Day 1: Grilled Scallops on Tomato Tarragon Pasta
Total time: 30 minutes
The scallops can be cooked on the grill or quickly pan-fried in a hot skillet. They release a lot of liquid when cooked, so be careful not to crowd. The paprika adds both flavor and color. Use a grill pan or basket for easy handling and be careful not to overcook.
- 1 1/4 cups (4.2oz, 125gr) pasta, bite-size
- 12oz (360gr) scallops
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 slice Prosciutto
cup (4oz, 120ml) tomato sauce
- 1 tbs sherry vinegar
- 1 tbs fresh tarragon substitute 1 1/2 tsp dried
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Rinse scallops and pat dry.
- Mix oil and paprika. Add scallops and stir to coat.
- Grill over direct heat 3 - 5 minutes per side, just until they are opaque.
- Note: Could also be quickly sautéed in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat for about the same amount of time.
- Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- Chop onion and Prosciutto.
- Heat 2 tsp oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender.
- Add Prosciutto and sauté until crisp.
- Add tomato sauce, vinegar, tarragon and heat through. Keep warm until needed.
- To Finish: Combine drained pasta with tomato sauce.
- Divide pasta onto two plates. Top with seared scallops and serve.
Day 2: Barbecued Stuffed Pork Loin
Total time: 60 minutes with 10 earlier
This is marinated for a few hours in a cross between a brine and a classic pork rib sauce. I stuffed it with mushrooms and ham and cooked it on the barbecue. After removing the pork from the marinade I boiled the marinade for 5 minutes, reducing it to use both as a basting sauce (some of it) and a dipping sauce (the rest). There is enough pork for two meals. Be sure to save any leftover sauce for the leftover pork!
- 1 pork loin roast, 24oz (720gr)
- Marinade/Barbecue Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) coffee 1/2 - 3/4 tsp instant dissolved in hot water or brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) tomato sauce
- 2 tbs cider vinegar
- 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 3oz (90gr) mushrooms, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
- 2 slices Prosciutto
- 2 tbs dry bread crumbs
- 3 tbs marinade
- At least 2 hours or up to 8 hours earlier:
- Mix all ingredients for marinade/barbecue sauce.
- Cut a lengthwise slit down the center of the pork loin almost all the way through. Leave about 1/4" (.5cm). You want to be able to open it like a book.
- Spread the pork out in a deep dish and pour the marinade over.
- Turn the pork to coat, cover and refrigerate.
- Dinner time:
- Finely chop mushrooms and Prosciutto.
- Mix mushrooms, Prosciutto and bread crumbs in a small bowl.
- Add 3 tbs of marinade and mix well.
- Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and let drain a bit.
- Lay pork out with cut side up. Spread the stuffing on one side up to 1/4" from the edges.
- Fold the other side over and tie well with kitchen string: Cut five 10 inch lengths of string and wrap around pork and tie every 2 inches or so - making certain that you do one as close to each end as possible.
- Cook pork on barbecue grill for 45 - 60 minutes or until done, basting 3 or 4 times with the Barbecue Sauce.
- When done, slice and serve with more Barbecue Sauce on the side.
- Or: Could also be baked at 400F for 45 - 60 minutes or until done but you won't get the sugary crust. It is done when it's still slightly pink in the center - slice and peak or use a meat thermometer. An instant read meat thermometer is best for a nice, juicy roast. Cook it to an internal temperature of 145F (62C) See techniques.
- To make barbecue sauce:
- Put reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove 1/3 cup to use as a basting sauce and reserve the rest to use as a dipping sauce for this meal and with the leftover pork.
Day 3: Ratatouille
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
There are as many recipes for Ratatouille as there are cooks who make it. And as many methods. Some call for cooking it all together in one pot for hours, some in separate pots for 30 minutes, some for sautéing first, others for roasting. This is my way, I think sautéing the vegetables first highlights their individual flavors. The one universal is the list of vegetables (although not their ratio) and stirring in fresh basil at the end!
- 1 small - medium eggplant (aubergine), about 8oz, 240gr
- 2 small - medium zucchini (courgette), about 14oz, 420gr, total
- 1 1/2 large bell peppers, I used 1/2 green and 1 yellow
- 1 1/2 medium onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 5 medium tomatoes
- 5 laurel (bay) leaves
- 2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
- big handful of fresh basil leaves
- 4 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper optional
- Roughly chop the onions and peppers.
