Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poulpette à l’Italienne

Add a drop of Peau d’Espagne to either a bit of warm, freshly brewed tea or spirits and pour over dried Grapes of Corinth to plump them up. Make a farce of finely chopped meat to which you add grated Parmesan, pinions and your plumped raisins and any leftover liquid. Mix well and shape into flat, boat shaped poulpettes [meatballs]; flour and brown in butter. Arrange in a baking dish and pour over a coulis of Partridge [I used browned chicken broth and used it to deglaze the fond from the pan used to brown the poulpettes]. Bake until hot and bubbly and serve immediately.

The Peau d’Espagne will embue your kitchen with aromas redolent of eastern bazaars—heady and delicious!
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Poulpette à l’Italienne
Vous faites une farce cuite à l'ordinaire, point trop fine, & liée d'œufs, de bon goût; vous mettez dedans Parmesan rapé, pignons, raisins de Corinthe entiers; vous mélez bien le tout, & vous roulez vos Poulpettes comme des croquettes, mais plates, & le farinez; vous avez une tourtiere, vous mettez du beurre dedans, & le faites fondre, & arrangez les Poulpettes dedans, & les faites cuire des deux côtés vous faites un bord au plat de la même farce, & le faites cuire; & étant cuit, vous arrangez vos Poulpettes dedans, & vous avez un appareil de peau d'Espagne à l'ordinaire avec un coulis de Perdrix passé à l'Italienne, vous plissez votre plat & les mettez prendre au four, étant cuits, servez chaud; une demie heure au four.

Le Cuisinier Gascon. A Amsterdam. 1740, p.29.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Peau d'Espagne

Peau d’Espagne is a combination of flower and spice oils that is used to impregnate leather with scent. To further enhance the exotic smell, civet (cat musk) and grain musk (obtained from the wild deer whose grain [gland] you see here) are added to gum (tragacanth) mucilage which is used to secure two pieces of leather together under pressure. The resulting Spanish Leather is then used to scent writing paper, ladies gloves & linens—the scent is reputed to last for years. However, the peau d’Espagne can also be used to add flavor to meat dishes.

In the kitchen, use a drop of oil in a carrier oil, such as olive, poured over a dish at the last minute prior to serving, much as one does orange or rose flower water—the heat of the dish will waft a delightfully exotic aroma. Or it can be added to warm tea or spirits used to plump up dried fruit before its inclusion in a receipt.

To scent one’s body, perhaps, is its best use today …

«This fragrance lingers on everything it touches like a rugged kiss from a cowboy soaked in campfire smoke and saddle leather sweat. It smells like the sexiest man you've ever seen in your life, taking a hot outdoor bath in a tin tub, smeared with sweet shaving lather and dust, steaming on a cold high-desert morning.»

«More specifically, according to Havelock Ellis:
“Peau d'Espagne may be mentioned as a highly complex and luxurious perfume, often the favorite scent of sensuous persons, which really owes a large part of its potency to the presence of the crude animal sexual odors of musk and civet. It consists of wash-leather steeped in ottos of neroli, rose, santal, lavender, verbena, bergamot, cloves, and cinnamon, subsequently smeared with civet and musk. It is said by some, probably with a certain degree of truth, that Peau d'Espagne is of all perfumes that which most nearly approaches the odor of a woman's skin; whether it also suggests the odor of leather is not so clear”.»

«1355. Peau d'Espagne, or Spanish Skin, is merely highly-perfumed leather. Take of oil of rose, neroli, and santal, each 1/2 ounce; oil of lavender, verbena, bergamot, each 1/4 ounce; oil of cloves and cinnamon, each 2 drachms; in this dissolve 2 ounces gum benzoin. In this steep good pieces of waste leather for a day or two, and dry it over a line. Prepare a paste by rubbing in a mortar, 1 drachm of civet with 1 drachm of grain musk, and enough gum-tragacanth mucilage to give a proper consistence. The leather is cut up into pieces about 4 inches square; two of these are pasted together with the above paste, placed between 2 pieces of paper, weighted or pressed until dry. It may then be inclosed in silk or satin. It gives off its odor for years; is much used for perfuming paper, envelopes, etc.; for which purpose 1 or 2 pieces of the perfumed leather, kept in the drawer or desk containing the paper, will impart to it a fine and durable perfume.»
Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, by William B. Dick.

Receipt de Cuisine:
Used in Poulpette à l’Italienne – Italian Meatballs

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Exotic Ingredients - Their Receipts & Lores

Today, with our often times bland tastebud experiences, the idea of eating a dish with exotic ingredients, e.g., tastes that we associate with perfumery, may seem off-putting. With this post, I will be creating a sidebar to include exotic ingredients, their receipts for manufacture, lore and links to 18thC recipes in which they were included.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Greens of Summer

In my bowl are greens with sometimes funny names--pigweed, lamb's quarters, corn salat, dandelion, chickories. With them I can make stewed pot herbs, fresh salad, fried greens for inclusion in an omelette, a sandwich. Some can be brewed as tisanes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Estragon - Tarragon

Estragon: plante potagere, d’un goût âcre & aromatique qu’on emploie en cuisine, & les sommités, sur-tout les plus tendres, dans les fournitures des salades.

Cette plante fournit un assaisonnement fort sain; elle augmente l’appetit, facilite la digestion, préserve les humeurs de putridité, ou la corrige; fait périr les vers; est legérement apéritive & calmante.

Tarragon: plant potagere, of a bitter & aromatic taste which one employs in kitchen, & the buds, especially most tender, in the supplies of salads.

This plant provides an extremely healthy seasoning; it increases the appetite, facilitates digestion, preserves moods of putridity, or corrects it [acid tisane]; purges worms; is slightly apéritive & calming.
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Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 263.
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«An old French remedy for insomnia and hyperactivity that's been tried with pretty good success is tarragon tea. Tarragon tea is used for tough insomnia. Just steep 1-1/2 tsp. of the dried, cut herb in 1-3/4 cups boiling water, covered and away from the heat, for 40 minutes. Prepare about an hour before retiring, then strain and drink the tea while it's still lukewarm.

The best way to take tarragon for digestive-related problems is in the form of a homemade vinegar, 1 tbsp. before each meal. To make tarragon vinegar, fill a wide-mouthed fruit jar with the freshly gathered leaves, picked just before the herb flowers, on a dry day. Pick the leaves off the stalks and dry a little on a flat cookie sheet lined with foil in a low-set oven.

Medicinal uses - A simple infusion of tarragon leaves has been used to stimulate the appetite, relieve flatulence and colic, regulate menstruation, alleviate the pain of arthritis and rheumatism and gout, and expel worms from the body. The fresh leaf or root, applied to aching teeth, cuts, or sores, is said to act as a local anesthetic.

Culinary uses - Tarragon is essential in the making of Béarnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, Montpellier butter, sauce tartare, salad dressings and vinaigrettes. It is always included in French fines herbes mixtures.

Use tarragon leaves to flavor fish, shellfish, poultry, meat dishes, particularly veal, creamy soups, omelets, quiche, and delectable oeufs en gelee, as well as spinach and mushroom dishes. As it takes but a few minutes' cooking time to release tarragon's flavor, add the leaves when your dish is just about ready to serve.»

Cited from: Herbs 2000
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