Author Archives: pauldelancey

Afghan Burgers

Afghan Entree

AFGHAN BURGERS

INGREDIENTS

1 cup fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1 red onion
4 eggs
3 cups crinkle-cut fries or enough to cover cookie sheet
3 sausages, beef or chicken
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup water
2 Roma tomatoes
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vinegar
5 lavash or roti loaves

SPECIAL UTENSILS

11″ x 17″ cookie sheet
newspaper or paper*
tin foil*

* = This really is a street food. It is meant to be held. If you don’t have paper, and perhaps, foil on the bottom, your hands will get greasy and food will go all over everything.

Makes 6 wraps. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Dice cilantro, garlic cloves and red onion. Slice each sausage into 8 round pieces. Boil eggs, for 6 minutes for soft boiled to 12 minutes for hard boiled. While eggs boil, cook French fries according to instruction on package. While fries cook, add sausage pieces and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté sausage pieces at medium-high for 5 minutes or until they are brown on all sides. Turn sausages enough to prevent burning. Add water. Reduce heat to medium. Cook at medium heat for 3 minutes or until pieces are no longer pink inside.

Cut each egg into 6 slices. Cut tomatoes into ½” slices. Cut lavash loaves into 4″-wide strips. Evenly add ingredients to the lavash strips following order: eggs, tomato, red onion, fries, pepper, salt, sausage, cilantro, garlic, and vinegar. Roll up food-laden naan strips. Wrap naan roll-ups with paper, being careful to fold paper under the bottom of the roll-ups. Then do the same with the tin foil.

TIDBITS

1) As noted above in the recipe, the Afghan burger is a street food.

2) It is less well known, however, is that it is the world’s first street food. And even less known than that is that the Afghan burger was invented in Poway, California, two million years ago*, 100,000 years before Lucy, homo habilis, the supposed first human roamed the Earth.

* = Also written as 2.0 mya. These tidbits are nothing, if not scientific.

3) Patty, homo streetfoodus and chef extra ordinaire, invented the Afghan burger, while pondering the infinite* and keeping an eye out for vicious mountain lions.

* = Homo streetfoodus‘ counting system was one, two, infinite. So, her dreaming of infinity was not as grandiose as it might have seemed. But then she had a smaller brain than we do, so it all worked out.

4) Anyway, while Patty contemplated a herd of infinitely-legged gazelles, the sky began to thunder. Zap! Zap! a lightning bolt struck one of the gazelles. The force and heat of the bolt was so intense that the gazelle exploded into dozens of fully cooked sausages. It is by fortuitous events that humanity advances.

5) Pow! Zap! The storm raged. A lightning bolt hit an elm tree turning into paper. Then the storm stopped, enabling tin traders from Cornwall, homo satnavus, to arrive.

6) Then food traders from Boston*, homo marathonus, showed up at Poway; even then Poway was the place to be. They gave Patty fresh cilantro, garlic, red onions, potatoes, vegetable oil, pepper, salt, and vinegar.

* = The Boston of two million years ago was much smaller than the current city. You wouldn’t have recognized it.

7) “All we need is some eggs.” said Patty. Fortunately, and this was one of those rare days when things really came together for humanity*, a herd of chickens migrated by, leaving an infinite number of eggs.

* = Indeed, Patty won a million dollars in the lottery that very day. However, as she and the others had no notion of money, the winning ticket went uncashed.

8) And so, Patty made Afghan burgers for the happy band of traders. And the burgers said that they were good. And Patty was well pleased. But they were quite hot. Truly and forsooth, through the millennia. as people lost the enormous finger calluses they had 2.0 mya, this version of the hot, juicy Afghan burgers caused more and more pain. Eventually, the Afghan burger disappeared into the sands of time. Fortunately, an unknown chef hero resurrected the entree, this time using flatbread to soak up the hot juices. Afghan burgers are now taking the culinary world by storm.

9) Culinary paleoanthropologists, however, don’t know why this dish is called the Afghan burger when there is no patty in it but was created by Patty, and was first made in Poway, California, not Afghanistan. We may never know. Further research is indicated.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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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Italian Panini

Italian Entree

ITALIAN PANINI

INGREDIENTS

1 ciabatta roll, Italian roll, or French roll
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 deli-thin slice Provolone cheese (2 more slices later)
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper strips
4 deli-thin slices capocollo
4 del-thin slices Genoa salami
3 deli-thin slices ham
3 deli-thin slices pepperoni
2 ounces pepperoncini peppers
⅛ teaspoon basil
2 deli-thin slices Provolone cheese

SPECIAL UTENSIL

panini press

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Open ciabatta roll. Brush outside of roll with olive oil. Brush inside of roll with mayonnaise. Add 2 slices Provolone to bottom half of roll. Then add in the following order: roasted red pepper strips, capocollo, salami, ham, pepperoni, basil, pepperoncini rings, basil. 2 slices Provolone. and top half of roll. Place completed sandwich in panini press. Toast according to panini press’ instructions or until cheese melts or until bread turns golden brown.. Cut panini sandwich into four smaller ones.

