Weekly Main Course Recipes:  August 9, 2013

One:  Grilled Scallops on Avocado Sauce      Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes
   With the sweet scallops and creamy avocado, this is a rich dish.... I served fewer scallops than usual.  Use a grill pan or basket for easy handling and be careful not to overcook.

10oz (300gr) sea scallops (large scallops)   substitute shrimp or firm white fish
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbs lime juice
2 tbs oil
Avocado Sauce:
1 small avocado
3 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
2 tbs lime juice
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) chicken stock
3 tbs snipped chives  

Mix oil, cumin and lime juice.  Add scallops and stir to coat. Grill over direct heat 3 - 5 minutes per side, just until they are opaque.  
Note:  Could also be quickly sautéed in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat for about the same amount of time.
Avocado Sauce
Purée avocado, yogurt, lime juice and chicken stock in a blender until smooth.  Stir in chives.
Note: Wrap remaining avocado half in cling film, place, cut side down, on a plate and refrigerate.
To serve: Divide Avocado Sauce and spoon onto 2 plates.  Arrange scallops on Sauce and serve.

Two:   Grilled Steak with Spicy Rub                       Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
     We used to get 'London Broils' when we lived in the U.S. that were great on the grill.  Just a light sprinkle of seasoning is all they needed - and maybe some bottled Barbecue sauce if you're so inclined.  We like steaks medium rare.  On a hot grill they can cook very fast - so be mindful!

2 steaks, 6oz (180gr) each whatever cut looks good
1 tsp paprika  smoky would be good... Or hot if you have it
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all dry ingredients and rub on both sides of meat.  Grill on barbecue over high heat 3 - 5 minutes per side.  If you like rare, remove after three minutes per side, make a small slit in one and check.   If not done to your liking return for another 1 - 2 minutes a side.  Remove from heat and serve.  Cooking times will vary according to the type and thickness of meat you choose.

Three:   Tomato and Chevre Tart                Preparation and cooking time:  60 minutes
   I use a brown rice crust for this; it's healthier.  But you could certainly use a proper pastry or pie crust if you prefer.  Instead of Prosciutto you could substitute a bit of regular, baked ham or smoked turkey.  And any cheese would work, just don't use too much.... Use the aged goat cheese that comes wit h a thin edible rind.

1/2 cup quick-cooking brown rice  
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1 egg
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded cheese
1 tsp olive oil
4oz (120gr)  chevre, Brie  or other semi-soft cheese
3 - 4oz (90 - 120gr) Prosciutto or other dry-cured ham
2 tomatoes
3 eggs
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek or plain yogurt
1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed

The crust:  Cook rice in stock according to package instructions.  When done, spread out on a plate for 5 minutes to allow to cool a bit.
Lightly oil a 10" (25 cm) pie or quiche plate.  Lightly whisk 1 egg.  Add 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the cooked rice.  Mix well.  Pat into the quiche plate or pie pan, working it up the sides as best you can.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 5 minutes.  Remove.
The filling: Slice cheese 1/4" thick.   Slice tomatoes about 3/8 " thick, (.3cm).  Tear or cut Prosciutto into large pieces. Leave basil leaves whole.  Whisk eggs and yogurt together.
To assemble: Arrange sliced cheese on crust.   Top with Prosciutto and basil leaves.  Pour egg mixture over as evenly as you can.  Top with tomatoes; do not overlap.  Bake for 30 minutes, until center has set.  Remove and let rest 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.
Note:  When baking quiches or tarts, I put the dish on a sturdy baking tray, before pouring in the egg mixture, for easier handling.

Four:  Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honey Mustard Glaze               Time:  30 minutes
    The chicken breasts are first marinated in lemon, oil and garlic, then grilled and basted with a lemon, honey and mustard mix.  Since we are using the reserved marinade as a basis for the basting sauce resist the temptation to taste it.  And stop basting a few minutes before the chicken is done, to finish cooking the sauce.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) lemon juice   preferably fresh
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs honey
2 tbs Dijon-style mustard

In small bowl mix lemon juice, oil, herbs and garlic powder.  Place chicken breasts in a dish with sides and pour marinade over.  Let marinate 10 - 15 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove from marinade, reserving marinade. 
Pour reserved marinade into a small bowl.  Add honey, mustard and whisk to combine.  Cook chicken on barbecue grill for 7 - 10 minutes per side, or until done, basting with marinade sauce.  Could also be sautéed in a nonstick skillet for same amount of time.  Discard any leftover sauce.  Serve.

