Weekly Main Course Recipes:  May 31, 2013

One:  Lightly Smoked Cod                                        Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
  This is a cross between smoker cooking and grilling, and it flavored the cod perfectly:  a light smoke and dill combination.  It needed nothing else.

1 - 2 filets of cod, or other thick, firm white fish, 12oz (360gr) total weight
2 tsp dill weed
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
wood chips for smoking - apple is nice    See Barbecue Grills for more info
Weber-type kettle barbecue with charcoal  or Gas Grill

If you are using small, commercial wood chips, put them in water to soak.
Charcoal grill: Put some charcoal in the barbecue, off to one side and light it.
Mix the soy sauce and the olive oil.  Brush on the fish.  Sprinkle the dill weed on top. 
When the coals are glowing, add the fish - either in a basket or on a grill mat of some sort, to the other side - in other words, not over the coals.  Throw some wood chips on the coals and cover.  Check it halfway through and add more wood chips if it has stopped smoking. It's done when if flakes easily with a fork.  We left ours on for about 30 minutes.
To use a gas grill:
  Only light one side of the grill.  Wrap the soaked wood chips loosely in foil.  Poke a few holes in the foil and place on the grill.  Keep the fish off of direct heat and the grill cover closed and vented or propped open an inch or so. 
To use oven:  The fish could also be baked, 400F (200C) for 15 to 20 minutes.  It won't have the smoke flavor, of course, but the dill and soy sauce add a lovely flavor on their own.

Two:   Grilled Cornish Hens (Poussin) with Spicy Rub                Time:  45 - 60 minutes
    Cooked over indirect heat with a spicy rub gives these hens a crisp, flavorful skin.  Both the dry mustard and pepper add a bit of heat.

2 Cornish game hens or poussin (little chickens)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper

Tie legs together with kitchen string and fold wing tips under back (at first joint) - keeps them from flapping.  Rub birds with olive oil.  Mix all remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over birds.  Pat into place with the back of a spoon or a spatula. (Using your hands would remove too much of the rub.)
Cook hens on barbecue grill over indirect heat, covered, for 45 - 60 minutes or until done.  Chicken is done at 160 F (70C) on your meat thermometer and/or the juices run clear when pierced with knife. 
Or they can be baked in a shallow roasting pan in a 400F oven for the same amount of time - until done. 
When done, remove from heat, cut string and serve - don't forget finger bowls (it's messy) and bone bowls (to keep your plates tidy).  Serve whole or cut each bird in half.  

Three:   Chicken Salad with Potatoes, Asparagus        Preparation, cooking   30 minutes
   Grilling the chicken breast and vegetables adds the perfect summer flavors to make this salad an easy hit. 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts  or leftover chicken
2 medium potatoes
8oz (250gr) asparagus
3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes
12 small Mozzarella balls
1/3 cup sliced radishes
1/3 cup green olives
spinach and/or other spring greens for 2 large salads
1 tbs snipped basil
1 tbs snipped chives
1 tbs snipped parsley
1 tbs olive oil for potatoes
Marinade for chicken:
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs good olive oil

Chicken:  In small bowl whisk together marinade for chicken, pour over chicken and set aside to marinate.
When ready, remove chicken from marinade and cook on barbecue for 14 - 18 minutes, turning once.
OR sauté for about the same amount of time - or until done.
Vegetables:  Cut potatoes into large bite-size pieces.  Trim and cut asparagus into 2" (5cm) lengths. Toss potatoes with oil and cook on barbecue grill in grill pan, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes or until brown and done. Add asparagus for the last 10 minutes of cooking time, stirring to combine with potatoes and oil in pan.
sauté in large skillet until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes, adding the asparagus for the last 7 minutes. 
Vinaigrette: In small bowl whisk mustard, ketchup and vinegar.  Slowly add oil whisking constantly.  You may have to stop adding oil and just whisk periodically - you don't want to see the oil separately - it should be incorporated as it goes into the mixture.
Salad:   Prepare spinach and lettuce, tear if needed and put in a large salad bowl. Cut tomatoes, olives in half and add to salad. Slice radishes, snip herbs and add to salad.  Add mozzarella to salad.  Add 2 - 3 tbs vinaigrette and mix well.
Remove vegetables and chicken.  Slice chicken.  Add chicken and vegetables to salad, drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, toss gently and serve.

