Monday, December 30, 2019

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Tsuru no shiru 鶴の汁 (Crane Broth)

Tsuru no shiru 鶴の汁 (Crane Broth)
Picture Courtesy of Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

The samurai considered Crane soup a prized dish and a luxury. By the sixteenth century, it was a necessary served at formal warrior banquets. The recipe for the dish that was served in Iemetsu’s banquet closely resembles a recipe published in the Guide to Meals for the Tea Ceremony (Cha no yu kondate shinan, 1676), written by Endō Genkan (n.d.). Commoners were prohibited from eating crane and other fowl at banquets, it was a dish reserved for the elite.


The dish that was served at Crown Tournament is my interpretation from the Ryōri Monogatari. according to Endō Genkan, Crane soup could be prepared with crane that was fresh or crane that had been preserved in salt.  The most important aspect of the preparation was to ensure that each bowl of soup contained one or two pieces of the leg meat of the crane.

Tsuru no shiru 鶴の汁 (Crane Broth)

Add the bones [of the crane] to broth and decoct. Prepare with sashi-miso. The seasoning of the sashi are important. For tsuma, something seasonal is good. It is good to put in any number of mushrooms. Whenever you make it, put aside the sinew. For suikuchi: wasabi and yuzu. Alternatively, from the start you can even prepare in nakamiso. You can even use a suimono.

Crane Broth

1 ½ pounds Peking or Muscovy duck breast or skin on, bone in chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice vinegar)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tamari or light soy sauce
8 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles) - Note: For feast shiritaki noodles were used
8 ounces sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed
8 cups water
2 medium leeks, white and tender green part, diced, about 2 cups
1/4 cup white miso or to taste - Note: Miso was omitted at feast
5 ounces baby spinach, about 4 cups
A few basil or shiso leaves, julienned

Place whole duck, or chicken into a pot and add ginger and garlic. Cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer until meat is tender. Allow to cool over night.

Next day remove the fat from the broth. Remove meat from the bones keeping it in large chunks. Reheat broth to just under a boil, add water, mirin, sugar, and tamari. Taste broth and adjust for salt if necessary. Add miso to broth right before serving.

If using soba noodles, cook according to package directions in a separate pot. Shiritake noodles should be rinsed before serving.

Bring a small pot of salted water to boil. Add snap peas, mushrooms and leeks and simmer 1 minute, then drain and refresh with cool water. Leave at room temperature.

To serve, reheat broth to just under a boil. Dilute miso with a little hot broth and whisk into soup. Layer noodles, meat, peas, leeks and spinach into a bowl and ladle hot broth over it. Top with shiso or basil.


References

“Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan.” Google Books, Google, https://books.google.com/books?id=_m6g_8Aw_IsC&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=Commoners+were+prohibited+from+eating+crane+and+other+fowl+at+banquets,+it+was+a+dish+reserved+for+the+elite.&source=bl&ots=5ulOnQbw98&sig=ACfU3U2qRbwtQs1Ys3JJshTELMJEBCEy-w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjEkPfs1t3mAhXULc0KHfRrBcoQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=snippet&q=crane soup&f=false.


C, Eric, and Rath. “EARLY MODERN JAPAN 2008 Banquets Against Boredom: Towards Understanding (Samurai) Cuisine in Early Modern Japan.” Academia.edu - Share Research, https://www.academia.edu/6397005/EARLY_MODERN_JAPAN_2008_Banquets_Against_Boredom_Towards_Understanding_Samurai_Cuisine_in_Early_Modern_Japan.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Namazu kabayaki ナマズの蒲焼 (Catfish Kabayaki), Gohan ご飯 (Rice), Gari ガリ (Pickled Ginger)

Namazu kabayaki ナマズの蒲焼 (Catfish Kabayaki), Gohan ご飯 (Rice), Gari  ガリ (Pickled Ginger)
Picture Courtesy of Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
Yakimono no Bu (焼物之部) is a style of cooking which refers to food that has been cooked via the direct application of heat like grilling, broiling or pan frying. rather than the indirect application of heat that was termed "Iru" and referred to dry roasting in a pan or pot with oil. In Japanese "Yaki" refers to grilled or fired, while "Yakimono" means "a fired thing. During the Muromachi period of the fourteenth century, a typical hon-zen ryori-style meal was served on the principle of "one soup, three sides", also known as ichi ju san sai (一汁三菜) .  For more information on this style of cooking, please read my earlier post Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Honzen Ryori Style.

The meal would come with the staples of rice, soup and pickles in addition to the three okazu, or side) dishes which consisted of a namasu (vinegared vegetables), yakimono (a grilled dish) and nimono (a simmered dish) on the first tray. For Namasu, I used Mikawa ae (みかわあへ) and Kohaku-namasu (紅白なます). O-Zoni is the simmered dish. The grilled dish presented a challenge.

The original dish I wanted to serve was Unagi Kabayaki, eel that has been grilled and dipped or broiled in soy sauce, but it was prohibitively expensive to purchase.  This prompted me to search for a suitable substitute.  I discovered that catfish can be substituted for eel in cooking, and was also a known food in the period that I was trying to emulate.  Catfish is known as  Namazu 鱯 and is listed as a river fish in the Ryōri Monogatari.

The Ryōri Monogatari does not  give instructions on this specific dish; however, it does give instructions for Hamayaki which is tai (Sea Bream) that is sprinkled with salt and grilled with a sauce of tamari, sake (酒)and salt (shio  塩).

HAMAYAKI はまやき (SHORE GRILLED) - Scale a large tai with a bamboo blower. Stick a knife in. Sprinkle salt and grill. Drop a little tamari into sakeshio, pour it on top, and serve.

I also very briefly considered cooking the fish using a cedar plank as described in the Ryōri Monogatari. The method is below:

Hegi Yaki  へぎやき (skin and grill) - As above, line up one piece on cedar bark and grill.

This idea was because I was afraid that there would not be sufficient time to cook the fish in this fashion given the very limited facilities of the event site. I am thrilled to discover that this "modern" method of cooking has a very long history behind it. 

 Namazu kabayaki ナマズの蒲焼 (Catfish Kabayaki)

Catfish Fillets (Note: For feast, whiting was substituted for catfish because the store that the fish was being purchased from did not order the catfish when the other fish was ordered.) 
¼ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 ½ Tbsp sake
2 ½ Tbsp sugar
¼ cup soy sauce (Coconut aminos can be substituted for soy allergies, and tamari can be substituted for gluten allergies.)

To make the sauce, add the sake, mirin and sugar to a small pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce and reduce heat to low.  Continue to cook the sauce until it thickens and becomes reduced.  Sauce can then be cooled and stored for up to two weeks. 

The origins of this particular dish and sauce can be traced back to the Edo period.  It was traditionally made with eel because it was a cheap food suitable for everyone. It was a popular street food sold from vendor's carts.

Gohan ご飯 (Rice)

1 cup short grained rice
1 ¼ cup water

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Place in a bowl and allow to soak approximately 30 minutes. Transfer to a sieve and drain completely.

Combine rice and water in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once pot comes to a boil, turn to low and cook covered 12-13 minutes or until water is almost completely absorbed. Remove pot from heat and allow to steam 10-15 minutes. Prior to serving fluff the rice.

Note: The rice for feast was made in an "insta-pot"--which I HIGHLY recommend.  You will want to increase the amount of water so that the ratio is 2:1 water to rice.  My pot has a rice setting which I used and set for 10 minutes.  

An interesting bit of trivia I came across while researching is that grains of rice dating to 1000 B.C. were discovered in the early 2000s in northern Kyushu. Also, the oldest rice ball discovered is over 2000 years old and was discovered in the town of Rokuseimachi. 

Gari ガリ (Pickled Ginger)

8 ounces young ginger (Look for pink tips; they color the ginger pink in the pickle.)
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
1 c. rice wine vinegar
⅓ c. white sugar

Using a spoon, scrape off any brown spots from the ginger. Then, thinly slice with a peeler. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the ginger into boiling water and cook for 1-3 minutes. If you want to keep it spicy, take it out around 1 minute. Otherwise, 2-3 minutes is good. Drain the ginger slices over a sieve and then spread them out in a single layer. With your clean hands, squeeze the water out and put them in a sterilized jar or mason jar. In a small pot, add rice vinegar, sugar, and remaining salt. Bring it to a boil until the strong vinegar smell has evaporated, roughly 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar with the sliced ginger. Close the lid, let cool and refrigerate. In approximately 3-4 hours you should see the ginger turning slightly pink. The following day it will be pinker. The pickled ginger can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.