TIDBITS

1) Italian panini is best made with a ciabatta roll. The cia batta roll was originally called the CIA batta roll. Because it was invented by the CIA. Specifically, by Guido Panini, the inventor of the Italian shirt press.

2) Guido was recruited by accident, in 1949, by the CIA. Nevertheless, he continually rose in position because all other employees had made enemies, while everyone loved him for his panini sandwiches. Indeed, in 1961 became director.

3) Later that year, Mr. Panini, suffering from an upset stomach, tried to overthrow Cuba’s Fidel Castro by invading the Bay of Pigs. The whole operation was a fiasco. Guido was given his pink slip, while the CIA was discredited to the extent that the CIA batta roll was quietly renamed, the ciabatta. Chastened, the Agency picks it head nowadays by proficiency in intelligence gathering.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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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Garlic Bread

Italian Appetizer

GARLIC BREAD

INGREDIENTS

1 loaf Italian bread or French Bread or French rolls
3 garlic cloves
½ cup butter, completely softened
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor (optional)
tin foil

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread diagonally every 1″. DO NOT slice bread all the way to the bottom; keep the loaf together. Mince garlic quite finely, use a food processor if desired. Add finely minced garlic, softened butter, olive oil, and Italian seasoning to mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly with whisk or fork. Use spatula to spread garlic butter between bread slices.

Wrap loaf in foil and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until bread is slightly browned.

TIDBITS

1) Garlic bread is an anagram for Grab Da Rice. Grab Da Rice was a slogan for the hungry French rioters of 1781. It was not a particularly good slogan as incendiary slogans go. I mean, some firebrand would whip up the Parisian sans culottes to a fever pitch and then he’d say, “Grab da rice.”

2) But not many stores in the Paris of 1781 even carried rice. So many rioters dissipated their energy tramping all over looking for riceries. They developed blisters and leg cramps and never ever again heeded the call for revolution.

3) The happy few, well as happy as you can be when you’re in full riot mode, found rice stores had trouble grabbing much rice with their hands. The rice kept slipping between their fingers as they scurried all the way home. A more informative slogan would have been, “Scoop the da rice with a large spoon and but it in a sack.” But that’s too long for exciting people to riot.

4) The French revolution only really took off when its leaders targeted bread rioters with, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.” Proper word choice matters, even in a revolution.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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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Chicken Fried Steak

American Entree

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

INGREDIENTS

2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
8 4-ounce cube steaks
1¾ cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups whole milk

Serves 8. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flour, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Add buttermilk and egg to medium mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Dredge steak through flour mix. Dredge steak through buttermilk mix. Dredge steak once more through flour mix. Repeat for each steak. SAVE flour and buttermilk mixes remaining in mixing bowls.

Add vegetable oil to large skillet. Heat oil using medium-high heat. It will be hot enough when tiny pinch of buttermilk starts to dance in the oil. Add as many steaks as will fit in the skillet without touching. (You might need to cook in batches.) Fry for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place steaks on plates covered with paper towels.

Reduce heat to low-medium. Discard all but ⅓ cup liquid from the pan. Leave as much solid bits as possible in the pan. Add remaining flower mix from the large mixing bowl. Mix with wooden spoon until well blended while scrapping bottom of skillet with spoon to ensure even distribution of bits. Add milk. Stir with spoon until you have a well-blended gravy. Raise heat to medium and simmer for 7 minutes or until gravy thickens. Stir enough to keep gravy from burning. Place steaks on plates. Ladle gravy over steaks.

TIDBITS

1) Chicken Fried Steak is an anagram for Chicken Fired Keats. Keats was a romantic poet during the early nineteenth century, also known as the nine teeth century due to poor dental hygiene. His publisher was a chicken who took ill one day. Keat’s brought his boss chicken-noodle soup. Couldn’t hurt, he thought. But strange to say, the chicken took offense and fired the poet just after publishing his worst poems, Ode To A Doorknob. People stopped reading Keats. He became depressed, so much so that he up and died. Then suddenly in the 1920s, the American South experienced Romantic Poet Mania, none more than Chef Scalding of the famed Bella Bellum Hotel. Indeed the Chef named his newly created chicken fried steak after the poet’s dramatic incident. But Scalding was dyslexic and that is why the dish is now known as Chicken Fried Steak.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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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Machanka

Belarusian Entree

MACHANKA

INGREDIENTS

1 pound pork shoulder or loin
1 pound Polish or pork sausages
1 medium onion
2½ tablespoons lard or butter
1¼ cups pork stock or beef stock
5 tablespoons flour
2 bay leaves
1 cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into 1″ cubes. Cut Polish sausages into 1″ slices. Dice onion. Add pork cubes and lard to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until pork cubes start to brown. Stir occasionally. Remove pork cubes and drain on paper towel. Keep lard in pan.

