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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pork Cutlet Milanese


In our home we love crispy pork cutlets as a main protein. And so I am not stuck in a cooking rut I change up the spicing in the breading as I did here with my Pork Cutlet Milanese. From Milan the traditional meat to use would most likely be veal which is either pounded down to a thin cutlet or a veal chop is used. It's dipped in an egg mixture then in bread crumb and always "fried" in butter. It's that simple.

How you choose to flavor the crumb mixture is entirely up to you. Don't be afraid to experiment with a variety of dried spices or fresh herbs like parsley or oregano or even basil in the mixture. I add Parmesan cheese to mine because I once saw chef Michael Chiarello do it that way and I love the flavor it imparts. Also, I prefer the texture of the panko bread crumb but you can use a fine unseasoned bread crumb. If all you have in your pantry is a pre seasoned bread crumb mixture use that and be sure to add the Parmesan cheese to it.


For the Pork Milanese:
  • 6-8 thin pork cutlets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp.Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp. butter
For the breading station:
  • 1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
  1. In a food processor combine the bread crumbs, dried oregano and Parmesan and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the crumb mixture in a bowl along with the garlic, salt and pepper and whisk it all together.
For the egg station in a separate dish whisk together the following:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. water
  1. Lightly sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the cutlets in the egg mixture, then in the seasoned bread crumbs and set them on a plate.
  2. In a skillet over medium to medium high heat, add in the olive oil and butter. Just as the butter begins to bubble, add in the breaded cutlets and saute each side until you have a deep golden brown crust. Thin cutlets only need like 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  3. If you are working with a thicker cutlet be sure to lower the heat as you are browning and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

For our side dishes I chose a saute of zucchini and mushrooms along with an individual potato gratin. For just the two of us the pork cost $6.26. You can look for sales on the cutlets or a small boneless roast and slice the cutlets yourself for saving money. Instead of a potato gratin the less expensive alternative is a plain baked potato, rice or egg noodles for the starch. Purchase whatever vegetable you can afford - whether that is fresh, frozen or canned to make a wonderful meal for your family.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Steak Fajitas


I have had a thin sirloin steak I got on sale in the freezer for way to long. So I figured I would use that and marinade it and make some steak fajitas for dinner. My husband has a thing with textures and does not like his tortillas soft and frankly I prefer a little crunch; hence I crisp them in a bit of regular vegetable oil before assembly.
The great thing is this can be a go to weeknight meal when you want to change things up a bit. Make the marinade, prep the veggies and marinate the steak and the vegetables separately. You can marinate overnight and have them ready to go when you get home from work.
  • 1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak
  • 3 bell peppers - any color (I used red and green from our garden.)
  • 1 large vidalia onion - slice in half moons
  • Mexican cheese blend shredded cheese
  • large tortillas
  • vegetable oil (for a crispy shell which is optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
For the marinade:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (from fresh limes or in a bottle is okay)
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves - finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • big pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  1. Toss all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  2. Place your steak on a cutting board and stab it many times with a long kitchen fork.
  3. Put the steak in a glass container large enough and pour some of the marinade over the steak, reserving the rest for the vegetables to marinate in. Marinate for two hours or overnight.
  4. De-seed and de-vein your peppers and cut into strips. Cut the onion in half then in moon slices. Place the vegetables in the marinade and toss.
  5. When you are ready to start the steak you can either grill it or pan fry it. Make sure the steak is medium to medium rare as it goes in the oven to help melt the cheese. When the steak is done and rested, cut into strips against the grain of the meat.
  6. Saute the vegetables in a deep skillet after removing them from the marinade. Cook the vegetables to El-dente or softer if you like.
  7. I pan fried our tortillas in just a little bit of oil in a cast iron skillet to give them texture. It only takes 30-40 seconds per side. Remove from the oil and rest on paper towels to absorb extra oil. Or do them soft if that is your preference.
  8. Assemble the tortillas with the beef and vegetables topped with cheese.
  9. Place under the broiler to melt the cheese being careful not to burn the tortillas. You can do this on a foil lined baking sheet. If the tortillas are getting too dark on the edges, fold up the edges of the foil over the outer edges of the tortilla.


There you have it. A different and tasty weeknight meal. Getting any or all of the ingredients on sale as I did makes this dinner not all that costly. This is the type of dinner your kids will enjoy as well. Serve with a few dollops of sour cream for additional flavor.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Curried Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup


With temperatures dropping quickly here in my home state of Connecticut, my mind is on soup. Home made, creamy and bursting with flavor this Curried Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup is one you will be proud to serve your family or guests.
The fact I have a beautiful head of orange cauliflower I purchased on sale and it's been in my refrigerator just waiting to be used, along with the colder temperatures was part of my inspiration for making this soup. The other factor came from my daughters partner who sent me a photograph of her roasted curry cauliflower she made for dinner just a couple of days ago which I can't wait to try.
You can elect to puree the soup until smooth but I chose to not puree it all, leaving the soup with some texture.
When you begin the soup be sure that you do salt the vegetables (mirepoix) so they sweat down rather than brown. This recipe is easy and comes together fairly quickly. As the soup is simmering you can smell the curry but there is just enough in there so that it becomes a warm background flavor in the soup. The combination of the half and half and cheese make it creamy and ever so delicious.
This recipe will feed 4-6 depending on the size bowls you use. If you are having dinner guests, serve it as a first course in your tea cups from your china ware that you only use on holidays! Actually jazz up your dinner table by serving it that way for your family. They'll think they are dining in a five star restaurant.
  • 1 head orange cauliflower - broken into florets
  • 1/2 large onion - small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large stalk celery - small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large carrot - peeled and sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese - grated
  • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper (or black) to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Start out by removing the outer leaves and the heavy stem of the cauliflower and breaking it down into florets. Leave some florets larger.
  2. Dice your onion. Using a peeler take off the heavy ribs of the celery before dicing. Peel and dice or slice your carrot.
  3. Shred your cheese and keep it in a bowl covered with plastic in the refrigerator.
  4. In a stock pot over medium heat, heat up the oil. Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the onion, celery and carrots. Season with the salt and pepper. Cook and stir until softened. About 5 minutes.
  5. To the pot add the all of the cauliflower, water and broth and curry powder. Bring the heat up to high.
  6. Bring this to almost a boil and cook over medium heat for about 35 minutes. Test the cauliflower to see if it is tender.
  7. When the cauliflower is tender, puree part of the soup so that you leave some texture to it using a hand held blender or a kitchen blender or food processor - what ever works for you.
  8. Add in the half and half or cream, stir and taste for seasonings. If you are satisfied with the seasonings, pull the cheese out of the refrigerator and add it to the soup, stirring until the cheese is fully incorporated.
  9. Serve in a bread bowl or regular soup bowl or as suggested above in tea cups from your china ware.
I am so pleased with the recipe and how all of the flavors blend together and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The recipe cost approximately $5.77 to make as I got the cheese and cauliflower on sale.

You can make this vegetarian by replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth - easy transition.