Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lambwich - Maryland Sheep and Wool 2016

I was accepted into the Lamb Cook-Off at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival again this year.  I finished second, again, with a score of 95.  When I did Lamb Ravioli (from scratch) last year and got seriously marked down on "Ease of Preparation", I immediately said to K "Next year, Lambwich". So here you go...

Lambwich

Serves 4
Total Preparation time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 lb Ground Lamb
4 – 6 scallions
2 cloves garlic
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon      Cumin
1 teaspoon      Paprika
1 teaspoon      Mint
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 cup                Ketchup
2 tablespoons Stone Ground Mustard
¼ cup                A1 Sauce
½ cup                Baby peas
Fresh Mint

Preparation:

Fry ground lamb in large pot until well browned.  Remove meat with a slotted spoon and drain the fat from the pan. 

Chop the whites of the scallions finely.  Reserve the green tops for garnish.  Finely chop the garlic. 

In the reserved pot, add a tablespoon of the reserved lamb fat and fry the scallions until softened and translucent.  Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the cumin, paprika and mint, fry for another 30 seconds.  Add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and A1 sauce, stir well.  Add 1/2 cup of water, stir well and add the reserved lamb.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then add the peas and cook uncovered another 5-7 minutes until peas are cooked through.

Serve on toasted buttered potato buns or toasted French bread.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallion tops and finely chopped fresh mint.







Next year I'm thinking Lamb Flatbreads.  I'll probably make the lamb sausage and the flatbreads myself, but I may not tell the judges that...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bhakail Yule - Orange Sauce - the first in a series of posts...



Bhakail Yule - an ongoing set of posts

Orange Sauce:

I have been asked to lead the kitchen to cook the feast for a nearby Society of Creative Anachronism group, the Barony of Bhakail for the holiday of Yule.  This group usually holds a Yule celebration in early December every year.  It has been my honor in the past to assist in that kitchen, and this year I have been asked to lead it.

There have been discussions already, and we have a rough outline of a menu.  One of the dishes we are looking at is Ham with Orange Wine Sauce.  The recipe that attracted my attention is from To The Queen's Taste by Lorna J. Sass, copyright 1976.



At first, I was taken by the redaction, which sounds pretty tasty, and then I started looking at the original recipe. 

The original is from The English Hous-Wife by Gervase Markam, and reads as follows:

"Take Orenges and slice them thin, and up unto them White Wine and Rose Water, the powder of Mace, Ginger and Suger, and set the same upon a Chaffing dish of coales, and when it half boyled, put to it a good lump of butter, and then lay good store of sippets of fine white bread therein, and so serve your Chickens upon them, and trim the sides of the dish with sugar."

Having read that, I decided to go my own way, rather than follow Ms. Sass' redaction.

I got some seedless oranges, sliced them thin without peeling them and placed them in a saucepan with 3/4 of a cup of leftover white wine and a 1/4 cup of rose water, some powered mace and powered ginger and teaspoon of sugar.  I brought all of this to a boil and left it sit covered on simmer for about an hour.  

At the end of the hour, I fished out the orange slices and set them aside, arranging some of the slices on plates.


I let the sauce reduce a few more minutes and then added some bread crumbs and whisked it.  The bread crumbs thickened the sauce nicely.  In fact, it was a little too thick, so I cut with a little more orange juice until I was happy with the texture.  I did not put butter in this time, but will try that next time.  

Once the sauce was done, I left it on a warmer burner and fried up a ham steak.  I put the ham on top of the orange slices, topped it with the sauce and another orange slice.


The taste was very rich and a nice mixture of sweet, sour and bitter.  It went well with the salty ham.
I'm looking forward to continuing the experiments.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Baguette Success


This is basically the recipe from the Sur la Table class on bread baking I recently took. Here's a link to the recipe...http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/french-baguettes-recipe

I mixed the dough on Wednesday and baked it tonight after I finished the clam pizza we had for dinner.

I formed it at about 3:00 in the afternoon, using the shaping instructions from America's Test Kitchen.  It rose for about 3 hours, and then I plopped it, still on the parchment onto the baguette pan and put that in the oven, onto a baking steel.  Next I covered it with a steam table tray, to contain the steam, put some water in my steam generator (an old broiler pan filled with lava rocks) and closed the oven door.  After 8 minutes, I removed the cover and the parchment paper and about 10 minutes later, it was done.

And It Was Tasty!

Need to work on my shaping, they're still a little uneven.  But they taste Real Good, and the texture is very close, so I can continue my quest for a perfect cylinder shape.


Monday, October 19, 2015

I would really like to do this someday...




This was at NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend in Rheinbeck, NY.  A whole lamb, spitted and cooked over coals.  

