Bunny’s Feast

Bunny Entree

BUNNY’S FEAST

INGREDIENTS

1 large carrot
½ Roma tomato
3 tablespoons raisins.

Serves a bunny family. Takes 5 minutes.

PREPARATION

Break carrot into 2 or 3 pieces. Dice Roma tomato. Do nothing to raisins. Place carrot pieces, diced Roma tomato, and raisins on separate flat surfaces. The separation of ingredients allows the bunnies to create their own three-course meal.

The best time for the bunny feast is just before dusk when it’s dark enough for our furry friends to feel safe and light enough for us to see.

TIDBITS

1) The Chinese dedicate every twelveth year to the rabbit. The Aztecs held that the Centzon Totochtin (say that quickly) are 400 rabbit gods who party all the time. They are the gods of drunks. Ancient Asians believed a rabbit lived on the moon with its friend the moon goddess. Nanabhozo was a Native American creator god who liked to appear as the Great Rabbit.

2) Crusader Rabbit appeared on early television as a force for good. The kindly Velveteen Rabbit appeared in books. Peter Rabbit delighted kids for decades.

3) However, we spurned the good lapins of literature for less savory rabbits. Brer Rabbit and Bugs Bunny were tricksters. To be fair, Bugs Bunny did promote war bonds during World War II.

4) Bunnicula, of literature fame, sucked juice from carrots while the movie, Curse of the Were-Rabbit showed these furry creatures to be other worldly.

5) Rabbits turned deadly in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “That’s no ordinary rabbit.” 1972’s horror flick, Night of the Lepus treated viewers to thousands of mutated rabbits killing and eating the inhabitants of small towns along their Chicago. Spoiler alert, Chicago survives.

6) See? Even the nicest of rabbits can go rather bad without attention. Go to the library with your kids. Check out Peter Rabbit books. Do it today. Civilization hangs in the balance.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Risotto

Italian Appetizer

RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS

5½ cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, or oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio* rice
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter

* = The properties of Arborio are important to this dish. The best substitute for Arborio is Carnaroli, with regular short-grain rice to be used only in a pinch.

Serves 10 or 5 if served as an entree. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth to pot. Simmer at warm heat. While broth simmers, mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice Italian parsley. Add garlic, onion, and olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently

Add rice. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 3 minutes or until rice smells toasty and turns translucent. Stir frequently, making sure rice is thoroughly coated with olive oil. Add wine. Sauté until rice absorbs all the liquid. Stir frequently. Add broth 1 cup at time. Stir gently after each addition until the rice absorbs the broth. This should take about 25 minutes with the rice being creamy and al dente, just a little bit firm. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

TIDBITS

1) Karl Marx visited lovely Florence in 1848. While waiting forever for an espresso, Crabby Karl listened as workers at the next table complained loudly and endlessly about the oppressive Austrian rule over their city. His patience exhausted, he yelled at the workers, “So, riot.” They did. Fortunately, the chef had been whipping up a new rice dish. He served the workers just as they were about to go and throw bricks at the constabulary. The workers loved their risotto. They completely lost their urge to run amuck. The anagramist among them said, “no ‘so, riot.’” He lifted up his bowl of rice. “Risoto.” A typo turned that into “Risotto. Oh, and Karl would go on to other things.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Tuna Stuffed Eggs (Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

Italian Appetizer

TUNA STUFFED EGGS

(Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 4-ounce can tuna, drained
1 teaspoon capers, drained
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 leaves lettuce
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

SPECIAL UTENSIL

small food processor

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add enough water to cover eggs with 1″ extra. Bring water to boil. Use a large spoon to carefully add eggs. Boil for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and put in a bowl of cold water. Peel eggs. Cut eggs in half along their length. Remove yolks and set aside.

Add yolks, mayonnaise, tuna, capers, pepper, salt, and lemon juice to small food processor. Blend until creamy. Fill egg-white halves with equal amounts of creamy mixture. Tear lettuce leaves in half. Place filled egg-white haves on lettuce-leaf halves. Dice parsley. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) One night Contessina de’ Bardi dreamed this entire recipe in modern Italian. Unfortunately, she and many others on the Italian peninsula still spoke Latin. She had no idea what she had imagined.

