Kanz: The Period Eggplant Dip

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Another from Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). Recipes from the book with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”) were used.

Middle Eastern/Egyptian recipes have numerous examples of vegetable focused dishes. This is a good thing, especially when cooking for vegetarians and those people that wish to eat healthier over all. I’ve noticed over the years that many feasts and luncheons served within the Society for Creative Anachronism are very meat heavy. Perhaps there is pressure to create beef and chicken type dishes that are more accessible to the membership that isn’t too “scary” (i.e. different than what most people are used to). I do admit to having at least two somewhat familiar dishes when I am cooking for the non-adventurous eaters within my Barony and Kingdom, but I always try to throw some sort of culinary curve ball, and I’ve found vegetable dishes to be a great item to have people at least try with normally fairly good results.

Here is a great vegetable side dish that works well as a sauce or a dip. It is fairly similar to the modern baba ghannouj (which has tahini). This was on page 66: “Cut the eggplant into small pieces; put them in a jar for cooking [dast] together with whole cleaned onion. Add some sesame oil and oil of good quality and a little water. Reduce over a slow fire. When the ingredients are cooked, put them through a sieve and combine with a very small clove of garlic, yogurt, and chopped parsley.

Puree of Eggplant with Yogurt

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
½ brown onion, chopped
¼ cup water
1 small clove of garlic, minced into a paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style0
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté diced eggplant and onions into a large cook pot using both oils and water. Reduce over a low fire until it is fully cooked and softened. Place in blender mixture until smooth and pureed.   Use cheese cloth and drain the eggplant onion mixture on it, removing as much of the water as possible. Place in bowl and mix thoroughly garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

Kanz: Fava Bean in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts

Here is another recipe in my series of Egyptian recipes that I found in Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). The recipes were tagged K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).

This recipe in particular is great for warm weather since this is very much a cold vegetable dish. It’s also a great vegan dish. It was found on page 66 under cold appetizers. Some of the comments on this: you can use all fava beans and not bother with broad beans, or all broad beans. I did this mostly for color and texture difference. Also, the atraf-tib is a mixture of fairly “flowery” herbs and spices which is made up of lavender, betel, bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, rosebuds, beech-nuts, ginger and long pepper. It is also safe to say that you should use what you have available. Not all of these are easily available. What I ended up using was bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, giner and long pepper. I used 4 parts of ginger, to one part of all the other ingredients, but you may want to change these up. You also don’t need to make it if you’d prefer.

Fava Bean in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts

1 can Fava Beans
1 can Broad Beans
¼ tsp saffron threads
¼ tsp dry ground coriander
¼ atraf-tib (spice mixture)
½ cup roasted hazelnuts
2 tbs fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 tbs fresh mint leaves
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs salt

Drain beans and place in large mixing bowl. In Cuisinart, place the rest of the ingredients (not the beans) in and grind that all into a smooth consistency (can be left chunky depending on your preferences). Pour mixture over beans and combine everything so that the beans are well covered. Feeds about 6.

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Kanz: Puree of Chickpea with Cinnamon and Ginger

More from Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). I looked over all the recipes with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).
This one is a delicious vegan recipe. I always have problems finding tasty, vegetarian friendly, dish that can be served easily at events. This one is super easy to make and it’s zippy. It is close to a hummus, but missing some ingredients.

It was found on page 65: “Cook the chickpeas in water, and then mash them in a mortar to make a puree. Push the puree through a sieve for wheat, unless it is already fine enough, in which case this step is not necessary. Mix it then with wine vinegar, the pulp of pickled lemons, and cinnamon, pepper, ginger, parsley of the best quality, mint, and rue that all have been chopped and placed on the surface of the serving dish [zubdiyya]. Finally, pour over [this mixture] a generous amount of oil of good quality.”

Puree of Chickpea with Cinnamon and Ginger

15oz (1 can) Chickpeas
1 tbs red wine vinegar
¼ cup of chopped pickled lemons (you can substitute chopped fresh lemons)
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground long pepper
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
1 tbs chopped fresh mint (plus extra for garnish)
½ tsp ground rue
Drizzle of Olive Oil

Add all ingredients excluding the olive oil and extra garnish herbs into a blender and grind together until smooth. Sprinkle garnish across the serving plate and add puree to the dish. Add a drizzle of olive oil across the puree and serve. Serves about 6.

