Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Veal Stew with Lemon and Creme Fraiche (Page 460)

RECIPE #1285

  • Date: Friday, November 4, 2011 -- 5:30pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Baldwin, Charles, and Clara
  • Recipe Rating: B

I have wanted to make this recipe for a long time, but I had a lot of trouble finding the veal breast and veal shoulder it required. None of the butchers in town could get them for me, and even my usual internet meat seller didn't have them. Eventually I found an internet source for the meat I needed for this and the one other veal recipe I have left (which also requires veal breast). It was an expensive purchase, but the meat arrived via overnight shipping, and I was glad to have it! I made this dish when our friend John was visiting. John, like my special gentleman, is fun to cook for because he loves to eat (and he eats a lot!) and he appreciates food. Charles and Clara joined us for a small feast which included this stew, some goat cheese biscuits, broccoli with caper brown butter, puff pastry cheese twists, and a caramelized pear tart.

To make this stew I started by cutting the veal breast off the bone and cutting the meat into pieces. I also cut the veal shoulder into pieces and stewed the meat with the bones, onions, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns in water. When the meat was tender I removed it and strained the broth. I cooked carrots and leeks in the strained broth, then removed the vegetables and reduced the broth. Meanwhile, I cooked some mushrooms in butter. I made a roux of flour and butter and whisked in the reduced broth, then simmered it. I carefully added a mixture of egg yolks and creme fraiche to the sauce, as well as lemon juice, and I cooked the sauce to 160 degrees. I seasoned the veal, the vegetables, and the sauce, then combined them to form the stew. This stew was pretty tasty. The vegetables and veal were nicely cooked but I didn't love the sauce. It had a nice consistency, but I didn't think the lemon flavor complemented the veal as well as a meatier, or wine based sauce would have. My personal preference would have been for the stew to have a higher ratio of vegetables to meat. As it was, it was very meat-heavy. All that said, it tasted good and certainly everyone seemed to enjoy it.

The recipe is here.

Only 8 recipes left to go!

I hate to fly. It's not the cramped seats, bad food, or near-certainty of delays that makes me dread it. I can easily cope with a lack of comfort. But I am terrified of plane crashes. I fly anyway, of course, but I genuinely hate it. And every time I get on an airplane, I wonder if I will make it alive to my destination. I prefer to have my feet on the ground, in an environment where I feel safe. I realize that the chances of the plane crashing are incredibly small. As a mathematician, I truly do appreciate how small the numbers are. But it doesn't really make me feel better. I am still terrified. It's not just flying. I dislike any situation where I feel a real chance of death, even when the actual likelihood of death is incredibly small. And I especially dislike situations where I have no control, like on an airplane. It's not logical, and it's not something that I appreciate about myself. Indeed, if I had the power to change any one thing about myself, I think that is what I would change: I would be less afraid.

I am having surgery tomorrow. As surgeries go, it isn't a particularly dangerous one. There is a wall in one of my organs that shouldn't be there, as well as a mass in there. The wall, in particular, is causing some problems. So they are going to remove the mass and cut out the wall. The risks are minimal, and the surgery will completely correct the problem. I think that if I could be awake for it, I would hardly be worried at all. But local anesthesia is apparently not an option. So I will be under general anesthesia. And although I fully understand that people are put under for surgery all the time, it still has me freaked out. I haven't been able to sleep the last couple nights, which for me is incredibly unusual. Sleeping is the one thing I do extremely well. But I have laid awake for hours. I keep picturing myself laying on a table, unconscious, with a breathing tube down my throat, and the surgeon lasering things inside my body. I had my pre-op appointment a few days ago. The surgeon went over the risks with me (pain, infection, accidental puncture of the organ, etc...). And as he talked about the increasingly unpleasant (and increasingly unlikely) things that could happen, I kept thinking to myself that the only side effect that I am actually worried about is death. Which wasn't even on his list since it is so tremendously unlikely. But just like sitting on an airplane, tomorrow I will have no control over what is happening. Indeed, I will be unconscious on a ventilator. And that has me very nervous.

I am trying to remind myself, as I do when I fly, that this is not a big deal. People have surgery every day. Indeed, people have much more dangerous surgeries all the time. My fear is not rational. I just need to relax, and it will be over soon. Twenty-four hours from now I will be recovering: watching movies, napping, and reading magazines. After a very busy semester, spending some time in bed recovering from surgery sounds delightful!


ana rita said...

A hug from over here, Teena! Come back to the blog soon! (Please please tell me that you have a backlogged recipe to post about while you are recovering and not in the kitchen again.)

kingshearte said...

Such a fun thing about phobias: we can try to rationalize them all we want, but at the end of the day, their very definition involves the word irrational. I think that adds an extra layer of suck to them, because we know they're stupid, and we feel stupid for having them, but it doesn't change the fact that we have them even a little.

Anyway, see you when you're back to blogging. Happy mending!

Katie said...

Ahh, so good to know I am not the only one breathes a huge sigh of relief when planes touch the ground...

Sending you good vibes, hugs, prayers, and best wishes from a loyal reader in Florida. Looking forward to your next post when you're nice and recovered and relaxed.

Teena said...

Thanks for the support! The surgery went smoothly and I am looking forward to getting back in the kitchen soon!

Anonymous said...

Teena, that's great. I'm sure I am not the only person who has been reading your blog (in my case for several years), but not posting. As a recent Purdue retiree in the sciences, it has been really interesting watching your career develop, too. One cooking question: which recipe have you set aside for the completion dish?

Teena said...

Anon: There is a recipe in The Book where you need to smoke your own bacon. I am saving that one for the end!