2) So asked her husband Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464), “We don’t we all learn Italian? That way we can all understand this recipe and make a yummy appetizer. “But,” said Cosimo, “there are sorts of proto-Italian dialects around. How will we get everyone to agree on just one version?”

3) “Well,” said Contessina, “We’ll make Florence the center of the art world. All Italy will come here to marvel at our artistic glory. The visitors will all pick up Florentine Italian. So will I. Then I’ll be able to make you Tuna Stuffed Eggs.” Cosimo said, “Sounds good.” And so began The Renaissance.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Tibet Yak Butter Tea

Tibetan Appetizer

YAK BUTTER TEA

INGREDIENTS

3½ cups water
2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea or 6 black-tea bags
2 tablespoons yak ghee, yak butter*, or cow butter
½ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt

* = Yak butter can be found in Tibet and nowhere else apparently, not even online. Yak ghee, however, can be purchased on line. I really tried to find yak butter. There are yaks farm in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. You can order yak meat from them or even an entire yak. Simply drive to a yak farm and buy the animal.. Somehow put the yak in your van or pickup truck. (I recommend against using the tiny Honda FitTM for this purpose.) Drive the yak back to your humble abode. Milk the yak. (You did buy a female yak, didn’t you?) Put the yak milk in your food processor. Blend until the yak milk separates into yak butter and yak buttermilk. Easy peasy. Drink the yak buttermilk as is or use it to make yak-buttermilk pancakes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

stool (If you’re milking a yak.)
colander (If you’re using loose tea.)
blender
sonic obliterator

Serves 5. Takes 15 minutes.
.
PREPARATION

Add water to 1st pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Add black tea. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes. Stir enough times to prevent burning. While tea simmers, build a financial empire. Remove tea leaves or tea bags from tea. Add tea, yak butter or ghee, milk, and salt to blender. Blend on low speed for 3 minutes. Serve the tea right away. Zap un-appreciative guests with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is truly difficult to assemble and make. How difficult, you ask?

2) You have to go to a yak farm in west-central America to even find yaks.

3) Suppose you don’t want to buy a yak and take it home. (As suggested earlier in the recipe.)

4) You could ask the yak ranchers if you could milk the yaks right there.

5) They might refuse. They might charge you a lot for milking privileges. They might let you do it for free if they’re in the mood for a laugh and it has been a plumb stressful week of yak ranching.

6) Suppose you get some yak milk. Good. Now you have to transport it back home and that’s likely to be a long drive. And you’ll need to keep that milk cold all the way back or it’ll go bad.

7) The distance from my home to the Colorado yak ranch is 1,155 miles. That would take me 16.5 hours.

8) I wouldn’t risk using a cooler for such a lengthy venture. I think it’s likely the milk would still get warm and go bad in a cooler.

9) I’d be ticked off beyond measure if I drove 16.5 hours to get to the ranch, got laughed at the ranch hands while I milked the yaks, and took the same time to get back home only to find the yak milk went bad.

10) Nothing’s worse than spoiled yak milk

11) Best to put a refrigerator in your care. Plug the fridge into the cigarette lighter. Could you get enough electricity from the cigarette lighter to power the refrigerator? Even if you could, how many miles to the gallon would your get? Two?

12) You could try taking a portable electric generator with you. Could such a generator power your fridge all the way back from Colorado, where you were laughed at while milking yak cows? Doubtful.

13) It’s simpler to fly to Lhasa, Tibet, then buy some yak butter there. As of today, I can fly round trip from near my home to Lhasa, Tibet for $867 with each flight taking 50 hours, a scant 27 hours each way for a scant $1,344.

14) Then buy a really, really tight container, one that doesn’t let heat in at all. Pack the container with ice. Mail it from Lhasa. Pick package up at home. Is this at possible?

