Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines - Tuesdays with Dorie

We're baking madeleines again this month at Tuesdays with Dorie. We've already tackled the excellent classic lemon flavour from Baking Chez Moi but I love a good marble cake so I was looking forward to this one.
Soft and tender, the little tea cakes had a very good ratio of vanilla to chocolate, with neither overwhelming the other. A surprising addition was lime zest. Its fragrance was quite powerful during baking but its flavour was subtle and added some interest. I really liked these but I think the lemon will always be my favourite.

To see what everyone else baked this week, visit here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Polish Chicken Schnitzel

Schnitzel, thin slices of tender, juicy meat, breaded and fried to crispy perfection is comfort food at its best. Some consider it a children's food but I've never met an adult who could resist it.

What makes the Polish version a little different from the traditional is the breading. Instead of the standard 3-step method of dipping the meat into flour, egg and then breadcrumbs, the meat goes directly into the eggs and is then dredged in a seasoned breadcrumb-flour mixture.

The coating is versatile and can be used with pork leg or loin chops, or escalopes of veal, but my family likes it best with chicken breasts.
Polish Chicken Schnitzel
serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 large egg
1 tbsp water
55g/1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
35g/1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
3/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried (optional)

vegetable oil for frying

Remove the tenders from the breasts and set them aside. Place the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. With the flat side of a meat mallet, pound them to a uniform thickness of about 5mm/1/4".

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with the water until blended. Add the chicken breasts and tenders to the bowl and toss until they're well coated. You can dip them in the egg mixture one piece at a time if you prefer but I find mixing them all at once ensures an even coat (and it's the way my mum made them).

To make the breading, combine the breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and parsley in a shallow dish that's large enough to hold a piece of chicken. Dredge each piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to make sure it adheres and transfer the breaded chicken pieces to a rack. If you have time, refrigerate them uncovered for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Air-drying helps the coating stick to the meat.

To fry, heat 5mm/1/4" oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breaded chicken pieces to the pan without crowding. You may need to cook them in a few batches, adding more oil as needed. Fry them for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp and turn them over. Cook another 3-5 minutes until they're nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. To keep them warm - and crisp - put them on a rack on top of a baking sheet, cover them loosely with foil (so they don't dry out) and put them in an oven preheated to 100C/200F while you fry the remaining schnitzels.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pithiviers - Tuesdays with Dorie

A French classic that Dorie describes as "one of the great forgotten pastries of France" was one of our Tuesdays with Dorie choices for March from Baking Chez Moi. Comprising two rounds of crisp puff pastry encasing layers of sweet frangipane and homemade prune jam, it was as lovely to look at as it was to eat.
I included the optional lemon zest in the almond cream which added a light, lemony flavour to the dessert, but if I were to make this again, I would also use the juice from the lemon to brighten the prune jam a little. Delicious nevertheless.

Visit here to see what the other bakers made this week. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Steel Cut Oatmeal

I've always made steel cut oatmeal according to the package directions, cooked in water with a little salt, with milk, spices, fruit, sweetener, whatever I felt like having at the time, added to my bowl. Then I came across a recipe in Flour, Too by Joanne Chang that replaces half the water with milk. I was amazed at the difference it made....so incredibly rich and creamy you would think it wasn't good for you.
I still follow the package cooking directions for the brand I buy but replace half the water with milk and add some sweetener and spice to my pot so it tastes great just the way it is but you can dress it up even more with dried fruits and nuts, fresh fruit or fruit compotes so it's a different bowl every time.
Steel Cut Oatmeal
inspired by Flour, Too
serves 4

200g/1 cup steel cut oats
540ml/2-1/4 cups low-fat milk
540ml/2-1/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla  

In a medium saucepan, combine the steel cut oats, milk, water, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, medium-low to maintain a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked (soft with a bit of chew in the centre - al dente).

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. Serve with your favourite toppings.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.  One minute on high with 1 tbsp milk stirred in is all that's needed to reheat a single serving in the microwave.