Four:  Warm Turkey and Garlic Pasta Salad     Preparation and cooking time: 35 minutes
    This is based on a Williams-Sonoma recipe.  You'll get plenty of garlic flavor in the simmered stock - so adding the whole cloves to the pasta is optional; just discard after simmering if you choose.  The long, slow cooking does make them rather sweet, though, so you may want to try one!

12oz (360gr) turkey cutlets
8 garlic cloves
3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken stock
2 tbs snipped fresh chives    substitute 2 tsp dried
2 tbs snipped fresh parsley     substitute 2 tsp dried
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs good olive oil
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 1/4 cups bite-size pasta

Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, and toss with 1 tbs of the good olive oil.
Peel garlic but leave whole. Heat 2 tsp oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add turkey and garlic and sauté 6 - 7 minutes, turning turkey once.  Remove turkey, leaving garlic in the skillet. Garlic should be very lightly browned. Add chicken stock to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until garlic is very tender and there is 2 - 3 tbs of stock left in skillet, about 15 minutes.
Snip herbs and add to pasta. Slice turkey into strips and add to pasta. When the garlic is done, remove from stock and add it to the pasta if you choose.
Pour remaining stock into a small bowl. Add vinegar, mustard and remaining 1 tbs good olive oil and whisk well to combine. Pour over pasta, stir to combine and serve.

Note: If using dried herbs add to simmering garlic and stock.

Five:  Mushroom Burgers                                       Preparation and cooking time:   20 minutes
    Flavorful burgers, filled with chopped mushrooms, are served with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  We normally eat burgers with a fork and a glass of red.  Feel free to have them on a bun with a Mountain Dew. 

12oz ground beef (360gr mince)
4oz (120gr) mushrooms, divided
1 onion
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika, divided
2 tsp olive oil

For the burgers:  Finely chop 1oz (30gr) trimmed mushrooms. Combine mushrooms, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp paprika and beef.  Mix well. Form into 3 or 4 patties. 
Cook on barbecue grill over direct heat for 3 - 5 minutes per side, using a basket, grill pad or pan if you have one, it's easier. 
Or sauté in a nonstick skillet for the same amount of time.  
For the mushrooms: Trim and thickly slice mushrooms.  Thickly slice onion.  Heat 2 tsp oil, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp paprika in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, onions and sauté until nicely glazed, stirring and turning frequently, about 10 minutes.
To finish:  Spoon sautéed mushrooms and onions over burgers and serve - on a bun or not.

Six:   Pasta / Chicken, Avocado and Peanut Sauce                          Time: 25 minutes
   Peanut sauce goes very well with avocado and is great with a warm, summery pasta. I used the pepper raw, but you can add it to the onions to sauté if you like.

1 1/4 (125gr) cup pasta
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 red bell pepper
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
1 avocado
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) sherry
2 tbs peanut butter creamy
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and put into large bowl.
Cut chicken breasts into large, bite-size pieces.  Trim and slice mushrooms.  Slice onion. Mince garlic. Cut pepper into long strips.  
Heat oils in a large skillet over medium heat. Add paprika, cumin, and sauté briefly. Add chicken and brown well, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic, stir-fry 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, sherry, reduce heat, cover and let cook for 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are just starting to get tender. Add pepper, soy sauce, peanut butter and stir well.  Add to pasta, stir to combine.
Cube avocado. Add avocado to pasta, stir gently to combine and serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Chilled Tomato Vermicelli Soup
Lightly Smoked Cod
Couscous, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Asparagus with Soy and Balsamic
Two:  Spinach and Basil Salad with Avocado
Grilled Cornish Hens (Poussin) with Spicy Rub
Grilled Potato and Onion Salad
Roasted Radishes
Three:  Chicken Salad with Potatoes, Asparagus
Four:     Warm Turkey and Garlic Pasta Salad
Lettuce and Tomato Salad
Five:   Mushroom Burgers
Brown Rice Spinach Pilaf
 Pasta / Chicken, Avocado and Peanut Sauce

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