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eG Foodblog: Eden - Italian Renaissance Banquet in Seattle


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I've grabbed some frozen artichokes from the QFC to see if they behave the same.  they cost notably more of course, and are cut slightly differently, which may mess with my portioning  :angry:  (I'll be staying up late tonight making a test batch) 

It's amazing how much the quality of something this simple can vary from one manufacturer to another. I tried the recipe tongiht using C&W frozen artichoke hearts and while they're workable, there's a notable difference in quality. They soak up a lot more oil and at the same time a lot less rosemary flavor. Twinky. I think my local grocery store has a third brand I might try tomorrow...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I've grabbed some frozen artichokes from the QFC to see if they behave the same.  they cost notably more of course, and are cut slightly differently, which may mess with my portioning  :angry:   (I'll be staying up late tonight making a test batch) 

It's amazing how much the quality of something this simple can vary from one manufacturer to another. I tried the recipe tongiht using C&W frozen artichoke hearts and while they're workable, there's a notable difference in quality. They soak up a lot more oil and at the same time a lot less rosemary flavor. Twinky. I think my local grocery store has a third brand I might try tomorrow...

Hi Eden: such an interesting project!

1. When you get a chance, would

love to hear about the group of friends who all think alike on this

topic!!!! How did this interest get started?

2. Could you share yr recipes for the rosemary artichokes,

and for the lentil+saffron whatsit you mentioned?

3. Funny how the Poudre Forte sounds much like garam masala to me :biggrin:

Grains of paradise is a lovely name.....

4. Curiosity - I looked up the restaurant Sambar that you were planning to

go to - do I have it right? How does a *French* restaurant end up

with a name like "Sambar" (nary a dosai or idli in sight)....

Thanks in advance

Milagai

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Laughing at all the names for the egg/toast. We call them Bulls Eye Eggs.

This looks like one of those projects that I would have enjoyed working on. I have some antique recipes in my collection but nothing like yours.

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Hi Eden:  such an interesting project! 

1.  When you get a chance, would

love to hear about the group of friends who all think alike on this

topic!!!!  How did this interest get started?

2.  Could you share yr recipes for the rosemary artichokes,

and for the lentil+saffron whatsit you mentioned? 

3.  Funny how the Poudre Forte sounds much like garam masala to me  :biggrin:

Grains of paradise is a lovely name.....

4.  Curiosity - I looked up the restaurant Sambar that you were planning to

go to - do I have it right?  How does a *French* restaurant end up

with a name like "Sambar"  (nary a dosai or idli in sight)....

Thanks in advance

Milagai

I thought the exact same thing when I first heard the name :biggrin: especially since I know the parent restaurant (LeGourmand). It's named for the owner's son Sam. Sam+bar=Sambar and I expect most people here don't even notice to be confused.

And speaking of Sambar:

gallery_28660_3710_246756.jpg

This is the Surpasse-tout. It has buddha's hand citron infused vodka, peach brandy, rose syrup, cointreau (I think) and dried rose petals floating on top. It smells divine, and as you can see glows in the dark - I felt like I should run home & change into a dress that color coordinated with it :laugh: - but is not anything like as sweet as you would expect. it has a fairly assertive alcohol taste (almost like a vodka martini) with the floral fruity notes as a backdrop, I was very surprised.

And this is my favorite - the black currant margarita

gallery_28660_3710_144897.jpg

the cassis is house made, and the resulting drink is very thick & dark and so decadent. I love black currant, and they use a light hand on the other ingredients so that the fruit is what this drink is all about. :wub: Sorry we were to busy enjoying the drink and conversation to remember to photograph it earlier. The flash lightened it up, but it really looks almost dark blood like - I think it's the perfect goth girl drink. "Finish your coctail before it clots honey" :laugh:

Bill had a gingerini as well, and our friend stuck to beer since he was feeling a little poorly.

Oh and their frites were absolutely perfect as usual, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, not greasy flavored at all, just the right amount of salt - heaven in a paper cone.