15) Don’t know. That’s why I ordered some yak ghee.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Wonton Soup

Chinese Soup

WONTON SOUP

INGREDIENTS

2 green onions (1 more later)
1″ ginger root
½ teaspoon brown sugar
½ pound ground pork
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce (2 teaspoons more later)
24 wonton wrappers
4½ cups chicken stock
1 green onion
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION

Thinly slice 2 green onions. Grate ginger root. Add 2 sliced green onions, grated ginger, brown sugar, pork, rice wine, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with fork until filling is well blended. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

Place 6 wonton wrappers at a time on flat surface. Keep remaining wrappers covered with wet towel to keep them from drying out. Place ½ tablespoon filling in center of wrapper. Use a finger to lightly wet the edges of the wrapper. Bring 2 opposite corners together to form a triangle. Firmly press edges together. Bring the 2 corners of the long edge together so that they overlap to get a round stuffed wonton with a flat triangle at the top. Repeat for remaining wrappers.

Thinly slice 1 green onion. Add chicken stock to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Add wontons to pot. Reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 5 minutes or until wontons start to float. Stir occasionally and gently. Garnish with 1 sliced green onion.

TIDBITS

1) French women, for the last thousand years, have gone for men who are handsome and give them flowers, chocolate, and wonton soup. This held especially true for French queens. Poor old King Phillip II Augustus (1165-1223) had great trouble getting his wife Isabelle of Hainault into a frisky mood. Phil got himself nipple rings. Izzy simply used his rings for coat hangers. Phillip II even gave her flowers, chocolates, and French onion soup. “Not now,” as she gazed at her soup. “Not now.”

2) At his wits end, King Phillip II told his chef to go wild making a new soup. His chef came up with this very same recipe. Isabelle loved it. Indeed, it made her so amorous that the royal couple made whoopee all night long. Nine months later, little Louis VIII was born. Ever since then all French kings who served their queens “Won ton” soup, the opposite of “Not Now” produced future kings; the clods who didn’t, produced no heirs. Something to think about when ordering soup.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Carpaccio

Italian Entree

CARPACCIO

INGREDIENTS

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup mayonnaise, homemade if possible*
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2½ teaspoons whole milk
½ pound beef sirloin or beef tenderloin, no fat**
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper

* = This dish has few ingredients, so it relies heavily on using fresh ones.

** = Must be center-cut sirloin or tenderloin. Must be, must be, freshly cut and cut thinly as possible, like deli cut. For safety’s sake, prepare meat as soon as you get home.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

kitchen mallet, if sirloin is not deli cut (See Tidbit 1 below)
plastic wrap

Serves 2. Takes 20 minutes plus any time needed for homemade mayonnaise.

PREPARATION

Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, and Worcester – shire sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add enough milk to thin the sauce to the point where it barely coats a spoon. Stir with whisk until sauce is well blended.

Add deli-thin slice of beef sirloin to plate. (If you can’t buy sirloin cut this thin, place your slices you have between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a kitchen mallet until they are paper thin and about the width of a plate.) Drizzle sauce over tenderloin slice in a criss-cross pattern as shown in above photo. Repeat for remaining slices.

TIDBITS

1) You can flatten your sirloin even more with a road roller. (Shown to the right.)

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

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The French Plan For World Domination

Gentle Readers,

France, having failed to take over world under Louis XIV and Napoleon I, is on the march again. Oh no, this time it’s quest for world domination will not occur by force of arms. Mais non, it’s trying to take over one kitchen at a time. Then one house at a time. Then one city at a time and finally one nation at a time.

“But how,” you say, “is this possible?”

I’m glad you asked. A piece of what looks to be dried or cooked meat looking like France will show up mysteriously by your kitchen burner. If this dried-meat France is left undisturbed for more than an hour, it will emit waves that will turn your brain into one that loves France, loves everything French, and will live, fight, and die for La Belle France. That’s okay, but you will find yourself loving mushrooms, lamb’s brain, raw hamburger meat, and buttered snails.

Don’t let this happen! Keep your kitchen immaculate. At all times. And if you happen to like mushrooms, then you were most likely briefly exposed to a dried-meat France. See your doctor immediately and ever year after that.

Remember if you don’t tell your kids about buttered snails, then who will?

