Category Archives: French

Rose Petal Jelly

rose-banner_900x450

From the earliest times, indeed throughout the history of civilization, people from around the world have held the rose close to their hearts.

Earliest roses are known to have flourished 35 million-years ago originating  in Asia.The earliest known gardening was the planting of roses along the most traveled routes of early nomadic humans.

In ancient Mesopotamia, Sargon I, King of the Akkadians (2684 BC — 2630 BC) brought “vines, figs and rose trees” from a military expedition beyond the River Tigris.

Rose petals were used in Ancient Egypt, and petrified rose wreaths have been unearthed from Egyptian tombs of antiquity. During the  late Ptolemic period (305 BC–30 BC), Cleopatra had her living quarters filled with the petals of roses so that when Marc Antony met her, he would long remember her for such opulence and be reminded of her every time he smelt a rose. Her scheme worked for him. Such is the power of roses.

The “rosa gallica” was already praised by the Greek poet Anacreon in the 6th century BC. Roses

It was probably brought to Gaul with the Roman conquest. The Romans cultivated a great beauty. Rose petals were also popular in Rome and Greece with the oil produced from them being used as both a medicine and as a perfume for wealthy Romans. The rose petals were used for balms and oils in the Roman society, particularly when worshiping the dead.Roman high society women used petals much like currency believing that they could banish wrinkles if used in poultices. Rose petals were often dropped in wine because it was thought that the essence of rose would stave off drunkenness and victorious armies would return to be showered with rose petals from the civilians that crowded the balconies above the streets long before the confetti and ticker tape parades welcoming events and people of note in New York City in the 20th Century. The Romans also used them as adornments at weddings where they were made into crowns to be worn by the bride and the groom.

And Even though petrified  remnants of roses wreaths have been  have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs and the evidence of rose hips having been found in Europe, the earliest record of roses being  cultivated by the Chinese  was about 5,000 years ago.

And because of trade and wars, the rose has been popular throughout the Middle East, with Iran being the center of it all.  You see, Iran, historically known as Persia, is situated on a bridge of land that connects the Middle East with the Far East. And because of Persia’s  geographic position, roses  have also been a staple in Persian cuisine for over a 3,000 years. It has a considerable place and  historical value in the evolution of the culinary arts from the Middle East to Europe, as it was right in the center of the ancient Silk Road.

The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. and  derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han Dynasty (207 BC –220 CE). Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran/Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations.  Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies, and technologies.

8be9e60862aac978b97e943d448a4d9c

Traders in antiquity along the Silk Road in include the  BactriansSogdiansSyriansJews, Arabs, Iranians, Turkmens, Chinese, Malays, Indians, Somalis, Greeks, Romans, Georgians, and Armenians (Hansen 2012). In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network (Bentley, 1993).   And has thus, a transitional point where  exchange of cultures and the trade of exotic products and cuisine  were passed between the West and the Orient for thousands of years.

Ancient Persians took their wares to all the corners of the world, in particular pomegranates, saffron and spinach, and the country also played host to much of the bargaining between the East and West. These bargained goods, including rice, lemons and eggplant, now feature prominently in the national Iranian dishes were traded for silk and roses.  Roses have been used in Persian cuisine for 3,000 years. In fact, the use of rose petals in Middle Eastern cooking is largely the product of Persian influence. Rose petals were adopted throughout the Middle East after the Persian Conquests which established the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) and subsequently the Sasanian Empire (224–651 AD),and eventually roses were in many cuisines throughout the world including Indian and Chinese food.

Map_of_the_Achaemenid_Empire

Roses often show up in Turkish delight, a Middle Eastern confection that is one of the oldest sweets in the world. Turkish delight can be made with rose petals or with rose water. They also often show up in certain blends of the Moroccan spice mix known as ras el hanout and in some sweetened rice dishes from India.

In Persian cuisine, dried rose petals have been used  in several dishes to flavor or as a garnish. Rose petals are often used to make rose water, which is a less-perishable way to get the rose flavor into baked goods like cakes and puddings. In the Persian household, rosewater is a regular pantry ingredient that is added to sweets, desserts and even coffee.

A popular dessert in  modern Iran just happens to be Bastani, a Persian rose and vanilla ice cream desert that is often garnished with cream chunks and sugar coated rose petals (For the Bastaini Recipe, follow the link to: The Persian Fusion, 2015).

Shah_Abbas_I_and_Vali_Muhammad_Khan

Eventually roses made their way to France. It is said that Thibaud IV, Count of Thibault_IV_Comte_de_ChampagneChampagne (1201-1253), He initiated the Barons’ Crusade in 1239 and  was famous for being a trouvère, and was the first Frenchman to rule Navarre O’Callaghan 1975). According to most historians, the Barons’ Crusade was not  a glorious campaign, but it  did led to several diplomatic successes (Richard, 1999). Souvenirs that he brought back to Europe included a piece of the true cross and the Chardonnay grape which in modern times is an important component of champagne. Thibaud also brought back a rose bush what was named “Provins” (Latin name rosa gallica ‘officinalis’, the Apothecary’s Rose) from this diplomatic expedition to Jerusalem. Though oral tradition is strong, this is not confirmed by any written chronicle, but the evidence of rose appearing in France during this time, lends credibility to the tale (Fray 2007). Thibaud’s poetic spirit was undoubtedly in awe of the beauty of the rose gardens found in the palaces of the Sultan of Damascus.It is said that Thibaud wanted to cultivate this rose on the hillsides of the Châtel in Provins. One can imagine that, from this intensive cultivation was born the link between the city and the flower, that from then on has been present in the city’s traditions: distinguished visitors, such as Kings Francis Ist, Henri IV, Louis XI, or Queen Catherine de Medicis were offered cushions of dried petals (Evergates, 2007).

Provins always had a vested interest in the cultivation of roses. Over time, these roses63654988_ce06cd1c1f have constantly evolved and wild roses started growing next to those cultivated for specific needs (Fray, 2007). This is true of the Rose of Provins, The apothecary rose, first recorded in the 13th century, and was the foundation of a large industry in growing roses that produced  jellies, powders and oils,  because this particular rose was believed to cure a multitude of illnesses. OLIVIER DE SERRES (1539-1619). French author and agricultural scientist, the father of agronomy in France, identified “several virtues to the one who distills rose water used by apothecaries of syrups and other things…” (Hoffman 1984).  And thus, products with medicinal properties where produced in the form of syrups to relieve digestive problems; as a lotion for dry skin; as products to clean and purify the skin; and made as a rock candy to soothe the throat.And these products are still being made and are still  being used in these modern times.

And since medieval times,the rose is still strongly associated with Provins’ confectionery creativity. Provins still produces all sorts of foods from roses, and its main specialties are rose petal jam, fruit jelly, rose honey, rose candy chocolate, liqueur and other delicacies. Provins is also   a large producer of wine, with the medieval methods of wine making are still being carried out by residents, and some vineyards are still being used to produce to  rose petal wine to this very day (Johnson, 1989) .

 And whether in France or in the Middle East, rose petal jam made from fresh rose petals often makes an appearance on the breakfast table to be eaten with bread and butter or clotted cream.The sophisticated floral flavor of rose petal jam truly elevates the foodie palette.

And it should be noted that the flavor of rose petals differs depending on which type of rose plant produced them. They can have a floral sweetness or a tartness similar that which comes from citrus fruit. They can also be mildly spicy. They are often intensely aromatic, which is the quality that is most valuable for cooking.

And given the rather long culinary history, how I came to adore rose petal jelly was through my Grand’s love of growing her own pink roses, not just for their beauty, but because she loved rose petal jelly too! This is her recipe that I share with you today.

Enjoy!

zcamera-20180528_103744

Ingredients:
4 cups pink or red edible roses* (See Cook’s Notes)
6 cups water
1 lemon
6 Tablespoons Class Ball Powdered Pectin **(See Cook’s Notes)
3 cups granulated white sugar

Directions:
Measure the petals.Rinse in cold water to remove debris and small bugs, and drain using a colander. Add the petals and the water to a large saucepan . Set the saucepan on the stove and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the petals simmer for fifteen minutes.

Using a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth,pressing all the liquid from the petals strain the liquid into a bowl to cool slightly. Discard the petals.

Measure the liquid. There should be 4 cups. Add additional water to equal 4 cups of rose liquid, if necessary.

Juice one large lemon into the rose water.

Return the liquid to the saucepan, and add the pectin, stirring thoroughly. Place the saucepan back on the stove bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.

Once the liquid is boiling, add 3 the sugar and continue to mixture it boil for an additional two minutes.

Skim any foam that may form ontop of the jelly.

Ladle the jelly into prepared sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and cap the jars with the lids and rims. Let the jarred jelly sit to cool and set on the counter overnight.

