Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Japanese-Style Pork Cutlets

By Paul Briand

When you think of using a breading mixture in your recipes, rethink what you're thinking: Think panko.

Panko is a flaky bread crumb used a lot in Asian cooking. Since it's made without the bread crusts, it has a lighter almost airier texture to it.

I found this recipe on the back of the box of some panko bread crumbs I picked up at the market.

4 boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cups panko bread crumbs

1. Pound the pork chops to about 1/4 inch thickness, trim off excess fat;
2. Coat each chop with flour, then dip into egg to moisten, then into panko to completely cover both sides;
3. In a large frying pan, pour oil about an inch deep and heat to 350 degrees;
4. Add each pork chop to hot oil and cook until brown, about two minutes;
5. Remove from oil and drain briefly on a paper towel before serving.

This particular recipe suggests cutting the pork in 1/2 inch diagonal strips then arranging on a salad made from shredded cabbage and tomato wedges, garnished with lemon juice and a steak sauce.

I served mine with a side salad and topped my chop with a Thai chili sauce.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grilled Peppers and Onions

By Paul Briand

This is more about technique, and less about a recipe. It's an alternative to sautéing as way to prepare peppers and onions for addition to your spaghetti sauce and chili or as a topping or side dish.

Don't get me wrong, I love to sauté fresh vegetables using a bit of olive oil, then using them as part of a red sauce or chili. But, if you have the time, grilling the vegetables then cutting them up as an addition to your sauce or chili gives you a crunch and heartiness that really stands out in your recipe.

Here's a recipe I use for grilling peppers and onions, with the addition of some other ingredients that I use as a topping for hamburgers, tacos, burritos or as a side dish with sliced avocado or with guacamole.

To do this recipe you'll need a means to grill -- such as an outdoor grill or even that panini maker you hardly ever use. I use a wonderful grilling skillet, a gift from daughter.

1 sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers
2 cloves of garlic
2 baby carrots
Lime juice
Black pepper

1. Peel and cut the onion into quarter inch slices, as you would if you were going to use them as a burger topping;
2. Clear the green and yellow peppers of seeds and membrane and cut into quarters;
3. Over a medium hot grill, sprayed with a little olive oil, grill the onion and peppers, just enough to get a little bit of a char on both sides. They should be just barely limp;
4. Remove to a cutting board and slice into bite size pieces, set aside in a mixing bowl;
5. Add two whole cloves of garlic to the grill and cook 30 seconds on each side (easier with a grilling skillet than your outdoor grill);
6. Remove garlic to cutting board and mince, set aside in mixing bowl;
7. Dice the red peppers from the jar and add to the mixing bowl;
8. Julienne the baby carrots and add to the mixing bowl;
9. Add lime juice, cilantro and pepper to taste and mix together;
10. Let stand for 15 minutes, then serve.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

By Paul Briand

If you are a recipe hound as I am, you clip or print out your finds and toss them into a book or binder.

Then, in search of inspiration for a meal, you go digging through your recipe book like an archeologist digging through layers of sand.

I went digging the other day and found this recipe for a Rachel Ray Mexican Lasagna. It was one I hadn't made, dating back to October 2009 when I originally printed it out from the

It's a bit of a variation on the Taco Lasagna recipe that I posted in November of last year.

This is much more like pasta lasagna with lots of gooey layers. With the use of the tortillas this lasagna layers up really well.

A couple of notes: I substituted the red onion with a sweet onion. That's just a personal bias that I don't like to cook with red onion because I think it can be too overpowering at times.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast, available in the packaged meats case
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees;
2. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes.
3. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.
4. Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.
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