Food, recipe, wine

Simple Bolognese Sauce

We aren’t Italian but my Mom loved to cook all sorts of cuisines, not just curry. And one distinct food memory I have is making sauce with her. She called it a sugo and it always started with a “trilogy.” My job was to stir. And stir. And stir. And stir. Once I mastered stirring I was allowed to chop and dice. But then straight back to stirring (and tasting). Now this simple Bolognese is a go to recipe for me. I also usually have all the ingredients, except the meat, already in my fridge and pantry so this involves very little planning. But let’s start with my Mom’s “trilogy.”

IMG_8550

What she called a “trilogy” is more commonly know as a cooking holy trinity, the French term for this mix is a mirepoix, in Italian it would be a Soffritto. The essential goal is to slow cook, not brown or sauté, diced vegetables, and occasionally herbs. Depending on the cuisine your vegetable medley will change accordingly. For instance, a Cajun or Creole holy trinity is onions, celery, and bell peppers. Today we are sticking with carrots, celery and onions. You generally want the onions to be roughly equal  to the carrots and celery combined. I ended up chopping half a red onion as well to get the correct balance.

0mpftsYhQaK%QJ%O6l6xeg

The key here is to let them cook on a gentle heat, you don’t want these to burn, sauté or cook to quickly. This usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes depending on how thick your pan is, how low your heat is, and the size of your dice. With practice you will begin to have a feel for how long it will take in your kitchen and not have to hover over your pan so much. Just before they would start to caramelize it’s time to add in your carrots. Let these cook for another 10-15 minutes and then add in your celery and let them cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. If you notice that anything is beginning to stick a splash of chicken stock will deglaze your pan. I also throw in a pat of butter before I add my meat. This will help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes at the end.

0Ae71HNJQKeyt3j9otW1RQ

While your vegetables are cooking you don’t want to forget to season. You want to add salt and pepper every time you add a new item into your pot. If you are into garlic, like I am, then you should also add a sprinkle of garlic powder. If you are into a nice round heat than a sprinkle of crushed red peppers won’t do you wrong either. But the real pièce de résistance is the Italian Seasoning you chose to use. I have made this sauce with fresh herbs before and it just didn’t work. The long stewing caused the herbs to leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth. I’ve made it with cheap seasoning and it took the whole bottle and the flavor was never quite right. A good spice blend is worth the investment. When I don’t make my own I use Penzeys Spices. We are lucky to have one in RVA and they have a great online store as well! This Italian herb mix came in their Soul Box.

g8Nt5WqHT42sCdAGA6YSgQ

Since this is a meat sauce it’s important to buy the right meat. I like to use a combination of pork and chicken sausage. I’ve made this with beef before and just found it overwhelmingly oily despite how assiduously I drained and skimmed the fat off. And with plain ground turkey or chicken it doesn’t quite hit that requisite richness you are looking for.

Pn6+1gYzQu+dxhq3YWGs3w4w8ZG1OzSFyOgt5XL9lOTw

I uncase the sausage and throw it right into my pan and incorporate the cooked vegetables and spices into the meat as it cooks. You could mix the two meats together in a bowl and then transfer it into the pan. But this is an extra step and dish that can be avoided. Make things easier on yourself!

NCYpNtiPTAGc3aBtqn9yoA

It actually is quite easy to smooth into one homogenous mix. Although if Lloyd is loitering I usually ask him to do this part by complaining that it makes my wrist hurt. But it really is important to get everything well mixed.

uzmwaj2bRBqr19nBxyjCkQ

The meat takes a while to cook, but it needs to be moved around enough to make sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. Also, moving it around breaks up the meat. But don’t fret too much about breaking it down into even pieces because we are going to blitz this all up at the end.

L4zgtdmnTI+w0grLBuW8OQ

The next essential ingredient to a tomato sauce are the tomatoes! Canned are best. I once chopped about a dozen tomatoes to make a tomato sauce “from scratch” and it was just not nearly the same. The tomato flavor fell flat and was watery no matter how long I cooked it. I never got that rich, robust flavor that I look for when I make this sauce. I try and find canned tomatoes without excess salt because why let someone else season your food?

7EWtQ08wRkCmJPXR+ElGSw

You can add the diced tomatoes into your pan as they come because we are going to be blitzing everything together. Or you can be pedantic like me and blend them up before hand. Either way, into the pan they go.

iwOIUf2tTS+t7NVSR2E2+w

Next comes the tomato paste. I used to be so stingy with my tomato paste. I can’t explain why I was afraid to add tomato flavor to my tomato sauce but I would only add in about a tablespoon and then fret that my sauce wasn’t right. Now I scrape every last bit of paste out of that can and relish in the richness of the flavor at the end.

gQ9sgfC1QTuy%%oHQ6e%vg

Once you stir the paste in you will see that classic red, richness that one associates with a good tomato sauce. That was another problem with fresh tomatoes, they were never “red” enough.

t6FksRuIT126LgMZqJE1CA

Now for the most important, the most transcendent step… the wine! My rule is that if I won’t drink it I won’t cook with it. Every now and then Lloyd and I don’t finish a bottle of wine and this is usually a good impetus for me to cooking something that calls for wine in the next day or two. Or I open a bottle of what we are going to drink with our meal and use that. Today I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the night before and just poured whatever was left into the pan, you usually need about a cup.

 

Once I reach this point we are very close to the simmer phase so I add in some whole garlic cloves. I don’t want to add them in too early because overcooking them can cause them to loose a lot of flavor. Today I used roasted garlic cloves because that was what I had and Lloyd loves them. I didn’t worry about dicing these guys up because I knew I was going to blitz later.

Q1NSKnshQJufpslgCsILog

Don’t feel that you have to blend this up. I like a smooth sauce and have an immersion blender which makes it very easy to blend in the pan. I would never even think about transferring this to a stand blender, it would be way too messy. So you do you! Whatever you decide it’s still going to taste great and stick to whatever you decide to smother with this sauce. But here is a side by side look at chunky vs smooth for your edification.

 

The last and final step it to let is simmer, covered, on low for hours. The longer it simmers the better it tastes. I swing by the pan and give it a good mix about every 45 minutes to an hour. You also want to taste each time. This gives you a good sense of how the flavors are marrying and you can adjust anything if you need to. Sometimes you’ll notice that your sauce has an acidic taste you can’t quite shake. Don’t worry a pat of butter will smooth that right out. Just pop it into your sauce, let it melt and come back in 30 minutes to taste! But there you have it! A simple bolognese that will surely become a kitchen staple.

***I usually make a big pan of this sauce, enough to make at least two lasagnes or casserole. I tend to use half and freeze half***

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 4 stalk celery
  4. 2 medium carrots
  5. 1 box of unsalted chicken stock
  6. 1-2 pats of butter
  7. 1 Lb chicken sausage
  8. 1 Lb pork sausage
  9. 1 14 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  10. 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  11. 1-1.5 cups red wine
  12. 4-5 roasted or raw garlic cloves (or too taste)
  13. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red peppers and Italian seasoning to taste (a pinch or two of each every time you add an ingredient is a good rule of thumb)

Recipe:

  1. Dice onions, celery and carrots. 1 part onion to 1 part carrot/celery.
  2. Heat a thick bottomed pan with a good size slug of olive oil and slowly cook your onions with a sprinkling of spices.
  3. Add in your carrots, followed by celery, seasoning as you go. Deglaze as needed with chicken stock.
  4. Add in 1 pat of butter once your vegetables are cooked, reserve the second if needed at the end.
  5. Uncase sausage and add to pan.
  6. Mix thoroughly together, completely incorporating the vegetables.
  7. Once meat is mostly cooked through add in crushed or diced tomatoes, stir to mix.
  8. Add in entire can of tomato paste and stir to mix completely.
  9. Throw in garlic cloves.
  10. Add wine.
  11. Blend using immersion blender.
  12. Let simmer for at least three hours.

Serving:

This is a fairly versatile sauce. It works great just on plain pasta with a dusting of cheese. It’s also great for a chicken or eggplant parmesan. But my go to is usually a very hearty lasagne. However, we are going low carb these days so I tried out a Chicken and Vegetable Bolognese Bake instead. It totally satisfied my lasagne craving.

St0AoW4wQMeWFPVTpi6o0g

Food, recipe

Chicken and Vegetable Bolognese Bake

I love Italian food but am trying very hard to stick to a low carb diet. So sometimes these two goals seem at odds with each other. One thing that I make frequently is a Simple Bolognese Sauce. In itself, this is low carb, full of vegetables and basically pretty healthy. So instead of using it to make a lasagne I decide to try something new and used my friends as guinea pigs.

mqcKhhoZS4+Z++5EKveeYA

Zucchini makes a pretty good substitute for pasta and I love mushrooms so I started by slicing up some of each. In order to make sure that they didn’t disintegrate into the sauce while baking I sprinkled everything with salt to draw out the excess moisture.

 

While I was waiting for these veggies to sweat it out I marinaded some chicken breasts in   pesto. I was out of the homemade stuff so I used this from costco. It is good stuff, I had it in the freezer and pulled it out recently when my homemade batch finally ran out. As you can see, it is Grace approved.

 

While all of this was resting I served my guests wine, meat and cheese to wet their appetites. I figured if I placated them enough they would like my experiment.

mhOwEOAyRCmBNnW4F9yyhw

Once all of these ingredient were ready to go I mixed them together in a casserole dish with the sauce, added in some fresh mozzarella and covered the whole thing with a shredded Italian cheese blend. A quick bake and dinner was served!

2XvMaJzfQZaWPu6SgUPWdA

You’ll notice a little soupiness along the edges. This sauce was delicious and easily sopped up with some garlic bread. But if you want a drier casserole then simply cook the sauce down a little more before adding it to the pan. Usually when you cook with pasta it soaks up a lot of the moisture so you want a runny sauce. But with chicken and vegetables you are actually going to be releasing more moisture into your pan instead of soaking. I served this casserole with an Italian salad and garlic bread. Feel free to forego the garlic bread for a truly low carb experience.

XYo1ClvUQqmBpO6ofWiCmQ

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 cups bolognese sauce
  2. 2 zucchinis
  3. 1 package of sliced mushrooms
  4. 1 package of fresh mozzarella
  5. 1 packaged of shredded Italian cheese

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice zucchinis into half moons.
  3. Spread out mushrooms and zucchinis on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Marinade cubed chicken breasts in pesto sauce.
  5. Let everything sit for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Mix sauce, vegetables, chicken and pieces of fresh mozzarella together in a baking dish.
  7. Cover with Italian cheese blend.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling.
  9. Broil on high for 1-3 minutes to get golden cheese, if needed.
Food, recipe

Thai Larb Gai

Say that three times fast! I dare you! These Thai lettuce cups will have your tongue doing acrobatics of joy. And not just because of the tongue twister of a name. You have probably seen a variation of this in restaurants and on pinterest. It’s an easy and healthy option when you are looking for something to fill you up but not weigh you down. This is by no means an authentic recipe, and has a few Chinese inspiration. I’ll note where I deviate from the norm as we go. Gai means chicken in Thai and ground chicken is at the heart of this dish. But we are going to start with onions!

QHhCLun+RTqd6nZX4Z7DAQ

This is the first place where I start to go off the rails. I like onions and know how essential they are too cooking but big slices of onions don’t appeal to me when I’m eating so I tend to go for a fine chop. And then it’s time to cook these babies!

Moving even further off the rails here, I sautéed my onions in chili sesame oil. I love this stuff. It fills my whole house with the most delicious smells and gives my food a delightfully spicy nutty flavor. Don’t judge me.

FI4%n2Z6SMOy37SJeeCYww

Once your onions are cooked it’s time to add in chilis, ginger and garlic. These things are an absolute staple in any Asian cooking I do. Today I used red chilis because they were the spiciest I could find at Publix.

ma0z2DZQT4uy8LSbQCh4Nw

And one more little variation I used water chestnuts instead of roasted rice powder. First off, I don’t much care for rice (I’m a bad Indian) and for the amount of carbs they pack they have very little nutritional value. Water Chestnuts are only slightly better for you, but I really like them. And they were in my pantry. But if you wanted to go truly low carb you could leave these out with no problem.

8+K3XmFEQZ6ApWym9txPKA

I like to throw my coriander stems into this vegetable sauté before adding my meat because I want them to cook a little but more to release their flavor. But once that’s done it’s finally meat time! Ground chicken is what I used, but ground turkey would work just as well and is often easier to find.

NVjr6XnPT+if4dufF1LICw

I added in some extra salt and pepper when the meat hit the pan. Because I didn’t want my chicken to be unseasoned.

m0gV8u8OQ9mloFIE+enJMg

Once it is cooked through start tasting! You will need to adjust the flavors to your preference. I also add in a little fish sauce while this is simmering. And I use this time to finely chop up my herbs; coriander, mint and basil. Thai basil would have been ideal but I have planted yet!

honpgv5tStCziKPS7GhnaQ

When you are ready to serve take all of those bright green, chopped leaves and toss them in your pan and fold them in! Get a good waft of that steam it’s so herbaceous and lovely!

eGJ42OS4TtCT7GMxLJ1uGw

You don’t want to cook the leaves too much so I usually turn the burner off and remove it from the heat while these incorporate. This is also a good time to taste. You want your meat to be relatively dry as opposed to soupy when you serve so make sure any excess moisture has been cooked off.

wqEGY0tmTraw2cSRPFVIQg

Serve on lettuce leaf boats and enjoy!

h9vjaYkWSmqvfpRu68Ub6w

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Lb. ground chicken
  2. 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  3. 1 Tbsp sesame chili oil
  4. 1/4 cup water chestnuts, diced
  5. 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  6. 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  7. 1 Tbsp finely chopped chillies
  8. 1/4 cup chopped coriander stems
  9. 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  10. 1/4 cup chopped Thai basil (Italian will do)
  11. 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  12. Fish sauce to taste
  13. Lettuce
  14. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Finely chop onion and add to a pan heated with sesame chili oil.
  2. Sautee until just beginning to sweat and add in ginger, garlic and chilis
  3. Cook until fragrant and add in water chestnuts.
  4. Once chestnuts begin to glisten add in your coriander stems.
  5. As soon as stems are fully incorporated add in ground chicken. Salt and pepper as needed thought out all of these steps.
  6. Once chicken is fully cooked add in a few dashes of fish sauce if so inclined.
  7. Mix in chopped mint, basil and coriander leaves. Turn burner off and remove pan from heat.
  8. Serve on a lettuce leaf.
Food, recipe

Spicy Peanut Vegetable Noodles

Have you had Spicy Peanut Noodles? Hot or Cold they are one of my favorite treats. When I make them at home I douse them in extra sesame seeds and sriracha and go to town. But, I’m in a low-carb phase right now. So when the craving hit last weekend I had to improvise. Luckily I had a cucumber in my fridge as well as some beets and butternut squash I had spiralized earlier in the week. But let’s start with the cucumber!

fytRW93NRgejaDWcyD8vjA.jpg

The goal here is to use a peeler to make thin slices of cucumber. I like to try and have at least a little sliver of the skin on most of my “noodles.” Mostly for aesthetics, but also because the noodles with skin are less likely to break apart, in my opinion. Stop peeling when you got to the seeds and munch on that cucumber as you finish making this.

PLLhuOIcS4anNEd2GEUBWQ

Once you have your cucumber noodles all set sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for about twenty minutes. You are going to do the same thing with your beets and squash.

 

While all of your veggies are being salted you can prep your peanut sauce. A little trick is to microwave your peanut butter so it’s soft and runny. This makes it a lot easier to incorporate the rest of your ingredients.

IEHEbyblTkaLPcTZI26WDw

Once you have your softened peanut butter it’s a simple matter of adding in all your favorite Asian-inspired spices! I always start with garlic, ginger and red chilies. After that I decide what flavor palette I’m aching for. For instance, if I wanted something more Chinese I would add in soy sauce and hoisin sauce. But I was definitely feeling Thai food so I used honey and fish sauce.

DrpQtkXqSju9EQkV1XBqcA

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret ingredient that I use in a lot of my Asian cooking. It’s called Gochu Jang and it’s a Korean red chili paste. It’s is savory, sweet and spicy all at the same time. And I use it a lot. Maybe excessively. You should go to the store and get you some right away if you haven’t tried it yet. Even my puppy loves it!

lWyDVVUrSIKBBPmjsODgJg

So I toss in a liberal spoonful of this goodness into my mixing bowl as well. After the dressing is mixed really well and you have squeezed the excess water out of your veggies it’s time to prepare for this next very complicated step of mixing everything together with some sesame seeds, chopped scallions and coriander.

NdSyA5VNTki6nd5jkjrHGQ

And there you have it, it’s that easy. Cold veggie noodles guaranteed to soothe your spicy carb craving!

Ingredients:

  1. Cucumber, peeled (1 cup)
  2. Beet, spiralized (1/2 cup)
  3. Butternut Squash, spiralized (1/2 cup)
  4. Peanut butter, 3 heaping tablespoons
  5. 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  6. 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  7. 1/2 Tbsp red chillies
  8. 1/2 Tbsp honey
  9. 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  10. 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  11. 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  12. Sesame seeds to taste
  13. Gochu Jang 1 Tbsp or to taste

Recipe:

  1. Peel cucumber into thin, flat noodles, spiraling beets and butternut squash.
  2. Cover all vegetables with salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes
  3. Heat peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl for increments of 10 seconds until soft and runny.
  4. Mix in ginger garlic, red chili, honey, fish sauce and Gochu Jang (if using).
  5. Wring excess water out of vegetables and add to large mixing bowl.
  6. Stir in peanut sauce.
  7. Stir in scallions, coriander and sesame seeds.
  8. Serve with lime wedges.

***Any ratio of peeled or spiralized vegetables will work. Zucchini would be good substitute if you are not a cucumber fan. You could also use carrots or sweet potatoes, but I would suggest a three to five minute blanch to get the perfect al dente texture.

***The ratio for the sauce is also subject to individual taste. I suggest adding ingredients slowly and tasting frequently. Don’t worry about making too much. Any excess can be stored in your fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

review, Travel, wine

Elk Island Winery; Goochland, VA

Virginia has tons of wineries. And they aren’t just in Charlottesville but instead scattered all over. A neighbor of mine has been telling me about the love Elk Island Winery for some time now. I have tried them before at the Virginia Wine Expo but never made it out to visit them. So we finally set a date and made a day of it.

xqapnkukqbmdiuonpuknyg.jpg

The bright shades of purple on the pennants at the entrance were a good indicator that we had reached the wine and made them noticeable off the road. Once you turn in there is quite a steep incline down to the winery. It made the whole thing seem more rustic and hidden away. I really liked it! The tasting room is also unassuming it just looks like a neighbor’s house, no big deal.

jfFUd%HFT66v+a2kHbjnJg

And that quiet, unassuming, homey atmosphere continued once you entered the tasting room. The stairway leading upstairs was an impromptu gift shop, and the owner, Sue, was in the foyer putting labels on boxes! It was just the best entrance into a tasting room ever!

5oeiUfDHQwKLLmbf4JzXHg

The entire tasting room is full of the cutest little knick knacks and signs. It invites you to wander around and peruse. The chessboard is a battle of corks and zorks which I thought was a really cute touch. And as the dog people that they are they had treats set out for your four-pawed friends.

They had another little corner with some items for sale. One thing that really stood out to me were some locally made soaps using the wines from Elk Island Winery! I love local, I love wine, I love being clean! Total winner in my books.

p8I6Kn1XTu6Vd2LCDXe3JQ

But, I digress from the wine! The tasting menu is very straight forward, you get to pick 6 wines for $5.00, but your tasting fee is waved with the purchase of a bottle of wine so it really is a steal. I stuck with the dry wines because that’s where my palette likes to be. And it very much enjoyed the Elk Island wines it tried.

fZbnDSRnQAybwx78l2+MwA

Also, the tasting came with the cutest little penguin crackers. I named mine Timothy. Apparently these cheese penguins come from costco and they are super cheesy. I think I’ll search them out at my next visit there.

9fbqztciq1oieqqtjzndug.jpg

They have a variety of snacks and beverages on offer as well as merchandise for sale. They really do invite you to stay and relax with them after your tasting.

SBRWPK7rQkak7wkgZAaSfw

After our tasting we grabbed some drinks and snacks and sat outside. The house’s back deck serves as outdoor seating and really does complete that homey atmosphere. There are two more large tables with tables and extra chairs as well as smaller tables scattered around. There were three different groups out there with us and we never felt crowded.

3M47RAXST%aQI+wTYik6wg

One thing that I really love about a winery is when they allow outside food and non-alcoholic drinks and provide a comfy place to sit and enjoy their wine. We did bring some snacks but we also got their cheese plate. Which, at twelve dollars is a total steal.

hKR0DO09QMGMY4ys64cJHQuHPrsKgCS+ejkN28ESXf5A

And of course, drinks! I got a glass of their Chambourcin Rosé and just had to try the ginger green tea sangria because it’s so unusual! It was amazingly refreshing and perfect for one of the first warm spring days we have had!

If you are ever out and about in Goochland, VA take a trip over to Elk Island Winery! The atmosphere and wines won’t disappoint! Come thirsty and hungry because they have plenty to satisfy both cravings! Cheers Elk Island!

fullsizeoutput_5a93

We headed just down the road to Byrd Cellars after we finished here. A perfect one, two combo!

review, Travel, wine

Byrd Cellars; Goochland, VA

After our visit to Elk Island Vineyards we headed down the road a few minutes to Byrd Cellars for some more locally grown Goochland, VA wine. It is another very lovely and homey set of buildings divided into a tasting room and a winery.

xuxFk8KoTHqR0t7p4cM8Lg

The winery is painted a gorgeous shade of purple and catches the light beautifully. There are mentions of this being a subterranean winery on the website and the phrase was bandied about in the tasting room. But I didn’t ask at the time. I would really like to know if they do tours!

vS08W66yTIWpAiVE5x7ADwOcC5zZ91TbugSVstG5tv1g

But the tasting room is the place to be. It’s so picturesque from the outside but the inside takes your breath away as well.

jE1aMRsjTIax9J3RzZXFjA

In fact, the tasting room was hand built by a minister who lived there with his wife for years. After his wife passed he decided to move on to travel ministry and rents his home out to Byrd Cellars. The place is beautiful inside with large windows overlooking the mountains and elegantly exposed beams. But, onto the tasting!

vD9PDf%lSnSWCwFPkXs3sg

The wines they have on offer for tasting rotates and they have it listed behind the tasting bar. There were some sweeter wines that I usually prefer but overall it was a very good selection. A surprising was the “velvet” I thought it would be syrupy sweet but instead it was lovely and dry and the bitter dark chocolate hit you right at the end.

fullsizeoutput_5a91

The staff was so friendly and knowledgable I could have stood there and sipped for a lot longer. But they were busy and I didn’t want to hog the bar. Instead I took a wander around the tasting room while we finished our glasses off.

OvouW%UjTKGv2My3hwMO1g

The exposed beams held all the glasses from the different wine festivals that Byrd Cellars has attended and I thought this was such a neat touch and really gave you a sense of how vast wine making in Virginia is. I also loved these twine and button wine bottles!

5ZG19%ggQHCqd0%vcK3mdAaPqTFNJJRRS9jo7b4JvVaw

It was a very successful girls’ day! Cheers to Virginia Wine!

fullsizeoutput_5a94

Food, recipe

Low Carb German Schnitzel

As weird as this may be I’m an Indian American who sometimes craves German food. I chalk this up to the decade or so I spent in various German Clubs as I learned the language. Lloyd lived in Germany for about a year as part of his college experience so anytime I get Germanic in the kitchen he is very happy. But German food isn’t always the low carb ideal I’m looking for. So I revamped a traditional Schweineschnitzel or pork schnitzel recipe using almond flour and almond meal. Also traditionally this is served with some kind of potato (usually spätzle) but I subbed that out for cauliflower. And I absolutely took the easy road and went for this frozen option from Trader’s Joes. But never fear, I amped it up just a bit!

NXv2XdSlTNiNVNTSFrjmRQ

I actually didn’t start with the mash, I prepared my pork cutlets first. This isn’t as daunting as you may think. I had two pork chops that I had defrosted in the freezer and I cut each of these in half and then pounded them thin with a rolling pin after seasoning them with salt and pepper.

Now it was time for “breading” usually this calls for flour and breadcrumbs. But in the vain hope of making this more healthy I switched those for almond flour and and almond meal.

Whenever you are breading a quantity of things it helps to get your dipping plates/bowls ready and waiting. I add a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika to my flour and all of that minus the paprika to the meal. This flavors your crust and is an essential step.

fullsizeoutput_5a80.jpeg

Start by dipping each cutlet in the egg wash and then in the flour, back into the eggs and then onto the meal. It’s a messy process but it gets the job done.

As soon as your cutlet is fully “breaded” you want to pop it straight into a pan with hot oil. I use avocado oil because it has a lot of the same health benefits of olive oil while maintaining an higher smoking point.

nsPyrf1eRfaXAEJjyJNM7g

Once you put it in the pan leave it there for 2-3 minutes and turn it over just once. Don’t keep flipping it back and forth and don’t press down on it. These two tactics will lose you our crust and dry your meat out. I put all four cutlets on a baking sheet and popped them in a warm, 200 degree, oven while I finished off the mash and the mushrooms.

vVSzdS4qDUdlIJhCNpQ

The mash was easy peasy. While the cutlets were doing their thang I sliced up some scallions and had them ready to toss into a pan with the frozen mash.

Once the scallions were lightly sweating I added in the frozen mash. Once the mash has defrosted I tossed in some parmesan and stone ground mustard. Whenever I noticed the mash drying up I would add in a splash of unsalted chicken stock to loosen things back up. This also slowed down the cooking process to time things better with the meat and mushrooms.

The key to really yummy cauliflower mash with a consistency more like fluffy potatoes than a runny risotto is a raw egg folded in just as it’s ready to come off the stove. So I used the egg that was leftover from my cutlets. Waste not, want not.

8Cu9gBlCT0KltdOsoYO7UA

The mash was happening while the cutlets were frying. And as soon as the last cutlet was out of the pan I started the mushrooms in the same one. I also included some left over chopped mushroom stems from my Meatloaf Stuffed Mushroom “Sliders” with Shoestring Beet and Squash “Fries”.

jyVTkxPkTuKh+5ilCTwFPA

These went in with salt, pepper and a very small splash of unsalted chicken stock to deglaze from the cutlets.

WQIrDKHkQt6HOUimhFqIrw

Once they had started to shrink and begun to glisten I added in scallions and garlic.

Once these were fully cooked I continued to add my unsalted chicken stock until I had a rich gravy. I served the mash in typical volcano fashion, the way Lloyd likes. And drizzled my mushrooms across the schnitzel as well.

wQpkPt79QH6W3vi9EgiUHw

Schnitzel Ingredients:

  1. 2 pork chops
  2. 1 cup of almond flour
  3. 1 cup of almond meal
  4. 2-3 eggs
  5. Salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder to taste, (I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of each in the eggs, meal and flour)

Schnitzel Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare your dipping plates. Season almond meal with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Season the flour with the same but add in paprika. Season your eggs with just salt and pepper.
  3. Cut pork chop in half and pound thin after seasoning with salt and pepper. This is easier with room temperature pork chops. Use a piece of cling film to contain your meat.
  4. Heat avocado oil in a large bottomed frying pan.
  5. Dredge both sides of cutlet in eggs, almond flour, eggs again, and then almond meal and immediately place into hot oil.
  6. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes and place on your lined baking tray.
  7. Place tray in warmed oven to keep cutlets hot while you finish off the rest of the meal.

Mashed Cauliflower ingredients:

  1. 1 bag of frozen mashed cauliflower
  2. Half bunch of scallions thinly sliced
  3. 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  4. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  5. Leftover egg from cutlets
  6. Unsalted chicken stock, as needed

Mashed Cauliflower Recipe:

  1. Heat your scallions in a tiny drizzle of oil.
  2. Add in the frozen cauliflower.
  3. Once defrosted add in the cheese and mustard.
  4. Use chicken stock to keep mash from drying out.
  5. Adjust seasoning, if needed
  6. Once completely cooked turn off heat and add in reserved beaten egg from the cutlets. Fold in completely.

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:

  1. 1 8 oz package of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  2. Half bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
  3. 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  4. Unsalted chicken stock, as needed
  5. Salt, pepper to taste

Mushroom Gravy Recipe:

  1. Add mushrooms to the pan that you fried your cutlets in. No need to wipe it out before hand. The fat and almond meal/flour will help cook and thicken your gravy.
  2. Toss in your garlic and scallions and cook until everything is completely cooked down.
  3. Initially use small splashes of chicken stock to deglaze pan as needed. Slowly increase the amount of liquid in your pan until you have the consistency you want. Make sure to wait until mushrooms are fully cooked before adding in too much stock.
  4. Taste and season accordingly.

Once everything is cooked plate this however you want so that you get it in your mouth as quickly as possible! I hope you love making this as much as I enjoyed eating it! Guten Appetit!