The Travel Grouch’s Guide To Not Sucky Vacationing

Dear Travel Grouch,SelfieGrandCanyon2-

Vacationing is getting less and less pleasant every year. While I used to be able to peacefully admire the scenery, now I can’t even get to the scenic point because of hordes of people taking one selfie after another. They don’t even look at scenery until they get home and look at it on their iPad thingy. And They never leave. Never. What can I do? I want to see nature. Please help me with this. Other tips will be appreciated. Thank you.

– Amos Keeto

Dear Mr. Keeto,

I feel your pain. Why just last summer I had to . . . Whoops, way too public a forum. Deep breath. Ahh. I’m okay now. Here, dear friend, are some helpful hints.

1) Contact Paul’s Flying Squirrel Squadron before going on vacation. They will visit you on your trip and say many kind, encouraging words to you. If asked, they will also serenade you at night. Listen carefully, they have tiny voices. They will even have “chats” with the offending tourists. Best to stay inside until the “chats” are over.

2) Do you have a sonic obliterator? If not, you really should get one. They get rid of the selfie takers quite nicely. You’ll be able to walk up to the scenic outlook. You’ll be happy. You might even find yourselves smiling and isn’t that what vacations are all about?

3) Does the offensive line of a top-ten football team owe you a favor? If so, get it to run a flying wedge in front of you all the way to the railing. Sure, this will knock the selfie takers into the canyon far below, but their screams will be heard only for a moment.

4) The overriding virtue of tips 3) and 4) is that the bodies will be impossible to find or nearly so.

5) Don’t be so busy offing selfie takers that you forget to throw away your litter. No one likes a scofflaw.

6) For some reason, people think that if you can’t understand their language, you can’t hear them. It’s okay to place a glass dome over them and suck out all the air with a giant pump until they stop talking. Just make sure you do this when others aren’t looking.

7) It’s not okay, however, to assume that only foreigners talk so loud that they need the glass dome treat. Your fellow countrymen often shout when they travel abroad. And let me tell you, people of every nation have glass domes and giant pumps.

8) Employees in American visitor centers and toll booths do not carry sonic obliterators. This means drivers can safely engage them in conversations that make a reading of War and Peace go by quickly. I blame budget cutbacks for this. You’ll have to buy your own sonic obliterator. I cannot stress enough the need for proper planning.

Happy traveling.

– Paul R, De Lancey, The Travel GrouchCoverFrontFinal

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on

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Yellow Pea Soup With Pork (Ärter med fläsk)

Swedish Soup

(Ärter med fläsk)


1¼ pounds yellow split peas
6½ cups water
8 ounces salt pork
1 carrot
1 large yellow onion
¾ teaspoon fresh ginger (about ⅔”)
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon white pepper

Makes 8 bowls. Takes 3 hours in addition to the time spent soaking peas overnight.


Rinse peas in colander to remove grit. Add peas to large pot. Add enough water to cover with 1″ to spare. Let peas soak overnight.

Drain and rinse peas. Add peas and 6½ cups water back to large pot. Add pork to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Let boil for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally, enough to keep peas from sticking to bottom of pot. Reduce heat to warm, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir gently and occasionally. Skim off any form and pea skins.

While peas and pork simmer, dice carrot. Mince ginger. Divide onion in three. Stick cloves into each onion third. Add carrot, onion, ginger, bay leaf, and cloves. Let soup simmer for another 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add bay leaf, marjoram, salt, thyme, and white pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes more or until peas are completely soft. Stir occasionally.

Remove pork and onion from pot using slotted spoon. Dice about ¼th of the pork. Cut remaining pork into slices ¼” thick. Remove cloves from onion. Mince onion. Return diced pork and minced onion back to pot.. Stir with whisk until well blended. Remove bay leaf.

Add ⅛th of the pork slices to each serving bowl. Ladle soup from pot into serving bowls. This soup goes well with potatoes and Swedish mustard.


1) The light emitted from stars appears to be red. That means they are moving away from us. Scientists used this knowledge to formulate the Big Bang Theory.

