Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pork Cutlet with Wilted Kale and Farfalle with Roasted Vegetables

What a great idea! I wish I had invented “Recipe Dice." Leafcutter Designs has come out with several types of inspirational dice to help get your creative juices flowing when it comes to cooking, cocktail making or Chai (though I’m not familiar with “Chai” so if you know what Chai is…you’re at least one up on me!) The three sets you can choose from are Cocktail Dice, Chai Dice, and Recipe Dice. The idea is that you roll the dice and make something out of the ingredients that you roll. It’s harder than you think. Once you get over the fear of rolling the dice and getting some really odd combination of ingredients, it’s a lot of fun and super inspiring. I chose the Recipe Dice, and the meal ideas are seemingly limitless.

When I opened my little box containing the newest 37 Cooks challenge, I was very excited. I played with the dice a bit, trying to coax them into a meal I thought I could create with little to no anxiety. But, with every toss of the dice, with every attempt to manipulate the ingredients list, I felt guilty for not playing the game the way it was intended. So I left the dice in their cute little spice jar on my kitchen counter for a couple of weeks, knowing full well I had to face them eventually. Every time I walked into the kitchen I would see them there, staring back at me. Goading me into trying to create something new and different. I decided enough was enough. I re-read the instructions, rolled the dice, then, according to the directions, I picked five ingredients that I wanted to change, and re-rolled those five. I decided to stick with what fate handed me (no fudging with the ingredients to make them fit). The dice I rolled included pork, rutabaga, Parmesan cheese, summer squash, asparagus, black pepper, kale, oregano, pasta, artichoke, lemon, and bell pepper…E-I-E-I-O! It was as if the dinner gods spoke to me. I couldn’t believe it, but I managed to whittle out a dinner with all of the ingredients that tasted really good. And it forced me to use ingredients together that I would ordinarily have never considered combining. Spoiler alert! Everyone I know is getting a set of these dice for Christmas! That’s just how I roll!

Roll of the Dice Pork Cutlet with Wilted Kale and Farfalle with Roasted Vegetables
by Maryjo

Pork Cutlet:
1 pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, cut into 6 equal pieces (each package comes with 2 tenderloins, so I put one in the freezer and used the other for this recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 200ºF. Remove the silver skin from the pork tenderloin and cut the tenderloin into 6 equal 2 1/2 to 3-inch disks. Working with one piece of pork at a time, place each pork disk between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them flat until it’s about 1/4-inch in thickness.

Combine the flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish. In another dish, beat the eggs and water lightly together until combined. In a third dish, combine the Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the garlic powder. 

Heat two Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge one of the pork cutlets in the flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip into the egg and water mixture. Then coat the cutlet in the Panko and cheese mixture, pressing the cutlet into the bread crumbs to make sure they stick, and place in the hot skillet. If your skillet is large enough, you can cook two cutlets in the skillet at one time. While the first two are cooking, start working on the next two cutlets. Cook for two to three minutes per side. When golden and crispy, place on baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until all 6 cutlets are cooked. Add 2 more Tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet and cook the next two cutlets. Once again, place the cooked cutlets in the oven with the others. Finally, add the remaining two Tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet and cook the last two cutlets. Serve hot with sliced lemon.

Wilted Kale:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced into long thin strips
1 bunch kale, cleaned, stems removed, and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium high. When the oil is hot (it should be shimmering), add the onions. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the kale, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until the kale is wilted, about 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and salt. Toss to coat and serve hot.

Farfalle with Roasted Vegetables:
2 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound farfalle pasta (bowtie pasta), cooked according to directions on box
4 ounces asparagus, cleaned and cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow squash, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 zucchini squash, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces artichoke hearts
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
Zest and juice from two large lemons
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat the rutabaga in 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes (turning half way through). 

Cook the farfalle pasta according to the directions on the box, drain, and set aside in a large bowl. 

Combine asparagus, bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini squash in large bowl with remaining 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. After the rutabaga has roasted for 20 minutes, add these vegetables to the sheet pan with the rutabaga and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. When done, add the roasted vegetables to the pasta. Add artichoke hearts (I used the canned artichoke hearts in a brine) and the chopped oregano. Stir to combine. 

In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and olive oil. Mix well and then pour the dressing over the pasta and roasted vegetables. Stir to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.

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