Braised Veal with Garlic; An Iron Rant

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The biggest difference between life in Europe and life in the U.S. is not what most people think: there is no lack of peanut butter; we have better options than sour cream and we have more TV channels than we could possibly watch.

The biggest difference is ironing.

Europeans, at least the women, are obsessed with ironing. 

They iron everything: sheets, knit golf shirts, gardening clothes, everything!

They talk about ironing.

They discuss at length which type of iron is best.

They compare features; do cost/benefit analysis of the newest models.

They debate over whether to do the ironing themselves, send it out or have 'a girl' come in. 

I know 2 people who have someone come in twice a week to do the ironing.  Nothing else: no cleaning, no scrubbing, no washing; just the ironing.

You can take your clean laundry into one of many shops to have it ironed. I've a friend who always send her bed sheets out to be ironed.

I was at a new housewares shop that just opened in our little village.  They had a top of the line (I assume) iron for sale: 500 euros!  That would be over $700.00! 
For an iron!  And I'm pretty sure that it still required a human to stand there and move it around the clothes!

Don't get me wrong.  I own an iron.  I'm sure I paid at least $15.00 for it 20 years ago.  On average, I use it 6 – 8 hours… per YEAR!

In all fairness when we were working, both mon mari and I sent our shirts out to be laundered; and we can get no-iron bed linens.  But if he wants his T-shirts ironed, he knows were the iron is…
And he can do mine while he's at it…

I always check the tags before buying anything:
Cool iron?  In my mind that means no iron!
Warm iron?  Remember to take it out of the dryer right away; iron twice a year when it gets really wrinkled.
Hot iron?  Put it back and keep looking.

I have better things to do with my time.

Like cooking!

The Mediterranean cuisines like garlic.  Many people think of it as a staple in Italian food but it plays a major role in Spanish and French cooking as well.

For this Weekend Herb Blogging, the event founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, and hosted this week by Anna, of Anna's Cool Finds,  I'm playing with garlic!

The health benefits of eating garlic are legend:
It has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure; prevent heart disease; promote cardiovascular health; protect against some cancers and acts as both an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial/viral agent. 

Whew!  Thankfully it also tastes delicious and enhances anything it's added to.

(It doesn't always enhance the breath of those ingesting it, but there's always mint…)

And I learned something new: Do NOT store garlic in oil at room temperature.  Apparently the combination is perfect for botulism!  Refrigerate it.

This recipe is based on one from 'France, the Beautiful'.

Braised Veal with Garlic
I made enough to have it over pasta for another meal.

24oz (750gr) veal, suitable for braising
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 head of garlic, 12 – 16 cloves peeled or not
3 bay leaves
15oz (450gr) crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Cut veal into 1 1/2 inch (3.75cm) cubes. Separate garlic head, peeling cloves if you like. In a deep, heavy pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the veal and brown on all sides. Remove and brown the other half. Remove. Add the bread crumbs and wine and stir well, scraping up the browned bits. Return veal to pan, add garlic cloves, tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes. Turn the heat up and uncover. Give the cornstarch mixture a stir and add to the pan a little at a time until thickened to your liking. Spoon meat, garlic and sauce into a bowl and serve with gnocchi.

The garlic gets incredibly sweet and creamy…. add more if you like.  Then you can get the wrinkles out of your clothes just by breathing on them…

I need to say this one more time in case you missed it:

700.00 Dollars.  For.  An.  IRON

38 thoughts on “Braised Veal with Garlic; An Iron Rant”

  1. $700? For an iron? And someone buys it?
    I have a policy… I only iron in DIRE situations (weddings/funerals/job interviews mostly). And even then… if I can get away with it… I won’t. 😉

  2. Braising, veal, wine, bay…do I have to explain why this would taste bon?
    As for ironing, a lady friend of our family in Greece actually iron’s the family’s underwear! She is a’ loco.

  3. I’ve gotten used to ironing – we don’t have a dryer! I look like a freak unless things like pants get ironed. And forget trying to spread a tablecloth on the table that has been through the washer that wads everything up into a tight ball. But you’re right, it’s a chore I would rather not do.

  4. Katie, this post makes me want to rummage around in the cellar and, if I can find my iron, dust it off and see if it’s still in one piece! The last time I used it was for iron-on decals. My husband sends his shirts out if he wants them pressed. I haven’t ironed (or starched) any of my clothes in years. I’m rather proud of that!!!

  5. My money would be better spent on one of those steamers where you hang your clothes on a hanger and spray the steam…no wrinkles. I want one so badly!!! I have only seen them on info-mercials so far, although I’m sure there is a version out there. When I was young I remember my mom even ironing underwear, but, to be fair those were the days when you hung your laundry outside and everything was as stiff as a board! PS The stew would go down really well right now!!

  6. I would soooo much rather be baking than ironing! Wash & wear is one of the best inventions of the last 100 years. I pretty much only use my iron for sewing.

