Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meet the Meat

First on our scope of what groceries you should start buying organic…and which ones you can save money on and buy the “normal stuff,” let’s take a look at meat…(I know, any vegetarian or vegan readers are gonna cringe when I finish this post)

But at least buying organic meat will be better for the environment, health, and animal welfare.

 

 

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What does “organic” mean as far as meat?

In order for meat to be considered organic, at least the following three requirements must be met…

  • 1.  animals must be raised without antibiotics and hormones
  • 2. animals must be given proper veterinary treatment whenever necessary
  • 3. animals must have access to the outdoors, sunlight, and clean water

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Beef

Organic beef not only helps you avoid the extra additives and chemicals especially the growth hormones given to livestock to make them grow larger faster—found in non-organic beef, the beef actually is a better quality.

Buying organic beef also is leaner and has higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids.

In order for beef to be considered organic, the cows must graze in open pastures for at least 120 days per year…instead of being cooped up indoors without any grazing time in pastures at all, which is typically the case.

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Chicken

There is much debate as to whether or not organic poultry is better than “conventional” poultry as far as nutrition, but regardless there are plenty enough reasons to buy organic, including…

  • is better for the animals because in order for chickens to be classified as organic, they must be allowed access outdoors
  • is also better for the animal because they cannot be injected with the antibiotics given to “typical” chickens to to help boost flavor and add moisture
  • is better for the environment because antibiotic-laden run-off is poisonous to wildlife
  • prevents antibiotic-lader run-off from making its way into your water supply
  • the meat typically contains less salt, preservatives and other additives

 

 

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Pork

Pigs are conventionally injected with vaccinations, hormones and pharmaceuticals in order for themX to get fatter in a shorter period of time.,,,(by the way, please make sure that I don’t get any of these myself)…which means that you could possibly be affected by these hormones and pharmaceuticals yourself.

Not only can eating organic pork—including bacon, sausage, and deli meats—help you avoid these hormones and pharmaceuticals, is can also keep you from being exposed to chemical preservatives—such as nitrate and nitrite—which have been linked to gastric cancer and birth defects.

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.

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

What’s Next?!

 

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.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Some Like It Hot

Before you start to actually sauté your ingredients, you should preheat your pan for a few minutes. 

Making sure that your pan is at the proper temperature before adding oil or ingredients.

Meat…As far as cooking meat, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients—such as chicken or pork chop—will mean that your meat will not be as dry as if you had not done this. The reason is that tender cuts of meat needs to be cooked as quickly as possible in order to stay tender.

If your pan is cold when you add your meat, the meat will spend more time over the heat

If your pan is not hot enough when you add your meat, then the meat will just sit there until your pan slowly heats up enough to start cooking the meat.

As the meat just sits there waiting, eventually the juices will start leaking out and then boiling away….resulting in disgusting gray-colored soggy pork chops or tough, instead of tender,  chicken.

Veggies...As far as cooking veggies, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients will mean that your veggies will steam them instead of sautéing. This will mean that you will have drab, mushy, overcooked vegetables—not crisp, flavorful and brightly-colored veggies because the veggies have spent too much time over the heat.

How Hot is Hot Enough?…To make sure that your pan is hot enough to add your meat and/or veggies, set a drop of water into the pan. If it’s ready, the water will jump and skitter around on the surface.

Making Dinner Plans, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Silan Chicken

Silan,  also referred to as Israeli date honey, is a rich syrup made from dates.

Silan has a dark chestnut color, darker than maple syrup, about the color of cola….a taste similar to molasses….and a texture that is as thick as molasses but more fluid than bee honey.

You can find at local “kosher” markets, but even living here in DFW, I have no idea where one of those would be and it would be much easier to order it while still wearing my pajamas online from such retailers as World of Judaica or Date Lady.

Just be sure to stay away from the varieties with added sugar—those can be too sweet and lack the authentic flavor of the kind found in Israel.

One of the most common recipes using silan is Silan Chicken…had this for dinner last night, making it again tonight perhaps because it was so very good and there are no leftovers.

  • 4# chicken legs or thighs
  • 1 cup silan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind or soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Maranating…Prepare a 9- x 13 baking dish. Mix together the silan, oil, brown sugar, tamarind, garlic, and chicken stock. Place the chicken in a foil-lined roasting or baking pan. Rub the chicken pieces with vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Baking…Bake for an hour, uncovered, brushing the chicken with the sauce every fifteen minutes. Increase oven temp to 375°F. Bake for another thirty minutes.