Weekly Main Course Recipes:  July 5, 2013

One:   Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce, Salad           Preparation, cooking time: 20 minutes
     Dill is often passed by as an herb (other than for dips) but it pairs well with fish and adds flavor to salad dressings.  There is a lot of salt on the fish, but it's brushed off before eating.

2 salmon fillets, 6oz each (180gr each)
lettuce for 2 small salads
2 tbs snipped fresh dill leaves (weed), divided
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 cup Greek or plain yogurt
2 tbs mayonnaise
5 tsp white Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs salad olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salmon:  Sprinkle 1 tbs dill evenly over salmon. Sprinkle salt on top of dill.  Cook on barbecue grill 5 - 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness. OR put on baking sheet and roast in 400 F oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness. Salmon should flake easily with fork when done but it's okay to have it still a bit pink in the center.  Remove and with a fork or table knife gently scrape the salt and dill off of the salmon.
Dill Sauce:  Mix yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, 3 tsp vinegar and remaining 1 tbs dill.  Add olive oil and whisk until combined.
Salad Dressing: Put 1 tbs Dill Sauce in another small bowl. Add 2 tsp white Balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp mustard and whisk well.  Slowly whisk in 1 tbs olive oil.
To finish:  Prepare lettuce and arrange on plates.  Lay salmon next to lettuce.  Spoon a bit of Dill Sauce next to the salmon and drizzle the dressing on the lettuce.  Serve.

Two:   Savory Beef Kebabs                                     Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
    These are best if prepared earlier in the day and allowed to soak up the flavors - plus it makes dinner a breeze!  By doing the meat and some of the vegetables separately you can cook the skewers for different times: allowing the onion to get done to your liking without overcooking the beef. 

12oz (360gr) beef loin or sirloin, cut into 1 1/2" (3.75cm) cubes
1/2 yellow, orange or red bell pepper 
1/2 green bell pepper   
1 red or sweet onion
1 small - medium zucchini (courgette) 8" (20cm)
6 - 8 mushrooms, large enough to be skewered
6 - 8 large cherry tomatoes
4 - 8 skewers, depending on length   if wood, soak in water while preparing the rest

3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs ketchup
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
Hot pepper sauce or red pepper flakes - optional  too hot for me ;)

Put wooden skewers in water to soak.
In small bowl whisk together all ingredients for marinade.  Pour over meat and let marinate for 20 - 30 minutes, or longer.  Clean mushrooms, removing stems.  Add to marinade.
Cut each half pepper into 1 1/2 " (3.75cm) squares.   Peel and cut onion into 8 wedges.  Cut zucchini into slices about 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick.
At this point you can set it all aside while the meat marinates, or assemble the skewers and allow to marinate on the skewers.
To assemble:  Remove meat and mushrooms from marinade. Put onions, zucchini and peppers in the marinade and stir to coat.
Thread meat, tomatoes and mushrooms onto half of the skewers, alternating. 
Remove vegetables from marinade and thread onions, peppers and zucchini on the remaining skewers, alternating. 
To cook:  Start to cook the vegetable-only skewers first, over indirect heat with the cover closed.  After about 7 minutes, lift cover and turn vegetables, moving over direct heat.  Add beef skewers over direct heat.  Cook for 6 - 10 minutes, or until beef is done to your liking, turning halfway through cooking time.  Vegetables should be crisp-tender.   Remove and serve with Basmati Rice or Couscous. 
Could also be cooked under the broiler (grill) for 12 - 15 minutes, or until done.

Yogurt Dipping Sauce                                                                     Time: 5 minutes  

1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp snipped fresh mint leaves (spearmint)  if you don't have any, you could use 1 tsp dried mint or leave it out
2 tsp fresh snipped chives
1 tsp fresh snipped tarragon

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve with kebabs. 

Three:   Grilled Chicken, Pepper, Avocado Salad    Preparation, cooking time: 25 minutes
   Grilled roasted peppers and onions, chicken with a barbecue flavor and a 'French' dressing for the salad.  Try to get a sweet onion: Maui or Walla Walla. 

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 red pepper or yellow pepper    or half each
1 sweet or red onion
2 tsp olive oil
1 avocado
1 carrot, optional
Lettuce for 2 main meal salads
Marinade for chicken:
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
"French" Vinaigrette:
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbs salad olive oil

Chicken:  Make marinade, pour over chicken and set aside.
Vegetables: Clean and slice the pepper into strips. Cut the onion in half and slice thickly.  Put onion and pepper into a bowl, add oil and toss well.  Cook pepper and onion in grill pan (or any old metal pie or cake tin) on barbecue grill for about 10 minutes until they are crisp-tender.  Stir once or twice. Remove from heat.
Cook chicken, 12 - 15 minutes, turning once. When done, remove and thinly slice. Vinaigrette:  Mix ketchup, vinegar and mustard. Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly. 
Salad: Prepare lettuce and put in large salad bowl.  Slice the avocado.  Slice the carrot into paper thin strips using the vegetable peeler.  Add a bit (2 tbs) of dressing to lettuce and toss well to coat.  Add carrot, peppers and onions, and a bit (1 tbs) more dressing and toss well.  Arrange avocado slices around edge of salad; arrange sliced chicken in center of salad.
Drizzle a bit of dressing on the avocado and chicken and serve, remaining dressing on the side.

