Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Sept. 6, 2013

One:  Barbecued Salmon                                             Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
  You could also use salmon steaks, or another firm-flesh fish: tuna, swordfish, halibut.  The sherry and soy sauce make a nice counterpoint to the salmon's richness.

2 salmon fillets, 6oz each (180gr each)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs ketchup
2 tbs sherry
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder

In small bowl mix all ingredients except salmon and paprika.  Sprinkle paprika over salmon.  Put salmon in a grill basket if using barbecue grill or on mesh grill pan if you don't have a basket.  Brush fish with part of the barbecue sauce.  Cook on barbecue grill for 10 - 14 minutes with cover partially closed, basting with the rest of the barbecue sauce towards the end of cooking time.
put on baking sheet, spoon sauce over and roast in 400 F oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness.  In both case salmon will be done when it flakes easily; slightly pink in the center is fine.  Remove from heat and serve, sliding it off the skin if needed.

Two:  Not-Quite-Naked Steaks                                  Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
   Small, thick-cut filet mignon are perfect done on the barbecue grill.  A wrap of bacon adds flavor and helps the steak stay moist.  That, plus a light sprinkle of seasoning is all these lovely steaks need.  We like them medium rare.  On a hot grill these will cook very fast - so be mindful!

2 beef tenderloin steaks (fillet mignon), 6oz (180gr) each
2 - 4 slices bacon - enough to wrap around each steak
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Wrap bacon around steaks and secure with toothpicks.  Mix remaining ingredients and rub on both sides of steaks.  Grill on barbecue over high heat 3 - 5 minutes per side.  If you like rare, remove after two minutes per side, make a small slit in one and check.   If not done to your liking return for another 1 - 2 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and serve - removing bacon is optional...
Note:  Could be broiled for roughly same amount of time - mind the bacon.

Three:   Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto 
    Preparation and cooking time:  60 minutes, if you make the crust from scratch,
                                                        35 minutes if you buy the crust

     This is not a typical American pizza.  It has fresh, garden-ripe tomatoes rather than sauce and fresh mozzarella rather than packaged, shredded.  The crust is easy to make, especially if you have a stand-mixer with a dough hook.  If you don't want to make it from scratch buy a good pizza crust at the store.     

Pizza Crust

2/3 cup warm water, 105 - 115F, hotter will kill the yeast
1 pkg (2 tsp) active dry yeast   fast acting if you can get it
1/2 tsp sugar  you need this to 'feed' the yeast
1/2 tsp salt   you need this to 'control' the yeast
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups flour
butter for baking sheet

Yeast:  Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit a few minutes to 'proof' - start to look foamy to prove that the yeast is still alive. 
Dough:  If you have a mixer with a dough hook put the yeast and all remaining ingredients in mixer bowl.  Blend with dough hook attachment until well mixed then kneed for an additional 3 minutes.  Put in a warm place to rise. 
If making by hand put yeast in large bowl along with all of the rest of the ingredients minus 1/2 cup flour.  Stir to combine.  Put remaining flour on work surface, add dough and kneed until smooth and elastic - about 10 minutes. As remaining flour is incorporated dough will become less sticky.  Put in warm place to rise. 

After dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes, punch down.  Lightly butter a pizza pan or large baking sheet.  Roll dough out with a rolling pin as best you can.  Then put on pan and stretch it to fit, patting it out with your fingers.  If it keeps springing back. wait a few minutes - or accept that your pizza will be slightly smaller than anticipated.  Try not to put any holes in the crust.  You are now ready to assemble the pizza.

Pizza Topping

1 onion
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
3 - 5 tomatoes
4 - 5 slices (4oz, 120gr) Prosciutto or other dry cured ham 
large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 ball fresh Mozzarella  
1/3 cup green or black olives

Finely chop onion and garlic and sauté  in olive oil until tender.  Add oregano and mix well.  Remove from heat. Slice tomatoes as thinly as you can - you should get 5 - 8 slices from each one, depending on how big they are.   Cut ham into 1 inch strips.  Tear large basil leaves.  Slice mozzarella as thinly as you can, then tear into large chunks. Cut olives in half.


