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Posts tagged “aromatic vegetables

Pork Loin Cutlets with Naked Egg Rolls

Cooking any type of cutlet is a simple process in the skillet; add a little oil, season the meat and sear on both sides until slightly firm to the touch.  I seasoned these pork loin cutlets with salt, pepper, a dash of soy sauce and mirin (a sweet white wine vinegar).  You have to be very watchful with a sweet marinate as it burns quickly.

I put four cutlets in the skillet as not to crowd the pan and get too much juice rendering and boil the meat.  You want it to brown nicely on both sides. Again, be attentive.  It only takes a few minutes to get done on high to medium high.  When the meat is nearly done be ready to deglaze with a splash of water and a lid to contain the steam.  Let the meat rest a short time to finish cooking under the lid until it feels like the middle of your out stretched palm, not squishy like the heel of your hand.  Remove the meat to finish resting aside on the counter.  That splash of water really brings the browning off the skillet and gives you a rich bit of brown broth.  I added another splash to get it all.  A little salt and pepper and another dash of soy sauce made about a third cup of sauce to cook the naked egg rolls in.

So what’s a naked egg roll?  It’s all the yummy goodness of the inside of an egg roll without the wrapper.  Here’s what you do:

  • In one big bowl, grate one half a head of cabbage.
  • Grate two medium carrots.
  • Finely dice an onion.
  • Finely dice some celery, leaves and all.  Use at least one rib; two if they are small.
  • Laugh a bit because the above sounds like something Dr. Seus would say.
  • Cook down the prepared vegetables in that third cup of juice and cover with the lid, adding a bit of water every now and then.  You want it to just scorch between water additions and bring out the sweetness of the aromatic veggies.
  • When the vegetables are quite tender and nicely caramelized around the edges lower the heat, beat one egg in a small bowl and pour it over the veggies.
  • Stir everything until the egg is set then add a few good dashes of soy sauce, some pepper, powdered ginger, and powdered garlic to taste (about half a teaspoon each).
  • Put the lid on and let it sit a while with the flame off then fluff it up here and there to distribute the seasoning.
  • Go back to the cutlets and pour the juice that will have collected on the plate into the veggies and stir that good flavor back in the skillet.
  • Plate up and enjoy a healthy, lean, low carb. delicious meal.

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Bonus:  If you don’t use all the cabbage mixture in the bowl you can add

  • about three tablespoons apple cider vinegar,
  • two tablespoons sugar
  • a teaspoon of poppy seed
  • a half teaspoon of salt
  • a healthy dollop of mayonnaise; about a quarter cup.

Stir all that together and let the ingredients marry in the fridge for a great side of coleslaw at your next meal.

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What’s for Dinner?

Something must be wrong with me if I can’t figure out what to make for dinner.  I have a ‘frige full of food and a pantry even more full.  So why can’t I figure out what to make?  I get in ruts sometimes.  I look through cook books and on-line recipes but I need a special cut of meat or a special kind of rice or spice I’m out of.  You would think that with all the food shown in these pictures I could feed an army…something!

So what do I have?  There’s milk, eggs, cheese, tortillas, celery, sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, apples, onions. tomatoes, grapes, all the condiments and salad dressings, enchilada sauce, olives, and carrots.  In the freezer I have tilapia, chicken and an assortment of vegetables.  The pantry is full of soups and sauces, seasoning packets, pasta and all kinds of boxed side dishes like mac and cheese, spanish rice, and instant potatoes.

I’m starting to get an idea that something Mexican and spicy will be the thing to do.  Between the enchilada sauce, chicken, tortillas, and rice, it’s looking like some enchiladas stuffed with chicken and vegetables will come to being with a side of rice and beans.  Yeah, that’s all I needed to do was to take inventory to come up with something really warming and something to really spice things up a bit on this cold dreary and uninspiring day. 

OK, so I’ll need to thaw two (they are very big) breasts of chicken (there might be four for dinner tonight).  Then I will bake them for about thirty minutes at 350° while I slice and cook the vegetables.  The traditional carrots, celery, and onion which some call the “Holy Trinity” of cooking is how I’ll start.  I slice them all and heat them on high with a little olive oil and a clove or two of minced garlic.  As I smell these aromatic vegetables cooking the inspiration is flooding the kitchen.  The oven is warm and warming up my spirits as well.  Jeff and Julia will be home soon and the warmth and aromas will be a nice welcome in from out of the rain for them.  There is a slight chance that after work, Bonnie will be able to pop in for dinner before she goes out-of-town for a wedding, so I’ll make enough for her just in case.

The veggies are now done, the chicken is out of the oven and needs to rest a while.  I transfer them to a plate and rush them along a bit in the frige (don’t ask me where I found room).  I start on the rice now and it turns out to be rice and vermicelli (what the heck, it says it’s Spanish) I now need to dice up the chicken, open a can of refried beans, heat them, finish the filling, and assemble the enchiladas.

I pour a bit of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole pan then I roll up a good spoonful of the mixture I’ve just warmed up again, into each tortilla.  Placing them seams down in the casserole, I crowd them together so I can fit eight of them in.  Success!  Now, I’ll add more sauce over the top to coat the tortillas so they won’t get crunchy, then I’ll shred a few ounces of cheddar cheese over the dish.  Back into the oven they go for about fifteen minutes or so at 350°.  This time gives the rice/vermicelli a chance to fully cook and everything magically comes together in the end.  We plate up and eat to our hearts content. 

Bonnie left, Jeff and Julia go off to choir, and bell choir practices, and I get to sit here in peace and blog…Now if only I could psychically will Jeff to bring home some ice cream…that would make everything go from a culinary rut to total perfection.