history

Chakalaka

Lesotho* Entree

CHAKALAKA

INGREDIENTS

1 red or green bell pepper
2 red chiles
2 carrots
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
2 tomatoes
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon curry powder (optional)
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

* = Technically, the adjective for Lesotho is Basotho. Would you have guessed that a Basotho entree was from Lesotho? I wouldn’t have.

PREPARATION

Seed and dice bell pepper and red chiles., Dice carrots, red onion, yellow onion, and tomatoes. Add carrot, red onion, yellow onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or yellow onion softens. Stir frequently. Add bell pepper, chile, tomato, curry powder, pepper, and salt. Sauté at medium heat for 10 minutes or until tomato bits lose their shape and become a stew. Stir occasionally. Goes well with corn meal cooked in water.

TIDBITS

1) As far as I can tell, there exist 23 songs containing the word chakalaka. Most of them do a variant on “chakalaka boom boom.” Culinary musicians, however, believe there are 33 varieties. 27 of them are excellent or at least passably good. The other six not so much. 33 recipes for chakalaka can be found. 27 are tasty. Six are meh. 27 amendments to the United States Constitution passed and became law. Six other amendments did not.

3) Clearly every time a chalaka recipe get written so does a chakalaka song.

4) Although it is not well known, American politicians like to write chakalaka songs and to prepare scrumptious new chalaka dishes. Everytime enough politicians get to write and cook chakalaka, they feel so happy and full of good will that they write an amendment to make life better for all Americans. In 1781, so many American lawmakers made enough such quality songs and meals that they up and wrote ten amendments, which would be become known as the Bill of Rights.

5) Sad to say, the ten recipes and songs that accompanied the first ten amendments have been lost to history. We shall have to console ourselves with the freedoms enshrined by the Bill of Rights.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Lebanese Chicken Kebabs

Lebanese Entree

CHICKEN KEBABS

INGREDIENTS

3 boneless chicken breasts
7 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper
1 small onion
¼ cup lemon juice
6 tablespoon Greek or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
2 tablespoons red vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon tomato paste
6 pita loaves

SPECIAL UTENSILS

outdoor grill
6 skewers (If wooden, soak in water for 20 minutes.)

Serves 6. Takes 3 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Crush garlic cloves. Seed and chop green bell pepper into 1″ squares. Chop onion into 1″ squares. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until chicken cubes are well coated. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Thread chicken cubes, bell pepper squares, and onion squares onto skewers. Turn heat on grill to medium. Add skewers to grill. Heat all sides for 3 minutes each. Place skewers in large pot and cover. Let rest for 10 minutes. (This step helps keep the chicken cubes moist.) Serve on skewers or if using pita loaves, remove all ingredients from skewers and place on pita loaves.

TIDBITS

1) Lebanese chickens do extraordinary things. Amal Rooster designed the tunnel connecting Britain with France. Zaina Hen organized the first mobile, military hospital. Haasim adapted golf clubs for use with chickens. Barbara Chicken or “Babs” played keno. She was so brilliant at it, that she bankrupted the casino at Monte Carlo.. A Lebanese chef created this dish, Chicken Kebab, in honor of her. However, human beings being a foul lot, they always steal the credit from the worthy chickens.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Magwinya With Mince (Fat Cakes With Beef Filling)

Botswanan Entree

MAGWINYA WITH MINCE
(Fat Cakes With Beef Filling)

INGREDIENTS – MINCE FILLING

1 medium potato
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 tomato
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
⅔ pound ground beef
2 tablespoons chutney, mango or other fruit
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup water

INGREDIENTS – FAT CAKES

3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon yeast
1½ cups warm water
2½ cups vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven

Serves 5. Takes 2 hours 20 minutes.

PREPARATION – MINCE FILLING

Peel potato. Cut potato into ¼” cubes. Mince garlic cloves, onions, and tomato. Add garlic, onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add curry powder and ground beef. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes or until beef browns. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to medium. Add potato, tomato, chutney, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until liquid thickens to a sauce. Stir enough to keep filling from burning. Remove from heat.

