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Second place winner

Second place winner

I am so honored.  My fans voted Alice the Cook and her assistants took 2nd place in the Best Non-Musical Group, Non-Comedy Performance from Renaissance Festival Music Podcast Awards.  I am so honored to be part of Renaissance Magazine, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and the Siouxland Renaissance Festival.

Gramercy all!


This is the recipe that was featured on my Facebook fan page.

Garam Masala

Cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
Caradamom pods (green, black, or brown)
Ginger, dried and cracked
Coriander seeds
Techillacherry black peppercorns
Cumin seeds
Dried chili peppers (do not use powder)

Heat up a cast iron skillet so that it is quite hot and add the spices in order to dry roast them together. I recommend adding each spice a teaspoon at a time.  It will make more than you need, but you can save small quantities to use later.  Don’t over make the spice, as its potency will wear off over time.Curry Chickpea Stew

Once the chili peppers are brown, remove the spice mixture off of the heat and add them to the mortar and pestle to begin breaking the spices down for easier grinding.  Once broken down, you can continue grinding them in the mortar and pestle, or you may use a spice or coffee grinder to combine the spices into a finer blend.

Once ground up, the garam masala may be moved into a storage jar for future use.  Our side of the recipe below, garam masala may be added to fish, lamb, chicken, or beef, and may be used to accent saffron rice, orzo, or risotto.

Curry Spice Blend Recipe

Mustard seeds
Turmeric powder
Garam masala (see the above recipe or use store bought)
Garlic powder (course),
Ginger, dried and cracked (preferred)
Cumin seeds

Heat up a cast iron skillet so that it is quite hot and add the spices in a particular order (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT). I recommend adding each spice a teaspoon at a time.  It will make more than you need, but you can save small quantities to use later.  Don’t over make the spice, as its potency will wear off over time.  First, add the mustard seeds.  When they begin to pop, add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, and garlic.  It’s important to use dried garlic and ginger as it will minimize the scalding of the spices.

Once toasted, remove from the heat and grind together.  Once ground add a teaspoon of the garam masala and 2 teaspoons of the tumeric and stir together with a wooden spoon.  Your curry spice blend is complete.  

Curry Chickpea Stew
(follow the recipe as is)

1 tsp sea salt
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 medium red potatoes, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander, ground
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, dried and cracked (preferred) ground is also acceptable
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 medium carrots, julienne
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of water
Optional items: potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, yams, fresh chili peppers, etc.

In a cast iron pot, begin heating the oil. Avoid using an aluminum pan, when making this dish as the pot’s metal will detract from the flavors of this dish.

Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to begin popping.  Add the garlic, ginger, carrots, onions, any additional items (see the optional list above), potatoes, and the chickpeas and begin to stir the items lightly.  While cooking the chickpeas and vegetables, combine the whole spices in a separate bowl and blend together.

After cooking the vegetables and chickpeas for two minutes, slowly add the spice mixture to the pot and stir occasionally to mix everything together.  Cook for 4 more minutes and then increase the heat to a medium-high level.  Add the cup of water and continue to cook until the carrots and potatoes are soft.  Remove the pot from the heat and cover the stew. Let the vegetables and chickpeas absorb the flavors of the curry for 10 minutes,  Garnish with the green onions before serving.

Serves 2 main dishes, or four side dishes



Peasant Harvest Feast

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: , ,

Vegetable Pie, photograph taken by Alice the Cook on June 24, 2012

When the crops were ready for harvesting, communities would come together as a community to help reap the crops and celebrate their bounty. Vegetables were plentiful and they readily became part of the feast. Similar to the American Thanksgiving, these feasts celebrated the family, the community, and the harvest.

Feasts were different for economic classes: noble’s feasts included venison, pheasant, and other wild game while the  other classes enjoyed wild hare, fresh fish, and forged items like wild mushrooms, berries, and other scavenged delicacies.  Recipes were created that used the harvested items and often included items that weren’t normally available, but were saved for special occasions.

