Russian Bites: “chicken fried” pork (otbivnii/betki)

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Most days I go about my business without much thought to my history. The days of bread lines and food stamps are long gone. I’m very comfortable in my home in the center of Boston, with every needed amenity within a few minutes of walking distance. And then something happens that reminds me of how lucky I am – most of us are – to have such simple things as running water, electricity and internet (and plentiful food). We didn’t always take those for granted in Kishinev (I specifically remember filling up buckets of water for showers and cooking – water outages were quite frequent) and I learned to appreciate them once again after the power outages this week. It was rough.

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It was a gorgeous day in Boston when a transformer caught fire and contributed to a 15-block power outage in Back Bay. We were just 2 blocks away from the fire and had the largest impact. We had no power at all for 2 days straight and then we had random power outages (of course every time I was about to cook us a meal!) for the next few days after that. It’s crazy how much we rely on electricity these days! Besides the obvious (lack of light in the house so you can’t see anything, especially when even the street lights don’t work), there is no heat, no access to the fridge or stove top (which makes it really hard to stay on your diet!!) and no tv/internet (those were down for almost the whole week). We downloaded the flashlight app on our iphones to help guide us through the house, but after a while our phones died too (since you couldn’t charge them!). Pain in the butt for sure Smile

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I lived out of coffee shops, my parents’ and friends’ houses all week and I’m so so happy to be back to normal in my own home right now. Who knew that having power and internet would feel like such a treat?! Smile

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[Left: 2 standard pork chops; right: pounded chops]

Anyways, this recipe for Russian “chicken fried” pork has nothing to do with all that (I just wanted to vent Winking smile ) but it’s a classic and absolutely delicious so you should make it! Open-mouthed smile Otbivnii or betki are both common names for these guys and basically mean that the meat was “beaten” (aka pounded) into thin cutlets. You then dip them into an egg/flour batter and pan fry them. The result is a juicy piece of meat with a delicious eggy crust. It’s definitely a favorite!

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Pork is sort of the “original” meat of choice but my mom tells me she recently started buying thin chicken cutlets and doesn’t even pound them. They are ready to go right there! Serve with a simple tomato/cucumber/sour cream salad (and maybe mashed potatoes) and feel like a cool Russian. I did :lol:

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Open wide!

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Printable recipe

Which ordinary thing are you thankful for having today?

New and old favorite recipes

How many of you have cooked a delicious meal, vouching to make it again… soon, only to forget of its existence days (or months later)? As someone known to live in the black & white world, I’m either not into cooking at all (bring on snacks, takeout and meals out!) or trying to make as many recipes as humanly possible in one night and/or weekend. I rarely, very rarely repeat recipes. That gives me the ability to test out more of the inspiring recipes I am constantly exposed to. The flip side, of course, is that those old favorites get forgotten. And it’s a shame. This is why I have decided that each new favorite recipe must be photographed and shared with you all on Healthy and Sane (check out the favorite recipes category on the right for previous favorites). I’ll get a chance to have a go-to place to find them again and you get to hopefully discover some new favorites of your own. Win-win!

So here we go – 3 new favorites from the past few weeks

Healthified zucchini bread from The Sweets Life

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I made 2 loaves of this bread last weekend and have been enjoying a slice (or 2) each morning with some Greek yogurt and a cup of coffee. I can’t imagine a better breakfast to wake up to! This bread/cake is slightly sweet, moist and full of cinnamon flavor. And who doesn’t love hidden veggies for breakfast?

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In the perfect world, I’d start my morning with the above zucchini bread and have these grilled pork chops with peppers and capers from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbooksince these were the best pork chops I’ve ever made!!

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The secret is brining the pork chops overnight (actually since salt is a preservative, I left them in the brine for a few days since I was too busy to cook – extra bonus points for ease!). You know how salt makes you retain water and bloated? Well brining does the same for meat. The water retention makes them super juicy!

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These peppers with capers were fantastic as well – smoky and briny. Yum! And no, these aren’t onions – they’re purple peppers from the farmers market. Cool, right? I have not made one thing out of that cookbook that I wasn’t completely head over heals for. LOVE.

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How about something packed with veggies for dinner? When I saw Ranjani blog about this grain salad with corn and poblano peppers, I knew those wheat berries all the way in the back of my pantry had to come out of hiding.

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I will take advantage of the last days of summer, fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, local hot peppers and all! Smile

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I went light on the olive oil, used goat cheese instead of queso fresco (when is goat cheese not the way to go? amiright??), added chickpeas for extra protein… and apparently forgot the toasted pumpkin seeds. Oops. (I didn’t miss them though)

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I loved the chew from the wheat berries, the sweetness of the corn, spice from the 2 kinds of chili peppers and the wonderful garlic infused olive oil dressing the grains. It’s fantastic room temperature but even better warmed (the goat cheese gets all melty and seductive. Do it!)

