[Sca-cooks] Caerthe's 12th night feast report LONG

Cat . tgrcat2001 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 9 08:10:54 PST 2008

Gentlemen, thank you for your kind words, I would be
delighted to have either or better yet BOTH of you in
my kitchen ANYTIME (but NOT anytime soon :)

Here follows the report on Caerthe's 12 th night Feast
2008 as seen by the Cook.

My first mistake was when I was asked if I would cook
for this specific 12th night bid.  I said "SURE, as
long as the site has a kitchen" (I have cooked and
helped cook feast at sites that have NO kitchen at all
and didnt want to try that for a 12th night)  Well the
site had a ‘kitchen’, BIG room but standard home
equipment: ONE glass top standard home stove with one
large, 3 small and one warming only burner, ONE
standard oven, 3 microwaves, one standard single basin
sink, a large fridge and a small freezer.

I knew the limitations when I designed the feast, so I
planned on a cold first course, and hot things from
roasters.  Oh, and the event theme was French, based
on the Unicorn tapestries, not my usual but hey, I can

So I found some cookbooks and started reading:
Tarts of mushrooms of one night were a no brainer, I
also thought of tansy tarts, but the barony is
lukewarm on most fish (besides, Colorado is
landlocked) so I shifted them to an herb tart
(inspired by the tansy but using parsley, chives,
chervil and thyme), and after re-evaluating the
balance, the beef tart originally planned became brie
tarts (yes I know, from Curry, not from the French,
but um.. brie is French ;-)
I found mention to smoked salm in the period records,
so smoked salmon went in (its one of the few fish not
spurned locally).  Wanting more green I found a recipe
for minces (little cabbages) ok it was not going to be
a huge hit, so only planned 8oz per table of 8, but it
would be green and I bet it would be tasty, served
with oil and vinegar and fresh herbs (herbs got
skipped in the end)  To add more protein we did hard
boiled eggs and served a basic mustard sauce on the
side, and finally Bears wonderful manchet, some
store-bought baguettes  and plain ordinary butter (One
of my kitchen help manfully split the entire 4lb batch
of butter into half sticks with one quick swipe of a
sharp knife. *( Perhaps I should mention that my
kitchen help consisted of Bear and ten fencers,  9 of
them from Scola Metallorum - those of you who also
fight at Estrella might remember the 'white-asses.'
Scola aka the Colorado School of Mines uses a white
donkey on their tabards.  They work well as a unit on
the rapier field and proved themselves quite capable
in a kitchen!)

To backtrack, the Saturday before feast my first
apprentice, Ailea, and her lord, Tahir, came over and
helped make 41 tarts (including 3 with home made
crusts since commercial crusts now have lard, making
them NOT vegetarian safe.)  Tahir is now expert at
slicing mushrooms, and they, with Tanwens help,
wrapped, labeled and then took the pies away to
another freezer (Sir Kronos and his wonderful Lady,
Baroness Katherine not only babysat the pies, but also
hauled platters and other kitchen equipment that I
knew would not fit in my car along with all of the
food.  I could not have done it without their help.)  
After the freezer the crusts were not quite perfect
for the feast, but it would have to do.  
The salmon was purchased on sale already in 4oz chunks
so all I had to do was brine it, throw charcoal and
soaked applewood on the smoker and make sure the
internal temp was safe before chilling for service in
the future.  The minces I cooked Friday night, put
into large zip bags with oil and vinegar and let them
marinate in the fridge overnight.
All these things could be prepped in advance, and be
served room temp or cold.  So far so good.

The second course was the Sicilian vermicelli with
cheese (from Vivendier I think or the Menagier – thats
where I first pulled the menu from) I found small
packs of vermicelli in the Hispanic aisle at the local
big lots (.25 per pack) and, because the test batch
cooked in under 5 minutes, decided to have them cooked
on site rather than doing the boil in bag thing I had
first planned.  Maeb offered the use of her 'uber'
propane burner and she boiled the pasta in record
time.  For service they went into 16 oz Styrofoam
bowls (the Barony owns bowls, but they were invisible
when I went to the locker to get the equipment, so
they got ugly white plastic) For service the kids
divided, and added grated cheese and the pasta was
good to go.

