A Very German Dinner

Schnitzel, schnitzel, schnitzel, I love saying schnitzel…….with a German accent, of course.  What I made here is actually a schweine schnitzel, pronounced SH-VINE schnitzel.  This refers to a pork cutlet that is breaded and deep fried.  I opted for the healthier shallow pan fry with my schnitzel though.

Have a told you I like to say schnitzel?

This whole meal came together because I saw some really fresh brussel sprouts in the grocery store.  Brussel sprouts made me think of  my husband (who loves them), and he is German, so that made me think of schnitzel.  Of course, I had to add in the mashed potatoes because he loves that too.  That is the humble beginning of this Very German Dinner.

Start by laying out three shallow plates with the dredging ingredients.  This is about once cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Here are two beaten eggs, also with salt and pepper.

Lastly, this is Panko bread crumbs.  You guessed it, season with salt and pepper.  You want each layer to be seasoned well.

I am forever indebted to the Japanese for creating the panko flake.  It’s the best way to get texture and crunch into anything that you want breaded.

Here is a lonely pork loin chop, sitting on a large sheet of parchment paper on my cutting board, minding its own business.  It has no idea what’s about to happen to it.  Poor thing.

Half the sheet is folded over so it can’t see what’s about to take place.  Get ready to take out your day’s frustrations on this pork chop.  The trick to pounding the chop into a cutlet is not just go crazy mad on the thing.  There is a method.  First of all, use the smooth side of your mallet, not the spikey side.

Start pounding with even force from the middle out.  As you pound down, finish with a sliding motion towards the outside of the chop. You are basically coaxing the chop into an even thinness.

This is what it should look like when you’re done.  The cutlet should be about double the size of the chop. This also tenderizes and reduces cooking time.  My favorite reason is because it maximizes the amount of flavor and crispy crust you get per bite.

When you are done pounding out the cutlet, set up your dredging station.  Start with flour on both sides.  Use just a thin coating and shake off the excess.

Then dip into the egg on both sides.

Last is the panko crumbs.  Sometimes, I find that I have to press the panko into the surface of the cutlet to get it to stay.

Gently lay it on a baking rack over a pan.

Oh, and did I mention, try not to bread your own fingers in the process?  I had a camera in my right hand the whole time, so I have an excuse.  Usually, you want to keep one hand wet and one hand dry so this breaded hand incident doesn’t happen.

Here are the beautiful cutlets, ready to get fried up in my pan to a golden brown.  The schnitzel turned out beautifully juicy on the inside and crispy crunchy on the outside.  Making sure that each dredging plate has salt and pepper is key to a flavor-filled pork cutlet.  Enjoy these with mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts.

I will be posting the brussel sprouts recipe soon!

Panko Crusted Pork Cutlets

5 pork loin chops

1 cup flour

2 eggs, scrambled

2 cups panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

Canola oil

Prepare three separate plates and place the flour, eggs, and panko each in their own plate.  Season each plate with salt and pepper.  Place your pork chop on a parchment lined cutting board.  Fold over and pound the chop with a mallet until about twice the original size or ¼ inch thick.  Dip the pork on both sides into flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in that order.  Cover the bottom of a shallow frying pan with canola oil.  Fry each chop until golden brown on each side.  Enjoy while hot.

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Pork Sandwich with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

We had friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something that did not require the use of my oven.  Southern California summers are pretty brutal, so I didn’t want to add to the heat in my house.  I made this pork sandwich with a slow cooker and I was able to “set it and forget it!”  Anyone remember that from those infomercials in the 90’s?  Very catchy phrase…

With these kind of ingredients together, it’s gotta be good!

Here’s my pork butt in the slow cooker.  I love the sound of the fizzling soda  as I poured it over the meat.

I wonder what a soda and chipotle bath would feel like!  Is it weird that I think of these things when I cook?  Nah!!

For the cole slaw, start by coring your cabbage.  Very simply cut a triangle shape out of the core.  Easy peasy.

And Ree, coring is not boring.  It’s fun!

Slice very thinly.

Do the same thing with this beautiful purple cabbage.  Love that God gave us such beautifully colored foods!

I added half a bag of this broccoli slaw.  I love the crunch that it adds.

After adding the chopped jalapenos, slather on the dressing….the best part.

