Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sixteenth Century Crespe

You are looking at the surface of a 16th century crespe. More like a funnel cake than a modern crepe, and I would not have believed the recipe had I not cooked it. A pound of butter clarified, then a batter of egg whites, white wine and cake flour. Drizzled into the fat through a funnel. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They are indeed crisp! 

I made these last night for our annual history bash for graduating seniors. In fact everything I made came from the Livre fort excellent de cuysine, which I translated with Tim Tomasik, and just arrived in print the other day. I also made a frumenty (cooked wheat berries), a hochepot of chicken, prunes, dates, currants and spices, a magnificent sole pie which seems to have been the hit, a slowly braised rabbit cooked in a clay pipkin, which I thought was fabulous, and a spinach dariole which fascinatingly was made with cooked spinach, bread crumbs, egg yolks (no whites) and rosewater.Once again it all proves my theory that you must trust historic cookbooks and not mess with them. Actually if it weren't such a big crowd I would have cooked it all in the hearth. But I DID get to use my new oven!!

Here's the book:  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stuff I Thought I Would NOT Like

You know I like to make everything myself. But sometimes you just end up buying stuff, or even having it sent to you. None of this did I expect to like. In fact the pickles, NOT lactofermented I thought I would hate. But they are unbelievably tasty. Sweet, sour, spicy and really crunchy. Addictive. The wasabi tempura nori crackers are like crack. I've never tasted anything like it. Forget any snack food you ever thought you couldn't resist. They should sell this stuff in big bags. And this weird funky fish sauce, smells like XXXX with an oak finish. What the hell? It was 27 bucks on amazon, and a drizzle into a cooked dish is insane. Aged in bourbon barrels. It's magic. I'm going to make chili crabs in a few minutes, with shallot, cilantro, chili and a glug of this stuff. I think I will probably faint. And YES, I have nibbling on all three today!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

┼čalgam suyu

I will readily admit, when I become obsessed with something, I can think of little else. This enchanting drink (yes) I had never heard of until I was told to ask for it at a Turkish Restaurant in NY last week. Imagine something sort of like pickle juice: salty, sour, spicy, deeply vegetal, the lactobomb! Criswell predicts it will replace kombucha for hipsters. There are no directions online in English, but I figured out pretty much how to do it from a Turkish video. It is also a yeast ferment, so I'm thinking it contains a little alcohol too. The key is to tie up in a little muslin bag some stale sourdough bread, some dried chickpeas and some bulghur wheat. Then add black carrots, if you can find them, or orange. Some beets gave these batches color. Also turnip. And salt. A touch of raw sugar. Then some green chilies, I used serranos. In one jar I put fennel and ginger for kicks. It's actually not done, it should take 2 weeks, but I opened the jar on the left, which sent up violent bubbles and tasted it, and WOW, it is already magnificent. A fermented cold borscht in a way. I have read that it is traditional to drink with some raki on the side. So THAT is what I'm doing right now. Well pastis, but close enough. Now I think the experiments will commence. Why not parsnip, the finest root on earth?

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Fun Radio Interview in Melbourne