Random Renaissance Era Quotes (Well, mostly)
Renaissance and Medieval Food Recipes
Islamic Dishes With Vegetables
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 remove.
Fat meat (lamb) or chicken or both: 3 1/2 lb chicken or 2 1/2 lb boneless lamb
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.
Recipe of Eggplant Pancakes
al-Andalusi p. C-5
Get sweet eggplant and boil it with water and salt until it becomes well cooked and is dissolved or falling apart. You should drain the water, crush and stir it on a dish with crumbs of grated bread, eggs beaten with oil, dried coriander and cinnamon; beat it until all becomes equal. Afterwards fry cakes made with this batter in a frying pan with oil until they are gilded. Make a sauce of vinegar, oil, almori, and mashed garlic; give all this a shaking and pour it over the top.
1 large eggplant (1 lb 3 oz)
Peel and quarter eggplant, boil 30 minutes. Drain, mash and mix with bread crumbs, eggs, oil, coriander and cinnamon. Crush garlic in a garlic press and mix up sauce. Fry in oil at medium high, about 1-2 minutes a side. Pour sauce over pancakes before serving.
Ibn al-Mahdi’s cookbook in 10th c. collection, Charles Perry tr.
Cook eggplants until soft by baking, boiling or grilling over the fire, leaving them whole. When they are cool, remove the loose skin, drain the bitter liquor and chop the flesh fine. It should be coarser than a true purée. Grind walnuts fine and make into a dough with vinegar and salt. Form into a patty and fry on both sides until the taste of raw walnut is gone; the vinegar is to delay scorching of the nuts. Mix the cooked walnuts into the chopped eggplant and season to taste with vinegar and ground caraway seed, salt and pepper. Serve with a topping of chopped raw or fried onion.
3/4 lb eggplant
Simmer the eggplant 20 to 30 minutes in salted water (1/2 t salt in a pint of water). Let it cool. Peel it. Slice it and let the slices sit on a colander or a cloth for an hour or so, to let out the bitter juice.
Grind the walnuts, add vinegar and salt to make a dough. Make patties about 1/2″ thick and put them on a frying pan at medium to medium high heat, without oil. In about half a minute, when the bottom side has browned a little, turn the patty over and use your pancake turner to squash it down to about 1/4″ (the cooked side is less likely to stick to your implement than the uncooked side). Continue cooking, turning whenever the patty seems about to scorch. When you are done, the surface of the patty will be crisp, brown to black-and since it is thin, the patty is mostly surface. If the patties start giving up lots of walnut oil (it is obvious-they will quickly be swimming in the stuff) the pan is too hot; throw them out, turn down the heat and make some more.
Chop up the eggplant, mix in the nut patties (they will break up in the process), add pepper, salt, caraway (ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle), and vinegar. Top with onion. Eat by itself or on bread.
al-Baghdadi p. 191/8 (GOOD)
Take eggplant, and boil lightly in water and salt, then take out and dry for an hour. Fry this in fresh sesame-oil until cooked: peel, put into a dish or a large cup, and beat well with a ladle, until it becomes like kabis. Add a little salt and dry coriander. Take some Persian milk, mix in garlic, pour over the eggplant, and mix together well. Take red meat, mince fine, make into small cabobs, and melting fresh tail, throw the meat into it, stirring until browned. Then cover with water, and stew until the water has evaporated and only the oils remain. Pour on top of this the eggplant, sprinkle with fine-ground cumin and cinnamon, and serve.
1 lb eggplant
Cut eggplants in thick slices (approximately 1 1/2″), put in boiling salted water (6 c water + 6 T salt) for 7 minutes. Remove, let stand 1 hour. Make lamb into small meatballs (may add cinnamon etc. if you wish). Fry in melted lamb fat (“tail”). When browned, cover with water and simmer until only the oil is left. Then fry eggplant in sesame oil until cooked, peel, mash, add salt and coriander. Crush garlic, add to yogurt, mix with eggplant. Put the meatballs on top, sprinkle with cumin and cinnamon, and serve.
al-Baghdadi p. 191/8
Cut up fat meat small: melt tail and throw out sediment, then place the meat in it together with a little salt and ground dry coriander, and fry lightly until browned and fragrant. Then cover with water, adding green coriander leaves and cinnamon-bark; when boiling, skim off the scum. When little liquor is left, throw in a few halved onions, a dirham of salt, and two dirhams of dry coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, and mastic, all ground fine. Mince red meat as described above and make into light cabobs, then add to the pot. Take eggplant, cut off the stalks, and prick with a knife: then fry in fresh sesame oil, or melted tail, together with whole onions. When the meat is cooked, a little murri may be added if desired. Color with a pinch of saffron. Put the fried eggplant in layers on top of the meat in the pan, sprinkle fine ground dry coriander and cinnamon, and spray with a little rose water. Wipe the sides of the saucepan and leave over the fire an hour to settle, then remove.
