10.21.14 Brussels Sprout and Ricotta Pizza

Brussels sprouts are, hands down, my favorite vegetable. Yes, yes, I know we’ve talked about this before, but still. With full-blown brussels sprouts season upon us, I’m feeling the need to once again proclaim my appreciation for these cute little crucifers. After all, it’s not every day one can easily procure a semi-obscene amount of one’s favorite vegetable. I mean, I’m buying these things by the stalkful. You can find me, most days, roasting up a big batch of sprouts for supper, tossing them into salads, baking them into gratins, and even, horrifyingly, eating them for breakfast. I have a problem.

My latest and greatest brussels sprouts creation though, would have to be the brussels sprout pizza. In fact, I feel a little silly for having gotten this far in life without having made this before, seeing as how I consider myself to be quite an avid supporter of both brussels sprouts and pizza. It’s genius; the combination of two of my favorite foods into one, amazing überfood seems almost too good to be true. The key word here being almost. Because it is in fact real. And it’s pretty spectacular.

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And to all of you would-be brussels sprout haters, fear not. Even YOU may yet enjoy this pizza. For while it is topped with copious amounts of lovely, green, garlicky, brussels sprout leaves, delightfully crisped to perfection, it is also topped with bacon. Oh, and three kinds of cheese! Yes, even someone previously at loathe to eat these bitter little brassicas, may be able to set aside their differences once they experience the utter cheese nirvana that is this pizza. It’s just that good.

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Brussels Sprout and Ricotta Pizza

makes 1 large pizza

Yes, peeling the leaves off of the brussels sprouts is a little bit of a pain. But trust me, the result is wonderful - crisp crunchy leaves, with no hard, undercooked cores. The trick is to use large, leafy sprouts; cut the base off the sprout and the leaves will peel right off.

  • Pizza Dough, recipe follows
  • 1 tsp cornmeal
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) brussels sprouts leaves (peeled from about ½ lb brussels sprouts)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup grated low moisture mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ Tbsp red chile flake

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grease a baking sheet or large pizza pan with cooking spray and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place dough in the center of the pan and spread all the way to the edges, spreading dough as thinly as you can without tearing it. Let pizza dough rest while oven heats and you prep the rest of your toppings. (hint - if you’re having trouble spreading the dough all the way to the edges, spread it as far as you can, then let it rest for about 5 minutes. After resting, it will be easier to finish spreading the dough all the way to the edges of the pan).

3. In a pan over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove from the pan, and set aside on a paper towel to drain, leaving excess bacon grease in the pan.

4. Add the shallot and garlic to the bacon grease in the pan, and cook over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprout leaves, and continue to cook, stirring often, until they are just slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

4. Top pizza dough with the olive oil and spread it so it covers the surface of the dough all the way to the edges. Dot ricotta cheese evenly over the pizza crust, followed by the shredded mozzarella, brussels sprouts mixture, bacon, and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle chile flakes over the top, then pop into the oven.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is browned, cheese is bubbly and brussels sprout leaves are crisp. Enjoy immediately!

Pizza Dough

Makes 1 large pizza

More in-depth details on perfect pizza dough here.

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups flour (preferably bread flour)
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Dissolve yeast and honey in water, let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Combine the flour and salt and a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients, stirring until ingredients are just combined.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes. (note: this sitting stage allows the gluten network to start forming through hydration, which will cut down on your overall kneading time by about 50%. If you’d rather not wait, you can start kneading immediately, and you will just end up needing to work the dough for about 6-8 minutes to build up a sufficient gluten network).

3. Knead dough until a smooth cohesive ball forms and dough passes the ‘windowpane test’ (should take about 2-4 minutes if you rested the dough in the previous step, otherwise about 6-8 minutes).

4. Spray a bowl with cooking spray, put dough into bowl, turning to coat both sides of dough with oil. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

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10.17.14 Homemade Hot Giardiniera

Hot giardiniera may well be greatest condiment of all time. At least in my book. A lovely, colorful hodgepodge of spicy, crunchy, slightly pickled vegetables, awash in oil, spices, and a little punch of vinegar. This stuff doesn’t mess around. Once you try it, it’s hard not to be hooked. And I’m no exception to this rule.

