Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

These cheesy cauliflower pancakes are crispy on the outside but cheesy and tender on the inside. A cauliflower recipe to woo the haters over to the lover side. 

Food Lust People Love: These cheesy cauliflower pancakes are crispy on the outside but cheesy and tender on the inside. A cauliflower recipe to woo the haters over to the lover side.

I love cauliflower! I was going to say, who doesn’t, but I guess there are a few of you out there. What’s the matter with you? (Please send responses to foodlustpeoplelove(at) gmail(dot)com or leave me a comment. :) The best part of cauliflower is that it is mild, as vegetables go, so it goes well with just about anything. My favorite way to eat it is how my mother taught me way back when: cooked then slathered in mayonnaise. Yes! The mayo melts drippingly into the hot cauliflower adding just the right amount of oil and salt. Just TRY it. 

Another of my cauliflower favorites as a child was cauliflower with cheese sauce. If you can’t get your child to eat a vegetable, batter and deep-fry it or cover it in cheese. Or, be still, my struggling heart, both. Works like a charm. When I was little, my mother didn’t steam vegetables, she boiled the heck out of them, as did my grandmother before her. We didn’t know vegetables could be crisp and crunchy when cooked. Just didn’t happen. But when the cook-till-still-crunchy method came on the food scene, we jumped on it with the rest of the intelligent world. And never looked back.

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

This recipe is healthier version of fried cauliflower with cheese because 1. There is no massively caloric cheese sauce and 2. It is pan-fried with just a little oil. But it is still cheesy and crispy and, trust me, delicious. Even your children will eat this.

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
3 1/4 oz or 90g grated cheddar cheese
1 oz or 30g grated Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (And yes, deep sigh, you could use milk instead. If you must.)
Sea salt
Olive oil

Cut the hard core of our your cauliflower then separate it into florets.

Steam, covered, until fork tender.

Remove the cauliflower and the steamer and dump the water out of the pot.

Return the cauliflower, a little at a time, to the pot or a metal mixing bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. The cauliflower will mash better if it is still hot.

Stir in your two cheeses, eggs, breadcrumbs, cayenne and a good sprinkle of sea salt.

I was very generous with the cayenne because we like spicy. Temper this to fit your own family.

Add in the cream. You don't want the mixture too wet but it should look like it would hang together. Mix thoroughly and make a test patty after 2 tablespoons and then add more if it is still too dry.

Turn your oven on as low as it will go and put a baking tray in it. This will be to keep the first patties warm as you pan-fry the rest.

Form the cauliflower mixture into small patties and pan-fry the first side in a non-stick skillet or griddle with a light drizzle of olive oil. Cover the pan for a few minutes when the patties are on that first side, so that the egg in the mixture cooks through.

When side one is golden, flip carefully to the other side and cook until golden with crunchy edges. You can add another drizzle of oil, if need be, but the melting cheese often adds enough oil to the patty to help it crisp up.

Put the first batch of cauliflower pancakes into your baking pan in the oven to keep warm and keep making patties and frying until all are done.

Food Lust People Love: These cheesy cauliflower pancakes are crispy on the outside but cheesy and tender on the inside. A cauliflower recipe to woo the haters over to the lover side.

Food Lust People Love: These cheesy cauliflower pancakes are crispy on the outside but cheesy and tender on the inside. A cauliflower recipe to woo the haters over to the lover side.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chicken Fried Pork Cutlets

I hope you each have at least one friend that can make you laugh.  I am blessed to have a few.  One in particular has a dark sense of humor that can find something funny in the direst of circumstances and, for this, I love her.  As you know, I live in Egypt.  Recently she sent me the link to a news article about the kidnapping of two American tourists in the Sinai Peninsula.  Was she trying to warn me to stay safe?  Make sure I avoid the Bedouin tribes and a dangerous region?  Hardly.  Her email read in its entirety:  “Remember if we come to visit, do not pay ransom till I am a size 6.”  I almost spit my coffee out through my nose.

This post is for my dear friend, Gillian, because she keeps me laughing and keeps me honest and there is no better partner in crime.  This dish combines the two things she loves most: pork and fried food.  She says that I could deep-fry a piece of wood and she would eat it because frying makes everything taste better.   I cannot disagree.

