Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pork Schnitzel

Schnitzel is typically veal or pork sliced and pounded thin. I often use pork tenderloin because it is lean and super tender and one tenderloin is perfect for two people. This schnitzel is made from pork loin chops. They were sliced and them butterflied and perfect for my house because there were two in the package. I pounded them very thin and created this thin, gigantic schnitzel that Big Pete loved.   (because he is BIG and loves anything made his size!) 

You will need:

  • 2 pork loin chops- butterflied and pounded thin
  • 5 crackers - your favourite kind
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt/pepper - 1/4 tsp each
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • vegetable or olive oil for frying
  • lemon wedges for serving

Step 1: Take your pork loin chops and remove the fat. (before or after pounding)  Place the chops in between two large sheets of plastic wrap. They will get at least triple in size. Pound until quite thin and gigantic in size!

Step 2: Prepare your breadcrumb mix. In a plastic bag add your favourite crackers (mine were a whole grain Dare cracker with seeds) bash the bag to crush the crackers into crumbs. 

Step 3: add the crackers, Italian seasoning, onion powder, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to a plate. Mix with your hands to combine.

Step 4: in a bowl whisk egg and 1 tsp water.

Step 5: add flour, salt and pepper to another plate. Mix.

Step 6: take your gigantic pork schnitzel and pat in flour on both sides.

Step 7: add the floured pork to the egg wash and coat, then press into the breadcrumb mix and coat well on both sides.

Step 8: in a large pan heat oil (I use olive oil for almost everything except deep frying which rarely happens and in that case I use Grapeseed oil) Pan fry the pork on a medium/high oil (not too high to avoid burning) until browned on both sided. These are so large you can only cook them one at a time.

Serve with wedges of  lemon and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Red Pepper Sauce

Next time you are looking for something to toss your pasta with think of red peppers instead of tomato sauce. You can make this with all sweet red peppers or you can add a few hot red peppers to add just a bit of heat. I love it both ways.

You will need:
  • 3 sweet peppers
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 small onion - chunked into large pieces
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt - this sauce needs salt, don't be worried.
  • pepper to taste - if you add the chilies add the pepper to taste.
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 leek
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped
  • generous grating of fresh Parmesan
  • salt/pepper to taste

Step 1: On a baking tray add 3 sweet peppers, head of garlic, 1 leek, 1 onion, 1 tomato and chilies if you want some added heat. Toss in olive oil to coat everything  and roast in 350 degree F oven for 30 - 40 minutes. You want the peppers to soften and the skin to blister for easy removal. Let cool until you can handle.

Step 2: remove skin from tomato and peppers. They should peel off easily. Remove garlic cloves from skin and add everything to a food processor. Puree until smooth.

Taste and adjust for salt. It likes lots.

Step 3: In this serving I just sauteed a leek in 2 tbsp olive oil and finished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a grating of Parmesan cheese.

I could eat pasta every day!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Dressed Flatbreads

Flatbread can have whatever you like on it and is really like a long pizza. I like to have it with a salad piled on top or some fresh herbs. It's great as an appetizer if you are entertaining guests or just an awesome dinner. 
What is not to like bread, cheese and other great stuff!
You will need:

Dough - makes 2 - 12 inch flatbreads
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups all purpose or half whole wheat and half all purpose - plus another 1/4 cup for kneading 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion - sliced and cooked on low in 2 tbsp olive oil for 20 minutes
  • 1 tomato - chopped and cooked in 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, 1 clove garlic - cook 5 minutes until soft and some of the water cooks out. Let cool.
  • 1 small chicken breast - cooked in 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic chopped. Cook 5 minutes and then chop in small pieces.
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan mix. 
  • aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling.

Step 1: in a bowl add warm water, yeast and olive oil. Wait a few minutes to see if yeast activates. If you see it start to rise to the top of the water proceed to step 2.

Step 2: add flour and salt and mix with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to continue mixing in the bowl. Empty contents all out on your counter and knead with the additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Let rise 2 hours until doubled in size in a plastic covered bowl.

Step 3: make toppings. To make carmelized onions add sliced onions to a pan with oil and cook on medium and then on low slowly for approximately 20-30 minutes until they brown and get sweet. Chop into smaller pieces once cooked.

Step 4: you can make a tomato sauce or use your favourite dip or sauce as a base. I chop a tomato and add a clove of garlic, some olive oil, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes. If you want it spicy add some chili flakes. Once soft you can leave to cool or chop to make it smoother.

Step 5: take chicken and add olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook in a small pan. Let cool and chop into chunks.

Step 6: if you like sausage chop it up and cook with some hot pepper jelly until most of the water cooks out.

Step 7: once the dough has doubled divide into 2 and flatten out on parchment paper with your hands. There is oil on the dough so it is easy to spread even without a rolling pin.

Step 8:  grate some cheeses - try something different!

Step 9: Top your flatbreads.

this one is on whole wheat crust. I have used a white bean dip as the base instead of tomato sauce.

Bake in a 475 degree F oven for 5-7 minutes. Serve as is or top with a salad.

Top with a fresh salad and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar or good olive oil. YUM.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Buttermilk Chicken Nuggets

 I thought it would be fun to have chicken nuggets for a change and of course I would never buy store bought so I wondered how I could make these more adult. I added some crackers to the breading along with some spices and found they jazzed them up quite nicely. I created a dip by mixing equal parts mustard, honey and hot pepper jelly and found they completed my grown up kid's meal. Big Pete loved them and ate his whole meal so he got to have dessert and stay up an extra hour later!

You will need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3-4 tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce - which is a medium heat sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cracker or a handful of corn chips
  • 1 cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (if you don't have any use all regular breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning - mine has hot chili flakes if yours doesn't add some
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • olive oil to come almost to halfway up chicken nuggets
  • mustard and honey and hot pepper jelly (all equal parts mixed)
  • honey
  • bar-b-q sauce

Step 1: slice and cube your chicken.

Step 2: add cubed chicken, buttermilk and hot sauce to a bowl. Marinate 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Step 3: in a food processor add a few of your favourite crackers, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and process until mixed and fine.

Step 4: prepare standard breading station. One bowl with 2 eggs whisked. One bowl with flour  and one bowl with breadcrumb mix. 

Step 5: drain and pat your chicken on paper towels to remove most of the buttermilk. Dip chicken chunks into flour first until coated. Once coated in flour add to egg mix and finally add chunks to breadcrumb mix. Press breadcrumbs onto chicken nuggets to get a nice coating.

Step 6: once breaded place on a plate or tray so they do not touch each other. Heat oil in a deep pot or pan. I add only enough oil to come to halfway up chicken pieces. Once oil is hot enough add a few pieces at a time and cook on the first side and then flip to cook on the other side. I like my chicken to be nicely browned. Continue until all pieces are cooked. Once they come out of the oil sprinkle immediately with salt and pepper.

I prepared a grown up mustard sauce by adding equal parts mustard, honey and hot pepper jelly.