Note: Despite multiple attempts at ordering young ginger and having the shipments "lost" via Amazon, I was unable to make the pickled ginger as I wanted to.  Store-bought pickled ginger was used at feast.  The recipe is included here in hopes that someone else benefits from the research. On the plus side, I now have 200 ginger seeds, which might make it possible to grow my own ginger next spring.

References

Creative, T. (n.d.). Eel-y Good -- Why Japan Loves Unagi. Retrieved from https://www.tokyocreative.com/articles/18389-eel-y-good-why-japan-loves-unagi

Hays, J. (n.d.). Rice In Japan: History, Kinds of Rice and Cooking and Eating Rice. Retrieved from http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat19/sub123/item655.html#:~:targetText=History%20of%20Rice%20in%20Japan,people%20at%20red%2Dkerneled%20rice

Monday, November 25, 2019

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Mikawa ae みかわあへ (salt and miso cured cucumbers) & Kohaku-namasu 紅白なます (Daikon and carrot Salad)



Mikawa ae (みかわあへ)
Picture Courtesy of Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)


This beautifully simplistic dish of cucumbers that have been pickled in miso paste was one of the star dishes of the banquet. It was elegant to look at and a wonderful accompaniment to the other dishes that were served in the first course. It is believed that Miso originated in Japan during the Yayoi period (300 BCE to 300 CE). Miso is mentioned in the "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" ("The True History of the Three Reigns of Japan") that was compiled and completed in the year 901. In fact, Miso was once used to pay high level bureaucrats; it was a luxury item that most people could not afford to purchase.

Mikawa ae (みかわあへ)

Chop up cucumber with its skin. Sprinkle in some salt, rub it in, and quickly rinse and wring it out. Put in hanagatsuo (dried bonito shavings). Dress with poppy miso thinned with irizake and vinegar. If it is tough, the skin can be left out.

Cucumber Pickles with Miso and Sesame

1 3/4 pounds Japanese cucumbers (7 or 8 small). Note: English cucumbers were substituted for feast
1/2 tbsp. salt
4 tbsp sesame paste (tahini can be substituted, but it's best to use the toasted sesame paste available at ethnic stores.)
3 tbsp. white miso
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
6 shiso leaves (basil leaves or Thai basil can be substituted for shiso.)

Slice the cucumbers into paper-thin rounds and toss with the salt in a medium-sized bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add miso and rice vinegar to the sesame paste. Squeeze water from the cucumbers and add them to the miso and sesame mixture. Allow to marinate about four hours. Before serving, stack shiso leaves, roll into a cigar shape and slice into fine tendrils.

Toasted Sesame Paste
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the sesame seeds on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake seeds, shaking pan every five minutes until the sesame seeds are golden brown and fragrant. Allow sesame seeds to cool slightly before placing them into a food processor. Start processing them on medium speed until seeds are crushed. Turn speed to low and then slowly add the oil until the mixture reaches the consistency you desire. Sesame paste can be stored up to a month in a dry air tight jar in the refrigerator.


The second dish, Kohaku-namasu 紅白なます, consists of lightly pickled daikon and carrot in sweetened vinegar. The colors of this pickle are very symbolic: red for happiness and protection from evil spirits and white for celebration and purity. This dish came to Japan from China during the Nara period (700's). I used these pickles as a bright burst of color to accompany the Namazu Kabayaki (catfish kabayaki) and gari (pickled ginger).

Daikon and carrot salad is now a traditional part of the Osechi Ryori 御節料理 or お節料理, the traditional New Year's celebration, which traces its origins back to the Heian Period (794-1185). Traditional Osechi-Ryori dishes are served in lacquered jubako boxes, and shared with family and friends. These dishes were prepared ahead of time because the use of heat to cook meals was not permitted during the first three days of the New Year. It was believed that the sounds of cooking would bother the Gods.

Kohaku-namasu 紅白なます (Daikon and Carrot Salad)

4-inch daikon radish (4" = 10 cm) peeled and cut into half-moon shapes or matchsticks
2 inch carrot (2" = 5 cm) peeled and cut into half-moon shapes or matchsticks
1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)

Brine

1 ½ Tbsp sugar
1½ Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp water
¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)

1-2 strips yuzu or lemon zest as garnish (optional)

Place the daikon and carrot into a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt.  Allow to sit for approximately ten minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, rice vinegar, water and salt into a bowl and mix together.  Squeeze water out of daikon and carrot and mix with the vinegar mixture.  Allow to marinate at room temperature for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  Garnish with yuzu before serving. 




References

Exploring the Meaning of Osechi Ryori, Japan's Traditional New Year Food | Japanese Culture, Food. (2018, December 26). Retrieved from https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2017/12/exploring-the-meaning-of-osechi-ryori-japans-traditional-new-year-food/

The History of Miso. (2017, February 8). Retrieved from https://www.abokichi.com/blogs/news/miso-2-the-history-of-miso

New Year Food - Osechi Ryori, Toshi-koshi Soba & Ozoni. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://patrickchadd.blogspot.com/2013/01/new-year-food-osechi-ryori-toshi-koshi.html

The Story Behind Osechi Ryori. (2019, May 2). Retrieved from https://www.kcpinternational.com/2017/01/osechi-ryori-the-story-behind-traditional-japanese-new-year-food/

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Fukujinzuke (red pickles for curry) 福神漬け

Fukujinzuke (red pickles for curry) 福神漬け
Picture Courtesy of Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
Japanese cuisine is composed of rice (or another starch), soup and at least two side dishes.  Rice, which is a staple commodity, is the central component.  The accompanying dishes are called Okazu, and are designed to supplement the rice. The main okazu is almost always protein based--grilled fish, meat, or eggs. The secondary okazu can be either a vegetable dish or another protein dish. Additionally, there are accompaniments called "hashi yasume".  A special kind of okazu that contrasts flavor, temperature and texture of the main dish and most often includes small salads or pickles.

Pickles are a very important part of Japanese cuisine.  Just as rice is considered a "core" part of a meal, so too are pickles.  They are used as palate cleansers, condiments, garnishes or relishes. They emerged as a way of preserving food before refrigeration. The methods of pickling range from simply salt and vinegar, to fermentation and culturing molds. 

The simplest pickling process is salt pickling, and it is known as Shiozuke.  Thinly sliced vegetables are layered with salt and then weighed down, resulting in vegetables that are sweet, crisp and light in texture.  Simply rinse your vegetables before using.   Diners of the feast enjoyed this kind of pickle in the form of umeboshi. 

Suzuke pickles have been brined in rice vinegar, which gives them a tangy and sweet flavor with a crunchy texture.  The gari (pickled ginger) and namasu (pickled daikon and carrots) served at feast are examples of this kind of pickle. 

Shoyuzuke is soy-based pickling. Soy sauce is combined with vinegar and sugar resulting in pickles that are both sweet and salty.  The fukujinzuke served at feast is an example of this kind of pickling method. Fukujinzuke is made with seven different items and is associated with the seven gods of fortune (Shichi Fukujin), also known as the seven lucky gods, or the seven gods of happiness. They are most often served with curryies and chopped like a chutney. I left the pieces larger because I wanted individuals to know what they were eating. 

Miso-based pickling is called Misozuke. Miso paste is flavored with seasonings such as mirin, garlic or ginger and then the vegetables, meat, tofu or eggs are buried within it.  They can cure from a few hours to several weeks.The Mikawa Ae (miso cured cucumbers) that was served at feast is an example of this kind of pickling. 

Nukazuke is an advanced pickle. It begins with a mixture of rice bran which has been roasted. The rice bran is then mixed with salt, kombu seaweed and water into a mash. It relies on lactobacillus bacteria to cure the pickles.  The mash must be stirred  daily in order to be properly maintained.  A properly maintained mash can be kept indefinately. This is the method that is used to create Takuan, yellow pickled daikon radish. 

The last method of Japanese pickling is Kasuzuke which uses sake lees (the mash left over from filtering sake) mixed with salt, sugar and mirin.  The resulting pickles are slightly alcoholic. 

For more information on Iemetsu's banquet see the following post: Resources and Inspiration for Crown Tourney Feast

For more information on the seven lucky gods see here: Seven Lucky Gods 

Fukujinzuke (福神漬)

5 c. chopped turnip
4 c. chopped cucumbers
1 c. chopped carrots
1/2 Asian pear, julienned
Lotus root (10-cm piece), peeled
1 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup salt
1-1/2 c. soy sauce
2 c. sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar

Note: Other vegetables you can use include: eggplant, mushrooms, daikon, radish and purple shiso

Peel, core and slice vegetables into like-sized pieces.  Alternatively, if you want to make it more of a chutney, chop vegetables finely.  Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for a minimum of ten minutes before rinsing and then drying off vegetables. 

Mix soy, sugar and vinegar together in a pot to create to the brine. Bring the brine to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.  Place vegetables into a container (I used a mason jar) and pour the brine over  them.

Here is where I deviated from the classical Japanese technique.  If you are following the classical technique you would leave the vegetables overnight in the brine, then drain the brine into a saucepan, boil it for 1-2 minutes and then pour the hot brine back over the drained vegetables over the next two days.

I did not do this. Instead, I refrigerated the vegetables and brine and flipped the jars over once a day for the next two days.

Citations:

Japanese Pickles (Tsukemono) (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2349.html.

Tsukemono: The Complete Guide to Japanese Pickles. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://gurunavi.com/en/japanfoodie/2015/08/tsukemono.html?__ngt__=TT0ffbd9f51007ac1e4ae773O8fwwraqAODbBY9kNz-A9S.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Vegetarian Gyoza 餃子 & Sarada yō kyabetsu (Japanese Slaw) 福神漬

Vegetarian Gyoza 餃子 & Sarada yō kyabetsu (Japanese Slaw) 福神漬
Picture Courtesy of Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
I have a confession to make--Japanese dumplings are not period.  While it is true that Japan and China had many years of conflict and that Jiaozi (the Chinese dumplings) were a commonly eaten food for almost two thousand years in China, it wasn't until Japan invaded China in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War that Japanese soldiers were exposed to Chinese Jiaozi,  the parent of Japanese Gyoza and took them home to their families.  

I could not in good conscience allow people to sit at an empty table.  So, I used cook's prerogative to put a small bite of an acidic food (Sarada yō kyabetsu "Japanese Slaw" 福神漬) with a small bite of something savory and spicy to increase the appetite. Additionally, keeping with the theme of symbolism in the feast, the dumpling represents wealth, happiness and celebration. Both the cabbage and mushrooms used in the filling are equally symbolic: cabbage to bring luck and wealth for the next hundred years and mushrooms to bring good fortune to those who ate the dumplings.

Napa cabbage has an interesting history that is interwoven between China and Japan as well. The word napa (菜っ葉) is a reference to the leaves of any vegetable that can be eaten as food.  In China, where the cabbage was first cultivated in the 15th century, it is referred to as "White Vegetable" (白菜). From China it spread through Korea and into Japan.  The cabbage slaw that was served at feast would theoretically fall into the category of Namasu no Bu (鱠之部), fresh food with vinegar.  Originally Namasu referred to any food that was sliced thin, dressed with vinegar and served raw, and may be the precursor to sashimi or sunomono.

Namasu also travelled to Japan from China during the Nara period (710-794).  The Japanese word for vinegar is "su", and the word for thinly sliced or uncooked is "nama".  While I was unable to locate references to these two specific dishes in period, I felt there was enough evidence for their probability in period that it would not be a red flag to present them.


Sarada yō kyabetsu (Japanese Slaw) 福神漬

1/2 head of napa cabbage shredded
1 bag shredded coleslaw mix

Dressing

 2 tsp. sugar
4 tsp. light soy sauce
2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
5 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 green onions finely sliced

Mix together ingredients for dressing, and then pour over the cabbage.  This slaw can be refrigerated up to 2 days before serving.

Vegetarian Gyoza 餃子

1 pound finely minced napa cabbage
1 carrot finely grated
7 ounces finely minced mushrooms
1 pound of vegetarian crumbles
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tsp. fresh ginger
2 green onions or 1/2 leek finely chopped
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 package of dumpling wrappers
Vegetable oil for cooking

Sprinkle salt over cabbage and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it wilts and releases water.  Squeeze the cabbage to drain the liquid.  In a medium skillet, heat oil and sesame oil. Add mushrooms, carrots, leeks (or onions), garlic and ginger, and cook stirring occasionally until mushrooms are slightly browned. Add cabbage, sesame oil and vegetarian crumbles, and cook another four to five minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make dumplings you will need to assemble the cooled dumpling filling, a bowl of water, and your wrappers.  Add up to 2 tsp. filling to a wrapper that has been wet with water on half of it.  Fold into a half moon shape and pleat shut.  Dumplings can be frozen, then fried or steamed depending upon your preference.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Symbolism in the Feast - Turtle





Turtle (kame): In Japan, the turtle is the symbol of wisdom, luck, protection and longevity. It is believed that the turtle will bring 10,000 years of happiness.


Urashima Taro

Long, long ago, in a small village near the sea in the south of Japan, lived a young fisher named Urashima Taro. Although he was a fine fisherman, he was most known for his kind heart. One day, as he returned home from his work, he noticed a group of boistrous children. As he drew near, he saw that they were tormenting a small turtle. Urashima Taro’s heart went out to the turtle.

“Children, that is such a fine turtle. Why not help it back into the sea?”

The children only laughed and continued to poke at the poor turtle.

“If you will give me the turtle, I will give you the money from my catch today,” said Urashima Taro.

The children looked at the large catch of fish and decided to sell the turtle.

The kindhearted fisher spoke softly to the turtle. “You, my friend, will live a long and full life in the beautiful sea.” And he set the turtle into the waves.

Some days later, Urashima Taro went as usual to the sea to fish. His line hung still in the water and his mind followed the turtle deep into the sea.

“Urashima Taro-San, Urashima Taro-San.” The strange voice drifted up through the water and disturbed his thoughts.

When he turned his attention to the world around him, he saw a large and ancient turtle at his side.

"Urashimna Taro-San, I am the one you saved from the children," said the turtle. "As repayment for your kindness, I am here to take you into the presence of the king who lives beneath the sea. I will carry you on my back, and although we must travel far, we will soon complete our journey."

Urashima Taro left his fishing line behind to slide into the green sea. He straddled the turtle's shell and grasped the front of the strong front flippers. No sooner was he settled than he found himself gliding down, down, endlessly down.

The sea turtle carriedUrashima Taro to the palace beneath the seaAs the light from the sky dimmed and disappeared, a new light glimmered ahead. The turtle swam directly to the light.

At last they came to an opening in a wall of coral guarded by swordfish who stood aside for the turtle.

Once on the other side, the turtle said, "You can walk safely here."

The fisher dismounted, and to his amazement, he found that he could walk freely in this magical underwater world.

The turtle guided him down glittering avenues lined with waving sea grasses. Behind the grasses, curious buildings of pale yellow, pink, blue, green, and violet turned their faces to the passersby. Sea horses, dolphins, jellyfish, and crabs mingled in peace and harmony. All gave obeisance to Urashima Taro.

A vast square, wider than the whole of the fisher's village, led to a sweeping stairway that took the travelers to the door of a majestic palace. Servants stood aside and bowed low as the turtle led his guest into the throne-room.

The turtle and the fisher knelt and bowed before the richly-robed king.

"Is this the fisher who saved you?" asked the king.

The turtle raised his head and replied, "Yes, Majesty."

"Come, fisher," said the king. "We have prepared a great entertainment for you."

Urashima Taro raised his eyes.

The king turned to his right and said, "My daughter."

A beautiful young princess rose from the throne below and to the right of the king. Her many kimonos blended the colors of all the fish of the coral reefs. Her sleeves reached the tatami. Her long hair like black silk was crowned by a royal headdress. She bowed as she turned to Urashima Taro. He, in turn, fell to his knees and pressed his forehead to the tatami.

"My daughter will be your guide," continued the king.

The princess said, "Fisher, helper of the wise turtle, follow me."

the princess and the fisher ate delicacies from the best chefs Urashima Taro rose and followed the princess. Together they visited the sea creatures, both those the fisher knew from home and others more wonderful than he had ever imagined.

