Monthly Archives: March 2016

Moravian Christmas Cookies

Czech Dessert

MORAVIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES

INGREDIENTSMoravianCookies-

1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ tablespoons warm water
1 cup brown sugar
1¼ cups molasses
½ cup shortening or lard
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons flour
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

cookie cutter
4 or so cookie sheets (You might have to bake in batches.)

Makes 36 cookies. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add baking soda and warm water to pot. Stir with fork until baking soda dissolves. Add brown sugar, molasses, and shortening. Cook at low-medium heat until all is melted. Stir frequently. Remove from heat..

Add baking soda/brown sugar/molasses mixture to large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of flour. Knead by hand. Repeat until all 4 cups of flour have been added. Add cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. Knead once until dough is stiff and smooth. Cover and place in cool spot for 1½ hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use up to 2 tablespoons flour to dust flat surface. Roll dough out until it is ⅛” thick. Cut dough with cookie cutter or with knife. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-to-10 minutes or until cookies harden around the edges or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes.

TIDBITS

1) Molasses flows slowly. Hence the saying, “As slow as molasses.”

2) Slowness is relative of course. Plate tectonics, the shifting of the Earth’s plates, is even slower than molasses. Much slower. Yet no one ever says, “As slow as plate tectonics.”

3) Even so, plate tectonics is much faster than the lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

4) This title usually gets shortened to DMV. The department even has a long name.

5) Many people assume that the glacial pace at the DMV is a result of ever increasing swarms of people wanting to get driving permits, driver’s licenses, and to change their names.

6) Name changing arises when recently married women take their husband’s last name.

7) People who have committed murders often change their last name to avoid detection by the police.

8) Black widows, women who marry men and murder them shortly afterward for their money, are especially avid name changers.

9) Law enforcement knows this. Which is why the DMV includes in the section under name changes the following question, “Do you marry and murder for money?”

10) This tactic worked for a while. Then would be money murderers realized they could avoid detection by simply answering, “No.”

11) So these black widows and other killers compound their crime of murder with the one of lying.

12) Soon they feel nothing about jaywalking or looking up the answers at the back of a book of crossword puzzles.

13) The downward moral spiral continues. Pretty soon the tortured soul looks at the hamburger on his plate, his second one when another guest hasn’t even had her first. He wonders how such an off-the-cuff action as murder could have such an impact on his life.

14) This is a critical moment in the murderer’s life. Confess, oh my goodness, confess. Confess and break the downward ethical spiral. Confess that you took that second hamburger. Offer it back to that hamburgerless sweetheart looking down at her empty plate.

15) Your act of self abnegation will bring a smile to her face. The fact of getting of a yummy burger will swamp her body with joy-filling endorphins. She’ll regard you as a knight in shining armor.

16) Soon the two of you will be chatting up a storm and before you know it, you are engaged to be married.

17) Now is the time when you must hold firm. Do not kill her for her money. This is your soul mate. Murder someone else. Do the murder with you new spouse. The couple that slays together, stays together.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

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 amazon.com

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

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Tucuman Empanadas

Argentinian Entree

TUCUMAN EMPANADAS

INGREDIENTS – DOUGHEmpanada-

¾ cup lard or shortening (⅓ cup more later)
5 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
⅔ cup water

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

¾ pound rump or tenderloin steak
⅔ cup chopped green onion
1 medium white onion
⅓ cup lard or shortening
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSIL

8″ x 13″ casserole dish

Makes 4 empanadas. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Melt ¾ cup lard in skillet using low heat. Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend with large spoon. Use spoon to make hole in middle of dough. Slowly pour melted lard into hole. Gradually add water while mixing ingredients together by hand until you get a smooth and pliable dough. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes

PREPARATION – FILLING

While dough sits, cut steak into ½” cubes. Mince green onion and white onion. Melt ⅓ cup lard in large skillet using medium heat. Add white onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until white onion softens. Stir frequently. Add steak cubes, green onion, cumin, paprika, pepper, and salt. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until meat browns. Stir occasionally.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out dough until it is ½” thick. Cut dough into 6″ circles. (You should get about 4 dough circles after you formed the scraps from the initial cutting into more circles.) Add ½ cup filling to the middle of each dough circle. Brush edges of each circle with water. Fold one edge of each circle to the opposite edge. Seal the rounded edges by pressing down on them with a fork.

Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Bake empanadas at 475 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until empanadas turn golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Tucuman empanadas is anagram for the ancient Mayan saying, “Map man, cut a sundae.”

2) Mayan sundaes are delicious. You must have excellent whipping cream to make a wonderful sundae. Most people put cow milk in a bowl to make whipping cream. The olden-day Mayans lifted cows onto their shoulders and hopped from one foot to another until whipped cream came out the cows’ udders.