To your other questions, our cooking guild was formed a couple decades back as an offshoot of a local history club. I had heard about how good their food was through mutual friends when I lived down in California, so when I moved North I looked them up, and found a wonderful group of people with similar interests to mine, some of whom have become very close friends, and all of whom are great companions of the kitchen.

The artichokes are dead easy you drop a packet of frozen (or defrosted artichokes in well salted boiling water with a sprig of rosemary for just a few minutes till they're defrosted/warmed through.

then you take a fresh sprig of rosemary and use it as a pastry brush to baste a cookie sheet with good olive oil, lay the (drained) chokes out and season them with salt and pepper and baste them as well before popping them into a 350f oven.

then you pull the chokes out every 5 minutes and baste them with the rosemary/oil for the next 30 - 40 minutes till they're done.

you can salt & pepper them again about halfway through if you like things salty.

gallery_28660_3710_2593.jpg

they should look about this color, or slighly less dark when finished - they should NOT look this greasy.

the result is supposed to be this wonderful crunchy, salty, subtly rosemary infused little snack bite of artichoke heaven. :sad:

When cooking for myself at home, I have been known to use garam masala instead of Poudre Forte or vice versa if I was out of one or the other & in a hurry :biggrin:

I actually use indian curries and spice mixes as a starting point when trying to describe certain aspects of medieval food to people. A lot of folks look at these recipes that call for 6 or more spices in one dish & find it intimidating until you put it into perspective for them...

That's actually another change you see as you transition from medieval to renaissance cooking is that in medieval cooking you almost always see a spice mis like Poudre Forte, or a long list of spices, but in the Renaissance they began using fewer spices at a time & focusing in on just one or two specific ones per dish.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Oh here's the original recipe text for the artichokes:

Scaciofali bonissimi From the recipes of Suor Maria Vittoria della Verde c. 1583

Exquisite Artichokes

Boil the artichokes in mutton broth, [or better in water] when they are a little tender fold up the leaves and put over these a little melted-fat and place them on the grill: cook them slowly, over a slow fire, and when they are nearly cooked add pepper and salt in the interior: nothing more. If it is Friday put oil in place of the melted-fat and boil them in water. [Put a little melted-fat in a dish; anoint with rosmary: the melted-fat should be a little liquified].

translation mine - the comments in brackets are comments Suor Maria added after writing out the initial recipe.

When not trying to do this in bulk for a banquet, but following the original recipe with whole artichokes, you get these gorgeous crisped flowers - much like carciofi alla giuda.

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:biggrin: Great to see you blogging this week, Eden!  I knew you were into historic cooking/recipes, but this feast seems amazing!

I grew up with the eggs too.  We called them "egg in a hole," and always dunked the circle into the egg.  :wub:

Cheers,

Wow there are a TON of names for these I hadn't come across before, ("toad in a hole" I knew) I particularly like Kouign's "goldmine sandwiches", and shellfishfiend's "nest eggs" are very cute.

I agree that it's nice if you can toast up the center to dip in your yolk, but I always end up eating it while I'm waiting for the rest to finish cooking :laugh:

We call these "egg in a hole" as well, but we usually turn the circle into cinnamon toast. I have to say this is so fascinating - I can't wait to see how everything comes together for the main event.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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Thanks for all the answers.

I'll definitely try the artichoke recipe,

have lots of rosemary growing out back,

will seek out frozen artichokes.....

Milagai

if you're doing whole artichokes you won't find them frozen so just look for the tenderest ones you can find (preferrably baby chokes) and then take off the outer couple layers of leaves before you start. (as well as chopping off the tips!)

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Thanks for all the answers.

I'll definitely try the artichoke recipe,

have lots of rosemary growing out back,

will seek out frozen artichokes.....

Milagai

if you're doing whole artichokes you won't find them frozen so just look for the tenderest ones you can find (preferrably baby chokes) and then take off the outer couple layers of leaves before you start. (as well as chopping off the tips!)

OK: if starting with fresh baby chokes, do I parboil them before

roasting, or will roasting alone suffice?

