German-Style Chicken Schnitzel

German Chicken SchnitzelSo one of my favourite foods on this planet is schnitzel. I don’t know why. I just love it. It is so simple, and yet, so easy to mess up! It can be over fried and dried out, or burnt, or greasy… or, worse, undercooked! Salmonella poisoning anyone? What I also find interesting is that depending on where you’re from, you can vary it to match your local dining style. Did you know that pretty much every culture has some version of schnitzel? I thought this week I would show some of the ways a simple breaded chicken breast can be adapted and savoured all over the world!

Today, we’re going to start off with a traditional German-style chicken schnitzel. Most people have heard of wienerschnitzel. “Wiener” means Viennese (from Vienna) in German, not pork or veal as some people think (those words would be Schweinefleisch and Kalbfleisch). But while the Austrians may have perfected the wienerschnitzel, the origin of the schnitzel actually goes back to the 7th century Byzantine Empire.

The story goes that the Kaiser Basileios I (867-886AD) preferred his meat covered with sheets of gold. And of course, what the Kaiser does, the wealthy soon copied, but not everyone could afford to dine on gold. The solution? An alternative “yellow gold” coating of bread crumbs was used instead. And the rest they say, is delicious history!

Ingredients:
6 (4-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼” thickness
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
vegetable oil (for frying)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 ¾ cups breadcrumbs
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
lemon wedges (for serving)

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Directions:
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Fit a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy straight-sided skillet (not non-stick) with a deep-fry thermometer and pour in the oil to measure ½” deep and heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 315°F (you want a moderate heat here because chicken breasts are so thin, they will cook quite quickly).

Meanwhile, place the flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs and mustard together in another shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly, then carefully coat with breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Working in 3 batches, fry the chicken until it is golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet and season with salt. Top the chicken with parsley and serve with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over.

Lots of Lemonade!

Lemonade.jpg

We all know the saying, “When life hands you lemons….” well today on Drink Week, I thought I’d make lemonade out of those lemons. And not just any lemonade of course! Sure, I’m going to start out with a classic straight forward lemonade, but then we’re going to switch it up with some wonderful plays on the golden oldie. I’m talking about adding varieties of herbs and different fruits to the mix to bring out a different taste than you might be expecting. You can even make an “Arnold Palmer” by mixing one of today’s recipes with one of yesterday’s iced teas, for a great summer treat.

As always, please be sure to check out our produce checking guide by clicking here to learn how to clean the different fruits and herbs used in the recipes below. As well, don’t forget to scrub the lemons and other citrus before cutting it up to use as garnish.


Classic Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
7 cups water, divided
ice and lemon slices to serve

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. In a pitcher, combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 5 to 6 cups water. Serve over ice with slices of lemon.


Hibiscus and Mint Lemonade

Ingredients:
8 bags hibiscus tea (such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger or 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers)
4 cups fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for serving
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
6 cups water, divided
ice for serving

Directions:
In a small saucepan, steep the tea and mint in 4 cups boiling water, using a wooden spoon to gently mash the mint; let cool. Discard the tea bags and mint. At the same time, in another small saucepan, combine the sugar and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool and mix with the fresh lemon juice and remaining water. In a large pitcher combine the tea and lemonade. Serve over ice and garnish with the mint sprigs.


Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
6 cups water
ice for serving

Directions:
Combine the sugar, thyme, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and discard the thyme.

Combine the thyme syrup with the strawberries, lemon juice, and 5 cups cold water in a large pitcher. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Serve over ice, garnished with additional thyme.


Ginger Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups white sugar
8 cups water
7 slices fresh ginger root
2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
1 lemon, sliced
ice for serving

Directions:
In an 8-quart saucepan combine sugar, water and ginger root. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Cool 15 minutes. Remove ginger. Refrigerate lemonade at least 1 hour, or until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with the lemon slices.


Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients:
12 ice cubes
¼ cup dried lavender
2 cups boiling water
¾ cup white sugar
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
5 cups cold water, or as needed
ice and lemon slices to serve

Directions:
Place ice cubes into a 2 quart pitcher. Place the lavender into a large heat-proof bowl, and pour boiling water over it. Allow to steep for about 10 minutes, then strain out the lavender and discard. Mix the sugar into the hot lavender water, and stir to dissolve. Pour the lavender water into the pitcher with the ice. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pitcher, getting as much juice as you can. Top off the pitcher with cold water, and stir. Taste, and adjust lemon juice or sugar if desired. Serve over ice with lemon slices.


Watermelon Lemonade

Ingredients:
½ cup white sugar
½ cup water
4 cups cubed watermelon
3 cups cold water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
6 cups ice cubes

Directions:
Place the watermelon into a blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups of cold water and the lemon juice. Divide the ice into glasses, and scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of watermelon puree over the ice, then top with the lemonade. Gently stir before serving.


Citrus Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
4 lemons, juiced
4 limes, juiced
4 oranges, juiced
3 quarts cold water, divided
1 lime, sliced into rounds (optional)
12 cups ice cubes

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. Pour the sugar water, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice and remaining water into a gallon-sized container; stir to combine. Serve over ice with a slice of lime if desired.

Roasted Cornish Hens with Apple, Date & Almond Stuffing and Honey Pomegranate Glaze

Cornish Hens

So on Rosh HaShanah we eat many symbolic foods, in order to have a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. This entrée includes 4 of these foods! The apple symbolizes Gan Eden(The Garden of Eden), which according to the Sages had the scent of an apple orchard. The word date in Hebrew is תמרים and related to the word תם – to end. So on Rosh HaShanah we eat dates so that G-d will bring an end to our enemies.

Honey, as you know is sweet, and what could be a better symbol for a sweet new year? Lastly, the pomegranate is full of seeds (some say 613 seeds to be exact, just like the number of laws in the Torah). So we eat pomegranates so that we will be as full of mitzvot (good deeds) and the pomegranate is seeds. This recipe is geared for 8 guests, and will give some extra stuffing and sauce to serve along with your final dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

¼ cup unsalted margarine (½ a stick)
8-12 (about 4 pounds) Fuji apples, chopped
20 Medjool dates, pits removed, chopped*
2 lemons, zest and juice**
2 oranges, zest and juice**
1 cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
8 Cornish hens (1 ¼ pounds each)
¾ cup dry white wine
⅓ cup chopped shallots (about 1 ½ large shallots or 3 small ones)
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons margarine

* Click here to learn how to inspect dates.
** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons and oranges.
♦ Click here to learn how to truss a Cornish hen.

Directions:

Melt margarine in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add apples and sauté, stirring occasionally, until brown but still crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Add dates, zests, and juices; cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat, cool, and stir in almonds and salt.

Place the chopped onions, carrots and celery in the bottom of a large roasting pan (or divide into two smaller pans) and mix the vegetables so that they are combined.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Remove and discard the giblets and necks from the hens. Rinse the hens under cold water and then pat dry. Trim off any excess fat. Season each cavity with salt and pepper, and then loosely stuff with apple mixture. Truss the hens♦. Place the hens, breast-side up, on top of the chopped vegetables.

Boil the wine and shallots in a heavy small saucepan until most of the wine has evaporated, about 4-6 minutes. Add the broth, pomegranate juice and honey. Boil again until the sauce has reduced to about 1 ¾ – 2 cups, about 7-9 minutes. Whisk in the margarine and then remove from the heat.

Brush the hens with the honey-pomegranate sauce. Roast the hens at 475 degrees for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 35 minutes, or until juices run clear. While the hens are roasting, baste them occasionally with more of the sauce, about every 10 minutes or so. Serve the hens with any remaining stuffing and remaining sauce.

Safety Note: Before serving the remaining sauce or giving a final basting to the fully cooked hens, put the sauce back on the stove and bring it back up to a quick boil. The reason for this is because you have been dipping your basting brush back and forth between the hens while they were cooking, and therefore at various stages of rawness, and then dipping the brush back into the sauce pot. You want to eliminate any chances of salmonella or other food borne pathogens from contaminating your final dish. The re-boiling of the sauce will kill off these pathogens. Safety first!

