Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Munich Schnitzel

pork and sausage on the grill
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Münchner Schnitzel…or Munich schnitzel) for those of us who took German in school or lived there and still can’t umlaut…is a type of schnitzel that that is prepared with horseradish and/or mustard before brading.

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Feathering the Nest, Random Thoughts

Zigeunerschnitzel

pork and sausage on the grill
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Another favorite type of schnitzel commonly served in Germany is Zigeunerschnitzel.

Zigeunerschnitzel, also referred to as “gypsy schnitzel” or  “paprikaschnitzel” is a pork schnitzel with a creamy sauce that contains tomato, bell peppers, and onion.

You won’t find this listed in German restaurants because there has been much controversty over the use of the term “gypsy.”  Insteaad look for the word “Balkanschnitzel.”

 

The Breading

  • 1C breadcrumbs
  • ½C flour
  • 2 eggs

First heat 2Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Remember that you alaeys want your oil to be hot whenever you start adding the meat.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour, salt and white pepper in shallow bowl. Coat pork, one piece at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

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The Meat

  • 2# veal cutlets or boneless pork loin chops
First wash the cutlets under cold water and dry them well with paper towel. Now lightly dredge the meat in flour and shake off any excess. Add your pork to the heated oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Pound meat slices between plastic wrap using a meat mallet.

Cook pork in batches 2 to 3 minutes per side, until both sides are golden brown and barely pink in center.

Cover to keep warm.

To serve, place two schnitzels on each plate, top with pepper sauce and mushrooms. Serve immediately.

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Gravy

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 12 medium crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers
  • ¼C dry red wine
  • ½C peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1C beef broth or dry white wine
  • 2Tbsp cornstarch

In a second skillet, saute onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms for about ten minutes, until all of the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Add garlic cloves, salt.tomato. Cook five minutes.

Remove vegetables from skillet. Set aside.

Now add flour, paprika, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook one minute.

Whisk in beef broth or wine. Cook for about five minutes.

 


Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Weiner Schnitzel

Authentic Wiener Schnitzel Recipe

Perhaps the best known schnitzel and the one that first comes to mind whenever the topic of schnitzel comes up is weiner schnitzel.

There is nothing like a perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy wiener schnitzel, complete with a juicy interior. I have eaten them many, many times.

 

 

But the truth is that I’ve never been able to cook a wiener schnitzel nearly as the ones that I ate whenever we were stationed in Germany.

You would think that this would be so easy…especially since the recipe is so darn simple…

But getting that perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy wiener schnitzel all boils down to technique.

SInce we are talking about cooking methods, or techniques, let’s take a look at how to supposedly make wiener schnitzel that honestly doesn’t taste like cafeteria food.

The Meat

Wiener Schnitzel” is actually a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and can only be made with veal.

If what you yourself would call Weiner Schnitzel actually isn’t made from veal, but some other type of meat—such as pork loin or chicken—cooked in the same style…it should technically be called “Schnitzel Wiener Art,” not wiener schnitzel.

Remember that regardless which type meat you choose to make your wiener schnitzel, or any other simple dish like this, it is especially important that you choose quality ingredients.

And regardless what type of meat you decide to use, the meat must be very thin.

It is important that you meat be thin because you will frying it at high heat for a short period of time, and you want to be sure to get that perfect crispy crust without leaving the middle of the meat raw.

Pounding your meat will not only make your cut of meat tender, it will also tenderizes it.

Getting your cut of meat thin enough to make wiener schnitzel can be done with the help of a meat mallet.

To do this, lay your cutlet between two pieces of  Saran Wrap. Then pound the meat with  the flat side of a meat tenderizer, an empty wine bottle, or a small pot until it is about 1/4″ thick.

Once your meat is thin enough, lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

Breading

To make four wiener schnitzel, you will need the following ingredients… 

  •  1/2C flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4C breadcrumbs

First pour about 1/4″ of oil into a frying pan and start heating your oil.

