Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A complex pie

CXII Good Parmesan tart
Parmesan tart for twenty five people.  Take eight pounds of pork loin, twelve fresh cheeses and hard (dried) cheeses, twenty six eggs, half a pound of sweet spices, six chickens and four capons.
Boil the pork loin well and when it is cooked chop it and chop with it a quantity of mint and parsley.  Take six fresh cheeses and twenty four eggs add this to what you have already (the chopped pork) and as much chopped salted lard as is enough, and spices and enough saffron, and make this into a good yellow paste.
Take two fresh cheeses, and egg whites and grin them together and make nine white ravioli with a pasta crust.
Take two fresh cheeses and one hard cheese, mint and parsley and grind them together and make twelve green ravioli.
Take four cheeses and cut them into nice slices across.
Take the chickens, clean them, and from each part of the cleaned chickens make two (see note), and put them to fry in melted strained salted lard, with spices.
Have one (pound) of dates dusted with cinnamon and ginger and cloves
Boil the ravioli in water and when they are cooked take them out and powder with sweet spices.  Layer everything in the pie with a crust above.  And this pie should be yellow and fat with lard and strong with spices.  You can make if for more or less people.  If you make it in a tart pan of copper it needs little heat, and in a terracotta tart pan it will need more heat.
* A complicated tart recipe that is easy to lose track of the different stuffings.  The different paragraphs were introduced to keep track of the various mixtures.  I am not sure if the chickens are bone in or bone out.  The Italian word smembrare can mean to dismember, to gut or to carve.  Hence each chicken may be cut into breast, legs and wings, and then the breast and legs are again cut in two. Alternatively it is only the breast meat that is cut into two, fried and strips of chicken are fried to layer in the pie.  No order is given for the layering of the pie although originally there was probably a set order for the layering of all items.
I by no means tried this pie at "full capacity", there were only 3 of us eating after all :) so I reduced the recipe.

1.Meat paste layer
     1 lb of beef roast
     500gm - 12 tsp schicht cheese
     1 Tbsp ginger
     1 Tbsp cinnamon
     1 tsp clove
     1 tsp nutmeg
     pepper (about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp)
     1/8 cup of mixed herbs (I was out of parsley)
     4 heaping tsp of schmaltz mit krauter
     3 Pinches of saffron threads
     Boil the beef in water until it is tender but not mush. Remove and cool a bit, slice and chop small. Beat in a mortar until fine, adding spices and schmaltz, add cheese and beat to a fine paste.

2.Chicken layer
     1 chicken
     Cut apart the chicken and fry the pieces in a pan. When cooked through remove from the pan and remove meat from the bone and roughly chop.

3.White ravioli
     300 gm cream cheese
     200 gm marscapone
     2 egg white
     1 tsp salt
     Mix all ingredients together.

4.Green ravioli (made by Judith)
     300 gm cream cheese
     200 gm Marscapone
     200 gm Parmesan cheese
     30 5" sprigs of fresh mint + 1/4 c dried mint
     150 gm frozen chopped parsley
     Mix all ingredients together.

5.Hard cheese layer
     200 gm Parmesan cheese

6.450- 500 gm package of dates
     dusted with cinnamon ginger and cloves (cut in half)

Tortellini pasta
     2 cups of flour, about
     3 eggs
     some salt
     enough water to make it malleable. (made by Judith)

1 short crust layer for the top (made by Judith)

Roll the tortellini dough thin but strong, fill them and then cook in salted boiling water.

In our experiment we did not use a bottom crust and I layered the pie as such, starting at the bottom:
Meat paste
Hard cheese

Baked in a 350f (280c) oven until the crust was browned

The meat paste, in the translation it says to be good and yellow, this was not achieved, next time I will grind the saffron to a powder before using it. I did try to draw some of it but that did not help. Cinnamon and ginger also help to yellow things as well, though if it had much more spice I think it would over power the other flavors.

The dates were dusted and then cut in half and placed over the meat layer, It seemed after we tasted the pie that they would do better chopped.
The ravioli were Delicious but the whole wheat flour made them quite thick, they also could have been stuffed more, chilling the cheese mixtures after they are put together would help this. Next time I will use a finer flour for the dough.

Hard cheese is what was called for and you don't get much harder than Parmesan it could be that a softer cheese was needed but it was tasty.

I need to try to find what an approximate weight a "cheese" is as well as what were the varieties used in period.

This is a complex pie that is time consuming, several things can be done to make production faster. The tortellini could be made in advance and frozen or store in a refrigerator for a day. The chicken and the meat past could also be done in advance.

Another discussion point was, how large of  a pie were they making or how many pies where they making? The numbers are divisible but not evenly so the count of "for 25 people" is strange and doesn't help in this case.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Libra di Cuccina- Onion tart

CII Scallion or Onion tart

If you want to make a tart of these things, take whichever you want and boil it well.  Take it out of the water and squeeze out all the water in sieve and then chop them finely.  Take fine lard and chop/grind it well, eggs, fresh cheese, and saffron and mix all these things together and make the tart.