Jelly can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.

To preserve for storage at room temperature, cover jars with lids and rims, place in a hot water bath (2 -3 inches boiling water) for 15 minutes at a hard boil. However, it should be noted that the jelly must be refrigerated after opening.

Serve this versatile accompaniment with scones, crumpets, toast, croissants and other treats. The jelly also has a variety of uses, including using it as a glaze over fruit or tea cakes and even over vanilla ice cream.

Cook’s Notes:
*All edible flowers must be free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers. In many cases they are treated with pesticides not labeled for food crops.

Dried rose petals are great in herbal tea mixes, too. You can also mix dried rose petals, tiny rose buds and a few cardamom pods with black or green tea leaves for an exotic brew.

Dried rose petals sold in UK supermarkets and online are mostly sourced from Pakistan and are usually of rosa canina variety. They are dark pink or crimson in color. Persian dried roses are pale pink and come from damascene roses. Both are good for food decorating but  most  Persian cooks prefer dried roses, available from Middle Eastern groceries and online, for use as a spice.

After boiling, you will notice that the water becomes a dingy brown, and the petals will lose their color. Do not fret. When adding the lemon juice, the acid from the lemons, will transform the liquid into a bright pinkish red.

** One 1.75 ounce package of powered pectin can be used a reasonable substitute.

Sources:
“How to use rose petals in cooking”. (2017). The Persian Fusion. Retrieved July 1, 2018.

“Provins in the dark”. Retrieved June 23, 2018.

Digest, The Reader’s (1978). The world’s last mysteries. Montréal: Reader’s Digest. p. 303. ISBN 089577044X.

Our Rose Garden.:The History of Roses: University of Illinois Extension. (2018). Retrieved July 1, 2018. Retrieves July 1, 2018.  https://extension.illinois.edu/roses/history.cfm

Bentley, Jerry (1993). Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 32.

Boulnois, Luce (2005). Silk Road: Monks, Warriors & Merchants. Hong Kong: Odyssey Books. p. 66. ISBN 962-217-721-2.

Elisseeff, Vadime (2001). The Silk Roads: Highways of Culture and Commerce. UNESCO Publishing / Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-92-3-103652-1.

Evergates, Theodore (2007). The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Fray, Jean-Luc (2007). Villes et bourgs de Lorraine: réseaux urbains et centralité au Moyen Âge (in French). Presses Universitaires Blaise-Pascal.

Hansen, Valerie (2012). The Silk Road. OUP US. p. 218. ISBN 9780195159318. Archived from the original, Retrieved June 20, 2017. Jewish merchants have left only a few traces on the Silk Road.

Hoffman, Philip. (1984). “The Economic Theory of Sharecropping in Early Modern France”. The Journal of Economic History 1984, page 312.

Johnson, Hugh. (1989). Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 122. Simon and Schuster.

O’Callaghan, Joseph F. (1975). A History of Medieval Spain. Cornell University Press.

Richard, Jean (1999). The Crusades, C.1071-c.1291. Translated by Birrell, Jean. Cambridge University Press.

Tyerman, Christopher (2006). God’s War:A New History of the Crusades. Penguin Books.

Xinru, Liu, (2010). The Silk Road in World History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 11. “Republic of Korea | Silk Road”. en.unesco.org. Archived from the original. Retrieved June 25, 2018.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

Protected by Copyscape

Advertisements

Duck Confit Croquettes with Yuzu Vinaigrette

29511398_1618607891521689_1037636886332705135_n.jpg

I recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for a conference recently. Although I pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport quiet frequently, I rarely have time to leisurely grab anything to eat while trying to get from one terminal to another to catch a connecting flight.

However, this time I had an extended layover and being that it was lunch time, I decided to take full advantage of what the restaurant scene in the airport had to offer, and in checking the menu outside the establishment it appeared that One Flew South would fit the bill.

Located in Concourse E, One Flew South is the first upscale dining experience in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Hartsfield_-_One_Flew_South.0.0.jpeg

Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2017

 

The cuisine at One Flew South  can be described a spirited global fare featuring a ‘Southernational’- Cuisine inspired by world travels specializing in Deep Southern and Asian flavors that cannot be denied with dished prepared largely with high quality, fresh, local ingredients from regional farmers and purveyors. An added bonus is that frequent fliers’ know that this Southern/Eclectic spot offers an exceptional prepared to-go selection for travelers as well.


