Friday was here again! I blinked and the week passed. For me it was time to plan another Friday night dinner, Shabbat dinner, since I am the keeper of my family’s tradition and charged with gathering the family for this weekly meal. The meal needed to be something different, being that my two sisters arrived last Sunday to visit. It has been a long week pursuing our quirky interests including lots of shopping.
We stopped by second-hand shops, a flea market, a street fair with fantastic dried fruit stands and unfiltered honey, and several fish and chip eateries. My sisters went horseback riding. We also walked through all the kosher stores on Pico Boulevard and way too many Beverly Hills boutiques. We wanted to visit the Little India neighborhood but ran out of time.
My big sister Carole is a classic, self-reliant, Oregonian, and horse woman. She has seven grandchildren, spins her own yarn, and knits beautiful sweaters. She reads a lot and knows impressive details on obscure subjects, which she shares.
This past week, as we spent time together, she told me to be sure to visit the beach at Oludeniz  on the turquoise coast in Turkey when I go in April. Oludeniz is where Marc Antony is purported to have imported sand from Egypt for his beloved Cleopatra to enjoy, as it is uniquely beautiful in the entire world. I didn’t know that.
One afternoon, she remarked on a house we drove by on Olympic boulevard, saying its paint was a bilious  green. Now I know what shade of green bilious is. Just think of..oh I had better not say.
My sister Barbara lives on the East Coast in an old 3 story Victorian, one block from the ocean. Her children are grown and gone, no grandchildren yet. She lives the modern Jewish orthodox lifestyle, stopping short of a wig. She brought her famous cookies for us to eat during her stay. This always strikes me as ironic since she is a designers dream in a size 4 and I have to control myself.
I am the middle sister, self described as sometimes eccentric, sometimes extravagant, and the energetic one who pulls everyone together.
We spent part of our week in Rancho Mirage and shot our first video on how to make borekas, those delightful little pastries that are the namesake of my blog. I will get over my embarrassment this week and post the video for all to see. We are indeed amateurs.
Ok, finally I am getting to the food. I designed a menu around one of my favorite winter season dishes. Osso Bucco with its rich gelatinous texture and complex blend of citrus and vegetable sauce is very satisfying. The sweet marrow in the bones is icing on the cake, for those who dare to slurp it out.
Since I didn’t want to spend all day cooking I made the rest of the meal simple. The starter to go along with my homemade Challah and the Cabernet was fire grilled artichoke halves, plated with a little Israeli salad, a dollop of hummus, and a large spoonful of chipotle mayonnaise.
In addition to the Osso Bucco, I presented a buffet of braised fennel with Shitake mushrooms; oven roasted cauliflower florets, steamed asparagus, and baked Garnet yams.
We had tea, banana cake, and raspberry sorbet for dessert.
When you entertain, keep in mind that some guests may not eat veal, so, just in case, I always make poultry (roast chicken) as well, and there are plenty of vegetables in this menu for any vegetarian guest. You can see my principles for easy entertaining on my web site at http://wwwtheglobaljewishkitchen.com . starting on Friday February 5th.
Following is the Osso Bucco recipe. This dish reheats well; you can make it in the morning and reheat it later. Make a double portion if you like and freeze some.
8 pieces of veal cut for Osso Bucco, 2 inches thick each
1 cup unbleached flour, for dusting
Salt & Pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves minced
2 shallots minced
1 large onion finely diced
1 leek finely diced
1 large carrot finely diced
1 celery rib finely diced
8 mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 bunch of parsley washed, dried and minced.
3 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
Salt and pepper
Zest from one orange, and one lemon
6 basil leaves, chiffonade (slice in thin strips)
Season the veal with salt and fresh ground pepper. Dredge the shanks in seasoned flour and set aside. Heat a large Dutch oven (like Le Cruset) that has a tight fitting lid. Preheat the oven to 350º. Preheat the pan on high and add the olive oil. Use tongs to place the floured veal shanks into the hot pan. When the shanks turn a rich, crusty gold, carefully turn them over with the tongs and brown them on the other side. Remove the shanks from the pan as they are ready and set aside on a plate for a few moments.
Once all of the shanks brown, turn down the heat to medium and add the chopped shallots and garlic. If necessary, add more olive oil. Sauté for a moment, then add the onions, leaks, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Continue to sauté the vegetable mix until it starts to caramelize. Season the mix well with salt and pepper. Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley. Stir for a few minutes until the tomatoes begin to disintegrate. Pour the wine into the vegetable mix and wait for the alcohol to evaporate in the steam while the pan deglazes. Place the veal back in the pan on top of the vegetables, push down to nestle them into the sauce. Cover the pan and place it in the 350º oven. Bake for about 2-3 hours or until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bones.
To serve, garnish the servings with grated citrus zest and basil.