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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RUIBARBO, RHUBARB WITH RECIPE FOR RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY PIE

Rhubarb
Photo from: Katie Lynn
OCast ruybarbo L. Rheum officinale, Ar rībās, Fr. rhubarbe officinale Eng. rhubarb. Rhubarb is a native of China. It was brought west via the Rha River (now called Volga) where it picked up its name. Then it spread to Greece and Levant (Italy). During Arab occupation of Spain it grew wild in the Sierra Nevada outside Granada and used not only for consumption but also for decorative gardens. 

Usually, the roots and seeds were bought in medical form as purgatives and subsequently as astringents. They were thought good for the humors. Further, the roots served as a medicine for cathartics. The juice from them relieved swollen gums. Stewed, in small doses, it has been given to children as a laxative. 

In cookery, the edible leaves became a common vegetable in Spain at least. They were eaten also as a fruit. The leaves were stewed or baked in pies and added to sauces. In Andalusia, rhubarb became an ingredient in recipes originating from Persia. The Bagdad Cookery Book calls for the juice extracted from the stalks to flavor meat. The Wusla il.a Al-Habib uses it as a vegetable serving it with chicken and meat in general. Perry indicates that the stems were macerated in those cases. Too, rhubarb was added to syrups, compotes, pastries and comfits and made into candy. 

The 13th C Anon MSS calls for rhubarb in a “Great Drink of Roots” and in a “Cheering Syrup”. The Archpriest of Hita mentions eating rhubarb with goat liver for lunch. Villena, in his cover letter to Sancho de Jarava with his manuscript of Arte Cistore for editing in the beginning of the 15th C, explains that it was generally used in sauces and prepared dishes in the Middle Ages. Calero added that it was used  as much as it is in English bake goods today. Villena provides instructions on how to carve it. 

[Anón/Huici.1966:488:267-269:492:269-270; ES: Perry, “Description.” 2001:312; Perry. “Kitāb.” 2001:472; Robsinson: “Studies.”134; Ruíz-Brey. 1965:1288b:200; and Villena/Calero. 2002:114]

MOM'S RUHBARD AND STRAWBERRY PIE

Ingredients

Yummy! - Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie
Photo by: Lord-Williams
pie crust
2 c chopped rhubarb
2 c sliced strawberries
1 c sugar
1/3 flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC.

Spread a pie tin with butter and sprinkle with four. Line it with pie crust.  Bake in oven 15 minutes to slightly brown crust and remove.

Mix the remaining ingredients and pour the filling into the pie pan. Dot with butter.

Bake 35-45 minutes until crust is browned.




Monday, January 29, 2018

RUDA . RUE IN A SAUCE FOR FOWL


Rue Plant
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Gr rhyte, L. Ruta graveolens, Ar. sedāb or fijān, Fr. rue, Eng. common rue. It is a native of the Mediterranean. Ruta in Latin means bitter while in Greek feuo means to set free. Both definitions are thought logical as it is bitter and it was thought that rue as a medicine freed the sick people disease. In England, rue means “to feel sorry for”. 

In early Christian rituals, branches were used to sprinkle holy water as a sign of repentance. Graveolens means strong smelling. It is believed that the club on playing cards is modeled after the leaf of the rue plant. Greeks and Romans thought that it did not grow as well if planted from seed as plants stolen from neighbors’ gardens. 

Pliny claimed it improved artists’ eyesight. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangleo ate rue to improve their creative vision. It has been used as an eyewash for tired or stained eyesight and since it has been proved to relieve eye tension. To decrease blood pressure and strengthen blood vessels, it has been consumed for its rutin content. It also has been used for colic, intestinal worms, poisons, vertigo, epilepsy and hysteria. Consumed in large amounts, however, it can be carcinogenic or toxic. Women ate it to abort. Arabs chewed it to dispel halitosis. 

In cookery it was a basic ingredient for moretum, a Roman dish also containing aged goat cheese, oil vinegar and garlic. It is eaten as a vegetable and it added to stews, sausages and other meat dishes and wine. It is used to flavor cheeses, salad dressing and sauces and added to pickles for fruits. Further, over the ages, it has been used as an insect repellant. In Al-Andalus, it was associated with sumac. In spite of all this, Gitlitz claims that today it is unsafe for culinary use. There are American sumacs, which are poisoneous. 

