When I did my weekly shopping at the farmer's market, I came upon a treasure I had never used before—fava leaves. I adore and love fava beans, but I don't like hulling and peeling them. A real pain in the tush. Preparing fava beans is a lot of work, but you do end up with a wonderful spring treat. Fava beans (also known as broad beans) are the king of all beans. Their flavor is smoother, sweeter and richer than most other beans.
When I spotted some fava bean leaves in a bag, my cooking antenna went up. "What do you do with them?" I asked. " Pesto" was the answer. That bag of leaves went in my basket faster than a dog chasing a cat.
A chance to produce the taste of fava beans without all the work . Here I had lived all my life without knowing that you could make pasta out of fava bean leaves! I made the pesto and it was delicious.
The dark green, shiny pesto had a tinge of bitterness with a nutty flavor similar to arugula. I played with it all week. I had it on all my sandwiches and on my leftover veggies, and potatoes.
I used some of the pesto to make my pasta dish using Mike's pasta. An ode to Mike and his delicious fresh-made pasta that is light, smooth and to me, the perfect pasta. It is made in Santa Cruz and delivered fresh to several local grocery stores. I fell in love with Mike's pasta many years ago when there was little fresh pasta available. Many a night when I came home from work thinking of making dinner, I would stop and get some of his tasty raviolis. I would cook them and add some tomato sauce or some garlic and butter. Within 20 minutes a mushroom, sweet potato, cheese, or tofu ravioli would smoothly slide down my throat delighting my senses. My family and I would enjoy a great meal. What more can you ask for? I use his fettuccine pasta for my seafood pasta. Mike's pasta has kept the same quality over the years. Nobody talked him into adding stuff, so his pasta would have a longer shelf life. He didn't go public or franchise his business, no sireee, he just kept making perfect fresh pasta. Thank you, Mike, from the bottom of my heart for the many good meals. Disclaimer: I don't know Mike and I'm not getting paid or anything . But I might go visit him one of these days.
I took my last ½ cup of fava bean pesto to the cabin. We needed to remove potential fire material around the cabin. But it snowed and there was no work to be done outside. Instead we lit a cozy fire and enjoyed the winter scenery. I had brought up some pappardelle from Mike, some fava beans and shiitake mushrooms from the Farmer's Market. I had splurged and bought some local wild king salmon that was caught in our bay. This is such a treat but it is becoming very expensive. I prepared a wonderful spring meal in a winter wonderland. We opened a bottle of crisp white burgundy, which was a perfect complement to the meal.
Jägerschnitzel or Breaded Pork Cutlet with Mushroom Sauce
The schnitzel is a boneless piece of meat, thinned with a meat tenderizer, coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and then fried.
By adding a mushroom sauce, a schnitzel becomes a Jägerschnitzel. There are many versions of the Jägerschnitzel or hunter's cutlet in Germany and Austria.
I'm back home in my beautiful costal town in California, but my thoughts are often in Germany, my native home. As I reflect on my mother’s recent passing, memories are resurfacing from my childhood. On our farm, Sunday was always a day of rest. No one was supposed to work on Sunday, except for chores like feeding the animals. And then there was the Sunday lunch, the most special meal of the week. Lunch was the big hot meal of the day, like an American dinner. During the week, the lunches were stews and simple meals, but on Sundays things were different. There were puddings for desert, maybe a clear broth for soup to begin with, followed a main course of a meat roast, a chicken or duck, or pork chops made into schnitzels, which is my favorite.
I think the schnitzel was invented by a very clever cook to double the size of the pork chops—by pounding them and coating them in eggs and breadcrumbs. The French and Italians use the same method in their recipes. The schnitzel is similar to the French dish escalope and scallopini in Italian. To enrich the dish, sauces were invented. If the schnitzel has a mushroom sauce, it is called Jägerschnitzel (Jäger means hunter). When the sauce is made with peppers, it becomes a Zigeunerschnitzel (a gypsy schnitzel). In my recipe, I combined the mushrooms and peppers to make a flavorful sauce. I had the leftover sauce with baked spaghetti squash and it was delicious. I can imagine serving it over different grains. I just like to add vegetables whenever I can. If you don't have time to make the sauce, the breaded schnitzel is good by itself, served with a good beer, a salad and some bread.