1 lb fat meat
1 medium eggplant
Dish Prepared With Fried Eggplant
Andalusian p. A-40
Take meat and cut it up small, then put it in the pot and throw in half a spoon of vinegar, one of murri and another of fresh oil, and pepper, coriander and cilantro, both pounded fine, and salt. Bring the pot to a full boil until the meat and the spices are cooked, and don’t throw in water. When the meat has browned and is done, remove it, stir it and throw in enough water, but do not let it cover the meat, and boil again. Then boil the eggplant separately, after salting it and removing its water, and then cut in thirds and quarters and remove the peel. Dust with good white flour and fry in the pan with some fresh oil, then throw it in the pot and cover the contents of the pot with two eggs and crumbs of leavened bread and draw off the grease to the oven. Boil moderately, take off the fire for a while and serve.
Translator’s note: When I translate “removing its water,” I’m reading the incomprehensible “dhâ’uhâ” as “mâ’uhâ,” “its water.” “Draw off the grease to the oven” is a strange instruction, not found elsewhere. The instruction to boil and take off the fire indicates that the pot itself does not go to the oven. (CP)
1/2 lb meat (lamb?)
1/2 c flour
Cut the lamb up small, fry it in the oil with vinegar, murri, and seasonings about 10-15 minutes (until the meat is cooked). Add the water and simmer about another 20 minutes, until most of the water is gone.
Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and boil it 10 minutes in salted water, take it out and slice it. Lay it on paper towels or something similar for ten or fifteen minutes to let some of the juice come out. Pat it dry, smother in flour, fry in oil in a second frying pan for about 5-10 minutes. Then add it to the first pan. Stir in the beaten eggs, mix in the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat and serve.
Making Baqliyya with Eggplants
Andalusian p. A-41
Take the breast of a sheep and its ribs, cut small, to the size of three fingers, cut onion in round slices and then take cilantro and pound coriander seed, caraway, and Chinese cinnamon; cut up the eggplants in round pieces and the same with the gourds; then take a pot and put a little oil in its bottom then arrange a layer of meat and eggplant and a layer of gourd and put some spices between each layer and the next; then put the pot on the fire, after putting in it an adequate quantity of meat, and do not add water; cook until done God willing.
lamb: 1 lb breast, 1 lb leg (or lamb chops, to follow the recipe more precisely)
Put fattest meat on top. Sprinkle 1/4 t salt over, seal top with dough. Bake 1 hr 40 min at 350deg.
Andalusian p. A-42
Take of small eggplants fifteen, and boil gently with the skin on, whole, without peeling or splitting; then take them out of the pot and put in another pot; throw in as much salt and oil as are needed and boil on a slow fire until it is entirely done; take a ratl of mutton and slice it up, as told earlier; put in the pot with one quarter ratl of oil and some water, boil until the water disappears and then fry in the oil until the meat is browned and is done, and put in this the fried eggplants and throw in one quarter ratl of good vinegar and fry, until the vinegar is done; then throw over it a third of a ratl of murri and improve it with three dirhams weight of caraway, the same amount of coriander seed and a dirham and a half of pepper; then fry until done and leave it rest for a while, dish up and serve.
15 small eggplants (about 1/2 lb each)
Note: a dirhem, according to the introduction to al-Bagdadi, is 1/120 lb = 2/15 oz; 1 1/2 dirhem pepper = 1/5 oz = 2 1/4 t.
Wash eggplants, cut off stem end, put into boiling water, cook 10 minutes and drain; let cool. Bone meat and cut into bite-sized pieces; put in pot with oil and water and cook uncovered 30 minutes. Peel and slice eggplants, put with salt and 2 T oil and 2 c water and simmer 25 minutes. At that point, combine eggplants with meat (do not include liquid eggplants were cooked in), add vinegar and cook 15 minutes. Add murri and spices, cook 5 minutes, stirring, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes and serve.
Dish of Eggplant
Andalusian p. A-49
Cut up mutton and put in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, thyme, two spoons of murri naqî ‘ and three of oil; take to the fire and cook and when the meat is done, add eggplants cut in quarters and boiled separately. When it has boiled, grind up white bread crumbs beaten with the right quantity of eggs in coriander juice; cover the pot with this and then take it to the hearthstone.
