Carrot Cake

American Dessert

CARROT CAKE

INGREDIENTS – MAINcarrotcake

4 eggs
1⅓ cups sugar
⅔ cup light brown sugar
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups cake flour or flour
½ tablespoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or combination
no-stick spray

INGREDIENTS – ICING

6 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
9″ x 13″ casserole dish
3 mixing bowls (Or are you an outstanding chef like my Grandma Anna wished us all to be and who cleanse bowls and utensils as you cook?)
sonic obliterator

Makes about 30 2″-squares. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – MAIN

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add eggs to first large mixing bowl. Use medium setting on electric beater until frothy. (The eggs, not you.) Gradually add sugar and light brown sugar. Blend using electric mixer set on whip until well blended. Add carrots, vegetable oil, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Blend with mixer set on medium-high until well blended.

Add flour and baking soda to second large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Add flour/baking soda from second mixing bowl to first mixing bowl. Blend using electric beater’s medium-high setting. Add nuts and stir with spoon.

Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Pour eggs/sugar/spice/baking soda mixture into casserole dish. Smooth with spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-to-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Use spatula to smooth icing over carrot cake.

(Okay, little secret here. After 15 minutes, you can cool the cake down considerably faster by putting the casserole dish in cold water in the sink. Be sure the water is only halfway to the top of the casserole dish. If your casserole dish is too big for the sink, simply put it in the bathtub. Again, let the water go no higher than halfway up the side of the casserole dish. If someone happens to see your cake cooling in the bathtub and makes a snarky comment, zap him with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that negativity in your life.)

PREPARATION – ICING

While cake bakes, add butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to third mixing bowl (Note: this cookbook always employs the Oxford comma when providing a list of ingredients. Long live the Oxford comma! Vexation to its enemies!) Ahem, beat ingredients using electric beater set on cream until ingredients become a fluffy icing.

TIDBITS

1) The famous French painter, Paul Cézanne believed, “A single carrot newly observed will cause a revolution.”

2) Eleven years after Cézanne died, the Russian Revolution began. People in the streets of St. Petersburg, the Russian capital, had been starving. They couldn’t afford the price of a loaf of bread.

4) Desperate to maintain order, the czar and his ministers bought up food from all over the world. They purchased cabbages from Germany, eggs from Sweden, and carrots from the gardens of Cézanne’s children. The authorities even bought beans, cotija cheese, and tortillas from Mexico. Surely, the rioters would be placated by burritos. I mean, who doesn’t like a burrito?

5) Unfortunately, as in the case of many government programs, well intentioned though they might be, something went wrong. The newly formed Russian Ministry of Burrito Assembly put a raw carrot in every burrito.

6) The Russian rebel rabble not appreciate the taste of the raw carrot, bean, and cheese burrito. They did not like its texture either. They did not like it in the city square. They did not like in their hair. They did not like it in the air. They did not like it anywhere.

7) So the Russians did not eat these burritos. And they grew hungrier and hungrier.

8) Then an artist named Ivan Popoff came across one of the burritos lying–Oh gosh, I hope I conjugated this evil verb correctly–split open on the street. Something about the burrito’s carrot struck him. “Oh ho,” he said, “I am observing this carrot in an entirely new way.” Lenin, a passerby, heard this and immediately started the Russian Revolution.

9) Millions died during the Russian Revolution and the ensuing decades. We should all pay more attention to French post-Impressionist painters.

cookbookhunksChef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Spotlight on Deb Martin-Webster, Author of “Forever, Montana”

Description of “Forever Montana”forevermontanacover-1

 

The eagerly awaited third installment in the Love, Montana series, Forever, Montana begins where Always, Montana ends. After much personal upheaval Amelia “Rose” Montana is at last regaining a sense of normalcy after losing her husband author Lash Jackson Montana who publishes under the well well-known name of, Montana Joe. Rose has remarried, yet still struggling with a life without her beloved Joe. In Deb Martin-Webster’s latest novel she introduces a host of new characters bringing us full circle in the saga of Rose Montana-Saxton. Along with Martin-Webster’s signature plot twists, romance, Native American wisdom, and loads of humorous moments, Forever, Montana continues to portray the diversity, love and strength of this extraordinary family.

 

Excerpt From “Forever, Montana”

 

Chapter 1

Potatoes, onions, sugar, milk, sweet feed, horse wormers, three boxes of horseshoe nails, barn door hinges, Jack Daniels, four pounds of coffee and two daffodils for my beautiful Rose Darlin’ .

I miss being called Rose Darlin’. Lash’s death was devastating to an entire generation of loyal Cowboy and Western Fiction fans, especially those in the Cowboy Writers Community. They’re still mourning his death. Many readers knew him only by his nom de plume of Montana Joe. I know some fans that took his death harder than I did. One particularly overzealous woman named Mona Moon Rae. I swear I received at least forty sympathy cards from her, but that’s another story in itself.

Our marriage was short lived; however, the union created a lifetime of memories and a beautiful daughter. I know Joe wouldn’t want me living in the past. As difficult as it was, I had to move on with my life.