This is a Jägerschnitzel I had in Germany prepared by a Michelin starred chef in her restaurant. She served it with fried potatoes.
If you want to stay with the German Theme try this Apple Strudel Cake . I have been baking this cake as long as I can remember.
You probably are wondering, "Why is she posting about turkey in January?) I just couldn't wait until the next holiday to write about these great enchiladas I made after I got back from my mom's funeral in Germany. They were real comfort food that I needed badly.
On December 23, the day before I left for Germany, I roasted my organic turkey and it turned out juicy and very tasty. I put a butter herb mixture under the skin, massaged the outside of bird with more melted butter and put some herbs, a lemon, and an onion inside the cavity. I used the convection roast setting on the oven and basted the turkey with chicken broth and melted butter. I usually dry rub my turkey, but had no time to do so. My husband and I had an early Christmas dinner and I left him the next day with a lot of turkey.
After feeding friends and family, he froze the leftover meat and now we are back to my enchiladas. Most of you will have finished whatever turkey leftovers you had a while ago. Since chicken and turkey are close relatives, you can easily substitute chicken for the turkey. I have used tofu instead of chicken for my vegetarian friends. If you want this to be an easy and fast dinner, use canned sauce , although my sauce is easy to make and adds great flavor to the enchiladas. Use a rotisserie chicken instead of the turkey. The almonds add a nice crunch to the enchiladas and the salsa and sauce add flavor and taste. These enchiladas make great leftovers.
A heavenly recipe for duck lovers
I love duck, especially duck confit. I have made the confit from scratch and it is delicious, but the recipe is a lot of work and takes time. Costco and Whole Foods started selling duck confit legs during the holidays and I freeze them for later use. They are not as good as my homemade ones, but they are fine for my recipes like duck quesadillas or my cabbage duck pasta. Several years ago, I found a recipe for duck quesadillas in an old Food & Wine magazine. I adapted this recipe and it became a well-loved staple in my cooking repertoire.
A couple of years ago, the Shadowbrook restaurant in Capitola, California sponsored a cooking contest and my duck quesadillas won first prize. This dish was served for a season at their beautiful bar.
Tucked away on a hillside, this unique restaurant with its gorgeous setting and lush tropical landscaping has been a Capitola icon for decades. A funicular railway transports you into a different world. The restaurant itself is a mishmash of rooms on different levels with a grand entrance to a stunning bar with an indoor waterfall. There are rooms with high and low ceilings, connected by staircases. Some rooms have fireplaces, some rooms have great views and one has a redwood tree growing next to a table. Just the setting alone is worth it, but the food is delicious. Their signature dish is the miso salmon.
But let's return to my quesadillas. They are a real treat—a delightful mixture of flavors. I used gruyere cheese for years, but lately I've substituted goat cheese or feta cheese. The addition of different salsas and chipotle sauce supplement the quesadillas beautifully, adding richness and flavor.
Juicy ginger-flavored pork chops
These pork chops are absolutely delicious. The ginger and orange juice add a fusion twist, and my addition of apples adds an another layer of flavor and taste. The recipe was sent to me by my friend, Linda, who is one of the best cooks I have ever known. She and her husband inspired my interest in cooking years ago, and we have had a lot of fun cooking together. My husband had his first gourmet meal when I took him to their house to prepare "Caneton à l'Orange," the classic duck recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Now back to the pork chops: Linda got the recipe from the Northern Exposure Cookbook, from the old TV show. The pork chops are named after Ruth Ann, a character in the show. Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe quite a bit.
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that you find in German-speaking regions. It is a crunchy bulb that comes in white and purple, and can be eaten raw or cooked. I love eating it raw, peeled and sliced, and it is great with dips. It has a juicy, crunchy flavor that tastes like cabbage and radishes combined. It looses it's sharp bite once you cook it. I buy it in the USA whenever I see it, because it is so hard to find. Kohlrabi is also used in Indian cuisine. Kohlrabi with meatballs is a German comfort food (and there are many variations of this recipe).
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me and I would love to hear from you .
Comments in English and German are welcome!
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