Note:  Peppers and onions can be roasted in 400F (200C) oven for 20 minutes or sautéed in a skillet until brown.  Chicken can be sautéed in a skillet for about the same amount of time.

Four:  Grilled Pork Chops with Peanut Marinade    Preparation, cooking time: 30 minutes
   Similar to a Satay, this slightly spicy marinade goes well with pork.  For maximum flavor, poke the pork with a fork after adding the marinade to allow it to penetrate the meat.  We had thin chops that cook quickly; try not to overcook, slightly pink is now preferred and accepted for pork.

2 - 4 pork chops, 12oz (360gr) total weight if boneless
1 tbs peanut butter    I used creamy
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1 tbs sesame or walnut oil
2 tbs olive oil

Mix all ingredients for marinade and spoon over chops.  Let marinate for 15 - 20 minutes.  Cook on barbecue for 5 - 8 minutes per side or until done. Slightly pink is preferred - take a peak (techniques).  Or fry in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat the same amount of time.  Serve.

Five:  Salad with Sausage, Potatoes and Chevre  Preparation, cooking time: 35 minutes
   The warm potatoes and sausages melt the creamy goat cheese, coating the lettuce with a flavorful dressing.  Use any flavor sausage you like.

4 - 6 sausages, 10oz total weight (300gr)
2/3 carton chevre, 3.5oz (110gr) (goat's cheese - this is a soft cheese that comes in a little 4-sided pyramid shaped carton;  my 'brand' is Chevraux, I think in the U.S. it's Chavrie
2 medium potatoes (10oz, 300gr)
1 tbs olive oil
Lettuce - enough for 2 main meal salads
large handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbs fresh, snipped chives
1 clove garlic
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs white wine tarragon vinegar
3 tbs salad olive oil

Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and coat with the olive oil.  Either cook in a pan on the barbecue if you are using it or put on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.  Cook sausages - either on the barbecue grill or in a frying pan on the cook top. 
Tear lettuce and put in a large bowl.  Snip chives. Tear large basil leaves, leave small ones whole.  Add herbs to salad.  
Mince garlic.  Combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard and vinegar in bowl and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly so that the dressing emulsifies (gets thick).
To finish: Add 1/4 of the vinaigrette and toss to combine using tongs (or salad utensils).   When sausages are done cut into bite size pieces and add to lettuce - they will be warm.  When potatoes are done add to salad - again, warm is okay - not necessary, but okay.  Add the chevre to the salad with a spoon - just in small chunks.  Add about 1/3rd more of the dressing and toss well.  As you toss the salad you will see the residual warmth from the sausage and potatoes combined with the dressing is causing the chevre to coat the lettuce leaves making a very creamy salad. Add more dressing as you like, using all of it or reserving some to be added at table.  Fresh pepper is also nice ..... serve.

Six:   Turkey and Green Bean Pasta Salad         Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
      I used Heirloom Tomatoes in the salad, the yellow and red Ananas.

1 1/4 cups pasta, bite-size - fusilli, rigatoni, farfalle
2 tsp olive oil
10oz (300gr) turkey cutlets or turkey breast
6oz (180gr) green beans 
1 small red onion    
1 - 2 tomatoes
2 tbs snipped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
3 tbs salad olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse lightly in cold water.
Top and tail beans.  C ut into 1" lengths (2.5cm).  Thinly slice red onion.  Cut turkey into bite-size pieces.  Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add green beans and red onion, stir-fry 2 - 3 minutes, until just crisp-tender.  Remove to a large bowl.  Add turkey, stir-fry until lightly browned and cooked through.  Remove and add to beans.  Stir all to help cool a bit.
Cut tomato into large chunks. Snip basil. 
Make vinaigrette: Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.
To finish:
Add a bit of vinaigrette to turkey, beans, onions, stir to combine.  Add pasta, tomatoes, herbs and a bit more of the vinaigrette, stir gently  and taste.  Add more vinaigrette as desired.  (I used it all.)   Serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Warm Stuffed Courgette (Zucchini) Cups
Grilled Salmon with Dill Sauce and Salad
Potato Salad with Mushrooms and Chevre
  Tomato with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Savory Beef Kebabs
Basmati Rice
Three:  Grilled Chicken, Pepper and Avocado Salad
Melon or other Fruit
Four:     Grilled Pork Chops with Peanut Marinade
Pasta with Peanut Sauce
Green Beans with Butter and Herbs
Five:  Salad with Sausage, Potato and Chevre
Melon or other Fruit
Six:  Turkey and Green Bean Pasta Salad
Melon or other Fruit

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