Monday, November 28, 2011

Page 364 rec #242 Another way to cook a bulb of kohlrabi. (the promised reipe)

For those just joining me I am using a translated copy of "The Opera of Batolomeo Scappi(1570)" and in my previous post about Garlic sauce I promised a recipe that uses it, so here it is.

Get the bulb, peel it, cut it into slices and put it into a boiling broth composed of water, salt, oil, pepper and saffron. Cook it vigorously rather than slowly. When it is done throw in  a handful of fine herbs and a garlic sauce made with walnutsand breadcrumb, and the kohlrabi bulb all together and moistened with that same broth. When ithas all come to a boil serve it with pepper over top. You can prepare artichoke hearts, cardoon stems, cole and yellow rape teh same way.

What I did was to peel the kohlrabi and slice it, as an experiment i set it aside for most of the day in cool water, then I boiled it in the said broth and when it was done i drained it reserving some of the liquid. I tossed the kohlrabi with the garlic sauce and moistened it some with the broth that I had reserved. The results were marvelous! Those that were test eating all enjoyed it. The only thing my husband had to "complain" about was that the kohlrabi was still firm and not boiled to near mush as it had been served to him in the past, but he still liked it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

chickpeas again

ok, try number 2.

Good: More flavor and thicker.

Bad: Flavor too strong. Petronilla, too much pepper.
         I used canned chickpeas. NEVER AGAIN. I didn't care for the texture. I lost hope when I opened the cans and saw the skins were split. This has kept the chickpeas themselves from absorbing flavor.

Next time: Dry chickpeas, try a mild base using baking soda to soak them in. Less spices. Try cracked pepper.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Page266-267 Rec# 257 To prepare a garlic sauce with fresh walnuts and almonds

Get six ounces of fresh walnuts, four ounces of fresh Milanese almonds and six parboiled garlic cloves or one and a half raw ones. Grind that in a mortar with four ounces of crustless bread soaked in a meat or fish broth that is not too salty. when it is done, put a quarter-ounce of ground ginger into it. The sauce being well ground, there is no need to strain it but only to moisten it with one of those broths. If the nuts are dry set them to soak in cold water until they have softened and can be shelled. Into that sauce you can grind a little turnip or kohlrabi that has been well cooked- in a meat broth if it is a meat day.

What I did for my first experiment was to first substitute pine nuts for the almonds. Second I opted for fresh garlic as well as fresh ginger. Third I soaked the bread in beef bouillon.

Results: In my opinion not bad. It is meant to be eaten on fowl as well as with the kohlrabi. It can also be used on pasta. This in some ways is probably the forerunner for pesto.

Sauce is a success!!!!! Wonderful!!!!! Everyone here enjoyed it and it indeed will work well with fowl or pasta as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Footnote to previous post

"I agree - I think using basic water (i.e. water with a pH above 7) would affect the over-all result. especialyl when working with dried peas. Have you done any research on "brown" chickpeas versus yellow?"

This comment has inspired me to add a footnote found in the recipe.

From the recipe " Get brown chickpeas(250.1)."

footnote 250.1
 These ceci rossi are garbanzos that, when dried, turn brownish naturaly

I have not looked further into this footnote, as what I had on hand at the time happened to brown chickpeas as that is what the recipe had called for.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

page 367 rec # 251 To prepare a thick soup of brown chickpeas. Test 1!

Get brown chickpeas that have been cleaned of any dirt and put them to soak in a clear lye that is not too strong, or in warm water with a little wood as in a cloth; let them soak in a warm place for 6 hours. Then take them out and wash them in clear water, being careful that the lye is not too strong, as was said, because the skin of the chickpeas would burst and they would take on the taste of that lye. Take them out of that and wash them in warm water and put them into a pot with oil, salt and a little flour mixed up with a spoon, and enough water to cover them by four fingers or more. Cook them with sprigs of rosemary and sage, whole garlic cloves and pepper. Serve them in bowls. If you want them without flour or oil, put in finely chopped herbs with them just before serving. If you want to cook the chickpeas in order to have the broth, there is no need for them to soak; it is enough to clean them and wash them well and to put them into a glazed earthenware pot with plain warm water. You sit that pot for 6 hours on hot coals, keeping it covered. When you want to cook them, take off the thin scum that will have formed on top and cook them in that same water, adding in a little oil and salt. To give them a flavor add in a few twigs of rosemary as well.