3/4 lb lamb from chops
Quarter egg plant, simmer in water for about 20 minutes. Cut lamb in bite sized pieces (1″ to 1/2″ on a side). Mix lamb with murri and spices and saute in oil 5-10 minutes. Drain eggplant, skin, add to meat, mashing a little, simmer together about 5-10 minutes. Grind coriander with mortar and pestle to get juice. Mix the juice with eggs and bread crumbs, stir it into the pot, simmer briefly (about 5 minutes) to get the eggs cooked, serve.
Preparing the Dish Dictated by Abu Ishaq
Andalusian p. A-41
Take meat and pound smooth until it is like marrow; put in the pot and pour over it oil and salt, clean onions and chop them, then boil and stir and throw in the pot with this some coriander seed and pepper in the amount needed, soaked garbanzos and a handful of peeled almonds pounded like salt; pour in white of egg and leave until the grease runs out, God willing.
1 lb pureed meat
(Apple Stew) with Eggplants
Andalusian p. A-49
Take three ratls of lamb, cut up and put in the pot with onion, salt, coriander, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and four ûqiyas of oil, let it evaporate in the pot on the fire, until it gives up its water; then cover with juice pressed from apples and cook; when the meat is done, put in eggplants peeled and boiled separately and whole peeled apples without cutting them up and prepared meatballs; then add some of the meat, pounded and “dissolved,” and some eggs and cover it [masculine verb; this may mean that only the added meat is covered] with them, or leave [feminine verb, meaning leave the pot] without covering [khamira, the word meaning “dough”], and leave it to rest on the hearthstone.
12 oz lamb, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
6 oz ground lamb
1/2 lb ground lamb
This is for 1/4 the recipe given in the original.
Peel the eggplants and put in a saucepan with about 5 c water and 1/2 t salt; boil 15 minutes and remove. Let stand 1/2 hour or more, and drain off the liquid that comes from them. Meanwhile, mix and knead together all meatball ingredients except the oil. Make into 25-30 meatballs. Fry them in the oil and their own fat for about 20 minutes over medium heat. In a large pot, put lamb chunks, onion, spices, and oil; cook over medium heat about 5-10 minutes. Add 2 cups apple juice and cook about 5 minutes more. Add whole eggplants, peeled whole apples, meatballs. Cook about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ground lamb with eggs, stir into the liquid in the pot as a thickener. Cook with cover on over a low heat until apples are done (about another 40 minutes).
Note: The meatball recipe is loosely based on several other recipes in the same cookbook. Alternative ingredients include minced garlic instead of onion juice, white flour or egg white as a binder instead of eggs, vinegar, saffron, cumin, lavender, cloves, oil, salt, and meat fat.
al-Baghdadi p. 37/5
Take fat meat and cut into small strips: throw into the saucepan with a little salt and dry coriander, and boil until almost cooked. Remove and throw away the scum. Cut up onions small and throw in, with cinnamon-bark, pepper, mastic and ginger ground fine, and a few sprigs of mint. Take sour apples, remove the pips, and pound in a stone mortar, squeezing out the juice: put in on top of the meat. Peel almonds and soak in water, then throw in. Kindle the fire under it, until the whole is done: then leave over the fire to settle. If desired, add a chicken, cutting it into quarters, and letting it cook with the meat. Then remove.
1 1/2 lb fat meat: lamb
Put almonds to soak. Cut meat into strips 1/8″-1/4″ thick. Cook meat, water, salt, and coriander 10 minutes uncovered. Chop onions and grind mastic; add onions, cinnamon, pepper, mastic, and ginger to pot, and simmer another 15 minutes. Peel and core apples, chop very small (looks almost like apple sauce) in food processor. Dump apples and almonds on top. Cook another 5 minutes uncovered and serve.
al-Baghdadi p. 192/9
Cut red meat into thin slices, brown in melted tail, cover with water. When boiling skim, add a little salt, ground coriander, cummin, pepper, mastic, cinnamon. Mince red meat with seasoning and make into light cabobs, add. Take two bundles of spinach, cut off the roots, chop small, and grind in a mortar. Then throw into the pot. When cooked and dry add peeled ground garlic with a little salt and cummin. Stir, let settle over the fire an hour. Sprinkle with dry coriander and cinnamon, remove.
