This blog has now been folded over into "The Left Chapter", a blog dedicated to politics, art, writing & food!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Maria's Pork Schnitzel with Oma Philomena's Potato Salad

Submitted by Kathy Lochwin

Maria is my partner Brad's second cousin. When Brad's Oma Philomena came to Canada from Austria she had no idea that her cousin Maria lived here until she received a surprise phone call from her one day. It was quite a reunion!

Maria makes a great pork schnitzel that goes perfectly with Oma Philomen's traditional style potato salad.

To make the schnitzel you need to start with two pork tenderloins.

Slice into approximately 9 pieces each. You will find this easier to do if the tenderloins are slightly frozen.

Pound each piece down to schnitzel thickness.(I make them quite thin, they cook more quickly and you get more bang for your buck.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat around 4 eggs in a bowl (adding a little Maggi into your egg mixture if you like) and prepare another two plates with bread crumbs and flour.

Pour about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of cooking oil  into a frying pan (or two) and heat over medium-high heat.

Place each piece of pork into flour, egg, then bread crumbs and fry till golden brown.

If batch cooking, have your oven set at around
200 and place on baking sheet inside to keep warm.

If freezing to for later, do not cook just freeze after flour/egg/breadcrumb procedure, placing the battered pork in parchment paper.

Serve with lemon wedges. 

This goes perfectly with Oma Philomena's potato salad.

To make this, cut and boil some potatoes. You can use any kind (though not russet.)

Boil until fork tender in salted water. Drain and place in a large shallow dish.

Pour vinegar over the cooked potatoes. If you can, use All Seasoned Vinegar which you can find at Central European grocery stores. Or use a combination of Malt and Red wine vinegar (the malt really adds to the flavour!)

Be sure to use a healthy amount. You want the potatoes to bathe in the vinegar and an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil. (You can play with this ratio, its more of an eyeballing kind of thing) Slice some red onion and add(green can be substituted) and toss.

Let this mixture cool in the fridge for several hours. Keep tossing it every hour or so to get a nice even soaking.

Before serving add salt and fresh pepper.

This is one of my family's favourite things to make. It is very affordable, (especially if you get the pork on sale). You can make all this for well under 15 dollars. 20 pork schnitzels and a massive potato salad.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Clay Baked Lasagna

Submitted by Natalie Lochwin

A delicious and easy meal, clay baked lasagna takes a classic and adds new levels of flavour and moistness. This version comes from years of practice!
Put your clay baker to soak filled with cool water. For instructions on prepping a clay baker, see this previous blog post).


  •  1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (whole wheat, spinach or white-your choice)
  • 1 carton of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used basil flavor)
  • 1 lg diced clove of garlic
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1medium eggplant. Thinly slice 1 half and dice the other half . (Salt the eggplant and allow to drain in a colander for 10-20 minutes, quickly rinse to remove excess salt. Squeeze and pat dry. This removes some bitterness and extra water)
  • 1 shredded zucchini
  • 7 sliced mushrooms
  • 250 ml water
  • Salt, white pepper, dry oregano, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg

In a medium or large frying pan cook the ground beef until nicely browned. Drain extra fat. Add diced onion and garlic, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant. Add a bit of red wine or water if your pan cooks dry. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Stir occasionally until veggies are quite soft and cooked through, 10-15mins. Taste and season accordingly.

Start your sauce while the filling cooks to save some time. Add 1 minced clove of garlic and 1 tsp of  olive oil to a cold heavy bottomed saucepan. Turn on the heat and gently cook the garlic until you can smell its aroma. Add the oregano. Add the tomato sauce and pasta sauce, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, dash of sugar, 1/2 tsp  Worcestershire or Thai fish sauce.  Add 1/2 cup of water. Allow to bubble away. Add more water as needed if the sauce begins to thicken. This is meant to be a fairly loose sauce so as  to cook the oven ready  noodles. Keep the sauce fairly warm as you assemble the lasagna.

Mix 1/2 tub of ricotta cheese with the cottage cheese, and add a dash  of nutmeg & white pepper as well as the 2 eggs. Stir until mixed. Shred the mozzarella and add (placing it in the freezer for a few minutes prior to shredding makes this easier) reserving a good handful to top the lasagne. Salting the cheese filling is not necessary. It is a nice contrast to the seasoned sauce, meat & vegetables.