I heard somewhere that everyday you should eat foods from every color of the rainbow.

I’ve got green, orange and purple covered!!

Here’s another shot of the very tasty pork sandwich for you to drool over.  The amount of spice and sweet, then hot and cold are in perfect balance in just one bite.  You can’t ask for anything more!

Now go and try this one and let me know how you like it, or LOVE it!

 

Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

Adapted from pioneerwoman.com

 

1 whole Onion, Peeled And Quartered

1 whole Pork Butt (pork Shoulder Roast, about 5-7 lbs)

Salt And Pepper

1 can (7 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce

3 cups or 2 cans Cola (Dr Pepper, Coke, etc.)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

12 whole Good Quality Kaiser Or Deli Rolls

12 Tablespoons Butter

½ head Cabbage, Sliced Thin

½ head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin

½ bag Broccoli Slaw

1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced

½ cups Whole Milk

½ cups Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Sugar

¼ teaspoons Salt

¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped

 

 

MEAT

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in a slow cooker.

Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set the slow cooker on high. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, cook for another hour.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.)

If you find the pork is too spicy, tone it down with some sweet bbq sauce.  This works well for kids.

 

SLAW

Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours.

Before serving, toss in cilantro leaves.

 

SANDWICHES

Butter both halves of Kaiser rolls, then brown them on a griddle or skillet until golden and crisp on the surface. Load up each sandwich with shredded pork, then REALLY load them up with the slaw.

The magic is in the combination of the hot liquid from the meat and the cool, creamy liquid from the slaw.

Pork and Prawn Dumplings (Shu Mai)

These shu mai (Cantonese) or shao mai (Mandarin) in any language are tasty little bites of pork and shrimp wrapped up in a thin flour dough.  They are a must-have at any dim sum table, in Hong Kong or in America.

I apologize for the bad lighting in this picture, but the taste of these dumplings more than makes up for it.  You’ll just have to trust me on that!

 

I have been holding off on making these shu mai for years because I could not imagine myself steaming them in anything else but a real bamboo steamer basket.  It just wouldn’t be right!

There is nothing that makes me feel more Asian than my Chinese kitchen gadgets.  I love my wok, electric rice cooker, bamboo spider (sieve), and now this steamer.

I asked for a bamboo steamer for my birthday this year.  The first place my husband looked was at Sur la Table……really honey?!  Don’t get me wrong, I love this store, but I just could not see myself owning a Chinese bamboo steamer that came from such a French-sounding store.  I just couldn’t live with myself.

We made several special trips to many Chinese grocery stores and finally found my much-coveted steamer.  It was sitting there on the shelf, just waiting for me to come and rescue it and make it a part of my family, which it now is!

And no, I haven’t named it or anything!

 

Okay, let’s get down to business.  Here are the wrappers you will need.  These or wonton wrappers will work too.

 

I love ginger!  This dish really does need it.  The French have their mirepoix of carrot, onion and celery.  The Italians have their holy trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery.  Well, I think that the Chinese equivalent is ginger, garlic and scallions.  The aroma is just so distinctly Chinese, you can’t go wrong with these three ingredients.

 

Make sure all the aromatics are chopped finely.  These are little bites of dumplings, so you want to make sure it’s all evenly distributed.

 

You know how I mentioned my Chinese kitchen gadgets?  Here is another one I love, my humongous cleaver.  This thing can take your arm off if you’re not careful!  I use it for chopping through chicken bone………no joke.

 

Who needs a food processor when you have a ginormous cleaver like this?  Chop that shrimp up, but leave it a bit chunky.  Don’t mash it into a paste, we want to maintain the texture of the shrimp.

Even though I was born in Taiwan, I was raised in America, so I never learned to read Chinese.  If anyone would like to translate the words on my cleaver for me, I would be much obliged!

 

All my ingredients are combined.  If you really want to make sure this tastes good, you can take a spoonful of this filling and cook it up in a pan and do a taste test.  My mom would do this sometimes if she was cooking for important company and she wanted to make sure it tasted right.

 

Put about that much of the filling in your wrapper.  I didn’t do it here, but you can brush the edges of the wrapper with an egg wash, so it sticks to the filling better.

 

Slowly close your fingers around the wrapper and bring up the edges to the top.  I used a spoon to flatten down the top and make sure they all looked even.