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

 

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Spotlight on Barbara Hammond, Author of “Daddy du Jour”

About the book

 

This is a book about survival in many ways. Barbara became the primary caregiver of her younger brothers at an early age. There was a revolving door of men in her mother’s life. Some were good; some were not. Her favorite stepfather introduced her to the man she’s been married to for more than 50 years which proves how living in chaos can sometimes lead you to the other side. That’s a happy ending.

Excerpt From Daddy du Jour

 

Chapter
I

Running Away

 

“I’ll take care of putting your things in the trunk, Miss, you take the baby and get in the cab where it’s warm,” the Taxi driver said.

Warmth.

Something I had longed for through all the horrible winter months. And, here we were making our escape on the coldest night in the history of Toledo, Ohio. It was twenty-three degrees below zero on January twenty-third, nineteen sixty-three. I was twelve, and I could never forget the date.

The taxi had an odd exotic aroma I wasn’t familiar with but, it was warm. There were so few times we had been warm this brutal winter. It was heavenly.

I slowly loosened the quilt from my brother, David, and removed his stocking cap. He didn’t wake, so I laid him on the seat next to me with his head on my lap. He was so small for a three-year-old, but given our lifestyle, it wasn’t a surprise. It would be a fairly long ride, and it was best he slept.

The driver got in, and we were off to, what I hoped would be, a safe haven. My step-father, Al, was trying to take custody of us and, his sister and her husband were going to take care of us during the process. David was Al’s son.

Al was mom’s third husband. Here we were returning to the town we’d left four months before when mom’s affair with a local businessman blew-up all over us. He owned the local ice-cream shop, and I went to school with his daughter. This was going to be awkward.

I remember how mom and Al fought all night when he learned of her affair. He slammed out of the house pre-dawn and told her she had better be gone when he came back.

Her Prince Charmless came and loaded up his car with everything she could gather, including us. I had no idea where we were going, and I’m not sure she did either.

“I found you a great little place,” he said. “It’s only temporary but, you and the kids will be fine.”

I looked at the back of his large head as he sat behind the wheel. His name was Jack. He was much larger than Al and had a wide, pockmarked face. What in the world did she see in this guy?

“What about school?” I asked.

“I’m sure there will be one,” mom said sarcastically.

I was in sixth grade, and this would be my seventh school. I suppose I should have been used to it, but you never get used to perpetually being the new kid.

As I looked out the car window, the landscape became darker and seedier, like coal dust had enveloped everything. Where in hell were we going? Suddenly we pulled into a parking lot in front of a truck stop.

“You wait here, I’ll go get the keys,” Prince Charmless said.

As I looked around, I could see a trailer park behind the building. It could not have been uglier. It was October, and there was not a speck of fall color anywhere around us.

He came back with the keys, and we drove behind the building onto a gravel road lined with rusted out shitty tin boxes. One uglier than the next. My heart sank, and I wanted to cry.

“I know it doesn’t look pretty but, as I said, it’s temporary,” he said.

“God, I hope so,” I mumbled.

“You shut up!” mom yelled, “Jack’s doing us a big favor after Al threw us out. You should be grateful we have a place to go.”

“Why can’t we go to Mamaw and Granddaddy’s?” I asked.

“Don’t you worry about it,” she said, “we’ll be fine.”

My grandparents had always been there for us, even when they didn’t agree with mom’s way of handling the men in her life or how she treated her kids. I always felt safe with them and couldn’t understand why she was keeping them away this time.

The car stopped in front of a black and silver trailer with so much rust it resembled a calico cat. Jack got out and continued to assure her this was temporary.

“It’s completely furnished,” he said.

Mom nodded and followed him up the rickety wooden steps to the door.

“Come on, bring David and get in here,” she said.

The outside was depressing enough but, the inside was complete with the smell of cat piss. It kept getting worse. How could this be happening?

He began describing it like he was trying to sell it, which he was. Not that she had a choice in the matter. There was no plan B.

“You can put the kid down,” he said, “let him explore a little.”

I was afraid of what he might find. Whoever lived there last must have left in a hurry because there were dirty dishes in the sink. I put David down and said, “Don’t touch anything!”

“It needs a little cleaning,” mom said. That was the understatement of the year.

“Let’s unpack the car and then I’ll take you to the store to get some food and cleaning supplies,” he said.

