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Menu Plan and Recipes

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butternut soup
Butternut Squash Soup

veal chops
Veal Chops Duxelles

potatoes herbs
Potatoes a la Two Fat Ladies

carrots
Balsamic Glazed Carrots

 

Menu Plan for the week of Sept. 20, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup
Veal Chops Duxelles
Potatoes a la Two Fat Ladies with Fresh Herbs
Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Cooking time:  75 minutes for menu      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     The potatoes will be for 2 meals. The chops can be cooked on the barbecue if you prefer. The potatoes take awhile to cook so either take a break before starting the rest of the dinner or have a leisurely first course....

Butternut Squash Soup                                             Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
   
 Butternut squash makes a lovely, creamy soup with no cream and very little fat.  A dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream to finish and you have the perfect autumn soup.

1 medium leek
1/3 butternut squash   about 2 cups, cubed
2 cups (16oz, 480ml) chicken stock
1 tbs olive oil
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tbs crème fraiche or Greek Yogurt

Cut the squash into small cubes, roughly 2 cups.  Clean and slice the leek.  In medium sauce pan sauté leek in oil until transparent.  Add squash, stock, sage and nutmeg.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 15 - 20 minutes, until squash is tender.  Purée soup - either with blender or immersion blender.   At this point you can add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup.  Add parsley and gently reheat.   To serve, ladle into soup plates or bowls, put dollop of yogurt or crème fraiche in the center and serve.

Note:  To clean butternut squash first peel it, using a potato/vegetable peeler.  If it's large (typically) cut it in half between the 'neck' and 'bowl' ends.  Then cut those in half the 'long' way.  Scoop the seeds out of the round end and discard.  I use the neck end for uniform pieces and the bowl end for soups and smaller pieces. Wrap what you're not using in plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

Veal Chops Duxelles                                                 Preparation and cooking time:  35 minutes
   Fall is the perfect time to make the classic Duxelles or minced mushrooms sauce. With shallots, a bit of wine and tomato, this is also excellent to serve with chicken breasts.

2 veal chops, about 1" (2.5 cm) thick
1 tsp olive oil
Duxelles Sauce
4 - 5 shallots, depending on slice, about 3/4 cup total
6oz (180gr) mushrooms, wild or not, try for something flavorful
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs white wine or water  

For the sauce:  Finely chop the shallots and mushrooms.  Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until bubbly.  Add shallots, mushrooms and sauté, until golden brown, 6 - 8 minutes.  Add the white wine and scrape up any brown bits.  Cook until wine is almost completely reduced, about 1 tbs left.  Add beef stock, tomato paste and herbs.  Stir well, bring to a simmer.  Dissolve cornstarch in wine.  Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until thickened.  (You may not need all of it.)  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. 
For the chops:  In nonstick skillet large enough to hold both chops heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add chops and brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Cover pan, remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes, until done to your preference, 2 - 3 minutes more for pink in the center.   Remove chops to a small platter, spoon half the sauce over and serve.

Potatoes a la Two Fat Ladies with Fresh Herbs      Preparation and cooking time:  75 minutes
   
This is something I watched "The Two Fat Ladies" do on their cooking show.  Perfect for late summer, flavored with lots of fresh herbs and garlic. You can modify the herbs to suit your taste, just use lots!

4 medium potatoes, (24oz, 720gr) 
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano or rosemary  substitute 2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbs chopped fresh thyme or sage
4 - 5 cloves garlic
2 - 3 tbs good olive oil
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) chicken stock

With a sharp knife thinly slice the potatoes.  Put slices in a large bowl of cool water and set aside.
Chop or snip herbs.  Finely chop garlic and mix together with chopped herbs. 
Remove potatoes from water, lay out on kitchen (paper) towels and pat dry.  Drizzle a bit of the oil in a glass baking dish, just large enough to hold ingredients.  Make a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with a bit of the herb/garlic mixture and drizzle with a little oil.  Repeat 4 more times.  Pour the stock over all, cover with foil and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking another 30 minutes.  Top potatoes should start to brown and get crisp.  Remove from oven and serve.

Note:  I use a scissors to snip the herbs first and use the flat of a large knife to smash the garlic. Then combine the herbs and garlic and chop finely, using a large knife in a 'rocking' motion.

Balsamic Glazed Carrots                                  Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
     The sweetness of the carrots pairs perfectly with the richness of the Balsamic vinegar.

2 - 3 carrots, enough for two
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) chicken stock
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar

Peel carrots and roll cut: cut the end off of the carrot at an angle, roll carrot 1/4 turn and cut next piece about 3/4 inch away at an angle, roll 1/4 and cut next piece, etc.  This gives you interesting looking pieces with lots of surface.  Put carrots and stock into a small saucepan or nonstick skillet.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until done, 10 - 15 minutes.
Mince garlic.
  Remove carrots from pan, add garlic and thyme.  Increase heat and reduce liquid to about 1 tbs.   Add vinegar, stir well to combine.  Return carrots to pan, stir well and cook for 2 minutes longer. Serve.

Cooking Schedule: 75 minutes
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, small saucepan with lid, medium saucepan
with lid, blender, baking dish, large nonstick skillet for chops, medium skillet for duxelles

Turn oven on, 400F (200C)
Thinly slice potatoes, put in water
Snip herbs, smash garlic
Finely chop herbs, garlic
Drain potatoes, pat dry
Assemble potato dish
Cover potatoes, bake
Slice leek, sauté
Cut butternut squash
Add squash, stock, sage, nutmeg to leeks
Bring soup to boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer
Clean, chop shallots
Clean, chop mushrooms
Sauté shallots, mushrooms
Peel carrots, cut
Mince garlic

Add wine to shallot/mushroom, reduce
     Pause while stuff cooks
Add stock, tomato, herbs to mushrooms
Dissolve cornstarch in water, thicken Duxelles
Cover Duxelles, remove from heat
Purée soup
Thin if desired, add parsley, heat through
Uncover potatoes
Put carrots, stock in pan, bring to boil, cover, simmer
Ladle soup into bowls, garnish, serve
   Relax - plenty of time while potatoes finish...
Done?   Heat skillet for chops
Sauté chops
Remove carrots
Add garlic, thyme to stock, reduce
Turn chops
Gently reheat Duxelles if needed
Cover chops to finish
Add vinegar, carrots to pan, cook
Put chops on plates, add Duxelles sauce
Remove potatoes
Serve all