Oh and as proof that I’m committed to reinstating some old favorites – here is an oldie but goodie. My favorite chocolate chip cookies. Everyone needs a go-to choc chip cookie recipe. Could this one be yours?

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Get a little closer…

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Hungry yet?

That’s a whole lot of favorites. What are your favorite recipes? Do share. And yes, I want details!! Open-mouthed smile

PS – A new post on a summery Russian dessert is up on Russian Bites. Check it out!

Healthy and Sane in the kitchen: making a week’s worth of meals in an hour

Hi guys! Long time no “speak.” I seriously have no idea where the time went since my last post [feeling totally back to normal btw!]. I’m sure I was doing something seriously awesome. Definitely!

SO, I’m currently on the Amtrak train to NY, where I’ll be spending the rest of the week (let me know if you want to meet up on Friday at some point!!). I originally told Adam about this business trip and the fact that I was going to stay over my sister’s for the weekend and he didn’t seem to be fazed by it… until he realized he was going to have to feed himself for 6 days! Ha!

He’s currently trying to be healthy so in order for him to avoid feasting on takeout every night (not good for our budget or his health), I told him I’d prep some stuff for him. I ended up being really happy with my super easy “meal plan” and thought I’d share it with you. This is how you make a week’s worth of food in just over an hour!

To make it that quick, you’ll need help though from your grocery store (I originally was going to roast the chicken myself and make homemade tomato sauce but we all know by now from my frequent absence from this blog that time is not typically my friend).

This is the stuff I picked up for the week:

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A roasted chicken from Whole Foods (just $9.99!!), broccoli, Applegate prosciutto, 1lb of 90% lean ground grass fed beef. I also had a jar of tomato sauce and a tube of polenta in the cupboards and some carrots, baby spinach and dying asparagus in the fridge. Wraps, burger buns, pasta, cheese and condiments are not shown here. We had them at home (you probably do too!) and they will come in handy during the “assembly stage” but not yet.

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I started by roasting some veggies. They make great sides for just about any meal!

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[Carrots were tossed with coconut oil, salt and pepper; asparagus and broccoli with EVOO, salt and pepper. 425* until nice and toasty… that’s about 15 mins for broccoli, 20 for asparagus and 30 for the carrots. Toss occasionally]

Then it was time to jazz up the tomato sauce. Jarred tomato sauce with extra red pepper flakes, baby spinach and roasted chicken – let the sauce simmer with the mix-ins for about 10 minutes.

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I also made some chicken salad (see below) and grilled the polenta rounds. Lastly that ground beef was made into some burger patties (to be frozen) [1lb beef with 2T ketchup, 1T Worcestershire sauce and 1/4t salt is my go-to burger seasoning – it makes the patties moist and flavorful].

Here we go – all done!

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Meal #1: Roasted chicken with roasted veggies and fried potatoes (from last night’s dinner)

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Meal #2: Pasta with tomato, spinach and chicken sauce (Adam will cook the pasta)

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Meal #3: Chicken salad [chicken, reduced fat mayo, light sour cream, pinch of cayenne pepper, lemon juice, s&p + carrots]

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Mix in sliced toasted almonds right before eating, wrap with tomato and avocado slices.

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Meal #4: Grilled polenta with tomato sauce and prosciutto

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This idea comes straight from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners cookbook. Actually the whole idea of repurposing a few ingredients for different meals (in this case chicken, tomato sauce and prosciutto) came from the book. Love Jamie and all his books!

Burger patties to be frozen and grilled on demand Smile

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Other meals… that Adam can handle on his own Winking smile

  • Prosciutto panini
  • Chicken/avocado/tomato sandwich

Roasted veggies for sides

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Snacks:

  • Baby carrots with hummus (Whole Foods jalapeno hummus is our my recent obsession)
  • Yogurt with homemade granola and organic blueberries (all washed, ready to eat)
  • Fruit (organic apples, pears and bananas in the living room platter)

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Oh and if you’re wondering what’s sneaking behind there in the photos… that would be parmesan thyme biscuits and maple walnut shortbread cookies I made over the weekend. No big deal Winking smile

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All together, ready for the fridge!

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I had one happy husband on my hands! Now he has to report back on how everything was. I better not see greasy Chinese in his online food journal! Open-mouthed smile

I need to do things like that more often even when I’m in town! What would you have made??

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