I love to cook as I have posted here before. I usually make two big meals a week so I can have leftovers.
Last night I decided to be ambitious and make jagerschnitzel and german potato salad. I used two different recipes.
The jagerschnitzel recipe I used was posted here. My thanks to sarahnspice for posting. I made this recipe gluten free by using rice flour and gluten free bread crumbs. I did not make the spaetzel or red cabbage. I was going to make the gravy, but forgot the mushrooms and red wine, so I improvised with white wine and chicken broth. I followed her instructions exactly for the most part, with the exception of using cracker crumbs. She has great instructional pictures on the recipe page. This will help you to follow the steps.
I got the german potato salad recipe here. German potato salad is served warm with a vinegar dressing and bacon. It has been years since I have had it and I thought it would be a nice change. This recipe was a bit tricky as some of the measurements were in MLs. I had my husband looking up conversions while I was busy running around the kitchen like a chicken without a head. It took a lot of effort, sweat and coordination to pull these two recipes off. Here is how I did it.
In order to have the two dishes finish together, I pounded the pork and peeled the potatoes first. While I cooked the potatoes, I breaded the pork and let it sit while until the potatoes were almost cooked. The recipe instructs five minutes, but letting it sit a bit longer did no harm. Then I cooked the pork in two batches of three pieces each. Make sure you use a non-stick pan! I did not pound the pork thin enough so I increased the oven temp to 300 degrees so it would cook through. If your pork is thin you will not need to do this. There is a fine line between under and overcooked pork. Contrary to popular belief, pork can be eaten pink. But your preference will determine how long to cook it.
Next, I drained the potatoes and let them cool so I could cut them up. Once the pork was fried, I popped it into the oven. Then I began making the vinegar mixture. German potato salad has a warm sort of dressing poured over it. No mayonnaise here. Again, I used rice flour to thicken the dressing. It works like a charm-I use it quite a bit.
Then I poured the dressing over the cut potatoes in a bowl, and tossed. There seemed to be a lot of liquid but the potatoes will absorb it. I tasted a potato and made a face-I thought the dressing had a bit too much vinegar. I sprinkled about a teaspoon of sugar in and tossed it again. I found that letting it marinate for about ten or fifteen minutes improved the taste of the dressing. Keep covered to keep it warm.
I started frying bacon for the gravy then realized I was out of red wine and forgot the mushrooms. I used white wine I had on hand and chicken broth to make the gravy. I used the rice flour to make a roux but did not have enough fat in the pan. When I added the broth, I got lumps. I could not whisk them out, so I removed the bacon, added it to the potato salad, and strained the gravy into a gravy boat. I also added a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash original to it to zing it up a bit. The gravy was actually pretty good.
This was quite a marathon-I was hot, sweaty and ready to drop by the time everything was done. But I pulled it off.
Here are some tips on how you can not only coordinate your dishes to come out the same time, but how you can improvise:
- read the recipes through completely
- check that you have all ingredients you need before proceeding (I made this mistake)
- convert any measurements before hand
- Figure out which dish takes the longest and start it first
- do all of your prep first-the french call this mis en place
- Multi-task..this is essential in the kitchen
- Keep food warm in a slow oven while you are preparing other items
- if you can’t put food in the oven, cover to keep warm
- don’t get flustered-stay calm and focus on the task at hand
- enlist help if possible
- don’t be afraid to improvise if you are caught short-the worst that happens is failure
- check online to find substitute ingredients
- white and red wine can be interchangeable in a recipe-so can broth
- rice flour can be substituted for wheat flour in sauces and gravies
- if you are out of a particular spice, look up spice combinations online to see if you can use what is on hand
- you can also use mashed potato flakes to thicken gravy but be careful or you will end up with mashed potatoes. Add a little at a time until you have the right consistency
The most important thing here is take a breath, and dive right in. You might surprise yourself on what you can accomplish. You can do it!