I’m now married to Paul Saxton. I remember Lash telling me what a fine man Paul is and if anything were to happen to him, Paul was someone I could depend on. His work ethic impressed Lash, as did his great sense of humor. Lash would say, “He’s one dang entertaining bloke.” He never knew what Paul was talking about. British slang wasn’t Joe’s forte. I’m beginning to pick up some of his expressions. His accent still throws me a bit. He calls me, Poppet – it means sweetie. When Lash and I first met, he gave me the nickname of “Rose” and it stuck. So much so I rarely answer to my given name of Amelia. Our housekeeper Cecilia always addresses me as Amelia. It took her two years to stop calling me, Miss Amelia. In some ways she’s like a second mother to me. She stayed on at the ranch after Lash died and remains in charge of the family menus, shopping, and offers a steady shoulder to cry on when needed. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

On occasion Lash and his cowboy persona Montana Joe would drive into town to pick up a few odds-and-ends and mail autographed copies of his books to special fans. He enjoyed chatting with the locals at the post office and swapping tall tales about his travels at the High Ground Cafe coffee shop where he was a regular. The locals swore that Joe singlehandedly kept the shop in business.

I remember one old fellow saying, “I ain’t ever seen one man drink so much dang coffee in my life! I bet he pisses dark roast.” They always had a good laugh at his expense. He loved sitting at the counter eavesdropping on their cowboy history conversations. Despite his being a world renowned author, the townies, our friends, and family never treated him as such. To us he was Good Ol’ Lash the western writer or simply, Joe.

I read the creased-worn shopping list a few more times before tucking it back into the pocket of his old ranch jacket. I don’t know why I went through the pockets of that particular jacket. It had been hanging in the attic since before his death; however, today I felt as though he wanted me to find it. Maybe it was divine intervention on his part; especially today. Paul and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. I read the list of things aloud and chuckled. I thought, no matter what I’d jot down, he’d always add two daffodils to the list. It was his way of telling me he was thinking of me. I miss them. I tried planting them but they didn’t do very well in Montana – too cold I suppose.

I also noticed a couple of old emails I’d printed and saved. They were always signed, your cowboy Joe or Love, Joe. Sometimes I believed he was Montana Joe. So much so I rarely called him Lash. The puzzling subject titles were his assurance that I’d open them. Funny, this particular email subject title stated it was part one of two; however, I never received part two of two. But that was Joe. I never knew what he was thinking. I started reading it aloud.

To: Rose

Fr: Montana Joe

Subject: Vincent Van Gogh Lends an Ear – Part 1 of 2

Evenin’ Rose Darlin’

I’m just about to check into my hotel room in Jackson Hole and of course my thoughts drift back to you and how much fun we had at this same old hotel. Sayin’ I love you is the same as sayin’ I love breathin’. You know my heart girl and I know yours. I can be away from you for days and when I see you it’s like I never left. What a pair we are, darlin’. The other night we had some serious talk about how quickly we fell in love…and how things could have gone drastically different if you hadn’t taken that trip out west or if I hadn’t taken that last minute book signing gig in Currysville. Life has a way of working out the way it’s supposed to darlin’. We are a perfect example of that. You brighten this ol’ cowboy’s life and I’ll always be beholdin’ to you for puttin’ up with me. Bein’ the peculiar ol’ cowboy writer that I am!

Speakin’ of peculiar, here’s the perfect example. I remember our visit to the museum to see the Van Gogh Exhibit. Here’s me, not knowin’ the difference between a Monet and a Matisse and you the smart and sexy art critic tryin’ to bring a little culture into this old cowboy’s life. I was askin’ you all kinds of silly questions about Van Gogh’s work. And, you were tryin’ not to laugh when I took off my cowboy hat and had that bandage stuck to my ear. Any other woman would have been embarrassed beyond words and walked out – but not my Rose darlin’. You just looked at me and said, “Do you know that Van Gogh had an extra testicle.” The folks around us were so outraged but we laughed so hard they kicked us out. I tell ya’ darlin’, that was one of the best days of my life. You’re a crazy girl and I’m crazy in love with ya’, more than I’ve ever loved any woman, much more than I deserve. Keep on lovin’ me girl. We can only get better. Goodnight darlin’.

‘Ears to you darlin’, your artistically challenged cowboy, Joe

I loved receiving his emails and, honestly, there are times I miss them. Nonetheless, the past is the past. I’m with Paul now and we’re very happy. I tucked the email back in the box and closed the lid.

Jannine’s yelling from the bottom of the attic steps jolts me out of my daydream or evening dream since it was nearly 8:00 PM.

“Amelia ‘Rose’ Montana-Saxton, are you coming down for dinner or are you going to stay in that attic until your next wedding anniversary? Get your narrow ass down here because I’m out of breath calling you by your entire name.”

Glancing down at my watch I realize I’ve been sifting through Joe’s effects for more than an hour with the champagne glasses still in the box sitting beside me. I can’t believe this is all that’s left of him. I put the spurs, chaps and envelopes of old manuscripts back in their final resting places. Wiping the dust from my hands I dabbed my eyes with my sleeve. Joe, I hope you’re happy for me. Paul is a wonderful husband and has been such a great father figure for Charlotte.

“I’m on my way, Jannine and please tell Paul I found the champagne glass. They were exactly where he said they would be.”

I hate to admit it but Paul’s memory is much better than mine. He says he vividly remembers what I was wearing when we first met. I barely remember to brush my teeth, yet his photographic memory for retaining complex information astounds me. Numbers and routes all tucked away in his mind. I guess it’s his CDL training or just a natural born gift.

That’s why I find it so odd that he didn’t remember his previous marriage. When we first met he said he’d never been married. He later admitted the union was so short-lived that it wasn’t a marriage – more like a drunken mistake; nothing memorable. I left it at that. Still, I never understood the reasoning behind his omission. A marriage is a marriage no matter how short or insignificant. Perhaps I’m overthinking the subject.

Another odd omission on Joe’s mother’s part was finding out that Joe wasn’t born in June, but his actual birth date was in August. I suppose Charlotte didn’t want him to know he was Jameson’s twin brother. I wonder what other quirky facts will be brought to light? Oh well, I’d better head downstairs and join our guests.

Paul’s brother Thom and his wife Maggie flew in from England. Their British accent is much thicker than his. There are times I have to ask them to repeat themselves. They laugh and say that it’s me who has the accent and not them. Keough wouldn’t stand a change. I can barely understand him so I can only imagine their inability to understand him with his thick western drawl. All in all, I enjoy my ever growing eclectic family and friends.

I took one last glance and turned off the attic light. It took two tries to get the door to close properly. It needs new hinges. Keough said he would fix it. I know I’ll have to ask Paul to do it if I want it done before our next anniversary. Keough has his hands full with ranch work. Running a ranch as large as Casa Montana is no easy task and Keough isn’t getting any younger. Eventually, I’ll need to hire additional ranch hands. However, tonight was not the time to worry about ranch duties; it was our anniversary and time to celebrate.

Paul had the first bottle of champagne open and another chilling. The family was mingling in the family room and kitchen. It seems we always end up in the kitchen. I put the glasses in the sink to rinse them off. Paul came up behind me kissing me on my cheek.

“Are you okay Poppet? You were gone for quite a while and you seem a bit quiet tonight.” I told him of my experience in the attic, rummaging through a lifetime of memories.

“Paul, you know how much I love you?”

He nodded and said, “Yes I do and I know how much you still love Joe – am I right?”

I nodded. He continued to explain how a person can love two people with the same intensity. In his own way, he loved Joe as much as I did. “Joe was an amazing fellow. He had an allegiance of loyal fans that still refer to him as the best cowboy fiction writer of the twenty-first century. I know I will never replace him or compare to him, so I love him – just as you do. We shall always love Joe and that’s what makes us so unique. Two people who were brought together by one incredible and extremely bizarre human being – Lash Jackson Montana.”

I kissed Paul on both cheeks and thought, how lucky am I to be loved by such incredible men and not to mention very handsome men.

To say Paul is a brilliant, sexy and kind man was like saying the Aurora Borealis is a bunch of pretty lights in the sky. Not many women can say they’ve found the love of their life twice. We kissed again and joined our guests in the family room. Paul made a toast to another brilliant year of marriage and to friends and family past and present. I swear I felt Joe’s presence standing next to us. In that same moment Paul turned toward me, kissed my palm and winked, “. . . and that is from Joe.”

Chapter 2

Rose peeped into Charlotte’s room – she was still sleeping. I swear that girl could sleep through a twenty-one-gun salute with jets flying over the ranch. Her daughter was in her final weeks of fourth grade. Her birthday was six-months away and the only threat Rose felt was not getting the present Charlotte had been subtly hinting for – a canopy bedroom set. The young girl requested that she and Rose paint her room turquoise, orange and white. Rose was considering it. They already agreed on the solid orange; however, she stubbornly insisted on orange trim. Granted her room still has toys from her nursery days—mostly stuffed animals from Paul and Joe. However, the addition of pop singers and cute actor posters were rapidly covering her walls.

Charlotte hadn’t even entered her teen years yet, and Rose was already experiencing the Montana defiance. As much as we love each other she’s as strong willed as I am, not to mention having her daddy’s tenacity.

Charlotte zipped up her backpack and slung it onto her shoulder. Her walk to the truck was hesitant. She threw the bag into the back and plopped into the passenger seat. Rose glanced over at her half-closed eyes and said good morning. What came back was a garbled good morning reply.

“Well that was more or less audibly articulate and good morning to you too.”

She glanced over to Rose and gave a sarcastic grin. It’s the same shit-eating-grin her father flashed so often. Her mother asked her if there was something bothering her. She didn’t answer. Rose asked again.

“Mama, nothing’s wrong, I’m just tired.”

She’s been going to bed on time and Lord knows she’s getting enough to eat. Cecilia still can’t cook less than a banquet for dinner.

The ride was awkwardly silent. The school was only twenty minutes from the ranch entrance. However, they wouldn’t allow the school buses to pick her up stating they’d need to refuel midway to reach their front door.

The school’s entrance was coming up fast. Before they reached her drop-off area, Rose stopped the truck.

“What’s the matter Mama? Why are we stopping?”