2) The Big Bang Theory holds that everything in the universe started from a teeny, tiny point, then pow! it exploded like an egg in the microwave.

3) Or like popping popular popcorn in a popcorn popper without the popcorn popper’s lid on.

4) I did that experiment in my college dorm. While I found that the kernels did indeed pop outward, they did not travel far and certainly not fast enough to exhibit a red shift.

5) Which would have been cool, although I wonder about the damage to the dorm walls caused by popcorn traveling at 100,000 miles per second. Probably would have gotten me kicked out of college.

6) On the other hand, NASA certainly would have contacted me. I mean they spend billions and billions on launch rockets that can only achieve about 7 miles per second.

7) Of course, sending a manned space station to the outer reaches of our galaxy at such a terrifying speed would require a really big popcorn popper.

8) But America is a land of ingenuity, and a relentless dedication to innovation. If we want to build a popcorn popper that can fling a space station into outer space at 100,000 miles, we will do so. After all, we have invented sliced peanut butter.

9) Sweden, however, is certainly way ahead of America in the race to invent the near-light speed popcorn popper.

10) Look at the title of this recipe. Look at the above picture. The Swedes like yellow split peas. This means they prefer this color of split peas over green ones. Or . . .

11) Swedish have discovered a way to hurl their split peas at such a prodigious rate that the light emanating from their legumes appears yellow. That’s not quite as impressive as a red shift sure, but it’s some million times faster than the speediest military jet.

12) Sweden has not been at war for 200 years, even though two world wars raged all around it in the twentieth century. Why?

13) Sure Germany and Russia built impressive tanks, fighter planes and bombers. But no country’s military stands a chance against a nation that can fling hot, nearly molten split-pea soup toward it at over 100,000 miles an second.

14) Or even 50,000 miles a second. And Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, and Stalin knew it. So they left it alone, even though that happy Nordic land has such wonderful pastries.

15) You can order this tasty soup when visiting Sweden, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Soup that travels that fast is impossible to eat. Best try making yellow pea soup from this recipe. Just be sure to buy yellow split peas that are stationary. Doing so isn’t always obvious. You might have to read the packaging for the peas.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

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Mozzarella En Carrozza

Italian Appetizer


INGREDIENTS – SAUCE*MozzellaEnCarrozza-

½ cup butter
3 anchovy fillets or ½ tablespoon anchovy paste or .3 ounces nori (seaweed)
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons parsley

* = Use marinara sauce instead, if you find both anchovies and seaweed to be icky.


12 slices ¼”-thick white Italian bread
1 pound mozzarella cheese
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
¾ cup fine bread crumbs
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs


parchment paper

Makes 12 little sandwiches. Takes 1 hour.


Add butter to small pot. Melt butter using medium heat. Do not let it bubble. Stir frequently. Add anchovies, capers, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir until well blended. Turn off heat and cover.


Trim edges off bread slices so that you 5″ squares. Cut mozzarella into 6 equally thick slices. Slices should be square with 3″ edges. Put mozzarella squares on half of the bread squares. Put remaining bread slices on top of mozzarella squares.

Add flour to mixing bowl. Thoroughly coat sandwiches with flour. Add bread crumbs to plate. Add milk to a bowl. Briefly dip both sides of sandwich in milk. Seal cheese in sandwich by pressing the bread edges together. Dredge sandwich through bread crumbs until well coated. Place sandwiches on parchment-lined plate. (This prevents sandwich from sticking to plate.) Repeat for the remaining 5 sandwiches. Chill sandwiches in refrigerator for 40 minutes.

Beat eggs in mixing bowl until well blended. Briefly dip sandwiches into blended eggs. Add oil to frying pan. Heat oil at medium heat until it sizzles when a few bread crumbs are put in it. Put as many sandwiches as will fit in the frying pan. Sauté sandwiches at medium heat for 2-to-3 minutes on each side or until coated bread turns golden brown. (Sauté times tend to shorter a bit for each successive batch of sandwiches.) Repeat until all sandwiches are sautéeed. Drain sandwiches on paper towels. Cut sandwiches in two along the diagonal. Why the diagonal? I don’t know.

