cuisine

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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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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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.

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Greenlandic Cake

Greenlandic Appetizer

GREENLANDIC CAKE

INGREDIENTS – CAKE

7 tablespoons butter
1 cup lukewarm milk
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) yeast
⅔ cup raisins
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
4 cups flour
no-stick spray
2 tablespoons cold coffee
1½ tablespoons sugar, pearl or confectioner’s

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
bread pan

Serves 8. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – CAKE

Add butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Add milk. Stir gently until well blended. Add in yeast, stirring gently as you do so. Mix gently until yeast dissolves. Add raisins, salt, and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add flour. Knead with bread maker or by hand for 10 minutes or until you get a smooth dough.

Place dough on flat surface, cover with towel, and let stand for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 390 degrees 15 minutes before dough has finished standing. Spray bread ban with no-stick spray. Add dough to bread pan. Spread coffee on top with brush. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 390 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) The fierce Vikings of old loved cakes, particularly this cake. They got a might testy, particularly when they didn’t get their favorite dessert. Indeed, the Vikings were apt to loot whole cities when in such a mood. What towns did the berserk Norsemen target? Why, the ones with lots and lots of flour and milk, of course, there being no wheat fields or cowherds in icy, cold Greenland.

2) Why didn’t the Vikings simply move to mainland Europe where there were wheat and cows in abundance? Why not set up cake bakeries there? Because all the great Viking cake makers would only live in Greenland. Something about being able to always step out into cold Arctic air after a long day working beside hot ovens. So you can see, if air-conditioned kitchen had been available in the ninth century, there were have been no Fury of the Norsemen. Something to chew on.

– 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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Burmese Crepes

Burmese Entree

BURMESE CREPES

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup (drained and cooked) azuki beans, watana beans, red beans, or kidney beans*
⅓ cup shredded coconut*
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rice flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2½ cups water
no-stick spray
no-stick pan (You really don’t want the batter to stick to the pan, heavens to Betsy.)

* = Diced green onion or soaked split peas that can also be used for the filling.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen mallet
trained squirrel with cannon

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Add beans to flat surface. Smash with fork or kitchen mallet until the beans become a paste. Add shredded coconut. Mix with hands until you get a bean/coconut paste.

Add baking soda, rice flour, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Stir with fork until batter is well blended. Add water. Mix with fork until you get a runny batter. Spray pan with no-stick spray. Ladle ¼ cup of batter to pan. Tilt pan so that batter spreads over pan. Fry for 2 minutes at medium heat or until bubbles appear on the crepe’s surface. Sprinkle bean/coconut paste onto the crepe. Use spatula to fold crepe in half. Fry for 1 minute on each side until the outside turns golden brown. Repeat for each crepe.

Serve right away. If quests and family don’t scurry to the kitchen table, threaten them with the squirrel ready at the cannon.

TIDBITS

1) The squirrel to the right is Sergeant Bill Redtail. He’s quite fierce. Don’t disappoint him.

– 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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