Sunday, February 27, 2011

Veal Scaloppine With Mushrooms

Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms!

Many years ago, my family was in New York visiting my sister’s family.  It happened to be our wedding anniversary and my sister and brother-in-law offered to babysit for us.  This was an awesome offer!  Not only would we get to have an evening out by ourselves (a rare event with little kids), but we would have the exciting opportunity to go to a New York Restaurant!  Now we did have nice restaurants in Chicago at the time – La Misada in the Hyatt Regency for example, but a fancy New York Restaurant was considered a big deal…not to mention the free babysitting (thanks Debby & Arthur!!).  I’m not sure if anyone noticed the skid marks on the street that we left peeling away from their house, but away we went to the City.  We ended up going to a restaurant called Tevere 84 – so named because it was on 84th Street.  So exciting!!   Aside from exclusively grown up conversation, one of the big draws of going out to a new restaurant is seeing all the new and interesting items on the menu (and not having to cook and clean up the meal).  We weren’t disappointed.  One of the things we ended up ordering was a dish called Veal Scaloppine With Mushrooms.  I don’t remember the other dishes (it was a really long time ago) but this dish was so amazing we never forgot it.  It was one of those melt in your mouth, flavorful, “Oh My Gosh” dishes that you eat slowly to savor every bite.  Although we weren’t able to actually get the recipe from the chef, we did find out what scaloppine meant (we were food novices).  We expected some romantic Itallian translation - “Thin and Pounded” we were told by the waiter.  How fun!  This is meat you get to pound until it’s thin and tender.  We did our best to take special note of what we thought the ingredients were. Then I went home, looked up a bunch of veal recipes and did a pretty good job of imitating the recipe.  Luckily here in Chicago we have a great world renown butcher, Romanian, that has great cuts of different kinds of meat.  I was able to get high quality veal cutlets there.  I then proceeded to pound the veal with a kitchen mallet between sheets of plastic.  I lightly floured the veal with seasoned flour and fried it until it was browned on both sides.  I then sautéd mushrooms and garlic in the same pan (getting the great veal flavor infused in the mushrooms), returned the veal back to the pan with some of the flavored flour, wine, and chicken stock.  Fifteen minutes later…Veal Scaloppine!! 

Now my boys are big enough to be babysitters, and I’m not sure that the restaurant is even still around.  I’m sure we will talk about it at our Shabbat table tonight while eating our version of Veal Scaloppine With Mushrooms, and reminisce about that special anniversary evening so long ago.  Thank G-d our next anniversary is just around the corner…I think it’s time to go back to New York for a little inspiration (hint, hint)!

1          pound               veal cutlets (3 large)
1          cup                   all-purpose flour          
1          tablespoon        onion powder
1          tablespoon        garlic powder
1          teaspoon          paprika
1          teaspoon          salt (optional)
½         teaspoon          black pepper
1          cup                   wine (white or red depending upon your mood)
1          cup                   chicken stock
1          tablespoon        minced garlic
8          ounces              white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2          tablespoons      canola oil

Place each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Using a kitchen mallet, pound each veal cutlet until it is thinner and larger.  You can cut each cutlet in half to make 6 smaller cutlets.  In a shallow baking dish, combine the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt (if using), and pepper.  Set aside one tablespoon of the flour mixture to be used later.  Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture until it is well coated.   Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Fry the veal cutlets in batches over medium/high heat until they are golden brown on each side.  Remove cutlets from the skillet and set aside in a separate baking dish or plate.  Place the mushrooms and garlic in the same skillet the veal was fried in, and sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Reduce the skillet heat to low.  Add the wine and the chicken stock.  Immediately blend in the reserved flour mixture stirring until there are no lumps.  Return the cutlets to the skillet, and increase heat to medium.  Maintain medium heat until the liquid is simmering.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Serve the Veal Scaloppine hot with the pan sauce and mushrooms.  Wait for the applause!

  1. You can use either white or red wine for this dish.  I have made it both ways.  The red wine gives the dish a bolder flavor, which I prefer.  This time, in the photos, I made it with white wine for a milder flavor – and it still got rave review.  The choice is yours!
  2. The salt is optional in this recipe.  Using the salt will depend upon if you use reduced sodium chicken broth, or a full sodium broth, and personal preference.
The key ingredient: Veal!
It's Scaloppine time - Thin and POUNDED!
(note the large kitchen mallet!)
 Flour and spices mixed together...
 Coat the cutlets in the flour...
 Heat the oil in the skillet.  
Add the cutlets and fry until golden
brown on each pretty!
 Don't forget the second batch!
It's mushroom & garlic time!!
Fry them until the mushrooms are soft...yum!
 Now add the wine and broth,
and return the cutlets to the pan to simmer...
 So melt in your mouth good!!!
And you made it yourself!! Way to go!!

