Monday, October 13, 2008

Lesson 2: Shopping

So it has been more than a week since my last post, during which time I have been trying to sort out a few of the things needed for Lesson 2:

1. It's always good to read ahead, so knowing that I needed chicken stock for this menu, and having a perfectly good chicken carcass from Lesson 1, I made a pot of chicken stock which is waiting in the freezer for its time to come.  I used half of what I made for a chicken noodle soup...the stock will definitely work!

2. I was struggling in my head about veal; where to find it, feeling some pressure to cook it the first time, knowing it is more expensive than most meat I usually buy.  To some extent veal has been a lot easier than I expected...I found it in the chain grocery store, only problem, it is in one of those packages filled with chemicals so the meat doesn't turn colors...I'm not so into that.  So I found a butcher, one that I had stopped in before, and was able to talk to the owner.  He has owned the place for 20 of the 100 + years it's been open.  He was able to help me select 6 nice pieces of veal for Lesson 2, and while I was there I picked up 4 giant veal shanks for Lesson 3 (they are almost a pound a piece, so I didn't buy 6).  I talked to him about most of the meat being frozen in his shop, and he satisfied me with understanding that a small shop can't continue to stock items fresh as there may be much wasted.  He also helped me understand some things to properly store the meat and how and when to thaw the meat safely when I am ready to cook.

3 of 6 veal scallops--Lesson 2

3. The Carmel Custard calls for a 4-cup charlotte pan, which I don't have nor a realistic substitute.  I searched several places...a restaurant supply store, kitchen supply outlet store, and a few local chains, before settling on the Internet.  My pan will arrive this week, in time to cook for the weekend.

Some great things about this recipe at this time of year are that it is apple season and there are a bunch of fresh apples from the orchards real close to my house!  Also the warm soup makes for a great starter on evenings which are beginning to cool off now.

One of my delays in cooking Lesson 2 is that I have been waiting for the weekends to cook when I can devote a few hours to preping and when a meal for 6 has time and people to enjoy it with.  This weekend should be the time for Lesson 2, as I have already arranged for a few friends to come enjoy the food and some nice wine.

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