I also had been requested to serve the sausage pottage
I re-created for a friends vigil 2 years ago.  Its
from Ouverture de Cuisine, and crock pots beautifully.
 (Sausage, onion, apples, a bit of wine (I used apple
liquid for my own reasons) and seasoned with lots of
fresh nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon.  I found the
sausages on sale for .99 lb (I cant make them for
less, especially in the quantities needed for a feast)
browned them according to the recipe, froze them whole
and farmed out the bags to one of my apprenti.  At the
site both apprenti sliced the sausages into bite size
chunks, I added the onions that had been pre sliced,
dumped in apples I had picked off my neighbors trees
(free!!!) and canned in a very light syrup in
anticipation of this feast, grated nutmeg, cinnamon,
and parked 3 roasters around the hall (to keep from
popping circuits – it worked!) The roasters heat
differently than my stove or the crock pot so I had to
add a little more liquid to start, and then it was too
juicy at service, but the kids found a way to drain it
and the pottage also went out in Styrofoam bowls (to
keep it from oozing into the vegetarian safe pasta.)
to add some green I remembered a cowcumber salad from
Eleanor fetteplace (there is one in Rumpolt as well)
so they got thinly sliced cucumber (again on good
sale) seasoned with salt, pepper, dill and cider
vinegar.  (team Scola including Yve, Buta, Alset,
Logan and Jervel got their hands on the 20 cucumbers
and had them peeled and sliced and ready to season so
fast, I barely had time to rescue ONE whole cuke for
decoration (a cucumber knights chain, which I then
promptly forgot in the fridge)

Next was the roast beef.  I had found a great deal on
Angus London Broil (1.49lb) so each table was slated
for a 2.5-3lb roast.  On Friday, while Bear was
filling my home kitchen with the incredible scent of
yeast bread rising, I fired up the Webber kettle and
each steak was seasoned and popped on the fire for
about 3-5 minutes per side.  I wanted good color and
smoke/fire flavor but really didnt want them cooked. 
At the site they went into the other 2 roasters with a
little water and were set at 225F to heat through to
temp.  Some came out rare, most medium, and a few
weller done. These paired VERY WELL with the Sauce
Aliper that Papa Gunther suggested.  I made the sauce
Thursday and let it mellow in the fridge, then
reheated it at the site.

For the roasted chickens I sooo cheated.  Given the
site I knew I would have no real way to cook them on
site, so I outsourced.  I contacted the local
Kroger/king soopers deli and they provided whole
rotisserie chickens (and they were even on sale ;-) 
Mistress Arwen kindly made the chicken run and the
birds arrived, hot, ready to be removed from their
bag, popped on the platter with the beef, small cups
of sauce added. (To accompany the chicken I wanted to
use the fresh orange juice I had left from juicing 35
lbs of fresh oranges for candy peels (below) Bear
kindly took on the sauce and made a very yummy orange
cinnamon sauce - though he will have to tell you what
recipe it is based on.  We finished the platters with
a good scoop of peas in their pods with bacon (based
on a recipe in Le Menagier though I ended up using
half plain peas and half sugar snap peas.  Thankfully
all 16 lbs of peas (and 3 lbs of bacon) fit into my
largest stock pot and was boiled on the stove.

Here endeth the main courses of this feast.  The
desserts were served from a side board.

I made poached pears (I really could not find much in
the way of desserts in either vivander or menagier so
I punted) fresh pears peeled on Friday by Yve and
Baroness Marguerite, simmered in red grape juice with
sugar and cinnamon sticks and left outside in the snow
overnight to cool, blend, mellow.  The big pot spilled
a little getting it into the car so I have to
de-stickify that.

Additionally for dessert I made candy orange peel, and
candy ginger , purchased Jordan almonds because
frankly I found them for the same price as I would
have paid for the raw almonds, and it saved me a
little time.  Finally, I have a reputation for my bite
sized meringue kisses (I suspect if I ever did a feast
or dessert sideboard and did NOT offer them, there
would be horsemen) so I served them (it’s a good way
to use up the whites left after the extra yolks went
into the brie tarts.)  I hope everyone got enough and
was full and happy with the food.

The servers were pleasantly surprised by the fact that
they started at 2pm and by 320 they were finished!

The scola kitchen crew made quick work of the clean up
as well.  My apprentice Adam washed till his fingers
were prunes and still washed (he would NOT let anyone
at the sink, reminds me of someone I remember from
down south.)  Several of the above named scola crew
were still around to help load the boxes back into my
car and I was afraid we would have to bodily drag
Johann from the kitchen - he was actively looking for
a broom to sweep the place out.

I was truly blessed with my kitchen crew and the great
deals the Grocery Goddess sent my way.
I think overall it went well.  I forgot the cucumber
decoration in the fridge, and there was some grumbling
that the second course came too quickly for them to
finish enjoying the first, but since the pasta was
cooked I wanted it out while things were still hot.

In Service
Gwen Cat 

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