Thnx

Milagai

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Do your ferrets have the run of the house?

they have run of half the house. They live downstairs in the private rooms and are forbidden to enter the upstairs where the kitchen, livingroom, guest room/office etc are located. I like this arrangement for a lot of reasons: kitchen sanitation, the comfort of my guests (some of whom are allergic to furry animals), ferret safety (kitchens and innatentive guests with big feet are dangerous) and of course my ability to get any work done in my office! Bill's office is downstairs, and if you're sitting at his computer & the ferrets want to play they will come tug on your shoes or put cold noses on your ankle until you submit to their will :raz:

Bindi is doing fine by the way (thank you all for your kind thoughts). she tried to eat an earplug about twice the size of her intestines (potentially fatal) but fortunately her stomach is smarter than her tastebuds & rejected the plan... We've been watching her like a hawk for the last few days & all is well.

She refuses however to come out when there's a camera in the room, so here's an older photo of her curled up sleeping like an angel.

gallery_28660_3710_3590.jpg

their fur pattern changed after we named them of course, but Bindi used to have a bit of a dot on her forehead and "V" had a slight V shape to her mask. We named her Venya (lovable) to match Bindi...

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Thanks for all the answers.

I'll definitely try the artichoke recipe,

have lots of rosemary growing out back,

will seek out frozen artichokes.....

Milagai

if you're doing whole artichokes you won't find them frozen so just look for the tenderest ones you can find (preferrably baby chokes) and then take off the outer couple layers of leaves before you start. (as well as chopping off the tips!)

OK: if starting with fresh baby chokes, do I parboil them before

roasting, or will roasting alone suffice?

Thnx

Milagai

Parboil (again with LOTS of salt)

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And here's what I've been up to this morning:

gallery_28660_3710_163923.jpg

gallery_28660_3710_113302.jpg

It's experimental, but I really wanted a bit of the visual flamboyance of a renaissance feast as well as the fabulous food, so I'm taking your basic sugar skull concept & hoping it will work in the Knight candle mold I picked up. I already owned a bunch of fleur de lis molds that we use for making candies at the Holidays, so I just tucked my extra sugar mix in there to make a few pretty garnish pieces. If they set up OK I have some gold luster dust, that I'll have someone with steadier hands apply on saturday...

My kitchen is a sticky mess now of course, but if this works it will be tres cool.

I have the adorable little skull molds and have used them to make white chocolate skulls before, but I've never actually made sugar skulls before. Aside from the mess it seems dead easy - if you'll pardon the expression :laugh:

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Talking about Garam Masala with Milagai reminded me that Ihad a last bit of the unphotogenic Lamb Saag in the fridge so that was lunch.

Milagai also inspired a solution to the artichoke dilemma, reminding me that I could just use fresh artichokes if I fussed over them to avoid woody leaves. so this afternoon along with several other stops, I went & bought a ton of baby chokes and spent this evening trimming & boiling about 120 baby artichokes.

gallery_28660_3710_165225.jpg

The upside of having done this is that we'll have a couple of whole artichokes to fold out into flowers as in the original text, but if I never trim another artichoke in my life it will be too soon. Naturally I have to do another 30 in the morning (one of the boxes of chokes was moldy inside :angry: )

It's been a long day & I'm haveing a well deserved Dark & Stormy to relax now & try to catch up on various of your questions.

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Tell us more about the costumes!

This summer, our son helped out at our medieval themed festa and he walked around in a 'dress' the night we worked in the cantina.  :laugh:  :laugh:

Generally speaking the costumes are extremely varied. Some people who think sewing is fun will use the theme as an excuse to make new finery, some will pull a "this old rag" out of their closets that looks like it came straight out of a portrait by Titian, some folks will wear a tatty old tunic (aka your son's "dress) over jeans & call it good enough.
Will you dress as chef/serving wench, or as ladyhostess in all her finery?  And will you be in the kitchen for the duration, or out at table with your guests?

