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March 8th, 2012

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Thursday, March 8th, 2012 10:12 am

Culinary guild night went well. We had a respectable but not overwhelming turnout and we managed to test out two recipes, and I taught a few additional lessons on Lent, how to easily peel almonds, and make fresh almond milk.

This is a quick photo tutorial on how to easily peel raw almonds, and then use them to make fresh almond milk.

Peeling raw almonds is amazingly easy, the secret is to soak them in hot water (it can be hot to boiling, but dosen't have to be) once the water has cooled just enough to be safe to touch, you will notice that the skins have softened and loosened quite a bit. Then it's just a matter of pinching them on the bottom and they jump right out of their skins!

Once the almonds have been peeled (if you want really white almond milk, otherwise you can potentially leave the skins on) you can either grind them by hand and stir them in 3 times as much water, then strain out the solids, or process in a blender or food processor for about 5 minutes and then strain. For a single batch I typically do one cup of raw almonds to three cups of water. 

XCVII. Torta de gambari vantagiata.
Toy li gambari alessi e trane le polpe delle code e toy arquante herbe bone e bati ben e miti con questo batuto brodo de mandole e specie fine e uva passa e de questo batuto fay torta sutille entro do croste e de sopra vuole essere potente de specie dolze e de uva passa e dentro vole essere ben zalla.
XCVII. Fantastic tart of prawns.
Take the prawns boiled and pull the pulp from the tails and take a quantity of good herbs beaten well and put with this batter broth of almonds (almond milk?) and spices fine and currants and of this batter make tarts thin between two crusts and above should be strong with sweet spices and currants and within it should be well yellow.

We chose to clean/ de"vein" the prawns before we cooked them for the ew factor. Lindy stopped by the night before so we could prep the seafood in advance in consideration of one attendee who had let me know about a seafood allergy.

What we did:
2 lb of fresh prawns, cleaned and deveined
I cup peeled raw almonds + 3 cups water = almond milk
Since it called for "good herbs" we reviewed my spreadsheet of all the ingredients from this manuscript for what herbs a specifically named. We used 2tsp fresh organic sage, rosemary, thyme, and dried local organic bay/ laurel leaves.
1/2 tsp each sweet and fine spice mixes from this same manuscript
1/8 cup currants (dried)
Two pre-made vegetarian pie crusts.

What I'd do differently:
I'd at least double the amount of currants, possibly even bring it up to 1/2 cup.
I'd also double the amount of spice mixes, to 1 tsp each.

Other than that this was delicious, this is definately a sea food dish I'd do again. I didn't get any photos of the tart before it was devoured. Considering there was only 3 1/2 of us eating it was hoovered, and some leftovers were taken home. I've also got leftovers for lunch today, so we'll see how well it holds and re-heats (or tastes cold).

C.Torta in balconata per dodeze persone.

Toy farina piú biancha che tu poy avere in quantità de tre libre o toy do onze de zucharo e toy una libra de mandole e xxxvj noce bone e meza libra de uva passa e xxv datali e mezo quarto de garofali e toy bona quantità de late de mandole, toy la farina che tu ay destruta con aqua sì che sia ben spesso e toy la padella e onzella ben de olio e de questa farina fassi crosta ad una polverizata de zucaro e delle dite specie, e toy le noce possa li datali minuzati e l’ uva passa ben lavata e garofali russi e tute queste croste su chaschauna la suva parte e poni crosta sopra tute queste cose e sì che sia torta.
C. Tart windowed for 12 persons.
Take the flour most what that you have in amount of three pounds and take two ounces of sugar and take a pound of almonds and 36 walnuts good and half a pound of currants and 25 dates and half a quarter of cloves and take a good quantity of almond milk; take the flour that you have mixed with water such that it is well thick and take the pan and grease well with oil and o
f this flour make a crust in it powder with sugar and the said spices, and take the nuts crushed and dates tiny (well chopped) and the currents well washed and cloves ground and all these in the crust over each one saves part of the crust and puts above all these things an it is a tart.

I got wrapped up in teaching and didn't take process pictures for this dish, but this was fantastic!! I think I'm going to make this a holiday standard. This would be a tasty addition to a feast, but it's fairly cost intensive as this tart took two pounds of walnuts, 1 cup of raw peeled almonds (made into almond milk), 1/2 pound of dried dates and 1/3 cup currants.
What we did:
2 cup walnuts crushed or coursely chopped
1 cup raw peeled almonds + 3 cups water = almond milk
1/3 cup dried currants rehydrated in hot water
2 cups chopped dried dates
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh almond milk
1 (it should have been two with the top cut laid out in a charming "windowed" fashion but my students/ got very impatient for the last dish) vegan pre-made pie crust.
The pie tin was spreyed with olive oil. The crust was laid out then sprinkled lightly with a tiny bit of clove, and more generous amount of cinnamon, I would have used ginger as well, but one of the students has an allergy. The rest of the items were layered as well, chopped dates, rehydrated currants, another sprinkling of all the spices, and then almond milk poured over the top- I had the sugar out but somehow forgot to add it. The tart was still quite sweet without it, but I think it would have helped it hold together and be less crumbly.

I would absolutely use this recipe again, perhaps double the amount of currants and spices, and of course not forget to add the sugar.