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Test feast report

Saturday night we had a delightful dinner, with thanks to the people who joined us. The only slight hiccup was that while we were planning a dinner for 10, we ended up with a cast of 9. That’s because even though we’d planned for frederich to join in the fun he worked in the kitchen. I really should have taken his place but I was working in the kitchen in between mingling with the guests.

We completed all dishes in reasonable time, and in fact one of the comments was that we were sending them out far too fast to be realistic for the real feast.

The first course:
Pickels of Artichocks
Pickels of Cowcombers (cucumbers)
Comment – I usually make these with White wine vinegar and I found this version, made with Cider Vinegar was a bit sharp to my taste, but all of the pickles seemed to go very well and are predicted to go even better if it is a hot day.
Pickels of Red beets - LLT actually found more people than she expected tried these and the overall reaction was very good.
Ramequin of Onions & Garlick (toast points with garlic or onion spread)
Comment: We were using garlic heads that we’ve had for a little bit, and we’ve discovered that garlic apparently gets more potent as it ages. While it was VERY easy to peel, the small amount that ended up on each toast point was FAR TOO strong. Plans have been changed to use bottled garlic instead of fresh.

Another comment was made that these spreads could easily be served on the side allowing for people to use however much of each spread they want. LLT’s research indicates that this was not done in period, and she is still planning on serving them already spread. One of people suggested that serving the spreads on the side would make life easier for the kitchen crew but LLT feels that we will have plenty of time/help to accomplish this small task

Eggs farced (like deviled eggs but with herb stuffing)
Comment: Still not quite deviled eggs, frederich has decided we should call them purgatory eggs. spikywheel noted that they were not as creamy as she would expect. Part of that was because they were kept in the refrigerator until the INSTANT they were served. As the eggs warmed up to room temperature they became creamy. The filling was good. Since we are planning on making these ahead of time, I think I will suggest that we run the filling through the food processor which will also help with the creaminess, as well as reducing the effort required to make the filling for approximately 120 eggs (figuring one egg per person).

Note: We had bought eggs Saturday morning and I shelled a dozen of them with all of them coming out well enough to be stuffed. I found that the difference seemed to be at least in part the time I took to shell the eggs. Usually I’m standing at a sink and taking the attitude that I want to shell the eggs as fast as possible. This time I was sitting down and decided that since we didn’t want to boil more eggs, I was going for quality not quantity. It probably took me half an hour to shell the stupid things but these were the least damaged eggs I’ve ever made. For the actual feast we are going to get the eggs a week early and Mamacita (who is showing up a week early) has volunteered to shell them for us.

Potage of Rasberries (almost a Raspberry soup)
Consensus was that we want to serve these in the lime shells. This time we used limes that frederich had juiced to make a margarita the night before. Since he knew we were going to need 10 halves, he juiced 5 limes. I did not think to properly clear out the remaining bits of lime from the insides and that was the only comment against the lime halves. Fortunately spikywheel has volunteered to take care of dealing with the limes for us.

LLT had made this earlier in the day and when she asked me to try it I noted that the raspberry flavor was too intense in my opinion. So she doubled the amount of milk in the recipe and we actually reduced it after incorporating all the ingredients. Most people raved about the flavor, but one person noted he really didn’t taste the raspberry. We had bought fresh raspberries to use as a garnish and then forgot them in the refrigerator. Wynne said that if we had remembered them it would have helped him identify the raspberry flavor. LLT says she is going to try to have fresh raspberries available to garnish for the feast.

Also LLT and I decided we liked the potage when it was slightly warm, but if we did that we would not be serving it in the lime shells. I also think trying to serve all the tables only slightly warm potage would be too difficult. I think we will reserve that for home use.

The second course:
Note: Two loaves of Rye bread were served with this course and remained on the table for the rest of feast. At the end of dinner, only three-quarters of one loaf had been eaten. This does not say anything against the bread, which was excellent, but when talking about it, it seems we were serving food too fast and people didn’t have the lulls they usually eat bread during.

Roast Chicken with Orange-Cinnamon sauce
Comment: This was served in a bowl with the Orange-Cinnamon sauce spooned over top. By the time the dish got to the table, all of the rather thin sauce was at the bottom of the bowl and people didn’t even realize there was a sauce. At the event the sauce will be served on the side and people will be instructed to add the sauce to the chicken. People who tried it both was said it was an entirely different dish with the sauce. I’m also suggesting that as the chicken gets done it is to be set in pans and covered with the sauce until serving to provide a little post-cooking marinating. The first time LLT made this recipe she actually marinated the chicken but upon reviewing her documentation didn’t see any indicator for this so didn’t do it Sat night.


Langouste with White sauce (Shrimp with Hollandaise)
Comment: The White Sauce went over VERY well and people were putting it on almost everything for the remaining dishes. We may be leaving the white sauce on the tables for people during feast.

Salat of Lemon & Oranges (sliced lemons and oranges)
Comment: People wished that the slices were actually chunks. Also LLT had apparently bought blood oranges? We are going to have regular oranges with maybe a few slices of blood oranges and she is reducing the number of lemons to one per table. She is not planning on making them chunks however, since her documentation clearly says slices.

Cream of Pistaches (Cream of Pistachios)
The idea of serving this in shells went over REALLY well. The only real complaint was that people wanted more. Some discussion was made about making this dish the finish for the entire meal but it was decided that as the third course is heavy, it should stay with the second course. However, if anyone has enough discipline to save their’s until the eggs with bread is served it makes an excellent pairing.

Lentils
Not much to say here – as usual they were very good.

The third course:
Suckling Pig Farced (roast pork stuffed with cheese)
Comments: When LLT did this before she drilled a whole in the roast and then stuffed it with cheese. There was excessive leakage of cheese so this time she tried butter flying the roast, smearing the cheese and then trussing it. Once again most of the cheese ended up melted in the pan. I’ve suggested roasting in aluminum foil but I’m not sure we’re going to go that direction. Suggestions made by the test feasters included allowing the cheese to melt on the top of the roast AFTER roasting, making a cheese sauce and stitching up the ends of the roast. In period this dish was made with whole suckling pig which was stuffed and then stitched shut. Not having the budget or the ability to work with suckling pigs for 120 we’re still looking for a solution to this one. One thing that will not be done, however, is a cheese sauce. This is just too different from the original for our taste.

Sparagus with Cream (Asparagus)
Two people who do not like Asparagus tried and liked this. 

Mushrums after the Olivier
Got good reception, not much to say about it

Red Carrots with Brown butter & onion (Carrots & onions in brown sugar sauce)
Commets: This is going to be moved to the second course per the suggestion of the test feasters who felt that there were not enough veggies in the second course and too much in the third.

Eggs with Bread (bread pudding)
This got raves, especially when spread with either the white sauce from the shrimp or the pistachio cream.


I sent this report to LLT for her to add her comments but I'm impatient girl today so I'm posting it now. If she has anything else to report, I'll post it later.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
its_just_me
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
That sounds great. Which sources did you use?
orlacarey
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Recipes are . The source I have noted is The French Cook Francois Pierre La Varenne Englished by I.D.G.
its_just_me
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
I may have to get this book. Danke.
orlacarey
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
No problem. We've got a rather large library of books, most of which are listed in the Carolingia library under either Olra or Teufel IIRC.
spikywheel
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
Lemons in the salad - how about REALLY THIN slices of lemon instead of the thicker slices? Mandolin kind of slice...

Will let you know what I find out aboutt he pork.
orlacarey
Jun. 19th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
Will mention to LLT and see what she thinks
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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