Cooking with Veal
Possibly because we have always treated veal so unimaginatively, this delicately flavored meat has never been very popular with Americans. According to a Department of Agriculture survey, we eat only about 1.5 lbs. of veal per capita per year as opposed to the French and Italians who eat about nine lbs. per year per capita. The production of veal is traditionally a function of the dairy industry since milk-fed veal is the young of "calving" dairy cows.
Breaded veal cutlets, the age-old method of preparing thin slices of veal cut from the hind leg, seems to have fallen by the wayside but now, the quickly seared "scallopine," (the same cut) is apparently the only other veal dish we eat. There are plenty of other less popular parts of the veal carcass a butcher must get rid of, and these are often at attractively low prices.
Breast of veal, boned and stuffed with aromatic herb, pork sausage, and onion mixture, is a dish that doesn't shriek its parsimony. Cut in long strips across the breast, pieces of veal called tendrons by the French are braised slowly with wine and vegetables to make a stout country stew. Shoulder is an excellent cut for Blanquette de Veau and the less familiar brown veal ragout called Veal Marengo.
Chops and roasts from the ribs and loin are too costly to be considered in this book. But whatever veal you choose, the flesh should be a very pale pink, almost white, if it is a true milk-fed calf slaughtered before its fourteenth week. Some of the dark reddish meat sold as veal might be more properly labeled “baby beef.” Plume de Veau is the finest - and hideously expensive - quality, and only a small quantity is produced. Italian butchers generally have the best genuine milk-fed veal, and they know best how to slice perfect escallopes and separate the muscles into neat, compact seamless roasts.
Veal, like beef, is graded Prime, Choice, Select, etc., but if you see no grade mark, the color of the flesh still tells you a good deal about it. But even "bob" feel from older animals can be lightened and tenderized by marinating it in milk. Veal is never aged and should be cooked within a day or so of purchase, or frozen. Because it is all lean (thus good for dieters, cholesterol worriers, and people in delicate condition), veal is too dry to broil. (I know that veal chops are sometimes broiled in restaurants but it's not the best way to cook them.) Except for chops and escallopes, which are quickly sautéed in butter, veal needs long, gentle, moist cooking, and it also benefits from the subtle influences of wine, herbs, and vegetables."
- from "Good Cheap Food" by Miriam Ungerer
Mixing Drinks at the Hotel Minibar
You've made it to your hotel room. Chances are you're ready to celebrate with a drink!
Unfortunately, obstacles may arise. Perhaps you can't bear squeezing past that wedding party jammed into the hotel bar to order a drink. Or maybe you're just dumbstruck by minibar sticker shock, wondering why you didn't plan ahead to avoid a 300 percent markup on a very ordinary gin and tonic.
Luckily, compared to making drinks in moving vehicles (particularly airplanes and trains, covered in the previous chapter), making drinks in a hotel room has some distinct advantages: more space; access to an ice machine, with its seemingly infinite supply of (shitty) ice; glassware, even if only a wine glass or water glass; possible an in-room coffee maker; and access to a wider array of ingredients, whether from a vending machine, a breakfast buffet, or a nearby convenience store or liquor store.
As with airline drinks perhaps the biggest impediment to creating good cocktails in a hotel room is the absence of bitters and vermouth. Though it's easy enough to pack your own, I've devised the recipes in this chapter so that neither is needed. Also, a jigger (easy to pack) and cocktail shaker tin (a bit more cumbersome) will help in making the following drinks, though work-around are suggested for those traveling light.
This drink was create by T.J. Siegal at NYC's Milk & Honey in 2001. But the first time I tried it was at the Pearl, a Louisville, Kentucky, bar owned by Larry Rice (who seems to own all of the good new bars in Louisville). What was so neat about the bar was that although it was brand new, it had the feel of a perfectly broken-in dive bar: a long wooden bar, a juke box heavy on tunes from the 1970's and 1980's, and a wheel on the wall to spin for cheap drink specials. I landed on the Gold Rush. The whiskey sour style cocktail may have been devised in an upscale modern speakeasy, but it fit perfectly in a dive bar in the heart of bourbon country.
If your hotel room has honey packets for tea, it's worth finding a couple of lemon wedges to make this drink. If you have a cocktail shaker, the drink is typically shaken with ice, but "throwing" it (pouring the drink between two cups; see below) will do the trick.
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce honey syrup (2 parts honey to 1 part hot water)
3/4 ounce lemon juice
Fill a cocktail shaker or cup with ice, then add the bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice. Shake or "throw" the drink until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice."
-from Road Soda: Recipes and techniques for making great drinks anywhere, by Kara Newman