Grilled Three-Fish Kebobs with Parsley and Garlic Butter

Lemon Fish KabobsSo even though it’s not yet officially summer (not until the 21st people!), it’s still pretty hot out there, so why not go outside and grill up this fish dish? These kebobs cook up fast on a grill, but can be made on a grill pan or in the oven if you are barbecue-less. The flavoured butter in this recipe is served up along side the dish after it has finished grilling, but can also be used to baste the fish while it grills. This butter is also AMAZING on steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. Truth be told, it’s good on anything! This dish will serve around six people, and is great served up with rice, couscous or pasta.

Ingredients:

Kebobs:
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless salmon steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless halibut steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds skinless tuna steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
4 ½ tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves*
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 lemons, thinly sliced (about 30 slices)

Butter:
1 ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 15-30 (8 or 10-inch) skewers**

* Click here to learn about cleaning herbs.
**If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning. If you want extra stability while grilling your kebobs, then use two per kebob. This will stop the fish from spinning around the skewer as you grill it.

Directions:

Kebobs: Put the salmon, halibut and tuna in a resealable plastic bag. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the oil mixture over the fish and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Thread each skewer with 2 pieces of salmon, 2 pieces of halibut and 2 pieces of tuna, alternating the fish on the skewers with slices of lemon.

Butter: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the butter to the centre of a 6 inch square piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the butter and form it into a log, about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about for 1 hour. Slice the butter into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices and transfer them to a plate.

Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste, and grill the skewers until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Arrange the skewers on a platter and serve the butter alongside.

Garlic Lemon Chili Chicken

garlic lemon chili chickenA little savoury garlic, a little tart lemon, and a kick of chili heat! This chicken dish will hit all the flavour notes at your dinner table! This dish will serve 5 to 7 guests.

Ingredients:

4-5 lbs. chicken pieces, bone in, skin on
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large fresh lemons (zest and juice)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tablespoon chili powder (mild)
2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes (or less to taste)
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Place chicken pieces in a single layer on the bottom of a roasting pan or dish. Sprinkle pieces generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, zest the two lemons. Cut them in half and juice them into the bowl. Add olive oil, garlic, chili powder and chili pepper flakes. Whisk together all ingredients till well combined. Brush the chicken pieces generously with the marinade till evenly coated. Pour remaining marinade over the top of the pieces. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (no longer, or the acid in the lemon juice will break down the chicken meat).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the roasting pan or dish tightly with foil. Cut a few slits in the foil around the edges to vent. Place chicken in the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until the juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Remove the foil and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cook the chicken for about 10 more minutes until it is nicely browned and the skin is crisp.

Hamentashen

HamentashenThere are a million different flavours out there for Hamentashen! You can go old fashioned with prune or poppy seed, traditional with jam, or try some new modern twists! Below you’ll find a basic dough recipe, and then some new fillings to try this year! I hope you like them!

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
Filling of choice (See below for some options!)
egg wash (egg + water)

Instructions:

Sift together the baking powder, flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the margarine. Add well beaten eggs and mix together to form a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board to ¼” thickness. Cut with a large, round cookie cutter. Put a spoonful of desired filling in centre, and pinch together to form triangular pocket. Brush with an egg wash, put on a well-greased pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Poppy Seed Filling:

Ingredients:
¾ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Directions:
Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar and honey and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted. Pour half the hot mixture into a cup. Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

Fresh Cranberry Filling:

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz.) package fresh cranberries
1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar
1 ¼ water
Zest of one orange

Directions:
Bring water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil and continue to boil for about 10 minutes, until mixture is syrup–like. Add cranberries and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until berries pop. Remove from heat. Pour into bowl and refrigerate overnight or until chilled.

Apple Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
2 apples, very finely diced
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:
Peel and dice the apples very finely. Mix in the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss until apples are fully coated.