The recipe below is one such recipe – vegetable pie.  The filling used items that were readily found during harvest time.  This particular dish may be served as a main course, an alternative to a meat option, or served as a side dish.  The provided pastry crust recipe is a standard and has been used by my family for generations. Although people will often create shortcuts to any recipe and store bought pie crust and heat-and-serve soups can be used.  However, the recipe I am providing has no shortcuts.

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, semi soft and cut into cubes
1 tsp salt
6 to 8 tbsp ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar together and mix thoroughly. Add butter and crush into the flour mixture with a fork until it resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time, blending until mixture just begins to clump together. Don’t add too much water as it will make the crust tough.

Vegetable Pie that is ready to eat.

Place the dough on a clean surface such as a cutting board.  Press down on the dough a few times to help flatten the dough between the layers of flour which will help make the crust flaky. Shape the dough mixture into two parts.  Sprinkle a little flour around the mounds of dough and wrap each disk in wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days to cure the dough.

Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften enough to roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle and about 1/8 of an inch thick. Carefully place each dough segment into two 9-inch pie plates (one in each). Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate.  Pre-bake the dough at 375 degree until it is half baked.

Vegetable Pie
2 cups vegetable stock
3 large carrots, julienned
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and julienned
1 leek, diced
4 medium red potatoes, thinly cut and then julienned
2 eggs, scrambled (for vegans use 2 tbsp of corn starch or powdered arrowroot instead)
1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh ginger, minced (optional)
1/8 tsp powdered clove

Sauté the vegetables (carrots, garlic, leeks, sweet potatoes, and potatoes) in olive oil. When leeks are transparent, add chickpeas and 2 cups of soup or broth and continue to simmer. When carrots and potatoes are tender, slowly add eggs to thicken pie filling. If eggs are not desired, gradually add corn starch or arrowroot to thicken.

Add pie mixture to crust and continue to bake for 10 minutes until pie crust is golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Irish Soda Bread with Stew

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: , ,

This past weekend (September 29-30) was an Irish themed weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  We made several dishes including a Chicken with Whiskey Cream Sauce and Caramel Whiskey Carrots.

Irish stew with soda bread. Made September 29, 2012.

Irish Stew
1 lbs of lamb or beef stew meat
4 tbsp oil or butter (we used bacon fat for our demonstrations)
1/8 cup of flour (for a gluten free option, use potato flour)
1 sweet potato, 1” cubes
1 lbs red potatoes, 1” cubes
1/2 lbs of carrots, 1” pieces
1/2 lbs green beans (optional), halved
1/4 lbs onions or leeks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp. Thyme
Kosher salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)Make sure the stew meat is cut up into 1” cubes. Preheat oil or butter in soup pot. As it heats, coat the meat with flour until browned. Once browned, add enough water to cover the meat, bring stew to simmer for 45 minutes.While cooking, cut up vegetables. After the meat has cooked for 45 minutes, add the vegetables, spices and herbs. Add more water if needed (should only cover the stew). Continue to cook until vegetables are fork tender. Stew should have a think consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stew rest off of heat for 15 minutes prior to serving. Serves 3 – 4 people.SODA BREAD
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.


Spaetzel (Oktoberfest)

   Posted by: anj68 Tags: , ,


Spaetzel made September 22, 2012.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup extra fine dry breadcrumbs (optional)
4 T butter (optional)

Combine flour, salt and nutmeg. Add eggs and mix. Pour milk into the dough little by little, until a smooth batter forms, slightly thinner than brownie batter. Let rest at least 5 minutes.

Bring 2 quarts of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy, 4 – 5 quart saucepan. Plan on boiling at least 2 batches from this recipe.

Set a large colander (one with large holes) over the saucepan and press the dough, a few spoonfuls at a time, through the holes directly into the water. Boil for 5-8 minutes until the noodles are tender to the bite. Remove noodles with a slotted spoon and drain further in a sieve. Toss with roasted breadcrumbs to serve.

To make breadcrumbs: Melt and stir 4 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium heat until butter stops foaming. Add 1 cup breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until crumbs are browned. Drain on paper towels.

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