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If you’re unfamiliar with giardiniera, well, let me enlighten you. Like many wonderful culinary delights, this most delicious condiment originated in Italy. In fact the name ‘giardiniera’, besides being really fun to try to pronounce, basically means ‘pickled vegetables’ in Italian. The original giardiniera was just that - nice, crisp pickled vegetables, usually eaten as an antipasto. Delicious, yes. Mindblowing? Well, that part came later, after Italian immigrants brought giardiniera to Chicago and decided to kick things up a notch. With the addition of hot peppers, oil, and spices this potpourri of pickled vegetables soon became the world’s greatest condiment. One would be hard pressed to find an Italian sausage, hot beef, or porketta sandwich that is not made infinitely more wonderful when topped with a pile of this stuff.

And now that I have your attention, what if I were to tell you that with minimal effort on your part, a homemade jar of this fantastic stuff could be yours? Not only that, but if you’re like me and have a whole bunch of random vegetables languishing away in your crisper, this is the perfect way to resurrect them into something truly marvelous. Best of all, making your own custom concoction means that you can make your giardiniera as hot (or as mild) as you like. Me, I’m packing in as many hot peppers as I can get my hands on. Bring a jar to your next tailgate cookout, and it’s sure to be destroyed in seconds. It’s just that good.

Homemade Hot Giardiniera

makes about 4 cups

Usually made with a mix of peppers (hot and sweet), carrots, celery, and cauliflower, feel free to tweak this recipe to fit what vegetables you have on hand. I had a lovely head of romanesco  on hand, which I subbed out for the cauliflower with delicious results. Also while serrano or jalapeno peppers are fantastic, any hot pepper will do - I happened to have a bunch of lemon drop peppers growing in my garden which made a tasty addition.  Make sure to plan ahead - the vegetables have to soak overnight, and the finished product will be even tastier after sitting for a couple of days. If you can wait that long.

  • 1 medium head cauliflower or romanesco, cut into small pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into small pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 5-6 hot peppers (or more to taste) such as serrano or jalapeno, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp salt (yes that’s a LOT of salt. Most will be rinsed off, don’t worry)
  • 1 cup neutral oil, such as canola
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chile flake
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme

1. Place chopped cauliflower, celery, carrots, and peppers in a large bowl with the salt. Mix to combine. Fill bowl with enough cold water to just cover the vegetables, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Drain vegetables in a colander, and rinse with cold water to remove any excess salt.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, garlic, chile flake, and herbs. Add the vegetables and mix well.

4. Transfer mixture to mason jars, cover, and refrigerate.  Let giardiniera sit for about 2 days for flavors to blend before eating. It’s a tough wait, but well worth it. Enjoy on everything.

10.14.14 Thai Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup

Well, I think we can safely say that it’s officially soup weather. In my opinion, chilly, rainy, cloudy, windy weather can always be improved with a warm bowl of soup to dig into. After a long soup hiatus over the summer months, I woke up to cold, rainy, fall, declared it soup weather, and got simmering.

Now sometimes, when the weather seems particularly dreary, not just any soup will do. At times like these, I’m looking for something especially warming, hearty, and usually somewhat spicy. With the farmer’s markets currently rife with squash and chile peppers of all varieties, I soon realized this would not be difficult to accomplish. Well stocked with butternut squash, Thai bird’s eye chilies, and fresh lemongrass, I went home and set to work.

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The soup, as it turned out, ended up being pretty fantastic. It was just what I needed. But where this soup really gets going is in the toppings. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for toppings. Especially when said soup, delicious as it may be, is a little one-note in the texture department. A silky, smooth, pureed soup such as this one can always use a little extra texture in the form of toppings. And in this case, I went with some lovely bright cilantro and dangerously addicting crispy fried shallots (seriously, make extra, or someone like me may eat most of them before they make it onto your soup).