PREPARATION – FAT CAKES

Add flour, salt, sugar, and yeast to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork. Add water, a little a time, mixing with spoon until a soft dough forms. Knead dough with hands for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth dough ball. Cover and let sit for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Form 10 smaller dough balls. or magwinyas, with hands. Stretch the magwinyas until they become oval, Add vegetable oil to Dutch oven. Heat oil at medium heat. Oil is hot enough when a bit of added dough will start to dance. Add 3 or 4 magwinyas at a time. Cover. Deep fry for 2 minutes or until bottom of magwinyas turn golden brown. Turn over with spatula or fork. Deep fry for 2 minutes or until the new bottom of the magwinyas turn golden brown and fork inserted into them comes out clean. Remove with slotted spoon and place on plates covered with paper towels. Repeat for successive batches.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Wait until magwinyas cool enough to be touched, about 10 more minutes. Slice magwinyas along their length almost to the bottom. (It should look like an open hot-dog bun.) Push the sides of the magwinyas in from the inside. (This lets it hold more.) Place ⅓ cup filling in magwinyas. Close magwinyas.

TIDBITS

1) Look at the above photo for this dish. The mince filling sits securely in the fat cake. It doesn’t fly up to the ceiling However, if you were to turn the magwinya with mince upside down something dramatic would happen. The mince would fall out of the fat cake and fall onto the plate.

2) The plate is just a wee bit closer to the center of the Earth than in the picture. Perhaps there’s a reason for the falling mince filing.

3) Spoiler alert, it’s gravity.

4) In 1686, Isaac Newton and his sweetheart were sitting under a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g when an apple fell on his head and stopped all the smooching.

5) “Ow,” said Isaac. “I wonder why the apple fell,” said his amour. “Perhaps some unseen force acted on it.”

6) “Wahdu,” said Isaac. (Wahdu is an Indonesian word expressing amazement. You’ll have to excuse the great scientist lapse into Indonesian. It’s likely he suffered from a temporary conclusion.) “I’ll bet it’s one of the elemental forces of the universe. I shall call it gravity.”

7) Isaac left his love in the lurch and scurried back to his study to write up his theory on gravity and other basic forces. He called his magnum opus, his great contribution to scientific understanding, Principia Mathematica. He presented his worthy work to the Royal Society of London.

8) Who promptly turned it down. They had no money having blown their entire publishing budget on “The History of Fishes.”

9) Thank goodness, for the great astronomer, Edmund Halley, who paid for the printing of Principia Mathematica. Isaac never did marry, but the world was made safe for the study of physics.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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North Dakota Caramel Rolls

American Dessert

NORTH DAKOTA CARAMEL ROLLS

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup white sugar
1 cup warm water
⅔ cup softened butter (⅓ cup + ½ cup more butter later)
4 cups flour (¼ cup more later)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¼ cup flour
⅓ cup melted butter (½ cup more later)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1¼ cups more later)
no-stick spray

INGREDIENTS – CARAMEL SAUCE

½ cup melted butter
1¼ cups brown sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater or bread maker
2 9″-x-13″ cake pans
sonic obliterator

Serves 12. Takes 3 hours.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add yeast, white sugar, and warm water to large mixing bowl. Blend with fork. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add ⅔ cup softened butter, and eggs. Gradually add 4 cups flour while mixing with electric beater until you get a smooth-and-slightly-sticky dough ball. (If using a bread machine, use the dough setting for 10 minutes.)

Dust flat surface with ¼ cup flour. Add dough ball to flat surface. Roll out dough until it is ⅛” thick. (This should require about 2 14″-x-8″ surfaces.) Brush dough with ⅓ cup melted butter. Sprinkle dough with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Roll up dough. Seal edge of dough by pressing it into dough roll. Cut dough roll into 12 equal pieces. Spray cake pans with no-stick spray. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour.

PREPARATION – CARAMEL SAUCE

While dough rolls rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add ½ cup melted butter and 1¼ cups brown sugar to pot. Heat using low-medium heat. Stir constantly until brown sugar melts. Add heavy cream, light corn syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour this caramel sauce over risen dough rolls. Bake dough rolls at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or they turn golden brown Serve immediately from the cake pans or wait 5 minutes, loosen rolls with knife and invert cake pan onto serving plate..

This is a long and possibly messy recipe what with flour dust flying everywhere. So, if your guests give you any guff about the rolls or for that matter anything really, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, certainly not in your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) I list the sonic obliterator as an essential utensil in many recipes. But can’t it be used as a weapon? Yes, yes it can. However, like many dual-use kitchen utensils, it started out with only a culinary role.

2) Everyone knows that Italian chefs have brought us many great inventions. The balloon comes to mind. In 1791 Paolo Sforza let an enormous cow stomach hang over a pot of steaming clams. Still, he was smart enough to realize its military potential. He sold the idea to the new French Republic of 1792. France then made balloons to watch for approaching armies. The monarchial powers of Europe could never catch the French forces by surprise. The French Revolution remained. Democracy’s spread became inevitable. America owes its democracy to the French Republic and, by extension, to an Italian chef inadvertently steaming a cow stomach.

3) But so many other kitchen utensils gave birth to weapons and vice versa. Here are some of them:

Knives: Stone knives were used to slay and eat mastodons. Stone Age raiders used them to attack villages. Early, early chefs carved bison steaks with long knives. Long knives became swords. Rome built its legendary empire with swords.

Spears: They arose from the wooden skewers cavemen used for mastodon kebabs.

Can Openers: English pikemen carried armor openers to get plate armor off French knights. Armor openers changed into can openers. So, whenever you open a can of Chef Boyarditm mini ravioli, give a moment to thank the victors of Agincourt in 1415.

4) In 2015 Chef Conti grew so tired of lugging beef fat to the bins outside that he invented the sonic obliterator. He’d make an entire tower of fat disappear with just one push of a button. Yay.

5) A few years later an American tourist so insulted Chef Cavour of La Mucca Ubriaca restaurant in Venice that obliterated the offending oaf. The oaf’s family had the police arrest the chef for murder. However Italy’s culinary courts acquitted the chef in the landmark case Oafs v Cavour, 2017. So behave yourself when you dine out.

6) Armies all over the world are frantically developing the sonic obliterator into a long range weapon suitable for modern combat. And so it goes.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Prosciutto Arugula Pizza

Italian Entree

PROSCIUTTO ARUGULA PIZZA

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flour
1 pizza crust
2 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 prosciutto slices
1 cup arugula leaves

SPECIAL UTENSIL

pizza pan

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION                                                                                        A 15th century map of the world

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dust pizza pan with flour. Put pizza crust on pizza pan. Spread olive evenly over pizza crust. Sprinkle cheese over crust. Evenly arrange prosciutto slices over cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to turn golden brown. Remove pizza from oven. Evenly sprinkle arugula leaves over cheese and prosciutto. Slice and serve.

TIDBITS

1) Until 1492, a wide range of people, 0% to 100%, believed the world was flat. Anything that got too close to the edge of the Earth would fall off. This is why golf took so long to become popular. Enthusiasts could never be sure that wouldn’t drive their golf ball over the Earth’s edge.

2) Pizzas were also unpopular. Look at the above pizza. Look at a map of the Earth. Among other things, both are flat. A hardy few tried to eat pizzas, but a meatball or a prosciutto slice would always fall off the edge. “See?” people would say, “this proves the Earth is flat. Why would I want to eat something that reminds me why I can never play golf?” Golf-deprived populations grew surly. By the 1400s, angry mobs took to the streets, brandishing golf clubs. The aristocrats could see the writing on the wall. The people needed a diversion.

3) Then on 8 am, June 15th, 1399, the Renaissance began all over Europe. Art would pacify, even entrance the mobs. Kings, dukes, and princes everywhere combed the mobs for talented artists willing to trade their useless golf clubs for canvases and paint brushes, marble and chisels. This is how got Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, and many others.

4) In 1522, a naval expedition circumnavigated the world. This proved the Earth to be round. People could play golf! Meatballs falling off a pizza, no longer provoked images of golf balls flying into space. However, with the advent of golf matches and pizza parties, the rulers of Europe no longer saw the need to fund the arts, so the Renaissance began to wind down. Oh well.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Stovetop Popcorn

American Dessert

STOVETOP POPCORN

 

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons coconut, avocado, olive, peanut, or vegetable oil
½ cup popcorn kernels

1 tablespoon melted butter or to taste
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Serves 4 Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add oil to pot. Heat oil using medium-high heat. Put 3 kernels in pot. Cover with lid. Wait until you hear them all pop. Add popcorn kernels as evenly as you can. Cover pot. Remove pan from heat for 30 seconds. This brings all the kernels to the same temperature so that they will pop at about the same time.

Return pot to stove. Shake the pot gently once popping begins to ensure even heating. Remove pot from heat when the interval between popping reaches 3 seconds. Remove from heat. Wait for 15 seconds. (This prevents kernels popping up to your face.) Remove lid and pour popcorn into large serving bowl. Sprinkle popcorn with salt. Drizzle popcorn evenly with melted butter. Gently stir popcorn to ensure butter on all kernels.

TIDBITS

1) Mr. La Fong lived in Paducah, Kentucky in the early 20th century. He sold socks and loved stovetop popcorn. One Saturday he forgot to put the lid atop the pan with the popcorn. The absent minded Carl became the first human to really watch corn kernels pop. To his amazement nearly all of the popping occurred within a few seconds. During that flurry of activity, little kernels burst open to become much bigger popcorn. The thin layer of kernels on the pan erupted into a mountain of popcorn. Then popcorn flew out of the pan of the pan, rocketing to all corners of the kitchen.

2) Now, of course, La Fong possessed the rudimentary knowledge of Einstein’s equations necessary to any successful 20th century Kentuckian sock merchant. “Whoa ho,” said the worthy sock seller, “the universe itself must have started the very same way as this popcorn.” He wrote feverishly through the night to put down his The Big Popcorn Popping Theory of the Universe. He went to bed, exhausted yet proud. Unfortunately, his dog, Rex, ate his manuscript during the night. Later scientists would receive acclaim with the only slightly different Big Bang Theory. However, the eating of his theory, while unarguably bad for the Sock Man of Paducah, did give rise to the “Dog ate my homework excuse” which school kids have used ever since. So, some good came of it.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Eggs Padang In Spicy Coconut Milk

Indonesian Entree

EGGS PADANG IN SPICY COCONUT MILK

 

INGREDIENTS – GARNISH

6 shallots (6 more later)
½ cup – vegetable oil (2 more tablespoons later)

INGREDIENTS – SPICE PASTE

1″ galangal root* or ginger root
1″ ginger root or 2 teaspoons ginger powder
½” turmeric root* or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
6 shallots
5 Thai chiles (also known as bird’s eye chiles) or Fresno chiles
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon coconut milk (2 more cups later)

INGREDIENTS – REST

10 hard-boiled eggs
1 stalk lemongrass or 1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 kaffir lime leaves* or bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind juice*, tamarind paste*, white wine, or rice vinegar

* = You can get these items at Asian or world supermarkets, or use the substitutes listed above.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline
spice grinder
food processor
wok or pan with tall sides
sonic obliterator (No modern kitchen should be without one)

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 5 minutes.

PREPARATION – GARNISH

Peel shallots. Use mandoline or knife to thinly slice 6 shallots. Add shallot slices and ½ cup vegetable oil to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until shallot becomes crispy and turns golden brown. Remove crispy shallot from pan. Drain and reserve.

PREPARATION – SPICE PASTE

Use spice grinder to make paste of galangal root, ginger root, and turmeric root. Peel 6 shallots. Add all spice-paste ingredients to food processor. Blend until you get a paste.

PREPARATION – REST

Add enough water to cover 10 eggs to large pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Carefully add eggs. Boil from 6 minutes (for soft-boiled eggs) to 12 minutes (for hard-boiled eggs.) Remove shells.

While eggs boil, remove white, hard part of lemongrass. Dice the green, inside part.. Add 2 tablespoons oil, diced lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until the sautéed ingredients becomes fragrant. Stir frequently.

