Weekly Main Course Recipes:  April 5, 2013

One:  Sautéed Scallops with Tomato Cream    Preparation and cooking time: 10 minutes
     The scallops are finished with a light, tomato cream, which nicely balances their richness. Scallops release a lot of liquid when cooked, so be careful not to crowd. 

10oz (360gr) scallops
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) tomato sauce
1/4 (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1/2 tsp basil
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) Greek yogurt

Rinse scallops and pat dry.  Roughly chop shallots, mince garlic.  Heat 2 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 tsp paprika, shallots, garlic and sauté until shallots are tender.  Remove and put into a blender along with tomato sauce, wine and basil.  Purée until smooth. 
Heat remaining 1 tsp oil and 1/2 tsp paprika in the same skillet over medium high heat.   Add scallops and quickly sauté, turning once, until opaque. Remove scallops and keep warm.  Drain any liquid from skillet.  
Add tomato sauce to skillet and heat through.  Stir in yogurt and spoon onto a small platter.  Top with scallops and serve.

Two:   Pan-Seared Steaks, Golden Onions      Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
     Depending on the cut of meat you use, you can either serve this whole, on each plate or thinly sliced on the bias and served from a platter (a flank steak or skirt steak is best sliced).  Garnish with onions.

1 - 2 steaks, 12oz (375gr) total weight
1 onion
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs olive oil

Peel and slice onion. Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Add onion and sauté until starting to brown, about 15 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, mustard and heat through.  Remove onions to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Increase heat to medium-high and add steak.  Quickly cook steaks for 2 - 4 minutes per side depending on type, thickness and personal preference. 
Serve steaks, sliced or not, with onions on the side.

Three:   Risotto with Feta, Ham, Peas, Carrots    Preparation, cooking time: 30 minutes
    The peas give a lovely bright color to this risotto.  Feta doesn't melt like other cheeses, adding a twist to the dish.

2/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto - Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
2 1/4 cups (18oz, 540ml) chicken stock
1/2 onion   other half for the condimenti
1 tbs butter
3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) Parmesan cheese - freshly grated

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.  Finely chop onion.  In medium saucepan heat butter; add 1/2 of the onion and sauté until transparent then add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 - 3 minutes until rice has white center.  Add white wine and stir. 
Start condimenti. 
When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir.  (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.)  When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.  Before you add the last 1/3 cup taste a few kernels of rice.  They should be just 'al dente' - slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.  If more stock is needed add it 1 tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.  At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff - there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it's shape on a plate. 
Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, including the feta, stir well, spoon into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.  It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff. 
The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon - not a fork.


6oz (180gr) deli or baked ham
3/4 cup (4oz (120gr) frozen peas, (no sauce or butter)
1 medium carrot
1/2 onion
2 tsp olive oil
3oz (90gr) feta cubes 

Chop onion.  Peel carrot and cut into 'pea' size pieces.  Cut ham into bite-size pieces.  Heat oil in medium skillet.   Add onion, carrot and sauté until tender, 6 - 8 minutes. Add ham and sauté 5 minutes longer.  Add peas and 1/4 cup of the chicken stock for the risotto.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until peas are thawed and carrots cooked through. Turn heat to low and keep warm until needed.

Four:  Chicken Thighs in Wine and Vinegar       Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
     I skinned the thighs, but left the bone.  They are braised in a flavorful white wine, Balsamic vinegar and herb sauce.

4 chicken thighs
1 onion
2 cloves garlic,
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
3 tbs Balsamic wine vinegar
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Skin the thighs by simply pulling it off.  You may need to cut in a few places.  Discard skin.
Finely chop onion and mince garlic.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken thighs and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.  Add onion, garlic and sauté 5 minutes longer.  Add stock, wine, vinegar, tomato paste, herbs and stir to combine.  Turn the thighs once or twice to coat with sauce. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. 
To finish: Remove thighs to a small platter. Dissolve cornstarch in water.   Increase heat under sauce, add cornstarch and stir until thickened and clear.  Spoon over chicken thighs and serve.

Five:  Chicken with Spinach, Red Onion & Pepper reparation, cooking time: 30 minutes
    Bright red pepper and sweet red onion add color to the spinach, all cooked lightly, more of a salad than a hot vegetable.  I cut the breasts in half, the short way.  They cook a bit faster and it makes a nicer presentation.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 red onion
1/2 red pepper
6oz (180gr) spinach
1/2 tsp paprika
4 tsp oil
1/2 lemon
1/3 cup shredded cheese

Slice onion and pepper.  Pick through the spinach, discarding any wilted or damaged leaves.  Wash and spin dry if necessary. Juice the lemon, picking out pips.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet.  Add paprika and sauté 30 seconds.  Add onion, pepper and sauté until crisp tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Cover the skillet, reduce heat and cook until chicken is done, another 5 - 7 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and cover to melt.  Remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
The finish:  Return pepper and onion to skillet with 2 tsp more olive oil.  Heat through.  Add spinach, lemon juice and sauté just until spinach wilts a bit 1 - 2 minutes.  Put vegetables on individual plates, top with chicken and serve.

Six:   Spanish Pork with Peppers and Olives   Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
    Spain, like most countries with a warm climate, grows and eats lots of peppers.  This calls for bell pepper, but use hotter if you prefer. And, of course, there olives are everywhere!

1 pork tenderloin, 12oz (350gr)
1/2 red bell pepper
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 medium carrots
1/2 cup olives, pimento stuffed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) chicken stock
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbs water

Slice onion about 1/8" thick (.3cm).   Cut pepper into slices, 1/4" thick  (.6cm), then cut slices in half.  Cut carrots into matchsticksMince garlic. 
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add onion, pepper, carrot and sauté 8 - 10 minutes.   Add garlic and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove vegetables and set aside. 
Slice pork into rounds about 1/2" (1cm) thick.   Add to skillet and sauté 3 - 4 minutes per side, or until done.  Cut olives in half.  Return vegetables to pan, add olives, herbs, wine, stock and vinegar.  Stir to combine.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.  Uncover, remove pork to small platter.  Increase heat under skillet.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir to thicken.  Arrange vegetables next to pork and serve.  

Suggested menus:

One:  Asparagus Mimosa
Sautéed Scallops in Tomato Cream
Basmati Red Pepper Pilaf
Crisp Sautéed Sunchokes
Two:  Artichokes with Creamy Dipping Sauce
Steak with Golden Onions
Parsley New Potatoes
Asparagus with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
Three:  Risotto with Feta, Ham, Peas and Carrots
Fresh Strawberries
Four:    Chicken Thighs in Wine and Vinegar
Sautéed Potatoes and Carrots
Five:  Chicken / Spinach, Red Onion & Red Pepper
Quinoa Pilaf
Six:  Spanish Pork Tenderloin
Pasta with Green Garlic and Herbs

Shopping List for This Week              Find all side dish recipes in index on Member's Page

Get 7 Dinner Menus, Recipes, Shopping List each Thursday by e-mail: