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Hainanese Chicken Rice

Singaporean Entree

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

INGREDIENTS – CHICKEN

2″ ginger root
4 cups chicken stock (4 cups more later)
4 cups water
2½ pounds boneless chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INGREDIENTS – RICE

4 cups chicken broth
3 pandan leaves*
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
4 garlic cloves
3″ ginger root
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 cucumber
1 green onion
¼ cup chili garlic sauce
¼ cup soy sauce

* = This is quite hard to find outside of Asian supermarkets. You can also order dried pandan leaves online. Or substitute part of a banana leaves for the pandan leaves. But banana leaves are just as hard to find as pandan leaves. Or omit the pandan leaves altogether; this is a simplified recipe after all. If guests complain that your Chicken Hainanese Rice isn’t authentic without pandan leaves, biff ‘em good with your fists of fury.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

rice cooker
fists of fury (See above note.)
x-ray vision (It helps to be a super hero.)
up to 12 dipping bowls, bowls, or small cups

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION – CHICKEN

Cut 2″ ginger root into ¼” slices. Add ginger root slices, 4 cups chicken broth, water, and water to large pot. Bring water to boil in large pot at high heat. (The recipe gets harder after this.) While water comes to boil, cut chicken into 1½” pieces. Coat chicken with sesame oil. Add chicken to pot. Cover, reduce heat to warm and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. (You can check this with x-ray vision or by slicing open one piece of chicken.) Remove chicken from pot and add to mixing bowl. Save chicken stock.

PREPARATION – RICE

While the water for the chicken comes to boil, tie pandan leaves into a knot just like you would with a string. Add 4 cups chicken broth, pandan leaves, and rice to rice cooker. Cook according to instructions for rice cooker. (Probably, just push the “cook” button until it stops cooking.) While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice 3″ ginger root. Add garlic, ginger, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium for 5 minutes or until garlic and ginger browns and becomes fragrant. Stir frequently. Add rice and stir fry at low-medium for 3 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

PREPARATION – FINAL

While water for the chicken comes to boil and rice cooks, dice cilantro and green onion. Cut cucumber into thin slices. Add diced green onion and chicken stock from large pot to a small dipping bowl for each guest. Each guest also gets a dipping bowl for the chili-garlic sauce and the soy sauce. Add chicken to plates. Garnish chicken with cilantro. Add rice to plates and shape into dome. Place cucumber on plate beside chicken and rice.

TIDBITS

1) “Hainanese” is an anagram for “I, a sane hen.”

2) Sane hens are safer than insane hens.

3) You don’t have to lock your doors if you’re raising sane hens.

4) However, if you’re raising insane hens, oh boy! Insane hens naturally form gangs and terrorize the countryside. Indeed, a particular brutal gang of Rhode Island reds went on a car-jacking spree in Hicken County, Colorado back in 1969. You can imagine the difficulty the Colorado Tourism Board had in hushing that up.

5) By 2006, intelligent, insane hens had penetrated all the major American banks and brokerage houses. Their coop smarts and the fact they could lay fresh eggs without even taking time off from work gave them an irresistible leg up on all other applicants. I mean omelettes need fresh eggs.

6) In turn, the hens wanted worms. As they climbed the corporate ladders, they wanted ever more costly worms and ever fancier worm meals. By late 2008, the demand for pricy worms and gourmet-worm chefs had far outstripped the supply. More and more, the large financial firms were forced to feed ordinary mash to their top-revenue-generating hens.

7) Mash ticked off the executive layers, so much so that they engineered the Great Recession of 2008. Now prospective chicken hires must assert their mental stability with the oath, “I, a sane chicken . . .”

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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Pabellón Criollo

Venezuelan Entree

PABELLÓN CRIOLLO

INGREDIENTS – PULLED MEAT

3 garlic cloves (2 more cloves later)
1 medium onion
1 tomato
2 pounds flank steak
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cumin (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper (¼ teaspoon more later)
3 quarts water (or enough to cover ingredients)

INGREDIENTS – BLACK BEANS

2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
¼ cup olive oil or oil (¼ cup more later)
1 green bell pepper
1 15-ounce-can black beans
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – RICE & PLANTAINS

1⅓ cups rice
2 plantains or bananas
½ cup olive oil or oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

3-quart pot
4 plates with 3 sections. These are mighty hard to find if you’re looking for them at the last moment.
sonic obliterator

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 50 minutes.

PREPARATION – PULLED MEAT

Dice 3 garlic cloves, medium onion, and tomato. Add diced garlic, onion, tomato, flank steak, bay leaf, ¼ teaspoon cumin, oregano, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil using high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes or until meat is tender to the fork. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove meat and place on plate. Pull flank seat apart with forks. Save stock for future soups.

PREPARATION – BLACK BEANS

While flank steak simmers, mince 2 garlic cloves and small onion. Seed and dice green bell pepper. Add garlic, onion, green bell pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add black beans, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

PREPARATION – RICE & PLANTAINS

About 30 minutes before flank steak should be ready to be pulled apart, cook rice according to instructions on package. Peel plantains. Cut plantains into slices 1″ wide diagonally along the length of the plantain. Add plantain and ½ cup oil to pan. Sauté slices for 3 minutes on each at medium heat or until plantain softens and browns.

PREPARATION – FINAL STEP

This step is much easier if you have a plate that is divided into 3 sections. Carefully add enough pulled flank steak to make a pie wedge that takes up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add enough beans next to the flank steak to make a pie wedge taking up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add (Yes, you are doing things carefully here.) enough rice to take up the remaining ⅓ of the plate. Add ¼ of the plantain slices to the outside of the rice pie-wedge.

Zap, with your sonic obliterator, any guests who fail to appreciate just how much heart and soul went into the preparation of this dish.

TIDBITS

1) This dish, pabellón criollo, is enormously popular, among Venezuelans. So much so, that Venezuelans will bring the ingredients for this dish wherever they travel or migrate.

2) And boy, they sure have migrated. On May 1, 16,870 BC priests revealed to the proto-Venezuelans that their gods would be having a millennium-long jamboree in a land beyond the Great Mother Sea. Of course, everyone knows the best time to petition gods is when they’ve been drinking, eating pulled beef, and dancing and singing up a storm.

3) So, all the proto-Venezuelans took to their rafts and floated and paddled their way down the east coast of South America, suffered ice storms in the Straights of Magellan, endured fresh-water deprivation, and got eaten by gigantic sharks and whales.

4) All of which sucked, especially when compared to jamboreeing with the gods. So once there, the proto-Venezuelans stayed and planted rice. This is how rice came to India, Vietnam, China, and Japan.

5) The proto-Venezuelans were pretty happy. Then the gods’ beer ran out. The deities became surly and hurled thunderbolts and really hard bread rolls at the humans.

6) Life sucked again. Enough to brave the perils of an ocean voyage back home. This is how peoples from Asia settled the Americas, not by the headline hunters who crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska.

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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Gambian Domoda (Peanut Stew)

Gambian Entree

DOMODA
(Peanut Stew)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rice
1½ pounds chicken breasts or beef
2 green chiles
1 large onion
¾ pound pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups vegetable stock*
1¼ cups smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon pepper

* = To be authentic, try to use MaggiTM bouillon cubes. Maggi is ubiquitous in Africa.

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Cut chicken into ½” cubes. Seed chiles. (Or leave them in if you wish a spicier stew.) Dice chiles, onion, pumpkin, and tomatoes.

Add chile, onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add chicken cubes. Cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir frequently. Add diced tomato and vegetable stock. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add peanut butter, pumpkin, tomato paste and pepper. Stir occasionally. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Stir just enough to prevent burning. Serve over rice.

TIDBITS

1) Baby cows say, “moo.” They also have dads. So, you might imagine that little cows would also say, “Moo, Dad.” And you would be right.

2) But only for the cows being raised in Roswell, New Mexico. These are super-intelligent, alien cows. Their spaceship crashed there in 1947. As the US military always takes a keen interest in brilliant bovines, a deal was soon made. In return for regular milking–Cows cannot milk themselves no matter how intelligent they might be–the alien cows showed us how to completely and forever thwart nuclear attack. Something to be grateful for when you pour milk on your morning cereal.

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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Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

American Appetizer

BACON WRAPPED SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS

24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 slices bacon
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

24 toothpicks
baking rack
cookie sheet.

Serves 6. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Set oven to broil and preheat to 400 degrees. Soak toothpicks in water. Slice each bacon strip into two halves crosswise.. Add shrimp, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce to mixing bowl. Toss shrimp until they are well coated. Wrap each shrimp with bacon. Secure with soaked toothpick. Repeat for each shrimp.

Spray baking rack with no-stick spray. Place shrimp on baking rack. Place baking rack 3″ from heat. Place cookie sheet under rack to catch drippings from bacon. Broil at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until bacon becomes crispy. Watch carefully, bacon can go burned quickly.

TIDBITS

1) Sir Francis Bacon was a mainstay in the Elizabethan era because he was brilliant as all get out, being an author, statesman (Lord High Chancellor England), scientist, blah, blah, blah. . . and a budding culinary saint! Francis was researching the effect of freezing on meat when he contracted pneumonia and died. This selfless act, was no doubt, the inspiration for the safe modern freezer/refrigerator. It is tantalizing to further speculate that Sir Bacon invented the cut of pig known as bacon. Many culinary historians assert this hypothesis most vigorously, particularly so after they’ve been drinking heavily.

2) At any rate, bacon was a staple of the American culinary scene by the early 18th century. America’s settlers wouldn’t have even considered crossing the land’s great expanses without an adequate supply of bacon. Tasty bacon would go onto grow and stabilize the great American Republic.

3) Unfortunately, by 2017, demand for bacon began to outstrip its supply. The Republic is in danger. Civil unrest will surely follow. Indeed, political discourse is already getting ever more heated and frenzied.

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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Lemongrass and Five Spice Tofu

Vietnamese Appetizer

LEMONGRASS AND FIVE SPICE TOFU

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks lemongrass
3 garlic cloves
1¼ pounds firm tofu
1 cup vegetable oil (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
¼ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
½ tablespoon soy sauce

PREPARATION

Discard all but the tender, inner and lower, green part of the lemongrass stalks. Mince garlic cloves and remaining lemongrass. Slice tofu into 8 long rectangles. Pat dry with paper towel. Add 1 cup vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at high heat until a tiny bit of tofu in the oil will start to dance. Carefully add tofu rectangles to pan. Fry tofu rectangles for 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Turn over once. Fry for 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the new bottom. (Monitor the tofu carefully as the time between golden brown and crispy can be short.) Remove tofu and drain on paper towels.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to 2nd pan. Add garlic, lemongrass, and red chile flakes. Sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes or until lemongrass is tender and fragrant. Stir frequently. Add Chinese five spice, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix until well blended. Add tofu rectangles. Sauté at low-medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn over once. Place 2 tofu rectangles on each plate. Carefully spoon sautéed lemongrass/garlic from pan over tofu rectangles.

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

TIDBITS

1) It’s startling to hear this now, but for centuries, perhaps even millennia, lemons grew on grass rather than on trees. The reason for this change and other  ensuing culinary changes was war.

2) The British navy had been losing thousands and thousands of sailors to scurvy. In 1753, the British conducted controlled experiments to find a cure for this dread scourge. They strongly concluded that lemon juice would keep scurvy at bay. A scant forty-two years later, the British Admiralty began issuing daily rations of lemon juice. Scurvy disappeared! The navy could indefinitely blockade Napoleon’s ships and keep him from invading England. It was all so neat. Unfortunately, the Admiralty’s lemon mowers cut so much lemon grass that ground lemons were on the brink of extinction. Botanists stepped in and grafted lemons onto trees. This process worked well that the lemons developed seeds that would sprout into full-blown lemon bearing trees. History is such fun.

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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Natilla

Colombian Dessert

NATILLA

INGREDIENTS

1 cup whole milk* (4 more cups later)
1¼ cups cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 panella (Mexican brown sugar) or 2 cups brown sugar
½ cup condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter, softened
½ cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* = Whole milk really is needed. Without it, the cornstarch can’t make this dessert set.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

8″ * 8″ baking dish

Serves 9. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add 1 cup whole milk and cornstarch to mixing bowl. Blend with whisk until cornstarch dissolves completely. Set aside. Add 4 cups whole milk, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and panella to pot. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until panella melts. Stir often. When mixture starts to boil, add condensed milk. Stir enough to keep mixture from burning.. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Add cornstarch/milk mixture to pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-to-25 minutes or until liquid is very thick, is hard to stir, and you can see the bottom of the pot when you stir. Stir this natilla mixture constantly. Gently fold in butter and coconut. Pour natilla mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

TIDBITS

1) Attila the Hun was originally named Wholemilk the Hun because he loved whole milk. He’d never drank sissy skim milk. In 434, a Byzantine diplomat, seeking to widen Wholemilk’s taste range, gave WTH–Wholemilk the Hun, not What The Heck–100 jars of skim milk. This enraged WTH so much that he invaded the Byzantine Empire. He also invaded Persia, the Western Roman Empire, and various Germanic kingdoms floating around the west; moderation not being one of his strong points. In desperation, Pope Leo I, in 452, offered him the wonderful dish shown here if he’d just go home. WTH liked it so much that he overate and died. Pope Leo became Pope Leo the Great and Wholemilk became Attila, a near anagram of natilla, the saving dessert of Europe.