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And let’s not forget the chile paste. If you know me, you know that I’m a serious chilehead. And while I like my food to be as hot as possible, I realize that not everyone shares this sentiment. The solution? Keep the soup mild, and whip up a super simple chile paste to add to it. Based on the Thai condiment prik nam pla, this lovely red chile sauce is a spicy, salty, umami-rich mixture of fresh Thai chilies, fish sauce and a little garlic. Add as much - or as little - as you like to achieve the perfect heat level in your soup. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably find yourself adding it to anything and everything else for a little extra fiery kick.

And if you weren’t already excited enough about making this soup, I have even more exciting news for you! Wisconsin from Scratch, along with two other awesome local blogs Things I Made Today, and Bowen Appetít, are looking to hire a social media/marketing intern! If you, or someone you know seems like a good fit for this job, we’d love to hear from you! Click here for more info.

Thai Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup

serves 4

If you’ve never cooked with lemongrass before, it can seem intimidating. In fact, it’s not as tricky to work with as you might think. This time of year, I see a lot of it at the farmer’s markets, but it’s usually readily available year-round at most Asian grocery stores. To prep for cooking, cut off the root and the leaves, peel back the tough outer layers to access the soft inner core, and finely chop. For more a more in-depth look, Food52 has great step-by-step instructions with pictures here.

soup:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped lemongrass (from about 1-2 stalks)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter ( I love using Yum Butter creamy peanut butter for this)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro, crispy fried shallots, and chile paste for serving

chile paste:

  • 5 Thai bird’s eye chiles, chopped (careful, these can be super hot; you may want to wear gloves)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce

crispy fried shallots:

  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, then add the peanut butter and cook for 1 minute more.

3. Add the cubed squash, and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk, 1 cup water, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until squash is tender, about 25-30 minutes.

5. While soup cooks, make your soup toppings. For the chile paste, combine the chilies, garlic, and fish sauce in a mortar and pestle, and grind until a coarse consistency is achieved. Alternately, if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just chop the garlic and chilies very finely and mix with the fish sauce.

6. For the fried shallots, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy (once they start to brown, keep a close eye on them as they can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly if you’re not careful). Transfer shallots to a paper towel to drain, and toss with the salt to season.

7. Once squash is tender, transfer the soup to a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree soup to a smooth consistency. Stir in the fish sauce, and season to taste with salt.

8. Serve soup topped with fresh cilantro, crispy fried shallots, and as much chile paste as you can handle.

10.7.14 Chicken, Leek, and Wild Rice Casserole

This past weekend was an awesome weekend. Mostly. Let me explain. We set out Friday night, laden down with enough snacks and beer to feed a small army for a weekend with friends in Evanston IL.  Lots of good food, friends, tailgating, Cards against Humanity, not enough sleep, and too much beer. As I said, awesome. In fact, the weekend would have been entirely perfect, if you discounted the 3+ hours we spent in the freezing cold rain watching our beloved Badgers lose to Northwestern. Sad face.

We returned home, exhausted, happy, but still smarting a little. The obvious thing to do was whip up some good old fashioned comfort food. And not just any comfort food - chicken and wild rice casserole. Like a lot of casseroles, this version consists of a delicious saucy filling topped with a layer of crunchy crumbs, which become a lovely golden brown crust when baked. But unlike most casseroles, this version isn’t held together with lots of processed things from cans. Just lovely homemade goodness. Also, leeks, mushrooms, wild rice, sharp cheddar, and roasted chicken. And some buttery oyster crackers on top, because, well, they’re just the best. Comfort food at its finest.

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Chicken, Leek, and Wild Rice Casserole

serves about 6

Don’t forget to give your leeks a good rinse before chopping. I mean, really get in there and rinse in between the layers - those suckers can be mighty dirty. And no one likes dirt flavored casserole.

