[Sca-cooks] good herbs

Louise Smithson helewyse at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 23 05:52:11 PDT 2007

De asked earlier--
When a translation says "good herbs" what is the standard generic list of
herbs added?
Is butter the best substitute for suet?
Has anyone made lasagna pasta, if so, how do you make it.
Thank you,

Translation of walnut bread snipped: 

In the context of the Anonymous Venetian cookbook it means pretty much the following herbs: 
parsley, marjoram, thyme, mint, you honestly don't see much basil, oregano, tarragon, you do occasionally see sage, but it is unusual, rosemary does turn up but only in specific contexts.  

Butter isn't really a substitute for suet, suet is a rather hard fat, so grated suet mixed into a recipe will stay in discrete lumps which will then melt on cooking and then create a pocket or air hole.  Butter is much less saturated and mixed into the cake will essentially disperse, not giving you the same effect at all.  I know that the Meijer near me (and often our local Kroger) carries suet (which is the fat from above the kidney of the animal).  I have about a pound in my freezer waiting for me to do something with it. 

Lasagna in a modern setting (pasta) consists of flour + salt + eggs + oil + water and you can download a recipe just about from any website. 
Scappi has detailed ingredient lists for his pastas and they sometimes consisted of flour + salt + rosewater + sugar + water
Do not under any circumstances use durum semolina to make lasagna, that really is what you need to make dried pasta, fresh pasta is (in Italy even today) almost always made with standard AP flour, American AP flour has enough gluten to hold together, if you are concerned then use bread flour. 
Mix up your ingredients to a stiff dough, let it rest 1/2 an hour.  Roll it out as thin as you can, dust the surface of the pasta with a lot of flour, fold it in half and roll it thinner, unfold the two halves (they didn't stick together because of the flour), brush off the excess flour and move on with the recipe.  

My take on this, which doesn't necessarily mean it is correct, or gospel, or any of that stuff.  Just my take on it. 


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