Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Historical Food Fortnightly: Something Borrowed Something Blue

The theme for this fortnightly is as follows:

19. Something Borrowed, Something Blue February 8 - February 21
It’s a two part challenge! Either create a dish that relies on borrowed ingredients, or create a dish that involves the color blue. Bonus points if you can achieve both!

Since I have no clue how you "borrow" ingredients - it's like borrowing a kleenex; you have no intention of giving it back, so... I was thinking of borrowing Mom's kitchen or at least a pot or two but ended up going for the blue thing instead.

39 To make a blue pudding

Bruise cornflowers and press them with water through a cloth. If you want, blanch almonds in it, whose milk is then blue. Afterwards make a pudding with it.
From Sabrina Welserin's Cookbook dated to 1553

I ordered 1 oz of blue cornflowers and ended up using nearly all of them.

These are what dried cornflowers look like.  In a very period correct plastic bag, of course.  ;-)

First, I had to "un-dry" the flowers. I figured I'd heat up the water and see what happens....  While the water was heating up, I decided to start the rest of the almond milk prep.

Behold!  The very period correct blender container filled with blanched almond halves!

Behold!  Almond dust!   It took...umm...ten seconds with the blender?   I wasn't about to try the mortar and pestle again for these.  That takes too long.

And then I realized why you don't boil the cornflowers.  It really does make tea.  And not a very good tea, btw.  I tried it and it was horrible.  

So, take two.  This time, I soaked the flowers for an hour.   I then used that water - which was more of a rosy color than a blue - but, hey, it was colorful!-  to make almond milk.  I also added the flowers to the almond dust.

I ended up with 3 cups of very white almond milk.   I know, it's in a pink container.  Wait for the next picture.

See?  Very white.   No color whatsoever.  So, take three!

This was take three.  I put the cornflowers in a bag and put them in the 3 cups of almond milk thinking that maybe that would turn the almond milk blue.  No.  The almond milk separated and it did nothing.  I waited for two hours and then went on to take four.

Take four was to soak the flowers in water for a LONG time (five hours.  My limit).  I used the 3 cups of almond milk I had made for dinner.  Around 7 pm, (I started this all around 2:30 pm, I think) I ended up with water that looked like this!

I know.  Pink container.  Trust me, it was quite purple.   I'm fine with purple.  Purple has blue in it.  

The photo didn't come out quite right.  This is the bag I use to make almond milk.  The yellow looking stuff is the crushed up almonds.  The heather gray (it was more lavender in real life!  Like the northern cascades paint in the photo on this blog.) looking liquid is the water after it's been mixed with the almond dust.

It's purplish gray almond milk!!!!   Honestly, I'm just happy it's not white.   I think if I took the time to separate just the petals from everything else, I'd get a more purple/blue color.  So, although I didn't get blue, I did get...something!  As far as cost, I think the cornflowers were $10 including shipping and I had the almonds on hand.  Water is straight from the faucet so....almost free!   

I don't like period puddings so I'm just going to use the almond milk for other things.  Period puddings are similar to modern French toast and I really don't like French toast.  I like my bread crispy, not soggy, thankyouverymuch.   


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