Friday, October 9, 2009

More Medieval Catering

On October 1-3 the Ohio State University Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies hosted the 2009 conference for the Committee on Centers and Regional Associations. Having worked with them before, they asked if I'd be interested in cooking a medieval luncheon for their Friday session. I, of course, said "Yes!"

So on Friday morning I got in the car (along with my assistants, Kristen Sullivan and Jennifer Marshal-Craig) and made the two hour drive up to Columbus. Then there was just enough time to unpack, finish what cooking needed to be done, and get the buffet set out. Much of the food was prepared ahead of time, and a good thing too as the lone oven and cooktop in the building could only charitably be described as a "food warmer".

Here's what we served:

The setup looked great, but I was too busy to get any photos before the guests ate. I know their photographer managed to take a couple pictures though, so I might be able to get copies from her.

On the whole, things went well. The yellow pepper sauce didn't thicken up quite right due to the lack of heat from the burners, but it still tasted good. The real surprise for me was the blancmanger. I'd pre-cooked the chicken and decided to cook the rice when we got there. Again, as fortune would have it, I had brought a roaster which was perfect for this dish. We put the rice in to cook early on, and then added the chicken, almond milk, and spices. I kept worrying about it because it just seemed too easy. No problems with it though - I think it's my new favorite recipe (to cook at least).

The chardewardon was a bit of a show-stealer. I had Kristen serve it in individual cups, topped with snowe and a mint leaf garnish. They looked so elegant (even though the cups were plastic), and the combination of pear custard and cream is hard to beat.

It was while cleaning up afterwards that I noticed almost all the plates were completely empty. A good sign, as people don't usually polish off foods they don't like. I mentioned this to Kristen and Jen, and they said they saw people going back for seconds. All in all, I'd say this was a success.

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