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Archive for July 27th, 2011

he said she said

He walked through the door, bearing gifts. A bag of groceries – cheese, chicken, lemons, nectarines, and wine. Foraging through the pantry and fridge, he gathered the meal.

Bread with cheese to start things off, with a little care in the kosher kitchen where milk and meat are kept separate. Cheese stayed at one end of the dining room table.

On the kitchen counter, an assembly line was set up. A bottle of wine was opened and poured.

He said, every Jewish mother knows how to make schnitzel. No, she said, every Israeli mother knows how to make schnitzel. She was neither. She watched him carefully.

The pans heated and the schnitzel stacked up. Avoiding the splattering oil, she moved to the dining room and gathered linens, continuing to observe at a distance.

The table was set. The limonana was poured.

The smoke detector blared. Its battery was removed and all the windows and doors were opened. The breeze chased out the smoke. They sat down to dinner.

There were leftovers.

Limonana

I had fresh lemonade at Joanne‘s this past winter. She uses Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) ratio of 4:1:0.5 water-lemon-sugar, and who can argue with the recommendations of a woman with a lemon tree in her backyard? You can obviously adjust to your own preferences and I sometimes use less sugar. When you add mint, called nana in Hebrew, lemonade (limonada in Hebrew) becomes limonana.

- 4C cold water

- 1C fresh lemon juice (or, in a pinch, you can cheat and use bottled 100% lemon juice)

- 1/2C sugar (superfine is best, but I have great results with regular granulated sugar)

- handful of mint

- ice cubes

Throw the first 3 ingredients in a blender. That’s it.

Either add mint to the blender as well for a green-tinted drink, or add a branch-worth of leaves to lemonade right before serving to turn the lemonade into limonana.

Schnitzel

Schnitzel is breaded, fried chicken cutlets that are incredibly moist beneath the crispy crust. I don’t have exact quantities for this recipe, but more of a formula.

Slice boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets into thin strips, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap, and pound flat with a mallet. If yours has a tenderizing side, don’t use it. We made about one and three-quarters of a pound of chicken (3 large breasts) which we sliced into 12 strips.

Prepare four plates. Sprinkle flour on the first plate. On the second, break and beat a few eggs (we used 4). Dump a big pile of fine bread crumbs onto the third (you can also use panko, but I find the coating to be too thick and bready). Coat the chicken in flour, dredge through the egg, and coat with bread crumbs. Stack onto the fourth plate.

It’s best to use two pans to make quick work of the frying so you can serve all the chicken hot. Coat two pans with vegetable oil and turn heat to medium-high/high. Cover a fifth plate in paper towels and have the rest of the roll nearby. Once the oil is heated, add chicken to the pans in a single layer. Step away from the pan as you add the chicken (or if you’re cooking in a pair, the better dressed one should just step out of the kitchen and set the table) – this will splatter and make a mess. I think that’s part of the charm.  After a few minutes when one side has browned, flip the chicken and cook for another few minutes until brown on both sides. Remove the schnitzel and lay over paper towels in a single layer. Add more paper towels between each layer to absorb the oil.

Serve hot, sprinkled with salt, and plan for 2-3 schnitzel per person.

If you have any left over, slice and throw on a salad the next day.

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