  I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pasta Nests with Onions and Mushrooms

Pasta Nests with Onions
and Mushrooms

A while ago my dear friend Hindy excitedly called me with news of a fabulous (her words) new gadget.  Knowing my love of a good gadget, she was sure I would fall madly in love with this one!  I eagerly asked her what it was and impatiently waited for her reply.  “A fantastic chopper”, she said.  “Really?”, I said.  She continued to extol the virtues of this chopper, how amazingly it chopped vegetables, and how fast it was.  “Really?”, I said (sort of skeptically).  For the next 10 minutes she proceeded to try to convince me how great the chopper tool was.  I, in return, tried to convince her that a sharp knife was really an amazing tool, and that an actual chopper tool wasn’t a necessary part of a kitchen where the person chopping had any sort of knife skills at all (ouch!).  Please understand that Hindy is one of my all time dear friends and took this in the way that it was intended – and was very persistent in her persuasion!  She convinced me that I had to actually come over to her house to see the chopper tool in action making the laborious Israeli Salad!  What was the worst thing that could happen, I thought.  I go over to Hindy’s, see her (silly) chopper tool, have some tea, schmooze and call it a day. 

The Hindy Chopper!  Hindy
says: "Don't loose the little
white cleaning tool!"
This is one time when I literally ate my words!!  The chopper tool is amazing.  It really meets all my criteria for a great gadget/tool.  It chops vegetables incredibly fast – really…it’s incredible!  The pieces are also evenly chopped, which on a good day is a challenge even for someone with pretty good knife skills.  It also has handy measuring lines on the side of the tool so you know exactly how much you’ve chopped – which is great for when a recipe calls for 2 cups of chopped onions!  Finally, it comes with two different chopping blades so you can do a medium or a fine dice with only one tool!

I have since spent a LOT of time apologizing to Hindy for my skepticism, and for being just a little harsh in my comments about her awesome chopping tool.  Being such a good friend I think she forgave me a long time ago...but as a kaparah (atonement) for my sins, every time I use the tool I give her credit for telling me about it.  SO, from now on, I will heretofore refer to the chopper tool as the Hindy Chopper.  Thanks Hindy!

We are all looking for cool and unusual side dishes for Shabbat so we don’t have to hear “potato kugel…again?!” from our families.  (Although, I make potato kugel so infrequently now that everyone is actually kind of excited when I do make it…but that’s another story).  I came across these cool noodles in the store…“Fideo Angel Pasta”.  They look like little round uncooked pasta nests.  Cute.  I found a bunch of recipes using them and came up with a fun recipe that doesn’t take too much prep time and bakes in the oven.  To make the pasta, first you brown it margarine or oil, then you put it in the casserole.  Browning the pasta gives it a great flavor and keeps it from falling apart and being mushy while cooking in the oven.  The next best part of the recipe is that we get to use the Hindy Chopper!!  Hooray!!  You use the fine dice blade of the tool to chop a large onion, and then use the same to evenly dice mushrooms.  It’s so pretty – you have all the vegetables exactly the same size, all sitting like little birds in the pasta nests.  I also like the fact that this recipe has healthy brown rice in it which is disguised by all the other delicious ingredients.  We tried to come up with a clever name for this recipe.  My son suggested “Stuffed Hair Balls”, I thanked him and passed.  My husband came up with “Franny B. Kranny There’s a Bird in Your Hair* Pasta”…thanks, but pass again.  My creativity has failed me - so the name of the recipe is Pasta Nests with Onions and Mushrooms.  If you can think of a better name let me know and I’ll change it!!  In the meantime, have fun chopping all the vegetables with your Hindy Chopper…and if you don’t have one you can still make this dish the old fashioned way – chopping the vegetables with a knife!!

2          medium            sweet onions (or 1 large)
16        ounces              Fideo Angel Pasta
2          cups                 brown rice1
16        ounces              white mushrooms
6          tablespoons      canola oil, divided
14        ounce can         beef broth2
32        ounces              vegetable stock
1          teaspoons         salt3 (optional)
                                    vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Using the fine dice blade, chop the onions with the Hindy Chopper4.  You should have between 1 ½ and 2 cups of finely diced onions.  Set aside.  Using the same fine dice blade, chop the mushrooms.  Set aside.

Spray a 9”x13” casserole dish with non-stick vegetable spray.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add onions to the oil and sauté until golden brown and slightly caramelized.  Add mushrooms to the skillet and sauté until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown.  Remove vegetables from the skillet and set aside in a medium bowl. 

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil to the hot skillet on medium heat.  Arrange the pasta nests top side down in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the pasta starts to brown.  Be careful not to burn the pasta.  Flip the nests over and brown the second side.  Remove pan from heat, and place the browned nests evenly distributed in the prepared casserole.  Evenly pour the uncooked brown rice around the nests in the casserole dish.  Spoon the sautéd mushrooms and onions over the center of the nests.  Carefully pour the beef broth and vegetable broth over the rice.  Cover the casserole and bake for 60 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Enjoy!