1/2 lb lamb and/or veal
cabob seasonings (not given in recipe):
1/4 t coriander
Put the lamb fat in a pot over medium heat, fry until there is 1-2 T or so of oil melted out. Remove the solid, keep the rendered-out fat. Brown the sliced meat in it for about 5-10 minutes. Add water and spices. Simmer 40 minutes. Make the ground lamb and cabob seasonings into about 30 cabobs, add to the pot. Meanwhile, wash the spinach, removing stems. Mash in a mortar or pulverise in a food processor. When the cabobs have simmered for about 25 minutes, add the spinach. Simmer 30 minutes, add garlic, salt, and cumin. Simmer on the lowest available heat another 20 minutes, sprinkle on coriander and cinnamon, serve over rice.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 18
Meat is boiled with a little water. Carrots, garlic cloves and peeled onions are put with it, then crushed garlic is put with it. Some people put spinach with it also; some make it without spinach. Walnuts and parsley are put in.
2 lb meat (lamb)
Cut the lamb up small and put it in 1 1/2 c water with cinnamon, pepper, coriander and salt. Simmer 10 minutes. Add carrots cut up, whole garlic cloves, and small onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Add crushed garlic. Simmer 20 minutes. Add spinach. Simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with walnuts and parsley. The spices are based on similar recipes in al-Bagdadi.
al-Baghdadi p. 34/4
Cut fat meat into middling pieces, place in the saucepan, and cover with water, fresh coriander, cinnamon bark, and salt to taste. When boiling, remove the froth and cream with a ladle, and throw away. Remove the fresh coriander, and add dry coriander. Take white onions, Syrian leeks, and carrots if in season, or else egg plant. Skin, splitting the egg plant thoroughly, and half stew in water in a separate saucepan: then strain, and leave in the saucepan on top of the meat. Add seasonings and salt to taste. When almost cooked, take wine vinegar and date juice, or honey if preferred-date juice is the more suitable-and mix together so that the mixture is midway between sharp and sweet, then pour into the saucepan and boil for a while. When ready to take off the fire, remove a little of the broth, bray into it saffron as required, and pour back into the saucepan. Then take sweet almonds, peel, split, and place on top of the pan, together with a few raisins, currants, and dried figs. Cover for a while, to settle over the heat of the fire. Wipe the sides with a clean rag, and sprinkle rosewater on top. When settled, remove.
2 lb fat meat: lamb
2 leeks (3/4 lb)
1/2 t pepper
Cut lamb in about 1/2″ cubes. Bring to a boil with water, etc, and skim. Meanwhile chop leeks and carrots, cut onions in halves or quarters, put in boiling water, boil 10 minutes and strain. Remove green coriander from meat (it should have been simmering about 20 minutes by then), add powdered coriander, vegetables and seasonings and simmer 1/2 hour. Mix vinegar and honey, add and simmer another 10 minutes. Grind saffron into 1/2 t of the meat broth, put into the pot. Sprinkle on almonds, raisins, etc., cover and let sit 15 minutes on low heat, turn off heat and sprinkle on rosewater and serve.
Take fat meat and cut it up, arrange in a large pot and throw in coriander seed, chopped onion, cilantro, caraway, pepper, soaked garbanzos, three whole eggs and enough water to cover the meat and salt; when the meat is done, reduce the fire below it and throw in two dirhams of saffron; when you see that it is colored, remove part of the sauce, leaving enough to cover the meat; boil the meat with the saffron and then take off the fire, strain the sauce and leave in the pot, take one kail of sauce and three of honey, then take the pot to the fire and bring it to the boil three times with the honey and the sauce. Then take best white bread, crumble it and sieve the crumbs, cover the pot with them and put in it fat and pepper; pour into the platter over bread soaked in the broth and serve, God willing.
2 c lamb tightly packed = 18 oz
2 15 oz can chickpeas = 2 3/4 c
Cut lamb in 1″ cubes; combine lamb, onion, etc, in pot, breaking the eggs in whole to poach in the pot. Simmer about 30 minutes (until the lamb is cooked), mostly uncovered, stirring occasionally. Lower heat, add saffron, simmer 10 minutes, stir a little to spread the saffron. Turn off the heat, remove 2 T of sauce, mix it with honey and return the mixture to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then stir in bread crumbs (crumble them in a blender or food processor, put them in a strainer, and push through the strainer onto the pot, stirring in occasionally). Add fat and pepper. Arrange bread, toasted if you like, on a large platter (10-12″). Spoon liquid part of the broth on to the bread, then ladle everything on top.
of al Rashid
Translated by Charles Perry from a 9-10th c. Islamic collection.
Take a chicken and joint it, or meat of a kid or lamb, and clean it and throw it in a pot, and throw on it soaked chickpeas, clean oil, galingale, cinnamon sticks, and a little salt. And when it boils, skim it. Take fresh milk and strain it over the pot and throw in onion slices and boiled carrots. And when it boils well, take peeled almonds and pound them fine. Break over them five eggs and mix with wine vinegar. Then throw in the pot and add coriander, a little pepper and a bit of cumin and arrange it and leave on the fire, and serve, God willing.