Add pork stock and flour to small mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add onion and Polish sausage to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add pork stock/flour mix, pork shoulder cubes, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer at warm-low heat for 1 hour or until pork cubes are tender. Stir enough to keep sauce from burning. Add sour cream, pepper, and salt. Cover and simmer at warm-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir enough to keep sauce from burning. Remove bay leaves.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is made with pork shoulder. It is called Machanka. The speed of sound, 767 miles per hour was, at first, also called Machanka. How was this speed measured? By having someone yell “Machanka” and then measuring the speed of an air molecule issuing from the yeller’s mouth. This technique did not work well. Air molecules are transparent, making them impossible to track.

2) Thank goodness for the scientists at the Pork Shoulder Catapulting Institute (PSCI) in Minsk. The PSCI dates back to the liberation of Belarus from the Mongols in 1373 when Sergey Daškievic, realized that frozen pork shoulders catapulted at Mongol armies completely disrupted their cavalry.

3) In 1962 the United States Air Force needed to know Machanka so it could build wings strong enough to withstand that speed. Naturally, it turned to the PSCI. The Institute’s scientist yelled “Machanka” at a starving artist at the same time a pork shoulder was catapulted. After many trials, the word “Machanka” arrived at the same time as the pork shoulder. The speed of sound was then calculated as (pork shoulder distance/ air time.) Over time Machanka was shortened to Mach 1.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

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, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Spotlight on Peter Block, Author of “Nouveau Old: Formerly Cute”

Like you, Perry Block is a Baby Boomer who turned around one day in 1978 and suddenly found himself 40 years later at an age he always thought was exclusively reserved for people’s parents.

Through a series of often hilarious essays, Perry tries to make sense of it all, aided by his son Brandon and a host of other real and fictitious characters, including Batman, Cupid, the Legendary Jewish Vampire Vlad the Retailer, Richard Nixon, Moses, and more.

Every Boomer concern is here – aging angst, fatherhood, the singles life, friendships, fading looks and physicality, social trends, the1960’s, religion, Judaism, the writing life, parody and satire, self-deprecation, and the nagging worry that not only has he measured his life in coffee spoons, frequently the coffee hasn’t even been hot.

Excerpt from Nouveau Old: Formerly Cute

 

Caribbean Cruise Call

 

I frequently receive a phone call in which a recorded female voice tells me I have just won a fantastic prize.

You’ve probably received it too.

“Hello! I am happy to tell you that you have been selected to receive an all-expenses paid two week cruise to the Caribbean!”

Here we go again! So, what’s the catch?

“There is no catch. You’ll cruise from New York City aboard a luxury liner that makes The Queen Mary 2 look like the Wreck of the Hesperus.”

Do they think I was born yesterday? Not that I wouldn’t prefer to have been born yesterday.

“We don’t think you were born yesterday. Aboard ship you’ll enjoy four star dining, three Olympic size swimming pools, a Robert Trent Jones Championship Golf Course, and a private Observatory run by the ship’s resident physicist Neil deGrassse Tyson.”

If I’d really won a prize like this, wouldn’t an actual person be handling the call, not a programmed voice? I’ll bet there’s an ocean of hidden charges!

“There is no ocean of hidden charges. But there are exotic ports of call like the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, St. Martins, Barbados, and more, many featuring nude beaches, favorite playgrounds of supermodels from around the world.”

This is when I always slam the phone down in disgust.

Gotta get myself on the No-Call List!

A couple of weeks ago I ran into my friend Farbman at the bank. He looked tanned and rested.

“Farbman! You look great!”

“I just got back from an all-expenses paid Caribbean cruise!”

“Wait … you mean … the all-expenses paid trip from the phone call?”

“Sure, got the call last month. Fantastic food, great islands, met the Yankees. That Neil deGrasse Tyson is such a card!”

“But … but it all sounds so bogus.”

“It’s made to sound that way. It’s paid for by a billionaire who loves trusting, positive, non-judgmental people. If you listen to the message up to the part about supermodels, a live person comes on and signs you right up!”

“But that’s the point when I always hang up.”

“Yeah, he doesn’t want any negative, doubting, impatient jerks ruining the trip.”

“But, but, but …”

“If you’re lucky enough to get the call again, Perry, hang on for dear life!! Oh, those nude beaches are incredible!”

Since then I haven’t received the call. Though I pretty much don’t leave the house waiting for it.

Is there such a thing as a “Please Call List?”

 

Bio

Like you, Perry Block is a Baby Boomer who turned around one day in 1977 and found himself 40 years later at an age he always thought was exclusively reserved for people’s parents.

Through a series of often hilarious essays, Perry tries to make sense of it all, aided by his son Brandon and a host of other real and fictitious characters, including Batman, Cupid, the Legendary Jewish Vampire Vlad the Retailer, Richard Nixon, Moses, and more.

Every Boomer concern is here – aging angst, fatherhood, the singles life, friendships, fading looks and physicality, social trends, the1960’s, religion, Judaism, the writing life, self-deprecation, and the nagging worry that not only have you measured your life in coffee spoons, frequently the coffee hasn’t even been hot.