               Photo Credit: TripAdvisor 2018.

The food menus has offering covering soups and appetizers, salads, sandwiches and full entrees. The  is a dessert menu for those that may have a sweet tooth, so be sure to ask your server to share it with you.

One Flew South has a top shelf bar that serves proper cocktails and features an exceptional sushi menu and take-away items. The restaurant presents an enticing culinary destination for travelers braving the world’s busiest airport.

blogger_city_guide_atlanta_one_flew_south_600c390-600x390.jpeg

        Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2018

 

With that being said, I ordered the French Southern inspired duck confit croquettes and the thyme braised pork belly. The croquettes were made with duck, English Peas and Carolina grits and served with fennel slaw, candied citrus, Yuzu vinaigrette and topped with micro greens of cilantro and parsley.

As for the entree,the thyme roasted pork belly was cooked to perfection and served over a bed of parsnip puree and a black-eyed pea and arugula salad. This dish is normally served with a blackberry-onion marmalade, but because the blackberries were not in season yet, the chef made do with a balsamic vinegar reduction. I am working on replicating this recipe and hope to post it at a later date. Stay tuned!

The service was great and I truly enjoyed my meal and I could not wait to get back home to my kitchen to see if I could create such and interesting appetizer tailored to my taste. You see, cooking is pure happiness for me and I was truly inspired my first dining experience at One Flew South I start with this French inspired crispy Duck Croquettes recipe that is absolutely amazing. This process is a bit time consuming in terms of preparation, as they are a bit tricky to make, but they are so totally worth it. Make a few extra while you’re at it. You can keep them in the freezer, just ready to deep fry when you want to.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Croquettes:
3 Duck Legs about
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Béchamel:*
2 tablespoons all purpose flour*
1 oz unsalted butter
1 cup Whole Milk
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Breading*
Finely ground Japanese Panko bread crumbs*
2 Eggs
1 cup rice flour
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

For the Candied Citrus Peel:**
1 grapefruit
2 Navel oranges
2 lemons
2 1/2 cups sugar

Yuzu Vinaigrette:***
Yields Approximately 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup Yuzu Juice, Yuzu marmalade or Monin Yuzu Fruit Purée
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oilSalt and pepper, to taste

For the Fennel Slaw:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 lb fennel (sometimes called anise; about 1 1/2 large bulbs)

For the Garnish:
Mixed Micro greens

Directions:
To make the confit: Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper the duck thighs and fry in a little olive oil. Once it got nice color put it in a large casserole.

Saute the shallots and add to the casserole with and garlic. Add wine and some olive oil.

Place the casserole in the oven at 350°F for about 1 ½ hours, until the meat is soft and falling off the bone. Let it cool down to manageable temperature and pick the meat from the bone.

Chop the meat finely and add to a bowl. Also,  add  the shallots from the casserole and add to the bowl.

For the Béchamel: Add the onion and the butter to a medium saucepan and cook on low heat, until the onions are translucent. Whisk in the flour with a little of the milk to the saucepan. Stir and slowly add the remaining milk until a thick paste is formed. Bring to a boil,  constantly stirring.  Reduce the heat and cook over low heat for a short while, as the consistency should thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside, allowing the béchamel  to cool slightly.

To  a large plastic or stainless steel bowl, add about 1 cup of the béchamel, the chopped duck and  the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Place the bowl in the freezer to solidify the mixture, for at least 1 hour. This step makes it easier to manage the meat mixture.

Spray your hands with a light coating of vegetable spray. Using a small ice cream scoop, fashion the croquettes, by rolling the meat mixture in balls, about 3 ounces each, and set on a plate. Place the croquettes in refrigerator for a least 4 hours.

To make the candied citrus peel: Score grapefruit, oranges, and lemons through peel from top to bottom in 6 sections for grapefruit and 4 for oranges and lemons (don’t cut into fruit). Pull off strips of peel with your fingers. Slide a small, sharp knife along inside of peels to remove excess membrane so peels are about 1/4 inches thick. Cut peels lengthwise into strips about 1/2 in. wide in center and tapered on ends.

Put peels in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice more.

Refill pan with 2 1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar; bring to a boil, making sure that sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until peels turn translucent and syrup begins to form bigger bubbles, about 1 1/2 hours.

Drain peels, saving syrup for other uses (such as topping pancakes) if you like. Spread peels on a nonreactive cooling rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow peels to dry completely, about 2-3 hours.(Store the candied peels in an airtight at room temperature for future use.)

