31 October 2010

Snippets and a recently found recipe

We changed our clocks to heure d'hiver in France overnight, and it really is disorienting. I tried not to get out of bed at 5:30 this morning, even though my body knew that it was really 6:30 and was ready to get a move on. Now I can't believe it isn't yet lunchtime.

At the same time, it's nice to have daylight at 7:30 rather than 8:30 for walking with the dog, especially on Sundays. That's because Sundays are hunting days, and the hunters with their guns and dogs show up in the vineyard at 9:00 a.m. It's better to get the walk done before they arrive. (I just heard a loud gunshot from just out on the edge of our property.)

Sauté de veau. I recently read that veal is a food
that most Americans won't eat. Incredible...

I actually walked Callie late yesterday afternoon and again this morning, for the first time in a week. They were short, slow walks, as much as possible on even pavement. My ankle still hurts, but I don't want to give into it completely. It's been a week now since I fell and sprained it. The doctor says I should go get it x-rayed, and I have an appointment to do that on Tuesday.

Monday's a holiday, La Toussaint — All Saints' Day. Most businesses will be closed, though a lot of them are closed on Mondays anyway. The radiology lab is closed tomorrow. It's over in Selles-sur-Cher, 10 miles up the river from Saint-Aignan.

I also went to the supermarket yesterday for the first time since I sprained my ankle. It was crowded with people shopping for their holiday meals. The service station, however, looked like old times. It was open, with no waiting. There weren't more than three or four cars there, and there are four sets of pumps.

We have company coming to spend three days with us. It's old friends from California — we've known each other for nearly 20 years now, from the days when we worked together in Silicon Valley at Claris, Apple's dearly departed software subsidiary.

For dinner, I'm making one of my old standby recipes, with is Veal with Garlic and Olives. Here's the recipe, from Monique Maine's classic paperback cookbook called Cuisine pour toute l'année (1969). It's easy:

Sauté de veau à la provençale

800 g d'épaule de veau coupée en morceaux
2 gros oignons
1 c. à soupe d'huile
25 g de beurre
4 tomates
100 g d'olives vertes dénoyautées
2 gousses d'ail
thym, romarin, sel, poivre

Epluchez les tomates, coupez-les en deux, épépinez-les, laissez en attente. Dans une cocotte, mettez à revenir les morceaux de veau avec l'huile et le beurre. Lorsqu'ils sont dorés, ajoutez les oignons coupés en lamelles, les tomates, l'ail non épluché. Salez, poivrez. Saupoudrez de thym et de romarin. Couvrez. Faites cuire à petit feu pendant 45 mn environ. 10 minutes avant de servir, ajoutez les olives.

Since it's a recipe from Provence, I use olive oil, even though back in the 1970s cooks in northern France seldom did. They used peanut or soybean oil back then. I also put in 10 or 12 whole garlic cloves, not just two. And I put in both green and black olives, pitted or not. Just tell your guests that there are pits in the olives, if there are, so they don't break a tooth.

This recipe was hidden from me for more than 30 years. It does not appear in the index of the two copies of Monique Maine's book that I've had forever. Those two are starting to fall apart, so I recently bought a new copy, which is a new edition. Glancing through the index the other day, I came upon the recipe, not under Veau, where you would expect to find it, but under Sauté de veau. Who knew?

I went back and looked through the two previous editions. Nothing in the index. But the recipe is actually in both books. Hiding. And not one word of it has been changed since 1969.

Here's a link to a similar thing I made and posted about a few weeks ago: Veal Meatballs with Olives. And a link to another Veal with Olives recipe from 2009. Both of those are in English. All would be good made with turkey or lean pork.


  1. When I first moved to the States, I could not believ it either how hard it was to even find veal.
    Not to mention people's reaction when I served it....

  2. I love veal and will try that recipe sometime, merci!

    Having a great time with Marie in DC- had a WH tour yesterday and were lucky to see Obama board his helicopter. Well, worth a long wait on a chilly morning.

    Also saw the Stewart Colbert rally with lots of moderate folk carrying clever signs.

  3. Ken, 'tis the same in Blighty.... over in the UK people still have this thing about eating calves' meat because the calf used to be caged in the dark until ready... has this hang-up it's equal in the States.
    We've got some veal sheds out back as some of our 'dependances'.... our agent tried to pass them off as piggeries [with feeding troughs 80cm off the ground... I think not!] La Forge was a milk producing farm... they had male, non-milk producing calves... the farmers had to try and get some of the rearing cost back by selling them for veal.
    I don't think that there is anywhere now that 'sheds' their veal calves and pink veal tastes much better anyway! The Roux Brothers spend much time shouting that naturally reared veal is good meat... loud may be their calls!!

  4. Tim, I wonder what dark conditions had to do with raising calves for veal? They're not plants like Belgian endives! They won't turn green exposed to light.

    Fact is, what do dairy farmers do with the male calves their cows have? In the U.S., I think they slaughter them and they get ground up into dog food. Better to have veal for humans, I'd think. I hope the farmers' practices have improved since those "dark days."

    And just think about how the chickens most people eat are treated...

  5. My daughter lives in the UK and says it's almost impossible to find veal. We have to be sure to have a meal with veal whenever they come to visit.

  6. Ken, they were kept in the dark to make the meat whiter.
    Our veal cupboards hardly allow the beasts to move. There are also shutters at ground level that allow other food to be given... and then moved back always shutting out the light.
    Apparently in Belgium it was far worse... each veal calf had a standing only cage, like a cattle press, that made sure that the muscle saw no action... all still in the dark like rhubarb... I agree with you, the cows have male calves.... let them grow up at their mothers' side and then supply us with some of the tastiest of meats.


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