Monday, January 23, 2012

New Tag: Bookmarked

Photo credit
I have started a new category of posts- Bookmarked. Here I will post links to recipes that I have recently bookmarked to try later. I read so many blogs, magazine, etc that I figured I would share the wealth.

If you try a recipe from one of these posts please let me know in the comments if it was a success or not!

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip Closet Cooking
Lazy Daisy Cake Deep Dish South
Old Fashioned Cold English Pea Salad Deep Dish South
How to Make a Taco Bowl SweetHome
Jiaozi Dumplings Epicurious
Chicken Lettuce Cups Epicurious
Cook Once, Eat for the Week (for $28!) Women's Health

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Schnitzel, Spatzle, and Sweet and Sour Cabbage

I'm calling this the holy trinity of German food. To be honest, actually, I don't know all that much about German food although I live in a community with deep German roots. After this meal, I think I'll delve deeper.

So help my family, but when I cook schnitzel I like to say "schneetzel". And everything else that starts with an "s" becomes Germanified. A "schpreekle" of salt... a side of "schpatzle".

Speaking of schpatzle, I mean spatzle, what is it anyway? Just the easiest homemade pasta you will ever made. No kneading, no rolling, cutting, etc. The batter is just mixed together and rests while the water comes to a boil. Then you schmear (I couldn't resist) through something with large holes. A colander works well. This time I used the steamer basket that came with my pasta pot, which worked ok too. Here I just tossed it with some Parmesan cheese and butter, but if you have some left over it is crazy good pan fried so it gets a bit browned and crispy- this only works after it has cooled after boiling though. Check out this post on Smitten Kitchen (whom I adapted the spatzle recipe from) for a recipe for pan fried spatzle and her trials and errors making spatzle.

The sleeper hit of the meal though? The cabbage. Crazy, right? Piled on the schnitzel and eaten all together it is the perfect bite- crispy, meaty, tangy, sweet, all at once. Tyler would disagree- he didn't eat any- but Parker (yes, my 17 month old) and I loved it. Parker ate two bowls full. My kid is weird and awesome.

Serves 4

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk, or rice milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

  • 1 small head cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red vinegar
  • big pinch salt

Pork Schnitzel

  • 4 small center cut pork chops (no bone), or 4 pork tenderloin medallions, pounded  to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped.
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

For spatzle dough: Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs and milk. With a fork stir together eggs and milk, bringing in a bit of flour at a time until all combined. Set aside. Set a large pot of water to boil.

For cabbage: Combine all cabbage ingredients in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cabbage softened.

Breading the schnitzel: Set up a breading station using three shallow bowls, pie plates, plates, whatever you have. Put flour in one, egg in another, breadcrumbs mixed with parsley in the last one.  Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat with enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Dredge pork in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place in pan and fry until golden brown. Drizzle pork with a little olive oil, then flip.

To cook spatzle: Season boiling water with a small palmful of salt. Pour 1/3 of the dough into a colander or steamer basket. Working quickly, and wearing oven mitts, smear and press dough through holes using a spatula. Boil spatzle 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining dough. Put all cooked noodles back into the water for 30 seconds to warm and unstick them from each other, then drain in a (clean) colander. Put spatzle back into the empty pot and add butter and cheese, stirring gently until melted. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm.

Schnitzel: Place breaded pork in pan and fry until golden brown. Drizzle pork with a little olive oil, then flip. Cook until golden brown on second side.

Friday, January 20, 2012


When I say "chia" you say.... "super food"? Or "ch-ch-ch-chia!"?