On just-finished crust or your purchased crust:  Spread onion/garlic mixture evenly over crust.  Lay thinly sliced tomatoes evenly over crust - they should be touching and cover the entire crust, but not overlapping.  Bake at 450F (225C) for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and add ham, half the basil leaves and cheese.  Return to oven and bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese bubbling. Remove from oven, add remaining basil leaves, slice and serve.

Four:  Grilled Chicken Breasts Piccata            Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
   Capers, tarragon and lemon add a wonderful flavor to chicken breasts. Marinated for just 15 minutes, cooked on the barbecue grill and finished with a lemon, tarragon, caper sauce, these boneless chicken breasts make a lovely gourmet summer dinner, worthy of dinner guests... or just you!

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 tbs capers (with liquid)
4 tbs fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
4 tbs olive oil
2 tsp fresh snipped tarragon   substitute 1 tsp dried

Chop 2 tbs capers.  Squeeze the lemon and remove any pips.  Put lemon juice and oil in a small bowl and whisk well to combine, it should get thick.  Put 3 tbs of the lemon/oil mixture into a separate bowl for the sauce.  To the remaining marinade add the chopped capers.  Put chicken in a shallow dish, pour the marinade with the chopped capers over and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Snip the tarragon and add it to the sauce (reserved 3 tbs of lemon/oil), set it aside.  
To cook: Remove the chicken from marinade, discarding the marinade, and cook on barbecue grill for 8 - 12 minutes per side depending on size, or until done, take a peak and seeOr can be sautéed in nonstick skillet over medium heat for the same time. 
Remove from heat, slice, drizzle the sauce over the top, sprinkle with remaining capers and serve.

 Five:  Stir-Fried Beef with Zucchini (Courgette)   Preparation cooking time: 25 minutes
     Late summer stir-fry with the never-ending zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

8oz ground beef (240gr mince)
1 medium zucchini, 7oz (210gr)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs fresh ginger
1 small red bell pepper
3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes 
1/2 (4oz, 120ml) cup beef stock
2 tbs sherry
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp walnut or sesame oil
1 tbs cornstarch (or thickener of choice) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Cut zucchini in half the long way, then each half in thin slices.  Slice onion. Mince garlic and ginger. Cut pepper into slices.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
In large nonstick skillet heat oils over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and stir-fry 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, zucchini and stir-fry 5 minutes longer. Remove to a plate.
Add beef to skillet and sauté, breaking it up as it browns. When beef is browned, return vegetables to skillet and add stock, sherry and soy sauce. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 5 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Turn the heat up under the skillet and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Add cherry tomatoes, heat through.  Spoon over Basmati Rice and serve.

Basmati Rice                                                                          Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes

1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef stock

Cook rice according to package instructions. Fluff and serve.

Six:   Grilled Pork Chops with Sage                       Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
   The woodsy flavor of sage is a classic pairing with pork.   Use fresh if you can.

2 - 4 pork chops, 12oz (360gr) total weight if boneless
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ketchup
1 tsp paprika
8 - 10 fresh sage leaves    substitute 1 tbs dry, crumbled sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Snip sage leaves if using fresh.  In a small bowl mix lemon, ketchup, oil, garlic, paprika and sage.  Let rest 5 minutes to blend flavors.  Spoon on pork chops and let marinate 10 minutes.  
Cook pork on barbecue grill, turning once, 10 - 15 minutes, or until done - take a peak. 
Note: If not done they can always go back on.  A little pink in the middle is okay for pork, (now, it didn't used to be) and the chops will be much more moist if not over-cooked.
Or sauté in non-stick skillet about the same amount of time.

Suggested menus:

One:  Cheese and Pepper Mini Frittatas
Barbecued Salmon
Creamy Polenta with Bacon and Sage
Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes, Shallots and Basil
  Stuffed 8-Ball Zucchini (Courgette)
Not-Quite-Naked Steaks
Potato and Onion Packets with Gruyère
Three:  Pizza Margherita with Prosciutto
Fresh Fruit
Cucumber Salad
Four:   Grilled Chicken Breasts Piccata
Hot German Potato Salad
Fried Carrots
Five:  Stir-Fried Beef with Zucchini (Courgette)
Six:  Grilled Pork Chops with Sage
Hot German Potato Salad
Green Beans with Browned Butter

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