Sunday, August 8, 2010

Carmela Soprano's Veal and Pepper Heroes and Anna Sultana's Heroes II (Cold Cult Sandwiches, Maltese Style)

Time for another picnic.

Back to the sandwiches in Carmela's Small Events for Men Only chapter in Entertaining with The Sopranos.

The recipe for Veal and Pepper Heroes looked nice and simple.  The veal shoulder is cut into strips and fried with the sliced bell peppers and onion.  A can of Italian tomatoes is thrown in to make a bit of a sauce.

One small problem.

Neither of my local supermarkets carries veal.  They're not exactly big stores on a major drag.  Half the time the clerks say "We didn't get the shipment" when they don't have an item mentioned in their flyer.  Veal?  In this neighborhood?  They carry 5 kinds of hamburger.

Okay.  This isn't the first time I've had to make do.  When we first moved to Canada in 1972 we lived in Surrey, British Columbia.  Our local Safeway prided itself on its selection of cheeses.  There was a wall of cheese.  It would've done itself proud in that Monty Python sketch.  If it was a British cheese, it was there.  

However, I wanted to make a lasagne.  

No problem.  Pizzas were popular.  


I asked the manager if perhaps they hadn't received the ricotta that week.  He said he'd never heard of it.  I explained what I needed ricotta for and he checked into a big fat book of cheese.  He smiled and said I could substitute cottage cheese.

When I got home and opened the tub I wasn't sure if it was supposed to look like that.  It had lumps in it.  Ricotta is smooth.  It was also a bit watery.  Hoping it would cook itself into the proper consistency, I made a pan of lasagne.  It didn't.  I got into the the habit of draining the whey and giving the curds a whirl in the blender when I made lasagne.  

What would Ma do if a recipe called for veal?

Easy.  Substitute skinned chicken breasts.

College Point in 1950 had a Bohack and an A & P.  They were both tiny markets which supplied basic food needs.  They didn't waste any space on items that didn't fly off the shelves.  Veal wasn't right up there with bread and milk.  Ma would buy a few chickens and cut them up to suit her needs.  

Veal and Pepper Heroes?  No.

Chicken Breast and Pepper Heroes?  Yes.   

Another recipe down.  Fifty more to go. 

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