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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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

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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.

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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!

Travel

Oakland, CA

I love airplanes. I love the rush when they take off. I love that they get me to the West Coast in twelve hours and nobody dies of dysentery. I love that plane selfies are more acceptable than work selfies. I love being the first one to do the crossword puzzle. But most of all I love when they take me to visit a friend I haven’t seen in years.

 

On the way to my bachelorette party in Napa I stopped to pick up my officiant, Ermentrude, in Oakland. We’ve known each other since high school and we are basically common law married on facebook. She moved to the other side of the country a few years ago so it’s been ages since I’ve seen her in person. But Ermentrude knew exactly how to welcome me to her new home.

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I had a great time exploring her neighborhood and spending quality time with one of my oldest friends. I got to meet her beau and discover exactly how close she now lives to Trader Joe’s. Walking distance, she lives walking distance from the world’s best grocery store. I was so jealous I took this weirdly distorted picture of the sign that can be seen from her street in a mock rage.

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One of the wonderful thing about Richmond is how amazingly tolerant we are as a city. And one of the thing I loved about visiting my friend’s neighborhood in Oakland, CA is realizing that tolerance is everywhere. I saw dozens of signs touting this philosophy and was touched by every one.

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I was also in awe of all the cute homes and their gardens overflowing with gorgeous succulents. There were huge, they were colorful and as odd as it sounds they made the whole neighborhood smell amazing. Although that might have been the pot that was being smoked all over.

 

I just think you should know that I am succulent murderer. I don’t mean for them to die. But they die. I think if I lived in San Francisco and not Richmond I would have less of a murderous past. While I was in San Francisco I also murdered this delicious coffee and toast breakfast from Oliveto’s.

 

Of note when you go to another local shop they have a basket of freshly boiled eggs sitting next to the cashier. Just sitting there. Being adorable. And slightly overcharging you for the luxury of a pre-boiled egg.

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After our morning ramble we went to back to Ermentrude’s quaint cottage and got down to business before heading back to the airport to pick up another couple of ladies and finally head to Napa! Since all my girls has been so kind as to fly all the way in from various parts of the world and country I wanted to make sure I had a lovely little welcome waiting for them. I had spent a considerable amount of time scouring etsy, pinterest and instagram for the perfect gift and eventually settled on gift bag stuffed with travel essentials. Fortunately for me we live in a world with Amazon Prime and I was able to find everything I wanted to include and ship it directly to Ermy’s house for free. I tried to load it down with practical things that would make a girl’s weekend more enjoyable. I settled on a water bottle (glass, so you could drink wine), a scarf and collapsible makeup bag that I filled with smaller treats. In the makeup bag I had two different lip stains that worked great together, oil blotting sheets, a tide stick, fun sunglasses, a sheet mask and of course ferraro rocher!

 

I did order some iron-on decals off Etsy from Chessa Creations. I’ve ordered from her before and would absolutely recommend her to anyone looking for a custom made order! I was very scared about ironing on the decals myself but her instructions were perfect and they turned out great! It was really a lot easier than I thought it would be. I now want to personalize everything!

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All in all my one night in Oakland was definitely the perfect start to my bachelorette festivities! If you have a long time friend you haven’t seen in a while I suggest you make a plan right now to go visit them. In this age of facebook, instagram, snapchat, iMessage, gmail, FaceTime, etc. I feel like we sometimes forget how special it is to actually be with someone. So go take a vacation with your bestie!

Food

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is basically synonymous with southern comfort. There are a lot of different recipes and approaches out there. Some more authentic, some more haute cuisine. This is my take on the southern classic. It’s not quite how my Mama used to make it. But that’s cause my Mama is Indian and it wasn’t chicken pot pie so much as chicken biryani. But, I digress. The first step is the grocery store. I usually have a kitchen stocked full of staple ingredients but when I woke up one morning last fall aching to make a chicken pot pie I had nothing. So I went to my handy dandy, around the corner from me, Trader Joe’s and did a very specific shop! I came back with nothing but what was on my list! Miracles do happen.

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As you can see I cheated a little bit and used store bought pie crust. I do have an excellent pie crust recipe from food52 that calls for a little vodka. But that day I did have not the vodka or the patience to make a pie crust. I needed chicken pot pie in my mouth as quickly as possible. Which bring me to the recipe. If you want to take what is usually an hours long process of cooking/baking/prepping and speed things up the key is to be organized. Which is the case with most things in this life. The french have a word for this tactic it’s called mise en place and is literally translated to ‘putting in place.” So while my dutch oven slowly heated on the stove I set my pie crusts out to come to room temperature and got to dicing and chopping. I started with my onions, celery and carrots (a classic trilogy) and my herbs; rosemary and thyme.

 

And then while I slowly cook my vegetables down (carrots first, followed by onions and celery) and add in my spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder) I coat my chicken in flour and herbs. This marinades the chicken and allows the flour to evenly coat and cook once it goes into the pot.

 

Once you add the chicken in things get even easier. Pour in your chicken stock (low sodium is my preference) and then add your mushrooms and peas. Cover and let this simmer away while you prep your pie crust. Mine was store bought so I just poured myself a glass a wine and checked my instagram for a few minutes. I’m just kidding, I already had a glass of wine, I poured myself a second.

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After a little while on the stove your filling should look like this, chicken cooked through and beginning to shred, veggies soft and glistening. Your basic food porn. Now pour it into your pie crust shell and then feel free to get creative with the top! I went for circles and dots because it allowed for a number of cootie shot jokes during dinner. By this point I was on wine glass #3.

 

I actually ended up having to refrigerate the pie and eat it the next day because of a scheduling snafu with my fiancé. But it was still very tasty and my circles and dots held up fairly well! What do you think?

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Serves: 4-6

Total time: 1.5 hrs

Ingredients:

  1. Medium to large onion
  2. 3-4 carrots
  3. 4-5 celery stalks
  4. 2-3 table spoons chopped rosemary leaves (to taste)
  5. 2-3 table spoons chopped thyme leaves (to taste)
  6. 2-4 minced garlic cloves (to taste)
  7. 2 table spoons flour
  8. 3-4 chicken breasts
  9. 1 box low sodium chicken stock
  10. 1 box sliced mushrooms
  11. Half bag frozen peas
  12. Pie crust

Recipe

  1. While your pan heats (I use a dutch oven) dice your onions, carrots and celery. Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme and rough chop them to whatever your tastes is. Peel and mince garlic. Cube chicken breast.
  2. Add ingredients to the pan in the following order allowing each one to cook down before adding the next; carrots, onions, celery, garlic. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste as you go. Use splashes of your chicken stock deglaze as needed.
  3. While your veggies are cooking coat your cubed chicken breasts in a mixture of the chopped herbs, flour and some more salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste).
  4. Once the veggies are cooked down add in your chicken and let this get a nice sear, use the chicken to deglaze. Once you are happy with the chicken you can add in the rest of the box of stock. As the flour cooks your sauce will begin to thicken.
  5. Now is the time to add your mushrooms and peas. If you don’t like mushrooms or peas feel free to opt out.
  6. Reduce your heat and let it simmer, covered, stirring occasionally.
  7. Prep your pie crust and then add the pie filling once you are happy with it’s consistency.
  8. Cover your pie with the second crust in any way that makes you happy and egg wash.
  9. Place in preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown. This time may vary depending on what crust you use. Remember the filling is cooked, you are only using the oven to get your crust cooked to perfection.

PS: I was just double checking that I had all ingredients listed by comparing my list to the first picture up above when I realized that I have a bag of parsley in there. This recipe does not call for parsley. I have no idea why it is in there. I suspect a food ghost.

PPS: Please share your recipes and takes on this southern classic! I’m always looking for new and different takes on an old favorite. And I would love to hear about any tips and tricks that have passed down in your family!