Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All Love Veal with Olives

The history of olives and that of humans are intertwined. The olive tree is the oldest fruit tree known to man. We have cultivated them for at least 6,000 years. The trees themselves are extremely long lived, some of them growing for 1,000 years. Olives were used for everything: lamp fuel, lubrication, food, and wood. They were so useful that they became sacred. Athena won the right to be the patron of Athens by giving the people the gift of the world's first olive tree. Odysseus blinded the Cyclops with an olive branch and thus avoided being eaten. During the ancient Olympics the winners were rewarded with a crown of olive leaves. Noah realized that the great flood waters were receding when a dove returned to the ark with an olive branch. God sent the dove to make peace with humans and this is why “extending the olive branch” means making peace to this day.

So tonight, I offer you a meal featuring this sacred fruit. Peace.  Enjoy.
Sweet wine, earthy mushrooms, salty olives, happy diner
Servings: 4-6
Time: Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 15 Minutes
Hardware: measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a gallon Ziploc bag, a heavy bottom skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a wooden spoon, tongs, a plate, tinfoil, a whisk (I use a flat whisk)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (maybe more)
  • 2 oz pancetta (or two slices of bacon)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion (¼ to ½ cup)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 1b veal scalloppini (you can use chicken)
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 4 oz button mushrooms
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons sweet butter (no salt)

  1. Dice the onions and garlic.
  2. Wash the mushrooms and roughly chop them.
  3. Rinse the olives under running water.  This is very important otherwise this dish will be too salty.  Roughly chop the rinsed olives.
  4. Dice the pancetta.
  5. Place the flour and cornstarch in the plastic bag. Put the scallopini in the bag and shake it like crazy to coat the veal. Set aside.
  6. Loosely tent the plate with foil.
  7. Heat the olive oil in the pan on medium high.
  8. Add the garlic, onions, and pancetta to the pan and cook for a minute or so.
  9. Push the onions, pancetta, and garlic to the side.
  10. Shake as much flour from the veal as possible and add it to the pan a few pieces at a time. Don’t crowd the veal.
  11. Because it is so thin, scallopini cooks quickly. Only allow the veal to cook for 1- 1 ½ minutes and then turn with the tongs. Cook for another minute or so on the other side.
  12. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the pan becomes dry.
  13. Remove the veal from the pan and keep it warm in the tinfoil tent.
  14. Turn the pan down to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the olives and mushrooms. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid.
  15. Add the wine. Use the whisk to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  16. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes. Using the whisk, stir often, scrapping the bottom and sides of the pan as you do.
  17. Whisk in the remaining butter and simmer for another minute.
  18. Add the veal to the sauce and cook for another minute or so until everything is warmed through.
    • You will NOT need to add salt to this dish.
Serve with risotto and a baby spinach salad.

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