2 3/4 lb lamb with bones or 2 1/2 lb chicken, cut up
Put meat or chicken, chickpeas (with liquid), oil, galingale, cinnamon sticks and salt with as little water as will cover, boil 15 minutes. Meanwhile boil carrots. Use large pot. Add milk, sliced onion, drained carrots, boil another 15 minutes. Add fine ground almonds, eggs, and vinegar and spices all mixed together. Add to boiling mixture. Cook another five minutes, serve.
An alternative interpretation of the recipe omits the water, so that the meat is cooked in the oil until partially cooked, then the milk, onions, and carrots are added.
A Roast of Meat
Andalusian p. A-38
Roast salted, well-marbled meat [cut up] like fingertips, and put in a pot spices, onion, salt, oil and soaked garbanzos. Cook until done and add the roast meat; cover the contents of the pot with cilantro and sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon; and if you add whole pine nuts or walnuts in place of garbanzos, it will be good.
1 1/2 lb lamb or beef
1/4 t cumin
Note: an earlier recipe in the same book calls for spices and then specifies which ones: “all the spices, pepper, cinnamon, dried coriander and cumin.”
Roast meat and cut into about 1/4″ by 1/2″ pieces. Slice onions. Put chickpeas, onion, spices, salt and oil in a pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 10 minutes, turning down the heat toward the end as it gets dry; add meat and cook one minute, add green coriander and cook another minute, and turn off heat. Sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon and serve.
, a Dish Made With Quinces
Andalusian p. A-48
This is a good food for the feverish, it excites the appetite, strengthens the stomach and prevents stomach vapors from rising to the head. Take the flesh of a young fat lamb or calf; cut in small pieces and put in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed, saffron, oil and a little water; put on a low fire until the meat is done; then take as much as you need of cleaned peeled quince, cut in fourths, and sharp vinegar, juice of unripe grapes (verjuice) or of pressed quince, cook for a while and use. If you wish, cover with eggs and it comes out like muthallath.
1 lb lamb
Cut up meat into bite-sized pieces, put in a pot with spices, oil, and water, and cook over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Meanwhile, peel and core quince and cut into eighths. Add quince, vinegar, and verjuice to pot and cook covered about 30-40 minutes, until quince is tender when poked with a fork. If adding eggs, stir them in and cook, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes.
We have also done it using quince juice instead of verjuice: to make 1/2 c quince juice from 1 quince, put quince through food processor with 1/6 c water, squeeze through cloth.
, a Quince Dish
Andalusian p. A-34
Take meat and cut it in pieces which then throw in the pot and throw on it two spoons of vinegar and oil, a dirham and a half of pepper, caraway, coriander seed and pounded onion; cover it with water and put it on the fire, clean three or four quinces or five and chop them up with a knife, as small as you can; cook them in water and when they are cooked, take them out of the water and when the meat is done throw in it this boiled quince and bring it to the boil two or three times; then cover the contents of the pot with two or three eggs and take it off the fire, leave it for a little while, and when you put it on the platter, sprinkle it with some pepper, throw on a little saffron and serve it.
2 1/2 lb boneless meat (lamb)
Note: a dirhem, according to the introduction to al-Bagdadi, is 1/120 lb = 2/15 oz; 1 1/2 dirhem pepper = 1/5 oz = 2.4 t pepper.
Bone meat and chop it into bite sized pieces. Core quinces and chop them finely in a food processor. Bring the quince to a boil in 1 1/2 c water and cook about 25 minutes covered. Meanwhile, put meat with vinegar, oil, spices, onion (ground in food processor), and 1 c water and cook uncovered 15 minutes. Drain quinces and add to meat, bring back to a boil and boil about 5 minutes uncovered over medium to medium high heat. Stir in beaten egg, remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Grind pepper (at least 1/8 t-more if you like pepper) and saffron together, sprinkle on, and serve. Good over rice.
Note: These spice quantities assume that it means a dirhem and a half of each of pepper, caraway, and coriander. If you interpret it as a total of a dirhem and a half, the recipe comes out much less strongly spiced; we prefer it this way. One could read “a dirhem and a half” as applying to the ground onion as well, which would imply much less than we use.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 22
Meat is boiled, then leeks are put in and yoghurt is dissolved and rice is put with it. Some people put the yoghurt first, then the meat then the rice.