I have used dry chickpeas that I soaked for 6 hours for this experiment.

3 cups of chickpeas
9 cups of water
3 Tbsp flour
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of Garlic peeled and whole
1 tsp rosemary (dry, is all i had on hand)
1/2 tsp sage (rubbed sage is all I had on hand)

At 1 hr the flavor was good but the broth was no where near "thick" (more flour?)
At 1 1/4 hrs the chickpeas were done, still not thick, added 1Tbsp of flour (less water next time.)
At 1 1/2 hrs I took it off the heat. I let it set and re heated it for my father in law to test.

Mine: flavor was tasty but subtle. Not as "thick" as I was expecting. the water to peas ratio is good. Next time I will reduce the water by 1 cup and increase the sage, garlic salt and pepper. The rosemary was fine.

FiL: Though that the flavor was too subtle but all in all ok and not "too weird".

I will also try next time using canned chickpeas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


November is the month in which Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Traditionally turkey is the meat of choice served with a multitude of side dishes and planty of deserts. If there was a day in the modern calendar that mirrored a feast day of the middle ages, Thanksgiving is it!

So, turkey, I had been told when I started in the SCA that "Turkey isn't period." Then I was told "It's not the same turkey, it's a different breed." and now I am telling you... tell them to "Stuff it!". It may not be a discovery to you all but it was to me when I received my book last year and flitted through its pages to discover that indeed turkey is period and not some strange breed that no one has seen since but North American wild turkeys.

The recipe is found on page 208 and it is recipe number 141 titled " To roast turkey cock and turkey hen, which in some places in Italy are called 'Indian Peacocks'" I will not detail right now the recipe as I have yet to get in and try it but will share with you the description of the bird that Scappi talks about.

"A turkey cock and hen are much bigger in the body than an ordinary peacock, and the cock can spread its tail like the peacock. It has a black and white plumage, wrinkled skin on its neck, and on top of its head a fleshy crest which, when the cock gets angry, swells up and covers its whole snout; on some of them that crest is russet color mixed with bluish purple. Its breast is broad; on the tip of that there is a herringbone of bristle, like a pig's, among the feathers. Its flesh is much whiter and softer than that of the common peacock and it is hung for a shorter time than any similar fowl."

I know very little about the hanging times of meats and what is best but i know what I have seen with my own eyes in the fields of New Hampshire that I called home for 28 years of my life and that is wild turkeys that fit this description to a "T". Reading this description I was very excited to all the new posibilities of this meat and hope to begin to explore some of them soon.

Drawing of a turkey found in Marx Rumpolt's cookbook "Ein Neu Kochbuch" printed in 1581 gives further proof

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free range vs factory farm a 16th century discussion

Scappi, I have found has a wealth of knowledge on subjects I never imagined I would find in a cook book, let alone a cook book from the 16th century. I am investigating right now and re reading recipes in order to create the feat for Accedemia Della Danza this coming March and was in Book VI, dishes for the sick when I noticed that he makes reference to the fact that the poultry should not be cooped or force fed.

The recipe on page 551 number 32, To prepare a paste of chickens cooked in pastry. He states "Get the breast of a meaty chicken, not one that has been force-fed, but killed that day." There is a foot note and the foot note states " Ken Alba points out that physicians held the flesh of captive animals and of cooped, force-fed fowl to be less nourishing and less readily digested than that of their free-ranging counterparts." The foot not further states that his reference is to Thomas Moffett's "Health Improvement" written in 1595 and uses the quote: "Whether (the) penning up of birds, and want of excersise, and depriving them of light, and cramming them so often with strange meat, makes not their flesh as unwholsom to us as wel as fatr. "

The modern practice of factory farming is in fact not modern. I can not imagine what would possess someone to want to coop up their fowl and keep them in bad condition. Besides being animal cruelty, fowl kept this way we know are more susceptable to diseases, loss of eggs and other problems.