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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Corn On The Cob

American Entree

CORN ON THE COB

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ears corn, in their husks

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

aluminum foil
outdoor grill                                                                                              Modern food, ancient weapons.

PREPARATION

Dice basil. Add all ingredients save corn to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Peel back corn husks most of the way and remove corn silk. Brush corn with buttery blend. Close husks over ears. Tightly wrap corn in aluminum foil. Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Place foil-wrapped corn on grill. Grill for 20 minutes or corn is tender to the fork. Remove corn and place on plate. Let sit for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove husks.

TIDBITS

1) Since the dawn of time, people have been trying to hurt each other. At first, combatants made scary faces. However, all cavemen had scary faces and all fights ended in draws. Then Ogg, an intellectual giant for his time, dislodged the bugs in his hair and let a stiff wind carry the little critters onto his opponents’ face. Exactly, 1,217 years later Ogg LXII found if he lifted up his arms, the wind would waft the ripe odor from his armpits toward his foes, knocking them out instantly.

2) However, this Oggian technique relied rather heavily upon getting the wind at one’s back. However, this secret would soon be discovered by all cavemen a scant two millennia later. Cavemen would dance around each other trying to get the wind advantage. Indeed, Ogga, Ogg CXI’s wife, found herself grabbing Ogg and whirling around, trying to get the upper hand. But then, she found this close-quarter dancing with her husband to be great fun. It caught on with all cave couples. The waltz, and all other forms of dancing, had been invented.

3) Three millennia later, Ogg CCCXXXIII, discovered how to grow corn. This act revolutionized warfare. The corn cob, with its hard kernels, delivered a vicious migraine, extended the attacker’s reach, and most of all, eliminated the role of wind in combat. Migraine battles proliferated. Then, in the Bronze Age, Ogg DCIV figured out how to make swords. The mighty corn cob lost its position on the battlefield, but not in our meals. We eat corn cobs to this day. There you go.

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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Bulgogi (Barbecued Beef)

Korean Entree

BULGOGI
(Barbecued Beef)

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

4 garlic cloves
1 green onion
1 nashi pear or bosc pear
1⅓ pounds sirloin, beef tenderloin, or rib eye
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup soy sauce

INGREDIENTS – REST

½ leek
1 medium yellow onion
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline (useful, but not essential)
wok (or large pan)

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes..

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Mince garlic cloves. Dice green onion. Peel, core, and grate or dice pear. Slice sirloin into strips ⅛” thick. Then cut strips into 3″-by-1″ rectangles. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing bowl. Toss ingredients until sirloin rectangles are well coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

PREPARATION – REST

While sirloin rectangles, marinate, dice onion. Use mandoline or knife to slice leek and onion into strips ⅛” thick. Add sesame seeds to pan. Toast sesame seeds at medium heat for 5 minutes or until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Reserve sesame seeds.

Add sirloin with its marinade, leek, and onion to wok. Heat at high heat for 4 minutes or until sirloin browns and is cooked to your liking. Stir occasionally. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

TIDBITS

1) Bulgogi is made with sesame seeds.

2) Sesame seeds look like bugs.

3) Bugs move. All the time. Don’t even think of asking them to pose for a portrait.

4) So when scientists want to examine a particular, fixed pattern of bugs, they use sesame seeds in place of the bugs.

5) Or “in lieu of” of the bugs. “In lieu of” sounds fancier than “in place of,” don’t ya think?

6) Anyway, these bug patterns can consist of up to two-million sesame seeds. These large patterns can take sixty sesame-placers a whole year to construct.

7) So, when someone sneezes on the intricate sesame-seed pattern, the bug scientists (entomologists, another cool word) get rather irate.

8) On May 4, 1937, the famed aviator, Amelia Earhart, visited the prestigious American Institute of Sesame Seed Patterns (AISSP) to raise funds for her round-the-world-by-air adventure.

9) Ms. Earhadt wowed the men of the institute. Massive funding from AISSP was promised.

10) Then Amelia sneezed. A gale-force sneeze. 1,223,768 carefully seeds scattered all over the room.