Coffee Cake Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews
2 tablespoons melted margarine
1 to 2 tablespoons apple butter

Directions:
Mix the sugar, cinnamon and nuts together. Slowly drizzle in the margarine in, and then toss to mix with the apple butter. You may find it easier to blend in the butter if you microwave it first for about 15 seconds.

Pecan Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup almond milk
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup pecan pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Whisk together the maple syrup, almond milk, salt, and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep stirring continuously with a whisk until the mixture boils and thickens. Once boiling, turn off the heat and stir-in pecan pieces and vanilla. Allow to fully cool.

Lemon Bar Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
4 lemons, juiced (just under 1 cup juice)
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
¾ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:
Combine arrowroot or tapioca, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, palm sugar, and maple syrup. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until dry ingredients are completely dissolved. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan on low-medium heat, and whisk continuously for 8-10 minutes until a thick custard forms. Be very careful to continue whisking on a lower flame or the eggs might scramble. Allow to completely cool.

Mains: One Meat & One Dairy – And Everyone Is Happy!

Moussaka

Mousakas Latheros (Vegetarian Mousaka)

Ingredients:

4 medium eggplants
1 cup oil
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, beaten
8 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside to drain in a colander. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Lightly sauté the potato slices over medium heat until they start turning golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the onions until they are soft and golden, then remove from the oil and set aside. Add the eggplant to the skillet and sauté until soft and lightly coloured. Remove from the skillet and layer the vegetables in a medium baking pan, beginning with the eggplant, then potatoes, then the onions, until all of the ingredients are used. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and spread the mixture over the vegetables. In another bowl, thoroughly mix the milk, eggs and feta cheese. Pour this mixture over the tomatoes. Rock the baking dish gently to distribute the cheese mixture evenly. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and crusty.

Greek Lemon Chicken 1

Greek Chicken

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 lemons
4 large cloves of garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4-5 pepperoncini, sliced, plus liquid from jar
½ cup olive oil

Directions:

In a large container or freezer bag, place the chicken, the salt, pepper, sliced pepperoncini, and the mashed garlic. Rub the oregano in your hands to bring out the essential oils and add that to the mix. Zest the lemons, then quarter and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the mixture and add the lemons and zest as well. Lastly add the olive oil and about ¼ to ½ cup of juice from the pepperoncini to the mixture. Seal the bag or cover the container and toss the chicken around to make sure every bit is covered. Let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge. Do not let it go overnight, as the acids in the salt and lemons will start to cook the chicken, and it will become rubbery. In a large skillet, sauté the chicken, (along with the bits of lemon, peppers and garlic) in the oil from the marinade. The chicken will brown up nicely. Sauté until cooked through. Serve over rice, couscous or orzo.

Pre-Fast Meal – Main Course

Lemon Chicken

Roasted Lemon Chicken with Root Vegetables
I got this recipe from my sister Ellie. She is an excellent chef in her own right and a much better baker than me!

Ingredients:

3lb. Chicken
2 small/medium sized lemons, washed
6 cloves garlic
2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, divided
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ cups of chicken broth
3 Potatoes, cut into wedges
3 Carrots, cut into ½ inch discs
3 Parsnips, cut into ½ inch discs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the giblets and any fat from the chicken cavity. Roll the lemons on the counter with your hand to soften, then prick with a fork, going all the way through the rind of the flesh. Cut one of the lemons in half. In a small bowl, mash the garlic with 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt until a paste forms. Rub half this paste inside the chicken and then stuff one and one half of the lemons into the cavity. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil to the rest of the garlic paste and rub the mixture on the outside of the chicken. Place the cut up vegetables in a roasting pan, tossing with the remaining salt and oil, and form a make-shift rack for the chicken to rest on. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and pour the broth into the bottom of the pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half into the broth. Roast for 60-65 minutes, basting with the pan juices halfway through the cooking time, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit, juices run clear when pricked with a fork, and the drumstick moves easily in its socket. Cover the chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices.