beans and Grains
I love eating hot soup on a cold Fall or Winter evening. So I was delighted to be introduced to a whole new set of recipes to warm the cockles of my heart. I highly recommend going to the effort of preparing homemade soup stock (for which there are several outstanding recipes). It provides a fresh and flavorful base that makes each soup really savory. Where tomatoes are included, I use fresh versus canned. The latter adds a flavoring that overwhelms the subtlety of the other vegetables and herbs. All of the soup stocks are low sodium, and the remnants are worthy additions to our compost pile.
My favorites include: Potato-Corn Chowder (using fresh ears of corn), Winter Greens Soup (using kale, chard, and spinach – a.k.a., super foods), Butter Squash Soup with Apple Confit, and Mushroom Soup with Caramelized Onions. FYI: It takes a bit of effort to prepare the caramelized onions, but the resulting mushroom soup is delightful!
I am a BIG FAN of the Annie Somerville’s curries and stews. Admittedly, they’re rather intimidating at first blush. For my favorite recipe – Summer Vegetables with Red Curry – the process starts by making a lemongrass soup stock from scratch. The stock is then used when simmering sweet red peppers, chilies, coconut milk, and spices to create the red curry. After slicing, dicing, and sautéing a host of fresh vegetables with toasted spices, the curry gets added to the mix and does its magic. (FYI – I’ve learned to make the time pass pleasantly by listening to great music while cooking.) The end result is something of which dreams are made.
The Winter Vegetable Pie is another “high maintenance” dish that is well worth the effort. One makes a butter and flour roux on the stovetop to which a reduction of homemade mushroom stock is added gradually. This sauce provides rich flavoring for a collective of vegetables which includes celery root, dried porcini mushrooms, white mushroom, fennel, carrots, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. This mixture fills a pie dish and is capped with flaky tart dough. While each slice proved a bit runny on the plate, it hardly affected our enjoyment.
A word of advice when baking the Winter Venegatble Pie: Place a cookie sheet under the pie pan. The filling may ooze out the sides and start burning on the bottom of the oven.
For a less labor-intensive meal, I’d recommend the Southern Rio Stew.
The Tomato-Basil Tart with Smoked Mozzarella Cheese was our first foray into tart making. I’d never made tart dough before, so I thought I’d have a real issue pulling it off. Fortunately, my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer did most of the work. While my rolling pin skills leave much to be desired, the end result was quite tasty if not the aesthetic masterpiece for which I’d hoped!
We weren’t high on the fritters. The recipes are well-conceived, but it’s just not a style of cooking that we find particularly appealing. That being said, our favorite dish was the O Konomi Yaki with a ginger, sesame oil and soy dipping sauce.
I’ve never cooked with filo dough and felt quite intimidated by the prospect of working with it. I also feared that it would be difficult to find. But, lo and behold, there it was in my WalMart Neighborhood Market!
The filo sheets are quite delicate and need to be processed with all due haste before they dry out. I found it quite useful to have an abundance of sheets so as not to worry about the ones that tore due to my clumsy handling. (BTW – I got better at working with it over time.) The filo casseroles were absolutely delicious and real crowd pleasers. They made me look as though I knew my way around a gourmet kitchen.
The turnovers proved a bit too rich and starchy for our blood. We prefer more filling and less pastry. The enchiladas were tasty but unremarkable. Quesadillas are always a good idea!
As an aficionado of take-out and frozen pizzas, the homemade fare was a welcome challenge. Annie Somerville’s pizza dough recipe is outstanding and came out perfectly every time. (My presentation could use improvement, but the taste and texture were great.) We invested in the freshest ingredients we could find as well as top-quality cheese. Both really made a difference in the end products.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using gorgonzola cheese on a pizza – an ingredient that would not otherwise have gone on my pizza radar but for the challenge of preparing every recipe.
The Mexican Pizza was our favorite. It looks slightly odd, but it tasted great.