Add 2 cups coconut milk to wok. Bring to boil using medium heat. Stir frequently. Add spice paste and sautéed kaffir leaves and lemongrass. Cook for two minutes. Stir frequently. Carefully add eggs. Bring to boil again using medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes or sauce. Stir enough to prevent burning. Add tamarind juice. Stir gently until well blended. Remove kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with crispy shallot slices. Use sonic obliterator to zap guests who complain your substituted ingredients or anything else. You don’t need their negativity in your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) It almost goes without saying that eggs are egg shaped. That’s because they are eggs. Elephants, however, are not egg shaped. Indonesia has both elephants and eggs. Indonesia has the Sumatran elephant. This elephant is the smallest Asian elephant. Indonesia also has small eggs.

2) So, we can conclude that the existence of eggs is a necessary requirement for elephants to live. It’s doubtful that elephants eat chicken eggs or any other egg type for that matter. So why do elephants only flourish around eggs? No consensus among the world’s culinary scientists. However, we can answer the age-old riddle, “Which came first, the elephant or the egg?”

3) It’s the egg.

4) Eggs are shaped like the bottom of bowling pins. Indeed eggs bowling was popular in Indonesia in May, 927. But its appeal waned rapidly as the egg pins always fell over and rolled into the gutters. Egg bowlers took to bowling one gutter ball after another. The easy success of knocking down an egg pin that was already down led to constant, lengthy disputes about scoring. Also striking an egg with a bowling ball inevitably shattered the egg. Indonesian bowling leagues used up eggs at a prodigious rate. Only the nation’s leaders could afford to eat eggs. This egg shortage made the common people restless. Indeed, egg anger rose to such a fever pitch, that the elite banned egg bowling. Serenity returned to Indonesia’s beautiful islands but, it had been a near run thing.

5) Then in 1299, Oswaldo Wooden came up with the happy idea of making bowling pins out of wood. The sport of bowling has thrived ever since.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., critic

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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Tacos Al Pastor

Mexican Entree

TACOS AL PASTOR

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

1 ancho chile
4 guajillo chiles
4 garlic cloves
3 cloves
1 small onion (1 more onion later)
1 large tomato
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup orange juice
⅔ cup pineapple juice*
2¼ pounds pork loin

INGREDIENTS – REST

1 can diced pineapple (*You can use the pineapple juice from the can)
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 small onion
5 limes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (½ teaspoon at a time)
12 -to-24 corn tortillas*
1 cup pico de gallo
1 cup guacamole

* = If you like to put a lot of food in your tacos or if your tortillas are a bit on the crumbly side, then use 2 tortillas for each taco.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
6 metal skewers
drip pan

Serves 6. Takes 5 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Add ancho chile and guajillo chiles to pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Boil for 10 minutes or until chiles soften. Seed chiles. Add chiles and remaining marinade ingredients save pork loin to food processor. Blend until you get a smooth marinade. Add marinade and pork loin to large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

PREPARATION – REST

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pork loin into ½” thick slices. Cut slices into 1″ squares. Alternate threading pork squares and pineapple pieces onto skewers. Place on oven rack. Place oven pan underneath to collect drippings. Cook for 12 minutes or until pork is no longer pink inside. Turn every 4 minutes.

Dice cilantro and 1 small onion. Cut limes into 4 wedges each. Add 1 tortilla and ½ teaspoon oil to pan. Sauté at medium heat just long enough to warm tortilla. Flip tortilla once. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

Make tacos by filling tortillas with pork squares and pineapple pieces. Garnish tacos with cilantro, diced onion, and lime wedges. Serve tacos immediately alongside bowls of pico de gallo and guacamole.

TIDBITS

1) Pastor Alfonso Hernandez was a itinerant preacher who wandered the Pacific Coast from Seattle to Acapulco. He preached the word of God to whomever would listen. Sometimes he enthralled large crowds. Other times just one person would hear him out. His sermons brought peace beyond understanding to all his listeners.

2) Random acts of kindness would brake out after he left. These people felt grateful for the love he showed them. “Please take some money, your words moved me,” they’d say. He’d always reply, “I can take no money for those aren’t my words. I only borrow them.”