Serve immediately with sauce on the side.


1) Pythagoras, the ancient Greek chef, loved to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

2) As who does not?

3) But Pythagoras made really, really good grilled cheeses. Philosophers from all over the Hellenic world flocked to his restaurant, Το Ψητό Τυρί.

4) The philosophic debates were of the highest order. Concepts such as: democracy, equal rights, rule of law, and cheese making got bandied about. Indeed, these debates made Greece the envy of the ancient Mediterranean world.

5) So much so that in the 2nd century B.C. Rome subjugated Greece for its grilled cheese sandwiches and democratic principles. For a long time, culinary historians remained divided on this conquests. Some held subjugating a people for democratic principles is an oxymoron like customer service or a working printers. Others averred that conquest is always a good thing as it facilitates the movement of great appetizers, entrees, and desserts to the conquering nation. As we all know, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 settled this debate forever.

5) In 1776, America’s founding fathers emulated the Greek philosophers when they framed The Declaration of Independence and baked the first apple pie.

6) In 1812, Zorba of Piraeus found a clay tablet will plowing his field. The tablet showed how to prove the Pythagorean Theorem, i.e., α^2 + β^2 = γ^2.

7) This theorem revolutionized the world by making more students more students hate mathematics than ever before.

8) In 1820, the Turkish Sultan Abim Bam Bu decreed that Pythagorean theorem would henceforth be written using the Arabic alphabet.

9) Instructing Greek students in Arabic and Turkish had been tolerated. So had the Pythagorean theorem. But teaching the young ones the Pythagorean theorem in Arabic pushed the Greek parents over the edge and in 1821 the Greek populace revolted against their Turkish overlords.

10) The Greeks finally gained their independence in 1833, permitting the free travel of Greek chefs all over the world. We live in a golden age.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

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Chicken Piccata

Italian Entree



4 (6 ounce) chicken breasts
3 tablespoons flour
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 table spoons chicken broth
¼ cup white wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon parsley


kitchen mallet

Makes 4 plates. Takes 25 minutes


Pound chicken breasts with kitchen mallet until they are ½” thick. Add flour, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Mix with fork or whisk. Dredge chicken through flour mixture.

Add butter to pan. Melt butter on medium heat. Stir frequently. Add olive oil. Add as many chicken breasts that will fit. Cover and sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Repeat for remaining chicken breasts. Remove chicken breasts to serving plates. Add chicken broth. wine, and lemon juice to pan. Bring to boil at high heat. Boil for 2 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Stir frequently. Ladle sauce evenly over chicken breasts. Sprinkle capers and parsley evenly over sauce.


1) The Gold Rush of 1849 drew poodles and oodles of French prospectors to California. Nineteenth-century French prospectors loved escargots. (Escargot is snail in English. The French have a word for everything.)

2) But California’s snails did not please the refined Gallic pallets. Mais non, suitable escargots had to be brought in from far-away New Orleans. Escargot trail drives were out. Snails do not last long under the hot Western Sun, especially before the invention of hydrating GatoradeTM. The Escargot Express was born. The most famous driver on this route was none other than Cacti Pa. Cacti loved chicken, wine, lemon juice, and capers. Station chefs along the route served him this entree, calling it “Piccata” in honor of the anagram loving Cacti Pa. And so it goes.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

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Basil Pesto Pizza

Italian Entree



2 cups fresh basil
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons ground walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon flour
no-stick spray
1 pizza crust (bought or from below recipe)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese


pizza pan
pizza cutter

Makes 1 pizza. Takes 30 minutes plus time needed to preheat oven. Allow 2 hours 15 minutes total if you are making your crust.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven heats, make basil pesto by dicing basil, garlic cloves, and walnuts. Add olive oil, basil, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan, and white pepper to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until garlic softens. Stir pesto frequently. Remove from heat.

Dust pizza pan with flour and spray with no-stick spray. Put pizza crust on pizza pan. Spread basil pesto evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over pizza. Put pizza in oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-to-15 minutes or until cheese or crust is golden brown.


