Have you ever been in a situation where you wrongly assumed something, then realized your mistake in front of a bunch of people and were too embarrassed to say anything? I have, and it can be a sticky wicket, indeed! Let me tell you what happened to me the other day.
I had dropped Mini-SGCC and her friends off at the big movie theater downtown and I had some time to kill. Since Whole Foods
was just a few blocks away, I decided to pop in there to pick up a few things.
Now, a visit to Whole Foods is usually a dangerous proposition for me. I almost always go armed with a specific list of items to buy, and I never stick to it. I can’t help myself! It’s like I become completely hypnotised by the rows upon rows of vibrantly colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, neatly stacked and perfectly arranged, mist clinging to them like little droplets of morning dew. Swiss Chard, baby bok choy and kale, come to Mama! Organic strawberries, I like your style! Heirloom tomatoes, stick with me kids – we’ll go places!
It gets worse as I continue to push my cart past the seafood department, with its pristine case of glistening fresh fish. Whoa! Is that Chilean sea bass still breathing? (Move along, move along.)
As I meander up and down the dry goods aisles, I mindlessly pluck things that I don’t need off the shelves. Organic Shoyu for $7.99 a bottle? Okay! A L’Olivier Roasted Almond Oil at $21.99 for eight ounces? Sure! Why not? Plum jam made by Trappist Monks? Yes! Oh, yes! (Are you starting to see a pattern here?)
But, the deadliest place of all for me is the Black Hole
that is the cheese department. Once I stroll in there, my cart develops a mind of its own, digs in its heels and Will. Not. Budge! In my trancelike state, I gaze lovingly at the bountiful array before me. Those rich, buttery bries, robust, brazen blues and cheeky little chevres coquettishly flirting with me – teasing me. I want them all!
I know I’m digressing, but I had to give you some background information so you could understand just how I got myself in the aforementioned uncomfortable situation.
Anyway, as I said, I was killing some time in Whole Foods when I found myself in front of the meat counter, which is a sight to behold in and of itself. I swear, I was only going to pick up some chicken leg quarters! Well, maybe some nitrite-free bacon too, but that’s it! It was while I was waiting my turn in line that I saw them – the most gorgeous veal chops I had ever laid eyes on! They were huge, two-inch thick slabs of beautiful blush pink meat. Holy Crap!!! Mr. SGCC would go wild over these! He is a caveman, after all. My knees got weak and my brain was swimming with thoughts about what I could do with them. I NEEDED some of those veal chops!
Now is a good time to tell you that veal is something I only buy occasionally because the cost is usually so prohibitive. The only reason I even considered buying those chops was because they were so f*cking stunning. With one eye closed, I glanced at the price listed in the case. $18.99 per pound. That was pretty high, but not so bad. I took four and practically skipped up to the check out line.
As the check out girl rang up my purchases, I kept my eye on the little display screen. I always do that, you know, in case she makes any mistakes. All of a sudden I saw something come up as $121.12. Huh? That sure must be a mistake! (See! That’s why I always check.) I coolly took a closer look at the screen which had the nerve to tell me that my veal chops cost $121.12. WTF! Let’s see, four veal chops at $18.99/pound (even if they each weighed a pound) did not add up to over one hundred twenty dollars. I took a peek into the bag that the chops were now resting in and my blood ran cold. I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow misread the price. Those veal chops were not $18.99/pound. THEY WERE $28.99/POUND! THAT IS $30.28 PER CHOP! OH SHIT!!!
I didn’t know what to do. Should I say something? Ask for a price check? Just give the damn things back? By this time, there were at least three people behind me in line, one of whom had already started loading her groceries on the belt.
I started stammering, “Um….(cough)…er….(cough, cough)….I…uh….”
The check out girl kind of looked at me funny. “Is something wrong?” she asked.
By this time, I was starting to really sweat. I looked around and realized that everyone was staring at me. (Well, maybe not actually staring, but definitely looking.) I frantically tried to think of a quick response. I couldn’t. I’m ashamed to say that I was just too embarrassed to admit my mistake. I mean, people apparently do buy thirty dollar veal chops, or they wouldn’t be selling them. I didn’t want to look like a) an idiot; or b) a cheapskate. I’m a regular customer there. People know me!
So, I sucked it up, slapped on my sweetest smile and said, “Oh no, everything’s fine! I just had a little frog in my throat.” And with that, I handed over my debit card with my head held high (and prayed the transaction would go through)!
Of course, this is strictly between you and me. Mr. SGCC must never, ever know about it. The poor guy has enough stress in his life. Why add to it? It will be our little secret!
Once I got those veal chops home, I had to decide how I was going to prepare them. I figured that for what they cost me, they had better be freakin’ fabulous. Since they really were pretty wonderful all on their own, I chose to keep it simple. I sprinkled them with some salt and pepper, pan roasted them and served them with a zippy Chipotle-Lime Butter that I whipped up. They were amazing! Better than I’d hoped for. The meat was so tender and succulent. The Chipotle-Lime Butter was a wonderful complement. It was smoky and spicy with a bright zing from the lime juice.
Kind of as an afterthought, I took the leftover Chipotle-Lime Butter and sauteed some fresh corn, scallions and red bell pepper in it. Oh, wow! It was one of the best corn dishes I ever tasted! That butter is a keeper. It’s a snap to make and it seems to go well with everything.
One of the best things about this meal (aside from its soul-shattering deliciousness), was that the whole thing took less than an hour to put together. It was so easy! I could have even grilled the veal chops and not had to turn my oven on at all. As a matter of fact, I was wishing that I had some of that
gazpacho I made a few weeks ago. I think it would have been a terrific addition to a another perfect summertime meal.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Mr. SGCC didn’t say more than two words during this whole meal. He was too busy groaning, drooling and shoveling food in his face at the speed of light! I think he liked it.
So, my question to you is this: What would you have done in my situation at Whole Foods? Would you have wimped out like I did? Would you have bitched about the price, but buy the veal chops anyway? Or, would you have told them that you weren’t about to pay a king’s ransom for a slab of meat? I’d really like to know.
Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Chipotle-Lime Butter
4 thick veal rib chops
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chipotle-Lime Butter ( recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a heavy cast iron skillet or other oven-proof frying pan over high heat.
Rub the rest of the olive oil on the veal chops. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sear the chops for 2-3 minutes on both sides until nicely browned.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and put a blob of Chipotle-Lime Butter under each chop. When butter is melted, turn over the chops to coat the other side.
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter, either salted or unsalted
3-4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with 1 tablespoon of the sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor or by hand, puree the peppers with the adobo sauce. Add butter, lime juice, salt and pepper and thoroughly combine.
Chill until ready to use.
Chipotle-Lime Corn Saute
6 ears cleaned fresh corn or the equivalent of frozen corn
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
4 tablespoons Chipotle-Lime Butter (recipe above)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Remove the corn from the husks using a sharp knife. Mix in scallions and red bell pepper and set aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn mixture and saute until heated through, but not too soft. The corn should still be a little crisp.
Add salt, pepper and fresh lime juice.
Melt remaining Chipotle-Lime Butter on top. Stir.
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Veal Chops with Morel Sauce Recipe from Sunday Nite Dinner
Veal Chops With Rose Petal Plum Sauce from Eddybles
Veal Chops with Roasted Shallot Relish, Arugula and Soft Polenta from Caviar and Codfish