Menu from Gulf Wars XVI

This menu was a challenge, because Gulf Wars this year (2007) was in the heart of Lent, and I tried to follow the Orthodox fasting regulations. Different Orthodox sources give slightly different restrictions, and I don't know what the actual period practice was yet. I expect it was the more strict of the various versions of Orthodox Lent, so that is what I tried to follow with the menu - no meat, poultry, fish (except shellfish), eggs, dairy products, wine or oils for most days. Wine and oils were allowed on Saturday and Sunday, but I didn't bother about that.

Breakfasts:
Almond kasha
Spiced breakfast kasha

Lunches:
Fine cheate bread buns
Grape jelly
Dried fruit
Cabbage pagach
Dill pickles
Prianiki (gingerbread)

Suppers:
Compost/winter jardiniere
Schi/pokhlyobka
Vegetable borsch
Rye bread
Apricot dinner kasha
Cabbage pagach

Beverages:
Water
Mint sekanjabin)


Almond milk kasha: (my favorite)
1 cup almond milk
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
1 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
Honey to taste

Bring almond milk and water to a boil and immediately stir in bulgar. This likes to boil over so be ready to add the bulgar right away. Simmer over low heat stirring every 15 minutes until the desired texture, approximately 45 minutes. This seems to thicken quicker than the milk kasha, which is why I have the extra half cup of water to add during the simmering process if needed. Iíve used both homemade almond milk and store-bought almond milk. The homemade milk seemed to make the kasha sweeter.

Almond milk:
1/2 cup (2 oz) slivered almonds
1 cup water

Food process almonds (or grind some other way) until as fine as possible. Slowly add water while continuing to process the mixture. Then process for a full minute to get as fine a blend as possible. Use as is for the kasha above, or strain out the nut residue.

Documentation: kasha is a traditional Russian food mentioned frequently in period Russian sources. Remains of appropriate grains are found in archeological digs. There are no surviving period Russian recipes. I based the above recipe on modern Russian kasha recipes combined with the Frumente recipe of Curye on Inglysch as redacted by Cariadoc, and the instructions on the package of the bulgar that I used.


Spiced breakfast kasha: (nice and satisfying)
1 cup almond milk
2 to 3 cups water
1 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup raisins
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced
Optional Topping: 3/4 c chopped walnuts, 1 tbs brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Bring almond milk and 2 cups water to a boil and immediately stir in bulgar, sugar and spices. This likes to boil over so be ready to add the bulgar right away. Simmer over low heat stirring every 15 minutes until the desired texture, approximately 45 minutes. The dried fruit absorb some fluid, which is why I have the extra cup of water to add during the simmering process if needed.

Documentation: kasha is a traditional Russian food mentioned frequently in period Russian sources. Remains of appropriate grains are found in archeological digs. There are no surviving period Russian recipes. I based the above recipe on modern Russian kasha recipes, the Frumente recipe of Curye on Inglysch as redacted by Cariadoc, and the instructions on the package of the bulgar that I used.


Apricot dinner kasha: (surprisingly edible)
3 to 4 cups water
1 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup (?) of prunes, dried apricots, raisins or other dried fruit - chopped
salt to taste

Bring water to a boil and immediately stir in bulgar, onion and carrot. Simmer over low heat stirring every 15 minutes until the desired texture, approximately 45 minutes. Add the appricots toward the end of cooking. The dried fruit absorbs some fluid, which is why I have the extra cup of water to add during the simmering process if needed.

Documentation: kasha is a traditional Russian food mentioned frequently in period Russian sources. Remains of appropriate grains are found in archeological digs. There are no surviving period Russian recipes. I based the above recipe on modern Russian kasha recipes, the Frumente recipe of Curye on Inglysch as redacted by Cariadoc, and the instructions on the package of the bulgar that I used.


Fine Cheate Bread: (started to get moldy at the end of the week at room temp)
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tbs dry yeast (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 c whole wheat flour
4 c unbleached flour (bread flour best)
Pour water into large mixing bowl and crumble in yeast. When yeast has softened and expanded, stir in salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir in 3 cups of the white flour, one cup at a time. Sprinkle remaining flour on work surface. Turn dough out on ti and toss until covered with flour. Knead 5 minutes. Put dough into clean, warmed mixing bowl large enough for doubling. Cover andset in warm place to rise 1 to 1.5 hours. Tourn out dough on the floured surface, punch it down and knead into a ball. Divide into 12 and knead into balls. Flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Cut around circumferance about 1/8 inch deep. Place on floured cookie sheet 2 inches apart and punch fork holes (or cut a cross) into the tops. Set to double/rise approx. 45 min. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

This is meant to be a sourdough bread, but I skip making the sourdough when I'm in a hurry. The dough doesn't quite rise as much, but the final loaves are indistinguishable in size. There is only a subtle flavor difference.

Documentation: recipe from Master Gawaine of Miskbridge, Shire of Shadowdale, Kingdom of Calontir.


Rye Bread, Grape Jelly, Dill Pickles and Dried Fruit:
Store bought, except the homemade grape jelly was a gift.


Compost: (pleasantly interesting)
1 parsley root (or carrot)
1-2 radishes
1 parsnip (for sweetness)
1 small turnip
1/2 cabbage, shredded
2 pears, peeled, cored, diced
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp powder forte
3 or so strands of saffron
1/4 c honey
1/2 tbs Lombard mustard
50 gm currants (1-2 oz, 1/4 cup?)
1/8 tsp aniseed
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp cinamon
1/2 tsp powder douce

Cook the peeled roots and cabbage in lightly boiling water until nearly cooked. Add pears and boil until tender. Drain well. Dice the root vegetables. Salt the vegetables adn pears and allow to cool. Put in a non-metallic container with a lid and add vinegar, powder forte and saffron and mix well. May want to add 1/4 cup water depending on the strength the vinegar. Marinate for several hours or overnight. Bring 1/2 cup wter and the honey to boil in a pan. Clarify by skimming off the foam. Mix with the mustard, currents, aniseed, fennel seed, dinnamon and powder douce. Add to vegetable mix. Supposedly will keep for a week or so, expecially if refrigerated and improves with age.

Documentation: adjusted version of Thorngrove Table Website redaction of recipe from Form of Curye #103 (white wine removed to make appropriate for Orthodox Lent).


Pokhlyobka (Russian vegetable pottage): (quite edible, if a bit bland)
150 g shredded cabbage
150 g turnips, cubed
50 g onion, chopped
50 g carrots, cubed
50 g pearl barley
1-2 tsp dill
1/4-1/2 tsp salt

Cook barley in water (3-5 cups?) until half done, then add the cabbage, turnips, onion, and carrots. Sprinkle with chopped dill before serving. Consider adding celery (a stalk), parley (1 tbs), garlic (1/2 clove), half a bay leaf, or mushrooms.

Documentation: recipe for a traditional Russian pottage from RussianFoods.com using ingredients known to be used in period Russia. No period Russian recipes for this soup survive, but similar pottages are documented in Western Europe such as Rapes in Potage from Curye on Inglysch.


Vegetable borsch: (spicy, and mostly for those who really like beets)
2 beets (one 15oz can)
1 sm carrot
1 sm parsnip
1 rib celery
1 onion
1-2 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh dill

Scrub beets and cut into quarters. Cover with water and cook over low heat until tender, about 1-2 hours. Cool and pour off the liquid, reserving it. Slip off the peels. Peel and cut up the other vegetables. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and boletus or mushrooms (?) to the vegetables, with enough water to cover, and cook in a large pot over low heat until tender. Strain the beet liquid into the vegetables. Shred the beets on a medium grater and add to the vegetables. Simmer for about 10 minutes and strain into a large pot. To keep the broth lear, do not press the vegetables. Add more beet liquid, pepper and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat low. Taste. The flavor should be tart mellow and full. For more tartness, add fresh lemon juice or vinegar.

Documentation: Most borsch recipes call for tomato paste, which is almost certainly a post-period ingredient for Russia. However, this recipe for a traditional Russian vegetable beet pottage I found at RusCuisine.com uses ingredients known to be used in period Russia. No period Russian recipes for soup survive, but similar pottages are documented in Western Europe such as Rapes in Potage from Curye on Inglysch.


Cabbage pagach:(edible with the yeast crust, tastier with pie crust)
Filling:
2 small onions, chopped
1 medium cabbage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp and 1/8 tsp, respectively.)

Crust:
2 1/2 c flour
1 c warm water
1 pkg yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3 9-inch prepared pie crusts (not Lenten, but I ran out of the proper dough)

Cook the onion in a large skillet until soft. Add the chopped cabbage and seasonings and cook covered until soft. Allow to cool.

Dissolve yeast in the warm water, then add salt and flour. Knead together until smooth. Add more flour if necessary. Allow to double in size. PUnch down, divide into 8 and roll out dough. (Dough resembles pizza dough at this point.) Put cooled filling on one of the circles, then cover with another and seal the edges. Place on greased cookies sheet to rise until double. This did not make enough dough for all the filling. (It would have worked better if I'd made the pagach bigger, I think.)

To use up the filling, I rolled out 9-inch crust and put into a pie tin. Put filling on one half of circle. Fold over other half of dough to form a large turnover and seal the edge, leaving half the pie tin free to hold another pagach.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Freezes well.

Documentation: recipe for a traditional Russian pagach found on a couple of websites using ingredients known to be used in period Russia. No period Russian recipes for this item survive, but similar pasties are documented in Western Europe.


Prianki (Russian gingerbread): - tasty but difficult to eat - too hard and chewy
2 c dark honey
1 c rye flour
1 c flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom

Heat honey in a pan until thin. Let the honey come up to the boil once, then keep it very hot. Sift together rye meal and flour and stir constantly in a pan on low heat. Do not allow the flour to brown. Add the spices to the flour, mix quickly and add part ofthe four to the very hot honey. Stir together then add the rest of the flour mixture. Beat it all together as hard as you can with a wooden spoon. Keep beating until the dough comes off the spoon easily. Shape into a long roll, flatten it slightly and cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Put on a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) till light brown - about 30 minutes. The cookies should come out quite dry. (Medieval Western European recipes use breadcrumbs instead of flour/rye meal, and they do not bake the candy/cookie.)

Documentation: while this recipe is based on traditional Russian recipes it bears a striking resemblence to medieval gingerbread.


Mint sekanjabin (a refreshing change from plain water)
2.5 cups water
4 cups sugar/honey
1 c wine vinegar
1/2 c mint (or 8 sprigs)

Dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring to a boil and add the vinegar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the mint, stir, and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and strain out the mint. Dilute syrup to taste to serve, approximately 1 part syrup to 5-10 parts water. The syrup does not need refrigeration.

Documentation: recipe found in Cariadoc's Miscellany.


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