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Kanz: Meat with the juice of cooked apricots

Second dish in my series of Egyptian recipes that I found in Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). The recipes were tagged K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).

This recipe was collaboration with Susan Fox. She did a lot of the figuring out on the first test.

This one has a similar version of the dish served in North Africa today.   This is a very easy, sweet stewed chicken. You could easily use other “fatty” meats, like pork, lamb or goat. It would be lovely with chicken thighs. Combining sweet sauce with sweet meats or meats that can take in sweet flavors is key for this dish. The meat that was used in the original was probably a fatty lamb. I added olive oil to the recipe since I ended up using a leaner chicken thigh.

Original was on page 85: “Cut some fatty meat into little pieces and put it in a casserole with very little salt. Cover with water, [heat over fire], and skim. Wash onions; cut them and arrange on top of the meat along with the most common spices. Take some fresh apricots, crush them and boil them well, then wash them and crush them by hand, strain them, and add the juice to the meat. Some cooks thicken [the preparation] with water flavored with safflower that has been crushed in the mortar and dissolved. This is a good idea. Leave [the casserole] over the fire until boiling, then wait until the boiling stops and serve.

Meat with the juice of cooked apricots

1 lb skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped fine [If you want more period example, use a brown onion instead.]
33.8oz (1 Liter bottle) Apricot Juice
1 cup dried apricots
1 tbs ground Safflower
Salt and Pepper to taste

Lightly salt chicken both sides and heat up in a large pot (casserole) olive oil. Once oil is hot, add to pan and brown. Cover with water and bring to a boil, skimming any excess fat off the top. Drain water and add cut up onions, apricots, safflower and apricot juice. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for twenty minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves about 6.

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Fava Beans in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts: Kanz

Here is the second recipe in my series of Egyptian recipes that I found in Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). The recipes were tagged K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).

This recipe in particular is great for warm weather since this is very much a cold vegetable dish. It’s also a great vegan dish. It was found on page 66 under cold appetizers. Some of the comments on this: you can use all fava beans and not bother with broad beans, or all broad beans. I did this mostly for color and texture difference. Also, the atraf-tib is a mixture of fairly “flowery” herbs and spices which is made up of lavender, betel, bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, rosebuds, beech-nuts, ginger and long pepper. It is also safe to say that you should use what you have available. Not all of these are easily available. What I ended up using was bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, giner and long pepper. I used 4 parts of ginger, to one part of all the other ingredients, but you may want to change these up. You also don’t need to make it if you’d prefer.

Fava Bean in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts

1 can Fava Beans
1 can Broad Beans
¼ tsp saffron threads
¼ tsp dry ground coriander
¼ atraf-tib (spice mixture)
½ cup roasted hazelnuts
2 tbs fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 tbs fresh mint leaves
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs salt

Drain beans and place in large mixing bowl. In Cuisinart, place the rest of the ingredients (not the beans) in and grind that all into a smooth consistency (can be left chunky depending on your preferences). Pour mixture over beans and combine everything so that the beans are well covered.

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Kanz – Egyptian Flair for the medieval kitchen

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Every year I try to do one major luncheon or large “meal” as it forces me to redact a bunch of new historical recipes. This year, I am doing a luncheon for the local “chapter” of the Society for Creative Anachronism (www.sca.org). My “Barony” is doing an Egyptian/Roman themed event, so I decided to try to find some Egyptian recipes since I hadn’t really done any Middle Eastern cooking myself. I figured this would make a really good change and challenge.
Urtatim Al-Qurtubiyya has been very kind to point me in the correct direction of where to look. I own a number of Middle Eastern cookbooks, but I wasn’t sure which ones would be closer to Egypt rather than more of what is typical to Middle Eastern cuisine.
The book I used for these recipes is Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). I looked over all the recipes with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).
First recipe is Fried Meatballs, which was from page 87 of the text. The original said to boil until halfway cooked, and then fry. We tried frying all the way and boiling, and really there wasn’t much of a flavor difference. Probably best to bake these if you are doing a large batch of them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until done, depending on the size of the meatball and your oven.

