Day 1: Grilled or Smoked Salmon with Tomato/Tarragon Sauce
Total time: 25 minutes
We lightly smoked the salmon, directions are below... If you prefer, it can simply be grilled or roasted in the oven. The salt is scraped off before serving.
- 2 salmon fillets, 12oz (360gr) total weight
- 2 tsp dill weed
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- wood chips for smoking - apple is nice See Barbecue Grills for more info optional
- 1 small - medium ripe tomato, chopped about 1/2 cup
- 1 tbs fresh tarragon, snipped substitute 2 tsp dried
- 1 tbs fresh parsley, snipped substitute 2 tsp dried
- 2 tbs mayonnaise
- Rub salmon lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with dill weed, then salt.
- Grilling without smoking: Put salmon in a grill basket if using barbecue grill or use a mesh grill pan or grill mat. Cook over indirect heat for 10 - 15 minutes depending on thickness. You might need to cover the grill for 5 minutes or so.
- Oven: Put on baking sheet and roast in 400F (200C) oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness.
- Smoking: Soak a small handful of wood chips in water for at least 15 minutes.
- Charcoal: Put some charcoal in the barbecue, off to one side and light it. When the coals are glowing, add the salmon, either in a basket or on a grill mat, to the other side - in other words, not over the coals. Throw some wood chips on the coals and cover. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes
- Gas grill: Only light one side of the grill. Wrap the soaked wood chips loosely in foil. Poke a few holes in the foil and place on the grill. Keep the fish off of direct heat and the grill cover closed and vented or propped open an inch or so. Cook for 12 - 18 minutes.
- Tomato Tarragon Sauce:
- Chop tomato. Snip herbs: hold leaves in one hand and snip with a scissors.
- Put into a small bowl and add mayonnaise. Mix well.
- To serve: Gently scrape off the excess salt using a table knife or fork.
- Serve with Tomato Tarragon Sauce on the side.
Note: Salmon should flake easily but not be dry; remove from heat when just barely done.
Day 2: Not-Quite-Naked Steaks
Total 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 - 6oz (180gr) beef tenderloin steaks (fillet mignon)
- 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 a 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.
Note: Could be broiled for roughly same amount of time - mind the bacon.
Day 3: Ratatouille Quiche
Total time: 60 minutes
I use a brown rice crust: it's healthier and I don't make pie crust. But you could certainly use a proper pastry or pie crust if you prefer. Instead of Prosciutto you could substitute a bit of regular, baked ham or smoked turkey. The vegetables are quickly cooked to reduce liquids and thicken.
- 1/2 cup (3.3oz, 95gr) quick-cooking brown rice substitute Basmati
- 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded cheese any flavor - it helps to bind the crust
- 1 small yellow squash (courgette), 7" (17cm)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 large tomato
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp olive oil plus a bit for the dish
- 4oz (120gr) Brie, chevre or other semi-soft cheese
- 3oz (90gr) Prosciutto or other dry-cured ham I used 3 thin slices
- 1/2 cup Greek olives
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) milk
- The Crust:
- Cook rice in stock according to package instructions.
- When done, spread out on a plate for 5 minutes to allow to cool a bit.
- Lightly oil a 10" (25 cm) pie or quiche plate.
- Lightly whisk 1 egg.
- Add 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the cooked rice. Mix well.
- Pat into the quiche plate, working it up the sides as best you can.
- Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 8 minutes. Remove.
- The Ratatouille:
- Cut the squash in fourths the long way, then into 1/4" (.5cm) slices.
- Roughly chop the onion, pepper and tomato.
- Mince garlic.
- Roughly chop olives.
- Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, pepper and sauté until onion is tender.
- Add garlic, squash, tomatoes and sauté until squash is tender and mixture is thick.
- Stir in olives and thyme.
- Slice Brie, 1/4" thick.
- Tear or cut Prosciutto into large pieces.
- Whisk eggs and milk together.
- To assemble:
- Lay Prosciutto on crust.
- Spread vegetables evenly over the top.
- Lay Brie on the vegetables.
- Pour the egg mixture over as evenly as you can.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until center has set.
- Remove and let rest 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Note: When baking quiches or tarts, I put the dish on a sturdy baking tray, before pouring in the egg mixture, for easier handling. The dish can get very full.
Day 4: Pasta with Tuna, Cannellini and Fresh Tomato Sauce
Total time: 25 minutes
This is a cross between a winter pasta dish and a summer pasta salad; quick, simple, great for midweek.
- 9oz (270gr) tuna
- 1 3/4 cup (15oz, 450gr) cannellini
- 2 ribs celery
- 1/2 cup green or Kalamata or Greek olives
- 4 garden fresh tomatoes
- 2 tbs fresh snipped chives
- 2 tbs fresh snipped oregano
- 1 tbs salad olive oil
- 1 tbs white balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups (4.2oz, 120gr) pasta, penne, fusilli
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain tuna and put into a large salad bowl.
- Drain and rinse beans. Add to tuna.
- Snip herbs and add to bowl.
- Thinly slice celery and add to bowl.
- Slice olives, add.
- Cut the tomatoes in half.
- Cup half of a tomato in your hand and rub it on the big holes of a box (or other style) grater until all that is left in your hand is the skin. You'll have to press a bit, but not too hard, be careful not to grate your hand.
- Repeat with as many halves as you think you want/need. You end up with fresh tomato sauce with no skin... and no cooking. Depending on size of tomatoes you will want to do 3 or 4.
- Add to bowl and toss all to combine.
- Drain pasta and add pasta to bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and stir gently. Serve.
Hot and Sweet Glazed Pork Chops
Total time: 30 minutes
Fresh, chopped ginger adds a better, sharper flavor than the powdered. Usually you can just break off a small piece at the store.
- 2 - 4 pork chops, boneless, 12oz total (360gr)
- 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbs sherry substitute white wine or vermouth
- 1/2 tsp powdered or 2 tsp fresh, chopped ginger 2- 4 slices, 1/8" thick
- 1 tsp garlic powder - or 2 cloves minced
- In small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the marinade - you need to use the whisk to break up the marmalade.
- Pour over chops and let marinate for 10 minutes (or longer...).
- Remove from marinade and cook on barbecue 10 - 15 minutes turning once.
- Baste with any remaining marinade before turning to give better glaze. In all cases it depends on thickness of the chops. Test
Day 6: Ham, Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad
Total time: 25 minutes
I love cold ham in salads of any type and beans with basil is always a hit. Here, it all comes together with a lower fat/calorie dressing of half mayonnaise and half Greek Yogurt.
- 1 1/4 cups (4.2oz, 125gr) pasta, bite-size - fusilli, rigatoni, penne
- 1 tbs olive oil, for salads
- 10oz (300gr) deli-style (baked) ham
- 6oz (180gr) green beans
- 1/2 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) plain or Greek yogurt
- 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 2 tbs fresh chives, snipped
- 2 tbs fresh basil, snipped
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse in cold water and toss with olive oil.
- Top and tail beans, cut into 1 inch lengths.
- Fill a medium saucepan 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add beans and blanch for 3 minutes.
- While the beans cook fill a large bowl or pan 3/4 full of cold water.
- When the beans are done, drain and dump into the cold water. Swirl around until cool then drain and set aside.
- Snip herbs.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Cut ham into inch squares (or cubes depending on how thick) - or larger if you prefer.
- In small bowl whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice.
- Put pasta, ham, beans, herbs and tomatoes in large salad bowl.
- Add mayonnaise dressing and toss lightly to combine - a tongs works well. Serve.