Foodies, antiquarians, Italophiles... lend me your ears!

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Thu, May 04, 2017

Last week, author Crystal King's debut novel, Feast of Sorrow, was released into the world. The novel is centered around ancient Roman foodie and bon vivantApicius, who threw lavish parties for Caesar Tiberius and was the inspiration for the world's first known cookbook. In its first week on the shelves, Feast of Sorrow - set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family - has been hailed as "a big, fat, juicy read"; "a delight to the senses ... to be savored & devoured"; and "truly a feast for readers."...

Sounds more like a 5-star restaurant menu than a novel, right? Well, it's well-deserved. In addition to being a writer and self-proclaimed Italophile, Crystal is also a total foodie who, during the writing process, took a deep dive into ancient Roman cookery and came out on the other side with not only a successful debut novel, but also a personally curated cookbook of recipes from the original ancient text, Apicius, re-created by (and for) modern-day cooks!

ATasteOf_FeastOfSorrow_cropped.jpg<-- This very special text will be provided - free of charge - to anyone who attends our very special Modern Taste of Ancient Rome event with Crystal King and Chef Patrick Campbell on May 9!

Some of you have already gotten a sneak peek at Crystal's recipe for Chicken in Dill Sauce (not on our e-mailing list? Click here to sign up!), and you'll find her recipe for Honey Fritters in this great NPR article. But we at the BCAE want to offer something for the more adventurous foodie. From A Taste of Feast of Sorrow, edited by Crystal King, we present:

bloodsausage pine nut.jpgBlood Sausage with Pine Nut Puree and Apician Salad*
by Chef Patrick Campbell
*This recipe will not necessarily be served during the program.

Chef Campbell has been delighting diners in Boston for years, most notably at No. 9 Park and Café Art-Science. This recipe is definitely for the more adventurous chef! Blood sausage can be found in the Apicius cookbook (2.3.2) but, strangely, the ancient recipe also includes hard-boiled egg yolks. For this version, he went with a more modern blood sausage recipe, with an accompanying pine nut puree and a salad vinaigrette of which Apicius himself would have been proud.

For the blood sausage

❧ 2 lbs. ground pork
❧ 2 lbs. pork fatback
❧ 1 cup fresh pigs blood
❧ 1 onion
❧ 1 egg
❧ ¼ cup heavy cream
❧ 20 grams (approx. 3 ½ tsp) sea salt
❧ 5 grams (a little less than 3 tsp) black pepper
❧ 1 tablespoons cornmeal
❧ Pinch nutmeg
❧ Pinch cinnamon
❧ Pinch mace
❧ Pinch clove
❧ hog casings

All of the hard spices should be toasted and ground into a powder. They should, combined, equal about 2 teaspoons.


1.To make the sausage, roughly chop the onion and pork fat, add to a pot and cover with water. Salt liberally and simmer for ten minutes until tender. Let cool completely and pulse in a food processor to result in a coarse paste.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix ground pork, fatback and onion mixture on low until well incorporated.

3. Add sea salt, corn meal and spices. Once mixed, slowly incorporate the egg, pigs blood and cream until well combined.

4. Using a sausage stuffer, stuff the hog casings that have been soaked and rinsed in cold water. You can either form links or leave in large string. Carefully pierce the sausage casing about every half inch of the sausage and poach in very gently simmering water to 160 degrees, remove from water and allow to cool overnight.

For the Pine Nut Puree

❧ 1 cup pine nuts
❧ 1 clove garlic with the germ removed
❧ 1 tablespoon preserved lemon
❧ ½ cup grated pecorino romano
❧ salt and pepper
❧ extra virgin olive oil





1. Put the nuts in a small sauce pot and add olive oil until it reaches half way up the nuts. Toast on
medium until light golden brown.

2. Season with salt and pepper, add garlic clove and bring off the heat.

3. Once the oil has cooled for 2 mins cover the nut mixture with water and bring back to the heat. Boil until the nuts have softened and the water has reduced by half.

4. Puree in a high speed blender with preserved lemon and pecorino, season with salt and pepper
and let cool.

For the Apician Salad

❧ Assorted chicory leaves such endive, puntarella, frisée, radicchio, or escarole, picked through,
thoroughly washed and dried.
❧ 1 large artichoke cleaned to the heart and place in acidulated water
❧ (water with a small amount of vinegar or lemon added)
❧ picked herbs such as dill, fennel, parsley, marjoram
❧ anchovy fillets
❧ 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
❧ 1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar
❧ 2 tablespoon colatura or fish sauce (Thai Nam Pla or Vietnamese Nuoc Nam Mhi)
❧ First clean all the greens and pick the herbs and set aside.
❧ To make the vinaigrette combine all the ingredients, whisk, and set aside.


1. Sear the sausage in a heavy pan and place in a pre-heated oven 375º until hot in the middle
(approx 8 minutes).

2. Smear a plate with the pine nut puree and place the sausage on top of the puree.

3. Dress the greens, herbs, and toss with the artichoke that has been shaved on a mandoline and
lightly dress and arrange in a neat pile in the middle of the plate.

4. Top with anchovy fillets and serve.







Join Crystal King and Chef Patrick Campbell for a culinary walk through Ancient Roman history!

A Modern Taste of Ancient Rome
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 6:00 - 9:00pm
Tuition*: $65.00    |   Member Cost: $55.00
Materials Cost: $30.00
*Attendees will also recieve a complimentary copy of Crystal's cookbook, A Taste of Feast of Sorrow!