Meanwhile, make the yuzu vinegrette. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except oil until combined. Slowly add oil with blender running until all of the oil has been added.If you do not have a blender or food processor, then add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well blended. Decant to a glass mason jar or cuvette and set aside.

To make the fennel slaw: Whisk together all ingredients except fennel. Trim fennel stalks flush with bulb, discarding stalks, and remove any discolored outer layers. Halve fennel through root end and discard core. Thinly slice fennel with a mandoline or other manual slicer.Place the fennel in a large bowl and toss the fennel with enough dressing to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to fry the croquettes, set up the breading station. In the first shallow dish add the flour. Whisk the eggs and add them to a shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to a third shallow dish. Dip a duck conift ball, first in flour, then beaten eggs and finally in breadcrumbs. Set aside. Repeat until all the balls have been coated.

Add several inches of vegetable oil to a deep fryer or a large pot. Heat the oil to 360°F.  Deep-fry the croquettes in batches, if necessary until they are a nice golden brown in color. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

To serve as an appetizer, with the fennel slaw,followed by the croquettes, topped with the candied citrus, micro herbs and the yuzu vinaigrette.

 

Cook’s Notes:
* You can substitute cornstarch for the flour for a gluten free option. Also use gluten-free breadcrumbs as an alternative to the the Panko.

**To save time, make the Citrus Candied Peel several days ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

***This simple yuzu-soy vinaigrette goes well with many dishes, as a dressing for salads, cooked veggies, as a sauce for raw fish dishes such as tuna tartare or sashimi, or as a dip for homemade tempura. Yuzu marmalade (Yujacheong, 유자청), can be purchased from a local Asian Markets. If you cannot find Yuzu juice at your local supermarkets, you can use lemon juice as a substitute.

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

Protected by Copyscape

Calas: A New Orleans Tradition

 

It’s Mardi Gras, and down in New Orleans, the King Cakes, beignets and other gustatory delights are flowing freely. But if you prefer your culinary temptations with a side of history, allow me to introduce you to the calas, a Creole rice fritter with a storied past.

Never heard of a calas? Most people outside of New Orleans never heard of them either.

It’s basically a rice fritter. Calas are just one of the many rice dishes that actually made the journey during the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Calas are made of leftover rice mixed into a sugary egg batter, then deep fried and served dusted with confectioner’s sugar. 

To  me, they are kind of like beignets, only better — with a more interesting backstory. Calas were once a vital part of African-American livelihood in the New Orleans, and even helped some slaves there buy their freedom. The cala became a very important part of New Orleans’ history.

Scholars think slaves from the rice-growing regions of Africa  who were brought to the Carolinas specifically to  grow rice.  And as slavery spread down to the Gulf Coast, calas  were eventually brought to Louisiana. Some culinary historians can trace calas to Ghana, others, to Liberia and Sierra Leone. If you were to go to Africa today, to Ghana or Liberia, you would find the women in the open-air markets making calas.

330px-Le_Code_Noir_1742_edition.jpgIn 1685, during the days of French rule, New Orleans was ruled by the Le Code Noir or the “Black Codes”, a decree originally passed by France’s King Louis XIV. The Code Noir defined the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire, restricted the activities of free Negroes, also known as free people of color,  and forbade the exercise of any religion other than Roman Catholicism, and expelled all Jews from France’s colonies.

The code has been described by Tyler Stovall as “one of the most extensive official documents on race, slavery, and freedom ever drawn up in Europe”.  The Code Noir resulted in a far higher percentage of blacks being free people of color during this period where the free color populations  was 13.2% in Louisiana compared to 0.8% in Mississippi. In by 21st Century standards, they were on average exceptionally literate and highly educated, sending their children abroad to study in some of Europe’s finest universities at the time.  Many were were doctors and lawyers, with a significant number of them owning businesses, properties and even slaves. Today, most people  are unaware that the free people of color were highly successful in the era of slavery. It was a very different climate in New Orleans than in the rest of the United States at the time.

In the Code Noir, it was stated that  all slaves were required calasby law to have at least one day a week off. The slaves’ day off usually was Sunday. Many of them would become street vendors. And so after church, African women would roam the streets of the French Quarter touting their wares with the chant, “Calas, calas! Belles calas tout chauds, madame, belles calas tout chauds!” — “Beautiful calas! Very hot!”