 

You want to make sure you put something down between the steamer basket and the shu mai because they will stick.  I lay down leaves of cabbage and allow it to steam until they are wilted, then lay my dumplings down.  Who needs parchment paper, right?

 

Pork and Prawn Dumplings (Shu Mai)

1 cup ground pork

1 cup raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, and coarsely diced

2 scallions/green onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp freshly chopped ginger

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

4 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Pinch sea salt

Pinch freshly cracked black pepper

20 shu mai or wonton wrappers

Mix the pork, shrimp, onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.

Take 1 wonton wrapper and place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center. Then, gather up the sides of the wrapper and mold it around the filling into a ball-like shape, leaving the center exposed.

Cook’s Note: Ensure you pinch the wrapper around the filling firmly. To help, you can brush the wonton wrapper with egg wash to prevent wrappers from opening up and separating from the filling once cooked.

Line the bottom of a bamboo steamer with leaves of cabbage. Arrange the dumplings in the steamer, cover with a lid and place it over a pan of boiling water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the steamer. Steam the dumplings for 6 to 8 minutes, or until cooked.

Pork Potstickers

 

Italians have the ravioli, Argentina the  empanada, Poland the pierogi, and the Chinese have the wonderful POTSTICKER or guo tie/jiao zi (for my Chinese friends out there).

 

Here is the classic potsticker I grew up eating. Whenever my parents would make these, our kitchen would turn into a Chinese potsticker factory. Because it was such a task, they always made more than we were going to eat that day.  My parents would freeze extras on trays and we would always have a stockpile in the freezer, ready to go. Our freezer was not your typical American freezer with frozen waffles and ice cream. No…….we had whole fish frozen in mid swim, fish balls, Chinese sweet sausage, and of course bags and bags of potstickers.

I remember learning a new part of the process each year as I got older.  When I was really little, I was only allowed to be the water dabber (that step comes later).  I graduated to spooning the filling onto the wrapper and when I was a teenager, my dad took we under his wing and showed me the art of folding the potsticker.  It was an exciting day!  Of course my sad, long, flat looking dumpling looked nothing like his stately plump ones.  But, as you’ll see from the following pictures, I mastered it at last.

 

This the filling.  Notice the ground pork has a good marbling of fat.  My local grocery store has prepackaged ground pork that is too lean and has no fat.  I make a special trip to the Asian grocery store to stock up on my ingredients when I make these potstickers.

This filling is succulent and turns out so juicy after they’re cooked because of the cabbage in it. Of course the pork fat doesn’t hurt either.

 

This is my mini-potsticker factory. Everything is strategically placed for ease of wrapping these delicious bundles of meat filling.

 

Dab your finger into the bowl of water and make a wet ring around the potsticker wrapper.

 

Pinch the center points together.

 

I start from the right side and fold and pinch for a puckered effect.

 

Fold and pinch the left side.

 

Here’s the cute puckered back side.

 

If you’re counting, there are 60 potstickers on this tray.  I had to use another tray to fit the rest.  Two packages of wrappers make about 100 potstickers.

 

 

 

Here they are getting pan fried.

 

I tipped them over to show you their lovely brown, crunchy bottoms. That’s the best part.

They’re all nice and juicy, just ready for a swim in my dipping sauce.

 

Pork Potstickers

2 pounds ground pork

1 head cabbage

4 green onion, chopped

2 Tbsp grated ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp pepper

2 packages of dumpling wrappers

vegetable oil

 

Dipping sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp pepper

chili sauce (optional)

sesame seeds (optional)

 

Start by cutting the head of cabbage into quarters and boil in a pot, with enough water to cover the cabbage.  When leaves are wilted and cooked through, drain it and let cool before handling. Squeeze all the excess water out and chop into fine dice. It’s very important to get all the water out, or else you’ll have a watered down, loose filling.

Add cabbage to a large bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix well until incorporated. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling into middle of wrapper.  Dab a ring of water around wrapper and begin wrapping.

To cook the potstickers, start with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of your pan.  Place potstickers in flat side down. Wait for bottoms to brown. Add a quarter cup of water to the pan and quickly put a lid on the pan to allow the potstickers to steam until all the liquid is gone, about 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.

Mix dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and dip the potstickers.  Enjoy!!