You should not let the meat sit once breaded. Otherwise your schnitzel will not turn out as crispy.

Now, just like when we have been breading any of the other foods so far, lay out your work station, which should consist of…

  • a cookie sheet for your uncooked meat
  • three bowls for your breading “stuff”—a bowl for your flour, a bowl for your eggs, and a third bowl for breadcrumbs
  • another cookie sheet for your breaded meat

Once you have your work station set up, dip the chops in the flour, the egg, and the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat both sides and all edges with each ingredient.

When you are dipping your meat into the breadcrumbs, be careful not to press the breadcrumbs into the meat.

 

 

 

Cooking

You want to start cooking the schnitzel as soon as you get it breaded. If you wait, the schnitzel will not turn out as crispy.

First preheat your oven and place a cookie sheet in the oven. As the schnitzel are fried, you will be putting the cooked ones on this tray while you finish cooking the rest of them.

Now before adding your meat to the skillet, check to make sure that your oil is hot enough.

Your oil should be at a temperature of about 325°F to 350°F. If the oil is too hot, the crust will burn before the meat is done. If the oil is not hot enough, the crust will be soggy.

Once you know that your oil is hot enough, start placing cutlets in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Fry the schnitzels until they are golden brown, about four minutes per side, flipping them only once so that the breading will be more likely to stay on.

Watch your schnitzel carefully as it is cooking so that it doesn’t burn.

 

Also swish the cutlets around a little with your fork as you are cooking them to make sure that the schnitzel isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once a batch of schnitzels is cooked, put them in the oven on the baking sheet while you finish cooking the rest of them.

Serve immediately with slices of fresh lemon and parsley sprigs.

 

 

 

Side Dishes

Obviously, you could have whatever side dishes you want with your schnitzel but there are a few side dishes that are commonly served along with schnitzel at most German restaurants.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Jaegerschnitzel

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?!

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chicken Parm Here at the Farm

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Please Don’t Feed the Ducks

 

 

 

 

The Bread…You can use almost anything dry and crunchy to make your dry breadcrumbs—including hot dog buns, baguettes, croissants, sliced sandwich bread, Italian loaves, white, wheat, sourdough, rye, crackers, bagels, Goldfish, potato chips, or any combination of these.

Both sweet,and savory breads will make perfect breadcrumbs as long as your bread is nice and dry before crumbling.

Actually combining several different types of bread will add more flavor.

However, do not use stale bread. Stale bread makes stale-tasting breadcrumbs…go figure?!

Collect various odds and ends of breads in a large, re-sealable bag in your freezer until you have a need for using breadcrumbs.  One loaf of typical bread will yield about 4C crumbs. Then when a recipe calls for breadcrumbs, use this as an opportunity to make crumbs out of whatever bread you have collected.

But your bread needs to be dry.

Toasting the Bread…If  you’re using fresh bread to make your breadcrumbs, place the slices on a baking sheet and bake at 225 for 15min. Halfway through the baking time, turn the bread over so that the bread dries evenly.

Your goal in baking the bread in the oven like this is to evaporate all the moisture out of the bread, completely…

Toasting the bread  at such a low temperature will obviously take longer, but this temperature will heat the bread just the right amount to sufficiently vaporize moisture without darkening the bread’s surface or changing its flavor.

The Prep Work…Once your bread is totally dry and crispy, crumbling it into smaller pieces honestly won’t be that big of a deal.

Ar rhis poinr, you xould use one of three methods to finish making your breadcrumbs.

  1. The Blender or Food Processor
  2. The Box Grater
  3. Your Hands

The Blender of Food Processor…Perhaps the easiest and most common way to make breadcrumbs is in a blender or food processor, I honestly don’t have a food processor…still debating whether or not I would actually use one since I have a nice blender already…(more on that later).

Place chunks of the torn dried bread into a blender or the bowl of a food processor.

Add the chunks of bread in small batches.