Rose took a deep breath and asked her what was going on? “What’s wrong baby girl? You’ve not been yourself for weeks. Is it something I’ve done to upset you?”

She looked at Rose, her eyes tearing. “I’m just tired Mama. Tired of everyone telling me how sorry they are about Daddy’s death and how wonderful he was. I know he was a famous western writer and a celebrity . . . but, I’m not him! To be honest, I never knew him at all. He died minutes after I was born. Everyone expects me to be like him. I’m not a writer and I’m not famous; in fact, I failed my writing test.”

Charlotte pulled out a paper sporting a circled red F. “The teacher wants you to sign it. Can you imagine how embarrassing it is to get an F when you’re the daughter of the famous Montana Joe and Amelia Montana? They expect me to be like you and Daddy, but I’m not – I’m me and I’ll never be as talented at you or Daddy.”

Rose leaned over to give her a hug but she pulled away. “I let you and Daddy down. I’m sorry Mama, I’m sorry to disappoint you.”

Rose could feel her heart breaking into a million pieces. How did she not know how she was feeling? “Come over here baby. Look at me. First of all, you are the most amazing young lady l know. You are sweet, caring, tough and not to mention beautiful. Secondly, you could never disappoint us – ever!”

Charlotte leaned over and hugged her mother. Rose could see she was upset for the both of them. She never realized how tough it must be to be the daughter of Lash Jackson Montana. Rose took the paper and signed it then gave her another hug.

“Charlotte, you know you can always come to me, Pap-Pap, Morgan, Raymond or Paul—especially Paul anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed. We love you and would never judge you or your feelings.”

I remember how Paul was my rock all through Joe’s illness and death. I never thought I’d care for another man, however, his love and kindness supported me through the most dreadful time of my life. Rose asked her if she was okay to go inside

“Yes, and thanks Mama, I love you.”

“I love you too, Baby Girl.” She kissed Rose on her cheek and stepped out of the truck. She was about to drive away when Charlotte ran back over to the passenger-side window. “What’s the matter did you forget something?”

“No, but I need a huge favor Mama and don’t get mad, okay.”

“I promise I won’t – what do you need?”

“When we’re at school can you PLEASE not call me, Baby Girl? I’m almost a teenager for goodness sakes.”

“I’ll try to remember.”

“I love you Mama. Bye-bye.” She flashed her father’s shit-eating-grin and ran to meet up with her friends. Joe our girl is growing up way too fast. I’ll have to practice calling her Charlotte as well. Where had the time gone? She was only 2-years-old a week ago; now she’s almost a teen. Charlotte gazed back one more time, flashed another grin and disappeared into a crowd of noisy kids.

On the drive home, Rose thought how strong her daughter had been through all of the Montana drama: Keough discovering he had another son, Meryl’s husband dying, Jameson’s decision to resign from the Montford-Wellesley Corporation, Meryl appointing a new CEO and she and Jameson deciding to remain board members and backing away from the daily operations. Meryl and Keough have become close friends, refusing to call themselves a couple; however, everyone knew they were friends with benefits. Paul and Kurt have taken over much of the daily ranch work leaving Keough and Meryl to travel. They took a trip to Fiji, and then decided to go to Tahiti. Rose still laughs out loud at the photographs of him in a flowered shirt and cargo shorts. A New York Yankee’s baseball cap replaced his trusty black Resistol. It’s still hanging on the bunkhouse hat rack. As much as Rose misses the banter and petty arguments, he deserved his downtime. Meryl gave him a fancy cell phone for his birthday and he’s slowly learning how to operate it. Although he still thinks the term app is slang for appetite.

Morgan and Jannine decided to elope and married in Las Vegas. Rose agreed to give them a proper reception as a belated wedding gift. Planning the festivities was the only thing keeping her focused. She has been thumbing through party magazines and catering websites bookmarking sites she thought Jannine would like to view. Rose and her dog Lou have become serious homebodies. While the pooch is getting visibly older, he never turns down a walk in the pasture or a swim in the pond with Rose.

Joe’s emails were slowly diminishing. As strange as it must seem, Rose still found herself checking and hoping to see one of his nonsensical titles in the email queue. His long-time friend and faithful lawyer, Canton Parker called last month to inform Rose of his upcoming retirement.

Parker, as Joe referred to him, mentioned that he turned the entire legal portfolio over to his Junior Partner, Maxwell Laurence. “He’s up to speed on Joe’s affairs and . . . eh, his unique emails. He’s a huge Montana Joe fan and he’s eager to meet you.”

Rose thought to herself, Maxwell, I hope you know what you’re getting in to. My husband was strange and unusual to say the least. And I must stop calling him “my husband.” Paul is my husband now and he makes me extremely happy.

