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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pennsic Cupboard 1

Pennsic is coming, and one of my A&S projects is very involved in period foodways for Pennsic.  I thought I might share some of the things I've been looking up and considering in order to have a more period food/persona appropriate eating experiance.

1. TI recently ran a series of articles on food while travelling, supporting the idea that it's period appropriate to buy ready-made food. So I shall not feel the least bit bad in purchasing food from the food vendors at Pennsic, although picking out actually period dishes may be something of a challenge. Hmmm. 

2. Locally grown, seasonal produce: Here is a link to a locally grown farmers market; a local food co-op;  and the Google search for places where at least some organic foods can be found if you don't want to go all the way to Pittsburgh.

3. The Pennsic Cupboard: foods I will bring with me, that I prepped previously. Unfortunately, I did not get to prep as much as I would have liked, and, even more disheartening, all the recipes I redacted for the project got trashed in a power surge, so I have to start over. I had hoped to have a recipe book for myself when I got to Pennsic, even if I couldn't get everything all canned/frozen. Well, that's okay. I'll shop wisely, experiment with what I have to hand out there, and do the best I can. And for heaven's sake, I am primarily a scribe. I'll buy myself a notebook and write it all down in that! No worries about power surges there!

I have a request to those who are going to Pennsic. While out there, do your best to think about period foodways and bring back a little write up about your experiences. I would love to read about other people's experiments and experiences, and I will certainly be preparing a conversation about my experiences for you! :-)

TTFN, Merouda

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Experiments with two cheese tarts

For those who may be interested I posted my results of my cheese tart experimentation this weekend at my other blog. Torta Bianca and Crustless "Sienese" Tart

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Cheese Attempt

I finally got around to trying the Cook-A-Long recipe for May...a soft cheese. I don't understand enough of the chemistry that goes into making cheese so I tried the original author's recipe as I wasn't brave enough to test a new cooking method and one that didn't have the safety net of portions. It actually isn't really difficult overall it is just somewhat time consuming and you have to really pay attention. I didn't understand what the instructions meant by how much of a curd needed to form before I stopped adding vinegar and I didn't find anything on the internet. I got a pretty soft crumb to my cheese so it doesn't hold together real well. I mashed it up into molds because my patties weren't holding together and I thought I remember reading somewhere that cheeses and butters were sometimes molded in period.

I didn't really like the ginger/honey combination for flavoring. In looking at some of the period recipes I have found I am surprised they didn't mix savory ingredients with their cheeses. Ginger, Cinnamon, Honey, Mace, and Pepper seem to be the common additives. I am also somewhat curious as to how it would work with the ale I see in a lot of recipes but I am not sure I am brave enough to mess with a formula that I know works until I have tried it a few times.

I believe I am going to take Merouda's suggestion of making the cheese into a tart because I think it would work really well. I have found a few interesting cheese tart recipes and one of them is crustless and uses almonds which sounds very yummy. I will share my results if I manage to make it work and I hope to try that this weekend. Actually, I spread some of the cheese on a piece of bread and covered it in the conserve I also made and it was mighty tasty.

All in all it wasn't nearly as terrifying of an experience as I thought it would be. I am very boring in my personal tastes I guess because for me my favorite cheese is a smoked mozzarella--salty, smoky, and yet simple and creamy. This wasn't quite to my tastes but I am definitely excited about experimenting.

I also wonder how this cheese would work in place of the goat cheese in a recipe I have for herb encrusted goat cheese.

I am thinking of hosting a cooks day at my place again after WW and having people make cheese and cheese based recipes.