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 Starters  Beef  Chicken, etc  Fish  Pork, Lamb  Barbecue  One Dish  Salads  Sides  Misc. 

Menu Plan for Summer I: Week 5, Saturday

Melon with Ham
Brined and Grilled Cornish Hens
Creamy Caper and Roasted Potato Salad
Green Beans with Tomatoes, Shallots and Basil

Cooking time: 60 minutes for menu, plus 10 earlier      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       I love brining meat before grilling.  It does add a bit of salt, but I don't put any in the basting sauce, to compensate.  The brine adds flavor and help keeps the meat moist.  If you fix 2 larger birds, have the rest as leftovers for sandwiches or use in the salad next week.  The Melon and Ham - another simple summer classic!

Melon with Ham

Total time: 10 minutes 
       This is a very subjective starter for all its simplicity.  In Spain you would get 4 big wedges of a long, green melon somewhat similar to a honeydew but with a hint of watermelon.  When I would ask what kind of melon it was, I would get an incredibly blank stare and a "how can anyone be that stupid!" look, along with the answer "It's melon!".  The melon would be covered in Iberian, Serrano or Jabugo - types of Spanish dry-cured ham.  In France you will get a small, orange Provençal melon with Bayonne ham.  In Italy, a honeydew with Prosciutto.  Why am I telling you all of this you ask?   Because...

Melon with Ham Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Brined and Grilled Cornish Hens (Poussin, little chickens)

Total time: 60 minutes  plus 10 earlier
  The poussin that we get are very young chickens and weigh about 18oz (550gr) each.  They are perfect individual servings (with maybe a snack leftover).  If you get larger birds one may be enough; you could cut it in half before cooking, if you like. 

Brined and Grilled Cornish Hens Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Creamy Caper and Roasted Potato Salad

Total time: 30 minutes
    Roasted potatoes, tossed with a creamy, Greek yogurt based dressing, makes an easy side dish for summer.  Lots of fresh, garden herbs and capers brings this simple potato salad out of the ordinary.

Creamy Caper and Roasted Potato Salad Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes, Shallots and Basil 

Total time: 35 minutes
   A perfect showcase for summer's bounty: Tender green beans braised with ripe tomatoes and finished with fresh basil!  I often make enough to have the next day, cold.

Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes, Shallots and Basil Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Cooking Schedule: 60 minutes plus 10 earlier
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, whisk, 1 deep bowl, small bowl, medium
bowl, 1 small skillet, barbecue grill, grill pan and
tools or 2 baking sheets and oven
Earlier in the day:
Make brine
Rinse hens, add to brine
Cover, refrigerate
Remember to turn chicken once or twice
Dinner:
Remove hens from brine, allow to air dry
Light/turn on barbecue grill / or turn on oven
Start to cook hens
Cut potatoes
Mix oil, paprika in bowl, add potatoes, stir to coat
Start to cook potatoes - either grill or oven
 Tidy up the kitchen, wash bowls

Top, tail beans, cut
Chop tomato
Slice shallot
Snip all herbs
Make dressing for potato salad
Make basting sauce for hens
Baste hens, mind the potatoes
Cut the melon, clean, cut into wedges
Arrange ham around melon
Sauté shallot
Remove potatoes, add to dressing, stir
Baste hens
Add beans, tomato to shallot, cover, simmer
Serve melon and ham, relax a bit
Done? Check hens
Mind the beans
Stir potatoes
When hens are done, remove
Serve all

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