The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crepes, wafers, et cetera

Gentle friends,

I was making waffles for my lovely Michael and my lovely Baby K yesterday, thinking about how much I miss them (waffles, not Michael and Baby K). There are plenty of vegan pancake recipes on line that I can modify away from soy based products, and a few medieval or renaissance "pancake/waffle" type receipts on line that do not use milk and can be modified away from the use of eggs, but the problem is that both sets of recipes rely on something I don't want in my redactions -- either it's eggs, or it's baking powder.

There is a nice redaction of a 14th c. crepe at the Thorngrove table, and a nice redaction of a late 15th, early 16th c. wafer at Coquinaria. I've seen the pancake redaction at Gode Cookery and the wafer redaction at Medieval Cookery and both redactions go with eggs. So what I am hoping for is that the fine readers of this blog can suggest medieval crepe, pancake, waffle, wafer recipes. I just want to see as many recipes of this class as possible before I start working on a redaction that will avoid eggs & baking powder. It's going to have to be a plausibly period dish, I guess, as I doubt there is a perfect lenten pancake out there. :-)

Meanwhile, off to beg for a sourdough starter.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On the making of cheese

Just a quick review

1. Milk on the boil.

2. Curds draining and whey reducing. I decided to try for gjetost rather than ricotta with the whey.

3. Whey boiled down to the stage where the whey sugars are carmelizing--what you use to make gjetost.

4. And the three fresh cheeses. Kiernan helped me mix it up in the final stages; he enjoyed that, but he wouldn't taste it. Alas, 5 year olds are so picky. :-)

I'm going to cut and paste commentary I've made elsewhere about this project here, because I should have been in bed an hour ago.

1. From the persona diary:

On ye day of St Vincent Confessor, I set to making cheese according to ye fashion of ye receipt sent to me by I know not whom, 7 it made a simple fresh cheese of a mild sweetness et flavor, and though it is good enow, it is my desire to add to it more sweetness or make of it a cake yt might serve vpon a banquet table, thinking the cheese might be improved by more honey or ginger.

2. From a letter to the CAM list:
I noted that your vinegar was not as strong as that which is commercially produced; it took about a cup, cup and a half of it to make the cheese curds start forming, when the expectation was that it would only take 1/3 to 1/2 a cup. Nonetheless, the flavor of the cheese was just fine and I was glad to have the opportunity to experiment with vinegar that was not the carefully controlled science in a bottle we usually get at the grocers.

And lastly, writ new for this journal, the gjetost was a fun experiment; there is no period evidence for gjetost that I know of*, but I grew up eating it and so that's what I wanted. The boiled down whey does in fact taste like the whey food product I remember. What was problematic, however, was that the recipe I found on the web only went as far as boiling down the whey to the right stage. Real gjetost requires further preperation, so what I actually have is a brittle lump of whey candy. Miguel says it tastes like peanut brittle without the peanuts. The uneaten portion of the cheese is now waiting in the freezer for my traveling lunch at 35th Anniversary; I may experiment with using it in a cheesecake recipe. I think that next time I might use the whey for breads that I can freeze. The whey candy is well and fine, but a nice bread could freeze well and work for a couple of traveling lunches.

*If you know of evidence for reduced, caramelized whey food product in period, please share.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tusser in April

Hello, everyone, Merouda here.

As I have previously posted, one of my A&S 50 projects is to do something from Tusser each month, in part, to help me understand the agricultural flow of the year. We've not got a recipe for April up yet, but I wanted to invite y'all to do the April Tusser task with me, particularly since I know at least one of you is interested in the same project.

There it is, some of the ingredients I bought to make cheese. Cheese making is the April Tusser Task. I will be using someone else's redaction, found here, because I simply do not have time to experiment with cheese recipes.

I was kinda sad when I got to the store and discovered that the local dairy didn't have any product in there, so I got the best, freshest milk they had. The cider vinegar is a gift to me from Gwynedd merch Megan o Fon; she made it from her own apples. I'm excited to try this.

I also wanted to share a store I found in Wauwatosa, called Oro di Oliva. It's not as spectacular as Vom Fass in Madison, but it is a good place to sample a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars that those of us in Milwaukee can reasonably get to. I walked out about $60 lighter, with an 18 year old balsamic, a black current balsamic (which is so flavorful that a couple of spoons in a pitcher of water would make a delicious drink), and a basil olive oil. I could have easily spent more. Since going over to a semi-vegetarian and then to a piscetarian diet, I cook with A LOT of olive oil, but store boughten stuff just isn't as nice (as noted in the parsnip redaction below). Now I have these oils/vinegars to add flavor, and, I mean, they have FLAVOR--far more powerful than any flavored vinegar or oil I've ever made. I expect these bottles to go a long way.

Meanwhile.... April recipe? Someone?