Sunday, February 16, 2014


Greetings, Diners!

Today we will be eating (and cooking) the following:

 Gustatio: Mixed Olives, Alexandrian Dates, Vegetable Platter

Dates Alexandrine
Blanched almonds
Butter or parchment paper

Pit the dates, if necessary.  Roll the almonds in cinnamon and stuff each date with an almond.  Place on a prepared sheet pan (either grease it with butter or line it with parchment paper).  Drizzle the dates with honey and heat in a hot oven for ten minutes.

Mensae Primae: 

Psoai, or Pork in a Sweet Wine and Fig Sauce
From the Heidelberg Papyrus.
Modernized by Mark Grant.

2 lbs pork (I used tenderloin because I had it already, but a fattier cut might work even better, and be cheaper)
4 oz. olive oil
2 tsp coriander seeds
juice of ½ lemon
1 cup sweet white wine
5 dried figs
3 T white wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
handful of fresh parsley
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut pork into small pieces, brown in batches in olive oil in a dutch oven or whatever covered pot can go into the oven.  Grind the coriander seeds to a powder.  Toss the pork with the coriander, lemon juice, and salt to taste.  Remove from heat.

Chop the figs, boil them in a small saucepan with ¾ cup water for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain out and discard the figs.  Add the wine, oregano, vinegar, and fig stock to the pork, stir. 

Cover the pot, bake for at least an hour and a half, until the pork is extremely tender—it should be like pulled pork or pot-roast.  Stir occasionally.  I doubled the recipe, and cooked it for 3 hours, but turned the heat down to 325 after an hour and a half.  Let it sit at least 20 minutes out of the oven before serving.

Garnish with chopped parsley

Staititai, or Honey and Sesame Pizza
Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae,
modernized by Michael Grant

This is surprisingly delicious! 

1 tsp sugar
5 fl. oz.  warm water
1 tsp yeast
9 ounces spelt flour (I used white whole wheat)
Olive oil for shallow frying
7 oz. feta, or a mix of feta and chèvre
2 T clear honey
2 T sesame seeds
Sea salt

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water, let proof until it foams.  [Alternatively, and more authentically Roman, if you have any sourdough starter or a knob of dough leftover from another loaf, substitute this for the yeast, but you will need the water]

Add yeast mixture to the flour and knead to a smooth and supple dough.  You may need to add a bit more flour or more water. 

Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for approx. an hour, until doubled. 

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape each into a ball and roll out to about 10 inches in diameter.  Place them in separate plastic bags (I used grocery bags), place each on a flat surface and let sit for 30 minutes. 

Heat some oil in a large skillet—about ¼ inch deep.  When it is hot slide one disk into the oil and fry gently, turning over from time to time, until golden brown on both sides.  Take it out, put it on paper towels, and repeat with other disk.

Mash the cheese and spread it on both disks.  Drizzle with honey and top with sesame seeds. Briefly broil on a baking sheet or bake at high heat to melt the cheese. Do not be distracted during this phase!  I slid them on to a hot baking stone at the bottom of the oven, though the recipe says to broil.  Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. 

Phakoptisana:  Lentil and Barley Soup (vegetarian)

Mensae Secundae

Melon with Mint Dressing

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