Together the princess and the fisher banqueted on delicacies brought from the seven seas and prepared by the best chefs. Together they read from the old scrolls.

Every day lobsters and crabs played the biwa and the koto. An octopus played the taiko drums. Dolphins, whales, and squid danced while tuna fanned the princess and her guest. The sights, sounds, and tastes were beyond any the fisher had ever experienced in his life above the waves.

He lost track of time as he listened to strange music, ate royal delicacies, and read the tales of the old ones from the sea.

One day he began to miss his home. Although he tried to keep his spirits happy, the princess guessed his thoughts.

The next day, when Urashima Taro answered her summons, he saw his old friend the turtle with the princess. "It has been our pleasure to share our life with you here beneath the sea to show our appreciation for your kindness to the turtle," she said. "Now, we understand that you wish to return to your own home."

"Your Highness, you have been so kind to me. I do not want to appear ungrateful, but in your wisdom, you have guessed correctly."

"We know your kind heart. We understand your gratitude. Now we have summoned the turtle to take you back to your home above the waves. We have a gift for you. It will bring you happiness."

The princess beneath the sea gave Urashima Taro a black laquered box tied with a red ribbonThe princess held out a black lacquered box, beautifully made and decorated with the most precious art of the sea. It was tied with an elegant red ribbon. "As long as you own this chest and leave it closed, happiness will be yours."

Urashima Taro received the chest in both hands and bowed low. "I shall guard it always as a remembrance of your kindness," he said.

With that, he mounted the back of the turtle and began the return journey to his home above the waves. In what seemed like no time at all, the fisher found himself standing on the same beach where he had rescued the turtle. The turtle bowed his head and slipped once again into the sea.

Urashima Taro hurried to the village, anxious to share his adventures with his family. But to his amazement, all was changed. Search as he might, he could not find his home. When he asked after his family, only the oldest men of the village knew of them, and they knew only old stories of the fisher and his parents.

Urashima Taro thought to build himself a small hut just outside the village and begin again to fish. He had no one to share his plans, and sadness filled his heart.

A puff of smoke escaped from the box and curled about Urashima TaroEarly one morning he took the chest to the edge of the sea and thought again of the beautiful princess and her enchanting world. Perhaps, he thought, she has left me some happiness inside the box. Ignoring her warning, he opened the lid. A tendril of smoke escaped from the box, swirled around Urashima Taro, and floated away on the gentle wind.

The fisher looked down at his hands. They were gnarled and deeply veined. As he turned in sorrow to walk back to the village, his steps were slow and halting.

A young boy passing by noticed an old man with long white hair and beard making his unsteady way along the shore. It was Urashima Taro who had pursued happiness over obedience so he had lost the protection against the effects of Time.

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Honzen Ryori Style

The Tokugawa Shoguns

Through my research I discovered that there are three different styles of traditional Japanese cooking; Yusoku Ryori (court cuisine), honzen ryori (dishes for feudal lords) and kaseiki ryori (formal dinners).  The style that was chosen for this banquet was Honzen Ryori, whose roots are in the gishiki ryori (ceremonial cooking) exclusive to nobility in the Heian period (794-1185) (Kodansha).

The basic menu is one soup and three sides (considered minimum fare), which is referred to as ichijū-sansai (一汁三菜) . The number of soups and side dishes could vary from two to three soups, with three, five, seven or eleven accompanying side dishes.  Rice which is a basic staple food and pickles are not counted as side dishes. Although, the menu for Crown Tourney feast contained a staggering number of dishes (33 over three courses and a sweets tray), the soups, rice and pickles should not be considered in the final count of dishes that were served per course. In the first course, there were seven dishes, five in the second course and three in the third course.

A Honzen Ryori style meal would begin in a separate room with a formal ceremony called shiki-sankon. This ceremony is the precursor to the three times three exchange of cups at traditional Shinto weddings.  During the ceremony (shiki), a cup of sake would be paired with a side dish and drunk in three gulps.  This would occur three times (sankon) in total. Typical side dishes that were served to Iemitsu included dried sea cucumber intestines, abalone, wheat gluten soybeans and sweet seaweed

The diners would then go into a seperate room where the meal was served.  The food would be served on trays called suzuri-buta.   Food would be served in three courses; ichi-no-zen (first), ni-no zen (second), and san-no zen (third).  The Honzen Ryori style of service is believed to have originated in the 14th century. Three trays was typical for shoguns, while most samurai were limited to two trays of food. Larger banquets during the Muromachi period could have up to thirty-two dishes, including dishes that were meant to be decorative and not eaten.  Iemitsu's banquet in 1630 followed a seven, five, three format, which was the inspiration for the menu that was created and served at Crown Tourney feast. This is a typical style of service for Shogun in the Edo period (Rath).

When serving the food it is typical to place a bowl of rice to the left and soup to the right.  Behind the rice and the soup would sit three flat plates, one to the far left behind the rice, one to the far right behind the soup, and one in the middle. Pickled vegetables would be served on the side.  Chopsticks would then be placed in the very front of the tray supported by a hashioki (chopstick rest). Rice would be served in its own bowl, and the remaining items would be served either on small plates (sara) or small bowls (hachi) in individual portions. The number of dishes served on each tray varied depended upon the diners rank. For example, high ranking retainers would only receive five dishes on the main tray, while a shogun would receive seven, not counting salt, pickles or rice.


Stacked Red Lacquered Sake Cups


Citations

     Eric C Rath. (2013, June 9). Retrieved from https://thehomelesschefs.wordpress.com/tag/eric-c-rath/

     Highlighting JAPAN. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.govonline.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/html/201611/201611_03_en.html.


     Kodansha. (1993). Japan: an illustrated encyclopedia. Tokyo.

     Stacked Red Lacquered Sake Cups for Elegant Ceremonies on Formal Occasions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gekkeikan.co.jp/english/history/culture/sakecups.html.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Research Sources & Inspiration




Learning a new culture requires a ton of reading and research in order to try to "get it right".  Following is a list of some of the resources that I used to research and put together the banquet and a brief essay on the inspiration for the meal that will be served and some take-aways from the copious amount of research that went into the creation of this meal.

Research Sources

Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan By Eric Rath

The Tastiest Dish in Edo: Print, Performance and Culinary Entertainment in Early-Modern Japan By Eric Rath

Japanese Foodways Past and Present Edited by Eric Rath and Stephanie Asmann

Early Modern Japan- Banquets Against Boredom: Towards Understanding (Samurai) Cuisine in Early Modern Japan by Eric Rath

A Peek at the Meals of the People of the Edo; Tracing the Diet of Edo--the Establishment of Japan's Culinary Culture Part One by Nobuo Harada

Ryōri Monogatari - A partial translation of one of Japan's earliest cookbooks. Joshua L. Badgley

Inspiration 

The meal that will be served at feast is a creative interpretation of a menu that was served to Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu when he visited the Shimazu daimyo house in Edo. Preceding the meal was the shikisankon, or, “three formal rounds of drinks, a formal ceremony that usually took place in a private room between the host and a guest drinking sake from the same shallow bowl. According to Eric Rath, "This formal exchange of drinks between lord and vassal signified their personal bond, and the same ceremony was used for weddings (Banquets against Boredom)." A total of nine cups of sake (or more) would have been drunk prior to the meal!

After the shikisankon, a banquet followed in a style that originated in the 14th century.  Service consisted of three trays with a proscribed number of dishes, 7, 5, 3, soup, pickles and on the first tray chopsticks. This style of dining is referred to as honzen ryōri or "main tray cuisine". Each tray contained at least one soup (shiru) and the side dishes (sai), pickles and rice were normally only found on the first tray, but will be interspersed through out the feast that will be served for the event in order to showcase the variety of foods that would have been found in this period.

Iemetsu's Banquet that he enjoyed in 1630 contained the following items:

Main Tray 

Grilled salt-cured fish (shiobiki)
Octopus
Fish-paste cake (kamaboko)
Chopsticks
Fish salad (aemaze)
Hot water over rice (yuzuke)
Pickles
Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)
Fermented intestines of sea cucumber (konowata)
Salt for flavoring (teshio)

The yuzuke which was served is believed to have originated when Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358–1408) became drunk at a party and poured hot water over his rice in the Muromachi period.  This dish will be featured in the second course of my banquet.