4 onions whole
2 scallions whole
water to boil
1- 1/2 c fresh cheese (fresh cheese and marscapone mix is what I used)
2 egg whites
2 whole eggs
4 Tbsp lard

The onions have their ends cut off and are peeled, then boiles with the trimmed scalions until tender.
Drain the onions and cool them, then chop with the scallions, mix into the cheese and add eggs.
Chop the lard into small pieces and mix well into the "batter"
Pour into an ungreased ceramic pan
Bake at 350f - 180c oven until set

     I used left over mixture from the white tortellini to mix with the eggs as well as left over egg white from another recipe as well in order to make out test pie. We had no trouble with sticking and was baked until set like a custard. It needed to be spooned out of the pan as it was a bit soft, but still held shape. Tasted wonderful andf very comparable to the filling of Scappi's Genovese tart. It may be the begining of where his recipe comes from. A touch more salt would not hurt but for my taste the salt was ok. You could also salt the water in which you boil the onion / scallions. Leeks would be milder but would also lend themselves well to this recipe.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Recipes from the weekend (3 of them)

These are quick and dirty redactions, with measuremenst taken as acurately as we could. These are by no means the final drafts of these well for the most part :)

XXI Compost good and perfect
     If you want to make compost, take sumac or dried grapes and aniseed, corriander and tear into this a little ginger. Add vinegar and mix everything together well making sure to add enough saffron. Then take turnips or pears and herbs and break them up gently and let them boil for a little while, then put the relish (vinegar and spices etc) over (the cooked pears ot turnips).

1 kg of pears (peeled, seeded and cut in chunks)
4 tsp corriander (crushed not ground)
2 tsp aniseed (crushed not ground)
1 Handful of sultanens (white raidins, easier to get here)
White wine vinegar (enough, I used about a cup in total could have used less)

Crush the anise and corriander and place in a bowl with the raisins and vinegar
After peeling and seeding, chop the pears in medium chunks (about  inch pieces)
Place in a small pot with a bit of water ( I could have used less, it doesn't take much as they will produce their own juices as they cook)
As soon as the water starts to boil shut off the heat and just set aside (turnips would need to be boiled until the softer side of med)
Add the raisin, vinegar spice mix to the pears, let cool.

This was served cooled but not refridgerated, could be served likely at any temperature and could be made in advance as well.

XLVII Stuffed eggs

If you want to make stuffed eggs. Take eggs and put them to boil and make sure they are hard cooked. When they are cooked pull them out (of the hot water) and put them in cold water. Peel and slice (the eggs) in half and remove the yolk (reserve). Take the fattest sweetest cheese that you have. Take the best herbs that you have, peel them (from the stalk) wash and grind them together in a mortar.When they (the herbs) are well ground take the egg yolks, the cheese and the spices and pit them in the mortar with the good herbs. Grind all these things together to make a fine paste and temper (mix) with raw eggs until it is good (has the right consistency). Meanwhile put a frying pan over the fire. Take the egg halves and stuff with the paste (of egg yolks and cheese) and put them to cook (in the frying pan). When they are cooked remove from the pand and powder them with sugar before serving them hot to the table. And if you want to serve them savory take them (without sugaring them), etc.

6 eggs
12 tsp (slightly rounded) Schicht käse
1 raw egg
tbsp of herbs
sprinkling of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, salt

Hard boil your eggs, when they are done immediately place them in cold water, change the water when it gets warm.
Peel the eggs and cut them in half
Pace the yolks in a bowl
Add the cheese, herbs and spices mix well
Add the raw egg
Fill the holes with the paste
Fry in a frying pan in grease

Notes: The 1 raw egg was likely too much liquid for the ammount of yolk and cheese I had. Proper proportion need to still be found. Watch your cooking time! we eneded up over cooking ours. Salt would bennefit the filling. We fried ours in chicken grease as we had just finished frying chicken for another recipe and the grease was hot. There was about 1/2" of grease in the pan so the eggs needed to be flipped this worked out better than I had expected but wonder if maybe they are "deep fried" / submerged in oil to cook.

LXIX White ginger sauce for capons
If you want to make a white ginger sauce. Take white ginger and crush the well peeled (root). and add sufficient well peeled (stalks removed) spinach and sage. Grind these things well together and add suffucient sugar and temper thus sauce with verjuice and with white wine vinegar. This sauce one serves raw (cold) with roasted capons and hens.

450 gm Spinach
4 Tbsp sugar
100 gm ginger
grape juice 11/2 cups
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

After peeling the ginger I use the large zester side of a grater to "grate it" afterwards I placed it in a mortar to grind it even further
Add to the mortar the spinach and keep grinding
In the mean time I boiled down the 1 1/2 c of juice down to 1/2 c juice
While grinding I added the sugar
Then started adding the vinegar and the boiled down juice
note: the reason for the juice was lack of verjuice, normally I use a mix of grape and vinegar. The juice I purchased was "weak" tasting so I reduced it down to enhance flavor.

The (...) are the personal notes of the translator. My notes are added with the redaction or labeld after as notes.

PS: I am trying the "auto publish" feature and will see what happens. wish me luck.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A weekend away

OK to technically it wasn't over the weekend but the days add up to one :) I left Wednesday and went out for dinner, normal and boring enough but Thursday my laurel and I spent cooking experimental food. The day left us with some marvelous eats, a few recipes and some more questions to be answered, I call it a success!

Delving into Libra di Cucina:

A total of 8 recipes were tried or 5 depending on how you look at it. One of the recipes is a complicated multilayer tart comprised of a meat paste layer, 2 types of ravioli, fried chicken, dates and cheese. In order to make the one pie we had to work out 3 recipes. We roasted 2 chickens though I think between the 3 of us we only managed to eat 1/2 of one. This was to go with a raw sauce of spinach and ginger that worked out quite well and in the end was a perfect compliment for the chicken. The other meat dish was a roast with a sweet and sour sauce, it needs more work but what we made is a start. For starter we made stuffed eggs, quite OK but they unfortunately got a bit over cooked. We also had an onion tart, this is one of my "comparative studies" recipes. It does have a striking resemblance in flavor to that of Scappi's and despite not having a crust did not stick to the pan. It was quite soft but still tasty. Lat but not least was a "compost" recipe. Made from pears and soaked in vinegar I was amazed at how well this one worked of me, taste wise. It was like a strange sweet pickle that wasn't pickled.

I will add my beginning redactions and recipes after the true weekend as I will be away.