Monday, April 11, 2016

How Cooking Fuels Creativity - Jaeger Schnitzel and Spaetzle

perfect view across four windows of the sunset

I’ve recently blogged about how creating is extremely important:  Cooking, Writing, Surviving:  “Cooking and writing should not only be ‘spectator sports.’  Instead, they are necessary components of surviving.”  

After a pretty intense work day I was fairly exhausted and cooking an authentic meal seemed a bit daunting.  But the original plan was to make jaeger schnitzel. I could have easily delayed it another day and relaxed.  But for some reason I was determined to make it.  I have a great west facing open kitchen and the sunsets are pretty scenic. 

So I decided to make this dinner because it was comfort food from Europe; it felt right.  My son was going to eat most of it so calories were not an issue.  Breading the schnitzel the same way my mom did and creating a roux based sauce from the age old technique was somewhat comforting.  Even stressful and emotionally draining events cannot kill your past, heritage and your accomplishments.  Creating my version of comfort food,  while watching the sunset, was comforting and a reminder of the achievement driven approach.  I have never meditated, nor can I picture myself doing it, but this is one of the closest attempts to meditation for me (playing piano and writing are some of the other ones).  Creating based on your skills are necessary components of surviving.

Key aspects to schnitzel:

Tenderize the meat by pounding it with a mallet-the meat should become thin.  This is actually fun.  Traditionally veal is used, but tender cuts of port, chicken and even turkey have been used for whatever reason.

Use three dishes:  Flour (season with garlic powder, Penzey roasted garlic is great), eggs, and PLAIN breadcrumbs.

Quickly dip the cutlets into each-fast so that it doesn’t become thick.  The breading should not overpower.  If you are avoiding gluten due to allergy a finely ground panko also works (process is in the food processor).

For the sauce, use the traditional roux method to create a jaeger sauce.  There are many recipes out there.  I like to keep it simple and traditional.  I like to use baby bella mushrooms due to their robust flavor. If you don't consume dairy, you can use soy butter, it works great for roux also.  A non dairy milk can also be used. I have made schnitzel successfully when we were dealing with dairy, wheat and egg allergies.


Jaeger Sauce

I didn’t use the traditional spaetzle maker, nor did I make the Hungarian csipetke (it was a weeknight after a long day of meetings, etc.)

Since the meat is thin.  It will fry very fast.  Once the meat is pan fried, place it on paper towel before serving.
Smaller portion for a non growing adult

Larger portion for growing teen
Enjoy with a great conversation. This process of creating something that is beyond standard, fuels the ability and drive to achieve more the next day. It’s a differentiator like other skills and accomplishments are, and for some of us, necessary components of surviving.

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