[Anón/Huici.1966:10:20:192:123; Apicius/Flower. 1958: JMI:XVIII:57-58:II:I:4:63:etc; Covarrubias. 1998:916:38-61 ES: “Medicinal.” Sep 30, 02; Gitlitz. 1999:200; Lord. ES: Medieval Spanish Chef, “ánginas de esparto.” Dec 10, ‘’11: and “manzana.” Mar 3, 16; and Pepys  1047. 15th C?:11]

VI: III:3 FOR PARTRIDGE, HAZEL-HEN OR TURTLE-DOVE, p. 145 ADAPTED FROM APICIUS/FLOWER IV: 111:3. IN PERDICE T ATTAGENA ET IN TURTURE, p 144

Ingredients

Delicious Rue Stuffing
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 partridge, hazel-hen or turtle-dove[1]
½ tsp white pepper
1 c chopped celery leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tsp rue leaves
½ c liquamen
½ c wine
1 tbsp oil

Preparation

Prepare fowl for roasting or roasting on a spit. Make a stuffing with a mixture of the remaining solid ingredients. When done, put stuffing in blender and with broth, wine and oil. Serve with cooked fowl. 



[1] Chicken was used as no other bird was available.

Friday, January 26, 2018

RUBÍ, RUBY, A PRECIOUS STONE


rubrum (red), Eng ruby, a precious stone valued much more than a diamond during the Middle Ages when exported from India. By wearing it on the ring or baby finger of the right hand during meals, it annuled poison in foods and other misfortunes while eating. It’s powers were thought to provide happiness, health, success, protection and cured one’s ills among other things. See manos, comer con. [Alonso Luengo. 1994:44; “Gemstone” Apr 3, 03; and Villena/Calero. 2002:16:11a]

Ruby and Diamond Cluster in 18ct Gold
Photo from Lawrence Chard

Monday, January 22, 2018

ROSCA WITH A RECIPE FOR KING'S DAY CAKE

coil, ring, twist, curl, spiral; ring shaped cake made with wheat flour, if available, and yeast, covered with egg white, sugar, sprinkled with colored sweets and decorated with loops. The cake dates back to pagan times. Three hundred years go, the Christian church picked up on the tradition, using the same type of cake in Kings’ Day celebrations on January 6th. Although not traditional during the Middle Ages, a home baked cake was made to celebrate the arrival of the three kings to Bethlehem on January 6th. [ES: Carroll-Mann.Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:ftn 133; and García Rey. 1934:13]

TODAY’S KING’S DAY CAKE, THE SUCCESSOR OF THE ROSCA, A MEDIEVAL RING SHAPED CAKE

Ingredients

Yummy Kings' Day Cake
Today called "Rascón de Reyes"
Photo by: Lord-Williams
2 c flour
1 c warm milk
1 ½ - 2 tbsp fresh yeast
½ c 120 g sugar
½ c 120 g melted butter or margarine
2 eggs and 1 yolk
2 tsp salt
½ tbsp orange blossom water
zest from 1 large lemon and 1 orange

Garnish
1 egg beaten
candied fruits as desired such as slices of an orange
powdered sugar
figurines that can be baked

Preparation

Mix warm milk with 2-3 tbsp flour. Crumble fresh yeast and add. Mix well. Make a ball out of the dough. Cover and let rise 15-20 minutes in a warm place.


Put the dough in a large bowl and add the rest of the flour and ingredients little by little in the same order as the list of ingredients.


Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. Cover and let sit covered with two or three damp cloths for a couple of hours in a warm spot without air currents, When the dough has doubled in size knead it little by little and shape like 2 or 3 oval crowns as per the desired size or sizes.

Be sure to make the hole in the middle larger then desired for it will shrink when the cake is baked. Let this mass sit for an hour, covered and in a warm spot. If cold, heat oven to a little over º100ºF and turn it off. Put cakes in oven to keep them warm.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 180ºC.

Prepare ingredients to paint the cakes: beat one egg. Prepare and decorate cakes with candied fruit like slices of oranges and sliced almonds. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, stick figurines in dough.

Put cakes in preheated oven at 180º for 15-20 minutes depending on the sizes of the cakes. Remove when done and let cool. If desired, slice cakes horizontally and fill with whipped cream or almond cream.  



ROSQUILLA WITH 13TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR KA'K, LITTLE ROUND PASTRIES, STUFFED WITH SUGAR

Ar. k’ack, kaâk and awwamaat, O.E. kaak Eng. ka’k, cake or round dry bread like biscotti, Lebanese doughnuts, “little coiled things,” a medieval dessert adopted from the Arabs consisting multitude of round pastries made from various types of dough boiled and then baked until very hard.

ka'k cakes before frying
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Two varieties have been found, one using matzoth meal soaked in honey is common in modern Sephardic households today. A recipe for this type of biscotti is included in Ibn Razin’s Fadalat and is stuffed with honey. 

The second variety consists of any finely-milled flour, well kneaded, left to rise and then finely chopped almonds and bran are mixed in with white sugar and rosewater. After being shaped into doughnuts they are baked or fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sugar. The Anon al-Andalus gives four recipes for making plain and stuffed biscotti. Several recipes call for dough made like ka’k. Nola’s recipe has nuts in it and is served with honey. 

[Anón/Huici.1966:427:235:428:235-6:482:263 etc.; Benavides-Barajas. Alhambra. 1999:105-106; ES: Lord-Williams, “harisa,” Feb 16, 15; and “moscada” Dec 9, 15; Ibn Razīn/Granja. 1960:44:20-21; and Nola. 1989:xxxi-2]

KA'K, LITTLE CUPCAKES, STUFFED WITH SUGAR ADAPTED FROM ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS,  #482. ROSQUILLA RELLENA DE AZÚCAR, p 263

Ingredients

Fantastically Delicious Small Pancakes
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For the dough:
3 c flour
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
½ c milk

For the cupcakes:
3 tbsp oil
2 c sugar
2 c peeled almonds
½ c rosewater
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

For the sauce:
1 pk yeast
¼ c honey

¼  c olive or almond oil for frying

Garnish

julep syrup or honey
sugar

Preparation

Make a dough mixing flour, yeast and1 tbsp sugar with oil and ¾ c water.  Cover and let rise.

Grind 2 c sugar and almonds until smooth. Add enough rosewater to knead it. Combine it with the dough and add spices   Make ka'ks, little cupcakes, with this paste.

Dilute starch in water making a thin solution, without salt, and leave it in the leavening until it rises. Then pour in honey and beat it smoothly. Then dip the ka'ks in it, one after the other.

Heat olive oil or almond oil in the frying pan. Add ka’ks and fry lightly. Dip them in julep syrup or of honey. Then you roll them in sugar, if God wishes.


Friday, January 19, 2018

ROSAS WITH RECIPE FOR CANDIED ROSE PETALS

A Rose
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Laguna’s comments on roses were: There are three cultivated species of roses, which are white, red and pink. They are very useful in human life.They are enjoyed for their soft fragrance, the colors are comforting to the sight and the substance of the petals is the most solid. For this apothecaries made rose colored, soothing preserves and syrups.

Roses are dried to make powders with them. The white ones are the poorest of the three. They are used only to distil rosewater. This cannot be done with smoke or lead. They must be distilled in a double glass, like a double boiler.

As the pink roses are from the red and the white they do not have the virtues or the defects of either. The juice from all but especially the pink roses is solutive. For this excellent syrup is made with them as were nine infusions to purge the bile and to clarify the blood. All medicines were improved with pink roses. Cardinal Mendoza purged his body with pink syrup only. That is why he was always so healthy, fresh, gallant; and free of obstructions, which normally tired one out before using it. For this Laguna thought it the healthiest and most catholic medicine God made for human use. It comforted the stomach and the heart. It purges the superfluous humors mildly and opened the obstructions and tempered heat of the urine.

Fresh roses contain more bitterness than astringency and for this they have a more laxative effect than old and dry ones. From their bitterness comes the purgation, which is not as great as the astringency. The rose is cold in the second degree. Pink oil is in the first degree. The juice is in between both. Beside the three differences in roses there is another species of white roses with a very mild smell called white musk-rose and Damascene, which have too much of a laxative effect. If 20-25 petals are eaten before the meal the evacuation will be uncontrollable; for this it is thought they have something corrosive.

The wild rose called “Cynarrohodeon” by the Greeks is the most astringent, the sourest and is less fragrant than hydrangeas. The rose blossoms in constriction and squeezing are more efficacious than all the other parts; physicians took advantage of this knowledge to stop any type of discharge. Sometimes the Greeks call them “Omphalos” which means naval. Aristotle’s treaty on roses presents the problem of why is it that if the naval is sour they are much more fragrant. In sorcery the rose initiated various religious orders in ancient times and in religious art followed by the emblems of love, patience, sacrifice and virginity and is the first of the 12 mystical flowers of the order of the temple of the Rosae Crucis. Its planets are Venus and Jupiter and the zodiac sign is Taurus. 

[Laza, 2002:172-173; Nola  xliii-1; and Nola/Pérez. 1994:208]

THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF’S RECIPE FOR CANDIED ROSE PETALS

1 unsprayed edible rose
1 egg white
½ c extra fine sugar

Preparation

Remove petals from the rose. Carefully wash without bruising and place petals on towels or a cloth to dry. (They will shrink.)

Rt. Rose Pedals Floating in Egg White
Lt: Coated Rose Pedals with Sugar

Photo by: Lord-Willliams
When the petals are completely dry, Beat the egg white with a fork. Put sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a brush, paint both sides of each rose petal with egg white. Then dip each petal into sugar coating both sides.

Place petals on a rack to dry and harden. Eat immediately as they become soft and wet even if stored in a sealed container.