The colorful maples on our road still hold to most of their leaves, a couple bright pink blossoms still grace the dahlia at our front steps. We have survived the mad scramble of ghouls, ghosts, and witches of Halloween, but the nights are chilly to remind us that November has arrived.
The cook surveys the kitchen and, as we live in northern New England, starts thinking about warm and comforting food that would fill the house with delicious smells. Pork cutlets present an easy comfort food and can arrive in various flavors. Here is a very easy recipe that will fit any weekday supper with just a bit of tang to provide additional interest.
Pork cutlets Parmigiana
Choose either two thin pork center cut boneless chops or if you have a thick-cut chop, carefully slice it horizontally in half while cold. Arrange two shallow bowls on your work surface. Fork beat an egg with 1 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt in one bowl and lightly mix in the other 3/4 cups panko, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp dried thyme.
Pound each cutlet thin with a mallet, dip in the egg on both sides and then turning a couple of times in the panko-cheese mixture, making sure that the cutlets are evenly and well coated. Quickly fry them in 2 tbsp vegetable oil no more than two minutes to a side and serve hot with potatoes, pasta or rice, and a vegetable.
Savory muffins are a great accompaniment to pork, soups, and any leftovers can be reheated for breakfast.
Savory cheese muffins
These are good made either with sharp cheddar or Parmesan, and the chives are a flavorful and colorful addition. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by spraying with baking spray or use paper cupcake holders.
In a small bowl whisk together 2 eggs, 3/4 cups milk, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1/2 tsp fresh chopped garlic, 2 tbsp chopped chives, and 3/4 tsp rosemary (optional). In a two-quart bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and stir in 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Divide the batter among the 12 prepared muffin cups and sprinkle on top with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Bake about 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for five minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
As promised in my last column, here is another wonderfully moist old-time apple cake from Meta Given’s “Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking.” The dried cranberries and demerara sugar are my additions to the original. The name provoked a recollection from my husband, which I will quote for you after the recipe.
Coat with baking spray an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan and start the oven before baking, set to 350 degrees.
Wash, quarter and core four tart apples and coarsely shred them directly into the baking dish using a box grater. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, scant 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes while you prepare the “cottage pudding” for the cake batter.
Sift 1 3/4 cups flour with 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. Cream 1/3 cup soft butter with 1/2 cup sugar in a two- or three-quart bowl. Beat in 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp lemon flavoring. Add flour and 1 cup buttermilk in alternate three portions ending with flour, beating well after each addition.
Remove pan from oven after 10 minutes baking and carefully spread the cottage pudding over the fruit. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar and bake for 35 minutes or until the pudding tests done. Remove to a rack to cool for five minutes. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream.
My husband’s quote about apple pandowdy dates back to a song from 1946:
“Shoo-fly pie and apple pan dowdy
Makes your eyes light up
Your tummy say, “Howdy”
Shoo-fly pie and apple pan dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff.”
(I. Winicov Harrington, of Waldoboro, is the author of “How to Eat Healthy and Well for Less Than $5.00 a Day: The Smart-Frugal Food Plan.” For more information, go to winicov-harrington.com.)