Be careful not to overcrowd the bread so that grinding wjill be easier.

The Box Grater…A box grater, like the one that I understand is used to grate cheese at home…(honestly I can’t remember the last time I bought cheese that wasn’t already grated)…is another option.

To use a box grater to make breadcrumbs, place the grater in the center of a large bowl. Swipe your bread down its sides like you would a block of cheese.

The “DIY” Method…Finally you can simply make your breadcrumbs by hand. Place the dry bread in a Ziploc bag. Smash with a rolling pin until you have the desired size of breadcrumbs.

The Grand Finale…Regardless which method you are using, you need to end up with crumbs that range in size from crumbs that are the size of oatmeal flakes or rice and larger pieces about the size of small peas.

Now you are ready to toast your crumbs.

To toast your breadcrumbs on the stovetop, pour about 3Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the crumbs, stirring or tossing frequently, for about five minutes…until they are crunchy and golden brown.

Finally season your breadcrumbs with kosher salt. Let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.

Storing Breadcrumbs…How long your breadcrumbs can be used will depend on whether you store them in your fridge or freezer or at room temperature.

Fridge…Your breradcumbs will stay “fresh” in your fridge for up to one month.

Freezer…Your breadcrumbs will stay “fresh” in your freezer for up to three months, as long as they are kept in a resealable bag,

Room Temperature…Your breadcrumbs will stay “fresh”  at room temperature for up to three days, as long as they are kept in an airtight container.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Flour…The Other White “Stuff” That Gets All Over Your Kitchen Countertops While You Cook

Okay, so these last two posts have looked specifically at dredging your food in flour before frying…

But before we leave the topic of flour, let’s talk about the different flours that are actually out there.

 

Typically when we thnk about flour, we all imagine the white stuff in the biggest canisteron the left of the canister set…that stuff that used to be all over the kitchen when you were helping your Mom make cookies at Christmas time…no, not the sweet stuff…the stuff that you thought was powdered sugar, only to find out disappointedly that it wasn’t.

 

Even though most flour, such as the yucky-tasting white stuff, is milled from wheat…flour can also be milled from several other food products—such as corn, rice, nuts, legumes, seeds, amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, oats, potato, quinoa, rye, soy, spelt, tapioca, and teff….(more on this later)…

 

Each of these flours is actually different than its counterparts, and choosing the right type of flour can totally make or break your end result…so it is important to know which type of flour is best suited to which different endeavor.

The basic difference between the several types of flours is the protein content. High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has a high protein content,  Flours with such a higher protein content are often referred to as “harder” flours,.These flours are great for making crusty or chewy breads. Flours with a lower protein are often referred to as “softer” flours. These flours are better for cakes, cookies, and pie crusts.

1.  All-Purpose Flour…That white powder that you accidentally mistook for powdered sugar as a kid is most likely to have been all-purpose flour…the type of flour used most frequently here in the United States.
  • Gluten Content…All-purpose flour has a medium gluten protein content of 9.5-12%.
  • Best for…many bread and pizza bases, but most artisan bakers prefer other types of flour—such as bread flour.

 

 

 

2.  Bleached Flour…Bleached flour is not actually a type of flour in itself, but any type of flour that has been through a chemical process. Many manufacturers bleach flour so that it is more attractive.

  • Gluten Content…Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached.
  • Best for…pie crusts, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles.

 

 

 

3.  Bread Flour…Bread flour is made from hard, high-protein wheat…and often also contains ascorbic acid to increase volume and create better texture.  

  • Gluten Content…Bread flour has a higher gluten protein content—12% to 14%—than all-purpose
  • Best for…yeast products….because this additional protein in the flour helps the flour trap carbon dioxide released while the yeast is fermenting, making your breads rise higher and taste chewier.

 

 

 

4.  Cake Flour…Cake flour helps to keep your cakes from collapsing and improves their texture by distributing fat more evenly through the batter.

