Friday, October 3, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ Veal Stew and Orchids

Don't be silly, I did not cook veal stew with orchids in it. You try coming up with titles most every day - even though I've been quite the slacker lately. But that was because, as I was going to post last week's FRF, all my photos went poof. And then, after figuring out how to get them back 

Note: If something goes awry with your computer, after your initial freakout but before calling your guru, google the problem - unless of course, you can't, in that case, get somewhere that you can. Oftentimes, though it takes a bit longer, someone out there has had the exact same problem and someone has a solution. I try to hold off on completely freaking out until I realize that without outside intervention, my computer is basically a doorstop. 

a few days had gone by and lo and behold, the days kept going by until here we are again. Which means I have a few things in my out basket to still post from then and this is sort of one of them. The orchids came later.

I'm not sure what happened with this photo of orchids in a neighbors, except being interrupted by a dog pushing me, but I liked it.
The other day I was in Milka's and ran into Alicia. How many times are you in a store here and run into someone who is a kin, a mental soulmate - no, not on some intimate spiritual plane - rather, yes, someone who gazes into the coolers and onto the shelves of our local markets with that look you know says "Did the food fairies bring anything new here? ANYTHING?" She told me about this stew she had made the other day. Veal stew. 

Around Culebra (and I know I've said this before but it is always new and always true), if you hear about something like veal stew, it is tossing fish guts to seagulls. Souped up race cars and lasers don't move as fast to hone in on a new food stuff. VEAL? Like a guide leading the halt and lame she led me to the cooler, translated the word on the package and made sure I got a good one. She gave me her recipe. The only thing she didn't do is take me home and cook it for me. Which, if you've tasted her food (and most likely you have if you've been around or come to Culebra for any length of time, via the old incarnations of The Spot) would have also been fine. 

But it would have left out playing with food myself. And she would have added carrots and I am sorry to say, I do not like cooked carrots. Sorry. Don't tell the children. While I could have loaded up on other veggies, choices, among many being corn, peppers, sautéed mushrooms - are mushrooms a vegetable? - I used only veal stock (!!!), potatoes and wine that I bought per instructions, and garlic, onions and tomatoes, which I had on hand. 

And it was good. For quite a few meals worth of good.

After thawing the veal, I put it in a bag with some flour, pepper and salt and gave it a few good shakes.

Before that, a couple tablespoons of olive oil went into the pot to sauté some garlic, which I had smashed. Smashing garlic with the side of a knife is fun.

Removing the garlic, the now infused oil got a bit of butter added to it and in went the veal for browning. That had to be done in a couple of batches. p.s. I threw the garlic back in later. Of course I did.

Out came the veal, in went the  cubed tomatoes and onions and potatoes and about a cup of wine and a cup of veal stock. 

And back in went the veal. 

Now came the waiting, as it simmered, covered, for an hour or so. Maybe a little bit less. Along the way, I put in a little more veal stock, not much, and little more wine, not much. Hey, I had to have some wine with dinner, right? Drinking veal stock is not for me.

And then it was dinner. 

I could have thickened it more with more flour and skipped adding the extra stock. It didn't matter, it was delicious. Thanks, Alicia! I hope you are not cringing. 

For a recipe to go by, this recipe from Epicurious is what I used as a rough guideline along with Alicia's instructions. Stews, like potato salads, are hugely open to playing with according to your tastes, so as always, have fun! Play with your food. 

Buen provecho!!

Some other moments around this end of the island, looking out up and down.

And darned if night didn't come again. 

Have a feelingitthefinest Friday. Do something freaking fabulous.


  1. Veal. Is there any better red meat? Actually, I don't think it is old enough to be red meat. Whatever, it is delicious! Anyway it's cooked. Is that spike with his spike colored blue??

    1. No, it's not red but it is delicious. I don't eat a lot of veal (even when I lived in a place where it was easy to buy) but on occasion, oh yeah!

      Yes, that is Spike. He was playing a lot of hide and seek but then gave me a little clear view.