Archive for September, 2010

Since I’ve moved to the South, I’ve heard some interesting colloquialisms. One of these is “you put your foot in it.” Apparently this phrase has nothing to do with hygiene and everything to do with cooking up something that makes folks wanna slap their mama. So when someone tells you that you put your foot in, you say thank you. Or you say, “Oh, it was my pleasure, honey.”

While I was growing up on the Iowa farm, my husband spent his early formative years in Germany at Han Air Force Base. This time heavily influenced him and he’s been a German food lover all his life. One of these loves is schnitzel.

A few years ago I couldn’t have told you what a schnitzel was, only that test subject Bill loved them. Then recently we found a German restaurant close to home that serves up authentic German cuisine and he was able to indulge his schnitzel fantasies. I don’t really eat meat if I’m unsure of its origin (and if I don’t know, it probably came from a CAFO, which is not my style) but I had to have a taste of this pounded, breaded piece of meat that I heard about for the past nine years of marriage. So I sampled off of his plate.

Oh. My. God. Shut your mouth. I considered making an exception to my no CAFO meat rule. I still may do so. It was fan-frickin-tabulous. Crunchy and salty yet tender and moist. Heck yeah, this is something I could dig. I understood at long last Bill’s schnitzel obsession.

After that experience, making schnitzel myself has been on my mind. I found a good looking recipe. I had some Nature’s Harmony Farm pork chops in the freezer I could cut up and use. Finally I decided it was schnitzel time.

The process is fairly simple: pound your meat nice and thin. Heat your fat in the pan. Dredge the flat pork in the flour mix, give it a quick coat of egg wash, then dredge in bread crumbs (I used panko). Fry for 3-4 minutes per side. And for once, it actually was that easy.

flat pork and my new pounder

However, first I needed something to pound the pork with. My little wooden pounder I used for sauerkraut was not going to cut it. I needed something substantial. So I was forced to make a trip up to Williams-Sonoma. At first I thought I was out of luck, but a helpful employee assisted me in locating the perfect meat pounder. It’s heavy. It’s shiny. It can switch sides between flat and spiky. If Heaven’s host came to my house to cook, they would use this pounder to make schnitzel.

With my heavenly new pounder at hand, I proceeded to cut the bones out of the pork chops. It went faster and easier than I thought. When it came time for pounding, my new tool did the job in a matter of moments. A few quick pounds and my former pork chops were nearly see-though. Right on. Note to self: wear an apron next time…splattering raw pork is not an accessory.

Schnitzel assembly line

I followed the recipe pretty closely. At the suggestion of my friend Cathy (of Steak and Guinness Pie fame) I added nutmeg to the flour and salt mixture. As I mentioned, I used panko crumbs. I also used smoked paprika in lieu of regular paprika. (Love that stuff). For the oil for frying, I used half butter and half olive oil, although I may use lard next time. I tried to make the dill sauce that the recipe uses but something happened to my sauce and it didn’t come together. Maybe because I used yogurt cheese instead of sour cream. Ah, well. It didn’t end up making a difference.

Dredging, egging and dredging again, the flattened pork became dinner. The schnitzels fried up perfectly at about three minutes per side. The first ones out of the pan were the definition of golden brown and delicious. I noted that I needed about twice the oil/butter that the recipe called for in order to have proper browning. Note for next time – reoil the pan between batches.

With my hard work nearly complete, it was time for the taste test. I crunched. I munched. I melted into the kitchen floor. It was beautiful. It was buttery, savory and delicious. It was tender. I PUT MY FOOT IN IT!!

Pork schnitzel with forgettable zucchini and spaghetti squash sides

So enamored with my schnitzel was I that I completely forgot to serve my sauerkraut with it. It was all I could do to hold myself together while I chewed. Pork schnitzel is….the second best thing I ever made.

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When I was home in Iowa for Christmas, a very sleepy baby took a long nap in my lap. A few months later, her mom supplied me with a couple of recipes that will become staples in the KKF household. Little Hannah will eat well as she grows up, this I am sure!

I’m not sure how we got on the subject, but Sara gave me a recipe for Mahkloubeh and Baba Ghanouj/Baba Ghanoush. Maybe it was all the eggplant I was getting from my CSA. Anyway, the recipe sat in my “Recipes” folder for a long time until I was looking for something to do with the one pound of ground lamb in my freezer.

I had never had lamb before. I ordered it from my CSA on a whim, then let it sit there for a number of months (a KKF habit). It turned out for the best, because this recipe made great use of the lamb and I ate the whole thing (not all at once).

Mahkloubeh (Upside Down Meat Dish)

1 lbs, cubed or ground meat (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey)(I’ve made it with beef and venison, the lamb is good too, but I have never personally cooked it with lamb)

2 Medium onions chopped

1 Eggplant or small head of cauliflower

2 Cups rice (long grain or basmati)

4 cups boiling water

½ cup pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste

Slice eggplant I ½” slices and peel (break cauliflower into flowerets. With a little oil brown the eggplant slices or the cauliflower and set aside. Cook onion in oil until soft but not brown, Put meat into pan with onions and brown meat. Place meat/onion mixture in Dutch oven or other heavy pan with straight sides. Arrange eggplant slices or cauliflower on top0 of meat mixture and cover with rice. Add salt and pepper then the water and bring to boil then simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID. Let stand for about 15 minutes and while it is standing sauté pine nuts in a little butter or oil stirring constantly so as not to burn the nuts.

Turn the pot with the Mahkloubeh upside down on a platter, so the meat is on top and sprinkle pine nuts over the food.

It can be served to eat with plain unflavored yogurt or ketchup on it. (I’ve never had it with ketchup)

Lamby Ricey Eggplanty goodness

I (obviously) used my lamb, I had only one small onion so I used that, several Asian eggplants from the CSA box and 1 ½ cups of rice (adjusted the water to 3 cups due to the rice reduction). This smelled great as it boiled away. It didn’t flip over very pretty but once I started digging in it didn’t matter. Also, I forgot about the pine nuts but I guess it was not a deal breaker since I plowed through it without a second pignoli thought. This was absolutely delicious and so simple. I had a little lamb…and it was tasty.

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