Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crackling Crust for Marmelade and Cheese

Crackling crust another way used to form a rustic tart baked on paper and filled with a jar of very old plum jam I couldn't bear to throw away. I seasoned it with a few grinds of black pepper to cut the cloying taste of the jam. As you can see from the crumbs on the plate, my husband had more than one piece. Pepper with sweets is an old taste, but a very interesting one and very good. The crust was so delicious that I tried it with sweetened cheese, as well. Superb with coffee for breakfast or dessert!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Preparing for treize (13) desserts …

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Groaning holiday tables, after le «gros souper», reflect the special treats, a little something for everyone, known as treize (13) desserts, one for each of the 12 apostles and Christ. Now is the time to begin to gather the ingredients for the preparation of items such as pâte de coigns, nougats, calissons, dried fruits and nuts. Fresh fruits known as winter (meaning their flavor and texture will improve with storage) apples, pears and melons can be sat back in special boxes and nets to bring out at the last minute. Fondant stuffed dates and nutmeat farced figs and an assortment of nuts can be cured in paper-lined boxes with bay leaves which can then be used to dress they plate when serving these sweetmeats. Chocolates and fresh citrus fruits will round out the menu.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raifort - voyez Rave

Horseradish was used in Alsace in many ways and was taken to New France. Grated fresh it is used as a preventive against food poisoning, scruvy, tuberculosis and colic; cooked it's used in sauces with meats and soups. It is considered a bitter herb and has been used medicinally for centuries. Depending upon how young your horseradish patch is, it is best gathered in Spring. If your patch is old, dig the roots in Fall, and process only the smallest and most tender. Disburbing the patch will result in smaller and more numerous roots for next Spring.
Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 275.
RAVE: on en distingue de plusiers sortes, sçavoir, celle qu'on appelle communément rave, ou petit rave; le grand & le petit raifort, & autres. On ne mange guère de ces trois especes, que celle qu'on appelle raves & radis. Le printems est le tems où el es sont meilleures: il faut les choisir tendres, bien nourries & faciles à rompre. Lorsqu'il fait chaud, elles deviennent trop piquantes.
La rave est stomachique, apéitive, anti-scorbutique; mais comme elle se mange crue, elle ne convient qu'aux estomacs, & à ceux qui la mâchent bien.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Raifort - Horseradish

raifort - horseradishCool, brisk weather means it's time to dig the raifort - horseradish roots to grind and preserve in white wine vinegar. After several weeks, the vinegar makes a wonderful liquid to deglaze fond and to flavor vinaigrette. The root itself flavors soups, sauces and roast meats.

Scrub and peel the roots; grind and store in a jar covered with vinegar--lasts virtually forever!
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