Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book 2 recipe # 156 To prepare a rice dish in the Lombard style. pg 219-220

     Get rice which is cleaned in as above and cook it in a broth that has cooked capons, geese and saveloy. When it is done such that it is firm, take a portion of it and put it on an earthenware, silver or pewter platter. Sprinkle it with cheese, sugar and cinnamon, and on the rice put a few dollops of fresh butter and capon breast and goose breast along with finely chopped saveloy. Then sprinkle on cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. repeat, building up three layers of it. On the topmost pour melted fresh butter, and sprinkle on the same mixture. Put it into an oven that is not too hot, leaving it there for half an hour until it browns a little. splash rosewater over it and serve it hot.
     You can do that rice another way. When it is cooked, grease the platter with butter and on that put slices of fresh unsalted provatura sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon and grated cheese, and on that put rice. On the rice put raw freash egg yolks, the number of them depending on the ammount of rice there is, having first made hollows in the rice in which you set the yolks. Over those yolks again put the same ammount of sliced provatura sprinkled as before with sugar, cheese and cinnamon. Then cover that with as much again of rice. In that way you can make up two or three layers. On the last put a little bit of butter. Set it on hot coals or in the oven as before. Serve it hot.

This is the translation from the book I am using. Not speaking Italian I have not translated the recipe myself. Though if I can find an Italian speaker I may try to do so.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Foods can kill

Greetings all,
I wish to get a little off track at this time and talk about a very mundane but very important issue to a kitchen, allergies. I myself have one very serious one and one very annoying one. I have a severe reaction to almonds and this is the one in particular that I would like to address. More than nausea , more than dizziness and shortness of breath, this one can kill me.
Recently I was accidentally exposed to my allergen. This was scary for me as you can imagine but also very scary for the head cook, autocrat and server who put the dish in front of me,  and all of this could have been avoided with some simple communication.  I have been a head cook, so I know the stress of the kitchen, this cannot be an excuse for potentially fatal mistakes and all allergies should be treated as potentially fatal. I can only share my way of doing things to avoid this happening.
1. I try to avoid if possible the allergen. If it is not possible I try to makes its use limited and keep it separated from all the other foods.
2. I try to identify and talk to the persons with the allergies as soon as possible. When I find them I talk over with them about what to expect, i.e. what dishes to avoid of if there is no possibility of  a substitute or let them know if they should be expecting a separate dish for themselves.
3. Something that I have not done consistently but have done is to make available to the populace a list of ingredients in each dish. IMPORTANT note: if you do this and then make a substitution or add an ingredient please have it announced!
4. Speak with the servers and try to identify to them or at least your head server the people with allergies and make them aware of what is in the dishes or if there will be extra dishes for those people.

As a person with allergies I usually try to find the cook and ask what is "safe" for me and what to expect. I also usually try to double check with the server when the food is served to me if it is the appropriate dish. If for some reason I have not done this,  I have  assumed that if the cook has not approached me or if the server does not identify to me that the dish contains my allergen I will assume it is safe to eat.
As you can see there is much room for error on all parts. The trick is not to let all the errors occur.