Culinary Creations {Veal Piccata}

I am excited to introduce guest, Shelly Hiatt, the blogger behind A Collection of Culinary Creations. She showed off her cooking skills preparing a delicious veal piccata for us served with alongside green beans and mashed potatoes.

Q & A

Q: What inspires your cooking?
A: It is hard to provide one sole answer to this question, there are so many inspirations.
1. My mother, who never let us go to bed hungry without a complete, balanced meal.
2. My friends, who always make a point to tell me how much they enjoy even the smallest/simplest recipe I make.
3. The Food Network - watching people with passion do what they love and love what they do. I've seen plenty of people in my life hate their jobs and let it ruin so many aspects of their lives, and it breaks my heart. I want to learn from people who live their lives to the fullest everyday by doing what they love, even when it is hard or seems impossible.   
4. My passion for creativity. I've gone down so many paths in my life looking for the right avenue to release my "creative juices" - but never found the perfect avenue... UNTIL I realized how much I enjoy cooking, and how much I can make it my own. It is mixing the flavors, spices and ingredients and coming up with some sort of mathematical recipe that's never been tested before that drives my passion. It's kind of like authoring a book, or coming up with an invention that's never been discovered before. It is somewhat exhilarating.

 Veal Piccata Recipe
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 veal scallops, about 3/4 pound, pounded to a thickness of 1/8-inch
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 package baby bella mushrooms - sliced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 lemon, juiced, or more to taste, (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tsp lemon Zest
2 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, optional, plus sprigs for garnish

In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and pepper and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the veal scallops in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and, working quickly and in batches if necessary, cook the veal until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add mushrooms and deglaze the pan with wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock, chopped garlic, lemon juice and capers and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of butter, lemon zest and the chopped parsley. When the butter has melted, return the veal scallops to the pan and cook until heated through and the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Pour remaining sauce over each piece of veal. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve immediately.

Q: Do you have any favorite go-to ingredients?
A: Oh ya :) As far as spices are concerned, I love cooking with oregano in Italian dishes, fresh cilantro in Spanish dishes, and garlic salt. I LOVE garlic salt!
Produce - arugula, I love the spicy raw taste of this type of lettuce. It pairs so well with sweet and salty. I also love cooking with bell peppers - any color. Cooked or raw - they offer such a diverse taste to any type of dish. And edamame - packed with VitaminK and tons of good-for-you components. Edamame can be added to any dish - not just Asian cuisine.
Fruit - definitely mandarin oranges or watermelon.

Q: Do you have a favorite dish?
A: No actually. Believe it or not- it is too hard for me to choose just one. It totally depends on the mood I am in. I'm a food LOVER. Hard for me to discriminate against anything (unfortunately)! I will say though that I'm a big fan of authentic Spanish and Italian dishes. Anything that can be paired with a nice glass of wine!

Q: Is there a kitchen tool you cannot live without?
A: A few! I cannot live with out my zester/grater. I also cannot live without my two-tiered steaming pot and my Santoku knife.

Q: Do you have an idol such as a chef or TV personality that you look to for inspiration?
A: Again, hard for me to give one answer. I am in love with Giada De Laurentiis and her passion for food and entertaining. I'm a big fan of Bobby Flay and his expertise on the grill. And above all, I am always in awe of the Iron Chefs and how they can pull so many dishes together based on one ingredient. Unbelievable how they can work together as a team to create amazing, new and unprecedented cuisine.

Q: Is there anything you haven’t tried because you have felt intimidated?
A: Nothing I haven't tried before. But I am a little intimidated by Indian food - only because it is the one type of cuisine I'm not 100% familiar with, unfortunately. I LOVE spice and heat in my food, so I know I should familiarize myself more with this region's style, I just haven't had the chance yet in my young career.

A: So many to chose from :) One of my favorites occured every Christmas Eve when my mom would tell me how to make sausage & cheese balls. She would never help - she would only steer me in the right direction. Sometimes we would add extra/different ingredients to kick them up a notch. That was truly my first experience in making something my own.
Another memory was Thanksgiving. My mom has always made cornbread dressing with chicken. She makes it far in advance and would always commission my help. It is these types of memories that taught me everything I know and shaped me into the "chef-wannabe" that I am today.

Q: How would you sum up your style of cooking in a few words?
A: Innovative, fresh, wholesome, satisfying & creative

I absolutely adored this meal, my mouth still waters every time I think about it. I hope you feel inspired to try out this delicious recipe, or to simply make something homemade. Thanks Shelly! 

Photos of meal taken by Jona
Veal Piccata recipe inspired by Emeril Lagasse 

Please stay tuned, more guest blogger series are in the works!

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