Walking over to the door, Rose whistled for Lou. It was a beautiful day to go for a walk. A long walk would clear the fuzziness in her head. Reviewing the morning conversation she had with Charlotte, Rose realized she was not the person her young daughter confided in anymore. Her best friends Juliana and Corey are her new confidants both of whom have been in her class since her days at the Early Childhood Center. To Rose, Charlotte was still that bossy little toddler ordering Corey around. Time is flying by and still Rose could not help but feel stuck in the past. Joe, these are the memories we were supposed to share. But I know you’re looking down at us smiling, chest puffed at how proud you are of our daughter. And to make matters worse an invitation was sent to the house from the school announcing an upcoming Father-Daughter Dance in October. Charlotte refuses to go. I tried to explain that Paul, Keough, Morgan and even Raymond would be honored to escort her. In fact, all four would love to take her. But that didn’t sit very well with her. She still has the Hottie Photo of Joe propped on her bureau. It was though he was close by and still watching over her. I totally understand her feelings of emptiness. Not having a daddy around, like the rest of her classmates, is a heavy burden for a child—especially a girl. It’s an emptiness I can’t hug or kiss away. But Charlotte has Montana blood coursing through her veins. I know eventually she will be able to handle his death. When you live on a ranch you grow up fast and you get used to injury and death. Horses go lame, cattle is hauled off to market for slaughter, ranchers constantly get hurt stringing barbed wire, toes get crushed beneath tractor wheels – the list goes on.

A child shouldn’t have to grow up this fast. I miss that little girl who would run down the hall with her Little Lou stuffed dog clutched in her arms at the first clap of thunder. And the times she’d come into the kitchen to steal a handful of animal crackers when she thought Cecilia and I weren’t looking. She was growing up before my eyes and I was missing it because I was stuck in the past. In my mind I heard Joe’s voice saying, Rose darlin’, it’s time you moved on and said adios to this ol’ cowboy’s memory. I took a deep breath and said aloud, “I’ll try.”

 

Bio

 

forevermontana

Originally from Pennsylvania, Deb Martin-Webster and her husband Pete moved to Western North Carolina and live on a small farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains

She enjoys the simplicity of their country lifestyle and takes pleasure in the daily antics of their horse Colonel, a half-dozen rowdy barn cats and a large but friendly black snake they’ve affectionately named Licorice.
After retiring from a successful career in Art Administration, Deb has taken on a new career as a novelist and humor writer. In October of 2012, her western romance series debuted with her first novel Love, Montana. The second installment of the series Always, Montana followed two years later and now the saga of Montana clan continues in the third book Forever, Montana. Deb is also the author of two other books A Hot Dog Stand in the Himalayas, a daily diary for her granddaughter Sammie that developed into a collection of heartwarming fictionalized short stories and The Adventures of Annie Banana Bread and Larry Cranberry, a children’s book that teaches the acceptance of children with disabilities and diverse health conditions.
Deb is one of the original writers forming the successful online humor magazine,

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Egg Nog

American Dessert

EGG NOG

INGREDIENTSeggnog

6 eggs
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
4 cups full fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric beater

Makes 7 cups. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Add eggs, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until salt and sugar dissolve. Add milk. Stir with whisk until thoroughly blended. Add this mixture to pot. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until mixture coats a spoon. Stir frequently. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until liquid is cold.

Add heavy cream to small mixing bowl. Use medium-high setting on electric beater for 5 minutes or until peaks form on cream. Use whisk to fold heavy cream, nutmeg, and vanilla extract into large mixing bowl with milk/eggs mixture to form egg nog. Ladle egg nog into glasses or keep refrigerated for future use.

TIDBITS

1) Some say “nog” derives from “egg and grog.” a rum drink served in the American Colonies before the Revolution. The beverage was very popular. People had to have it.

2) In 1775, British forces stationed in Boston ran out of egg and grog. So the red coats marched to Lexington and Concord, egg and grog capitals of Massachusetts respectively, to seize ingredients. The local militia took up arms to stop them. I mean liberty and egg nog. The first shot was fired when some one dropped his musket while accepting a shot of egg nog from a local tavern keeper trying to drum up business. Another shot rang out. A battle broke out. The revolution had begun.

3) Culinary etymologists, however, say “obgyn” is an anagram for “by nog.” Truly successful obgyns know that their patients find visits unpleasant. So, these “egg” doctors keep a refreshing glass of egg nog by every chair in the waiting room so their patients can always sit “by nog.” Hence, “egg nog.”

cookbookhunksChef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is also available on amazon.com

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

Mandasi (Doughnut Holes)

Malawian Dessert

MANDASI
(Doughnut Holes)

INGREDIENTSmandasi

2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
about 2 cups vegetable oil

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Add baking powder, 2 cups flour, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Melt butter in small pot using medium heat. Add egg to small bowl. Beat with fork or whisk. Add butter, egg, and milk. Mix together with fork until smooth. Cover and sit for 30 minutes. Dust flat surface and rolling pin with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough to flat surface. Roll out dough until it is ¼” thick. Form dough into several 1″ balls. (Dough balls larger than 1″ thick are apt to get overcooked on the outside before their centers are done.)

Add enough vegetable oil to pot so that it is 1½” deep. Heat oil using medium-high heat. It will be hot enough when a tiny bit of dough starts to dance in the oil. Use ladle or wide spoon to carefully add dough balls to hot, hot oil. (May I suggest holding the pot’s lid between you and the oil when you do this?) Sauté at medium-high heat until the dough balls turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn dough balls frequently to ensure even cooking. (Might want to sample one to see if they’re cooked in the center.) Repeat for subsequent batches. Cooking time tends to go down with each batch, so be vigilant. Remove dough balls, now doughnut holes, and pat dry with paper towels.