Five:  Cobb Pasta Salad                                        Preparation and cooking time:   25 minutes
    This is not a traditional pasta salad. With lots of vegetables and big chunks of ham, cheese and egg, no one will mistake this for a small side dish.  I didn't thoroughly cool the beans.  As I wanted them to retain a bit of warmth I just rinsed lightly.

8oz (240gr) ham or smoked turkey, thick slice    get it at the deli counter
6oz (180gr) green beans   I used flat, Italian or runner beans
2oz (60gr) cheese   Cheddar, Colby
2 eggs, hard-boiled
1 avocado
1/2 orange bell pepper 
1/2 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes
10 - 12 basil leaves
1 1/4 cup pasta, bite-size, fusilli, elbow, (about 3.5oz, 100gr)
White Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
3 tbs salad olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done, drain.
Boil eggs
Top and tail beans... cut off the ends.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths (4cm) Bring a medium saucepan half full of water to a boil over high heat.  Add beans and blanch for 4 minutes.  Remove, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. 
Slice pepper, about 1/4" thick (.5cm) then cut slices in half.  Slice ham or turkey and cheese into large, bite-size chunks.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Cut avocado into large chunks. When eggs are done, cool, peel and cut into chunks.  Tear large basil leaves in half. 
Make vinaigrette : Whisk vinegar,and mustard.  Slowly whisk in oil and whisk until it emulsifies.
To assemble:
  Put drained pasta in a large bowl and add vinaigrette.  Toss well to combine.  Add ham, peppers, tomato and beans, toss well.  Add cheese, egg, basil and avocado.  Stir gently, just to combine.  Serve.

Six:   Zucchini (Courgette) Stuffed with Couscous, Sausage         Time:  45 minutes
     The zucchini are partially cooked while the stuffing is made, so they only need to be baked to finish - and melt the cheese.   

1/2 cup couscous
3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken broth
6oz (180gr) sausage, removed from casing
1 onion
1/2 orange pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) tomato sauce
1 large zucchini (14oz, 420gr) or 2 smaller
3/4 cup (3oz 90gr) shredded cheese, any flavor

The zucchini: Cut zucchini in half the long way.  With a small spoon scrape out the seeds and flesh from the center forming long boat-like shells.  Leave 1/4" (.6cm) at either end to hold in the filling.  Put them in a baking dish, single layer, cover with foil and bake, 400F (200C), for 20 minutes. Remove and keep covered until ready to fill.
The couscous: Heat chicken broth to a boil. Put couscous in a bowl, pour chicken stock over and cover.  Do not stir.  Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
The stuffing:  While zucchini bakes: Chop onion and pepper.  Mince garlic.  Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chili powder, cumin, and sauté briefly.  Add onion, pepper and garlic, sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add sausage to skillet and cook, breaking it up as it browns.  Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and heat through.  Add couscous, stir to combine and remove from heat. 
The finish: Spoon filling into the zucchini shells.  Any filling that doesn't fit, just keep warm and serve on the side.  Cover zucchini with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove, uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve, leftover filling on the side.

Suggested menus:

One:  Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese (Chevre)
Grilled Scallops on Avocado Sauce
Quinoa and Green Bean Salad
  Crab Louis with Avocado Slices
Grilled Steak with Spicy Rub
French Potato Salad
Sautéed Courgette (Zucchini) with Shallots
Summer Couscous
Three:  Fresh Tomato and Chevre Tart
Cabbage Salad
Four:   Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
Grilled Potatoes and Onion
Cabbage Salad
Five:  Cobb Pasta Salad
Six:  Zucchini (Courgette) Stuffed with Couscous and Sausage

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