Monthly Archives: July 2019

Pumpkin Seed Meatballs (Kanda)

Central African Entree

PUMPKIN SEED MEATBALLS
(Kanda)

INGREDIENTS

3½ cups shelled, lightly toasted pumpkins or squash seeds
6 garlic cloves
1 medium onion (1 more later)
1¼ pounds ground beef
½ cup water (if needed)
1 medium onion
4 tomatoes
1 cayenne chile pepper or chile pepper
6 tablespoons palm oil or peanut oil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup fresh parsley

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
mandoline (optional)

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add pumpkin seeds to food processor. Grind seeds until they become a powder. Mince garlic and 1 onion. Add pumpkin-seed powder, garlic, and onion to large mixing bowl. Blend with hands. (If needed to form a moist round meatball, gradually add up to ½ cup water, blending each time water is added.) Form mix into 1″ meatballs and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While meatballs chill, use mandoline to cut 1 onion into ¼” strips. Dice tomatoes. Seed and mince cayenne pepper. Add palm oil to large pan. Heat oil at medium-high heat or until a little bit of onion in oil starts to dance. Add onion slices, tomato, and cayenne chile pepper. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion slices soften. Stir frequently. Add pepper and salt. Stir.

Add 1 cup water. Bring water and sauce to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Gently add meatballs to pan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. Reduce heat to warm-low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. Dice parsley. Garnish meatballs with parsley. This entree goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) Pumpkins are round. Balloons are also round.

2) This similarity is no coincidence; Louis XVI loved pumpkin seeds.

3) What the king of France wanted, the king of France got.

4) So great merchant fleets set out from France to import pumpkins from the Spanish territory of Peru. These Peruvian pumpkins cost the royal treasury a million francs every year.

5) Disaster struck in 1777. Pirates based from British Jamaica captured the French fleet bound for Peru, along with its many chests of gold. This loss proved such a blow to French finances that its treasury wouldn’t recover until the next tidbit.

6) King Louis hired Jacques Necker to handle France’s money matter. For Monsieur Necker knew how to get the best price for everything, centuries before AmazonTM even. Many even said he’d able to count up to six billion if given enough time. And that is how many francs he borrowed.

7) The French navy could now buy enough ships to escort their pumpkin fleets to and from France. Then boom! The American Revolution started. France went to war with the British. The French fleet helped America gain its independence.

8) However, French naval expenditures trained the French treasury. Its navy wouldn’t put to sea for decades. This left King Louis’ annual pumpkin fleets unescorted, easy prey for British ships of the line.

9) What to do? Louis XVI having scooped out all the pumpkin seeds, looked down at the empty pumpkin and had an epiphany. Why not carry Peru’s pumpkins seeds back using giant, balloons made from empty pumpkins?

10) Well, of course, the Peruvian pumpkins of 1781 were not big enough to make balloons or even the baskets beneath them. So France bought up an enormous pumpkin farm in Peru dedicated to making enormous pumpkins. No franc was left unspent in pursuit of the venture.

11) By 1789, Louis XVI had no money. His finance minister asked the French nobility if it would accept new taxes. It said, “Na, na, na, poo, poo.” So Necker asked all of France for a gigantic weenie roast to discuss ways to raise revenue. Fine suggestions were made, then disaster struck. A nobleman cut in front of a long line of peasants waiting for weenies. Words were said. Knives with drawn. Before you could say François’s your uncle the French Revolution began.

12) King Louis would lose his head in the ensuing kerfuffle. Napoleon would seize power and discontinue the bigger-pumpkin experiment in Peru. So bummer.

13) However, so good came out of Louis’ misfortune. America borrowed the idea of France’s Great Weenie Roast of 1789 to celebrate every Fourth of July. And Peru’s big pumpkins are still the envy of the world.

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

Roast Beef Po’ Boys

Cajun Entree

ROAST BEEF PO’ BOYS

INGREDIENTS

8 garlic cloves
3½ pounds beef chuck
¼ cup flour
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
5 8″-po’ boy, French, or Italian loaves
1 large carrot
1 medium yellow onion
1 small pickle
1 tomato (beefsteak is best)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups beef stock (additional stock or water may be necessary later)
¾ cup mayonnaise
1½ cup shredded lettuce
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon thyme

SPECIAL UTENSILS

no-stick pot
Dutch oven (If you don’t have a Dutch oven, use an oven-safe pot.)
cookie sheet

Serves 6. Takes 4 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut garlic cloves in half. Make 16 1″-slits spaced evenly in roast beef. Insert a garlic half in each slit. Add beef, flour, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Turn beef until it is well coated. Dice carrot and onion.

