Doug and I catered our second big event this past weekend, and all in all it turned out to be a great success. My parents had auctioned off a dinner at their home during an Alliance for Catholic Urban Education (ACUE) charity event, and the auction winner donated quite a bit of money to the organization, so my mom called Doug and I in to execute the perfect meal. Kitchen Bitch Catering is officially in the works!
Mom vetoed the homemade ravioli with Italian sausage and kale I wanted to whip up in favor of something more carnivorous. I had spent the weekend before preparing Thomas Keller’s Braised Breast of Veal with Glazed Vegetables and Crispy Polenta from The French Laundry Cookbook, and when my mom saw the photos, she requested that Doug and I give it a go for the auction dinner. Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., is one of the best restaurants in the country, and there’s a reason you pay $270 a person for a nine-course tasting menu—every dish is exactingly prepared with the utmost precision and a variety of techniques. The meal pictured here took me two days to prepare and a whole lot of knife skills—and it would have been only one course in said nine-course tasting menu. Doug says it was one of the best meals I’ve ever prepared. Yay!
So off we went in search of veal breast, which in Chicago I had gotten in my local grocery store. In Cincinnati, though, finding veal breast was a whole other beast. We scoured Finley market, called butchers and specialty shops, and even asked around at Kroger’s, Fresh Market, and Sam’s Club. There was no veal breast to be found in Cincinnati unless you called in a special request ahead of time.
The clock was ticking down for our Saturday night dinner, so we decided to change gears. Instead of braising veal breast, I was going to braise veal shanks and make osso buco, which means, “hole in the bone” in Italian—a reference to the marrow hole at the center of the crosscut veal shank. This Milanese dish is veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and veal stock, and then topped with gremolata, a finely minced mixture of garlic, lemon, and parsley (pictured above).
Here’s the final menu we served: