Today, I needed a ray of sunshine. Mr. Spock, a.k.a. Leonard Nimoy, has gone off on his final voyage.
Really, this is traumatic for me. If you were around in the '60s, and if you were - like me - a female Star Trek freak, you defined yourself as either a "Kirk girl" or a "Spock girl". I was a Spock girl. True, Kirk was hot. But you'd always be left wondering where he was boldly going when he wasn't with you, if you get my drift. Even when I was twelve, I had it figured out that I didn't need that kind of grief.
Spock was The Man. He was a challenge. You wanted to break through that cold, logical exterior to find out what was simmering underneath. What I hadn't figured out when I was twelve (or for a long, painful time after), is what's simmering underneath is more cold logic.
Men aren't as complicated as most women think. Or hope.
It's a fun fantasy, though, as long as it centers on a fictional character. I'm going through the same thing with Benedict Cumberbatch right now. However, make no mistake about it, it's Sherlock I want, not Benny. Benny can stay home with his knocked-up wife, and drive HER crazy. At my age, I have no illusions.
But where do you find a ray of sunshine in the middle of a Chicago winter? In the kitchen. Of course. It's called a lemon.
I always have lemons in the house, so no big deal when my husband, Anthony, suddenly - and for no apparent reason, since he doesn't give a goddam about Star Trek - decided he wanted veal piccata for dinner. Now, Anthony has always maintained that he doesn't like veal, so I was surprised. Or maybe I wasn't surprised, because I have always suspected that Anthony's body is host to a series of alien beings, none of whom have ever been to Planet Earth before. Here's an example of what I mean: He was reading the newspaper today and he says to me, "Wow! Prince William's wife, Kate, is pregnant again!" (Actually, he said "Prince Andrew", but I had enough data to solve the equation.) This from a man who spends four hours every day reading every word in the newspaper. It would only make sense if there was a new alien visiting.
We went and got the veal, cutlets or scallopini or whatever your grocery store calls them. Mine calls them scallopini, to make it sound like it's okay that you're spending $10 for 1/2 lb of meat. The important thing is to get thin pieces that come 3 or 4 to a pack. Like little "sandwich steaks", only veal. I cut them in half, so then they're like medallions and they're easier to handle.
I made this recipe up. The ones I was finding in the cookbooks were too complicated, but I got the basics from them and a little advice from Anthony's restaurant-managing brother, Stefano. It truly is sunshine on a plate.
Get a big dish (like a pie pan) and put a cup of flour in it. Stir some salt and pepper into the flour with a spoon. Put about a half a cup of olive oil in a big, deep skillet and heat it up over medium/high heat. Now, take your veal medallions, dredge them - just a little - in the flour, and fry them in the oil, three at a time. Take them out when they're golden brown on both sides (this happens pretty fast, so watch it), and put them to the side on a plate. When all the veal is fried and on the plate, turn the heat down to medium/low and put 3 tablespoons of butter into the oil left in the skillet. Add a cup of white wine and the juice of a big lemon. Heat and stir and scrape up all the veal-and-flour bits. In a minute or two this stuff will start to get a little thick. Add some more salt and pepper, to taste. If you want to get real fancy-schmancy, buy a bottle of capers and put some of them in the sauce, too. Then put the veal back in the skillet to warm it up again and sprinkle some parsley on top. Ecco! Veal piccata. Serve with buttered noodles or roasted potatoes or risotto. And a salad and some bread.
Anthony loved the veal, but remembered that he feels bad about eating baby animals. I agree. So, remember, you can do the same thing with chicken or turkey cutlets. They're too dumb to live.
I, for one, feel much better.
And you, you should live long and prosper.