They dropped our meager belongings inside the door and went shopping, leaving us there in the stinking tin box.

There was a small TV in the living room and, fortunately, it worked. I sat David in front of it and began looking through the cabinets for something to clean with.

The kitchen was tiny with a counter dividing it from the living room and a fold down table below a small window opposite the sink. There was a hallway down the side. The first bedroom had bunk beds where David and I would sleep, then a tiny bathroom and the (ahem) master bedroom taking the entire width of the back of the trailer.

I found a can of cleanser under the sink, filled a bowl with hot water and took a diaper out of the diaper bag to begin scrubbing things down.

I put all of the dishes in the sink. There weren’t many, and they were all plastic with a sticky film on them. It was warm outside so opening the windows helped air things out. Everything I could clean I did. But, where the hell were they with the groceries?

By dusk, they returned. Clearly, they’d stopped at a bar.

“Hey! We brought food and new sheets for the beds,” mom said.

For some reason, I thought he would be leaving. I was wrong. He brought in his own suitcase and took it to the back bedroom.

By November Prince Charmless was gone. Our temporary arrangement became permanent without any assistance. Mom got a job bartending 3pm-11pm. She made arrangements with an elderly neighbor

 

Bio

 

Barbara Hammond is an artist, children’s book author of The Duffy Chronicles and blogger at Zero to 60 and Beyond (https://www.zeroto60andbeyond.com). She’s been married to her husband Dave for over 50 years and has two grown sons and three grandsons.

Barbara and her family have moved many times over the years due to Dave’s career in retail. With each move, Barbara found ways to re-invent herself. She worked in the fashion modeling profession at an agency in Philadelphia and after several years and a move to Massachusetts, she opened her own modeling agency.

There she and Dave also owned a health spa for a few years. After a transfer to Pittsburgh, Barbara dabbled in real estate but did not feel it was her calling. Both she and Dave found jobs in radio sales at a classic rock radio station.

Eventually, the couple moved back to Philadelphia. Barbara went back to the modeling agency to begin a talent division that worked with actors from NYC and Philadelphia. Today, Barbara and Dave are retired and living at the Jersey Shore.

 

*********************************

Paul De Lancey

http://www.pauldelancey.com

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How to Solve TV Mysteries

Dear Reader,

I draw upon my many hours of watching TV mysteries such as Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders to give you my tips on solving the show’s murderer. Here they are:

1) The show will heavily suggest a murdered in the first few minutes after the murder. This person is never ever the murderer. Just isn’t. Nope, not ever. Filing for taxes will become easy and pleasurable before this happens.

2) Clues for the actual murderer usually takes place 60% of the way through the show.

3) You really have to be alert at this stage of the show. While in the first part of the program the detectives will say, “My gosh, this man has got to be the murderer,” they will never say anything like that when the real clue comes up.

4) The real clue will usually be in the form of the dastardly perpetrator saying something bizarre, not true, or out of character. This clue will not be picked up by the detective until the 80%-to-90% of the show.

5) The murderer will not be a short woman. A tall woman can pass for a man if seen in a coat at night and from a large distance. This is why I married a short woman.

6) The murderer NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER leaves town. They just wait for the law to pick them up at the 90% mark of the show. Oh sure, they might, in rare cases, get tickets to fly away. But they are singularly incapable of getting to the airport. Most of the time, however, people who buy airline tickets are the ones who get killed. So travel by train.

7) Here’s a drinking game guaranteed to get your drunk. You have to drink something every time someone says, “But I didn’t kill him.” Unfortunately, this utterance doesn’t provide any clues to the identity of the killer. Sorry.

8) The murderer is usually a neat type. While the actual murder itself might be gory and chaotic, his home will be neat, be it ever so humble.

9) The murderer is often rich. This is argument for raising taxes on the wealthy.

10) If someone in the show has an ancestor that was wronged a long time ago, perhaps even centuries, then he is a likely murderer.

11) If someone remotely suspicious has her name changed, then she is the murderer. So let your bride to be, keep her last name. Don’t even ask her to change it.

Happy solving, you TV detective, you.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

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Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer

PORK SHUMAI

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen towel
steamer
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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