Perry Block is a writer living in Havertown PA, which is close enough to the Philadelphia Main Line so that he can wrongly brag he lives there. In his lifetime, he has succeeded in virtually every sphere of human endeavor, but failed miserably in the rectangular and triangular ones.

Perry is the father of Brian Block, age 27, and Brandon Block, who’s 22. He regrets not having more children so he could have alliterated their names as well. His hobbies include doing the hokey pokey (although he still doesn’t know how to turn himself around) and filling in for Batman when Bruce Wayne is on vacation, but please keep mum on that.

Writing has been a passion for Perry ever since he learned that it does not require math. “Perry Block – Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute” is his first book. Kindly put your life on hold waiting for the next one.

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

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

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My 1000th Blog! – The Adventures of My Friends

It was sultry in Macon, Georgia. Which is kinda irrelevant because our story takes place in Poway. I hope mentioning their town squares things with the Macon city council.

Anyway, ruggedly handsome Matt Pallamary looked down the smoking barrel of his Saturday Night Special. He’d been the head weatherman for Channel 3, The Voice of Greater Poway, for thirteen years. He hadn’t learned a darn thing about meteorology, climatology, chinoiserie, or whatever. It really didn’t matter, every day in Poway since the flood of Genesis had been cloud free. Poway had been, and still is, light during the day and dark at night.

Oh dear, I’ve totally forgotten about the sultry Susan Conner who lay dead on the floor with a bullet hole the size of Rhode Island in her head. Matt surveyed her one more time, no doubt Poway’s finest would soon show. After all, Winchell’s DoughnutsTM always had Channel 3 on.

“Nice gams,” said Matt. “Too bad her cats kept predicting a major flood. Destroyed all credibility for the program.” Ms. Conner didn’t mind Matt’s nor the author’s intrusions and dilly dallying. She was dead and had learned patience.

Suddenly, the scene was cut short as Sergeant Mavvy Vasquez and rookie Mary Barker burst in. Sgt. Vasquez drew her VerasceTM .45 silencer and plugged Matt in the throat. Matt slumped to the floor. Even in death he wasn’t in a hurry. His last words were, “Ow! I mean ow!”

Barker asked, “Land of Goshen! Why’d ya kill him? He was ruggedly handsome, ya know.”

Vasquez sneered. “Rookie, rookie, rookie. Have you learned nothing from me? Less paper work from killing a suspect than bringing him. And besides, Real Economists of Los Angeles comes on just after my shift is over. Not missing that for anything.

“Shouldn’t Real Economists of Los Angeles be in quotes and not in italics,” said Barker, whose hearing was very good.

“Pow! Pow!” said Vasquez as she pointed her finger. Finger guns have never worked, not even for the imaginative kid. It didn’t work now. So she used her silencer. Down went the rookie. The sergeant knew she was wrong to murder Barker and also quite possibly wrong about italicizing the TV show as well. However, she was doomed if this charge was true. Sheriff Leona Pence was strict about grammar, particularly after a murder of a policewoman.

Sheriff Pence was herself a murderer. Normally, that would be a resume stain for anyone seeking a career in law enforcement. However, Ms. Pence successfully ran for sheriff, sheriff spelled correctly, on the slogan, or with the slogan as the case may be, of, “It takes a murderer to catch a murderer.”

Murder made Sergeant Vasquez hungry. Murder always does that. You’d know that if you murdered . . . Anyway, so hungry, so hungry for a maple doughnut that she cut in line of Shirley Wetzel who was kindness itself.

Except when it came to her doughnuts. No one got between her and a doughnut. A doughnutless Wetzel was a hangry Wetzel. (Notice, I’m using people last names mostly. It’s because I’m respectful. Manners matter even in murder.)

Anyway, still at the doughnut shop, Wetzel yelled, “Hey, no cutting in line.”

“Oh go eat lutefisk,” replied the law.

A severely sugar deficient Wetzel pulled her trusty Jay Martin knife and severed Sergeant Vasquez’s jugular. Blood splashed Wetzel’s white blouse. “My blouse is ruined! Just ruined!”

“No, it isn’t” said Shelley Caldwell, who normally took the doughnut orders, but hadn’t done so recently because of all the murders and stuff, “just smear blood over yourself. You’ll just be wearing a shiny red blouse, that’s all.”

Wetzel sniffled. “I suppose so.”

“And not only that,” said Caldwell, “the police will be looking for a murderer with blood stains on her. They won’t be able to see individual spots in a completely stained blouse.”

Wetzel brightened. Smiled even. “Thank you. You’ve been most helpful to a murderous stranger.”

Caldwell waved her hand. “It’s nothing, honey. My grandmother told me to be useful as well as ornamental.”

Wetzel stepped outside, walked to intersection and pressed the button. When the light at the other side of the street flashed “walk,” she walked put not before looking to the left for aholes turning right into the crosswalk. If only she’d had looked up as well. But no she didn’t. A comet hit her and carried her off into space. Right now, Wetzel is speeding out on an orbit that will take her out past Pluto, still a planet in my book, and into the Oort cloud. Wetzel’s comet is scheduled to return in the year 2375.

Anyway, the comet’s commotion kinda grabbed everyone’s attention, so no one noticed when Steve Barber, a Chihuahua, robbed the nearby First Really First National Bank. I tell you, no one ever suspects Chihuahua of any crime at all. It’s truly an invitation to canine robbery, which Barber had just done. And with an AKC-47. The C stands for Chihuahua sized. It’d be unrealistic to have a tiny dog, toting around a real assault rifle, for goodness sake.

Unfortunately for Barber, a Chihuahua’s legs are tiny, making a quick getaway impossible. Too bad he’d never gotten a license. He could have booked it out of there in a Smart Car.TM

Anyway, Sergeant Bob Brouilette used the author intrusion and the doggie’s slowness to catch the canine criminal. “Oh ho,” said Brouilette, “I’ve got you know.”

“‘Now’ is spelled, ‘now,’ not ‘know,’ copper,” woofed Barber.

“It’s not my fault, ‘know’ was a typo,” said Brouilette. “And, it’s a homonym.”

“No, it isnt,” woofed the dog. “and you have to let me go.”

“You used a gun in a robbery,” said the sergeant.

“It’s my Second Amendment right to bear arms,” woofed Barber.

“That only applies to people,” said Brouilette.

An interesting Supreme Court ruling loomed. But then fifty-two cats pounced on Barber, grabbed him by their paws and kicked him to death with their hind legs. “Eat fur balls, Chihuahuas,” purred the kittenish Susan Conner who wasn’t as dead as she seemed in paragraph two.  She probably takes lots of vitamins, “Time to make America feline again,” said Conner.

And now we’ll pause a moment while I correct a comma into a period. There. Done.

“We don’t murder with cats in Poway,” said the bystander Paul Higgins who had a body any zombie would kill for, four limbs and everything. And at that, Higgins put a whistle to his lips and blew.

Conner sneered. “Like any cats going to follow that.”

“I know,” said Higgins, smarter than a herd of amoebas. “But this whistle will attract the attention of the police.”

“Oh drat,” said Conner, “I didn’t figure on that.”

“Into the library,” said the dapper Woodrow Wilkins, who despite all wearing spiffy clothes, loved cats to the extent that he never minded cat fur all over his ensembles. Well, he really preferred cat fur that coordinated nicely with his suits. But the point has been made, he loved cats and their cat masters.

Conner led her herd to the library. Before entering, she turned back to glimpse at her knight in shining armor. “Thank you,” said. “I will always remember your kindness.”

The ever modest Wilkins tipped his hat. “It’s nothing.” He then vanished into obscurity, which was quite a good thing given the fatality rate of this Powegian day.

Conner and her cute as buttons cats stampeded into the library.

“Whoa!” yelled the head librarian, Shellie Fiore, in her sternest whisper. “This is a library, not a barn. We don’t stampede here.”

Properly embarrassed the cats said down and began licking themselves. Conner, too.

Fiore took this respite in action to drink in the attention of hundreds of male admirers. Ravishingly beautiful, if she had been alive in the time of Homer, she’d have been the stunning knockout that launched a thousand ships against Troy.

Fiore knew it too. Indeed, she’d walk the sidewalk in front of the library every now and again. Male drivers would turn their heads to drink her in. For too long. Too often. Eyes off the road, driver after driver would crash into car after car. Often with fatal results. The she devil reveled in her fatal attractiveness.

But not in the library, where she never killed anyone. But she’d give you such a look if you tried to argue your way out of a fine.

Poway’s library collected a lot of late-book fines and talking-ones as well. To such an extent, in fact, that the place was lit not with over head lighting, but with ornate Italian candlesticks.

The reference librarian, Chrissie Ann, AKA the Enforcer, gripped one such candlestick. She lovingly referred to it as Rita Tobey Cloud. Ann was also snarling. A patron, Susan Clark Voorhis, wanted to use the computer. It was her time. Had been for ten minutes. She’d demurely asked the selfish oaf if she’d might sit down instead. The miscreant, Rodney Dodig, didn’t even look up. He really was a bad egg.

So Voorhis, walked timidly toward Ann and told her tale of woe. “Is that so? Well not, in my domain.” Ann the Enforcer glanced toward Conner and her cats, you could never tell what they might do. But they were sleeping. She was free to administer justice.

In three steps Ann bounded over to where Dodig surfed the net for intense articles on cross-grape pollination in the Andes. Naturally, he didn’t want to be disturbed by the outside world. So when Ann tapped him on the shoulder, saying, “Now, see here!” he waxed belligerent. His face took on the anger of someone expecting a cream-filled chocolate egg only to find that he’d bitten into a chocolate-covered Brussels sprout.

“Take off, reference Nazi.” And worse, he’d yelled this. In a library. To a reference librarian. To a Powegian reference librarian.

Smack, smack, Ann’s candlestick, Cloud, came down on his head. Smack, smack, Ann’s silver candlestick made sure he was dead. Voorhis thought briefly turning Ann into the law, but she really did need to get on the computer. She really needed to complete her research. Her term paper was due tomorrow and her laptop wasn’t doing anything. If only she’d listened to her friends and not installed Internet Explorer. She merely mouthed thanks to Ann and sat down at her terminal.

The blissful silence of the library shattered when Conner spontaneously busted. So Conner didn’t remember Wilkins’ kindness well long after all, did she?

Anyway, Ann the Enforcer strode toward the cats. “Now see here!” she yelled. “We do not combust in this library.” Pointing her finger to the door she said, “Scat, shoo, now!”

The cats ignored her, so Ann brought a big bucket, some soap, and some water. It’s amazing how often those things are useful to a reference librarian. “Now cats, who want’s a bath!”

None of them did. They stampeded the exit and collided with great momentum into the Great Steve Kramer’s stilts. Kramer’s stilts were thirty-feet long. Kramer was walking with them. Down went Kramer. Down went Kramer’s skull. Not the way Kramer had wanted to die, he’d always fancied he’d get shot down in a gunfight on Front Street in Dodge City against the somehow revived Matt Dillon. Before that he wanted to parlay his earnings from exotic stilt walking at the Rhino’s Horn club into graduating with a major in Alligator Husbandry at Tampa A&M. Bummer, Kramer.

But death isn’t always bad. No! For Kramer’s hat fell off when he fell. Underneath it had been a lottery ticket. The ticket fluttered to the ground. It’s movement caught the eye of Julie Fletcher who had come to see the sights of Poway, tourist destination of the West. Fletcher had always been raised to make the best of any situation, including deaths of alligator-husbandry wishing, thirty-foot stilt walking entertainers.

So Fletcher pounced on the lottery ticket. As incredibly contrived fiction would have it, the ticket won her eighty millions dollars. She immediately bough a BushnellTM 303 sonic obliterator. She bought a spanking new Rolls RoyceTM drove back to her home town and murdered everyone who had been mean to her. I’m hoping the elimination of all the negativity in her life, will give her a fresh start. I mean, after all, she should be able to bribe any number of juries. Any way, good luck, Fletcher.

Not all onlookers were made happy by Kramer’s death. Not Ted Mouser. The ever dashing hit man had just bumped off Santa Claus. Old Saint Nick had banged Mouser’s roof one too many times. The neighboring kids blamed him a lot for ruining Christmas. They even called him, “meanie.” That hurt. Only one thing could cheer Mouser up, stilt walking. Powegian stilt walking. And now Poway’s very best stilt walker was gone. And soon would be Mouser as well.

Click, click. Click, click. The sounds of the steel nails on Mrs. Claus’ tall boots. She removed her sunglasses and gazed at Mouser. “So you killed my husband.”

“Which one?”

“Santa Claus, he was a good man. He stayed at home with me, every night but one. And man, I love a guy with a belly and a beard.”

Mouser raised his left eyebrow. “Mrs. Claus. Is it that so? I seem to remember you having a different name. A very different name.”

Mrs. Claus spat at the ground. “That’s right, I was Bettie Turner, fan dancer at the Naked Armadillo down San Anton way. The best fan dancer you ever saw. And don’t you forget it.”

Mouser wouldn’t forget Turner, wouldn’t raise his right eyebrow for her either. Everything in moderation was his motto. Mrs. Old Saint Nick, reached inside her trench coat and withdrew a Kit KatTM bar.

Mouser laughed. “Give me a break.”

But Turner wouldn’t. She reached again inside her trench coat and came out with a Sunday Morning Special and put a bullet neatly between Mouser’s eyes. She looked at her smoking gun. “‘Bout time all that target practice with the elves paid off.”

Then Kathryn Minicozzi killed Turner with a slingshot. As always, competition to be Santa’s wife was fierce. “Finally, I’ll be Mrs. Chubby.” A limo pulled up. Vivian Pattee jumped out and ran toward Turner. The chauffeur knew that murderers always appreciated a quick getaway. Big tippers too. “Where to?”

“To the North Pole,” said Minicozzi. “I’m going to get married.”

“Very good, madam.” It was at times like this that the driver was glad she’d invested in a hover-limo.”

Stefanie Kneer cursed her luck. She didn’t have a limo. Didn’t even have a car. Not even a Honda FitTM. You’d think that someone blessed with the looks of a film goddess could have gotten any man to do anything she wanted. And they did. Hundreds of wealthy hunks threw entire fortunes at her. Too bad she always lost the money in rigged tic-tac-toe matches. Would she ever learn?

No. She’s going down. Wrapped up in her problems, she stepped out into the street without looking even one way. Hopping mad a few seconds earlier, she was soon beside herself when she stepped on a land mine and exploded into bits. Indeed, a fortuitously stiff wind blew Kneer chunks onto the clothes of the passersby. Poway’s dry cleaning stores would do a booming business.

Crossing guard Kate Domsic, vigilant and dedicated as Barney Fife had even been, watched with grim satisfaction. “We enforce the law here. Damned scoff laws.” Domsic flicked off a bit of Kneer from her shoulder.

Fashion model Christee Gabour Atwood shrieked. That Kneer chunk had landed on her ChanelTM black dress. And there were long lines outside all the cleaners. She had to get home fast. Her car, get to her car. But no she had forgotten where she parked it.

Then along came Marilynne Smith pogoing down the sidewalk. Atwood’s arm shot out, clotheslining Smith. Atwood addressed the sprawling pogoer, “Sorry, but my need is greater.” Atwood pogoed with the alacrity that comes with being fashion model rushing to her place on the runway.

Smith sat up and surveyed her scrapes. “That just tears it. My man is buying me a car.” But it was a good thing she lost her pogo stick, for a UFO locked onto the nearest pogoer, Atwood. The tractor beam pulled the fashion model up to the mother ship. If only the aliens had remember to leave a door open for her.

It’s difficult to say whether the collision with the spacecraft did Atwood in or was it the plummeting fall that did her in. It is clear, however, that her landing on Jack Brantley Lightfoot killed him. Which was kind of good thing as was on his way to have his license renewed and he did so hate waiting in line at the DMV.

Cynthia Drew, however, was waiting at the DMV. Was she even a bit closer to the front of the line? No, the Earth’s plates had shifted twelve times since she got in line. Just then the woman in front of her, Liz Husebye Hartman, collapsed, dying from dehydration and malnutrition. This is why the DMV plasters posters inside its buildings signs that read, “Did you remember to bring food and water?” Of course, the waiting people never did bring food and water. They also never wanted to go home for those items because that would mean losing their place in line. So hundreds of people die each day at their DMVs from starvation and thirstation.

But as always, there was a silver lining to this. Hartman’s demise meant Drew could move up one place in the line. Synapses fired in Drew’s brain. If she killed all the people in front of her, she could go right to the front and get that form 4F3B. Fortunately, she had an AK-47 slung across her back. Sure, Drew had meant to use the gun on terrorists and intruders to her home, but her keen mind adapted to this situation. “Don’t whine, do,” her parents had always said. So Drew gunned down the people in the line and strode ahead, smiling all the way.

“Form 4F3B, please,” said Drew.

“Sorry,” said Christine Olewiler, “this is the line for form 4F3C. You want the line to the left.”

But the line to the left stretched so far that the curvature of the Earth prevented Drew from seeing the end. Her heart soared like a rock. “I’m going to kill myself.”

Olewiler sneezed. She coughed hard enough to separate her ribs. Snot flowed freely down her otherwise alabaster cheeks. “Please, kill me first. I’m ever so sick.”

Drew, ever the good Samaritan, emptied her assault rifle into the DMV clerk’s head. Drew could have complained that she now had no bullets to use on herself. Instead she displayed the can-do spirit that made America great and simply pulled her head off.

Meanwhile, it was eventful day on Happy Valley Street. D Lynn Frazier, had just killed her neighbor and bridge partner, Mandy Ward, by shoving sixty pounds of guacamole down the throat. And just for a flourish, Frazier stabbed Ward.

Roxe Anne Peacock, of the other bridge pair, took offense. It was her guacamole that Frazier had used. Her prize-winning guacamole! Frazier could kill her guests all she wanted, sure, Peacock had a live and let live attitude, but messing around with her guacamole brought instant death. Well not instant, Frazier did resist getting hit over the head with a frozen corned-beef brisket. Then it took a while for the petite Peacock to manhandle Frazier into the meat locker. And wouldn’t you know it, it took all night for Frazier to freeze properly.

Naturally enough Frazier had trouble getting up the next morning. Not so with Peacock. She took the stiff out of the locker and started to take it out to the curb for trash pickup. But as she did, she spied the washing machine. Horrors! She had wet clothes in there from the previous night. They would get stinking and moldy if not dried right away. She stood up Frazier a few feet away and started transferring clothes to the dryer. Unfortunately, in doing so, she bumped into Frazier. Down went the rock-hard frozen Frazier on Peacock’s neck, snapping it two. So, sad to say, the clothes got moldy and icky.

Two days later, Cheryl Christensen of the Neighborhood Mold Watch Committee knocked on Peacock’s door. Nothing. She came back the next day. Knocked. Again. Nothing. Christensen contemplated leaving another blistering anti-mold note before bursting into laughter. The mold maker would pay. Peacock would be tickled until she cried uncle.

Christensen picked the front door’s lock and headed to the reeking smell in the laundry room. She flexed her fingers. Justice would be served. But wahdu, Peacock was dead. Frazier was dead. The neighborhood would be blame her. Thinking quickly, Christensen stuffed each body into a sock. Into the dryer the dead ones went. Christensen closed the dryer door and set the buttons. Sure enough, Peacock and Frazier, being in orphan socks, disappeared.

Alex Butcher of the FBI came by to investigate, but her investigation proved no more fruitful than did any of the Bureau’s dead-bodies-stuffed-inside-orphan-socks investigation.

A week later, Linda Fierstein came back from a vacation at the sun-soaked beaches of Tahiti. She asked her neighbor, “Did anything happen while I was away?”

“Nothing to speak of,” said Kathy Carroll.

