Orin's Omnibus of Recipes

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Orin's Omnibus of Recipes

Postby Orin Fenix on January 27th, 2015, 6:06 am

1 Fall, 514

I guess I should write down why I'm doing this, in case I get distracted or feel like slacking off one day. If that happens, I want to remember this message. It occurred to me the other day that if I really wanted to make a serious go of being a chef, I should probably consolidate all of my recipes in one place. And I definitely want to try. Even if I fail, it's got to be worth something right? Anyway, I'm hoping that I'll be able to remember everything I learn, but my memory has let me down in the past. So, with this, I won't be worried about forgetting an ingredient or a cooking time or anything like that. And maybe someday I can publish a cookbook. While it might be a silly thought, I can't help but hope that one day it might come true.

I thought long and hard about what recipe to put down first. Then it occurred to me that the recipe I should put down first is the first recipe I ever learned. Then I had the most clever idea! What if I wrote down the story of how I learned the recipe, as a memory aid? After all, I was never real good at facts, and if I have a story attached I'm bound to be able to remember it more clearly. If not, I'll have the story down on paper where I can always cherish it. It's one of the few happy memories I have of my childhood after all. So, first, the recipe, then the story. It's really quite simple, but that doesn't make it any less good.

Country Style Vegetable Stew

1 1/2 lbs. Parsley roots or Parsnips
1/2 lbs. Carrots
pinch Saffron, ground
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. Ginger, ground
1/8 tsp. Cloves, ground
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Mustard
1 Pear, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup Dates, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 head White Cabbage, boiled and leaves separated

Peel and slice parsley/parsnip roots and carrots into coins, boil until tender and drain. Mix mustard with spices. Mix roots with pear slices, dates, dates, and cabbage in a pan; heat to cook through and mix in mustard mixture. Mix in Sauce Poitevin.

Sauce Poiteven

1 cup Honey
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fennel seed, cracked
1 Tbsp. Anise seed, cracked
1/4 - 1/2 cups Dried Cherries
1/4 cup Dried Figs

Mix all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes, skimming off foam. Strain mix with vegetables. Sauce is very thick, you may want to add ½ cup water to mixture when you are making it, especially if you are planning to serve it on the side of the vegetable dish to help keep it more liquid.

There it is. Now, I learned this recipe when I was eight. A nice widow name Marisol had charge of me that day. I loved Mari, as she told me to call her. Her husband had died of a sudden illness, and she had no kids of her own. Despite this, she was quite wealthy, her husband having been a successful farmer when he married her. She was still in mourning, but I had a secret dream that she and my father falling madly in love and I would get to stay with her forever. I never knew my mother but I imagined Mari was how all mothers were, kind, wise and always willing to lend a shoulder to cry on.

That afternoon Mari had parked me indoors. It was rain outside and I was terrified of the thunder. She constantly had to shoo me out from underfoot as I tried to cling to her. Finally, realizing that I wouldn't be happy playing quietly in the corner, she parked me in front of the table and placed a pile of parsnips and carrots and a knife in front of me. You're making dinner tonight she said with a wicked glint in her eye. I looked up at her and said, wide-eyed, But, but, I dunno how to make dinner! She smiled then and gently replied, Then I'll teach you

With that, she picked up the knife and placed it in my right hand, a carrot in the other. I almost dropped it I was so nervous. She took my hands in her own, and guided me carefully through the motions as we peeled, sliced, and diced the carrot. The carrot felt strange on my skin, but not in a revolting way, just different. I watched as the peels fell to the table below us and was filled with a sense of satisfaction as it turned into smaller and smaller pieces under our knife. I was grinning wildly, thinking it was some kind of fantastic game. When the first one was finished, she released me saying, Now you're on your own. Smiling shyly back at her, I picked up a carrot and tried to copy the movements that had seemed so natural a moment ago. Of course, I ended up slicing my finger.

She chuckled as I cried out in pain, and I almost wanted to cry. She gathered me in her arms then and hushed me with a quiet It's ok, it happens to everyone. Now you learned a valuable lesson, but you want to know what's more important? I nodded vigorously. You have your own battle scar now! I had to laugh at that, and she turned me firmly back to the table, urging me to try again.

I picked up the knife and the carrot. Moving slowly with a cautious respect for the incredibly sharp edge, I gamely continued on. Brow furrowed in concentration, I peeled that carrot so finely that Mari applauded when I was finished. Beaming at her, I reached for another one. She grabbed another knife and begin peeling alongside me, albeit much more quickly and smoothly. I heard her humming contentedly under her breath and it made me feel happy. When the carrots were done, we moved onto the parsnips. Feeling more confident, I increased the speed in which I was moving the knife, although it was still slower than from before I cut myself. We threw those into a pot of water to boil, and then we moved on to mix the spices and cut up the the rest of the ingredients. Once done, she taught me how to make the sauce, which I hold to this day it one of the most delicious sauces I know how to make. We threw the vegetables into a pan, added the spices and the sauce, and like magic, it appeared in our bowls, steam rising from it like a promise. It was, without a doubt, the best bowl of soup I have ever had.
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Orin Fenix
Almost Iron But Actually Master Chef
 
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