3/4 lb boned lamb
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Boil meat for 15 minutes in water at low heat, covered. Add leeks, yogurt and salt. Add rice and spices. Simmer (again covered) until rice is done (about an hour). The spices are based on similar recipes in al-Bagdadi.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21
Meat is boiled, then you take off most of its broth and put with the remainder vegetables such as onion, gourd and aubergine. You dissolve yoghurt in what you took off and you put it with it. Then you garnish with walnut and parsley.
3/4 lb meat (lamb)
Cut up the lamb small, removing most of the fat. Simmer it in water for about 1/2 hour with the spices. Remove 1/2 of the broth, mix with yogurt. Put the vegetables (cut up in small pieces) and the yogurt-broth mixture back in the pot with the lamb. Simmer for 1 hour. Garnish with walnuts and parsley.
Note: the spicing is based on what is used in Al-Baghdadi for similar dishes. The cookbook this recipe is from is very terse; cinnamon is never mentioned, nor, I think, salt, and dry coriander only once. I assume they are simply omitted in the recipe, and left to the cook’s judgement. See the introduction for a discussion of gourd, squash, and related vegetables.
Preparing Asparagus with Meat Stuffing
Andalusian p. A-41
Take asparagus, the largest you have, clean and boil, after taking tender meat and pounding fine; throw in pepper, caraway, coriander seed, cilantro juice, some oil and egg white; take the boiled asparagus, one after another, and dress with this ground meat, and do so carefully. Put an earthenware pot on the fire, after putting in it water, salt, a spoon of murri and another of oil, cilantro juice, pepper, caraway and coriander seed; little by little while the pot boils, throw in it the asparagus wrapped in meat. Boil in the pot and throw in it meatballs of this ground meat, and when it is all evenly cooked, cover with egg, breadcrumbs and some of the stuffed meat already mentioned and decorate with egg, God willing.
1 lb asparagus (before trimming)
We have not yet figured out how one ought to dress the asparagus with the meat; perhaps one could split the asparagus down the center and lay the meat inside.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21
Meat is boiled and fava beans are fried in fat, then you put them with the meat and broth. Then you put pounded thyme, coriander and garlic with it. Then you break an egg on it and sprinkle pepper and coriander seed on it. It is covered until it thickens and taken off.
3/4 lb lamb (from 1 lb lamb chops)
Soak the beans overnight. Render the fat from about 6 oz of lamb fat, giving 4-6 T of liquid fat; it would probably also work using olive oil. Fry beans for about 10-15 minutes in the fat (just enough time for beans to absorb most of the fat), then add to the meat, which has been boiling the same length of time in 2 c water. Put thyme, chopped coriander, and peeled garlic in a mortar and mash. Add to pot. Simmer for about another 45 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom, after adding the beans (medium heat at most), since otherwise it can easily scorch. Beat two eggs together and stir into the bubbling pot. Add pepper and coriander, then let sit on low flame a few minutes while the egg sets. Serve. This is good but rather spicy; those who do not like spicy dishes might try using half the quantity of pepper and garlic.
An alternative interpretation is that you are poaching an egg on top of the Fuliyyah (“break an egg on it”). If you want to try it this way, start with only 1 3/4 c of water, so that the Fuliyyah will come out thicker.
Cooked Dish of Lentils
al-Andalusi p. C-5 (no. 377)
Wash lentils and put them to cook in a pot with sweet water, oil, pepper, coriander and cut onion. When they are cooked throw in salt, a little saffron and vinegar; break three eggs, leave for a while on the flame and later retire the pot. Other times cook without onion. If you wish cook it with Egyptian beans pricked into which have been given a boil. Or better with dissolved yeast over a gentle fire. When the lentils begin to thicken add good butter or sweet oil, bit by bit, alike until it gets absorbed, until they are sufficiently cooked and have enough oil. Then retire it from the flame and sprinkle with pepper.
1 1/2 c dried lentils = 10 oz
Slice onions. Put lentils, water, oil, pepper, coriander and onion in a pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a bare simmer. Cook covered 50 minutes, stirring periodically. Add butter in lumps and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes. Add salt, saffron (crushed into 1 t water) and vinegar, and bring back to a boil. Put eggs on top, cover pot and keep lentils at a simmer; stir cautiously every few minutes in order to scrape the bottom of the pot without stirring in the eggs. We find that if the heat is off, the eggs don’t cook; if the heat is up at medium, the eggs cook, but the lentils start to stick to the pot. A larger quantity might hold enough heat to cook the eggs without leaving it on the flame. When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle with a little more pepper and serve. Makes 5 1/4 c.