The original just says “meat” and not the type of meat. I chose ground beef as this was one of the cheaper meats that were ground up. Also, the original recipe calls for the onion to be roasted. Because of time limits, we sautéed the onions in a pan of olive oil, but if you wanted to roast the onion, feel free to do so.

Fried Meatballs

1 lbs. Ground Beef, 15-20% fat is good
1/8 tsp Long Pepper, ground fine
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp. Dry Coriander, ground fine
½ cup Fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1 large Brown Onion, chopped fine
Olive oil to cook

Take chopped onions and sauté in a hot pan with olive oil. Cook those until they caramelize. Once completed allow to cool, then put in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until all the ingredients are evenly mixed together. Roll into balls. I made them smaller (maybe an inch in diameter) for faster cook times. Place olive oil in a pan to heat up until hot. Add meatballs into pan to brown and cook thru, rotating them for even browning. Serve.

Feeds about 6.

Rumpolt Salads for Summer

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Ein new Kochbuch (lit. “A New Cookbook”), written in 1581 by Marx Rumpolt, was the first textbook for professional chefs in training. He was head cook to Elector of Mainz, Daniel Brendel of Homburg. Currently this is being translated by Sharon Ann Palmer on her lovely blog over here.

I found a few easy salads that are perfect for the Summer.

Salat 20. Schel die Murcken/ vnd schneidt sie breit vnnd dünn/ mach sie an mit Oel/ Pfeffer vnd Saltz. Seind sie aber eyngesaltzen/ so seind sie auch nit böß/ seind besser als roh/ denn man kans eynsaltzen mit Fenchel vnd mit Kümel/ daß man sie vber ein Jar kan behalten. Vnnd am Rheinstrom nennet man es Cucummern.

20. Peel the Cucumbers/ and cut them wide and thin/ mix them with oil/ pepper and salt. If they are salted/ then they are also not bad/ they are better than raw/ for one can salt them down with fennel and with caraway/ that one can keep over a year. And on the Rhine river (in the Rhine valley) one calls it Cucummern.

Cucumber Salad

3 Medium Cucumbers, English or whatever you prefer
1 Small Bulb of Fennel
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper (adjust to taste)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/8 Tsp Caraway Seeds

Take skin off and then thinly slice cucumbers. Clean and slice fennel as well. Place in bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Combine everything evenly. Serve.

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Salat 33. Nimm ein rot Häuptkraut/ schneidts fein klein/ vnd quells ein wenig in warmen Wasser/ küls darnach geschwindt auß/ machs mit Essig vnd Oel ab/ vnd wenn es ein weil im Essig ligt/ so wirt es schön rot.

33. Take a red cabbage/ cut it very small/ parboil it a little in warm water/ cool it rapidly/ mix with vinegar and oil/ and when it lays awhile in the vinegar/ then it will be beautiful red.

Red Cabbage Salad

1 large Red Cabbage
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Salt

In a large pot fill with water, leaving at least 3″ from the rim. Boil water.

Get another large bowl and fill with an ice bath.

Shred cabbage.

Once water is boiling, take off heat and strain off liquid.

Drop hot cabbage carefully into ice bath. Let stand for a few minutes until cabbage is cool to touch.

Drain water. Squeeze cabbage loosely to get as much water off as you can.

Place in clean, dry bowl cabbage and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss cabbage to make sure everything is well mixed.

More Eggs for Spring

Another recipe I did with the “finger foods” and eggs as a base, was an adaptation of this recipe.

Fricassee — Eggs and Collops (Original Redaction — Feast Menu – Tastes of the Tudor: Head Cook: THL Rachaol MakCreith)

“Fricasee” Eggs and Collops, Anonymous Venetian, XLVII

10 hard cooked eggs
2 egg yolks
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tbs parsley, fresh, minced
1 tbs thyme, fresh, minced
1 tsp pepper, fresh ground
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ginger, powdered
1/2 stick butter
3 tbs olive oil
10 bacon slices

1. Remove the shells from the hard cooked eggs, and carefully remove the yolks. Reserve the whites for stuffing. Place the hard-cooked yolks, fresh yolks, and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer or food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add herbs and spices, and mix. Fill the egg halves, leveling the top.

2. Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the eggs, top down in the pan, and fry until golden brown.

3. Fry the bacon until crisp, drain, then halve each. Serve each egg with a slice of bacon crisscrossed on top.

My Redaction:

I actually only made 4 hardboiled eggs, as I was doing a test. I omitted the bacon since it was just meet eating and I’m pretty sure the bacon would make it MUCH better. I also just used butter to fry the eggs, no oil and omitted the raw eggs. I really don’t like using raw eggs in something that I will serve to someone else and MAY not cook enough in the browning stages. Instead of full cream cheese I used whipped (that’s what I had).

4 hard cooked eggs
6 tbs whipped cream cheese
1 tsp parsley, dried (fresh better)
1 tsp ground thyme, dried (fresh better)
1/2 tsp pepper, fresh ground
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp ginger, powdered
1 tbs butter

1. Remove the shells from the hard cooked eggs, and carefully remove the yolks. Reserve the whites for stuffing. Place the hard-cooked yolks, fresh yolks, and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer or food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add herbs and spices, and mix. Fill the egg halves, leveling the top.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the eggs, top down in the pan, and fry until golden brown. Serve.

To me, the cooking aroma reminded me of when I make French Toast (probably because of the egg and cheese/cream ingrediants cooking). I think fresh herbs would have been a better flavor (per original recipe). Absolutely alter to your taste as you may like more ginger or more cheese. The mixture was almost equal parts cheese to egg yolks for me and I liked how smooth it was.

Some eggs for Easter

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With the holidays approaching (along with various pot lucks and parties connected to said winter festivities) I was on a quest to find something that was:

1. Inexpensive to make
2. Not too many Ingredients (better to serve to avoid a lot of food allergies and diets)
3. Easy to serve
4. Bite-Sized Finger foods
5. Doesn’t need to be served hot

My attention fell to the egg. It fit the bill for most of my targets and concerns. But I wanted to jazz them up a bit. Deviled eggs are fairly popular dish in general at pot lucks, but how period are they? Were there other items that might be yummy, yet easy to make with hard boiled eggs?

I came across a number of period stuffed egg recipes. Not all fit what I was looking for, but a few did. I may do a few more tests and redactions for various stuffed eggs in future postings.

The first one I just did was Eggs Farced, which is from Le Cuisinier François by La Varenne. The book was published in 1653, however, he lived 1615-1678, so this should be is a safe book to use for late period French cuisine. This particular recipe has an earlier version in an earlier source. I had actually found a redaction from someone else that I used as a guide of sorts. Their recipe is first, and then I will share what I ended up doing for Queen’s Champion Archery 2013 in Altavia (11/23).

Original Redaction from Anne-Marie Rousseau:

1. Eggs farced [la Varenne #1 p294]

Take sorrel, alone if you will, or with other herbs, wash and swing them, then mince them very small, and put between two dishes with fresh butter, or passe them in the panne; after they are passed, soak and season them; after your farce is sod, take some hard eggs, cut them into halfs, a crosse, or in length, and take out the yolks, and mince them with your farce, and after all is well mixed, stew them over the fire, and put to it a little nutmeg, and serve garnished with the whites of your eggs which you may make brown in the pan with brown butter.

Our version:

2 tbs butter
1 tbs dill, minced
6 hardboiled eggs
2 green onions, minced
1 pinch salt
1 tsp fresh savory, minced
1 tsp fresh sorrel, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Pinch nutmeg

Cut eggs in half longwise, and remove yolk. Sautee savory, sorrel, green onion and dill in 1 T of the butter. Add the vinegar, salt, nutmeg and rest of the butter. Mix the egg yolks with the sautéed herb stuff, and stir over low heat till smooth and thick. Fill the egg white halves and serve. If you wish, you may fry the egg white halves in brown butter before filling, but we found that this makes them rubbery.

