Weekly Main Course Recipes:  April 12, 2013

One:  Pan-Fried Salmon, Warm White Bean Salad                           Time: 25 minutes
    Salmon cooks quickly and is done when just barely opaque, and starting to flake easily.

2 salmon fillets, 12oz (350gr) total weight
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups (15oz, 450gr can, drained) white beans
1 small - medium carrot
2 shallots
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Greek olives
1 tsp basil
1 tbs oil
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2oz (60gr) spinach

The salmon: Heat the oil and vinegar over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add salmon, skin side up, and sauté 3 minutes.  Turn, skin side down, and sauté another 3 - 5 minutes, until done. Slip the salmon off the skin and serve.
The Salad:  Roughly chop the shallots, carrot and celery.  You should have about 1/3 cup of each.  Mince the garlic.  In a medium skillet over medium heat, sauté the carrot, celery, shallots and garlic in olive oil until tender, 5 - 8 minutes. 
Pit olives if needed; cut in half.  Open, drain and rinse beans.  Add olives, beans, basil and vinegar to skillet.  Heat through.  Serve salad on a bed of spinach, next to the salmon.

Two:   Roasted Cornish Games Hens (Poussin)    Preparation, 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.

Three:   Stir-Fried Chicken with Snow Peas     Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
   A lighter, fresher stir-fry, with snow peas, cherry tomatoes and water chestnuts.  Add the tomatoes, left whole, at the last minute.  They'll cook very quickly.

2 chicken breasts
4oz (125gr) snow peas (mangetout)
4oz (125gr) cherry or grape tomatoes, any color
4oz (125gr) water chestnuts  1 can or tin
1 onion 
2 ribs celery, optional
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced, fresh ginger
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena)
1 tbs sherry
1 tbs water
Brown rice

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.  Mince garlic. Peel a small section of ginger, cut into thin slices, then mince. Cut onion into quarters, lengthwise, then slice thinly.  Trim snow peas and cut in half at an angle.  Open and drain water chestnuts, slice.  Slice celery at an angle.  
Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, snow peas, water chestnuts, celery and sauté 5 minutes longer.  Remove vegetables to a plate.  Add chicken to skillet and sauté 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce, stock, cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
Uncover, return vegetables to skillet and increase heat.  
To finish: Dissolve cornstarch in sherry and water. Add to skillet and stir until thickened.  Add the cherry tomatoes and stir well.  Remove from heat, cover and let rest for a minutes or two to finish the tomatoes.
Spoon over rice and serve.

Brown Rice

1/2 cup brown rice, quick cooking
1 tsp butter
1 cup chicken stock

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Add rice and sauté, stirring for 1 - 2 minutes.  Add stock or water.  Cook rice for length of time on package.  When done fluff with fork and serve.

Four:  Pasta with Ham, Spinach and Mascarpone  Preparation, cooking time: 25 minutes
    Barely cooked spinach and cherry tomatoes, makes this similar to a salad. It's a light pasta dinner, perfect for spring.

10oz (300gr) ham, baked, deli style
6oz (175gr) spinach
3 green garlic   substitute 3 green onions and 1 clove garlic
4oz (125gr) cherry tomatoes,   about 1 cup
1 tsp basil
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions. 
Trim green garlic and slice, using as much of the green tops as reasonable or trim and slice green onion and mince garlic. Cut ham into bite-size pieces. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Prepare the spinach, wash and dry if needed, and tear any that are huge. 
In a large skillet heat oil.  Add green garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add ham and sauté 3 minutes longer. Add stock, basil, mascarpone and cook, stirring, until heated through and well combined.  Add cherry tomatoes, drained pasta  and cook for 2 minutes.  Add spinach, toss to combine and slightly wilt the spinach.  Serve. 

Five:  Swiss-Style Pork Chops     Preparation and cooking time:  35 minutes  (or 60 minutes)
    Pork chops, smothered in tomatoes, peppers and onions, in the style of old-fashioned Swiss Steak, become fork tender and chock-a-block with flavor. 

2 - 3 boneless pork chops, (12oz, 350gr total weight)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper  
1 onion
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
15oz (450gr) tomatoes with juice 
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce  

Heat oil in a heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid.  Add chops and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Roughly chop pepper, celery and onion.  Mince garlic.  Move chops to one side (stack them up) and add vegetables to pan.  Sauté, stirring, for 1 - 2 minutes, just to soften slightly.  Arrange chops on vegetables.  Open tomatoes and drain juice onto chops.  Roughly chop tomatoes and add to pan along with Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.   Uncover, cook down a bit if you like, and serve.  

Note:  For really tender chops, braise for another 30 minutes or cook in a crock pot.

Six:   Spicy Turkey with Peas and Peppers        Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
    Cumin and ginger add a bit of spice to this dish, the cherry tomatoes and peas a bit of color.

10oz (300gr) turkey cutlets or tenderloin   or you can use chicken
1 onion
1/2 green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs minced ginger about 4 thin slices
4oz (125gr) cherry tomatoes, about 1 cup
4oz (120gr) peas,  about 3/4 cup, frozen, no sauce
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water

Thinly slice onion.  Peel, mince garlic and ginger.  Cut green pepper into thick strips, then cut in half.  Cut tomatoes in half.  Remove peas from freezer and set aside until needed. Cut turkey into strips or bite-size pieces.  
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.   Add onion, pepper to skillet and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, cumin and stir-fry another 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, add turkey and stir-fry until cooked through. Add chicken stock, peas, cover and simmer 5 minutes, until peas are hot.  Add cherry tomatoes and heat through, about 1 minute.  Stir in cornstarch / water mixture.  Serve over Almond Rice.

Almond Rice                                                    Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes
     Cinnamon, cumin and almonds give this rice a Moroccan flavor.

1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon,
2 tbs sliced almonds

Put rice, stock, cumin and cinnamon into a small saucepan.  Cover and simmer until rice is done, about 15 minutes.  Fluff rice, add almonds and serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Pimiento Soup with Mascarpone
Sautéed Salmon with Warm White Bean Salad
Barley with Green Garlic and Chives
Two:  Spinach, Strawberry and Almond Salad
Roast Cornish Hens with Herbs and Red Wine
Roasted Potatoes with Green Garlic and Mascarpone
Asparagus, Fried in Butter
Three:  Stir-Fried Chicken with Snow Peas
Four:    Pasta with Ham, Spinach and Mascarpone
Five:  Swiss-Style Pork Chops
Sweet Potato Chips
Sautéed Mangetout with Mushrooms
Six:  Spicy Turkey with Peas and Peppers
Almond Rice

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