Drain your clay baker, and ladle about 1/4 of the sauce over its bottom. Cover with a layer of noodles, snapping them to fit. Add a layer of ricotta, top with noodles, then add a layer of ricotta and meat filling. Top with sauce, add another layer of noodles, repeat with ricotta and meat and sauce and noodles until the baker is near filled. Finish with a final layer of noodles and top these with sauce. Finally, top with with the reserved mozzarella. Cover the baker with its lid and place in a COLD OVEN (always remember to do this with clay bakers). Turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 1 hour. If you wish to, you may take the top off for the final ten minutes to further brown the cheese.

This makes enough for 5-6 people.

Serve with a salad and red wine. Great the next day, even cold. The kids loved it!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Ninkasi: The Ultimate Game/Party Day Submarine Sandwich

Today, in honour of the most over-hyped sports event on Earth, I am sharing my ultimate game or party day submarine sandwich recipe. I like to make a couple (or more) of these for an event.  I have named it after Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Beer, whose great gift to us mere mortals I like to sample daily.

First, take a baguette and cut it in half length wise down the middle.

Put down a layer of thin sliced old cheddar cheese. Top with a layer of Black Forest Ham, then hot soppressata style salami, then sliced smoked turkey breast. Repeat this so that there are two layers of each!

Finally, top with sliced red onion and thick cut tomato. 

On the other half place one layer of sliced banana peppers, a layer of pickled jalapenos and drizzle zesty Italian style dressing all over this. 

Combine the two halves into one gigantic, delicious, majestic sub! The sub can be divided into several individual portions.

Terrific with ice cold beer and friends.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Smashed Potatoes and Crosshatched Rib Eyes

Today we are doing a true "meat and potatoes" recipe with smashed potatoes and crosshatched rib eyes done on a cast iron grill pan.

Crosshatching is a visually and texturally appealing method of cooking a steak that gives it those grill marks that we so like to see at restaurants, while smashed potatoes are a delicious and easy alternative to mashed potatoes.

To start off you want to get the potatoes going. Boil some unpeeled whole potatoes until just fork tender. This generally takes about 10 minutes, though this can vary with size. You want a fork to go in easily but for there still to be some resistance.  While they are boiling, prepare a flat baking tray and drizzle the surface of it with olive oil. Pat dry the potatoes and place on the olive oiled pan.

With a potato masher push down on each potato until it splits open and flattens, making sure not to actually mash it. You want them to look "smashed"!

Then brush each potato liberally with more olive oil,  and cover with salt and pepper to taste (though really, these are better well salted). You can also sprinkle them with other seasonings or herbs. I like to sprinkle French Fry Seasoning on them.

Place the pan on the high rack of an oven preheated to 450 degrees. You want to bake them until golden brown and wonderfully crispy, which takes around 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove your rib eyes from the fridge, brush both sides with olive oil and coat liberally with salt and pepper. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

To make crosshatched steaks on the stove top you need a ribbed cast iron grill pan. These are well worth investing in as they cook great steaks, pork or lamb chops, etc. The ribbing is the key to this. As years go by, if properly maintained and cleaned (no soap!) these become more seasoned as well. 

Heat the pan on medium-high heat (mark 6 or so) until thoroughly preheated. You want the steaks to really sizzle when they hit the pan.

Put the steaks on the grill pan in one direction. I cook steaks rare to rare medium. The steaks I was doing were around 3/4 of an inch thick. Cook them around 2 minutes, and then flip and do two minutes more. Then, flip again, rotating the steaks 90 degrees this time. Do them a further minute, flip again and fry another minute more, and remove to a platter. Let them sit 2-4 minutes before serving.

 If you like them more medium or medium well, or if they are a different size, then you will have to adjust times accordingly. Cooking steaks the way you want them every time takes practice, but ultimately the best and most universal method of telling when they are done is by their "give".

This meat and potatoes pairing is delicious, easy and a real crowd pleaser. Perfect with red wine and lemon wedges for the steak.