(Vegetarian Dish) Beneficial for Tertian Fevers and Acute Fevers
Andalusian p. A-52
Take boiled peeled lentils and wash in hot water several times; put in the pot and add water without covering them; cook and then throw in pieces of gourd, or the stems [ribs] of Swiss chard, or of lettuce and its tender sprigs, or the flesh of cucumber or melon, and vinegar, coriander seed, a little cumin, Chinese cinnamon, saffron and two ûqiyas of fresh oil; balance with a little salt and cook. Taste, and if its flavor is pleasingly balanced between sweet and sour, [good;] and if not, reinforce until it is equalized, according to taste, and leave it to lose its heat until it is cold and then serve.
2 c lentils
one of the following:
1 1/2 lb butternut squash
Boil lentils about 40 minutes until they start to get mushy. Add spices and vinegar and oil. Add one of the vegetables; leafy vegetables should be torn up, squash or cucumbers are cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked about 10-15 minutes before being added to lentils. Cook lettuce or chard version for about 10 minutes, until leaves are soft. Cook squash or cucumber version about 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn during the final cooking.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21
The best way of cooking lentils is to crush them and then cook them and put with them chard and taro. When it is done, sumac, fried onion, parsley, vinegar and oil are put with it.
1 c lentils
Grind the lentils in a mortar or a spice/coffee grinder (a gadget like a miniature food processor), then simmer them in 4 1/2 c water about 1 hour. Simmer the taro about 15 minutes, drain, peel, and slice. Rinse and chop the chard. At the end of the hour add the taro and chard. Simmer together about another 1/2 hour. Chop and fry the onion in a little oil. At the end of the half hour, add onion, parsley, vinegar, oil, salt and sumac. Stir together and serve. Note that taro is sometimes available in Chinese or Indian grocery stores.
al-Baghdadi p. 206/12
Take spinach, cut off the lower roots, and wash: then boil lightly in salt and water, and dry. Refine sesame-oil, drop in the spinach, and stir until fragrant. Chop up a little garlic, and add. Sprinkle with fine-ground cumin, dry coriander, and cinnamon: then remove.
1 lb spinach
Boil spinach in salted water about 2 minutes.
(the Gardener’s Dish)
Andalusian p. A-52
It was the custom among us to make this in the flower and vegetable gardens. If you make it in summer or fall, take saltwort, Swiss chard, gourd, small eggplants, “eyes” of fennel, fox-grapes, the best parts of tender gourd and flesh of ribbed cucumber and smooth cucumber; chop all this very small, as vegetables are chopped, and cook with water and salt; then drain off the water. Take a clean pot and in it pour a little water and a lot of oil, pounded onion, garlic, pepper, coriander seed and caraway; put on a moderate fire and when it has boiled, put in the boiled vegetables. When it has finished cooking, add grated or pounded bread and dissolved [sour] dough, and break over it as many eggs as you are able, and squeeze in the juice of tender coriander and of mint, and leave on the hearthstone until the eggs set. If you make it in spring, then [use] lettuce, fennel, peeled fresh fava beans, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, fresh cilantro and so on, cook it all and add the spices already indicated, plenty of oil, cheese, dissolved [sour] dough and eggs.
1/4 lb lettuce
Note: we have not found fresh fava beans; lima beans are New World, but are closer than anything else I know of.
Chop greens, slice carrots, put with beans into boiling salted water for about 5 minutes (if using frozen beans, put them in first and wait until water comes to a boil again before adding greens), and drain. Mix water, oil, sliced onion and garlic, and seasonings in clean pan, boil about 10 minutes and add greens. Cook about 3 minutes and add bread crumbs, eggs, coriander and mint juice, and cheese. Cook over low heat until egg sets and cheese melts.
al-Baghdadi p. 202/11
Take fresh sesame-oil, place in the saucepan, and boil: then put in celery. Add a little fine-brayed coriander, cummin and cinnamon, and some mastic; then pour in vinegar as required, and colour with a little saffron. When thoroughly boiling, break eggs, and drop in whole: when set, remove.
2 T sesame oil
Trim celery and cut into 1/4″ bits. Heat oil. Saute celery in oil over moderate heat for 7 minutes, adding spices just after putting in the celery. Stir vigorously. Crush saffron into vinegar; pour vinegar into pan with celery. Immediately crack in whole eggs and let cook, covered, until egg white is set.
Some of us like this; others do not like anything that has enough mastic to taste.