When the Spanish took control of Louisiana in the 1760s, they brought with them a powerful legal instrument, coartacion ,a specific type of manumission that pertained to slavery in the Hispanic Caribbean, through which slaves were allowed to purchase their freedom on a gradual basis. They were considered ‘free’ in exchange for compensation for the slave owner. In other words, coartacion  gave slaves the right to buy their freedom. For enslaved black women in the city, selling calas was a key way to earn money for these purchases. These women were able to buy freedom for their families and for themselves.

More than 1,400 New Orleans slaves bought their freedom under Spanish rule. But it’s not clear just how many did so with calas money.

African-American culinary historian Jessica B. Harris  has noted  in her writings that not all calas vendors were enslaved. And the ones who were  slaves often sold them for their mistresses. If they were lucky, they were allowed to keep a portion of the money, or perhaps have it go towards their freedom.

Americans ended the practice of coartacion soon after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. But New Orleans remained home to thousands of free blacks – and throughout the 1800s, many of them, especially women, made their living selling calas and other street foods.

In the 20th century, these vendors slowly disappeared, until, by 1940, according to an old Works Progress Administration report, just a single calas street merchant remained.

But indoors, calas “remained popular as a home treat” among African-Americans — especially during Mardi. Friends and neighbors prepared calas for their families and for the maskers who stopped by for a little ‘recess’ from their parading.

And the fritters did survive in at least one public eating space: The Old Coffeepot Restaurant, a French Quarter breakfast joint, where they’ve been on the menu for decades.

Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Jan. 28, 2013.

Waitress Gaynell James Serves up calas from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter. Gerald Herbert/AP 2013.

After chef Frank Brigsten purchased Charlie’s in 2009, he replaced hushpuppies on the menu at the longtime neighborhood seafood joint —a fixture in Harahan, outside New Orleans, since the 1950s—with a savory take on calas. They have gotten to be so  popular that the restaurant now serve shrimp calas as an appetizer.

 In recent years, calas have also made their way into a higher-profile tradition as well.2010-Calas-Lady-_vo
In 1990, New Orleans’ Haydel’s Bakery revived the old tradition of including miniature porcelain dolls in their Mardi Gras King Cakes.  The Original 1990 Frozen Charlotte Doll quickly became a collector’s item.  Since then,  Haydel’s has choosen a different porcelain figure  that celebrates one of the traditions of  the city’s beloved Mardi Gras heritage and bakes them  into  their famous King Cakes. In 2010, that figurine was in the shape of the iconic calas lady, her basket of “belle calas” balanced on her head —not forgotten. a symbol of a New Orleans long gone but, but still alive in the hearts of many.

And so the cala, a rice dish that is a part of New Orleans’ history, will be saved for future generations to come with this recipe that is presented below.

Makes About 2 Dozen

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked white rice
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3 heaping Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
5-6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Mix the rice with flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add eggs and when thoroughly mixed, drop by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil , heated to 360 ° F. Fry until browned on both sides.

Using a spyder, remove the fritters from the oil and drain on baking sheet lined  with paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot with coffee or Cafe au Lait. 

 

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

Protected by Copyscape

Whole Roasted Truffle Cornish Hens

fc48we044-01-main.jpg

Roasted chicken is one of those dished that transcends the human taste buds, regardless of  where it can be found on the menu in this global culinary world. This dish takes it’s inspiration from a classical French technique of natural basting of a chicken or any other fowl for that matter, by rubbing butter under the bird’s skin. Serve with wild rice and a green vegetable of the season and I promise you that this is one dish that your will never get tired of.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Four Rock Cornish Hens
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 ounce black truffle oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced into four quarters
8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, halved

Directions:
Combine butter and truffle oil in a small bowl, Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off, pipe the truffle butter mixture under the skin of the hens breast and legs. Place fingers under the skin and rub around each individual bird.

Using twine, tie the legs of each bird together. Tuck wings under breast and place the hens uncovered in a glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator allowing the birds to air dry for 24 hours.

Remove the hens from the refrigerator. Insert the lemon, thyme sprigs and garlic into each bird’s cavity. Allow the hens to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 400° F and add about 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish. Depending on your oven, bake the hens for 45 to 60  minutes or until the hens reach an internal  temperature of 165° F.

Remove from the oven and place on a large serving platter. Garnish the hens with fresh herbs and serve with your choice of side dishes.

 All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

 

Protected by Copyscape