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Menu Plan and Recipes

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shallot chevre pastry
Caramelized Shallot and Chevre Pastries

palmiers
Puff Pastry Crisps (Palmiers)

shrimp avocado sauce
Pasta with Shrimp (Prawn) and Avocado Sauce

bean salad
Warm Green Bean

 

Menu Plan for the week of August 30, 2013: Friday's Recipes

Caramelized Shallot and Chevre Pastries
Pasta with Shrimp (Prawn) and Avocado Sauce
Warm Green Bean Salad

Cooking time:  45 minutes for menu          Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     We'll use the other half of the puff pastry sheet to make the Palmiers for tomorrow's salad.  This should finish the goat cheese from last week (assuming your logs are 8oz, like mine).

Caramelized Shallot and Chevre Pastries        Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
   The sweetness of the caramelized shallots and onions is perfect against the slightly sharp flavor of the goat cheese.  Walnuts are a traditional pairing with the cheese.

3oz (90gr) goat cheese - You don't want the creamy kind in the carton for this but a proper goat cheese: log-shaped and wrapped in paper.  It will have a thin, whitish, rind that is edible.
3 - 4 shallots, about 6oz (180gr)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1oz (30gr) walnuts
2 tsp pesto
1/2 sheet puff pastry - if there is a second sheet, freeze it

Thaw the puff pastry, if needed. 
Slice shallots.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté until they start to get transparent and tender, about 7 minutes.  Turn heat up and cook, stirring, until they start to get brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium low, add sugar and stir until sugar is melted and evenly distributed.  Let cook over medium low heat until very brown, 10 - 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Slice goat cheese into 1/4" (.6cm) rounds.   Roughly chop walnuts. 
Lay out puff pastry and cut two 4 X 5 inch rectangles (10 X 12cm).     Lay the cut pastry on a baking sheet. With a table knife, score a line around the edge of each pastry, about 1/3" (1cm) from the edge.
Divide the caramelized shallots between the two, spreading to the scored lines.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the shallots.   Lay the goat cheese on top, cutting smaller slices, to roughly cover the shallots.  Spread pesto on top of goat cheese, dividing evenly. 
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F (200C) for 12 - 15 minutes, until sides of pastry have puffed around middle and are golden brown.  Remove and serve. 

Parmesan Crisps                                                    Time:  15 minutes plus 5 earlier  
     We're doing the prep work.  These will be baked tomorrow. My puff pastry comes in a circle.  I normally use half for a starter and the other half for these.  I leave it as a half circle, roll it up and slice crisps until I get as close to the 'round' end as reasonable. .

1/2 sheet puff pastry sheet
1 - 2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly drizzle 1 - 2 tsp olive oil over the pastry.  Sprinkle 2 tbs of Parmesan evenly over the top.  Make a mental note (or mark it) of where the middle of the pastry is.  Starting at each short end, roll the puff pastry to the middle until the two rolls meet. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until used. 

Pasta with Shrimp (Prawns), Avocado Sauce      Preparation, cooking time: 25 minutes
   This is loosely based on a recipe from a Williams-Sonoma book. The avocado makes a wonderful, creamy sauce for the pasta with only the 'good' fat. You can use heavy cream in place of the milk if you crave that richness, but I don't.  It really doesn't need it!  Grilling the shrimp adds another dimension to the dish, but you could just poach them quickly in a skillet in a 1/2 inch of water with a bit of lemon and pepper or use pre-cooked .

12oz (360gr) large shrimp (prawns)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil
pasta, 4oz (125gr) dry fettuccini,  OR 1 1/4 cups dry bite size, such as farfalle
3 tbs salad olive oil
4 tbs chicken stock
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
1 avocado
4 tbs milk  - or cream if you like, milk is on the shopping list
2 tbs chopped fresh chives.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse lightly with cool water
Clean shrimp if necessary. If not, rinse and drain.  Mix chili powder, garlic, lemon and olive oil in a bowl.  Add shrimp and toss to coat. 
Cut avocado and remove pit (see techniques). Scoop it out of the shell and put it into your blender.  Add chicken stock, vinegar and purée until smooth.  Add oil and purée just until blended, then add milk and purée a few seconds more. 
Cook shrimp in a grill pan on the barbecue grill over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes, until they start to curl and turn opaque.  You could also sauté in a skillet in another tablespoon of olive oil.  Either way, when done remove.  It's not necessary to have them hot for this dish. 
To finish: Put pasta into a large bowl and add avocado sauce, shrimp and chives.  Mix gently and serve.

Warm Green Bean Salad                                     Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
    Warm beans with bacon bits.... There is something about that combination that never fails to excite the taste buds.  These beans are cooked until tender, rather then being blanched; this is an old-fashioned salad....

6oz (180gr) green beans,  regular or flat Italian beans
2 slices bacon  substitute Prosciutto or regular ham
1 tbs cider vinegar   or other vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 tbs snipped fresh chives

Top and tail beans...  cut off the ends.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths (4cm). 
Sauté bacon in a small skillet, cut into pieces if needed.  When bacon is crisp remove and crumble. 
Drain fat from pan, add beans, 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer until beans are done, about 10 minutes.  Remove beans with slotted spoon or fork and put into serving bowl; keep warm.  Add remaining ingredients, except chives, to remaining liquid in pan, bring to a boil, reducing to 2 tbs.  Pour over beans, add crumbled bacon, chives, toss gently to combine and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 45 minutes
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, small bowl, small skillet with lid, medium
skillet, pot for pasta, colander, baking sheet, blender,
barbecue grill or skillet, pasta bowl, grater, film

Turn oven on, 400F (200C)
Thaw pastry if needed
Clean shrimp if needed
Slice shallots, sauté
Top and tail beans, cut
Turn heat up under shallots
Cut pastry, score
Grate Parmesan for Crisps if needed
Reduce heat under shallots, add sugar, let cook
Put water on high heat for pasta
Drizzle oil over remaining 1/2 puff pastry
Sprinkle Parmesan evenly
Roll each end to center, wrap and refrigerate
Snip herbs
Sauté bacon for beans

Light/turn on barbecue grill if using
Start to cook pasta
Mix chili powder, garlic, lemon, add shrimp, stir to coat
Turn bacon
Mind the shallots
Slice goat cheese
Chop walnuts
Assemble pastries, bake
Remove bacon, drain fat
Add beans, water, cover, simmer
Make avocado sauce
Cook the shrimp, remove, set aside
Drain pasta, rinse, drain, put into serving bowl
Remove pastries
Remove beans, put in bowl, cover to keep warm
Serve pastries
Done?
Reheat skillet from beans, add ingredients, simmer
Crumble bacon, finish beans
Assemble pasta
Serve