Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Sometimes when performing cooking demonstrations, we need to alter our plans due to supplies, weather, or other situation that is thrown our way.  This past year, we ran into an issue with supplies.  We decided to do an improvisational recipe and it was a tasty success!  This was a change to a traditional dish and I liked it immensely and I hope you do too.


Cod Hash

Cod Hash

2 lbs of cod, cut into 2 inch by 2 inch cubes
1 medium onion or 1 leeks (a mild onion flavored vegetable), diced
1 lb of carrots, thick julienned (size of twig or finger, but not matchstick sized)
1/4 lb of sweet potatoes, peeled and thick julienned
1 lb of red potatoes, thick julienned
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of rosemary
Kosher or sea salt (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp of olive oil

Over medium heat add the olive oil.  Once hot, add the garlic and onion or leek to flavor the oil.  Once sweated (becoming transparent), add the vegetables and stir constantly for 6 – 8 minutes. The vegetables should be nearly tender and add the fish; the fish will not take long to cook.  The dish is ready when the carrots and potatoes are tender.  Remove from heat and let it set for 2 minutes before serving.


Tabouli & Coucous

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: , , , ,

Although Tabouli and Couscous are delicious, the couscous is very tricky to make because if it is too humid, you end up with large clumbs than desired. Tabouli and Couscous

1 cup water
1 cup fine cracked wheat
1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, seeded and diced
3 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps lemon juice, or to taste
1 tsps sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, pour the water over the cracked wheat and cover,
let stand about 20 minutes until wheat is tender and water is absorbed. Add the chopped herbs and vegetables and toss with the mix. Combine the oil, lemon juice, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to wheat mixture and mix well. Chill. Serve and enjoy.

1 quart semolina (chickpea flour may be used instead)
1 pint water
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
Salt to season
Olive Oil

In a large bowl, add a cup of semolina, a pinch of salt and a few drops of water. Mix with fingertips in circular motion until small balls form. Drizzle more water as necessary.

Move the mixture to tamis (or drum sifter or similar fine mesh sifting device) to remove the fine semolina.

Reserve the larger couscous to another bowl.

Add the fine semolina dust back to the mixing bowl and repeat step 1 until there’s no semolina left.

Pick out the large pieces. In a couscousier (or steamer basket) fitted with cheesecloth, add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves and 2 tbsp salt to the water. Bring to boil.

Steam couscous for 5 to 10 mins.

Season with olive oil and steam for 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.


English Fish and Chips

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: ,

English Fish and Chips
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup of milk
1 egg
1 quart vegetable oil
1 ½ lbs cod

English Fish & Chips

English Fish & Chips

Place potatoes in a medium-size bowl of cold water. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the milk and egg; stir until the mixture is smooth. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a large pot or electric skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Fry the potatoes in the hot oil until they are tender. Drain them on paper towels.

Dredge the fish in the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the hot oil. Fry until the fish is golden brown. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) temperature. Drain well on paper towels.

Fry the potatoes again for 1 to 2 minutes for added crispness.

In the photo, I dusted the fish and chips with homemade curry powder and lemon zest. The photograph does not do it justice, it was very delicious.


**A gluten-free option uses potato flour instead of all-purpose flour.

During shows, my assistant and I encounter leftover items that we do not want to throw out.  During the Siouxland Renaissance Festival in 2006, we encountered post-breakfast issue of having leftover hard boiled eggs and rice porridge.  By combining them with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), spices, and other vegetables, we came up with this tasty dish that tastes great served with some pita bread.Egg salad

This past weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, we altered this traditional recipe and used leftover couscous instead and it was a favorite!

This dish is especially good made in bulk and used for lunches at work.  It’s cost effective, healthy, and tasty.  Enjoy!

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced into disks
1 cup of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
2 cups of cousous (as in photo)
3 green onions or 1 large leek, diced or 1/2 red onion or 2 shallots
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 – 1/2 TB yellow curry powder
1 TB cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of sesame or olive oil
2 TB cilantro
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
* A dried pepper powder may be added if you need more spiciness.

Blend all together in a single bowl wooden or ceramic. Let sit for an hour and stir again. Serve in some pita bread. DO NOT PREPARE THIS RECIPE IN A METAL BOWL!! The metal bowl will affect the flavor of the salad.

It should be a very mild curried egg salad. If you require more spice, feel free to add peppers or chili oil at will. I encourage experimentation.

Cheese has been traced to the Sumerians, Egyptians, and has been found throughout the world. Each culture has had its own version of cheese; in central Asia, cheese was made from yak milk. North Africans used milk from wild pigs and Europeans used milk from reindeer, water buffalo and mares. But it was the Romans who perfected the art and began to age their cheeses, preparing to send their product out to the marketplace.

Cheese pie served with fresh apple slices and blueberries

Cheese pie served with fresh apple slices and blueberries

Early cheeses were made from adding milk into a container made from an animal’s stomach. The stomach contains a natural enzyme called rennin and would cause the milk to curdle. When churned, the milk would be separated from curds and whey, which could be strained to create two milk by-products. The curds would be gathered and cooked to create cheese. Softer cheeses were cooked at a lower temperature and higher temperatures results in the harder varieties. Cheese makers would drain off any additional liquid whey, and then would salt and cut the hardened curd. The processed curd would be pressed into molds and would be further aged/cured in nearby caves or holes in the ground.

During the Renaissance, cheese was served as a dessert and was reserved for the middle or wealthier classes. The merchant/middle class would enjoy softer goat cheeses with grapes or figs and the wealthy would enjoy a cheese course, which was served before or during dessert.

One of the more popular desserts was the cheese pie. This dessert is very different than the desserts for modern palates; it is not sweet and, depending on the cheese, can be pungent. To offset its strong flavor the cheese would be served with fresh grapes or figs. Traditionally, pastry crusts were very hard and were used as a container for many types of dishes. The pie crust below is a modern execution of that recipe and creates a flakier and tastier crust.

Pie Crust Recipe:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ tsp of finely ground sea salt
½ cup of butter or lard, softened
¼ cup of cold water

Mix the flour and salt until well combined. Cut the butter or lard up into teaspoon chips and add it to the flour mixture.

Using a large fork, begin crushing the butter or lard into the flour and salt mixture. Begin adding the water at 2 tablespoons increments until a soft, non-sticky dough forms into a ball.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or more before rolling out. This will allow the fat to combine with the flour and will create a flakier crust. While the crust “cures” in the refrigerator, you can begin making the filling.

Cheese Pie Filling Recipe:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
¼ tsp of salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ tsp powdered mustard
½ cup of grated Gouda cheese (other “white” cheeses may be used as well).
2 egg yolks
¼ cup of lard or butter

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, mustard. Add the butter or lard and begin to blend together with a fork. Add the cheese and egg yolks. If the filling seems too dry, add the water 2 tablespoons at a time until a thick cream is developed. Cover and let cool for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Roll out the pie crust into a 10” circle. You can use a plate to measure the circle. Place the pie crust into an 8” pie tin; there should be enough of the crust to go over the pie tin. Pierce the crust 6 times in the bottom of the pan; this will help the crust to cook evenly.

Move the cheese mixture from the covered bowl onto the crust and spread evenly. Roll the edges of the pie crust inward or crimp or pinch the crust; this will add a decorative element to the pie.

Set the pie into the oven to bake for approximately 12-18 minutes, depending on altitude. The crust edges should be golden brown. Let cool for 7-10 minutes before cutting. Serve with fresh figs, berries or apples and honey.

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