  • Gluten Content…Cake flour has the lowest protein content of any wheat flour—6% to 7%.
  • Best for…light, delicate products—such as sponge cakes and genoise

 

 

 

5.  Pastry Flour…Pastry flour is another type of flour made with soft wheat. that is able to hold foods such as cake together, while at the same time allowing you to create flaky crusts.

  • Gluten Content…Pastry flour has the second-lowest gluten protein content, with 7.5-9.5%
  • Best for…making tender, crumbly bread proeducts—such as biscuits, pie crusts, brownies, cookies, quick breads, tarts, and muffins.

 

 

 

6. Self-Rising fFour...Self-rising flour is a low-protein flour with salt and leavening—namely baking powder—already added.  Typically 1-1/4tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt have been added for 1C flour.  

The fact that you are buying a flour that already has the baking powder evenly distributed throughout the flour supposedly means that you will get a more consistent rise in baked goods. Honestly, I’ve been cooking for thirty-plus years and have only bought this stuff once.

Best for…especially suited for biscuits, muffins, cakes, pastries, and some quick breads, scones…,but never for yeast breads.  

 

 

 

7. Unbleached Flour…Unbleached flour is simply flour that hasn’t undergone bleaching and therefore doesn’t have the expected white color typically associated with flour. The process of using bleaching agents has been considered unhealthy by some…so this is why we have unbleached flour in the first place.

Best for…Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, lairs, cream puffs and popovers.

 

 

 

8.  Whole-Wheat Flour…Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients in general, especially having a higher fiber content.

Whole-wheat flour is derived from the complete wheat kernel, and is typically brown in color.

When compared to all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour gives your baked products more of a nutty flavor and denser texture. However, any breads made with whole wheat flour do nor rise as high as your typical white breads…so most bread recipes will call for a combination of the two.

Whote wheat flour is an example of a low-gluten flour.

 

 

 

 

Now let’s look at a few more low-gluten and gluten-free flour alternatives.

 

 

Low-Gluten Flour Alternatives

 

1. Barley Flour

  • What…a non-wheat flour made from grinding whole barley
  • Taste…mild, but very slightly nutty
  • Nutrition…has slightly fewer calories and more than 4 times the fiber of all-purpose flour
  • Cooking Tips…When making yeast bread recipes, there is not enough gluten in barley flour to properly develop the bread, and it is recommended swapping only one quarter of all-purpose flour.
  • Best for…quick breads and pancakes.

2, Pumpernickel Flour

  • What…made from coarsely-ground whole rye berries
  • Taste…pumpernickel breads tends to be dense, dark, and strongly flavored.

3. Rye Flours

  • What…rye flours typically fall into one of three categories—light, medium, and dark—depending on how much of the bran has been removed through the milling process
  • Nutrition…Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes.
  • Cooking Tips…When baking, substitute one-third of the amount of rye with wheat flour to ensure the bread will rise properly.

4. Spelt Flour

  • What…flour made from spelt, another member of the wheat family
  • Nutrition…the fats in spelt flour are more soluble than any other type of flour, making it a good choice for people who have issues with wheat digestion, but who are not “gluten”…also spelt flours have a higher nutritional content than traditional wheat flour
  • Taste…a nutty and slightly sweet flavor similar to that of whole wheat
  • Best for…one of the most popular and widely available of alternative baking flours

Gluten-Free Flours

 

1. Almond Flour

  • What…made from ground almonds
  • Best for…pastry crusts, cookies, and quick breads

2. Amaranth Flour

  • What…produced from ground amaranth, an ancient grain which was commonly used by the Aztecs
  • Nutrition…contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain and more protein than wheat flour.
  • Cooking Tips...Substitute up to 25% of the flour in your original recipe with this.