Since I will spend 90% of my day in the kitchen I find the whole costume thing an inconvenience. However I'm a good girl & put on my Italian kitchen girl dress so I don't rain on anyone's parade. And no I don't sit out in the hall. I've done it, it's dull. All the real fun is in the kitchen :biggrin:

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Explaining how you went about orchestrating the courses and updating recipes would be interesting, too...as much as it is reasonable to ask you to provide, that is.  I understand this is a very busy week.

The first three courses are almost entirely arranged according to little snipppets of comentary from Platina.

For example:

"What should be eaten first

There is an order to be observed in taking food, since everything that moves the bowels and whatever is of light and slight nourishment, like apples and pears, is more safely and pleasantly eaten in the first course. I even add lettuce and whatever is served with vinegar and oil, raw or cooked. Then there are eggs, especially the soft-cooked kind, and certain sweets we call bellaria, seasoned with spices and pine nuts or honey or sugar. These are served very appropriately to guests."

He also writes

"taken as a first course they [peaches] stimulate the appetite."

and

"Taken as a first course, they [olives] keep vapors from mounting to the head"

So there's most of my first course: fruit, peaches, olives, and candied pine-nuts...

Not every item is that specifically listed out, but he's almost always got some kind of comment or other - it's a lot of fun.

Edited by Eden (log)

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It's been a long day & I'm haveing a well deserved Dark & Stormy to relax now & try to catch up on various of your questions.

What's in a Dark & Stormy? We can buy a canned drink of that name here that contains rum and ginger beer, so I wondered if it was the same?

I'm enjoying your blog, we have friends who have organised similar themed dinners, but not nearly so well researched.

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It's been a long day & I'm haveing a well deserved Dark & Stormy to relax now & try to catch up on various of your questions.

What's in a Dark & Stormy? We can buy a canned drink of that name here that contains rum and ginger beer, so I wondered if it was the same?

I'm enjoying your blog, we have friends who have organised similar themed dinners, but not nearly so well researched.

Same thing. Preferable Gosling's Black Seal and Barritt's Ginger Beer.

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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Great heavens!

That artichoke endeavour looked EXHAUSTING!

I'm excited to see all the results though, awaiting

word on the sugar skulls, knights, fleurs de lis etc....

and all powered on left-over lamb saag :blink:

I think I'll take a rest on your behalf! :smile:

Milagai

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Now I can't wait for my next opportunity to serve olives, saying sweetly to my guests "these will keep the vapors from mounting to your head." Perhaps he meant that because of the olive oil, the effects of the wine would be reduced?

That artichoke escapade was certainly taking one for the team!

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I suspect you've been on a schedule all week, but when does your kitchen schedule start tomorrow? Does the feast start in the early evening?

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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It's been a long day & I'm haveing a well deserved Dark & Stormy to relax now & try to catch up on various of your questions.

What's in a Dark & Stormy? We can buy a canned drink of that name here that contains rum and ginger beer, so I wondered if it was the same?

I'm enjoying your blog, we have friends who have organised similar themed dinners, but not nearly so well researched.

Ours are made with Cruzan Black Strap, Olde Tyme Jamaican ginger beer (or Reeds extra ginger) and a bit of lime.

I could really use one right now!

Lunch was very nice and relaxing (I will post about that as soon as Bill downloads the photos) but I spent the remaining afternoon shopping shopping shopping and am taking a much needed break to sit still for a bit and check in with the blog... Costco is much busier on a late friday afternoon than it is on a tuesday mroning :blink:

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Great heavens! 

That artichoke endeavour looked EXHAUSTING!

I'm excited to see all the results though, awaiting

word on the sugar skulls, knights, fleurs de lis etc....

and all powered on left-over lamb saag  :blink:

I think I'll take a rest on your behalf!    :smile:

Milagai

no no, it's powered on leftover pizza too :laugh:

The fleur de lis seem to be perfect. the two halves of the knift refused to attach to one another so I'm thinking if I make a quick batch of icing later, I can "glue" him together. if not, not...

We grabbed some food handles gloves so at least after we do tonights artichokes we won't have our hands stained & smelling of artichoke after 6 scrubbings.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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