6 thin boneless pork loin chops
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 cup or 125g plain flour (Plus 3-4 tablespoons more, if you are making gravy)
2 eggs
Canola or other light oil (for frying)
For gravy: Stock cube

Using a meat tenderizer mallet, gentle but gradually pound the cutlet flat, turning it over and over until it is very thin and spread out.  (Thinking of someone who has offended you recently, optional, but satisfying.)

Season well on both sides with salt and your two peppers and set aside.

Whisk two eggs in a shallow bowl or deep plate.

In another shallow bowl or deep plate, season your cup of flour with additional salt and the two peppers.  Stir well. 

Meanwhile heat about 2 in or 5cm of oil in a shallow saucepan.  Locate your splatter guard/screen to cover the pan after you put the cutlets in.   Ideally you want an oil temperature of about 365F or 185C before you are ready to put the cutlets in.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just cut a couple of cubes of bread and put them in periodically.  When the bread starts to toast nicely within a couple of minutes, your oil is probably hot enough.  (You might want to consider buying a thermometer though, simply because they are inexpensive and are also essential to candy making which is essential to human happiness.)

Dip the cutlets into the egg on both sides and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl.

Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour and then gently lower them into the oil.  

Fry for just a few minutes on each side, until they are golden and crispy.  Put your splatter guard on so you don't get popped with hot oil.  You may need to cook just two or three at a time so that they brown more quickly.  Too many pieces at a time lowers your oil temperature so browning cannot happen as it should.

Remove and drain on some paper towels.

If you would like to make gravy (and who wouldn’t?) put three or four tablespoons of the oil you used for frying into a clean skillet, over a low heat, with one stock cube.  I have pork stock cubes but you can use chicken instead quite nicely.

Add in a couple of tablespoons of plain flour.

Combine the flour and oil, making a small roux and mash the stock cube into the mix.

Add about a cup or 250ml of cold water and whisk until completely combined.  Cook over a low heat until the gravy thickens and no longer tastes floury.

Serve the gravy over your chicken fried pork cutlets, ideally along with mashed potatoes and the vegetable of your choice.


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Friday, June 1, 2012

Consistently Delicious Margaritas

The weekend is here AND it’s summer! So here’s a recipe for those of you who can get your hands on Minutemaid Frozen Limeade Concentrate wherever you are in the world.  I don’t even know where I first learned to make this frozen concoction that helps Jimmy Buffett hang on but I know we were making them during my college years at UT Austin, and that is a very long time ago. 

(For those of you who cannot get it, I found this recipe here.  Haven’t tried it yet but the comments section says it can be used exactly like the concentrated limeade  I can’t wait to try this when I am home with my own freezer because I haven’t seen Minute Maid for sale in Cairo.  Further bulletins as events warrant.)

Like my rum punch, the measures are simple and you cannot screw this up.

1 small can Minute Maid Frozen Concentrate Limeade (6 oz or 177ml)
1 can's worth tequila (6 oz or 177ml)
1/2 can's worth Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier (3 oz or 88ml)

In Kuala Lumpur (where my can came from the Mini Mart – oh, how I miss you, dear Mini Mart – they only have the large cans, so I had to use a measuring cup instead of the can itself for measuring.  I took two cans with me in a cooler on the plane to Cairo when we moved, in case you are wondering, along with bacon, sausage, a pork roast and pecans.  Traveling light are not words in my vocabulary, apparently.  You have got to know what's important, folks. Priorities!

Anyhoo, on to margaritas.

In a good blender with the power to crush ice, mix together the limeade concentrate, the tequila and the Cointreau.

Add in a few cubes of ice and start blending.

Keep dropping in cubes of ice through the hole in the blender lid until the level almost reaches the top of the blender.  Sometimes you have to give the ice cube a small poke to make it fall through the frozen concoction as the blender gets more full.  You will know it has reached the blades by the grinding noise.

Blend until all the chunks of ice are completely gone. 

If you want salt around the rim of your glass, dip one finger into the blender of margaritas and then run it around the rim.  Turn the glass over in a saucer with a thin layer of salt in the bottom.   Turn upright once more and fill.  (Sorry - forgot to take a photo of this step.)

I don’t have pretty margarita glasses but it tastes just as delicious in these.  

Happy Summer!  Enjoy!