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Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Oct. 25 2013

One:  Sesame Crusted Salmon                       Preparation and cooking time:  20 minutes  
 The sesame crust adds just the right amount of crunch to these flavorful salmon filets; roasting keeps the crust nicely in place.

2 salmon fillets or steaks, 12oz total weight (360gr total)
2 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame or walnut oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and brown sugar in a small bowl, whisking until sugar and ginger are dissolved.   Put salmon on a baking sheet with a lip.  Divide soy mixture and spoon over salmon, coating evenly.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each filet, pressing them in lightly.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 15 - 17 minutes, depending on thickness.  Salmon will be done when it flakes easily, slightly pink in the center is fine.  The sesame coated top should be a golden brown when done.  Remove and serve.

Note:  For easy clean up cover pan with foil first.  This is especially nice if you are using fillets with the skin on.  You can carefully lift the salmon off the skin to serve, leaving the skin on the foil.  Then wrap the whole mess up and toss.

Two: Braised Lamb, Chickpeas, Butternut Squash  Preparation, cooking time: 75 minutes
     This is meant to be like a tagine - which is the name of both the method/type of cooking and the conical-shaped dish they are made in.  This should be thick and chunky, with little visible liquid remaining.

12oz (360gr) boneless lamb, shoulder or leg, pieces or lamb ribs 20oz (600gr)
3/4 cup (6oz, 180gr) chickpeas
1 1/2 cups (7oz, 210gr) cubed butternut squash
14 - 16 Greek olives  (1.5oz, 45gr)
3 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1/3 (3oz, 90ml) cup white wine
1 cup (8oz, 240gr) chopped tomato 
3 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp paprika

Slice shallots; mince garlic.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pit olives if needed and roughly chop.  Cut lamb into large pieces and trim excess fat.
Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid.  Add lamb and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.   Add the shallots, garlic, paprika, sauté until tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Return the lamb to the pot, add herbs, olives, wine, tomato, chickpeas and squash.  Cover, turn heat to low and braise for 60 minutes.   When done, spoon meat and vegetables onto a platter and serve.

Three:  Bean and Barley Soup                                   Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
    A simple, hearty soup flavored with sausage. You could use ham or leave it out for a vegetarian version (using vegetable stock, rather than chicken)

10oz (300gr) sausage
1 cup quick-cooking barley
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
15oz (450gr) red beans
15oz (450gr) white beans
3 ribs celery
2 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
6 cups (48oz, 1440ml) chicken stock
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika

Fry sausages in a large skillet, browning nicely.  Remove and slice, .5" (1.5cm) thick. 
Roughly chop onions and celery.  Slice carrots, cutting in half if rounds are too big.  Mince garlic.  Roughly chop tomatoes, reserving all juices. Drain and rinse beans.
Heat oil in medium pot or Dutch oven.  Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, sauté until tender. Add all remaining ingredients, except sausage, cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Add sausages and simmer 5 minutes longer.  Serve.

Four:  Chicken with Savoy Cabbage and Feta        Preparation, cooking time 30 minutes
    I love Savoy cabbage - especially the fact that it cooks so fast, perfect for stir-fries.... And skillet dinners!

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/3 savoy cabbage, about 2 cups, sliced
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 rib celery
2 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup (5oz, 150gr) chicken stock
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) sherry
4oz (120gr) feta
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp maizena dissolved in 1 tbs water
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock

Cook rice in chicken stock, covered, until done, about 15 minutes.
Chop onion, celery.  Mince garlic. Cut a slice off the cabbage, cut the slice into thirds, then slice thinly. Trim and slice mushrooms.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Crumble or cube feta.
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add onions, celery, paprika, cumin and stir-fry 5 minutes.  Add chicken, mushrooms, garlic, and stir-fry 5 minutes longer.  Add cabbage, stock, sherry, oregano and stir well.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 
To finish:  Uncover and increase heat.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.  Add feta, stir briefly and remove from heat.  Spoon over rice to serve.

 Five:  Baked Sesame Chicken Strips                     Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
These have a lovely, crispy, crunch with a surprise Teriyaki flavor.  I cut each breast into 2 or 3 long strips. They bake faster and have more 'crust'.   If you prefer, you can just use breadcrumbs without the sesame seeds; and spray them with cooking spray, if you have it, rather than drizzling with oil.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
2 tbs Teriyaki sauce    substitute 1 tbs soy sauce with 1/2 tsp brown or white sugar dissolved in it
4 tbs dry breadcrumbs
3 tbs sesame seeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 - 2 tbs sesame and/or olive oil

Cut chicken breasts into 2 or 3 long strips each.  Using 3 flattish bowls: put the flour in one; whisk the egg and Teriyaki in one; mix the breadcrumbs, garlic and sesame seeds in one.  Lightly brush a baking sheet with oil.  Using your fingers, roll each piece of chicken in flour; then dip in the egg, coating all sides (let drain a bit); then roll in the crumbs.  Lay on the baking sheet.  Drizzle remaining oil over top.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Six:   Beef Patties with Mushrooms                      Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
    Use wild or exotic mushrooms if you can.  It's the season and we may as well take advantage.  But even the plain white button or brown cremini will make a delicious sauce.

12oz ground beef (360gr mince)
1 onion
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 tbs oil
2 tbs bread crumbs
1 tsp basil
1 tbs beef stock
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs soy sauce
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) beef stock
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) ketchup

Finely chop onion, mince garlic. Finely chop about 1/4 of the mushrooms.  Thickly slice the rest.   In large nonstick skillet over medium heat sauté 1/2 the onion, the garlic and chopped mushrooms about 5 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Put bread crumbs, basil, 1 tbs ketchup, soy sauce, and 1 tbs stock in medium bowl and mix well.  Add the beef and sautéed onion mixture.  Mix well - hands work best, and form into 4 patties. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the burgers and sauté, 5 - 7 minutes per side.  Remove, cover to keep warm.  Add mushrooms and remaining onion to skillet and sauté about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add beef stock, mustard and ketchup to pan and bring to a boil, stirring to mix well.  Return patties to pan.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors and heat patties.  Serve. 

Suggested menus:

One:   Samosas, with Peanut Sauce
Sesame-Crusted Salmon
Oriental Orzo
Sautéed Butternut Squash, Oriental Style
   Savoy Cabbage, Walnuts and Mushrooms
Braised Lamb with Chickpeas and Butternut Squash
Rosemary Braised Potatoes
Three:  Bean and Barley Soup
Four:   Chicken with Savoy Cabbage and Feta
Five:  Baked Sesame Chicken Strips
Pasta with Mushroom Sauce
Sautéed Savoy Cabbage
Six: Beef Patties with Mushroom Sauce
Roasted Potatoes and Butternut Squash

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