Dimanche Repas: Semaine 7
Almost two full months of blissful cooking. And even more blissful eating. Bad. Very bad for a woman pushing 50, when the body does a 180 degree turn. When hot flushes begin to feel comforting in the cold winter, when the metabolism seems to have taken a complete halt, and the temper needs no provocation to make it hit the roof.
But the cooking is supposed to be part of my therapy in this stage of my life. So I will force it to function that way. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel though — which makes me very optimistic about the future.
I went to visit my first French doctor in Paris. A gynecologist. My stomach was churning as I made my way to his office — terrorized by the thought of seeing someone who I would have to explain my travails to in a language I am not sure we will both understand. As it turns out, he was a super duper nice guy, a true gentleman, with English skills far beating my French. So it was a successful visit. Without prompting him, he volunteered to restart my metabolism, make me less cranky, remove all the unnecessary kilos (and mind you, the French people know just how thin women ought to be!) and even add some moisture to my dried-out skin. He was my knight in shining armour. My genie in a bottle.
I digress. But see, it’s still all sorta related to this obsession with food and cooking. Because now I know I can enjoy it all, knowing that my body will (soon) be functioning at “normal” levels. I have my guardian angel doctor who will allow me to go …. onward bound!!!
BLANQUETTE DE VEAU
In Paris, every arrondissement (or district, neighborhood) has its own fair share of les marchés (markets), pharmacies, boulangeries, or boucheries. And the sooner you make friends with them, and prove your loyalty — the better the quality of the goods you will take home. My nounou has made her rounds of all those within our neighborhood — and she has happily found her personal supplier of our meat requirements. (In the Philippines, one would say she has triumphantly established herself as a “suki.”) Who would have thought that the same concept existed in Paris?
I think, as it is with any dish or dessert, the quality of your raw materials almost determines the success of your dish. A tough slice of beef, or in our case, a brownish dark tendron would be enough to guarantee a FAILED Project. What you want are nicely pink slices of veal… with subtle hints of cartilages that add to the thickness and richness of the sauce. And THIS, I got! Halleluia! 🙂
Having said this though about my wonderful pieces of pink veal… one cannot imagine what kind of scum comes out of these suckers! 🙂 If anyone should ever call you (heaven forbid) “the scum of the earth” let me show you what he is actually saying: You. Are. This.
Ewww, right? Amazing stuff, albeit gross. The scum is what you need to very carefully fish out — by hook or by crook. Actually, Julia Child recommends throwing all the liquid down the drain and washing out the meat in cold water to get rid of the frog-egg-like stuff floating about. Mind-boggling.
When your meat is all clean, now you can make your stew and leave it for a good 1.5 to 2 hours.
Now this is beginning to look edible.
The other fantastic thing about this dish is… you can prepare everything the day before, and simply leave the remaining 15 minutes before service for whipping your crown-of-glory sauce (of egg yolks and cream). This is what turns your sauce into a smooth, velvety, pale-yellow relish.
Here are the various parts that completed the sumptuous dish that will now become a Borgers staple:
The delish-ness of this whole dish is so well put-together when served with blanched and buttered broccoli and a killer bowl of saffron basmati.
My body is allergic to rice. But I totally ignored this fact to give justice to all the work I accomplished. The next day, I gained a solid one kilo … but for me… it was all worth it. Who’s to worry when I have my genie (no longer) in the bottle? As Scarlett O’Hara says…
“I can’t think about that now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”