3) The adventuresome conquistadors, however, were too weak to shake cows. The Spanish warriors needed the strong backs of the Mayan. Which is why they conquered the Mayan peninsula.

4) The conquered natives did not get any of the cow-shaken cream. They did not get the Mayan milk shakes. They did not get enough calories to wage war on their neighbors.

5) The Spanish soldiers, on the other hand, received enough calories to do anything, including growing big bellies. Cortés, physical fitness instructor for Governor Velázquez grimaced every time he saw the paunchy conquistadors wheezing their way back from the many sundae shops.

6) Something had to be done. Señor Cortés knew he had little job security. One word from Velázquez and faster than teenagers eat their family meal he’d be out of a job. And just try to get another physical-fitness job from the other fifteenth-century European monarchs. So Cortés seized power when Governor Velázquez went on a Club MedTM vacation.

7) Cortés ordered the Spanish soldiers to attack the Aztec Empire to the west. They refused.

8) “The Aztecs have chocolate.” The conquistadors sighed. “Ooh, chocolate.” Everyone knew that chocolate sundaes were even tastier than the plain vanilla ones. Cortés brandished his sword above his head. “Their streets are paved in chocolate. Will you follow me?” Well of course they did, I mean chocolate.

9) The long arduous trek to the Aztec capital burned off many calories. The incessant fighting made them even fitter. The Spanish soldiers developed washboard-flat stomachs and buns of steel. The buff Conquistadors made all the European señoritas swoon with delight.

10) Naturally, the soldiers of France, Spain, Portugal became jealous. They wanted honeys of their own. They pestered their monarchs until they too got sent over to the New World to engage in conquest and other forms of aerobic exercise.

11) Things are not so violent now that we have workout DVDs.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

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 amazon.com

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

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Estonian Pannkoogid (pancake)

Estonian Breakfast

PANNKOOGID
(pancake)

INGREDIENTSPannkoogid-

1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter
lingonberries or blueberries for topping

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric beater
x-ray vision (optional)
sonic obliterator

Makes 6 pancakes. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Separate eggs. Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl. Separate eggs. Add egg yolks, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix batter with fork. Let sit in a cool place for 2 hours. Watch two-hour movie. Come back. Add egg whites to mixing bowl. Beat with electric beater set to whip until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter.

Add ½ tablespoon butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Ladle in ½ cup batter. Tilt pan to spread batter over pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until sides of pancakes start to curl up and the bottom starts to brown. (Checking for browning with x-ray vision. Should your store not stock x-ray vision, lift a side of the pancake and look.) Turn pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes or the bottom side starts to brown. Repeat until all batter is used. Top with lingonberries.

TIDBITS

1) It’s amazing how many cookbooks make no reference to superpowers. If you can develop them, by all means do so. We’ve seen many times how x-ray vision helps in frying. The ability to fly is also important, especially when you need only one ingredient.. Going by car is a pain. Jerky drivers cut you off, tailgate, and zip ahead of you to get that last parking space at the supermarket.

2) So you honk your horn at the oaf who took your spot. The oaf takes offense and stomps towards you. He weighs 300 pounds and has arms of steel. You, however, foolishly worked on getting buns of steel, nice for attracting potential dates, but useless in a life-and-death parking-lot fight. May I suggest dispatching the clod with your sonic obliterator? Eliminate his car as well. You do need that parking spot, don’t you?

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

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 amazon.com

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

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Second Chances and Other Stories by Wayne DePriest

 

WayneCover
Wayne DePriest’s Second Chances and Other Stories is great. Not only does DePriest write well, but the content of his stories is clever and engaging as well. He does not write mere fluff. We think and rethink his stories long after we finished. The offbeat short story “Janet and George,” my favorite short love story of all time, conveys a subtle, yet masterful poignancy.
This book is one of a select number worthy enough to be read in my bathtub, a place where all that is boring and disappointing must be shut out. DePriest’s worlds are often frightening and unsettling, but when I read his stories, I am in a good place. 

See his book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

Categories: book reviews and excerpts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Omelette Curry

Sri Lankan Breakfast

OMELETTE CURRY

INGREDIENTS – OMELETTECurryOmelette-

3 green chiles
1 large onion (1 medium onion later)
3 fresh curry leaves or 3 teaspoons dried leaf fragments or 3 teaspoons dried basil (10 leaves more later)
1½ tablespoons sesame oil (1 tablespoon more later)
6 eggs
1 tomato
½ teaspoon pepper 1/8 teaspoon more later)
1 teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)

INGREDIENTS – CURRY

½” cinnamon stick
¾ teaspoon grated ginger (½” whole ginger)
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
10 fresh curry leaves or 10 teaspoons dried leaf fragments or 10 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons curry powder (not the same thing as curry leaves)
2 teaspoons chili powder
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup water
1 cup coconut milk

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION – OMELETTE

Mince green chiles and onions. Add green chile, onion, 3 curry leaves, and sesame oil to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Remove green chile, onion, and curry leaves from heat. Add eggs to large mixing bowl. Whisk eggs. Dice tomato. Add green chile, onion, tomato, pepper, and salt. Mix with whisk until well blended.