  7. Michelle, I have a few things that need ironing… a very few…
    Peter, I’m not going to ask what kind of underwear…
    Lucy, I had to iron more when we lived in Ireland – same situation.. Stuff came out of the washer in hot, compressed little balls! We have a decent washer and dryer now…
    Ulrike, mu job, growing up was to iron the handkerchiefs and
    Lydia, what’s starch??? You should be proud!
    BelliniValli, but if they were stiff they couldn’t be wrinkled, right? I used to have a small steamer…now I use the shower!
    Lynn, wahs & wear, perma press, all of that! It’s really not that common here – thus the $700.00 iron! BTW, I don’t think my ancient ironing board would even support it!

  8. Katie…you are too funny. I never, ever iron. Which is why I love Canada, and its DRY CLEANERS. Here in Norway, you apparently have to iron your own things…which I do not enjoy one little bit. You can get it done for you, but at prices that frankly would make your $700 iron seem like a steal.
    And my clothes shopping? I do the exact same thing you do. It’s downright uncanny!!

  9. What a scream. When I was president of my local teacher’s union, I had to wear suits, nylons, and the like nearly every day for four years. Yes, in those days I had to iron. Now that I’m back in the classroom for the last ten years my biggest requirement for work clothes is DOES. NOT. NEED. IRONING. Quite seriously I would pass up the cutest shirt if it had to be ironed. I can’t avoid it completely in the summer, but I try.
    Ok, now that I am done with my own rant, the veal braised with garlic sounds wonderful. I love veal, although here it is something you wouldn’t mention eating around certain people or they look at you like you’re an ax murderer.

  10. Great stuff. I’m a big fan of veal and not enough people eat it in my opinion. Misguided thoughts on animal welfare, methinks.

  11. Oh my! 700.00 is a bit…well…much.
    Have you seen the new “extreme ironing” calendars for 2008? They picture people ironing while on top of cars, on a wake board, while bundie jumping…awesome. Maybe if you tied ironing whilst doing those things it would be more interesting. As for me, I never need to iron. Ever. Awesome.

  12. Yep, Greeks are obsessed with ironing. And the underwear, along with every single other item of laundry, gets ironed. I hesitatingly asked whether it was really necessary to iron underwear. After the cousin realized I mean the question seriously, she said absolutely it needs to be ironed. She said when the clothes dry outside on the line, they are too stiff to wear unless they’re ironed. I remain unconvinced. I am, however, convinced about your veal and garlic – I see those big chunks of garlic in it and know I would love this.

  13. And this is where I know I’ll never be a true french woman. My mother-in-law has the nerve to iron my husband’s underwear when she stays at our house. When she’s gone, I remind my husband not to get any crazy ideas about me doing the same!
    ps I would spend 700$ on kitchen equipment, but my iron? I got it free with bonus points at the grocery store 🙂

  14. I know what you’re talking about: My mother used to iron even underwear and towels. I’m lucky not to share this ironing gene 😉 Time spent on cooking is a much better investment.

  15. Well, I like ironing!!! Don’t look at me this way…. I enjoy it, with some music, good day light and view from the window and I love the smell that clothes do after being ironed! I said it!!!! But I don’t iron underwear nor sheets and I don’t talk about ironing all the time. My Iron machine was 20 Euros worth more or less. And now, since I blog, I iron less… ups!

  16. As nice as an ironed t-shirt may look, I have never raised an iron to a t-shirt. Now I have ironed napkins so I had an excuse to watch some tv.
    Katie the veal is really gorgeous with the garlic!

  17. Yes, my mother was obsessed with ironing, every Tuesday no matter what, she ironed everything. I agree though, she would hang laundry outside or in our basement during the winter and everything was stiff as a board. Ironing was a must for those items if you intended to wear them. Not me, if it needs to be ironed, it does not need to be purchased.
    As always, your stew sounds and looks marvelous! When are you coming to the states and where?

  18. Ironing? Ugh. When I try, I either burn my clothes, or make them look worse than wrinkled. I only buy clothes that are no iron, or at least spritzed with water and flattened that way. You are so right, there are better things to do besides iron, like making yummy food!

  19. Oh, boy, would I ever be in trouble in that part of the world. If I take something out of the dryer and it looks like it needs to be ironed, I put it back in the laundry basket and hope for the best in the next wash.

  20. Heidi, here the dry-cleaners will do you ironing, also. I have no idea how much, since, well, I don’t iron…
    Pam, excellent plan, and brilliant! I like it…
    Kalyn, the few things that I DO iron are all summer stuff. Too bad about the veal. We get wonderful, grazed veal, under a year old, rather than the white, milk-fed veal in the U.S. Do these same people have a problem with lamb? How about the 6 week old chickens they buy (but probably don’t know)?
    Thanks, Anna. All that garlic does warm the heart!
    Scott, as I replied to Kaylin. Why pick on the veal and not the lamb? Misguided is right!
    Collen, I have not seen the calendar… but it would take all the fun out of bungee jumping if I had to iron on the way down!
    Tigerfish, and you are not alone!
    Laurie, they get soft after you wear them a bit – body heat and all that. I refuse to buy her logic!
    Meredith, a woman after my own heart! My ironing board, such as it is, is almost an antique!
    Claudia, mine, also… well, not the bath towels but the kitchen towels.
    Nuria, okay, you can like it. I have to admit when I actually have to do it I look at it as an excuse to watch television, then it’s not soo bad. At least you don’t do sheets!
    Tanna, yes, I have used it for TV. But I have no idea what an ironed t-shirt would look like… I don’t remember them from my mother…
    Deb, my mother ironed on Monday…All day, Monday. IThe middle of Feb to the frozen north, unfortunately… Minnesota and Wisconsin.
    Lannae, or hang them in the bathroom while you take a nice hot bath with a glass of wine!
    Amy, oh, that is another good plan! I hate it when I forget about the dryer and get there late!

  21. Ha ha ha! This is hilarious! We have very similar thoughts about ironing and clothes – I especially enjoyed your ironing triage. The dryer is my handy-dandy tried and true ironing equipment…gosh…does that mean I spent about $700 on MY iron/dryer? Nah! I only paid $20 bucks for it!! Thanks for the laughs!!

  22. Forget it, my excuse is always, “by the time I (fill in the blank . . . sit in the car, sit down at the table, get on the subway), it’ll be wrinkled anyway. Why bother ironing?” I support you, Katie, in your ‘iron’ view!

  23. I can’t believe such an ironing obsession exists over there. I own an iron, but I don’t believe I’ve ever used it. If something gets wrinkly, I just figure better luck next time!
    And not to mention: that veal looks absolutely fantastic (especially with all of that delectable garlic)!

  24. I love your blogs they are always so…on the nose. Now that you post this my experiences with Europe and my European in laws they are obsessed with ironing. I remember when my Mother-in-law was here when I had my Son she went down to do laundry and came up hours later, I was thinking that she needed space, no she was ironing all of Niko’s (my hubby) work shirts. In the 8+ years we have been together I have not once ironed one of his shirts. Cool iron trick used here when buying.
    Thank you for your insight on Europian ironing, tile making or what ever it may be.

  25. Beautiful veal dish, Katie. I have that book but didn’t realize this recipe was in it. I’ve been going through some of your recent posts: love the pepper/turkey risotto and the lasagna looks soooo good! Sorry I haven’t been around lately. It’s always such fun to read your stories.

  26. Oh, man, I’m with you on the ironing. I mean the no-ironing. My husband irons his clothes every Sunday afternoon (I’m usually cooking!). I, on the other hand, iron only when absolutely necessary, and many times some article of clothing simply sits in the closet because it needs to be ironed and I won’t do it.
    The veal with garlic and tomato looks amazing.

  27. Michelle, 20 bucks seems about right – once in a lifetime investment for me!
    Swirling notions, my sentiments, exactly! Especially golf shirts in Spain in Summer!
    Mike, I figure I can always pretend to be traveling… Thanks (about the veal)
    Shayne, thank you! Such patience with you m-i-l! A friend of ours actually has a mangle! (for those who don’t know – monster, table size iron)
    Christine, thanks! I know how busy life can get. I’m feeling rather frazzled around the edges myself, right now!
    Lisa, mon mari is pretty handy with an iron, himself. Military training…and a darn good thing it is!

  28. Katie, you are too funny. This so reminded me of my darling grandmother who ironed everything to perfection. I started out life in her mould but soon found the easy ways to keep clothes relatively wrinkle free. I don’t touch an iron unless it is absolutely needed – for a special occassion.
    The recipe is fabulous as always. Veal is one of those meats that is overlooked a lot these days but it is so tasty.

  29. Wanda, I remember, as a little girl, how important I felt when I graduated from ironing the dishtowels to ironing my own play clothes… It didn’t take long to get over THAT!

  30. Braised veal and whole cloves of garlic sounds tasty. I like the sound of your description of the garlic: “sweet and creamy.”
    $700 for an iron sounds way over priced!

  31. At this moment I know there’s an iron in my house but I couldn’t tell you exactly where. I don’t think it’s been used since my mother-in-law used it to iron a tablecloth the Thanksgiving before last. I’m trying to cultivate an ironing-free life-style and can’t imagine spending major money on an iron. But a vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, I could; I’m always looking for the ultimate vacuum cleaner. Show me a vacuum that’s light, has excellent suction, and really gets the dog hair up and I’m willing to spend any unreasonable amount on it. It’s not that I love vacuuming — it’s because I really don’t like vacuuming but I live with a large, hairy dog so I spend a lot of my time vacuuming anyway.
    And, no, I haven’t found that vacuum cleaner yet.

  32. life is waaay too short to iron — although I do have a brand new white shirt that needs a bit of heat to remove its fold lines–I’ll probably just wear it under a sweater

  33. Magpie, Yeah, I do dig out my iron when I sew…which also hasn’t been in a while!
    Kevin, the garlic was most excellent!
    Julie, an iron-free zone – I like that. As to the vacuum, when you find one, let me know. I have TWO of those big hairy dogs, who shed year-round. Apparently know one told them….
    Casey, wear it under a sweater… that sounds right, then wash it and shake it out good…that ought to fix it!

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