Tuesday, November 22, 2011

German Red Cabbage

Photo courtesy of cookin mama via Allrecipes.com
One of the foods that instantaneously brings me back to my mom cooking in the kitchen is her red cabbage.  The smell and taste says Mom.  It's tangy and sweet at the same time and has a bit of spice from the clove and bay leaf.  I could literally eat it all day long and would request it for part of my last supper.  Adam LOVES it so much and calls it "Oma's Purple".

It's chock full of vitamins and is a great way to use up that red cabbage you bought on sale, but had no idea what to make with it.  It goes great with pork and chicken dishes, especially.

If getting a large cabbage, you might have to increase spices, sugar and vinegar.

You really should use whole cloves, peppercorns and allspice berries.  I know many won't have that in their pantry, but it's good to have on hand.  If you absolutely don't want to get the whole berries, I'd use 1/8 teaspoon ground clove, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and a good couple of grinds of ground pepper.  Add a pinch more at the end of the cooking if it needs more, but be very careful with these strong flavors!

If you don't have a spice bag or a piece of cheesecloth, just add the whole spices and pick the large pieces out before serving.

German Red Cabbage
Serves 6

1 medium head red cabbage, cored and sliced
2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water

In a Dutch oven, toss cabbage, apples and onion. Add water, vinegar, sugar, butter and salt. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and stir with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
Discard spice bag. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir in cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pork Schnitzel (German Breaded Pork Chop)

Image courtesy of Google Images

Growing up, I traveled every year to spend my summers in my parent's homeland of Germany.   My mom went to help my aunt take care of my grandmother and I had to tag along.  I'd spend my days holed up in my room, reading book after book or taking the subway to the city's downtown to wander around old palace gardens.  While I didn't necessarily appreciate it then, I am so thankful for these memories.  How many kids get to spend 2 months a year in Europe?  No wonder my mom would shake her head at me when I'd complain to her that I missed hanging out with my friends, drinking Slurpees.

While born and raised in Germany, my parents came to the States during a time when being a foreigner wasn't cool.  So, my mom ended up cooking a lot more American dinners, like broccoli and rice casserole and fish sticks than German classics.  So, each summer, I got to enjoy some delicious cooking. 

This recipe was a favorite when going out to eat and was pretty much the only thing I'd order.  It helped that it was one I could read from the menu, but the delicious flavor and crispy breading won me each time.   It comes with different toppings, my favorite being mushroom sauce.

The trick is make sure you pound the cutlets to make them evenly thin.  If you don't have a meat pounder (...tee hee...), you can use a pan to pound away your frustrations.

I use panko bread crumbs to make an extra crispy breading, but you can use regular crumbs too.

This recipe came from Foodnetwork.com and I made some adjustments.  Serve with buttered egg noodles and cucumber salad.

Pork Schnitzel
Serves 4

4 boneless pork loin chops (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Lemon wedges

Begin by placing each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are an even 1/4-inch thick.

Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and again season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the pork gently so they have a nice even coating.

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the coating to dry out a little and adhere to the pork.

Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thyme to the oil. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges.