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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pork schnitzel, potato-yam mash, roasted cauliflower

I love it when things works like that: it’s a sunny day, I pick up the kids from school, we go to the park (preferably by a lake), come back home around 5:30, I give the baby some food, put her to sleep, and then start working on dinner.
Today was a day like that. So much fun.
I started cooking around 6:15 pm. We sat to eat around 6:50 pm.
Dinner was delicious!

For the pork:
4 pork cutlets*
Black pepper, ground
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ - 2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably with herbs) **
Canola oil and/or extra virgin olive oil

Reheat oil/s over medium heat in a large skillet.
Season pork with salt and pepper. Put egg in a shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs in separate bowl.
Dip each cutlet in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs pressing with your fingers to adhere the coating.
Fry on each side until golden-brown.
Remove from oil and put on paper towels to soak the extra oil.

* Today I used pork loin rib center thin cut (it has some nice marble/fat), or use other cuts (ask the butcher to tenderize them for you if needed), or use chicken breasts.
** Whenever I have leftover bread and herbs (like parsley, cilantro, oregano), I process them together in a food processor to make fine breadcrumbs and freeze it in a Ziploc bag until needed.

For mashed potatoes & yam:
Originally, I planned to write: “You know how to make mashed potatoes. Just add a yam to this one.”
But then I recalled a few watery mashed potatoes I had in the past in other people’s homes. Not a good thing. So, I must add – after draining the potatoes, return them to the hot pot to release some of their steam. This way the water evaporates and your mashed won’t taste so diluted/watery. Also, I find that it is best to cook them whole and unpeeled.
Otherwise, it is the same salt, pepper, butter, and a bit of milk/half and half/heavy cream.

For roasted cauliflower:
1 medium size cauliflower, cut to florets

Option 1: In a small steaming pot add 2’’ water and bring to boil. Put the cauliflower in the steam basket, salt lightly, cover and cook about 8 minutes (I forgot to measure the time. I think this is what it took).
Now, you can stop here, or take the extra step and roast the cauliflower in a 375 F oven. First check if it needs more salt, black pepper, and if you want, sprinkle some turmeric to give it a nice yellowy color. Drizzle evoo. Mix it gently with your hands. Roast for about 30-40 minutes until browned.

Option 2: just roast it without the steaming step. The cauliflower will be more crunchy.

Bon appétit.

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