TIDBITS

1) Mandasi is an anagram for “I am sand.”

2) There is sand in Malawi. Malawians don’t talk a lot; their lives are hard. That is why they do desserts. There, the terse, stressed eat desserts. And then all is all right.

3) Malawi always runs out of doughnuts every 5 pm. People get stressed. Things get dark. Real dark.

4) Heck, I don’t know how to end this. *Points to the sky* “Oh look, Halley’s Comet!” *Runs away*

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is also available on amazon.com

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

Spotlight on Margie Cherry, Author of “Mom’s Comedy Coloring Book”

Categories: book reviews and excerpts, cartoon | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crispy Fish Scallopini

American Entree

CRISPY FISH SCALLOPINI

INGREDIENTScrispycodscallopini

2 garlic cloves
1 pound cod fillets or other white fish
¼ cup flour (1 more tablespoon later)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoons Chardonnay or white wine
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon drained capers
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (up to 2 teaspoons more)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon parsley

Serves 3. Takes 50 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

cooking mallet

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves. Pound cod fillets to ¼” thickness with clean cooking mallet. If you don’t have such a cooking tool, try putting a few sheets of wax paper on top of the cod and whack away with a blunt instrument.

Combine ¼ cup flour, pepper, sage, and salt in mixing bowl. Dredge the cod fillets through this mixture. Cut cod fillets into 6 cutlets. Put chicken broth, Chardonnay, water, lemon juice, capers, 1 tablespoon flour, and garlic in second mixing bowl. Mix sauce thoroughly.

Melt butter in no-stick frying pan. Cook on medium high and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place as many flour/pepper coated fillets as possible into frying pan. Cook for up to 5 minutes on each sides or until cutlets turn golden brown and crispy. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan each time you cook another batch of fillets. Remove cod.

Pour broth/caper sauce into frying pan. Heat on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Pour sauce over cod cutlets. Sprinkle Parmesan and parsley over the cod.
TIDBITS

1) Early humans were hunter-gatherers. They liked crispy mastodon steaks. Baby-back mastodon ribs were a particularly liked delicacy.

2) Where delicacy meant a rib or hunk of meat cut of the mastodon with flint, then thrown on to the fire. If the went out early, the meat was cooked on the outside and left rare on the inside, trapping the juices inside. Thus, the culinary technique of searing was born. Well done, mastodon chefs! Well okay, except for the omnipresent layer of ashes on the meat. Mesquite wood provided the tastiest ashes. To this day, mesquite wood is the choice for all serious barbequers. I told you the prehistoric era was a hotbed of culinary innovation. Oh, and sometime the fires were put out by sand.

3) Indeed, a revolutionary recipe by Ogg, a caveman states:

Our People Entree

MASTODON STEAKS

INGREDIENTSmastodonhunt

1 mastodon
many pieces of mesquite wood
many handfuls of sand

Serves many. Takes time.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

flint

PREPARATION

Skin mastodon with flint. Cut out chunks of meat with flint. Pile mesquite near a likely place for a likely lightning strike. Wait for lightning strike. Throw mastodon chunks on fire. Have sex with wife. If the love making is quick, the meat will be rare. If the foreplay is slow and sensitive, the meat will be well done. Put out fire with sand.

4) The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD wiped out the towns of Pompeii and Heraclaneum. However, a survivor, Quintus Cato, gleaned some good out of the bad days. He thought, “What if I flattened some fish with a mallet, breaded it, and gingerly dipped the fish into the edges of the lava flow just long enough for the sand to run through this timer? Why, I’d have some great crispy fish scallopini!”

5) Many fishermen met their end falling into the hot lava while making this dish. The lava method of preparing fish rapidly fell out of favor. People hated Quintus. His family was shunned.

6) Then in 112 AD, his grandson redeemed his family’s honor when he thought, “Oh feck, why not use mesquite wood or even wood from the olive tree?” And so, crispy fish scallopini became easy to make. We are forever grateful.

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

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

Creamy Garlic Soup (Krémová Cesnaková Polievka)

Slovakian Soup

CREAMY GARLIC SOUP
(Krémová Cesnaková Polievka)

INGREDIENTScreamygarlicsoup

2 potatoes
4 cups water (1 more cup later)
¾ cup milk
1 cup water
5 garlic cloves
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter
2½ tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 large, hollowed round bread loaves
1 teaspoon parsley

SPECIAL UTENSIL

potato masher

Makes 2 large bread bowls.. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Peel potatoes. Cut each potato into four pieces. Add potato pieces and 4 cups water to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat for 20 minutes or until potato softens. Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Add milk and 1 cup water. Stir with spoon. Remove potato pieces from water. Leave water/milk in pot..

While water boils, mince garlic. Beat egg yolk in small cup. Melt butter in pan using low-medium heat. Add melted butter and flour to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until blended. Add potato pieces. Mash potato pieces with potato masher. Mix potato, flour, and butter with fork until potatoes becomes creamy.