Another Muromachi period dish that will be served is the aemaze, a raw fish salad, which consisted of raw fish or other seafood marinated in a sake based dressing with vegetables. Aemaze is the predecessor of namasu, or dishes of raw sliced fish and vegetables that preceded what is commonly referred to as sashimi today.

O-zoni, which was not mentioned specifically in the menu for Iemetsu, is another dish commonly found during this period and was served in the main (or first) course to welcome guests. It consisted mainly of fish paste cakes (kamaboko), and rice cakes, vegetables and dried foods.  The origin of this dish is believed to have been in field battles. It was a dish for Samurai that eventually became a dish for everyone.

The most symbolic dish that will be served in the first course is an interpretation of "Crane Soup". It was a dish served only to the elite among Samurai.  Cranes in legend were believed to live for thousands of year, except when they were killed.  It was served to Ieyasu in 1582 by warlord Oda Nobunaga.

Second Tray

Dried salted mullet roe (karasumi)
Jellyfish
“Gathered soup” (oshiru atsume)
Servings of mollusks (kaimori)
Rolled squid
Dried codfish
Swan soup

The second tray consisted of two soups, a gathered soup and swan soup.  According to Eric Rath, the "servings of mollusks" most likely served as a decorative element. In lieu of dried salted mullet, jelly fish, rolled squid and dried cod, the diners of the feast that I will be serving will be eating a selection of shimofuri (lightly steamed fish) served with irizake and a dish of shrimps.  Clam soup takes the place of the swan soup. Here you will find yuzuke, a dish of rice, hot water and toppings consisting of umeboshi, black and white sesame seeds, bonito flakes and nori as the'gathered items'.

Oshiru atsume contained many exotic ingredients, for example  dried sea cucumber intestines (iriko), skewered abalone or wheat gluten. The instructions for this soup are found in the Ryōri Monogatari:

Atsume jiru あつめ汁 (Gathered Broth) - It is good to add  dashi to nakamiso.  Alternatively use a suimono. It is good to put in such things as daikon, gobo, tofu, bamboo shoots, skewered abalone, dried fugu, iriko, and tsumi'ire. There are various others.
Third Tray 

Fowl served with its wings (hamori)
Carp soup
Turbo (sazae)
[Spiny lobster] served in a boat shape (funamori)
“Cloud hermit”  (unzen) soup

The third tray contains two presentation or spectacle dishes--they were to be looked at and not eaten, and were designed so that the chef's skills could be admired; hamori and funamori. These dishes would have been decorated with paper when they were served.  Here I diverged significantly from the meal Iemetsu enjoyed.  Ginger pork and braised pork belly served with mushroom soup, simmered pumpkin and grilled eggplant as an homage to autumn.

Although the eating of pork was shunned during the Kamakura period, it saw a resurgence during the Sengoku period (15th-16th centuries). Pigs were considered a valuable food source, and often, herds of pigs would accompany troops in the field.  Satsuma warriors reputations were directly linked to their consumption of pork. Pork could be consumed in the Edo period "for health reasons", as it was believed to make you strong and give you stamina.

The banquet that was served to Iemetsu ended with a tray of sweets, special cakes made from mochi which had been pounded into a paste and then frozen called Ice rice-cakes (kōri mochi), tangerines, and persimmons on a branch. To emulate the the dish that he was served, I will be serving anmitsu, translucent agar-agar jelly, topped with green tea and jasmine ice cream (18th century invention), mochi, red bean paste with sugar syrup and slices of fresh fruit, tangerines and persimmons if available, strawberries and peaches if not. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Symbolism in the Feast - The Power of Five


Note: Four is an unlucky number-   it is generally avoided because the word for four is shi (四/し)  closely resembles the word for death shi (死/し)--avoid serving in groups of 4-only serve 1, 2, 3.

Note: Fourth Course* (sweets) will be referred to as what it is "Anmitsu" --traditionally sweets are not served as a separate course but eaten with tea or served as part of the meal.

The Power of Five
- The number five is considered important in Japanese culture, and this extends to its food traditions as well. They form the basis of concepts that have been in place for centuries.

Five Colors - The prevalence of the five colors – white, black, red, green and yellow – has been a tradition since Buddhism arrived from China in the 6th century.

White 白 shiro - includes rice, tofu and soy milk, mild-flavored, delicate white-fleshed fish (shiromi-zakana) and “white meat” pork. White is the traditional color of mourning. It also represents purity and truth.

Black 黒 kuro - includes very dark foods such as nori laver, eggplant skins, shiitake mushrooms, and black sesame seeds. Black is symbolic of the night, unknown, mystery or anger. It also represents masculinity, knowledge and prosperity.

Red 赤 aka - includes fruits, vegetables, meat and some dried beans. Red is symbolic of blood, self sacrifice and passion. During the Japanese civil wars (1467-1568), red was loved by the samurai and worn as a symbol of strength and power in battle.

Green 青 ao - The word for blue, 青 (ao), actually refers to both blue and green. The word for green came into usage during the Heian period (794 – 1185). This category includes leafy vegetables and herbs and oily fish (mackerel, smelt, sardines). The color green is symbolic of energy, eternity, vitality, growth and fertility.

Yellow 黄 ki - includes fruits, vegetables and eggs. It is symbolic of courage, nobility, beauty and cheerfulness.

The Five Tastes

Salt (鹹 kan)
Sweet (甘 kan)
Sour (酸 san)
Bitter (苦 ku)
Spicy (辛 shin)

Umami (うま味) --Umami comes from the Japanese word umai - meaning delicious & savory-literally translates to "delicious"

Five Ways to Prepare Food - raw (aemaze, water chestnuts) simmered (o-zoni, kabocha), fried (smelt), steamed (fish) and roasted or grilled (fish, possibly eggplant).

https://www.savoryjapan.com/learn/culture/power.of.five.html

*Corrected--removed "remove" and replaced with "course".

For more information please see the following: Serve it Forth: A Periodical Column of Historical Cooks-"Of Course its "Course" or Remove 'Remove'" By Elise Fleming.  You will see it on the left side of the page.

If you have not visited "Serve it Forth" please do--it is a wealth of information for anyone interested in historic cooking. 

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 Feast Symbolism - Marimo Balls

https://shop.pistilsnursery.com/products/moon-vase-marimo-set

Marimo balls will be part of the table decorations at feast.  With Luck, the tables will have a zen garden, with a light feature containing a netted candle holder that will resemble a Japanese float, a flameless candle, and as a water feature, a small aquarium containing marimo balls. 


Marimo Balls - Marimo balls symbolize love, luck and prosperity. The story begins as a tale of star-crossed lovers, Senato, the daughter of the Ainu Tribal Chief and her lover Manibe, a commoner.


Senato, daughter of the chieftain of the Ainu tribe, had long wavy black hair down to her shoulders and was tall and strong. She was the jewel of the Ainu tribe. Beautiful as she was she wouldn't have her days sitting around so she went out foraging with the tribal women. She went to fish for salmon one day with a small group of women, when out of nowhere a herd of galloping deer crash into the waters scaring away all the fish and splashing the women.

The deer were frightened at the sight of the ladies and had turned around on themselves stumbling about as the men riding horses galloped in behind them. The men all with shoulder length dark colored hair, musky growly beards, and dressed in elk skins were wielding strong bows. They shot forceful arrows at the deer and with swift clanks the six deer dropped to the ground.

The princess Senato looked up from her now empty fish basket at the gloating men and her eyes meet with the soft somber eyes of Manibe the only man without glee on his face. The men jumped down to retrieve the deer as Senato and the other women look around fumbling in the river waters for the fish that remained.

As Senato was reaching over to gather a lost salmon from the waters Manibe appeared behind her and tapped her shoulder. She jerked up startled. Manibe looked down at his hands sheepishly. Senato followed his gaze to find some fish bundled up, it appeared he grabbed them from downstream as the other men tied the deer to the horses. She looked down at the fish bundle and smiled.

Months continued on and similar gift exchanges of minor accounts occurred. Princess Senato gave him gloves for his hands, embroidery patches, and leather bindings while Manibe gifted a small bone dagger, many elaborate flower arrangements, and a circular stone pebble necklace pendant. The gifts were given and cherished in secret. The two enduring souls kept their tale a secret for Manibe was but a simple commoner. With great secrecy came great grief about lying to the tribe. It slowly took a toll on Senato. So much so to the point, she asked Manibe to confront her father with her about their love.

Together the two told the chief of their love for one another. Princess Senato gushed and continued on not crossing the stern look off the chief's face the slightest. He did not give blessings for the two to be together. Senato was escorted to her room and Manibe was told not to continue on with Senato sternly by the chief and his advisors.

The two met up in secret two days later and decided if the tribe would not have them they would leave. They ran off into the desolate woods along the lake near Mount Meakan where they lived out their lives. The Ainu are animist. Animist believe everything in nature holds a kamuy, a spirit or god, on the inside. Meaning from the trees to the water and the grass walked upon everything natural held a kamuy spirit within. Decades after the crossed lovers ran off into the mystical dark woods the mysterious moss balls appeared in the lake. Rumors have spread that in time Senato and Manibes spirits metamorphosed into the Marimo Moss Balls in Lake Akan and the rest of the region.

Some believe it may have had to do with the mythical beings the two lived with amongst the dark misunderstood woods. The green balls flourished and ever since then, Marimo Moss Balls have been given as symbolic gifts to partners who wish to spend the rest of their days together. With love, luck, and prosperity Senato and Manibes enchanting tale of cross love will endure through time and tales morphed.

The star-crossed love story of Minabe and Senato has come to symbolize Japanese Marimo moss balls as a token of everlasting love. The endurance of the moss balls, that can live for hundreds of years, is a poetic representation of a love that can endure the weathers of time and tribulations.




https://mossballpets.com/pages/a-love-story

Monday, September 16, 2019

Battle of Five Armies Feast 9/12/2015


Blast from the Past--after the event was held I attempted to get all of the recipes compiled, but was unsuccessful.


Sep 11, 2015 at 6 PM – Sep 13, 2015 at 12 PM
Indian Hills 4-H Camp


Come join the Barony of Flaming Gryphon as the forces of the Baronies of Flaming Gryphon, Middle Marches, Brendoken, and Red Spears battle to protect their lands from the forces of Duke Edmund of Lozengia. The Duke claims to possess a document granting him sovereignty over lands currently held in fief from the Crown by the Barons. This disagreement over points of law will be settled, and bragging rights awarded, during this very special Battle of Five Armies at Harvest Days. All comers can enjoy heavy and rapier combat, archery competitions, a populace choice A&S competition, classes, youth activities, and a feast cooked outdoors. And, yes, the Tavern Brawl is on!


First - Lozengia -On the table: Bread, cheese, butter.

Hors d'oeuvres: Tarts of Coneys in Sauce, Loseyns (Cheese Lasagna), fresh cherries and berries

Second- Middle Marches

Ragout of Pork, chestnuts and apples, Leek and Mushroom Tarts, Wilted greens

Third - Red Spears

Roasted leg of goat, Arroz con Caldo de Carne-rice cooked in meat broth, Apicius flower Drink - sharbat

Fourth -Bendoken

Lamb Pasties and Chicken Pasties, Honeyed Carrots

Fifth  -Barony Flaming Gryphon

Elizabethan Banqueting Course consisting of, dry suckets of candied plum, melon, pear, fig, beets, carrots, parsnips, ginger, orange and lemon peel, Comfits of anise, caraway and fennel, Fruit Paste of quince and rosewater, peach, strawberry, raspberry and honey, Shellbread, Fine Cakes, Marzipan, Gingerbread, Mint muscadines, Callishones and Manus Christi with violets and dianthus

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlj. Noteye - Nutty (Incomplete)



When I first came across the instructions for creating Noteye, in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin  I was intrigued.  The instructions call for using hazel leaves, most likely the eaves of the European Hazel or Filbert (Corylus avellana) in addition to nuts (notys) that have been fried in grease.  From previous research  Cxlij. Vyande Ryalle. - A Royal Dish (incomplete recipe), I had learned that hazel leaves are considered a forage food.  It appears that you are using them to not only color the dish, but also to impart a specific flavor. I do not have access to the leaves, so unfortunately am unable to adequately recreate the recipe 😞. My first thoughts on interpretation are below. I do hope that someone who does have access does try it and remarks upon it.

Image result for hazelnuts and leaves botanical illustration.Cxlj. Noteye.—Take a gret porcyoun of Haselle leuys, & grynd in a morter as smal as þou may, whyl þat þey ben ȝonge; take þan, & draw vppe a þrift Mylke of Almaundys y-blaunchyd, & temper it with Freysshe broþe; wryng out clene þe Ius of þe leuys; take Fleysshe of Porke or of Capoun, & grynd it smal, & temper it vppe with þe mylke, & caste it in a potte, & þe Ius þer-to, do it ouer þe fyre & late it boyle; take flour of Rys, & a-lye it; take & caste Sugre y-now þer-to, & Vynegre a quantyte, & pouder Gyngere, & Safroun it wel, & Salt; take smal notys, & breke hem; take þe kyrnellys, & make hem whyte, & frye hem vppe in grece; plante þer-with þin mete & serue forth.

141. Noteye - Take a great portion of hazel leaves, and grind in a mortar as small as you may, while that they be young; take then and draw up a thrift milk of almonds blanched and temper it with fresh broth; wring out clean the juice of the leaves; take flesh of pork or of capon, and grind it small, and temper it up with the milk, and cast it into a pot, and the juice there-to, do it over the fire and let it boil; take flour of rice, and mix it; take and cast sugar enough thereto, and vinegar a quantity and powder ginger, and saffron it well, and salt.  Take small nuts and break them; take the kernels, and make them white, and fry them up in grease; plant there-with your meat, and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe

Handful of young hazel leaves
1 c. almond milk made with broth of pork or chicken
1/4 pd. pork or chicken, minced
1-2 tbsp. Rice Flour
2 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Ginger
Pinch Saffron
Salt to taste
2-3 Hazel Nuts
Oil

Grind your hazel leaves in a mortar, you may want to add a bit of salt to them so that they grind well. As an alternative, place your leaves in a blender with a little bit of water and blend well.  Strain well.  Place your almond milk, saffron,  and ground pork or chicken in a pot along with the strained juice of the hazel leaves and bring to a boil.  Add rice flour and sugar and cook till it begins to thicken. Add vinegar, ginger and salt and cook for a few minutes more.  Meanwhile, lightly toast your nuts in grease after removing the skins.  Prior to serving, garnish with the nuts.












Monday, July 1, 2019

Feast Proposals

What have I been up to lately? I know the blog gets "quiet" so I thought I would share some of the newer things I have been learning.  I have put together three proposals because menu planning is something I do for fun.  The site has a few challenges, the first of which is very primitive (which is polite for non-existent) kitchen facilities.

Challenge 1: Put together a meal that can be served cool, room temperature or warm at best-no hot food.

Challenge 2: Clean up after the fact is going to be a challenge --wherever possible use disposable dishwear.

Challenge 3: Distance to site -- the facilities are about an hour away and I have a smallish car which will make transporting food to site interesting without multiple trips.

Challenge 3 was the easiest to resolve..I'm borrowing a truck..look out world. For food transport I am getting multiple coolers.  Ta-Dah.

So the menu.  Italian & Roman menus lend themselves best to this kind of cooking. Italian cooking specifies food "on the table", "from the credenza" and "from the kitchen".  So my first proposal was based on Scappi and La Singolare Dottrina di M. Domenico, where some of the terms I used in the proposal come from.