WANT TO DO THIS!

video


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Summer in a jar - Tomato Sauce

I am blessed to have the Royersford Tomato Company setting up shop three blocks from my house at Brewed Awakenings on Thursdays.  This past Thursday, I walked over, got an excellent Cafe au Lait and a shopping bag full of plum and small tomatoes.  I let them sit in the kitchen until Sunday to let them completely ripen.  Time to make some tomato sauce!


This is my Victorio Food Strainer, including the electric motor.  The motor is a luxury, but not one I would like to be without.  Hand cranking large quantities of tomatoes takes a lot of energy and time. 


Here you can see the machine in action.  The crushed tomatoes run down the chute in front, and the peels and seeds exit to the left.


This is the strainer that comes with the machine.  The holes are small enough to block the seeds from the tomatoes.


This is a vidoe of the food mill in action.  It's not quiet...

video

After running all the tomatoes from Rofotomo, along with whatever was ripe in my patch and a bagful from one of K's coworkers, I had a bow of peels and seeds.  This was quite wet, so I ran it back through twice, which yielded another two cups of juice.  Total yield from this sesson was 18 cups of tomato puree.



Before and after...


Let's put some heat to this...




Many hours later, the 1.5 liters of sauce had cooked down to about 0.5 liters and it thickened up.  I ran an immerson blender through it to even out the texture and ladled it into jars.  I got three full jars and a partial jar.  

I got the hot water canner filled and up to 180 degrees,  I tested the Ph of the sauce and it was well below 4.6, so no additions of acid were needed.  


I brought the water up to a boil and boiled the jars for 35 minutes.


And this winter, when the weather is cold and the sky is gray, we will open a jar of this, boil some pasta and will be transported back to summer...

Savory Apple Onion Pie





Filling:

4 medium Apples
1 large or 2 medium onions (about 1 cup sliced)
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp each ginger, anise, saffron
½ tsp cinnamon
about 10 Mission Figs or 5 larger ones, chopped
about 2 tbsp raisins or currants (or a mixture)
1 to 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley or fresh (not frozen) chopped spinach
¼ cup dry red wine or good port

Make a pie crust for a top and bottom crust.

Peel and core two apples.  Place in a plastic bag and crush or pound them with a rolling pin.  Add a few drops of wine to prevent browning.  Set aside.

Cut onion into thick slices.  Saute in the butter until they are soft and translucent, but not brown.  Add the spices.  Note: to use saffron, mix it with a little salt and grind in a mortar.

Cut two remaining apples into thick slices or chunks.  Mix with all of the remaining ingredients including the cooked onions and the pounded apples.

Roll out pie dough.  You can cook in a pie pan, or you can make two large squares or rectangles or you can make it into 6 or 8 pasty shells in whatever shape you like (free forms need to be baked on a cookie sheet or flat pan).

Place filling on bottom crust.  Be careful not to overfill the pie.  Wet the edge with water or egg white.  Add the top crust, seal carefully.  Make a decorative edge if you want.  Paint the pastry with egg white or with saffron mixed with water to make it pretty.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until pastry is done.  Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, or eat it cold.

This recipe was found in the AS XXIX Arts and Sciences Issue of Pikestaff.  It is based on a recipe in Taillevent  and was originally written up by Lady Dante de Felice.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Chicken Stock


As part of a dish I'm working on for River Wars that we're calling Medieval Risotto , I'm going to need Chicken Stock, lots of Chicken Stock.

On Friday, Weis Markets had a meat sale and was offering whole chickens for $0.77 a pound.  So I stocked up.

I cut four chickens in half, loaded them into my two biggest stock pots and cooked them with carrots, onions (unpeeled), celery, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns and covered it all with water.  I brought both pots up to a simmer and let them go for about two hours.



After the two hours were up, I strained the stock, then reduced it down to under two gallons of liquid.

Once the stock was nicely reduced, I loaded it into quart mason jars and put them into a pressure canner.


After loading up the pot, two inches of hot (around 180 degrees) water was added and the lid was clamped on.

I put the flame up to high and per the instructions in the Ball Blue Book, brought the pot up to a boil, let steam vent for 10 minutes and then put on the weight and brought the pressure up to 10 pounds.  Once the pressure had settled down, I processed the jars for 25 minutes.

As a side note, it's very important when canning to follow the recipes exactly, in order to insure food safety.



When the time was  up, I turned off the heat and let the pressure drop to zero.  5 minutes later, I carefully removed the weight, unclamped the lid and let the opened pot sit for another 10 minutes.  After that, I removed the very hot jars and let them cool overnight.


Shelf stable and awaiting the next step...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Baked Beans Part 2


Just took the pot out of the smoker:


Took it into the kitchen and opened it up:


Almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  I gave them a good stir and dished some up:


The beans are still intact, and the onion has vanished, except for their taste.  The lean part of the bacon is still there, but the fat has dissolved into the sauce.  The flavor is creamy and savory with just a hint of sweetness and a tiny bit of pepper tang at the back.  

Some of the yummiest baked beans I've ever tasted.  I'll be making these again and again.