  1. I like to use Uncle Ben’s brown rice.  The package I used was a 14 ounce package which was slightly more than 2 cups.  I ended up just putting the remainder in the casserole and it turned out fine.
  2. You can adjust the amount of beef broth and vegetable stock according to your personal preference, using more beef broth and less vegetable stock.  I use both of the broths to give the dish a delicious and more complex flavor.
  3. Depending upon the type of broth you use in this dish you may choose to add additional salt to the recipe.  I usually don’t add the salt but you could start with an additional teaspoon and add more if you prefer.
  4. If you don’t have a Hindy Chopper you can just dice the vegetables to a fine dice using an old fashioned sharp knife and cutting board.
*"Franny B. Kranny There's a Bird in Your Hair" is a book by Harriet Lerner, Susan Goldhor, and Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, published by Harper Collins.  It's one of our favorite books!

Getting the ingredients ready...
 Dice the onions and mushrooms...
you can measure using the
Hindy Chopper!

Sauté all the vegetable in the big skillet...
see how finely diced they are! Make
sure to caramelize the onions & brown the mushrooms!
 It's pasta time! Careful not to burn it!
 Put the Golden Brown Pasta Nests in the
pan with the rice...
 Add the vegetables & broths...almost done!
 Cover and bake for an can smell how 
good it's going to be!!
 HOORAY!! It's, steamy, and YUMMY!!

 I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hearty Vegetable Soup

It’s so cold!!  With the temperatures dropping below freezing on a daily basis, it feels like we are living in a refrigerator – with our very own built in ice maker!  When the weather outside is frigid, we just want something that will warm our insides…and we want it NOW!!  Soup!  Warm, soothing, filling, hearty soup.  With some crunchy croutons on top.  It wouldn’t hurt if it was pretty to look at too.  Something to keep our minds off the bone chilling cold, and coax us into taking off one of our thermal layers so we don’t look like walking snowmen! soup!
Last winter my friend (hi Fran!) stopped by to drop off one of her most outstanding loaves of whole wheat bread, and to schmooze a little.  I showed her a recipe that I had found in a magazine for pea soup.  I loved the fact that it had only a few ingredients and seemed pretty easy to make.  We decided to check my freezer to see if I had the peas, but alas – no peas…only a frozen peas-and-carrots blend.  Undaunted, we warmed the vegetables in the microwave and after making the soup base had a terrifically fun time blending the soup with one of my favorite gadgets – Mr. Immersion Blender (not to be confused with Mrs. Immersion Blender who is pareve and green).  It was warm and excellent and Fran took a few containers home with her for her family (to eat with some of her superb bread).

They call me "MR. Immersion Blender!"

Really?...SO Silly!!
I have mentioned in the past my love of a good gadget.  What defines a good gadget?  It is a tool that does a job for you much faster and better than you could without it.  An example of what I would consider a silly tool would be a banana slicer. Really…someone needs a banana slicer to slice bananas?!!  Some of my favorite gadgets are the chopper tool (shout out to Hindy), the mango slicer (it really slices around the pit), my french fry slicer (fabulously even fresh french fries zippy quick), and my extremely inexpensive mandolin slicer (how fast can you paper thinly slice mushrooms or potatoes?).  For the Hearty Vegetable Soup, rather than trying to pour all the soup into a stand alone blender or into a food processor (either of which may or may not hold all the soup and may leak) you can blend the soup into a smoothish potage (I used the synonym tool) all in the pot you cooked the ingredients in using Mr. Dairy Immersion Blender.  It’s fast and very cathartic to grind the vegetables to a pulp.  Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Immersion Blender, now when I look outside at the snow – I don’t think “it is so freakishly cold outside”, I think of the warm summer sun when instead of snow – we have smoothies made out of ice!

3          tablespoons      butter
10                                scallions, thinly sliced
32        ounces              frozen peas-and-carrots blend, defrosted and divided
5          cups                 water
1 ½      teaspoons         salt
                                    croutons (optional)

Melt butter in a large 6-8 quart stock pot.  Add chopped scallions and sauté 6-8 minutes until soft.  Add water and salt and bring to a boil.  Reserve 2 cups of the peas-and-carrots blend and set aside.  Add the remaining peas-and-carrots and the salt to the pot and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the vegetables are heated through and soft.  Remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender*, blend soup until smooth.  Add reserved 2 cups of peas-and-carrots to the pot. Stir to combine.  Serve hot sprinkled with croutons.  Delicious and heartwarming!

1. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can blend the soup in batches in a regular blender or a food processor.
2. I strongly recommend using butter for this recipe rather than a substitute.  The little bit of butter in this recipe packs a lot of flavor!!

Get all the ingredients ready!
Don't forget to set aside 2 cups of
peas and carrots!
Now chop the fresh scallions.
 Melt the butter in the pot...
 Sauté the scallions until soft.
Add the water, salt and peas-and-carrots...
but NOT the reserved 2 cups!
 Return to a boil...
It's time for Mr. Immersion Blender! 
 Blend until smooth...
Add the reserved peas and carrots...
almost done!
Save the leftovers for lunch 
tomorrow! Yipee Skipee!!

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.