Proposal #1- Late 15th-Century Italian Menu 

Servitio di credenza posto in Tavola (on the table)

Capi di latte serviti con zuccharo sopra - Head of milk served with sugar above
Morselletti di biscotti - morselletti of biscuits
Uva bianchi i neve - black and white grapes
Comer Higos a la Francesa - To eat figs in the French Fashion
Biscottini alla savoiarda -Savoyard Biscuits
Biscottini di zuccaro - Sugar Biscuits


Primo servito di Credenza - First service from the side board

Insalata di mele crude - Salad of Apples and Onions
Insalata di arance tagliate a fette, servite con zucchero e acqua di rose - Sliced orange salad with rosewater and sugar
Preparare una crostata di funghi per un giorno in prestito - To prepare a crostata of mushrooms for a day in Lent
Per far crostate cioe pan ghiotto con barbaglia de porco, o presciutto - To prepare crostate -- that is, gourmand bread - with salted pork jowl or proscuitto

Secondo servizio di credenza

Salciccione cott'in vino - pork sausage cooked in a red wine broth, served cold and sliced
lingua di manzo salata e affumicata servita fredda- salted and smoked beef tongue served cold
Capponi Sopramentati serviti freddo con capparetto sopra - Chicken "Sopramentato"
Vaccina salpresa alessata, servito con petrosemolo Salted pressed beef, boiled served with parsley
Una torta di farro - A rice tart
Mustardo amabile - sweet mustard
Salsa viridis - Green Sauce
Sapor de prugne - dried plum sauce
Carciofi cotti serviti con sale e pepe all'aceto- cooked artichokes with vinegar, salt and pepper
Capperi e olive assortite - capers and assorted olives
Composto di rape, carote, cetriolo e finocchio - Pickled turnips, carrots, cucumber and fennel


Terzo servizio di credenza

Per fare la pizza di molti strati, comunemente freddi pasta secca a strati- To make pizza of many layers, commonly called a cold dry layered pastry.
Mandorle e noci fresche   -Fresh walnuts and almonds
Pere e mele - Pears and Apples
Cascio- cheese
Neve di latte, servita con zuccaro - Snow of milk
Cialdoni fatti a scartocci - Wafers made like paper

Levata la tovaglia-Raise the tablecloth

Finnocchio dolce verde- Sweet Green Fennel (Candied Fennel Stalks)
Stecchi in piatti con acqua rosa   Toothpicks in plates with rose water
Conditi, & confettioni a beneplacito  Confits and candies to one's taste

Proposal number two is based on one of the personas of the current prince/princess.  This is a Japanese style feast.  I will be the very first to admit there is NOT a lot out there on pre-Edo period food.  Edo period is late for us, so the first challenge was to come to an understanding of what was and what was not available in period, including cooking methods.  While the methods and foods are plausible, and some of the recipes can be traced to sources in period--not all of the dishes you find here have historic roots.  The saving grace is that Japanese cooking is very traditional.

This is at best a guess of what would have been served.

Proposal #2 - Muromachi period (1336–1573) Honzen Ryori (本膳料理) Style Meal 

Seasonings on the table include: Shoyu, Pickled Ginger, Rice Vinegar and Salt

Hon-Zen-first tray:

Namazu kabayaki (catfish kabayaki--catfish in lieu of unagi or eel--pan fried catfish, with a sweet and spicy sauce made of soy, mirin, sake and sugar)
Gohan - Rice
Mikawa ae (cucumber, wakame salad with imitation crab)
Namasu (daikon and carrot salad)
Crane broth (roasted duck or chicken, udon noodles and mushrooms in broth)
Edamame (lightly steamed and salted soybeans)

Nino-zen - Second Tray
Shimofuri (lightly steamed fish) served with Sho no Irizake (a sauce made with sake, komgu, umeboshi and bonito flakes)
Ebi No Umani (Shrimp simmered in Sake serve with a sauce of sake, mirin, dashi and soy)
Sumashi-Jiru (clear clam soup)
Kikka Kabu (pickled turnips cut into the shape of chrysanthemum flowers)
Gohan - Rice

Sanno-zen - Third Tray
Kuri Gohan (chestnut rice)
Kabocha no Nimonao (simmered squash or pumpkin
Matsutake soup (clear mushroom soup)
Shōga pōku-maki nasu (ginger pork rolls stuffed with eggplant)
Kakuni (braised pork belly)

Okashi お菓子 (Sweets)

Anmitsu-  a selection of fruits, agar agar jelly,  green tea with jasmine and lLychee ice cream, mochi, red bean paste drizzled with a sweet sugar syrup

The last proposal, French, because our lovely princess has a French persona. This is based on Le Menagier. 

Proposal #3 - French Feast based on menus from Le Menagier de Paris ~1393

Premier plateau - First Platter 

Pastez de champignons - Mushroom Pies 
Parma Tartes- Meat Pies
Viandes tranchées froides avec leurs sauces - Cold sliced chicken and pork with two sauces 
Calaminee- Calaminee
Froide sauge - Cold Sage
Saucisse avec calimafrey - Sausages with Calimafrey sauce (Mustard Jance)
Salade au vinaigre- Salad with Vinegar
Olives et câpres Olives and Capers

Deuxième plateau - Second platter

Cretonne de Pois Nouveaux - Cretonnee of  peas 
Viande salée et grossière composée de bœuf et de jambon - Salted and coarse meat that is to say beef and ham 
Boulettes de viande - Meatballs
Moutarde- Mustard
Tarte aux herbes, œufs et fromage - A tart of herbs, cheese and eggs 
Bourbelier de sanglier à la sauce épicée - Bourbelier of wild boar in spiced sauce
La maniere de faire composte - The way to make composte (honeyed vegetables)
Gelées pour un jour de viande - Jellies for a meat day

Troisième plateau - Third platter

Poires d’angoisse - Pears in Syrup 
Tailliz de karesme - Lenten Slices
Flaons de cresme de lait - Cream Flans 

Boute Hors

Epices de chambre - Chamber spices
Fruit Confit - candied fruit
Noix sucrées- Sugared nuts 

All three menus can be prepared with the challenges presented at site.  The Japanese style feast was chosen.  The food is food that was available in the Muromachi period (1336–1573).  Most of the recipes are from a  partially translated 17th-century Japanese cookbook --which is the earliest cookbook currently available.  There are a couple of additions that are out of period, namely soy sauce in favor of the more period Sho no Irizake, because of its familiar flavor, and ice cream, which is an 18th century invention...but...ICE CREAM? This is one of the times I'm happy to fall out of period...I'm an ice cream junkie.  As I work out the recipes I will be posting them on the blog.  My project is set aside for a few more months I think.

Enjoy!

Update: 7/102019 Challenge 4--No cooking surface on site (stove, oven, etc.) Grill time baby!! :-)  This is not my first rodeo cooking without a kitchen.  My very first feast was done at a site that had forgotten we had rented the kitchen and tore it out the week of the event.  The sink was two brand new trashcans and a hose, the site generously provided a very nice outdoor grill, and guests donated camp stoves.  Feast was tasty--venison pie, grilled duck with sauce, and coney in cive, cooked in broth made from boiling the duck prior to grilling it....YUM YUM!



Thursday, May 23, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette & lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette


After some debate, I placed both interpretations from Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin for tench in sauce or broth on the same blog post.  My reasoning for this is that there is more similarities than differences between the two.  The Tenche in Cyueye includes onions which the Tenche in Bruette does not.

The Glossary of Medieval & Renaissance Culinary Terms defines cyueye in the following way:

cive, civey(e), ciuey, cyuey, ceue, cyueye = Ragout or stew (possibly derived from a word meaning 'onion' (Plouvier). (Viandier)  - Among other modern usages, this is probably a derivative of civey, which was at one time named for, and characterized by, the possibility of thickening a sauce with finely chopped onion, cooked till very soft. Some medieval recipes for civeys (for example, hare in civey) also call for blood as an additional thickener; nowadays the dish, which is now sometimes called civet, is mostly characterized by thickening and enriching the broth with the reserved blood of the critter you're cooking. It will coagulate if boiled, and turn very dark, but if heated properly it will assume a velvety texture similar to a stirred custard, and acquire a deep russet shade almost like a mole-poblano-type sauce. (Troy)
I was intrigued by the instructions to scald or boil the fish before roasting it.  Scalding is a method of cleaning and killing any microorganisms that might be harmful.  It involves heating a liquid (in this case water) or milk to just below boiling.  If you have a thermometer 180 degrees is best.  If you don't you want to keep an eye on the side of the pan. When you see small bubbles forming around the side and steam starting to whisp off of the pan, then you can remove your liquid.

.lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette.—Take þe Tenche, an sethe hem & roste hem, an grynde Pepir an Safroun, Bred and Ale, & tempere wyth þe brothe, an boyle it; þen take þe Tenche y-rostyd, an ley hym on a chargeoure; þan ley on þe sewe a-boue

94. Tench in Broth- Take the tench, and boil him and roast him, and grind pepper and saffron, bread and ale, and temper with the broth, and boil it, then take the tench roasted, and lay him on a charger; then lay on the sauce above.