A touch of “Swan Song” and a dash of “The Stand”…Very good post-apocalyptic tale in the mode and mood of R. McCammon’s “Swan Song” and S. King’s “The Stand”. ★★★★★
Excerpt from Troop of Shadows:
Dani cursed the weight of her backpack. The final two items from the ransacked Walgreens, crammed in as an afterthought ten minutes ago, might cost her everything. After surviving the last twelve months of hell only to be thwarted now by a can of Similac and a twelve-pack of Zest soap, would be sadly anticlimactic. Despite running at a full sprint down a dark suburban street, dodging overflowing garbage cans while eluding three men who would steal her hard-won tubes of Neosporin and likely rape and kill her in the process, she snorted at the thought of a fictional headline: Young Woman’s Life Ends Tragically but Zestfully Clean.
Damn it, she would ditch the backpack. She could come back tomorrow night for it, but right now staying alive outweighed any future benefit its contents might provide. As her pursuers rounded the corner behind her, she darted across the front lawn of a house and leaped over a cluster of dead juniper shrubs. A year ago, those shrubs had been green, manicured, and providing curb appeal to the upscale neighborhood; they functioned now as a hurdle component in the obstacle course Dani navigated on most nights.
She angled toward the side of the house and around the corner, only to come to an abrupt stop next to a six-foot barricade. Residents of these sprawling bedroom communities situated between Dallas and Fort Worth clung to their privacy fences as fiercely as their rural counterparts did to their firearms. Why all those day-trading dads and cheerleader moms required such secrecy was beyond Dani. She didn’t care. All that mattered was how difficult they made her nightly forages. Only idiots or people with a death wish traveled alone on the streets anymore. The clever ones navigated through backyards and drainage ditches, shadowed easements and alleyway, avoiding open spaces and other humans.
Especially humans traveling in groups.
Stealth and caution were second nature to her now, and she was pissed at herself for loading up the backpack with more weight than she could easily carry at a full run.
She flung the pack into the undergrowth of a once meticulous garden, making a mental note of the enormous red tip photinia which camouflaged the bundle in a leafy shroud. She hoped to be alive the next day to retrieve it.
She clambered up the fence, finding a toehold on a warped plank, and squirmed over the top. A silver fingernail of a moon did little to illuminate the backyard. Weak starlight reflected off the inky surface of a half-empty, kidney-shaped swimming pool. Her Nikes gripped the concrete deck as she skirted the murky water and made a beeline for the back of the yard that was, of course, separated from its neighbor by a privacy fence. It was a tall one too — a full ten feet. There were no bushes or trees to use for leverage either. She scanned the area for anything that might serve as a step ladder.
Of all the yards she could have chosen for her escape, she’d picked one with a damn ten-foot fence.
Her heart raced from the sprint, but not from panic. Gone was the young woman from a year ago, the full-time floundering college dropout and part-time surly Starbucks barista who spent too much time reading books and not enough time looking for a job that would allow her to move out of her parents’ house. She was too smart for her own good, everyone had told her. She should have taken that secretarial position in North Dallas, but she would have lost her sanity in that environment. The tedious filing, the ringing phones, the office politics — in other words, hell on earth for a girl with an IQ over a hundred and fifty.
Despite the recent horrors, she’d come into her own at last, after twenty-one years of meandering through life unfocused and unchallenged. The extra twenty pounds she’d been carrying courtesy of Freddy’s cheeseburgers and Taco Bell burritos were gone, thanks to her newfound self-discipline and endless hours of Krav Maga training with Sam. Not only had she transformed her body, she’d elevated and strengthened her mind as well. Before the power had gone out, she’d watched countless tutorials on T’ai Chi, Qigong, and Buddhist meditation. During that same window — when people were beginning to get sick, but before most of them had died — she’d combed book stores and libraries within a fifteen-mile radius. When the country went dark and people realized that life-saving information was no longer available with a few keystrokes, Dani had amassed reference material on subjects as diverse as hydroponics and combat first aid, ancient meat drying techniques and bomb making. Between martial arts lessons with Sam, she spent every spare minute absorbing the printed esoteric knowledge like a greedy lizard on a sun-drenched rock.
Knowledge was survival.
When the first of the men slithered over the fence into the backyard, she hadn’t found anything to use as a foothold. Another figure followed behind him. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and released it from her lungs, slow and measured, then took off at a full run toward them. While she ran, fingers slid down to a leather sheath secured to her belt. Two seconds before she reached the first of her would-be assailants, a Ka-Bar — the grandaddy of tactical knives — was in her hand.
Dani used momentum and every ounce of her one-hundred-twenty pound frame to slam the first man into the second, knocking both assailants off-balance and unprepared for her next move: a vicious stab to the groin of the first. He collapsed to his knees. She followed with a backhand movement, opening up the throat of his companion. A similar gesture to the man with the injured groin silenced his moaning.