Add creamy mashed potatoes, garlic, egg yolk, and salt to pot with saved water. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to warm and cook for 15 minutes or until everything is smooth. Stir frequently. Ladle soup into hollowed round bread loaves.. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) It is virtually impossible to tell a volcano that has blown its from a creamy garlic soup bowl, but I shall try. Active volcanoes spew forth pumice and red-hot lava. Creamy garlic soup bowls have ingredients. Volcanoes are dangerous, often fatal. Soup bowls are tasty. You eat soup bowls with spoons. Lava is hot; you can’t eat it. Oh, and volcanoes are generally bigger than soup bowls. There.

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Toad in the Hole

British Entree

TOAD IN THE HOLE

INGREDIENTStoadinthehole

1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (2 more tablespoons later)
2 pounds bangers or plain pork sausages or beef sausages
¼ teaspoon rosemary
¼ teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion
½ tablespoon brown sugar
¾ cup beef stock

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Combination 8″ x 12″ casserole dish & time machine (They’re handy!)

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flour, mustard powder, and salt to 1st mixing bowl. Blend with whisk. Melt butter. Add eggs to 2nd bowl. Beat eggs with whisk. Add melted butter and milk to eggs. Mix thoroughly with whisk. Add liquid contents of 2nd bowl to flour in 1st bowl. Blend with whisk until mixture becomes smooth bread pudding. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

While pudding sits, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat sides and bottom of casserole dish with oil. Put casserole dish in oven. Raise temperature to 425 degrees. When oven temperature reaches 425 degrees, remove casserole dish. Add sausages evenly to casserole dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until sausages start to brown on all sides. You might need to turn them over at least once. (Be careful! Use oven mitts!) Remove casserole dish from oven. Pour bread budding over sausages. Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme. Put casserole dish back in oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick stuck into batter comes out clean.

While batter bakes, mince onion. Add onion and 2 tablespoons to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add brown sugar and beef stock. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Ladle this beef stock/onion gravy over bread pudding and sausages in casserole dish.

TIDBITS

1) Sometimes it can be quite hard to track down every ingredient listed in a recipe, even when you think they should be easy to find.

2) In the case of this recipe, bangers were the items that were hard to track down. Impossible even. There’s a small discount supermarket (Small supermarket is a bit of contradiction, isn’t it?) that occasionally carries bangers, the British sausage. Occasionally. When it’s overstocked somewhere in San Diego County. How often does that happen? *Bangs head against wall*

3) Sorry for the delay in writing this tidbit, I had a headache from banging my head against the wall.

4) But wait, there was no delay for you, was there? It’s kinda like having your own time-travel machine.

5) Anyway, if you can’t find bangers nearby, try and get plain pork sausages. If your supermarkets don’t have such things, try and get beef sausages.

6) Don’t settle for tiny breakfast sausages. Just don’t. The sausages will settle under this dish’s bread pudding. Your guests will make remarks that while meant to be witty, will come across as being ungrateful and mean. You will race to your closet to get your saber. All sorts of boxes full of stuff you don’t even remember will fall on your head. Your headache will come roaring back as if The HulkTM himself is squeezing your skull. You will be in no mood to see reason. You will skewer all your guests, dispatching them with a hearty “Take that” or “Ho, ho.”

7) The law will take a dim view of such stuff. No, not the screaming of “Take that” or “Ho, ho,” rather the offing of your diners. It bears repeating, police don’t like premeditated murder or even manslaughter in this case. On the other hand, they’re remarkably tolerant of what you say while killing someone. They know if you’re so disturbed as to end someone’s life, you’re not going to be at your literary best. To save yourself embarrassment, may I suggest picking up a copy of 101 Clever Things to Say While Murdering?

8) So murder is out. You will need to create your own bangers. A banger is 65% pork sausage, 30% tusk (dried bread), and 5% seasonings. Simply, take your Bushnell 457 Sausage InjectorTM and fill it with a mixture of 5 parts dried bread to 1 part seasonings. Then inject the tusk/seasoning mix into the plain pork sausage until the ratio of pork sausage to mix is 13 to 7.

9) It does take practice to get the pork sausage/seasoning mix proportion just right. It takes even more practice to inject a lot of mixture into a sausage that already fills in casing completely. In fact, you’re almost certain to explode the sausage, causing you to fly into a rage, fly to your closet to get that saber again, and dispatch the first guest who even comes into your kitchen. That would be bad, run-on sentences like this are horrible.

10) Oh and Bushnell 457 Sausage Injectors are truly hard to find. The company stop making them in 2014. Which is why you simply must have a Bushnell 323 Combination Casserole Dish & Time MachineTM. Simply go back to a time when your local discount supermarket carried bangers. Then use that same gizmo to bake this entree. See? Life is good after all. Thank you, Bushnell.

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

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

Non (Tajikistani Flat Bread)

Tajikistani Appetizer

NON
(Flat Bread)

INGREDIENTSnon

2¼ cups flour (2 more tablespoons later)
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup water
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1⅔ tablespoons more later)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (½ teaspoon at a time)
½ teaspoon black onion seeds, aka nigella stiva
2 teaspoons minced shallot
Enough ice cubes to fill an 8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

SPECIAL UTENSILS

cookie sheet
parchment paper
8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

Makes 4 flat breads. Takes 3½-to-4 hours.

