Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hot or Cold Corn and Snap Pea Salad

The Comfort Family Farm Stand on Lumber Lane,
Bridgehampton NY

As much as I love sweet corn and as much as I’ll eat of it between now and the first frost, I am no fan of corn on the cob. I find it inelegant to eat, to say the very least.  Better by far is to take it off the cob. Combine with it some red pepper, red onion and butter and you end up with Ina Garten’s fantastic confetti corn which is the first thing I make when the first fresh corn hits the farm stand. (See .  This year, at the Comfort Family farm stand down the hill from us, not only was there glorious early corn but sitting next to it were quarts of snap peas.  I brought them both home and breathed new life into Ina’s Confetti corn recipe.  And the biggest change was it was just as good cold as it was warm. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My next article for the Daily Meal has just posted! Read all about Wiener Schnitzel and get the original recipe!

What You Need to Know About Austrian Wiener Schnitzel

For starters, it is never, ever served with noodles
Photo Modified: Flickr / paulk / CC BY 4.0
You can bring some Austria into your home!
If travel is all about discoveries, good and bad, high and low, a trip to Austria and a lesson on wiener schnitzel probably covers all four of those at once. First of all, who doesn’t remember that line in The Sound of Music, in the song “My Favorite Things,” that cites “Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel, doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles”? Wiener schnitzel, any Viennese cook will tell you, is never served with noodles. That’s lesson number one.
Lesson No. 2 is to never confuse wiener schnitzel with hot dogs or sausages of any kind. Wiener translates to “Viennese,” as in Vienna, for which the dish is named. The rest of Austria then adopted it as its national dish.
Lesson No. 3 is to never mess with anyone’s national dish. Despite obvious similarities, Viennese schnitzel must never be mistaken for a recipe from any other country, the most obvious of these being cotoletta alla Milanese, which is similarly breaded and fried right next door in Italy. Until fairly recently, legend had it that an Austrian field marshal named Radetzky von Radetz had brought the recipe back from Italy to Vienna in 1857. An adjutant to the Emperor Franz Joseph had sampled a veal steak in Lombardy, and Redetsky was supposedly called upon to retrieve its recipe.
In 1972, a food historian named Heinz-Dieter Pohl debunked the entire written history of the dish. Apparently, associating the national dish of Austria with anywhere but Austria is verbotenand Pohl went after it with a vengeance. He suggested that there were other dishes in Austrian cuisine that were similarly breaded and deep-fried, including the popular, if unfortunately named, backhendl (fried chicken), which was first mentioned in a 1719 cookbook — long before Redetsky’s foray into Lombardy. So there!
Lesson No. 4: Any trip to Austria must include this marvelous dish. But a great wiener schnitzel is deceptively simple. At its best, the meat is so tender, it can be cut with a fork. The breading must be crispy but never greasy. A squirt of lemon is essential for the zing of the dish. The trick is in the technique. The veal cutlet — and in Vienna it is always veal — must be very thin, the flour coating light, the eggs beaten, and the breadcrumbs applied with a light hand. But most importantly, when it’s cooked, the schnitzel must swim in hot fat. That fat must be lard or clarified butter or duck or goose fat. Forget using oil of any kind. Once you’ve got the rules down, wiener schnitzel is one of the easiest things you’ll ever cook.
And here is the authentic recipe from the Austrian Tourism Board:
Recipe for wiener schnitzel. Serves 4. Takes all of 15 minutes to make.
4 veal cutlets, 5–6 ounces each
2 eggs
Approximately 4 ounces flour
Approximately  4 ounces breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Clarified butter or lard, duck, or goose fat
Slices of lemon, to garnish
Lay out the schnitzel, remove any skin, and beat until thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour and breadcrumbs onto separate flat plates; beat the eggs together in a bowl using a fork.
Coat each schnitzel on both sides in flour, then dredge through the beaten eggs, ensuring that no part of the schnitzel remains dry. Lastly, coat in the breadcrumbs and carefully press down the crumbs using the reverse side of the fork (this causes the crumb coating to “fluff up” better during cooking).
In a large pan (or 2 medium-sized pans), melt enough clarified butter or fat for the schnitzel to be able to swim freely in the oil.
Only place the schnitzel in the pan when the fat is so hot that it hisses and bubbles up if some breadcrumbs or a small piece of butter is introduced to it.
Depending on the thickness and the type of meat, fry for between 2 minutes and 4 minutes until golden brown. Turn using a spatula (do not pierce the coating!) and fry on the other side until similarly golden brown.
Remove the crispy schnitzel and place on a paper towel to dry off. Dab carefully to dry the schnitzel. Arrange on the plate and garnish with slices of lemon before serving.
Serve with parsley potatoes, rice, potato salad, or mixed salad.
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Bon Appetit's Spiced Lamb Burger in Pitas and Ina Garten's Easy Tzatziki

Spiced Lamb Burger Platter with Tzatziki and Sliced Tomatoes
Bon Appetit's Grilled Spiced Lamb Burger
         Last summer, Bon Appetit’s Summer Grilling issue included a picture of a dish I found irresistible.  Granted it took me a year to get to it but I was awfully glad I did. It was a lamb mixture that was stuffed into a Pita and then the whole thing was grilled.  This caused a fair amount of consternation around our house because the meat is raw and only cooked once inside the Pita.   But there was nothing to worry about. As promised, the lamb did cook completely and the pita became crispy as it did. No side dishes were suggested in the Bon Appetit article but it struck me as the perfect time to make some tzatziki, the garlicky cucumber and yogurt dip that hails from Greece.  Given how much Greece is in the news this week, it was wonderful to think positive thoughts about the country while enjoying both the sweetness of lamb with its Greek accents and the cool freshness of the tzatziki.  And wonder of wonders, Ina Garten provided me with a recipe that made tzatziki a whole lot easier to make than the last time I made the dish.