Reduce heat to low. Add all ingredients in mixing bowl to pan. Fry on low heat for 10-to-15 minutes or until omelette is cooked to your desired level of doneness. Remove omelette. Cut omelette into squares. You get quite a bit of latitude in the size of your squares. 1″ perhaps?

(However, there is unanimity on the geometric shape. It has to be a square. What would happen if you cut the omelette into triangles? Would the Omelette Police come after you? Would the Earth’s surface convulse in earthquakes? I don’t know. Play it safe, make squares.)

PREPARATION – CURRY

While omelette cooks, grind cinnamon and ginger. Grind fenugreek seeds just long enough to crack them. Dice garlic clove and onion. Add cinnamon, ginger, onion, 10 curry leaves, curry powder, fenugreek seeds, and sesame oil. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add chili powder, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, turmeric, and water. Stir with spoon until well blended. Simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes or until curry starts to thicken. Stir occasionally.

Add omelette squares back into curry. Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Goes well with naan bread or rice.

TIDBITS

1) Omelette Curry is an an anagram for the illustrious Portguese navigator and explorer, Telemeo T. Crucy. Senhor Crucy rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1486 and discovered the Indian Ocean by way of the Atlantic. Bartolomeo Diaz did the same in 1488. Telemeo also discovered India via this sea route in 1487. Vasco de Gama duplicated this feat twelve years later.

2) But Crucy the Explorer–the inspiration for Dora the ExplorerTM by the way–got no credit at all, no monuments, no cities, no holidays, not even candy bars named after him. What the heck? Why?

3) Because he was the first one to bring the spicy curry leaves back to Portugal. Of course, the King of Portugal, whose name is lost to us as I am typing in WordPerfect and I’d have to get out of WordPerfect and into my internet browser, by which time I would have lost my train of thought here and degenerated into writing long, rambling sentences.

4) It was João II. The king’s name was João II! I looked it up. Who knew?

5) Anyway, Big Joe, as the king was often by his adoring subjects, was the first to be served the curry leaves. Portuguese monarchs, by established right, got to taste every new spice first.

6) Which was a mistake in this case. No chef in the king’s kitchen knew how much curry to put in the king’s chicken noodle soup. So they guessed.

7) One cup was a bad guess. Big Joe fled the banquet hall. He wasn’t seen for days. But his moans were heard all over the castle. They still can. Even his ghost has yet to get over this tummy ache.

8) Things deteriorated rapidly. Big Joe started hating the world. He tripled taxes on the peasantry. The despising people called him João the Moaner. The Moaner stripped Telemeo of his titles and erased all vestiges of his name. Proper spicing is a must. May this cookbook help.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

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 amazon.com

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

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Bun Cha

Vietnamese Entree

BUN CHA

INGREDIENTSBunCha-

2 shallots
5 tablespoons fish sauce or oyster sauce or soy sauce (3 more tablespoons later)
¾ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sugar (2 more tablespoons later)
1 pound thinly sliced pork belly or bacon (See note *)
1 pound ground pork

¼ cup cilantro (All the greens in this section must be fresh)
5 green onions
¼ cup lettuce
¼ cup perilla or lemon thyme or mint
¼ cup Thai basil or basil
¼ cup Vietnamese mint or mint
¼ cup kohlrabi or green papaya

3 garlic cloves
1 Thai chile or cayenne chile or serrano chile
3 tablespoons fish sauce or oyster sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1⅔ cups water
½ tablespoon lime juice

12 ounces dried vermicelli noodles
no-stick spray

I gave a lot of substitutes for this recipe as some of the ingredients are hard to find outside of an Asian grocery.

* = DO NOT get SALTED pork belly. It will make everything taste way too salty. Also, the pork belly should be sliced as thinly as bacon. If you cannot obtain thinly sliced, unsalted pork belly, you are better off using sliced bacon.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

grill, outdoor is preferable
grilling basket

Serves 6 people. Takes 1 hours 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince shallots. Add shallot, pepper, fish sauce, and sugar to first large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk until well blended. Pour half of this marinade into a second large mixing bowl. Put pork belly in first bowl. Thoroughly coat the pork-belly slices with this marinade. Add the ground pork into the second bowl. Use hands to thoroughly knead the marinade into the ground pork. Put mixing bowls in refrigerator for 1 hour.