11) Just two more sesames seeds had been needed to form the needed sesame pattern. At which point, photographs would have been taken.

12) Analysis of these photographs would have enabled entomologists to eradicate grasshopper plagues. Massive swarms of these insects had wiped out North Dakotan agriculture in 1935 and that of Montana a year later.

13) Ms. Earhart became deeply unpopular. Indeed, torch-carrying sesame-entomologists chased her to her plane. She quickly started her Model 10-E Electra and decided to start her round-the-world flight. If she had more time, she could have gotten a plane with more sophisticated communications and a longer range.

14) Alas, she, her navigator, Fred Noonan, and her plane disappeared on July 2, 1937.

15) Ten years later, Amos Keeto, photographer from the Paducah Post, realized that he taken a quick picture of Amelia at the AISSP. He was sure that the picture’s background would show the nearly completed sesame pattern. Unfortunately, he’d given the picture to the famed aviator as a keepsake just before she left on her fatal journey.

16) If only that picture could be retrieved, we could figure out how to stop all insect-caused crop failures forever. This is why we keep searching for Amelia Earhart and her plane.

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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Deep Fried Mars Bars

British Dessert

DEEP FRIED MARS-TM BARS

INGREDIENTS

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
¼ cup seltzer water
¼ teaspoon baking powder
5 chilled Mars bars (worldwide version) or Milky WayTM (American version)
4 cups vegetable oil or enough to cover Mars bar in deep fryer

SPECIAL UTENSILS

deep fryer Two aliens on a flying saucer
tongs

Serves 5. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flour, salt, water, seltzer water, and baking powder to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Pour batter into tall glass. Add oil to deep fryer. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Use tongs to dip Mars bar into tall glass. Remove and let excess batter drip off. Use tongs to place coated Mars bar in deep fryer. Fry for 2 minutes or until bars turn golden brown and become crisp. Remove from oil with tongs. Place deep-fried bar on paper towel and pat dry. Repeat for remaining bars.

TIDBITS

1) MarsTM was first produced by Forrest Mars in 1932. It’s sparked religious interest ever since.

2) Mars is the Roman god of war. Technically, the deity could have sued Mr. Mars for copyright infringement, but didn’t. Many culinary theologians have argued that a living god of war would certainly challenged Forrest Mar’s logo appropriation. Therefore, Mars doesn’t exist. Once we accept Mars non-existence, belief in all the other Roman dissolves. And indeed, the number of people worshiping Roman gods after 1932 has been pretty darn close to zero.

3) The American Mars bar ceased production in 2002, came back, stopped production in 2011, and finally came back online 2017. Its composition and size has varied over the decades. Culinary theologians hypothesize that these observable events led to widespread believe in reincarnation.

4) Currently, the Muslim community of Australia is debating halal certification for Mars bars.

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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Tarragon Chicken – Poulet à Estragon

French Entree

TARRAGON CHICKEN
(Poulet à Estragon)

INGREDIENTS

3 chicken breasts
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 shallot
3 green onions
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
⅔ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves (1 tablespoon if dried)

Serves 3. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Rub chicken breasts with pepper and salt. Dice shallots. Thinly slice green onions. Add butter, olive oil, and shallot to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until shallot softens. Stir frequently. Add chicken breasts and green onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes for each side or until chicken starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add white wine and crème fraîche. Stir until sauce is well blended. Bring sauce to boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce has been reduced by half. Stir occasionally. Spoon lemon juice over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with tarragon.

TIDBITS

1) In 1922, the Agricultural Department, finding itself with an extra twenty-billion dollars decided to help the American farmer. Specifically, the American tarragon farmer. Why the tarragon growers? It had a really, really, really good lobby back then.

2) That amount of money bought quite a lot of tarragon seeds back then, enough to plant the entire Great Plains. Farmers gave up costly corn and wheat seeds in favor of free tarragon. USA became a global tarragon powerhouse. Tarragon farmers in other lands, however, faced bankruptcy. Foreign nations protected their farmers with prohibitively high tariffs on American tarragon. The United States retaliated with fees on European cheeses, even the non-stinky ones. European countered with tariffs on American wheat. Things got out of hand, with agricultural departments saying, “Na, nana, poo, poo” to each other and finding new ways to destroy each others commerce. Soon the global economy collapsed and we had the Great Depression of 1929-1939. Tens of millions of people were thrown out of work, including America’s tarragon farmers. This was bad; no tarragon on chicken for ten long years. But America survived. Its people are resilient.

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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