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Menu Plan and Recipes

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spinach and strawberry salad
Spinach and Strawberry Salad

hens in red wine
Roast Cornish Hens

potatoes mascarpone
Roasted Potatoes with Green Garlic & Mascarpone

asparagus in butter
Sautéed Asparagus in
Butter and Olive Oil

 

Menu Plan for the week of April 12, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

Spinach, Strawberry and Almond Salad
Roast Cornish Hens with Herbs and Red Wine
Roasted Potatoes with Green Garlic and Mascarpone
Asparagus, Fried in Butter

Cooking time:  60 minutes for menu     Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       The Spinach and Strawberry Salad has been popular in the US for awhile - I finally decided to try it.  Delicious.  The hens can be done on the barbecue grill if weather is nice, for about the same amount of time. The little hens I get are just 16oz (450gr) each perfect single serving.

Spinach, Strawberry and Almond Salad          Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
    This is an easy salad with the colors of the Italian flag and the flavors of spring.  

4oz (120gr) fresh spinach
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Honey Vinaigrette

Wash spinach if necessary, tear and put into a large salad bowl.   Add vinaigrette and gently toss. 
Arrange spinach on 2 plates.  Slice strawberries if large, or cut in half, add to spinach.  Top with sliced almonds and serve.

Vinaigrette 

1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
3 tbs good olive oil

Put vinegar, honey, mustard into a small bowl and whisk well.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.  Vinaigrette should be thick and well blended, no visible oil.

Roasted Cornish Games Hens (Poussin)      Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
    Small, perfectly roasted hens make an elegant presentation and are perfect individual servings (with maybe a snack leftover).  If yours are larger birds, one may be enough, (you can split it in half before roasting) or fix two and have cold chicken/game hen for lunch tomorrow!  Remember to put bowls for bones on the table - and wet towels for fingers.

2 Cornish game hens or poussin (little chickens)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 (4oz, 125ml) cup red wine
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried sage

Wash hens and pat dry with paper towels. Mix 1 tbs oil with lemon juice and 1 tsp each of the herbs. Divide herb mixture and put half into each of the hens. Tie legs close and bend wings around and under the back - so it looks like they are lying there with their arms akimbo. It keeps them from flapping and gives the hen something to rest on. Lay them on a rack in a shallow baking pan. 
Mix the remaining oil, herbs, mustard and red wine and brush on hens. Put into 400F (200C). Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with wine mixture, until done.   I recommend a meat thermometer.

Roasted Potatoes / Green Garlic, Mascarpone   Preparation, cooking time: 35 minutes
  
Roasted potatoes are finished with green garlic and creamy Mascarpone cheese for a slightly decadent spring dish.

2 medium potatoes
4 tsp oil, divided
3 green garlic   substitute 3 green onions or 1/2 leek and 1 clove garlic
1/4 cup mascarpone

Slice potatoes in half the long way, then in half again.  Then slice in half or thirds the short way.  Put 2 tsp of oil into large bowl, add potatoes and toss, coating thoroughly.  Arrange potatoes on baking sheet with rim (I use my trusty, round pizza pan) Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. 
Trim green garlic and slice, using as much of the green tops as reasonable or trim and slice green onion / leek and mince garlic. Mix remaining 2 tsp oil, green garlic (or onion and garlic) and mascarpone in large bowl. When potatoes are done, add to bowl and mix well.  Either serve immediately - or put in an oven-safe serving dish and keep warm in a low (200F, 100C) oven for up to 15 minutes.

Sautéed Asparagus in Butter and Oil      Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
 
 Asparagus is one of the long awaited signs of spring.  Most often steamed, occasionally roasted or grilled, I have discovered simple frying to be quick, and leave the asparagus a beautiful green color and full of flavor. 

12oz (360gr) asparagus
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
sea salt
Seasoning:  freshly cracked pepper, snipped chives or other fresh herb

Snap off ends of asparagus.  If white use vegetable peeler and peel the bottom half of stalk.  Put asparagus into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add butter, oil and sauté over medium heat until starting to brown and blister, 8 - 10 minutes.   Sprinkle with salt, remove and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 60 minutes for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, small bowl, large bowl (used 2X) whisk,
baking dish for hens, baking sheet, medium skillet,
oven-safe serving dish, foil

Turn oven on, 400F (200C), arrange 2 shelves
Prepare hens
Mix herbs, lemon, oil, spoon into hens, tie legs
Mix oil, herbs, mustard, wine, brush hens
Roast hens
    20 minute break
Baste hens
Cut potatoes, toss with oil, lay on sheet, roast
Trim, slice green garlic or onion/garlic
Mix oil, green garlic, mascarpone, set aside
Prepare spinach
Hull strawberries, slice

Make vinaigrette
Trim asparagus
Baste hens
     Wee break until potatoes are done
Remove potatoes, add to bowl with mascarpone, stir
Turn oven off
Remove hens, cover with foil, let rest
Add vinaigrette to spinach, toss well
Arrange spinach on 2 plates
Top with strawberries, almonds
Sauté asparagus
Put potatoes in oven (should have cooled a bit)
Serve salad - mind the asparagus once or twice
    Done?
Finish asparagus
Remove potatoes
Serve everything
Don't forget the finger bowls....