1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of saffron
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup ale
3 tbsp. fish broth

In keeping with the instructions, I scalded the fish by placing it in a pot with just enough water to cover it.  I then heated the pan until I saw small bubbles forming around the edge of it and steam starting to form.  Due to modern methods of cleaning and butchering fish, I imagine you could have skipped this step without difficulty.

I removed the fish from the pan and placed it on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roasted it in the oven until it was done.  While the fish was cooking in the oven I took a few tablespoons of the broth and added the saffron to it.  Once the saffron had strongly colored the water, I added it to the ale (ok confession time--I used Sam Adams Summer Shandy made with lemon peel and grains of paradise) and then soaked the bread crumbs in it.  Once the bread was soggy I put it in the pot and brought it to a boil until it formed a thick sauce.

After the fish had finished cooking I plated it and served.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey 


.lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye.—Take a tenche, an skalde hym, roste hym, grynde Pepir an Safroun, Brede an Ale, & melle it to-gederys; take Oynonys, hakke hem, an frye hem in Oyle, & do hem þer-to, and messe hem forth.


95. Tench in Civey - Take a tench, and scald him, roast him, grind pepper and saffron, bread and ale, and mix it together; take onions, hack them, and fry them in oil, and do them there-to, and mess him forth.

1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch of saffron
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup ale
3 tbsp. fish broth
3 tbsp. onions
1 tbsp. oil

To make this dish, follow the instructions above.  The additional step is to lightly brown the finely chopped onion in oil, and after plating, garnish the plate with it.

Both of these dishes were enjoyed by the taste testers, but they were not the day's winner--the best dish of the day was lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce.  However, this dish would be something I would be happy to serve at any feast, a vigil, lunch and if fresh fish were available at camp.  It was simple to make, came together with very little fuss and delicious.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft. This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own. I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - lxxxxvj. Tench in Sawce - Tenche in Sauce


The Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin gives instructions for three dishes made with Tench.  Two of them, lxxxxiiij. Tenche in bruette - Tench in Broth  and lxxxxv. Tenche in cyueye - Tench in Civey  closely resemble each other.  This dish differs not only in the manner in which the fish is cooked but also in how it is served.  Unlike the other two dishes, where the fish is boiled, then roasted, this dish simply calls for boiling the fish.  This dish also advises us to " serue it forth þanne alle colde"--this is the first set of instructions in the Harleian MS 279 that actually advises to  serve the dish cold! So naturally, I had to try it.

Tench, also known as Doctor Fish, is not generally eaten anymore. It is freshwater fish that thrives in slow moving fresh and brackish waters. It is native to  Eurasia and Western Europe.  Sadly, Tench is not native to the states.  So, I had to find a suitable alternative that I could purchase.  Fortunately, a cookbook published in 1852 pointed me in a suitable direction.  The "Illustrated London Cookery Book" has a recipe entitled "How to Cook Carp, Tench, Perch, etc.
518. Carp, Tench, Perch, &C
Dry well with clean cloth, dredge with flour, fry them until they are brown. If the pure flavour of the fish is desired, they should be cooked as soon after being caught as possible, and as simply as above described; but if it is desired to make a dish, the fish may be placed after having been fried in a stewpan, with a gill of port wine, the same quantity of water, the juice of half a lemon, two dessert spoonfuls of walnut ketchup, half the quantity of mushroom ditto, or powder, sprinkle with cayenne pepper, an onion stuck with cloves, and a small horse-radish, from which the outer coat has been scraped: stew until the gravy is reduced to a rich thickness, remove the fish, strain the gravy as clear as possible, thicken it, and pour it over the fish; serve.
.lxxxxvj. Tenche in Sawce.—Take a tenche whan he is y-sothe, and ley him on a dysshe; take Percely & Oynonys, & mynce hem to-gederys; take pouder Pepir, & Canelle, & straw þer-on; take Vynegre, an caste Safroun þer-on, an coloure it, an serue it forth þanne alle colde.

46. Tench in Sauce  - Take a tench when he is boiled and lay him on a dish; take parsley & onions and mince them together; take powder pepper, and cinnamon, and strew there-on; take vinegar, and caste saffron there-on and color it, and serve it forth when all cold.

Interpreted Recipe

1/4  pound fatty firm textured fish such as carp, perch, tench, bluefish or bass
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vinegar + water to taste (I used 1/4 cup fish broth)
pinch of saffron

First I have to say this is a beautiful dish! White fish, green parsley floating in a saffron scented broth with just a hint of acidity from the vinegar presents a visually stunning dish. To make this dish even more unusual and definitely on a "must be served at a future event" list, it is to be served cold!

I placed the fish in the water and brought to a low boil, cooking it until the fish was completely cooked through.  While the fish cooked, I minced the onions and dried parsley and set them aside.  I then mixed the pepper and the cinnamon and set it aside.  To be fair, I did grind up a couple of cubeb berries to add to my black pepper and I think the flavor popped. Once the fish was cooked I drew off a1/4th of a cup of fish broth, added a good pinch of saffron and the vinegar.

While the saffron steeped in the broth, I plated the fish.  I confess I was a bit concerned about the taste of raw onion, but the instructions do not indicate it is to be cooked--it was also a needless concern.  I sprinkled the pepper and cinnamon mixture over the fish, added the onions mixture and then poured the broth on top of it and placed it in the fridge to cool. Something magical happened after pouring the broth over the fish and then allowing it to cool. The fish picked up the flavor of saffron and vinegar and the onions mellowed. This was the winning dish of the day.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft. This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own. I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges.- The Right Way to Cook Cabbages

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges.- The Right Way to Cook Cabbages

This set of instructions is located after Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxlv. Blaunche Perreye. - White Pea Soup in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin.  The instructions are a bit vague, but seem to indicate that you can use the method found in the previous recipe to also cook cabbage.  There also appears to be a second set of instructions that indicate, you can cook your cabbage simply in boiling water and then salt it as you would the blaunche perreye prior to serving.  Prepared either way, this would be a dish that would be appropriate to serve for lent.

.Cxlvj. Ryȝth so Caboges*. [ i.e. Cabbages in just the same way. ] Ben seruyd, saue men sayn it is gode Also to ley hem in a bagge ouernyȝth in rennyng streme of watere, & a-morwe sette vppe watere, & when þe water is skaldyng hot, þrow hem þer on, & hoole hem in þere wyse be-forsayd, & serue fortℏ.

Cxlvj - Ry3th so Caboges. Ben seruyd, saue men sayn it is gode Also to ley hem in a bagge ouerny3th in rennyng streme of watere, and a-morwe sette vppe watere, and when the water is skaldyng hot, throw hem ther on, and hoole hem in there wyse be-forsayd, and serue forth.

146. Right so Caboges -- Being served, save men saying it is good.  Also to lay them in a bag overnight in running stream of water, and a-morrow (the next day) set up water, and when the water is scalding hot, throw  them there-on, and hull  them in there wise be aforesaid, and serve forth.

Interpretation I

1/8 cabbage, cleaned, cored and cut into ribbons
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Bring water and wine to boil, add cabbage and cook until cabbage is tender.  Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Interpretation II

1/8 cabbage, cleaned, cored and cut into ribbons
1 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Bring water to boil and cook cabbage until tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve


Of the two interpretations, the one with the addition of the wine was the personal favorite. The addition of wine elevated the dish to something quite spectacular. Cabbage is one of those dishes that is inexpensive to make and goes a loooooooong way at an event.  The first interpretation has gone onto my list of things to serve in the future.  I can also see this as being a very easy "camp dish" as well.

I feel like I need to start placing a caveat at the bottom of each post--I am a hobbyist and I am still very much learning my craft.  This is something I do for fun, and with a hope to introduce individuals to food history and entice them to do research on their own.  I hope that they find my posts fun and informative and intriguing enough to strike out on their own. I am - not - an authority, nor do I masquerade as one. The sad reality is that no matter how much we learn about this kind of cooking, we will never be authorities, at best, we are guessing at the author's and the cook's intent. I welcome *constructive* criticism and I will own up to mistakes.