Do you see how short this recipe card is? Do you know how awesome that is? Let me tell you–it is super-awesome. So super-awesome that I made this a weeknight meal.
Now, to do it to Dinner is Served! specifications, I did make the ‘Jellied Fruit Salad’ the day before. Yeah, you know what that means. And the proof is in #2’s photo. Huzzah! That’s a Jell-O mold!
For the ‘Jellied Fruit Salad’ I stirred a bit of frozen berry assortment into sugar-free strawberry Jell-O. Standard gelatin fare. But I got a bit saucy with my mold selection. I wasn’t going to use the classic swirly circle, though that is what’s used in the illustration #2. Nor was I going to use the nubby one again, because that just appeared in #55 Hamburger Pie. I have options now. So I chose the bunch of grapes. Or at least, what I think is a bunch of grapes.
It looks more like a Japanese Boys’ Day carp (Koinobori) sans-tail.
Or Mothra in larval stage.
Take your pick. Choose whichever Japanese reference tickles your fancy.
Now onto the main event. The chops. Or, the lack thereof (fargin’ Safeway).
I haven’t mentioned my love/hate relationship with my Safeway recently. Lately the items that I wanted were in stock (a miracle!). Not so with the veal chops.
I make a point to go to the Safeway once a week to get the sale circular and in this circular it clearly stated that they had veal chops in stock. Not only that–they were on sale. And there was a photo. So I go to Safeway and go to the little slice of the meat cases where the veal and the lamb live. I scan the shelves: there’s cutlets and ground veal, but no chops. So I ask the meat guy “where are the chops?” He gives me a story about how they ordered them but they didn’t come in. Fine. He suggests I call the next day. So I do. And after being transferred 3 times (asking the bakery department about lamb chops was a very confusing conversation), I talk to the same guy I had spoken to the day before. I ask “do you have the chops?” “No,” he answers. “I don’t think we’re getting them.” Well, shit.
You know what this means? I have to drive up to the Giant. OK, so that’s what I do on the day that I plan to make them. I’m optimistic that they will have them in stock because the Giant has never failed me. I even took the time to go online and take a looksee at their online circular. OMG. Veal chops. On the circular. On sale. Victory.
So I shoot up York Road to the Giant, pick up a few other necessities–eggs, lime sherbet–the usual. I work my way to the back of the store where the meats are purveyed. Right there, next to the lamb: veal cutlets, ground veal, and empty shelf.
I ring the “ring for assistance” bell. An amiable looking fellow in a meat juice covered apron comes out from the butchering room. I say, “am I right in assuming that if you had veal chops they would be there on the shelf?” He nods. “Do you think that you can substitute lamb chops for veal chops?” “I don’t know.” What the hell kind of butcher are you, dude? In my world they are interchangeable so I grab the pack of big lamb shoulder chops that are $2 off because it was their sell-by date. At least it was a bargain. But it was still not veal. #2 called for Veal!
So now I’m pissed at Giant, too.
OK, this is the rundown of #2. In real-time, as it happened. I began early because I got home early that day.
4:39 Making the brownies from a Duncan Hines mix. Nothing of note although the oven is in rare form today. It had been really consistent the last few times I used it but in this instance it was like the damn thing was having hot flashes–the temp was up and down and up and down and up and down. Not only is my oven bipolar, but I think it might be entering menopause. Whatever, they baked eventually.
6:15 I start the “veal” chops and shake them up in a plastic bag with the flour and seasonings. When I put in the 1/3 cup in the bag I though that it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough, but lo and behold, my chops are beautifully, evenly floured.
6:25 The oil is hot, ready, and rearing to go and the chops enter the pan.
6:45 How are these chops not yet browned on both sides? Oh, because they’re massive. There are 2 humongous ones and two XL. The humongous ones are so large that I can cut them in half. Well, that makes 6 pieces of meat, which is what #2 called for in the first place. That’s a half-win. While waiting for my chops to get all golden and toasty I sliced the mushrooms (The mushroom slices are my addition. I couldn’t justify buying a whole pack of mushrooms just for a few caps to garnish #2. Lord knows how much I love a good garnish, but I also don’t want to waste food, so the mushrooms are sliced and sauced). The oven is also preheated for the fries.
6:52. Close. So close to being brown. But not quite. Sometimes Dinner is Served! is such a lying bitch. I put those chops in the oil at 6:25 and still…I think that maybe this will change once I get an electric skillet (which is next on my wish list).
7:03. Finally browned! Finally the mushroom sauce goes into the pan! The recipe called for 1 tbsp of Paprika, so that is what I used. But wow. That Paprika went a long way. My mushroom sauce is really rosy–a big deviation from #2’s photo. Fries also go into the oven.
At this point I figured that everything would be done at approximately 7:25pm. But no! 10 minutes later I’m still waiting for the Brussels Sprouts to finish in the microwave, and the fries aren’t a nice golden brown. I want them golden brown, damn it! So everything sits for just a bit longer.
7:40 I dislodge my grape/larva gelatin from its mold.
7:45 all the meal elements are cooked, plated, photographed and ready to be eaten.
DINNER IS SERVED!
So #2 took a half an hour more than what DiS! predicted. It’s because I couldn’t get anything to brown: not chops on stove top nor fries in oven. I attribute this to the size of the lamb chops (they were big) and my oven. Damn you, apartment-sized mini-oven.
This meal was good and just what you’d expect–lamb chops in a mushroom cream sauce. No big flavors or surprises. No bells and whistles. Just a solid, good ‘ol American comfort-food meal: meat, french fries, Jell-O, Brussels sprouts, and brownies.
I don’t know how different this would’ve been with veal chops. I suspect that the veal chops would’ve been considerably smaller than the chops I ended up with, so maybe they would’ve browned more quickly than the lamb. But taste-wise, I’m not quite sure. When I think of veal I think of veal parm and veal picatta and marsala made from mild, thin pieces of meat. I am not sure I’ve even ever had veal chops. But in the end it doesn’t matter because I love lamb. Cleve loves lamb. And if for no other reason, that’s why we loved this dish.
It’s not even worth talking about the other dishes–you all know what box brownies, frozen french fries, and buttered sprouts taste like. You also know what strawberry Jell-O tastes like. But have you ever seen it look like this?
I didn’t think so.
I have to include the theme song because as soon as I saw the Jell-O mold and the Mothra seed was planted, the Peanuts tunes has been on repeat in my head. It also doesn’t help that I just watched a Godzilla/Mothra/Battra movie from the 90s. That’s where this version of the song comes from. I bet you didn’t know that one of Mothra’s weapons is glitter.