1) Culinary historians say young Basil Rathbone was named after the herb, basil. Old Basil Rathbone was still named after the herb. In between, he got teased a lot. He took up acting in desperation, for no one cares if a successful actor acts weird or has a strange name. His brilliant performances in the Sherlock Holmes movies gave him that success. The teasing stopped.

2) But the inner anguish from his teasing did not. Then one day while in Spain filming for the movie, The Name Escapes Me, he met a little boy selling basil pesto pizza. It was excellent. Basil Rathbone spread the delicious recipe everywhere he went.. No longer would the little Basils of the world be teased. The actor was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. And the little boy? Why, he became Juan Carlos I of Spain, the man who ended Generalísimo Franco’s brutal dictatorship.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

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Spotlight on Kathy Minicozzi – Author of “OPERA For People Who Don’t Like It”

Spotlight on Kathy Minicozzi – Author of OPERA For People Who Don’t Like It






INTRODUCTION: Singing Opera and Writing Funny

I am weird, but not dangerous. Okay, maybe I’m dangerous when I’m on a stepladder trying to install a window shade. Other than that, I am harmless and kind of cute, in a way.

But I sing opera and I write funny stuff. Go ahead and look at me like I have two heads. I don’t mind. I wish I did have two heads, so I could change them back and forth, according to the look I wanted. But I don’t. Have two heads, that is.

Don’t ask me to explain in detail how I ended up being an aging opera singer and budding humor writer. It would take too long. Besides, I might write my memoirs someday, and if you already know all about my life you won’t want to buy a copy.

My father, who didn’t have much faith in the earning power of a singing career, urged me to get an Education degree so that I could become a teacher. The teaching profession is a noble one, and good, dedicated teachers are always needed. That was my problem. I would have been a terrible teacher, and I hated the whole idea. So I got my degrees – B.A. and M.A. – in music, and set out to be an opera singer. Fortunately, I had office skills to fall back on, so I didn’t starve in the process, and, although I never sang at the Metropolitan Opera or La Scala or any of the other major houses, I had a much better career singing in smaller places than most of my opera singing colleagues.

The process of building an opera career is difficult, filled with traveling on a shoestring, singing many auditions for every job you get, rejection which is relieved by an occasional encouragement, backstage intrigues, greedy, sometimes unscrupulous agents and colleagues who are either the finest people in the world or the most treacherous (and you have to find out who is which, sometimes the hard way). If you make headway in the business, you also have to deal with spending huge amounts of time away from home. For some of us, this means picking up and making a new home in another country, with another culture and another language. There is also a thing called poverty, caused in good part by the big expenses involved in a singing career: voice lessons; coachings; audition wardrobe; printed music; mailings; travel all over the place; etc.

When you get onstage, though, and you are in good voice and the performance is going well, it’s the most satisfying, practically orgasmic thing in the world.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age, no longer actively pursuing an international singing career, you would think I would settle down, get a job with benefits, look for some lucrative sidelines to build up something for my old age, and reflect back on all the fun I had. I actually did one of those things. I got a job with benefits, at which I work five days a week. Instead of lucrative sidelines, I chose to become a writer. I guess I can’t live without dedicating huge amounts of time and energy to something at which most practitioners never make any money.

The process of building a writing career is difficult, filled with things like submitting work to many publishers for every acceptance you get, rejection which is relieved by an occasional encouragement, greedy vanity publishers and other people dying to take a writer’s money, and colleagues who are either the most supportive people in the world or the most envious (and you have o find out who is which, sometimes the hard way). If you hope to be able to live only on your writing without any other source of income, you also have the prospect of poverty.

This is a clear case of déjà vu. I have gone from one profession where the prospects of getting rich are dismal and the rejection is constant to another profession where the prospects of getting rich are dismal and the rejection is constant. What can I say?

I’ll say this: writing is hard work, but it’s fun. Like singing, it is satisfying in a visceral way. It is even more satisfying to me if I can make people laugh. I can’t imagine a life without doing something that I love to do, so this is it.

The irony, which I think is hilarious, is that, in other ways, singing opera is the direct opposite of writing humor. I have listed the disparities below.