3. Buckwheat Flour

  • Taste…nutty
  • Uses…pancakes, soba noodles, crepes,

4. Chickpea Flour

  • What…made from dried chickpeas
  • Uses…a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistan, and Nepal cuisines
  • Cooking Tips…use as an egg substitute in vegan cookery….substitute up to half the amount of all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with chickpea flour

5. Coconut Flour

  • What…ground from dried, defatted coconut meat
  • Nutrition…highest fiber content of any flour, very low concentration of digestible carbohydrates
  • Taste…very light coconut flavor
  • Cooking Tips….replace up to 20% of the flour in a recipe, but add eggs and an equal amount of oil to compensate as this flour soaks up the liquid

6.  Corn Flour

  • What…made from finely-ground cornmeal
  • Uses…used for breading and in combination with other flours in baked goods…also used as a filler, binder and thickener in cookie, pastry and meat industries
  • tortillas, tamales’

7.  Millet Flour

  • What…made from millet, one of the oldest foods known and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes
  • Taste…naturally sweet flavor
  • Uses…most commonly used in desserts and sweet breads
  • Cooking Tips…When substituting for wheat flour, it is usually best to start with about a 3-to-1 ratio of wheat to millet.

6. Oat Flour

  • What…made from ground whole oats
  • Uses…to make a baked good more moist than wheat flour

7. Quinoa Flour

  • Nutrition…one of the most nutritious grain flour available
  • Uses…ideal solution for those following a gluten free, vegan or vegetarian diet
  • Cooking Tips…substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour called for in many recipes…also completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes

8. Rice Flour

  • What…can be made from finely ground grains of white or brown rice…which can be used interchangeably
  • Nutrition…lighter, milder, and easier to digest than wheat flour…bown rice flour has higher nutritional value than white rice flour
  • Uses…great as a thickening agent in sauces…widely used in Western countries especially for people who suffer from gluten-related disorders

9. Sorghum Flour

  • What…made from ground whole grains of the sorghum plant
  • Uses…very good substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, especially if combined with other, more denser, flours.

10. Soy Flour

  • What…made from ground soy beans
  • Uses…works best in sweet, rich, baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads, and quick breads
  • Cooking Tips…substitute for 10% to 30% of flour called for in the recipe.

11. Tapioca Flour

  • What…made from the starch extracted from root of the South American cassava plant
  • Taste..slightly sweet
  • Uses…improves the texture of baked goods…also an ideal thickening agent for a wide variety of baked goods—such as breads and pancakes…as well sauces and desserts—such as tapioca pudding
  • Cooking TIps…use 2Tbsp tapioca flour for each 1Tbsp corn starch

12..Teff Flour

  • What…made from teff, an ancient and intriguing grain
  • Nutrition…packed with nutrition…higher in protein than wheat…has a high concentration of a wide variety of nutrients—including calcium, thiamin, and iron…very high in fiber …is thought to benefit people with diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Uses…dark breads…of considerable importance in eastern Africa
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pan-frying…Chicken Fried Steak

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pan-Frying 101

 

2. Brining the Chicken…Typically when I frychicken, I cook approximately 3-3 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces….So let’s get started…
Soaking your chicken in some sort of brine will help the breading stick to the food better…and add moisture and flavor. Once you prepare the brine, simply add the chicken to the liquid and stick in the fridge at least thirty minutes, and even overnight.

 

4. Heating Your Oil…When frying chicken, it is important that the oil can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Peanut, canola or vegetable oil are your best options…Avoid using olive oil or butter.

 

 

 

5. Cooking Your Chicken…Gently place your breaded chicken skin side-down in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Replace the lid onto the pan. Cook the chicken about ten minutes, using your tongs to turn the chicken a few times while it cooks.

Remove the lid. Cook ten minutes more, uncovered…until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is a deep golden brown.

 

If you are using a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, the magic number is 165 degrees.

Remember to bring the oil back up to 350 degrees before you add the next batch of chicken.

 

 

 

Once your chicken has finished frying, place the hot chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt for extra flavor.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

When done well, you should end up with a hallmark of great fried chicken—perfectly tender meat with plenty of that crunchy, dark brown crust that all of us Southerners so adore.