Makes 12 filled egg halves, with some leftover stuffing goop.

My Redaction and notes:

So, I have no access to Sorrel and Savory, I couldn’t find. But Savory wasn’t mentioned in the original translation anyway. I ended up looking up replacements for Sorrell and Savory, just to see what these tasted like. Savory was suggested to be replaced with Sage or Thyme. Sorrell supposedly had a tart flavor, with a suggestion of lemon. I did have Sage and Thyme, and they were used in period. I decided to use both. I had no lemon (totally forgot it when I went shopping for various ingredients). I did, however, have pomegranates. I had seen those used in other recipes (and there are period drawings and paintings of the fruit) and it was in season. I had one handy and I thought the tart-sweet aspect would be nice along with the crunch from the seed.

My Redaction:

3 tbs butter
1 tbs dill, minced
9 hardboiled eggs
3 green onions, minced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp dried ground Sage
1 tsp dried ground Thyme
¼ cup of fresh pomegranate juice
¼ cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
½ tsp nutmeg

Cut eggs in half longwise, and remove yolk. Smash up egg yolks as much as you can. Sautee sage, thyme, green onion (save about one of the chopped up green onions for garnish) and dill in 1 tablespoon of the butter until soft and combined. Add the vinegar, salt, half of the nutmeg and rest of the butter. Mix in egg yolks, pomegranates (save some for garnish), and juice with the sautéed herbs, and stir over low heat till smooth and thick. Fill the egg white halves with mixture, smoothing them gently in the whites to get them to stick, dust balance of nutmeg across and sprinkle reserved green onion and pomegranates across to garnish. Serve.

I didn’t brown the whites in butter, but you can if you like. I was trying to keep this recipe somewhat healthy and it was to be served cold, so I didn’t want that butter to affect the flavor if it was sorted before serving.

I had extra dill that I used as a garnish as well.

One thing I definitely did during the cooking process was taste the filling as I added ingredients. Depending on your taste and the consistency of your mixture, you may use more or less of the pomegranates. I didn’t add enough salt, but adjusted that to this recipe.

The flavor was well liked (as far as I was told). The pomegranate seed textures were hit and miss. Some people liked that and others, didn’t. You can always omit the seed if you don’t like them. I thought it not only was a nice flavor but it made the dish look very lovely with the pops of red-purple.

Libre del Coch — Amored Hen

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Libre del Coch was published in 1520 in Barcelona. It was written in Catalan – a language related to, but distinct from, Spanish, written by Ruperto de Nola.
Armored Hen [GALLINA ARMADA]

Roast a good hen. And when it is nearly half-roasted, baste it with bacon. Then take well-beaten egg yolks, then with a spoon or with the tip of a large wooden spoon rub the hen with these yolks, little by little. And then sprinkle wheat flour well-sifted with ground salt over the eggs, turning the hen constantly and swiftly; and the crust is worth more than the hen.

My Thought process:

I’m doing these redactions/recipes for a large cooking event, however, I have no space to actually cook full chickens. There is absolutely nothing wrong with switching this up if you have the equipment and space for full hens. I created this so it was easy and faster to cook, as well as prepare.

I also added a few more spices than the original for better flavor. If you want to stick with just salt and the yoke, then by all means, do that. * means optional.

Recipe:

8 Chicken Legs (about a pound)
8 strips of bacon
¼ cup flour
1 tbs Thyme*
1 tbs Sage*
1 tbs Onion Powder*
1 tbs Garlic Powder*
½ tbs Salt
½ tbs Pepper*
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven for 450 degrees. Take tin foil strips and crunch them up into long tin foil ropes, lining your cook pan with them. This method lifts the chicken on crunched up tin foil to allow it to not cook in fat and crisp skin (if you have another way to lift the legs, feel free to do that).

Put all dry ingrediants together either in a plastic resealable bag or in a bowl. Dredge chicken legs in egg yoke and then coat with the flour mixture. Place chicken on top of coiled tin foil pan and cover each piece of chicken with a strip of bacon.

Roast. Cook at 450 degrees until fully cooked and skin gets crispy.