Opera: I have played serious, tragic, beautiful heroines. I have died onstage of everything from tuberculosis to poison to hara-kiri to jumping off a building, while costumed in gorgeous gowns, peasant costumes, a poor seamstress’ dress, kimonos and nightgowns. I have worn glamorous wigs and complicated hairdos and my face has been covered with a thick layer of gooey stage makeup.

Writing: I often sit in front of my computer looking like a bag lady in the most comfortable things I have that are clean. Sometimes I just leave my PJs on. Nobody is looking at me, so what the hell. If by some chance anyone is looking at me, I’m covered up and that’s what matters. I never wear makeup if I can help it. And I have not died yet, at least not that I know of.

Opera: I am in front of a bunch of people, singing very loudly and hoping for a lot of applause.

Writing: I am in front of my cat, typing on a computer keyboard and hoping to get a few laughs. If I sing I scare the cat.

Opera: People have sometimes asked me to sing something on the spur of the moment, especially at parties or family get-togethers. On the other hand, if I break out in spontaneous song in public, the people I am with pretend they don’t know me.

Writing: Nobody ever asks me for a free writing sample, and I have to practically bribe my family members to read my stuff. I can sit in a public place, such as a café or a park, and write until my fingers get tired without attracting any attention at all.

Opera: Opera singers try to avoid getting sick, especially with performances coming up, even if it means putting themselves in an isolation booth.

Writing: I don’t want to get sick, but if I don’t get out and around (breathing germs and touching things like subway poles and escalator rails) I won’t find anything funny to write about. Agoraphobia jokes get old really fast. Writers are expected to be observers and interactors. It comes with the vocation.

That’s enough. You get the picture.

What is the one subject that an opera singer turned humor writer should write about? Opera, of course! Opera is one of the greatest art forms ever invented. It is a marriage of great music and drama. It can move audiences in a special way not shared with other forms of theater. Operagoers easily become hooked, because they love it.

It is also rich in possibilities for humor. That’s where I come in. Just because I love opera and even sing it doesn’t mean I can’t poke fun at it.

By the way, as a humor writer I am allowed to exaggerate to make something funny. Please remember that when you read this book. Opera is one of the greatest, most fascinating art forms ever developed and perfected by humans. Attending a good performance is an incredible, cathartic experience. Singing a good performance can be just as cathartic in another way. If I appear to be dissing opera in this book, know that that is the farthest thing from my mind. What I do here is like cracking jokes at a good friend who is free to crack jokes right back. In a way, I am also poking fun of myself.

I hope that, by now, you have been so captivated by my brilliant lead-in that you just HAVE to stick around and read the rest of this book.


Kathy Minicozzi was born on Long Island, New York and raised in the Yakima Valley, Washington State. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Eastern Washington University and a Master of Arts in Music from Washington State University. As an opera singer, she sang with the Regensburg Stadttheater in Regensburg, Germany, the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv, Israel, the New York Grand Opera in New York City, Opera of the Hamptons on Long Island, New York, the Ambassadors of Opera and Concert Worldwide and other groups. Although she no longer auditions, she continues to sing as a church soloist and in an occasional concert or recital.

She has now taken up a second career as a humor writer, and has been a regular contributor to

OPERA  For People Who Don’t Like Like It is available on

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Quiche Lorraine

French Entree


INGREDIENTSQuiche Lorraine-

1 pastry pie shell (follow instructions)
8 ounces bacon (leanest is best)
4 ounces Gruyère cheese
4 eggs
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt


pie tin

Makes 1 quiche. Takes 1 hour. A quiche is not a quickie.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim excess fat from bacon. Fit puff pastry into pie tin. Use knife to trim all pastry that goes beyond the top edge of the pie tin. Add bacon to pan. Fry bacon using medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until bacon is cooked but not yet crispy. Remove and put on towel-covered plate to remove grease. Cut bacon into ½ squares. Sprinkle bacon squares onto puff pastry in pie tin. Grate cheese. Sprinkle cheese over bacon squares.

