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CLAVIERS BAROQUES -- Harpsichord recipes -- updated August 21, 2004

What? We admit that harpsichords aren't all that tasty, no matter how skillfully prepared, but over the years we've encountered some pretty nice things to eat in our work and travels. As everyone knows, musicians are a hungry lot.

Below are some recipes that we've encountered or invented while doing harpsichord stuff, plus some restaurant recommendations from our travels.

Penguin Canapes -- we had these at the Cityview Alternative School's Winter Feast in December 2002. They're really cute!

For each canape you'll need two canned, pitted black olives, some cream cheese, one slice of carrot and a toothpick. Cut a wedge out of the carrot slice and stick the slice (minus the wedge) on the toothpick -- that makes the penguin's feet. Make a slit in one of the olives and stuff it with the cream cheese -- that makes the penguin's shirt front, put it on the toothpick on top of the carrot "feet". Put the wedge you cut out in the hole in the second olive, that makes the head and the beak, stick that on the top of the toothpick and wait for your guests to say, "Aww!"

Tatiana's Georgian Cold Chicken with Walnuts -- A favourite hot-weather dish in Georgia (the Russian Georgia, not the US one) that Tatiana Zenaishvili made for us when we stayed with Den's parents in Michigan, June of 2000. Very nice with Cold Georgian Bean Salad, below.

Wash hands and put on apron. Tatiana used a brown and purple one, but she says the colour doesn’t matter so long as it has a pocket to hold the measuring spoons because she doesn’t use them, which is why this recipe doesn’t look like one from Chatelaine (Cdn magazine, like Better H&G).

So. Take enough chicken pieces for dinner, and take the skin off. Take a little bit of fat from the chicken and put it in a hot pot (a deep one, with a lid) to melt. Meanwhile, take a dish of salt mixed with pepper and rub the chicken pieces with it. Put the pieces in the hot fat to brown. When chicken is lightly browned add cayenne pepper to taste (we substituted crushed red chilies because Tatiana said $5 was too much for cayenne pepper). Grind some walnuts in a food processor or whatever together with some water to make a paste – Tatiana used two handsful of walnuts and about ½ cup water for enough chicken for 8 people – and add it to the chicken in the pot. Put in enough water to cook, that is not quite covering the chicken, bring to a boil, and turn it down to simmer until the chicken is done (“falls down from your fork”). Leave the cover on and forget until tomorrow. (What actually happened is that it was too hot to put in the refrigerator so Tatiana took it out and put it on the grass to cool.) It should be refrigerated overnight, but bring it out in time to warm up to room temperature or a bit below before serving.

Tatiana’s Cold Georgian Bean Salad

Take some cooked or canned green beans. Tatiana used two cans for 8 people. Drain and toss with: one small onion, chopped very fine, fresh cilantro, chopped fine (a fair amount, say 1/4 cup), a small handful (about 2- 3 T) fresh ground walnuts and a dash of vinegar (very little – ½ tsp). Serve chilled.

Dawn's not-very authentic but still very tasty Pozole

A hearty southwestern US/Mexican stew/salad. First recorded as the 'official' mid-day meal for Indians attached to Spanish missions but probably much, much older. Seems to be a party food these days. The recipe can be multiplied for a crowd and reheats well; like chili it is better the second day.

oil for sauteing.
1-2 pounds meat or tofu* cut in bite-sized pieces.
3 medium onions, coarsley chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, chopped fine

5 cups water (you can toss a couple of boullion cubes in, too, if you like)
3/4 cup Spanish paprika
1/4 cup Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup Portuguese-style sweet pepper paste, eg Ferma (I use as much as I can, the salt is the limiting factor)
2 or 3 chipotle chilis, chopped fine or mashed (I use canned so I mash 'em) These are *very* hot but also have a wonderful smoky taste that is quite distinctive.
oregano to taste, I use a tablespoon, maybe more

2 cans hominy (= pozole), drained. Some recipes call for nixtamal, which has to be cooked (I think) but but I haven't seen it in my neighborhood. Haven't looked really hard, though.

Garnishes: shredded iceberg lettuce, grated radish, chopped cilantro. Vry nice with tortillas.

Directions: Brown meat or tofu in hot oil in a largish pot. When meat/tofu is beginning to brown add the oinions and garlic, cook until onion is soft, about 10-15 minutes. Dump in everything else and let it stew on low heat for about 45 minutes. It should thicken slightly. Serve with the garnishes on the side.

Note re meat: traditionally made with a pig's head -- yuck!!! I use pork tenderloin or boned chicken thighs if I'm using meat, if tofu firm or extra firm holds up best. The flavour of the stew is strong enough that all you really experience is a bit of meat or tofu texture. Which makes it an ideal situation for tofu.

Note re peppers/paprika/whatever. The real, traditional peppers are called 'New Mexico red chiles' -- not very helpful. I have experimented with various pepper-oid substances and come up with this combination, but by all means experiment, you can probably get 'way more exotic/authentic stuff down there in the market.

Note re garnishes: Traditionally each person dresses up their own to taste, like curry. Shredded lettuce, radish and chopped cilantro are *musts* in our house. I really like the lettuce part, I usually fill my bowl with shredded lettuce and radish and ladle some pozole on top. Den sprinkles on a little lettuce and cilantro on top. Other recipes for pozole mention lime wedges, dried oregano, chopped onions, tomatoes, and such. Probably cheese would be good too (never tried that) and generally whatever you have/whatever they like. We usually make tortillas to go with pozole but in a pinch we'll settle for tortilla chips.

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