While pork marinates, dice cilantro, green onions, lettuce, perilla, Thai basil, and Vietnamese mint. Cut the bulb of the kohlrabi into ¼” slices. Put herbs in a large bowl. Mix with fork until well blended.

Form marinated ground pork into patties 2″ across and ½” thick. Spray grilling basket with no-stick spray. Put patties in grilling basket and grill for 4 minutes on each side or until both sides become golden brown. Remove grilled patties. Spray grilling basket again. Put pork-belly strips in grilling basket and grill for 2 minutes on each side until strips turn golden brown.

Mince garlic cloves and Thai chile. Add fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and water to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Pour this dipping sauce into serving bowl. Add garlic, Thai chile, and lime juice. Stir until well blended.

Cook vermicelli noodles as instructed on package.

Place pork-belly strips, pork patties, greens, and noodles onto 4 communal serving bowls. Divide dipping sauce equally into a dipping bowl for each guest. Guests add as desired from the communal bowls.

TIDBITS

1) Bun Cha is short for Man Bun Cha Cha Cha, a Cuban dance from the 1950s. It’s associated with the island’s music scene and freedom of expression. Okay, there has been precious little freedom of expression in Cuba since Fidel Castro and his band of fitfully merry communists took over in 1959.

2) There was a reason for Castro’s oppression. The previous government under the dictator Bautista was decadent beyond belief. Government official thought nothing of double dipping tortillas chips into the communal sofrito bowl. Leaders and army officers grew their hair long, tied it up in man buns, and danced the Man Bun Cha Cha Cha. It was a parlous time.

3) Castro and his merry outcasts tried to humiliate Bautista’s regime by defeating its officials in Cha Cha contests. They didn’t. They couldn’t dance worth a lick. That is why they were outcasts. Frustrated, Fido–no it’s Fidel, Fido’s a dog’s name–turned to the United States for support. America ignored him; the White Sox were about to be in the World Series for the first time since. 1919.

4) So, Fidel seized power with support from the Soviet Union and outlawed the man bun. In return, the Soviets got permission to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy objected. We almost had a nuclear war, always a bad thing. So, the man bun is outlawed the world over and the dance is now known only as the Cha Cha. Call it the Man Bun Cha Cha Cha and you’ll get arrested. Wear a man bun as well and you’ll disappear. For good. And don’t name your dog, Fidel.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

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 amazon.com

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

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

You’re Grounded For Life by Tim Jones – Book Review

TimCover

Finally, a book about raising kids that makes no attempt to help us. The author, Tim Jones, repeatedly tells us he has no answers. I find that enormously reassuring. I’m not the reason my kids turned out the way they did. I feel so grateful to Tim that I feel the need to father another child just to name it after him. Oh wait, the book reminds us there are no truly good parenting strategies. So I won’t have another kid. Thanks, Tim, you saved me again. This book is really, really, really, really, really funny and I’ve never before rated a book with more than three reallys. Now if you’ll excuse me, Tim, has advised me to come up with a million dollars for my kid’s education. Time to look under those sofa cushions for loose change.

See his book on Amazon.

– Paul R. De Lancey, reviewer

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

Daylight Savings Explained

Dear Mr. Explainer,GrandfatherClock

We set our clocks forward one hour on March 13. So we lose an hour. But then we get it back on November 6 when we set our clocks back one hour? Where does that hour go for all those months? Does it goes to a parallel universe to visit all those socks that disappear from our clothes dryer? Did I even spell “dryer” correctly? What is the point of swapping an hour for an hour?

– Eduardo Salinas Albondigas, baffled as hell.

Dear Mr. Hell,

Daylights savings is kinda like investing in a certificate of deposit, you put in a dollar at 4% for 238 days to get back $1.0259039*. Same here, you put in one hour of sleep at 4% and get back 1.0259039 hours. So, in the fall, you get one day that’s 24,0259039 hours long. That means you receive an extra 1.55432 minutes of sleep that day.** Perhaps just long enough to transform you from an ever-the-edge grumpy non-morning person axe murderer to a mere under-the-edge grumpy non-morning person.

Check it out, the murder rate will plummet on November 6. Oh, and don’t travel out of America that day. The other countries do not get that extra 1.55432 minutes of rest and so, will be murdering each other with axes. And who wants to be around that?

– Paul R. De LanceyDeLanceyPaul
Mr. Explainer

* = CDs that accept deposits of $1 and have maturity lengths of 238 are notoriously hard to find.
** = November 6 is officially still 24 hours 0 minutes long. All clocks and watches in America stop for 1.55432 minutes at 2 am.

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 amazon.com.

 

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

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