Add eggs, whipping cream, nutmeg, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly with whisk. Pour the egg/cream/spice mix over the cheese. Bake quiche in over at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the quiche comes out clean. Let quiche cool for about 10 minutes.


1) In May, 1789, inmates of L‘Andouille Prison in Lorraine, France petitioned the Supreme Court to stop whipping, because it hurt even more than a stubbed toe. The judges, having lost their heads in affirming the use of the guillotine against jaywalkers, decided a bit of mercy wouldn’t be amiss. They ordered that prisoners be coated with cream before being whipped to take out the sting.

2) Whipping the cream coated convicts made whipping cream. Pierre Le Fou added this whipping cream to his daily ration–French prison life was not all bad–of bacon, Gruyère cheese, eggs, nutmeg, pepper, and salt and made the fist quiche Lorraine. Next time, he poured the mix not on his hand, but in a pastry pie shell. This was the first quiche Lorraine. The recipe spread to the Bastille prison. On July 14, food lovers stormed the Bastille for the convicts’ quiche Lorraines. King Louis XVI repressed the mob with muskets. The Parisians reacted with fury. The French Revolution was born. Blood would flow. Excesses would happen, but quiche Lorraine became available for all.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

Categories: cuisine, history, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange Beef

Chinese Entree



1 orange (Keep peel)

12 ounces flank steak
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 egg white
1 tablespoon rice wine (sometimes called mirin) or pale sherry

1⅓ cups white rice

1″ fresh ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons beef broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
⅛ teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon sugar

5 dried red chiles
1½ cups peanut oil
Fresh zest from 1 orange or 2 teaspoon dry zest


wok or Dutch oven
zest peeler or potato peeler

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 1½ hours.


Remove peel orange. Save orange slices. Remove zest, the orange part of the peel, with zest peeler. Dice zest. (If you want to have a more authentic taste and can afford to plan ahead, spread the zest evenly over wax paper and let sit for 1-to-2 days until it is dry and brittle. Or just buy orange zest.)

Cut flank steak into strips 2″ long and ¼” wide. Add cornstarch, egg white, and rice wine to mixing bowl. Toss strips until they are well coated. Add steak strips. Put in refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.

While beef marinates cook rice according to instructions on package. Mince ginger and garlic clove. Add sesame oil, ginger, and garlic to skillet. Sauté at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until garlic turns color. Stir frequently. Remove sautéed ginger and garlic to mixing bowl. Add beef broth, soy sauce, pepper, and sugar to mixing bowl. Blend with whisk.

Dice red chiles. Add peanut oil and steak strips to wok. Sauté on medium-high for 2 minutes or until steak strips start to turn brown. Remove steak and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1½ tablespoons of peanut oil Add 1½ tablespoons reserved peanut oil, orange zest, and red chiles to wok. Stir frequently. Sauté on medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until chiles darken and oil smells fragrant. Stir frequently.

Add ginger/garlic/broth/soy sauce from mixing bowl to middle of wok. Return steak strips back to wok. Sauté at medium-high heat for 1 minute or until the steak strips become crispy, shiny, and have absorbed most of the sauce. Serve on top of rice. Garnish with orange slices.


1) Orange beef originally came from orange cattle roaming the Painted Dessert in Arizona. Their orange hide helped the beeves, or cattle, blend in with the Dessert’s orange rocks. This camouflage technique helped the beeves escape voracious giant carnivorous beavers.

2) Things looked bad when the vicious beavers began Beaver Dam, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Animal World. The water level in the Painted Dessert began to rise. Then rose even more. The beeves moved higher and higher up the canyon walls. Soon they would reach the green rocks where their orange hides would stand out starkly against the green rocks. The toothy beavers began salivating.

3) Then in a fortuitous stroke of fiction, humans, the Rohohoe tribe, in fact, arrived in the Painted Dessert, bringing commas for run-on sentences and arrows for hunting.

4) And hunt they did. Giant beavers tasted great when sauteéd in a lemon-basil sauce. Life was good for the Rohohoe. It was even better for the beeves. Their feared predator gone, their numbers rebounded or soared, whichever metaphor works best for you.