- Mince the garlic.
- Cube the eggplant.
- Slice the zucchini in half the long way, then in 1/4" slices.
- Peel and roughly chop the tomato.
- Heat 1 tbs oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until starting to brown.
- Add garlic and sauté for a minute or two longer.
- Put onions and garlic (and cooking olive oil) into a large pot.
- Put the pot (with the onions) on low heat.
- Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil. Add peppers and sauté until starting to brown and blister.
- Put peppers and olive oil on top of onions.
- Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil. Add zucchini and sauté until starting to brown and soften.
- Put zucchini and olive oil on top of peppers.
- Return the skillet to heat and add 1 tbs oil. Add eggplant and sauté until starting to brown on all sides.
- Put eggplant and olive oil on top of zucchini.
- Put bay and thyme on top of eggplant.
- Put tomatoes on top of herbs.
- At this point you can add a bit of salt and pepper if you like.
- Give it a gentle stir or two, cover and increase heat slightly until you hear it simmering.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir it every once in awhile.
- When ready to serve, remove from heat, tear the basil leaves, stir in and serve.
Note: It took me about 35 minutes to do the chopping and sauteing; everything was tender and well done in 30 minutes but I let it simmer for 45.
Note 2: Peel tomatoes by blanching in boiling water for 30 seconds first. The peels slip off easily.
Day 4: Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts
Total time: 30 minutes
Chicken breasts are a favorite on the grill but be careful not to overcook or they tend to dry out. We prefer to slice them thinly, at an angle, to serve rather than leaving the breast whole, but that, of course is optional!
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 2 tbs orange marmalade substitute 1 tbs honey
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- In small bowl whisk together oil, juice, marmalade, garlic, tarragon and ginger.
- Put chicken in shallow glass baking dish and pour marinade over. Let marinate 15 - 30 minutes.
- Cook on barbecue grill 15 - 20 minutes or on baking sheet in oven (400F) for 25 - 30 minutes or until done.
- When done (knife poked in and juices run clear) remove from heat, slice and serve.
Giant Burger Stuffed with Mushrooms
Total time: 35 minutes longer if using oven
You could make smaller burgers, but we like this big one. Cut into wedges, with cheese oozing out of the center.... This one is filled with mushrooms, olives and Gruyère.
- 12oz (360gr) ground beef (mince)
- 2 slice prosciutto
- 1 - 2oz (30 - 60gr) mushrooms
- 10 black, olives, Greek or Kalamata
- 1oz (30gr) Gruyère
- 1 tsp olive oil
- If cooking on the barbecue: wire grill-basket or a mesh grill pan
- If cooking in the oven: baking sheet
- Trim and chop mushrooms.
- Chop olives.
- Cut Prosciutto into thin strips.
- Oil grill basket, mesh pan or baking sheet.
- Divide beef in half. On plates or waxed paper pat each half into a thin patty, 8 or 9 inches (20 - 23cm) in diameter.
- Spread mushrooms, olives and Prosciutto over 1 patty to within 1/2 inch of edge.
- Lay cheese on top.
- Flatten the second patty a bit more and carefully put it on top and work the edges together with your fingers to seal. Slide or tip it on to the grill basket and close basket. If you don't use a basket you'll need a plate or baking sheet to help turn it.
- If using the barbecue, grill for 8 - 10 minutes over medium-high heat, carefully turn and grill another 8 - 10 or until done.
- If using oven, bake at 400F for 35 - 40 minutes or until done.
- Hint: When cheese starts oozing out of the edge I consider it done.
- Remove to platter, cut into wedges and serve.
Day 6: Deviled Pork Chops, Grilled
Total time: 30 minutes
Pork chops with a kick, marinated and cooked on the barbecue grill. If you want them hotter, more 'devilish' you could add a drop or 2 of Tabasco or other hot sauce.
- 2 - 4 pork chops, boneless, - depending on size 12oz total weight (360gr)
- 2 tbs whole grain mustard
- 2 tbs orange juice Substitute 1 tbs orange marmalade or 1 tbs lemon juice with 1 tbs sugar or 2 tbs white wine.
- 2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbs paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
tbs olive oil
- Mix all ingredients for marinade and spoon on chops. Let marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Cook on barbecue for 4 - 7 minutes a side or until done. Should be slightly pink in center when done - take a peak (techniques).
- Or fry in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat the same amount of time.