Copies of Feast of Sorrow will be available for purchasing - and signing! - at the event.



Topics: Boston food, BCAE Recipe, Boston chefs, Boston cultural events, Boston dining, recipes, Boston classes, Boston event, Boston publishing, BCAE Tasting classes, BCAE Book signings, Book signings, literature, history, special event, Ancient Rome, Lectures, Boston books, Boston book signings, Boston food events, food and wine

BCAE Feed Your Brain Series: The Strawberry - Recap & Recipes

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, Jun 02, 2015

Last week, we kicked off the first installment of our Feed Your Brain series, a collaborative effort with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Mass Hort) and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) focusing on four of our favorite garden items and why they truly deserve the spotlight. First up: The Strawberry!


Master Gardener Susan Hammond shared her wealth of garden expertise (and even gave each student a strawberry plant to take home!), and Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD–Neuroscience and Aging Lab gave us a million reasons why we should 100% make sure to eat plenty of juicy strawberries. Our very own BCAE Chef Instructor Leah Dickerson was there to help us do just that, preparing a light, fresh, summery strawberry feast.

Susan Hammond

Susan Hammond started off by going over the anatomy of a strawberry plant, then dove into the different varietals. She gave all the need-to-knows about picking berries (both how to pull from a plant and how to select the perfect berry), and about planting your own. For the city-dweller with limited ability for growing, she spoke about the fantastic "pick your own (PYO)" option available at many local Massachuetts farms. She even had handy tips on how to store and preserve strawberies for maximum freshness (and flavor, of course!). Did you know you can use an ice cube tray to freeze individual berries?!

Barbara Shukitt Hale

If we weren't already sold, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale gave us hard evidence for the overwhelming health benefits of strawberries, and why we should eat lots of them. Among many other reasons, they have proven memory benefits, and can help balance your diet when eaten alongside other less healthy foods.

strawberries and bread

We got reason after reason to eat as many strawberries as we can, and thankfully Chef Leah Dickerson was there to demonstrate and cook us some tasty fruity treats.

strawberry bellini

To kick things off, Leah poured us a delicious fresh strawberry bellini to sip on while some strawberries went into the oven to roast. Check out all of Leah's recipes below...

Strawberry Bellini


1 Bottle of Prosecco (we used Ruffino)
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and very roughly chopped, reserving a few to use as garnish, if desired.
Sugar, to taste


Toss strawberries with scant ¼ cup of sugar or to taste (Note: I usually don’t measure the sugar, I sprinkle to taste based on the sweetness of the strawberries that are being used).  Set aside to let the strawberries masticate. In the meantime, zest the lemon using a microplane. Juice the lemon, watching and removing seeds. Add all of the lemon juice and a small sprinkle of the zest to the strawberries. Place in a blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth.  If desired, strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the strawberry seeds. Pour the strawberry puree into a large pitcher and top with Prosecco right before serving (Note: the ratio will be about 1:3 strawberry to Prosecco). Stir gently to combine and serve immediately in champagne flutes. Optional garnishes include quartered strawberries, lemon peel, mint, or edible flowers.


Strawberry Bruschetta wiith Lemon Ricotta


1 really good baguette, sliced on a diagonal (Iggy’s is Leah's favorite)
½ pint of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Full fat ricotta cheese, bout 8 ounces (try to find one without added gums or stabilizers)
Lemon zest


Preheat oven to 400 or put on broil. Spread sliced baguette in a single layer on a baking sheet, using two as needed. Toast until golden, watching carefully t prevent browning. While the bread is toasting, add the lemon zest, salt, and pepper to the ricotta cheese. Stir to combine and taste for flavor. Pull the bread out and allow to cool slightly. Spread a layer of ricotta on the toast and top with a few strawberry slices, as desired. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (if desired) and sprinkle with salt and pepper (if desired). Serve immediately.

Leah Dickerson

Lemon Feta Orzo with Roasted Strawberries and Toasted Pecans


1 package orzo
Olive oil
1 Pint strawberries, hulled, and spilt into two equal amounts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted in a dry hot pan (raw and unsalted, if available)
Full fat Feta, for crumbling
Chiffonade of mint or lemon balm (if available)


Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Salt the water generously and add the orzo. Reduce the heat and simmer until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and toss liberally with olive oil, tossing to coat the pasta. Place in a large bowl and add lemon juice while the pasta is still warm, to add as much flavor as possible. While pasta is cooling, roast the strawberries. Preheat the oven to 400. Slice about half of the strawberries and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until roasted, about 35 minutes, tossing halfway through to prevent browning. While the strawberries are roasting, roughly chop the rest of the strawberries. To combine: toss the orzo with the raw and roasted strawberries, pecans, feta, lemon zest to taste, feta to taste, and pecans. Add more olive oil, salt, and pepper, if desired. Top with herbs before serving. Best when served immediately at room temperature.


Thank you to Susan, Barbara, Leah, and all of our students for a fun, engaging, and tasty evening! We hope you can join us for the remaining installments of the Feed Your Brain Series. Registration for "The Tomato" will begin later this summer, so stay tuned.

THE TOMATO | Tuesday, September 15, 2015
THE HERB | Wednesday, November 4, 2015
THE MUSHROOM | Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, Leah Dickerson, cooking, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, massachusetts horticultural society, strawberries, Tufts, nutrition, Susan Hammond, recipes