Thursday, August 12, 2010


Listen. You think eating beef is passé, try finding veal in Lincoln Park. GASP! I know I am such an asshole for purchasing veal but let me just tell you the tale of “where the eff is all the veal?”

BACKGROUND: For those of you who may not know me very well, I do not eat pork. No I am not Jewish (Although Dad is) and no I don’t think pigs are smart so I feel wrong eating them. In fact, I think pigs are the most filthy animals in the worldth. Regardless, I eat some gross stuff, so that also, is not why I leave them in their pig pen. Pork makes me GNARLY sick. Don’t ask me why but I have some issues with common household foods and we should just leave it at that. Have you ever tried to find an Italian recipe without pork in it? I DARE YOU. I know, the horror, life without bacon, blah blah. Once you spend weeks asleep with your cheek on the toilet bowl, you won’t give a shit about bacon either.

SOOOOO I FINALLY found a Bolognese recipe that used veal instead of pork.  Let’s get to the science of this. The reason Italians use pork is because:

A) its fat content really brings some good business to a dish
B) Its salty and so are Italians 
C) It’s on the cheap, son, veal is not.

Naturally, I can either get a fatty ratio of beef (highest I could find is 20%) Or I can do what all Italians do, mix meat (BAHAH) with a more flavorful, high fat option. Please tell me my high fat MEAT options (do NOT be a smart ass and tell me to add lard, that is gross) I can use. Turkey? God’s lean wonder. Chicken? Uh thighs? Oh how about VEAL.

I know, I know. I am a humanitarian also, I want the baby cows to frolick in the fields and have the greatest adventures trying to find their way to California, but I also want to make a bang out Bolognese, and since I don’t have a pet cow, the latter took precedence. Sorry, activists and people who name their cows. Moving on. NO ONE in LINCOLN PARK SELLS VEAL. What the FLIP! I went to 2 grocery stores yesterday who claim to be “specialty markets” and one looked at me like I was Saddam Hussein when I asked for veal, the other told me if it wasn’t in the fridge case, they didn’t have it. YOU ARE BEHIND THE COUNTER IN A BUTCHER OUTFIT. YOU MEAN TO TELL ME YOU DON’T HAPPEN TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU CARRY VEAL?!?!? Well you do carry veal, stupid market on diversey that I am never going to again. But guess what is all KNUDGED UP against the veal in the same damn package? PORK!!!! Could you maybe put some veal by itself in a package? No, your meat is prepackaged upon arrival? THEN WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU HERE FOR IN A BUTCHER OUTFIT AND GROSS!!!!

THE IRONY. Anyway, I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I did all ground beef. I would have gone to another store if it wasn’t already 6pm and I knew I was making a minimum 3 hour dinner. I was also getting flustered and I knew that if I could just get home and get behind the stove, I would feel better once I got into the routine of dinner. Yes that was the case, until I dropped a menorah on my foot. I then turned around, CONVINCED someone was taping me. Just come on out, Ashton. Why the hell did you have a menorah out whitney? I DIDN’T IT JUMPED OUT OF THE CLOSET AT ME OKAY?!? I moved on with my life in the kitchen, and aside from making and astronomical mess, everything else went fine.

Bruschetta, Linguine with Ragu Bolognesi , and Tiramisu. (LADY FINGERS!!) All in all, a simple meal that just took a long time to come together.

I had cherry tomatoes from the CSA Box that needed to be used, so this one was pretty simple.


1 french baguette
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons thai basil
Olive oil
Sea Salt, Coarse Pepper

Slice the baguette on the bias (diagonal) and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Broil in the oven until toasted (for the love of God please keep an eye on this it happens quickly). Cut garlic cloves in half and rub the tops of the toast with the cut side of the garlic, infusing the flavor into the toast. Top with chopped tomatoes and basil (any way you like it, julienne, whole, it’s up to you!) Salt and Pepper and you are good to go. Mange!

Linguine with a Ragu Bolognese
This recipe was adapted from Tyler Florence’s Spaghetti Bolognese (at first I was planning on following it but then the veal episode happened and I changed it up entirely on the fly. His obviously looks better because he is Tyler Florence...and he had VEAL.)

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
8 large garlic cloves, minced
4 pounds ground beef
2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
3 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large spoonful mascarpone cheese
Handful freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Handful fresh thai basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Chop the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and get it going in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan with olive oil on medium high heat. Let these cook out until they are soft and releasing liquid. Then add the beef (yes I do agree that 4 pounds of anything is disgusting and unnecessary) and cook until browned. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, make sure to deglaze the pan (scrape up the little brown bits.) Once the wine is cooked out, add the stock and tomatos, turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring every once in awhile.

*****MARIO BATALI, ARE YOU READING THIS? If so, I would like to tell you that I felt badly for those words about the crocks a few weeks ago and to make it up to you I was going to try your recipe for fresh pasta. What the eff Mario. Your recipe, it didn’t work out for me. I tried to make a batch of your pasta and it was WAY too dry and I said to myself “SELF, why are you cheating on Martha? What is the matter with you? Who means more to you, Martha, or Mario?” Then I threw your dry batch out, and started over with old trusty. Never again. I do not trust you Mario, not as far as I can throw you, which my guess would be 4 inches… (What, he’s rather large and I am not that strong….)*****

See here for Martha Stewart’s recipe for fresh pasta on my previous post.

 (Max and Todd, very happy boys :) )

Serve: pasta with Bolognese, and a spoonful of mascarpone. Top with parmesan and basil if you like, you know me, I love some cheese…


Guys, do you know, how EASY it is to make tiramisu? It is straight the easiest dessert I have ever made. Giada, girl you have been holding out on me! See how Giada makes it rain all over this tiramisu below and on the food network.

6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 teaspoons dark rum
24 packaged ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom.
Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Guys, we didn’t eat until 10:15… I would save this for a weekend, but all in all, it was worth it. Even worth the two terrible specialty markets with whom I am in a raging fight. It was worth it until 1 am, when I got sick anyway….

FULL CIRCLE my friends, I should have just chanced it and used the veal that was canoodling the pork. Then the flavor would have been spot on, and I would have still been sick regardless! The Irony. All this work, in the name of a great, great dish.

Thanks for sharing a laugh with me over this fiasco!


  1. Meghan BartleyAugust 12, 2010

    I won't say anything about Baby Cows...even though I would like to canoodle one in a pasture somewhere, you've had enough trauma dealing with it.

    I will however say that this:

    Broil in the oven until toasted (for the love of God please keep an eye on this it happens quickly).

    made my die laughing. Seriously, I died.


  2. so when you were eating supper, i was deeply, deeply asleep. but what a supper it was! i've made tiramisu four times in as many weeks, and it's just as delightful every time. good stuff.