Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making salted lemons

I just bought a case of lemons on a really good sale.  Since I had them, I decided to make chahn muoi (Vietnamese salted lemons and the salty lemon drink made from them.)  It was super easy and got me looking around.  I found some fabulous looking Indian pickles to try making as well as Moroccan salted lemons.  Some of the Moroccan dishes fall nicely into SCA period.  There's a tagine with chicken, lemons, apricots, kalamata olives and a honey sauce that sounds delicious.  Even more exciting, I located Lancelot de Casteau's Ouverture de Cuisine.  Published in 1604, the recipes are French.  Several of them use "sour salty lemons."  Over a dozen of them are listed in the preserved lemons files at Stefan's Florilegium.  There's fish sausages, a simple boiled capon, quite a few veal dishes, and some lamb.  A great variety of recipes to try.  I'm going to make some of this style of preserved lemon today, which are just packed in salt rather than in a salted brine like the ones I just made.  I can't wait to start experimenting with them in a month when they are ready to try.

This recipe from al-Baghdahi provided by Cariodoc in the same file from the Florilegium also looks delicious and may have to be my first use of the lemons.

al-Baghdadi p. 41/ 6

Cut fat meat into middling pieces with the tail; if chickens are
used, quarter them. Put in the saucepan with a little salt, and cover
with water: boil, removing the scum. When almost cooked take large
onions and leeks, peel, cut off the tails, wash in salt and water,
dry and put into the pot. Add dry coriander, cummin, mastic and
cinnamon, ground fine. When cooked and the juices are dried up, so
that only the oil remains, ladle out into a large bowl. Take Persian
milk, put in the saucepan, add salted lemon and fresh mint. Leave to
boil: then take off the fire, stirring. When the boiling has
subsided, put back the meat and herbs. Cover the saucepan, wipe its
sides, and leave to settle over the fire [i.e. at a low heat], then

Fat meat (lamb) or chicken or both:    2 leeks       4 c yogurt
   3 1/2 lb chicken or 2 1/2 lb boneless lamb     1 t ground coriander
        1/2 lemon
1 T salt      1 t cumin     1 T salt
water to cover-no more than 1 quart    1/8-1/16 t mastic   1/2 c
fresh mint = ~1 oz
4 medium onions     1/2 T cinnamon

Chicken version: Cook chicken about 30 minutes. If you want to serve
it boned (not specified in the recipe, but it makes it easier to cook
and to eat-we have done it both ways), remove it from the water, let
cool enough to handle, bone, and put the meat back in the pot. Add
leeks, onions and spices. Cook away the rest of the water, remove
meat and vegetables, and add yogurt, lemon, salt and mint; mint is
chopped and lemon is quartered and each quarter sliced into two or
three times with a knife. Let come to a simmer and put back the meat
and vegetables. Heat through, not letting it boil, and serve. Use
proportionately less water if you expand the recipe substantially.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gold? Green? Not sure, but there's rhinestones

I've been working on this dress since a little before 12th Night.  It was supposed to be just a quick dress with a bunch of marginal materials.  I got this lightweight brocade for really cheap and I had oodles and oodles of rhinestones I'd picked up on clearance at Joann's.  And then there were the tacky buttons I bought at the local quilt shop when they were closing it out.  Not to mention the curtain valance.  It was supposed to be tacky.  My inner costumer was totally in the driver's seat.

Ummm.  I'll admit it, I LOVE THIS DRESS!  I still have shoulder ruffs to do, the partlet, and a big standing ruff, but so far I'm totally adoring it.  It is shaping up to be much more than the sum of its parts. I have no idea why.  Maybe it is tacky, but I feel great in it.

I'll get a full photoshoot once I finish the ruffs, but you get the idea.  Here's me in the herald's meeting at the end of the day, so I'm a bit bedraggled, but check out the cute little scuffia I made on the drive up.  I pearled a round doily and gathered it.  Ta-Da!  I keep thinking about doing a tutorial for it, but it seems like that'd be too simple. What do you think?