Have you heard about chia seeds? They are being newly popularized as a super food, up there with flax and goji berries. I bought a package of ground chia seeds from my local heath food store and I throw them into smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal. The other day I rinsed out my smoothie glass and left it on the counter to use again later. I guess there were a few seeds stuck to the side of the glass, and when I looked later they seemed to have a gel surrounding them. Weird. Then it occured to me... Right, they are seeds so if they were left long enough they would probably sprout.*

Which brings to this Google search:

So, can you eat your Chia Pet? And why would you want to? According to this article, no you don't want to eat your Chia Pet as the quality of the seeds is not for human consumption, but here a few facts on the benefits of chia taken from the

Slightly smaller than a sesame seed, chia seeds are grayish brown or off-white and are largely tasteless. Highly hydrophilic, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water," Runners and endurance athletes take a gel made from water and chia seeds for hydration, energy and endurance.

In addition to increasing energy some people use chia seeds as a weight-loss aid. The high fiber content, 6 grams per serving, or 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance, helps contribute to a feeling of fullness.

Chia seeds contain 4.5 grams of fat per two tablespoons, but have no saturated- or trans-fats. The American Heart Association reports that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats may help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Much of the fat in chia seeds comes from omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in fish oils.

One serving of chia seeds contains 10 percent of daily recommended value of calcium and 8 percent daily recommended value of iron. "That's pretty darn good for a tablespoon of something that's of non-meat origin," Jones said.

I figure there's nothing to lose by tossing some into a smoothie or what not- my philosophy is if you can easily boost the nutrition of what you are putting into your body, why the hell not? "Why the hell not", by the way, being another over-arching philosohy of mine.

*I don't know if this happens to you to, but being so used to buying everything and being disconnected from the growing process of my food sometimes I forget where it comes from. It doesn't occur to me that this is real stuff from nature unless I give it some conscious thought. Did I mention I'm a blonde?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Posts

I thought I'd jump on the new year blogging trend of sharing the top posts from last year... only in Four Seasons Kitchen's case, it will be of all time since I've never done this type of round up before.

It's also interesting to see how, and from where, people get to my blog. Google Blogger provides these stats, and it looks like I'm kind of a big deal in Russia.

I can also see search keywords that have lead people to my blog. "Cheese whiz nacho dip", "cheese dip", "nachos dip cheese" and "cheez whiz nacho dip" are at the top of that list. I'm not sure if I should be disappointed or thankful that at least I'm getting the reader traffic.

1. Vanilla Iced Coffee

2. Spicy Cheese Dip

3. Caldo Verde- my very first post

4. Lentils with Choizo, Brussels Sprouts, and Balsamic Vinegar

5. Tex Mex Lasagna (even despite the awful photo)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate Lollipops

A few days before Christmas I was watching Ina Garten- the Barefoot Contessa- and she made chocolate lollipops with white chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit. As if I didn't have enough to do, I decided to make some for stocking stuffers. They are really easy, and people are impressed. I'd almost rather not share how to make them and continue to bask in the glory of oohs and aahs, but I suppose that wouldn't be fair.

You can make these any flavour you like. If you are giving them as gifts, think of what the person likes; my stepmom loves Asian food, so I did ones with Asian flavours for her. My brother and his girlfriend love bacon (hello, who doesn't) and bacon + chocolate being so trendy, I thought I'd try that out. I went a little crazy with the flavor combinations, but I figured I might as well make something that you can't get at the store. The method is below and then a couple of photos pointing out the flavor combinations. 

Makes 10-12 lollipops
A serrated bread knife makes quick work of chopping chocolate

  • 1 500 g bar dark chocolate, chopped
  • lollipop sticks (you can get these at Bulk Barn or another cooking supply store)
  • toppings

Arrange toppings at your work station in little bowls so that they are ready to use. Melt 3/4 of the chocolate chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, heating for 30 seconds at at time on high and stirring each time- heat until just melted. Stir in remaining chocolate until completely smooth (heat for another 10 seconds if needed).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working one lollipop at a time, drop chocolate from a soup spoon onto parchment paper- it should naturally form a circle and even out on top. Place a lollipop stick at the bottom of the circle and turn it to coat in chocolate so that it stays when the chocolate hardens. Sprinkle on toppings. Continue until all chocolate is used up. Place tray in fridge (or in my case, the garage- winter in Canada is good for something I guess) until chocolate is hardened.