5) The ancient Chinese loved orange beef, having acquired a taste for it years before. Unfortunately, the abominable snowman, yeti, hunted their own orange beeves to extinction. Orange hides really made hunting in the snow-covered mountains of Tibet overly easy.

6) Fortunately, the ancient Rohohoe loved Chinese jewelry. Trade talks, smoothed by a mutual love of ScrabbleTM proceeded rapidly. And so began the great orange beef cattle drives.

7) Until global warming caused sea levels to rise to such an extent that the land bridge between North America and Asia disappeared. Snap. Just like that.

8) Deprived of Chinese jewelry, the Rohohoe economy dissolved into anarchy. Traces of this once proud people show up only in the finest cookbooks. Bereft of fresh orange beeves, Chinese founded culinary schools. They would rely on their own ingredients. No longer would Chinese caravans ply the world’s continents. No longer would their tradesmen paint, “Cho was here,” on stones all over America’s Southwest. Oh, I guess I should tell also those archeologists, sweltering in the hot Arizonan sun, what those petroglyphs mean.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

Categories: cuisine, history, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cuban Ropa Vieja

Cuban Entree



2 pounds flank steak
½ teaspoon salt
1 Roma tomato (1 additional later)
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 Roma tomato
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup red wine

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 2 hours 15 minutes.


Add flank steak, and salt to large pot. Add enough water to cover steak with 2″ to spare. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until steak shreds easily. Keep adding water as necessary to keep steak covered. Remove steak. Reserve 1 cup of the water from the pot. Shred the beef using two forks.

While steak simmers, puree 1 Roma tomato. Seed bell pepper. Mince onion. Dice bell pepper, garlic cloves, and 1 Roma tomato. Add oil, onion, and bell pepper to skillet. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and bell pepper soften. Stir frequently. Add pepper, garlic, pureed tomato, diced tomato. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add shredded steak. Add wine and 1 cup water reserved from boiling the steak. Continue simmering at low-medium heat for 8 minutes or until well blended. Stir occasionally.


1) Most of today’s younger folks have no idea how difficult it is to make ropa viejas, assuming incorrectly that it just shows up on their dinner plates. Nooo! It’s far more complicated than that. The feral flank steak only inhabits certain supermarkets. You’ll need to go online and hire a reputable safari guide if you wish to bring down this cut of meat.

3) And goodness sake, respect the defenses your ingredients have built up after years of human contact. The vicious onion will make your eyes hurt when you slice it. You hurt it. It hurts you. Best way to cut onions is under water. Do you have good scuba gear? The tomato stains your shirts whenever you cut it. This is a reflex action on its part, no thinking is involved. The only known defense against an enraged tomato is to wear red colored shirts.

3) Some ingredients are our friends, though. The friendly garlic bulb wards off blood-sucking vampires, which is good. Do your research. Pick ingredients wisely and be on guard.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexican Molettes

Mexican Dessert



¼ cup butter
4 rolls
1¼ cups refried beans
1 cup grated Four Mexican Cheeses
½ cup salsa or pico de gallo


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Let butter soften at room temperature. Cut rolls in half. Remove a little bit of the insides from each half to make a hollow spot. Spread butter over the hollow spots on the roll halves. Put rolls in over. Bakel at 400 degrees for 5-to-10 minutes or until rolls turn crispy and golden brown.

While rolls are baking, cook refried beans in pan at low heat. Put beans in hollow spots in rolls. Add salsa and sprinkle cheese over each roll.

Makes 8 moletttes or half rolls. Takes 15-to-20 minutes.


1) This dish is sold in the morning by street vendors all over Mexico.

2) The east coast of Mexico is on the Gulf of Mexico.

3) Gulf gas stations used to be all over America.

4) America’s Cup goes to the winner of an international sailing event.

5) Sophia Loren, the famous Italian actress, wore a C cup.

6) Vitamin C is good for you. It helps banish colds.

7) Ice cream is cold. So is Iceland.

8) Iceland also has volcanoes. So does Mexico.

9) But Mexicans eat molettes while Icelanders do not.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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