PREPARATION

Add 2¼ cups flour to large mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, and yeast to separate spots on the sides of the flour. Use fist to make a well in the middle of the flour. Add water to well in flour. Knead all ingredients thoroughly for 5 minutes. Make a well in dough with fist. Add yogurt. Knead thoroughly for 5 minutes. Add a little bit of water, if necessary, to make a sticky dough.

Spread 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on flat surface. Add dough to flat surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until dough becomes smooth. Make dough into ball. Spread 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to sides of large mixing bowl. Put dough ball in mixing bowel. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 1½-to-2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Cover flat surface with parchment paper. Dust parchment paper with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough to surface. Flatten dough with hands to knock excess air out. Form dough into ball again. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes-to-1 hour or until dough doubles in size a second time.

While dough is doubling in size a second time, put cookie sheet on top rack in oven and heat to 500 degrees. (You really do want the cookie sheet to be hot when you place the dough circles on it.) Divide into 8 balls. Roll balls out until they are 6″ wide circles. Use a fork to make a 4″ circular depression in the middle of each dough circle. Add an equal amount of shallot to each depression. Brush an ½ teaspoon vegetable oil over each dough circle. Sprinkle onion seeds equally over each dough circle.

Remove cookie sheet from oven. Carefully slide dough covered parchment paper onto HOT cookie sheet. (For goodness sake, use oven mitts.) Place cook sheet on upper rack in oven. Add ice cubes to casserole bowl. Place casserole bowl on lower rack in oven. (This will gradually create steam.) Bake at 500 degrees for 7-to-15 minutes or until breads turn golden brown. Serve hot.

TIDBITS

1) “Non” is Tajikistani for “a type of flatbread.”

2) “Non” is also French for “no.”

3) “Non” is English for “not” as in “non-alcoholic beer.”

4) It is easy to see from these three tidbits alone that languages are different.

5) Miming is the same everywhere, though.

6) And hateful. How often have you suffered through a diner trying to mime his order of a cheeseburger, medium-well done, with a toasted sesame-seed bun, Romaine lettuce, not iceberg lettuce, deli-mustard, caramelized onions, and organic, non-GMO ketchup, all topped with a fried egg from an open-pasture egg? I know! All the time. It takes forever.

7) After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the leaders of America and Russia stopped miming when talking on the hot line. The nuances of the unseen mimed message proved just too much to pick up for the listener.

8) They still don’t mime even though we can now communicate visually. It’s just too slow. Suppose our president rings up their president to mime, “Oops. Sorry. My bad. Err, there’s no easy way to mime this, but we accidentally launched a nuclear missile at Moscow. Please deploy your anti-missile defenses right away. I’m most dreadfully embarrassed. And how’s the wife and kids?”

9) First of all, miming all that would take twenty-nine minutes, leaving the esteemed Russian ruler only one minute to deploy his defensive shield. If … he had only interpreted the mime correctly. Instead he will understand you to mean, “Sorry, my sperm impregnated your wife. She will be giving birth to aardvark sextuplets.”

10) The Russians will have no time to respond. Moscow will be destroyed. The Russian president will be miffed. A permanent state of coolness will exist between the two leaders, making future summit dinners remarkably uncomfortable, even when the shrimp scampi is excellent.

11) So when you parents tell you, “Why don’t you call me, already?” there’s a reason for it.

 

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

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

Shrimp With Bell Peppers (Crevettes Aux Poivrons)

Togolese Entree

SHRIMP WITH BELL PEPPERS
(Crevettes aux Poivrons)

INGREDIENTSshrimpwithbellpeppers

2 garlic cloves
1½” ginger root
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1¼ pounds shrimp (26-to-30 count, peeled and deveined)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Serves 4. Takes 25 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

PREPARATION

Add garlic cloves, ginger root, and onion to food processor. Blend into paste. Seed green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper. Cut all three peppers into thin slices. Add olive oil and shrimp to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 1 minute. Flip shrimp over after 30 seconds. Stir frequently. Remove shrimp and place on plate. Keep oil in pan.

Add olive oil and garlic/ginger/onion paste to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir frequently. Add bell-pepper slices. Sauté for at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until pepper slices soften. Stir frequently. Return shrimp to pan and sauté for 3 minutes or until shrimp turns orange on both sides. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) The word “Togolese” comes from the words “to go” and “legalese.”

2) The World Supreme To Go Court presides in Lome, Togo. Why there? Because Africa is the least litigious continent in the world when it litigators go to to-go. And Togo is the least sue-happy country over there. Plus, Togo has great to-go food. Why resolve international to-go lawsuits anywhere else?

3) You can get all sorts of Togolese to-go food from the land’s fine restaurants. However, if you do go to Togo, do go to their excellent shrimp-with-bell-peppers carts. Remember to say “please” and “thank you” or the vendors will biff your nose. But don’t sue them, they know their culinary law.

cookbookhunks

Chef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes will be available in just a few days. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is already available on amazon.com

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

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