Saturday, February 14, 2015
9 Days of Valentine's: Part 6...
On day 6 of our Valentine’s Celebration we went Italian again - are you sensing a theme? French, Italian, French, Italian, French, Italian..... what’s more romantic then that?
For our sixth day I decided to try another dish I’ve never had before either in vegan or non-vegan form, and that’s Ossobuco. Like Foie Gras, Ossobuco has got to rank amongst some of the worlds most controversial dishes. Everyone has an opinion about it, some people love it and defend it fearlessly, others hate it and demonize the people who eat it. The reason? Traditional Ossobuco is made with veal, and veal is undoubtably one of the cruelest meats you can eat. Even when I was a meat-eater I never ate veal for moral reasons. I have no idea what it tastes like, because the flesh of malnourished-crated-baby-cows has never touched my tongue - but, that doesn’t meant I can’t heartily enjoy a vegan version of the famed dish.
The dish as it happens originated in Milan, and there are two versions. One made with tomatoes, and one without, this is the kind without tomatoes. Typically Ossobuco in Milan is served with risotto, but is also sometimes served with polenta or mashed potatoes. Annie and Dan Shannon who penned “Betty Goes Vegan” chose to go the mashed potato route, and really, I think that was truly wise.
The Shannon’s recipe is fairly simple. Bread some vegan beef, fry it up, and then simmer it in apple juice, garlic, vegan beef stock, tamari, white wine, bay leaves, lemon peel, parsley and salt. This dish makes a rich thick gravy that’s so freaking good you’ll want to lick it right off the spoon and scrape it out of your cast-iron skillet. They keep their mashed taters simple too, red skinned potatoes, non-dairy milk - I used coconut - pepper, and Earth Balance. So once everything is done cooking you scoop some potato onto your plate, top it with the Ossobuco and make sure you give yourself a generous dollop of that delicious, mind-blowing gravy.
I have to say, I’m having a lot of fun cooking this week. Every dish I’ve made has been great. The Coq Au Vin is still my favorite but the Shannon’s Ossobuco comes a close second. Say what you will about “Betty Goes Vegan” and as a health-conscious person and a holistic health practitioner I totally understand the criticisms, but damn if their recipes aren’t fan-freaking-tastic! And really, we could all use a break once in a while, sometimes it’s just nice to eat something naughty, so get down off your high-horse for a while and enjoy life! That’s my philosophy anyway.
Check back tomorrow to find out what we ended up eating on Valentine’s Day itself. I promise, it’ll be delicious!