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups cooked wild rice*
  • 1 ½ cups roasted chicken, chopped**
  • 1 ½ Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup oyster crackers, crushed
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, and butter is melted, add the leeks, mushrooms, celery, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, then continue to cook, stirring, so that the flour coats the vegetables. Once veggies are coated, cook for about 1 minute, then add the milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the cheese and sour cream until well combined. Once cheese is melted in, stir in the cooked wild rice and chicken. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

5. Pour 1 ½ Tbsp melted butter into a small bowl. Add the crushed oyster crackers and mix together.

6. Pour wild rice mixture into a medium sized (1.5 quart) baking dish or casserole dish. Top evenly with the crushed cracker mixture. Place in the oven and bake at 350 until topping is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.

7. Cool slightly, then serve with a generous splash of hot sauce.

*To cook wild rice, combine ½ cup dried rice with 2 cups broth or water and ½ tsp salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.

**If you don’t happen to have leftover roasted chicken lying around awaiting use in this most delicious casserole, never fear - you can easily roast some up. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, place your chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet, and rub the chicken all over with a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven, and let it roast until cooked through - about 25-35 minutes for breasts, 35-40 minutes for thighs. In fact, you can roast your chicken while your rice cooks, and they’ll both be ready for casserole cookery at about the same time.

10.3.14 Apple Butter Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s that time of year again. It’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. It’s fall, which means right about now, I’m going a little insane in the apple department. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I’ve eaten a semi-ridiculous amount of apples, washed down by an even slightly more ridiculous amount of apple cider. I’ve also made apple chutney, apple sauce, apple cider doughnuts, apple cranberry cake, apple cider caramel, and more apple butter than I know what to do with. (And there are still apples left over, sigh.)

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You are probably also aware that we are not only smack-dab in the middle of apple season, but pumpkin season as well. Which means that right around now, I get a craving for those super awesome pumpkin bars. You know, the ones that are actually a cake masquerading as a snack? Those moist, spicy, pumpkin cake squares topped with cream cheese frosting? Yeah those. But, as fate would have it, as I geared up for some pumpkin bar cookery, I found that somehow I had neglected to pick up pumpkin last time I was at the store. Not wanting to make yet another store run, it seemed that my pumpkin bars plan had been foiled. Until I realized that while my pantry was definitely lacking in the pumpkin department, I did have an obscene amount of freshly made apple butter lying around. You see where this is going.

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Before I knew it, I had whipped up a batch of apple butter bars. Extra moist, spiced with cardamom and nutmeg, and, if that wasn’t enough, maple cream cheese frosting to boot. Solving two problems to create an amazing treat? Pretty fantastic in my book.

Apple Butter Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

makes about 16 bars

  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom 
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 square baking pan.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the apple butter, eggs, vegetable oil, and both sugars until well blended.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, salt and nutmeg. Once combined, add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees until top begins to brown, and a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let bars cool completely before frosting.

5. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar bit by bit until a smooth frosting consistency is achieved. Spread frosting atop bars, cut into squares and devour immediately.

9.30.14 Baklava Baked French Toast

I’ve always been a big fan of breakfast. Especially a nice, leisurely breakfast. You know, complete with hot beverages, newspapers spread out everywhere, and lots of general lounging around. And what better for a breakfast such as this, than a deliciously hot, golden, pan of baked french toast, fresh out of the oven. Because I wasn’t joking about the lounging around part. Why stand over a stove, flipping toast on the griddle when you can just make the oven do all of your work for you? Let me just say, whoever invented oven french toast was a pure genius.

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The other day, I had a craving for just such a breakfast. I was getting ready to french toastify, when I was struck with a genius idea. You see, for some reason, I’ve had baklava on the brain (I blame the huge jar of honey staring down at me every time I open up my spice cabinet). And while I love baklava, I was just not in the mood to fiddle around with phyllo dough. But then it struck me - baklava...in french toast form. Not only would it be far easier to pull off than actual baklava, but I could get away with eating it for breakfast. Sold.

