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What should I have in my kitchen?
I had a comment about my last two week’s columns which had begun a series on what you should have in your pantry.
I had started this series in response to a question about having a list of the best and healthiest ingredients to buy at the grocery. The comment was that the first two columns didn’t really relate to the “pantry.” Correct! A poor choice of words as there are so many ingredients and some are kept in the pantry as well as the fridge (and freezer).
I chose to start with meats (not in the pantry) because most people feel that red meat is not all that healthy and I wanted to make sure to show that there are great choices like this Skirt Steak recipe. Eating red meat is OK about once per week and you should make this an event by choosing the best cuts.
I continue with a few “other meats” this week before moving on to fish next week. I’ll get to the pantry soon and follow that with a series of columns about which ingredients to have on hand all the time for making what I call “Pantry Meals” (there’s that word pantry again). These are quick meals that you can make with ingredients that you have in your pantry (or fridge, or freezer) for those times when you simply don’t have time or don’t want to cook.
In the mean time...
I do love veal but I don’t eat it very often. I have not posted recipes to the web site because for many people veal is not as widely available and is more expensive. In some cases I have adapted veal recipes using other ingredients as with the Chicken Piccata. This is traditionally done with cutlets of veal that cut from the leg and have been pounded into scallops (scallopini if you are Italian). Chicken breasts are accessible to everyone thus my decision to substitute them for veal. There are a lot of recipes, however, that you could use veal scallopini in by simply substituting veal for the chicken (Chicken Tarragon Mustard Cream or Vineyard Chicken).
Because most cuts of veal are so lean, they are quite low in fat and calories. Four ounces of veal cutlets cut from the leg has only 120 calories and 2 grams of fat. At the same time the lean meat has much less flavor than beef. As such veal is really a “vehicle” for other flavors -- one wouldn’t eat grilled veal sirloin without sauce or other flavoring in the same way you might with beef sirloin steak.
That said, I do like both veal sirloin and veal chops. Both cuts can be substituted easily for other cuts of beef and pork. Try using veal sirloin steak or veal chops with recipes such as Lemon Pork with Lentils, Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples or Skirt Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms.
I have lived in the country until just recently and every fall was on the receiving end of many a gift of fresh deer meat. One friend would always bring me a tenderloin. Even though it is as lean as veal, venison has a fantastic, fresh flavor. You can purchase farmed venison more easily now but it’s pretty expensive.
I do love venison tenderloin especially. Four ounces of steak is only 167 calories and 2.6 grams of fat (just at 1 gram of saturated fat). Most all cuts of deer meat will be similarly low in calories and fat whether loin steaks, shoulder or top round. Even ground venison is quite lean. A quarter pound burger has only 176 calories and 8 grams of fat compared to lean ground beef at 197 calories and 11 grams of fat. Here’s a great venison burger recipe: Southwest Venison Burger.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
April 30, 2007