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, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

Categories: humor, murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Paul’s Camembert Burger – Blog 999

American Entree

PAUL’S CAMEMBERT BURGER

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds ground beef
½ teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine
½ cup heavy whipping cream or crême fraiche
1 tablespoon fresh* herbs (thyme, marjoram, or sage)
4 ounces Camembert cheese, no rind
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 French rolls

* = Try to use fresh ingredients for this dish. However, if that is not possible, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs instead.                A still-life painting by Vincent van Gogh.

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add ground beef and herbes de Provence to mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Shape beef into 4 oblong patties that match the shape of the French rolls. Add butter and olive oil to pan. Warm butter using medium heat until butter melts and browns. Tilt pan occasionally to ensure even melting. Add beef patties. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side or until meat is done to your liking. Remove beef patties to dish and cover to keep warm. Keep liquid in pan.

Toast French rolls. Add wine to pan. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Add whipping cream and herbs. Stir. Bring to boil again using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium high. Add Camembert cheese and Dijon mustard. Stir constantly until cheese dissolves and blends into the rest of the sauce. Add beef patty to each French roll bottom. Pour sauce over beef patties. Place French roll tops on sauce-covered patties.

TIDBITS

1) Vincent van Gogh painted food for cookbooks. It kept him going during his lean years which were many as he sold only one non-food pictures in his lifetime. Van Gogh also had to work at carnivals as an egg catcher. He and his pals wowed crowds by tossing raw eggs for longer and longer distances without dropping them or letting them break. Van Gogh’s supple hands that helped him catch eggs also allowed him to wield his paint brush with a deft touch. Today, we honor his memory with Poway’s annual Impressionist Egg Toss Festival.

2) All his food paintings but for the incredibly valuable one here perished in s freak fire. Odd.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

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, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

Atlanta Brisket

American Entree

ATLANTA BRISKET

INGREDIENTS

3½ pounds beef brisket
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups ketchup or bottled chili sauce
1 packet instant onion soup mix
4 cups Coca ColaTM
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

9″ x 13″ casserole dish
tin foil, if your casserole dish doesn’t have a lid
particle accelerator (Costs billions. Start saving.)

Serves 6. Takes 4 hours 30 minutes plus at least 6 hours to marinate.

PREPARATION

Add brisket to casserole dish. Use fork to poke holes in brisket. Rub garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper onto brisket. Add ketchup, onion soup mix, and Coca Cola. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Turn every 2 hours, if possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove brisket from casserole dish and add to pan. (Keep marinade in casserole dish.) Add vegetable oil. Sauté for 10 minutes on medium-high heat or until brisket browns. Turn over once. Return brisket to casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours or until meat is tender to the fork. Add Coca Cola, if necessary, to keep brisket from drying out. Goes well with sides or desserts prepared by someone else. ☺

TIDBITS

1) Instant onion soup mix transforms soup instantly into cold onion soup with the addition of water.

2) Of course, onion soup is much tastier warm. As we know, there are three ways to heat onion soup: the stove top, the microwave, and the particle accelerator.

3) For the last method, simply put your bowl in the particle accelerator. Press the start button and whoosh, piping hot soup. Before you do though, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, make sure your bowl is particle-accelerator safe. If not, you might melt down an entire town, which your surviving neighbors will hold against you for a long time.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

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, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

Homemade Butter

American Appetizer

HOMEMADE BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

3 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup ice water
¼ teaspoon salt (optional, to taste)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor (best), immersion blender or electric whisk
fine-mesh colander or colander with cheesecloth
butter molds (optional)

Makes 1 cup or 2 sticks butter. Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add whipping cream to food processor. Whip cream until it cream fully separates into thickish butter and buttermilk. This can take up to 10 minutes. Place large bowl under colander. Pour contents of food processor into colander. Most of the buttermilk will go through the colander and into the bowl.

Put butter into 2nd bowl. Use your hands to press down on the butter until all of the buttermilk is out of the butter. Pour some cold water onto the butter. Knead butter. Carefully drain water from bowl. Repeat until poured-off water is clear. This process removes the last of the buttermilk from the butter. Add salt, to taste, and mix into butter with fork. Save the buttermilk for drinking or for recipes.

This butter is soft but will harden in the refrigerator. You can make sticks of butter with butter molds. Butter will store in the fridge for 2-to-6 weeks.

TIDBITS

1) There’s always the hope that prison time will rehabilitate criminals.

2) This is why most American prisons have ParcheesiTM leagues. This game teaches people to deal with the ups and downs of life and to take a longer view of things. Plus the long Parcheesi season keeps the inmates busy. More than one avid prisoner has had to be dragged from a post-season tournament game simply because his sentence was up.

3) Freshly made butter hardens in refrigerators. So do freshly made convicts. This is why the higher-security prisons never let jailbirds ever get inside a fridge or even own one. Butter also makes it much easier for people get out of handcuffs. This is why arresting officers won’t give their suspect a stick of butter. One phone call yes, but butter never.

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, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

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