December Redaction Challenge
We combined December’s Myrkfaelinn holiday potluck with a redaction challenge. Our task: choose a recipe from An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book, redact it, and share the results. Here are recipes for some of the dishes brought to the December Challenge, in their own words.
Tuscan ‘Compost’ (recipes 62 and 63)
Simon St. Laurent
Chopped carrots, and boiled them, then added sliced turnips. Separately boiled a mix of sliced cabbage, radish, leek, fennel, and quince. Drained, cooled, and added sliced pear.
Mixed fennel seed, anise seed, 1/3 cup yellow mustard, 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1.5 tablespoons IASA anchovy extract to make the yellow sauce. Then I poured it in a jar of vegetables.
Mixed grape juice, fennel seed, anise seed, and julienned radishes and set it to boil. When it reduced by about half, I added some yellow mustard. Then I poured it in a jar of vegetables.
I’ve put honey and cinnamon sugar on the side.
Broth (with chicken): (recipe 64)
Chicken and broth that didn’t quite work right – or maybe it did, considering that it falls under the heading ‘Broths: and first, grainy broth’
Take a chicken cut in pieces, and set it to fry with onions, and lard and enough water; and when it is partly cooked, take savory herbs minced well, with saffron, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, and dilute with the aforementioned broth, and mix everything together well; then take beaten eggs, and add a bit of cold water, and add some of this broth, and mix it, and set it over the fire. And when it has begun to boil, take it off the fire, and eat it.
I took a chicken cut into pieces, browned it with onions, added thyme and sage (savory herbs?), a little saffron, and powder forte, and simmered it until the chicken was cooked. Beat 3 eggs separately and added a little cold water, and then added some of the hot broth to them before adding them back into the broth.
If I had tempered the eggs enough perhaps they would have served to thicken the broth – as it was, I made egg drop soup.
To a modern palate, I thought the broth needed salt, and I’d like to try again to thicken a broth with egg yolks to see if I can make it work!
Dulcamine, that is, fritters not for Lent (recipe 145)
Take flour diluted with eggs and water and roll it out thin; cut it in the shape of leaves or figs, or as you like, and fry in plenty of lard or oil; and once cooked put boiled honey on it, and eat.
We didn’t have time to make dough this weekend, so we purchased pie crust (I incorrectly remembered that the dough was supposed to be flour and lard, rather than flour and eggs), cut stars with a cookie cutter, and deep fried them in canola oil – then brushed with honey heated in the microwave to thin it.
They were delicious! If we try them again we might make flour/egg/water dough like for pasta to see how they turn out, but with the pie crust they were really flaky!
Leeks for Lent (variants of recipes 23-28)
Wash and slice 4 leeks lengthwise, then slice into ribbons. Add to saucepan with water and bring to a boil and cook about 7-10 minutes or until the leeks become translucent. Drain. Put ~1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and heat. Add leeks, salt, and pepper, and cook 5-10 minutes. Serve.
Pomegranate Chicken (recipe 99)
This past weekend we were invited to redact a recipe from a 14th/15th c. Tuscan cookbook. I chose to try Pomegranate Chicken (Romanian chicken). It turns out this is not only a traditional dish in Romania, but a loved traditional dish in Persia/Iran. The medieval recipe, which had no measured ingredients, closely resembles modern versions of “Fesenjan/Fesenjoon”. I chose to cook a traditional version from Iran. Here is the URL for the recipe I used:
I also sourced a Romanian version and another Iranian recipe from an Iranian cook. The main difference in the Medieval Tuscan recipe was the thickening, which called for some sort of hard starch. In the traditional recipes, they use toasted ground walnuts. These ground walnuts act just like the ground almond thickener in other medieval recipes. I also took the shortcut of using Pomegranate Molasses (from Tops locally) rather than the 45 minutes it would have taken to boil down pomegranate juice. This recipe is gluten free as it stands. The author also explains how to make it vegetarian/ or vegan with alterations to ingredients. It was really tasty and I will make it again. It also was a wonderful history lesson in the complexity of the trade routes of the time period.
Gosling (recipe 70)
While it began with “Cut the throat and pluck it well…” I decided to get one from the freezer, professionally processed (still homegrown). I used a baking technique I learned from a scadian cook of quick grill followed by slow bake: 30 min (20 would have been enough) on 425F followed by about 2 hours of 300F. I put cloves of garlic and (mead) vinegar into the cavity, as per instructions, and put bacon lard under the skin, also per recipe “and if it is not fat enough, put lard inside it”.
I put a little water into the drip pan, and “when it is cooked enough” I poured off the dripping juice and made a pepper sauce with it, with ground pepper, some mead vinegar, cloves and bread crumbs. I did not have verjuice or the liver, otherwise I would have used those in the sauce as well, as instructed. I liked the sauce, and the breadcrumbs is easier than making a white sauce – I think I will try that again!
Chickpeas (recipe 36)
 Take red or white chickpeas; and, when they are softened, cook them with pepper, and with saffron, and with savory herbs. And when these things are cooked, put part of it in a mortar and grind it to make it thick, and add some flavorful broth, and then add whole roasted chestnuts, and parsley roots and meat broth; or instead of this preparation, you can cook them with meat, if you like.
 Another preparation for a Saturday. Take boiled crushed chickpeas, and set them to cook with pepper and saffron, and with sliced cheese, and poached eggs, or beaten eggs.
1 can of chick peas
2 long peppers (ground)
1 pinch saffron (ground)
1 pinch each of basil, oregano
1 beef bouillon cube
2 oz shredded parmesan
1 beaten egg
Heat chick peas with long pepper, saffron, basil and oregano until simmering. Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency (some texture is nice). Add bouillon cube and water to desired thickness (I made it to a hummus-like paste). Just before serving, add the cheese and egg. Mix well, and serve when thoroughly combined.