Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Sept. 27, 2013

One:  Sautéed Sole with Butter and Lemon       Preparation and cooking time: 10 minutes
     Served whole, the delicate fish flakes easily off the skeleton, which, normally, remains intact for easy removal once you've eaten one side of the fish.  Finished with a bit of butter and lemon for accent, it will simply melt in your mouth.

2 whole sole, cleaned about 12oz (350gr) total weight  or filets
1/3 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 lemon, quartered
3 tbs butter

Put the flour on a plate large enough for the fish to fit. Add salt & pepper to the flour and mix it together.  Over medium-high heat melt half of the butter in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold both fish.  Rinse fish and pat dry.  When butter is sizzling dip both sides of fish (hold it by the tail) in flour and add to pan.  Sauté a minute (or 2) on each side depending on size of fish.  They cook very fast and if you are not careful when you take them by the tail to turn them over the skeleton will come away in your hand!  When nicely browned and done remove to plates.  Melt remaining butter in skillet and pour over each fish.  Serve with 2 lemon quarters each, to squeeze over top.
Note: If you get sole filets, they will cook even faster.  Use a long spatula to turn them carefully.

Two:  Turkey Rolls Stuffed with Ricotta, Olives     Preparation, cooking time: 40 minutes
    The nice thing about the ricotta is, unlike other cheeses, it stays in the roll...  If you can't get thin turkey cutlets, you could use veal cutlets or chicken breasts, pounded thinly.

3 - 4 turkey cutlets
1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) ricotta
10 green, pimiento olives, chopped
2  - 4 slices prosciutto, cut to fit turkey
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) white wine
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbs water

Lay turkey cutlets flat.  Divide ricotta and spread evenly, to 1/2" (1cm) of edges.  Lay Prosciutto on top of ricotta.  Spread olives on half of Prosciutto - they spread out more as you roll.  Starting from one narrow end, with olives, roll up.  Tie securely with kitchen string.
Heat oil in medium skillet.  Add rolls and brown well on all sides.  Add wine, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove rolls and keep warm.  Increase heat under skillet and add cornstarch mixture, stirring until thickened.  Remove string from rolls, cut each in half (looks nicer), spoon a bit of sauce over and serve.

Three:  Mediterranean Meat Loaf with Pimiento Sauce  Preparation, cooking time: 70 minutes
     A different take on the traditional meat loaf, this is stuffed with Feta Cheese, Greek Olives and Capers and finished with a spicy Pimento Sauce.

16oz (480gr) ground beef (mince) or beef and sausage mixed or turkey
1/2 cup dry-cured Greek olives
1/4 cup capers
1/2 onion
3oz (90gr) feta
1 egg
3 tbs dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) red wine
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram

Chop olives, capers, onions.  Cut feta into small cubes.  In a large bowl lightly beat egg. Add all ingredients except beef and mix well.   Add meat and mix - it's best to use your hand, kneading it like bread dough. 
Put into a baking pan large enough to hold it easily, with room all around, and shape into a loaf. Cover and bake at 400F (200C) for 45 minutes. 
Remove and spoon a bit of sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer or until done. Remove, let rest 5 - 10 minutes.

Pimiento Sauce

8oz (240gr) pimiento, drained  substitute roasted red peppers
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) tomato sauce
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar

Put all ingredients into a blender and purée.  Put into a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Four:  Stir-fried Sesame Chicken                           Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
    Peanut butter adds a creaminess to stir fries, as well as a subtle, almost sesame flavor.  The finish of toasted sesame seeds carries the flavor through.  You can buy toasted sesame seeds or toast them yourself in minutes.

2 chicken breasts
2 ribs celery
2 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced, fresh ginger
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena)
2 tbs sherry
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
Basmati rice:
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 tsp butter
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock

Slice celery at an angle.  Cut carrots into matchsticks.  Cut onion into quarters, lengthwise, then slice thinly.  Mince garlic. Peel a small section of ginger, cut into thin slices, then mince.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat oils in large skillet. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, celery, carrot and sauté 5 minutes longer.  Remove to a plate.  Add chicken to skillet and sauté 5 minutes.  Return vegetables to skillet.  Add soy sauce, stock, cover and simmer, 5 minutes. 
To finish: Dissolve cornstarch in sherry. Increase heat under skillet.  Add peanut butter and stir until dissolved.  Add cornstarch and stir until thickened.  Add half of the toasted sesame seeds, stir.  Spoon over rice, sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and serve.
Basmati Rice:
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Add rice and sauté, stirring for 2 - 3 minutes.  Add stock or water.  Cook rice for length of time on package, usually 15 minutes.  When done fluff with fork and serve.

To Toast sesame seeds: Put them in a dry, nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat for 3 - 6 minutes. Start flipping them or shaking the skillet after 1 - 2 minutes and remove as soon as light brown.  Set aside. 

 Five:  Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ham and Quinoa 
                    Preparation and cooking time:  60 minutes, 35 if you use a microwave
     The squash bakes while the stuffing is prepared and just needs 10 minutes to finish.  I usually can't get all of the stuffing in, so I keep it warm and serve it on the side.  The salty ham and slightly crunchy quinoa contrast well with the sweet squash.  And, yes, the mustard works too!

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1 acorn squash
8oz (240gr) slice baked or deli-style ham
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 rib celery   optional
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs fresh sage     substitute 1 tbs dried, crumbled
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Either place face down on tray and microwave for 10 - 12 minutes or put into a baking dish, cover with foil and bake in 400F (200C) oven for 40 minutes. 
While squash cooks:  Cook the quinoa in 1 cup chicken stock for 15 minutes or according to your package directions, until all liquid is absorbed and it's done.  (Check your package directions for correct quantity of stock and cooking times.) 
Chop onion and celery; mince garlic.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onion and celery 5 minutes then add garlic.  Sauté 5 more minutes or until onion and celery are tender and starting to brown. 
Cut the ham into small cubes, about 1/3" (1cm).  Add ham, sage and sauté until ham starts to brown.   Add mustard, 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir well to combine.  Dissolve cornstarch in water.  When ham mixture is simmering stir cornstarch in, a little at a time.  (You may not need it all).  You want it very thick but not paste.  When quinoa is done add it to ham mixture and stir to combine. 
To assemble: When squash are ready (they should be tender, almost done) remove from wherever they cooked and fill with the quinoa/ham mixture.  Bake (not microwave for this last bit) uncovered for 10 minutes, until heated through and squash is done.

Six:   Chicken Braised in Sherry Vinegar             Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
    This is a slightly spicy. slightly tart pan sauce, simply reduced a bit and served with the onions.  

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 onion
3 tbs sherry vinegar
3 tbs sherry
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) chicken stock
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp olive oil

Chop onion.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add paprika, cumin and sauté 1 minutes.  Add onion and sauté 5 minutes, just until starting to brown.  Move to the side, add chicken breasts and brown on both sides, about 8 minutes.  Add vinegar, sherry, stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and reduce sauce slightly.  Serve. 

Suggested menus:

One:   Fried Green Tomatoes alla Romana
Sautéed Sole with Butter and Lemon
Broccoli Rice Gratin
  Red Onion and Ricotta Tart
Turkey Rolls Stuffed with Ricotta and Olives
Potato-Tomato Gratin
Broccoli with Garlic Butter
Three:  Mediterranean Meat Loaf with Pimiento Sauce
Potato - Tomato Gratin
Apple and Walnut Salad
Four:   Stir-fried Sesame Chicken
Basmati Rice
Five:  Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ham and Quinoa 
Six:  Chicken Braised in Sherry Vinegar
Orzo with Herbs
Mock Spinach Soufflé 

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