Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Italian Food History and Cooking Workshop

May 16-21, 2017  At the Villa Serenella, San Pietro in Cariano just outside Verona
Set in a magnificent Palladian Villa a few kilometers outside Verona, this workshop covers the food and culture of Italy from ancient times to the 20th century with lectures, readings, hands on cooking, single or double occupancy rooms, and historic meals at the villa, all included. Lessons will focus on Italian cookbooks such as Apicus, Platina, Scappi, Corrado, Artusi, and Marinetti, from which we will cook directly, all in translation.

The workshop will be run by Ken Albala and Demet Guzey. Ken is professor of history and chair of food studies at the University of the Pacific, with 24 books in print, and his food history course on DVD from the Great Courses company. Demet is a writer and lecturer of food and culture holding a PhD in Food Science and a Level 2 WSET wine and spirit certificate. She lives in Verona.
This villa suburbana dates from the 17th century and we will be cooking in its historic kitchen and eating meals in the dining room and working in the living room. It is situated between the ancient city of Verona with its splendid Roman amphitheater, Juliet’s balcony, brick Renaissance castle and the Lake Garda region. Fly into Milan or Venice and take the train into Verona, we are about 12 km to the northwest.
We will also visit local wineries and Demet will lead us on formal wine tastings.
Cost for the workshop is €1,638 ($1,719) for shared occupancy and €1,950 ($2,048) for single occupancy. This includes all workshop sessions, all accommodations for 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 5 dinners including two at traditional local restaurants, 5 lunches, wine tasting fees and Verona card which allows you access to all museums and churches of Verona.
Workshop cost will not include airfare or transportation to or from the venue or insurance. The fees will be charged at the time of signing up. Cancellations will be fully refunded until 60 days before the workshop and 50% after 30 days before the start date. After this date no refund will be possible.
To sign up, email us at kalbala@PACIFIC.EDU and demetguzey@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pickled Meyer Lemon Powder

 I've been wanting to do this a long time. Last year I had a crop of tiny meyer lemons and I wanted to see if  could pickle them whole, in brine. There are no spices, just salt and bay leaves. After a whole year they came out delicious. I had one chopped alongside a pork chop. Tart and salty.
 I sliced the rest of the jar, removed the seeds and put them in the dehydrator on high, overnight and this is what they looked like in the morning.
The slices went into the coffee grinder and out came this cheery yellow powder. I'm going to see what a touch will do inside a noodle, but there are so many other possibilities. Imagine this on shaved ice, or sprinkled over a salad. Or even on a steak. I suppose anywhere you want lemon and salt plus the added kick of the pickling and aroma of the rind, which is sweet and not acrid at all after a year in brine.

I suppose I ought to patent this!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Leftovers Noodle Soup

Thanksgiving Leftovers made with Pho Stock, Egg Noodles, Raw Celery, Carrots and Peas, Some Steamed Bok Choy, Nuoc Cham (shallots, lime, fish sauce and chilies) and shredded Turkey. A Sprinkle of grated orange rind and crushed cloves kept it bright and right for the holidays.

The difficulty is making the stock not taste like drinking gravy, so the raw vegetables really help with that. Crunch and chewy and savory in every bite. The Stock contains star anise, black cardamom, cassia, and odds and ends like cilantro stalks and mushroom stems from the freezer and even a parmesan rind!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Penghui for Noodles

 I've been experimenting with an odd alkaline substance this past week. It goes into a lamian noodle, apparently used often in China though fairly impossible to find in the US. It's called penghui and as far as I can tell is ash, processed in some fantastic way, made from mugwort, which is an Artemesia species. The first time I made a solution and rubbed it onto a well worked and rested wheat flour dough. It was made from King Arthur Bread Flour. Not much happened and it didn't behave differently from the batch not rubbed with the solution.

But today I made a batch with 1/16 of a tsp of this white powder directly into a cup of flour and water. Worked for 15 minutes, left over night and then cut and worked into noodles this morning. It was very stretchy. A few strands broke so I couldn't get it into one super long noodle to wrap around my hands many times and stretch, but it made a pretty decent pulled lamian all the same.

My only complaint is that the cooked noodles above tasted a little chalky like Bayer aspirin. Maybe a hint of sulfur too. I rinsed in cold water for a while.

Then they went into a lamb stock with kale. Actually really chewy, and a great noodle. But I noticed afterwards a slimy texture in my mouth and a little lye-burn on my tongue and palate. It's still a little burnt a full 12 hours later. So I do not recommend putting this in the dough.

I'm going to try a diluted solution and working it into the kneaded and rested dough, maybe a little more of it, not just splashed on, will work without tasting weird.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mushroom Noodle Cubed

1 lb mixed mushrooms (enoki, maitake, porcini, shi’itake)
1 tbs butter or oil
½ tsp salt
3 c water
1 c white wine
½ c porcini powder
½ c all purpose flour
1 egg
3 slices of portabello mushroom
1 tsp butter
½ c milk
Sour cream

Sautee mushrooms in butter or olive oil with salt. Let them brown. Put over water and wine, simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and put the mushroom solids in a sturdy cloth and squeeze out all the liquid. Discard solids. Combine porcini powder with flour and egg. Knead into a smooth ball and lightly oil. Roll out into a very thin sheet (without extra flour) and cut by hand into extra thin noodles. Let these dry slightly on a wooden board. Sautee three slices of portabello mushrooms in butter, salt lightly. Heat the mushroom stock and add milk. Add the noodles. When cooked through arrange in a bowl with the mushroom slices, a sprig of dill and a dollop of sour cream. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


This is a pulled noodle. Really simple to make. Look out for my noodle soup book for the recipe.