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Imagine - thick slices of challah bread, soaked in cinnamon honey custard, topped with a spiced walnut crumble, and baked until golden. And of course, finished with a generous drizzle of warm honey syrup to truly baklavize it. Fantastic? I think yes.  And best of all, like most oven french toast, you can make the majority of it the night before. That’s right, slice up your bread, whisk up your custard, mix them together, and forget about it until morning. Then it’s just a quick spin with the food processor to whip up your walnut crumble, and 45 minutes later, you’re enjoying one pretty amazing breakfast. Throw in a cup of hot tea and a couple of perfectly ripe pears to round everything out, and that’s my kind of breakfast.

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Baklava Baked French Toast

serves 8

I made this with walnuts, since that’s the sort of baklava I’m used to making (okay, let’s be honest, I only had walnuts), but if one was feeling daring, pistachios would make a deliciously unique topping. Give it a try, and invite me over for brunch.

french toast:

  • 1 pound loaf challah bread, preferably stale, sliced into 1” thick slices
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt

walnut crumble:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt

honey syrup:

  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves

1. If your bread is not already stale, lay the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until they crisp up slightly. Or, if you plan ahead, you can leave the bread slices lying out on your kitchen counter overnight to help speed up the staling process.

2. Grease a 9x13 baking dish, and arrange bread slices in overlapping rows in the dish.

3. Whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread in pan, making sure all of the bread is well coated (it helps to push down on the bread with a spatula to help it soak up more of the custard).

4. Cover pan tightly with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

5. After french toast has had time to chill and soak, remove from the fridge, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. While oven heats, prepare the walnut crumble by combining the walnuts, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor and pulsing until nuts are coarsely chopped (about 20-30 seconds).

7. Sprinkle walnut crumble mixture evenly atop the soaked bread, re-cover tightly with the foil, and place in the oven. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake until top is golden brown and walnuts are toasty - about 25 minutes more.

8. While french toast bakes, prepare the syrup. Combine the honey, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick before serving. (hint: if you’re planning on a super lovely, lazy morning, you can make the syrup the night before, refrigerate it, and just re-warm in before serving)

9. When french toast has finished baking, remove from oven, cool slightly, then serve hot topped with honey syrup.

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9.26.14 Pork Schnitzel with Beer Braised Red Cabbage

Have you ever looked in your fridge and found that you were completely inundated with cabbage? It’s a problem I’m currently finding myself in the midst of. It all began recently when I was feeling the urge to make some slaw. Of course, I figured my slaw would be much more interesting if I threw in not just one type of cabbage, but both red and green varieties. Big mistake. Word to the wise - never buy two cabbages for a recipe that only requires less than one. The upshot is, I currently have about 1.5 cabbages residing in the fridge. Add to that the fact that another cabbage showed up in my CSA last week. You can see my problem.

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Clearly I had to figure out exactly how I was going to put a dent in this overwhelming amount of cabbage. After all, to waste it would be a terrible thing. But let’s be honest, there’s only so much slaw a person can eat. What to make of the rest? Ultimately, I decided upon braised cabbage. Cooked down slowly in beer and onions with some punchy apple cider vinegar and caraway seed for good measure. Not too shabby. Of course, no matter how tasty it is, one cannot subsist on braised cabbage alone. And in my opinion, there’s no better accompaniment than a crisp, golden pork schnitzel. Trust me on this one.

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Pork Schnitzel with Beer Braised Red Cabbage

serves 4

Hint: To flatten your pork chops nicely with minimal mess, place them in a heavy duty freezer bag, lay the bag on the counter, and roll them flat with a large rolling pin. The thinner you can get them, the quicker they’ll cook. Another bonus of a super thin schnitzel is maximum surface area for the crispy coating.

cabbage:

2 Tbsp butter

½ medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

½ large red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 10 cups)

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 12 oz can light beer (I used the one and only Grain Belt Premium)

schnitzel:

4 boneless pork chops or cutlets, about ¼ lb each, pounded to about ¼” thick

salt and pepper

⅓ cup flour

2 eggs

1 tsp brown mustard

¾ cup panko breadcrumbs

¼ cup canola oil, divided

lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley for serving

1. Start the cabbage: Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, caraway seed, salt, and pepper, and cook until onion becomes soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until cabbage begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and beer, and allow them to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While cabbage is braising, set up to make your schnitzel. Place the flour in a shallow dish or bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and mustard until smooth. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish or bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season the pork cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Take one pork chop and dredge it in the flour until fully coated. Dip into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs, making sure that it gets fully coated with crumbs. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pork chops.

5. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat. While oil heats, check the cabbage - it should be nice and tender. Season to taste with additional salt if desired, give it a good stir, remove the cover, and continue to cook on low to reduce the liquid while you fry your schnitzel.

6. Once oil is heated, place two of the cutlets in the pan and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides (about 2-4 minutes per side). Once cooked, place schnitzel on a plate lined with paper towels to sop up any excess grease, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil in the pan, and cook the other two cutlets in the same way.

7. Serve schnitzel hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a sprinkle of chopped parsley, and plenty of braised cabbage on the side.

9.23.14 White Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits with Hot Sauce Butter

A good biscuit is a beautiful thing. You know what I mean. A hot, flaky, buttery delight, fresh from the oven is hard to resist. And whether you top it with melty butter, sticky-sweet jam, syrupy honey, or really, anything else, one just cannot discount the marvelousness that is the humble biscuit.     

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As amazingly delicious as a good homemade biscuit can be, they’re surprisingly easy to make. No really. A biscuit fiend like myself can easily whip up a batch, sans recipe, in hardly any time at all. That’s because biscuit dough is about as easy as they come - 3 parts flour to 2 parts liquid (buttermilk, duh), to 1 part butter. Obviously, you’ve got to throw in some baking powder and salt as well for ultimate fluffiness and flavor, but really that’s it. Easy peasy. Mix it up, roll it out, fold it up a few times, cut out your biscuits, and pop them in the oven. Most of your time spent making these guys will be waiting for them to come out of the oven, and trying not to drool too much while you do so.

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Yes, the biscuit is a beautiful thing, but these biscuits in particular are exceptionally wonderful. Why might you ask? Well firstly, let’s consider the undeniable fact that pretty much anything can always be just a little bit tastier with the addition of cheese. This has been proven - don’t ask questions. Secondly, some lovely additional savory notes in the form of fresh farmer’s market scallions are never a bad thing. And finally, three words. Hot. Sauce. Butter. When you’ve spent your life trying to choose between hot sauce or butter as a biscuit topping, the pure genius of combining the two into one übercondiment is utterly mindblowing. Boom.

White Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits with Hot Sauce Butter

makes 6 large biscuits

The rolling and folding may seem a little fiddly, but trust me, it takes almost no time and the result is big, billowy, biscuits with lots of flaky layers. If you prefer to simply roll out the dough and cut out your biscuits with a round cutter or glass, feel free. Me, I’m sticking with the layers.

biscuits:

  • 1 ¾ c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
  • ¾ cup cold buttermilk
  • ¾ cup finely grated sharp white cheddar cheese (I recommend Hook’s 2 year)
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions (green part only)

butter:

  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • ½ tsp (or more to taste) hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper until well mixed.

3. Cut the butter into very small pieces and add to the bowl. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour until the pieces are small and the mixture has a grainy texture.

4. Stir in the buttermilk, grated cheddar, and scallions and mix until a cohesive dough has formed.

5. Place dough on a well floured surface and roll out into a large square (about 1 foot x 1 foot). Fold the dough into thirds crosswise, by bringing the left side into the middle, followed by the right side. Now fold into thirds again lengthwise, by bringing the top into the middle, followed by the bottom. If you aren’t thoroughly confused at this point, you should have a small square of dough with several layers.

6. Roll the square of dough out top to bottom until you have a slightly bigger rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut into 6 equal pieces. Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet, then transfer to the oven.

7. Bake at 400 degrees until biscuits are a lovely golden brown, about 25 minutes.

8. While biscuits bake, make the butter: mix together the softened butter with the hot sauce until a smooth consistency is achieved. Add additional hot sauce to taste if more heat is desired.

9. Serve biscuits warm with hot sauce butter. Try not to eat the entire batch by yourself.

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