Add oil to no-stick pot. Heat oil at high heat. Add beef when a bit of onion starts to dance in the oil. Sear beef at high heat for 5 minutes on each side or until beef is well browned. Remove beef and place on plate. Add carrot and onion to no-stick pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and carrot soften. Add bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce.

Add liquid with carrot and onion, beef, and beef stock to Dutch oven. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours or until beef is tender to the fork. Turn over beef chuck every 45 minutes and add additional stock or water as necessary to keep the level of liquid in Dutch oven to 1½”. Remove Dutch oven. Remove bay leaf.

Cut pickle into thin slices. Cut tomato into 10 slices. Shred beef using two forks. Slice bread loaves in half lengthwise. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over all bread-loaf halves. Add shredded beef equally over all bottom loaf-halves. Drizzle liquid from Dutch oven over shredded beef. Be sure to include in the liquid all the little bits or debris. Top beef-laden bread-loaf bottoms equally with lettuce, tomato slices, pickle slices, parsley, and thyme. Top with top halves of bread. Add sandwiches to cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 minutes to warm the bread and make it crispier. (This keeps the bread from getting soggy from the mayonnaise and the liquid from the Dutch oven.) Cut in half and serve immediately. Oh gosh, yes. And the liquid remaining in the Dutch oven makes a good soup base.

TIDBITS

1) This dish uses a bay leaf. Like every recipe I’ve come across, this one tells you to remove the bay leaf. Where do used bay leaves go? In the bin labeled “Bay Leaves,” of course. What? You mean you never wondered why bay leaves should be separated from trash and recyclables.

2) Well, in 2007 the great nations of the world, along with some very good ones, some okay ones, some dodgy lands but still attending, and even some teeny tiny countries such as San Marino and Nauru got together to solve the formidable problem of floating islands of plastic waste in our oceans. Oh, and stinky solid waste flowing unchecked into our harbors. They tackled that issue, too.

3) As might be expected from a meeting infested with international politicians, nothing happened. They all adjourned for lunch. Everyone ate roast beef po’ boys, except for vegetarians who ate kale po’ boys and the squidtarians who, of course, ate squid po’ boys.

4) As lunch started, the delegate from Russia bit into a bay leaf. “I’ve been insulted,” he cried. “This means thermonuclear war. Why should anyone live after this assault to my taste buds.” War clouds dissipated when all other conferees stated that they too had bay leaves in their sandwiches. “Throw the bay leaves out!” they all said. And they did.

5) A few minutes later, Carl LaFong, sitting near the trash can with all the discarded bay leaves stood up and addressed the meeting. “Zounds,” he said, “those bay leaves smell mighty good. Why not add tons of used bay leaves to our reeking harbors? That way our ports will smell wonderful without resorting to expensive sewage-treatment facilities.”

6) “Bonne idée,” shouted the slightly tipsy French delegate–slightly sloshed because listening to long winded speeches is thirsty work–“and let’s cover the plastic islands in our Earth’s oceans with bay leaves. This will hide the plastic while marinading all those fish while they’re still alive.”

7) “Hurrah for LaFong and that French guy,” said all the delegates, “let’s do what they proposed. Let’s dump all our bay leaves in the ocean.” And they did.

8) The delegates fired the caterer, but on the other hand, all the plastic islands in our oceans are hidden, our harbors smell nice, and we stepped back from the brink of nuclear war. So something good came out of the conference. And now we separate our bay leaves for pickup.

– 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.

Categories: history, humor, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tea Eggs

Taiwanese Appetizer

TEA EGGS

INGREDIENTS

12 eggs
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oolong tea or black tea
3 star anise pods
3 bay leaves
3″ stick cinnamon
4 cloves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns or Tellicherry peppercorns or peppercorns
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Serves 6. Makes 12 tea eggs. Takes at least 1 hour plus up to overnight for extra marinating.

PREPARATION

Add eggs to large pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil using high. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover and remove from heat for 10 minutes. Remove eggs from pot and put in a large bowl filled with cold water and a few ice cubes. Tap eggs all over with spoon until the eggshells are cracked all over. (Do not peel.)

Put eggs and all other ingredients in pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour. (Longer simmering times result in darker and more flavored eggs. Remove from heat. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. (You can let the eggs marinate in the refrigerator for hours or even overnight for a stronger flavor.) Peel and serve. The remaining liquid makes a tasty tea.

TIDBITS

1) Seven-ElevensTM in Taiwan sell tea eggs.

2) In Japan, the Seven-Elevens serve salmon on rice with butter and soy sauce, octopus salad, squid salad, cured mackerel on rice, beef dishes, cheeses, fruit cups, bento chicken, ginger chicken, and teriyaki chicken. And scotch.

3) If you’re in Thailand and in the mood for new and exciting potato chips, why head to the local Seven-Eleven? You can find there chips with the following exciting flavors: chocolate, French salad, pizza, honey-garlic pork, sweet and spicy, Peking duck with sauce, nori, crab curry, fried shrimp, sushi, taro fish, and finally hot chili squid when mildly spiced chili squids chips simply won’t do.

– 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.

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

Zanzibar Pizza

Tanzanian Appetizer

ZANZIBAR PIZZA

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

3 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
½ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 cup water
⅔ cup vegetable oil (2½ tablespoons more later)

INGREDIENTS – FILLING & ASSEMBLY

2 green or red chiles
2 garlic cloves
1 red onion
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil (1 tablespoon more later)
¾ pound ground beef
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup shredded cabbage
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
chutney or tomato sauce as desired

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
no-stick pan

Serves 8. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

If USING BREAD MAKER, add 3 cups flour, water, and ½ teaspoon salt to bread maker. Set bread maker to “dough” setting for 10 minutes. (IF KNEADING BY HAND, add 3 cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Add water and knead by hand for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.) Divide dough into 6 balls. Add dough balls to shallow bowl. Drizzle ⅔ cup oil over dough balls. Turn dough balls until they are thoroughly coated with oil. Cover and let sit for 1½ hours.

PREPARATION – FILLING AND ASSEMBLY.

While dough sits, mince chiles, garlic cloves, and red onion. Add chile, garlic, red onion, and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until red onion softens. Stir frequently. Add beef, curry powder, pepper, and salt. Fry at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until beef browns. Remove from heat.

Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough ball to flat surface. Flatten dough ball until you have 8 8″-dough circles. Push in edges of dough circles to make a wall high enough to prevent egg from running out. Add beef mixture equally to center of dough circles. Top beef mixtures equally with shredded cabbage. Add raw eggs equally over shredded cabbage.

Fold top and bottom of dough circles to the center. Then fold left and right sides to the center. These are the pizzas. Pinch sides as necessary to keep egg from seeping out. Add 1 tablespoon oil to large no-stick pan. Add as many pizzas as possible without having them touch each other. Cook on medium for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Flip once. You might need to cook in batches. (Cooking times tend to go down with successive batches.)

Serve with chutney or tomato sauce.

TIDBITS

1) IEC, Intertemporal Enforcement Commission, is powerful. Frighteningly so. Consider the following salutary tale.

2) Around 260 AD, a Roman expeditionary discovered the island of Flutoj off the east coast of Africa. The merchants in the force waxed rapturously–I spelled it correctly on the first try; beams with pride–over the abundance of spices found on the island. Why not conquer it for Rome? It’ll be easy they said. And it was. Centurion Pomodoro won the island in a game of rock, paper, scissors.

3) The Romans named it Zanzibar after their Emperor Zanzi who loved to frequent wine bars. Within two days of the renaming of the island to Zanzibar, the British company, MarsTM, filed a trademark infringement complaint with the Intertemporal Enforcement Commission. Mars–the candy maker, not the Roman god–claimed Zanzibar was a rip off of Mars BarTM. Mars asseted that the Romans, renowned engineers, had clearly used a time machine, visited a twentieth-century candy store, saw Mars Bars on sale, made minimal changes to the name when coming up with Zanzibar.

4) How did the news of the renaming of the island to Zanzibar get back to Rome so quickly at a time of communication was limited to the speed of horses and oar-driven ships? Time machines, as well know the Intertemporal Enforcement Commission has time machines.

5) IEC ruled against Emperor Zanzibar and held a contest, So You Want to Be an Emperor? General Courgette did well on this and won the right to overthow the Emperor. And indeed, the plucky Courgette prevailed after a brief civil war marked with great slaughter.

6) This civil war proved so popular with the Roman armies that these conflicts became a weekly event. Courgette’s reign, in fact, was so brief that only culinary historians remember hir.

7)Anyway, these wars so depopulated the Roman Empire that it so fell to barbarian armies. The Dark Ages descended on Europe. People became so poor that they would have no money to spend on candy bars. People wouldn’t buy candy bars until 1932 when the Mars company made it. IEC realized it’s overreach and disbanded in 1998. We’ve fought no wars over candy ever since. Yay.

– 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.

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

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