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Samosas, with Peanut Sauce

sesame salmon
Sesame-Crusted Salmon

asian orzo
Oriental Orzo

butternut squash
Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style

Menu Plan for the week of Oct. 25, 2013: Friday's Recipes

Samosas, with Peanut Sauce
Sesame-Crusted Salmon
Oriental Orzo
Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style

Cooking time:  35 minutes for menu          Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     I bought a jar of Chinese Mixed Vegetables for the Samosas... You might find them called Chop Suey vegetables.  I wanted the variety but not a large quantity. The Samosas are folded and baked like the Spanokopitta from last week. Remember to thaw phyllo dough earlier if needed.

Samosas, with Peanut Sauce                               Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes
     To the purists, these would be fake Samosas, but we liked them.  True Samosas are Indian, usually hot and usually deep-fried. Add hot sauce to the filling if you like.

4 sheets phyllo dough
14oz (420gr) mixed Chinese vegetables
1 tsp soy sauce
olive oil
sesame oil
Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs chicken stock
2 tbs sherry

Drain the vegetables well and put into a bowl.  Add the soy sauce and stir well.
Remove 1 sheet of pastry and re-wrap the rest.  It's important to keep filo covered at all times or it will dry out very quickly.  Lay the sheet out flat and lightly brush all over with olive oil.  Fold phyllo in half the long way.  Brush top layer with oil.   Take one corner and lightly fold it so that the corner touches the opposite side.  Do not actually make the fold.  We just want to determine the placement of the filling.  It will form a triangle.  Unfold it and place one fourth of the filling on the half of the triangle that will be the 'bottom'.  Now make the fold, taking the corner to the opposite side.  Continue to fold over and over, maintaining the triangle, like a flag.  (It will make sense when you are doing it)  You will end up with a nicely sealed triangle.  Brush the top and bottom with sesame oil and place on a baking sheet. 
Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and filling, making 4 Samosas in all.  Bake at 400F (200C) for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Peanut Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.  
To serve: Divide the Peanut Sauce in half and put into small bowls or on small plates.  Add two Samosas to each plate and serve.

Sesame Crusted Salmon                               Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes  
 The sesame crust adds just the right amount of crunch to these flavorful salmon filets; roasting keeps the crust nicely in place.

2 salmon fillets or steaks, 12oz total weight (360gr total)
2 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame or walnut oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and brown sugar in a small bowl, whisking until sugar and ginger are dissolved.   Put salmon on a baking sheet with a lip.  Divide soy mixture and spoon over salmon, coating evenly.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each filet, pressing them in lightly.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 15 - 17 minutes, depending on thickness.  Salmon will be done when it flakes easily, slightly pink in the center is fine.  The sesame coated top should be a golden brown when done.  Remove and serve.

Note:  For easy clean up cover pan with foil first.  This is especially nice if you are using fillets with the skin on.  You can carefully lift the salmon off the skin to serve, leaving the skin on the foil.  Then wrap the whole mess up and toss.

Oriental Orzo                                                            Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
   This is so easy to make, put everything in the pan and cook, yet the flavors are complex and pair well with roasted salmon or chicken with an Asian flavor.

1/2 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups (10oz, 300ml) chicken stock
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil - or walnut oil
2 tsp sesame seeds

Put orzo, brown sugar, soy sauce and stock in a small pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat.  Turn heat to low and simmer until done, stirring occasionally, 15 - 20 minutes.  All stock will be absorbed.  Stir in sesame oil and seeds and serve.

Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style    Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes
     Butternut squash sautéed with onion and soy sauce, another simple preparation for this savory fall vegetable.

12oz (360gr) butternut squash  2 - 3 cups small chunks, use the 'bowl' end
1/2 onion
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame or walnut oil

Slice butternut squash, (.5", 1.25cm) then cut into bite-size pieces.  Roughly chop onion.  Heat oils and soy sauce in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add squash, onions and sauté 15 minutes, until squash and onions are nicely browned. Serve.

Note:  To clean butternut squash first peel it, using a potato/vegetable peeler.  If it's large (typically) cut it in half between the 'neck' and 'bowl' ends.  Then cut those in half the 'long' way.  Scoop the seeds out of the round end and discard.  I use the neck end for uniform pieces and the bowl end for soups and smaller pieces.

Cooking Schedule: 35 minutes
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
medium skillet,  small saucepan, 2 baking sheets,
2 small bowls, pastry brush

Thaw phyllo dough if needed
Turn oven on 400F (200C), arrange 2 shelves
Peel, clean butternut squash
Cut butternut squash for tonight, refrigerate unused
Chop onion, refrigerate half
Open Chinese vegetables, drain well
Mix vegetables, soy sauce
Make Samosas, put on baking sheet, bake

Make Peanut Sauce
Make sauce for salmon
Put salmon on baking sheet
Top salmon with sauce, sesame seeds, bake
Heat oils, soy sauce in skillet
Add butternut squash, onions, sauté
Make orzo
Remove Samosas, plate and serve
     Interrupt yourself once to check orzo, squash
Finish squash, orzo
Remove salmon

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