3) The good people would then say, “But you look hungry. Have some food.” The good man accepted their offerings, for he was indeed hungry. Sometimes his listeners gave him ancho chiles. Sometimes he received guajillos chiles. He even accepted garlic cloves. After preaching to an assembly of eight, they might even offer him onion, tomatoes, and cumin.

4) An even larger gathering might present him with Mexican oregano, paprika, pepper, and pepper to spice up his tomatoes. After getting all these spices, the holy man was especially grateful for orange juice to drink. The good people of Ensenada gave him pineapple juice and pork butt. Sometimes, the religious throngs gave him too much to consume at any one time. Whenever this occurred, he’d put the surplus in his coat of many pockets.

5) After ministering to the faithful at Acapulco, the many wealthy Catholics showered him with: diced pineapple, fresh cilantro, small onions, limes, vegetable oil (½ teaspoon at a time), corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole. This was, too much for any one man to eat. So he shared all the bounty he’d received that day. He then brought forth from all his pockets all the food and spices he’d been accumulating on his travels. “Why,” Pastor Al said, we have enough for a feast of tacos.”

6) “Gracias,” shouted the happy people, “for the tacos from Pastor Al’s coat!” Since the inhabitants of Acapulco were incurable anagramists, this wonderful culinary creation would soon be known forever as Tacos al Pastor.

7) Olé.

 

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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Cottage Pie

British Entree

COTTAGE PIE

INGREDIENTS – MASHED POTATOES

4 medium potatoes
⅔ cup milk
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon more later)
½ cup Cheddar cheese (¼ cup more later)

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

2 carrots*
1 garlic clove*
1 onion*
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons fresh parsley**
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary**
2 teaspoons fresh thyme**
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups beef broth
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup frozen peas*

INGREDIENT – FINAL

¼ cup Cheddar cheese

SPECIAL UTENSILS

potato masher
9″ round casserole dish
sonic obliterator (This gadget really is essential for the modern kitchen.)

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes..

* = There is a fierce controversy over what veggies go into a cottage pie. You are one your own on this one. Carrots and peas are the most popular. You’ll probably want a sonic obliterator on hand in case one of your guests argues with you over your vegetable choice. It’s okay to zap them with your sonic obliterator. There is indeed a legal precedent for this. (See M. Soult v M. Oudinot, 1809) Just remember, a cottage pie uses beef while a shepherd’s pie uses lamb.

** = If you don’t have fresh herbs handy, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.

PREPARATION – MASHED POTATOES

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add potatoes and enough water to cover them to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato cubes are tender. Drain water. Add milk. Mash potato cubes with potato masher. Add pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup cheese. Stir with fork until well blended.

PREPARATION – FILLING

While potatoes boil and simmer, dice carrots, garlic clove, and onion. Add carrot, garlic, onion, and beef to large pan. Cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Briefly remove from heat. Dice parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, and flour to pan.

Add beef broth, ½ teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Add contents from mixing bowl to pan. Return pan to heat. Simmer at low-medium heat for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning. Stir in peas.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Add filling to casserole dish. Smooth until level. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over filling. If you are adventurous, use fork to make swirly designs in the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheese over mashed potatoes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Serve to appreciative guests. Use sonic obliterator on the ungrateful ones.

TIDBITS

1) Cottage pie uses peas. Peas were likely eaten by Neanderthals 46,000 years ago.

2) Because peas help with: protein, blood-sugar management, digestion, your heart, and protects against cancer. But even so, the Neanderthals died out just 6,000 years later. Why?

3) We know that peas were eaten by modern humans, Cro Magnons 23,000 years ago. So apparently, they went 17,000 years without peas. Yet their branch of the human family tree prospered, Cro Magnon’s descendants walk among us today. I confess to being one of them.

4) Culinary anthropologists agree on the following explanation. From 40,000-to-23,000 thousand years ago, Neanderthals and Cro Magnons engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Both sides strove to gain control of the life-sustaining, wild-pea patches. Ultimately, the Cro Magnons prevailed. So, they lived. The pealess Neanderthals went extinct. Bummer.

5) The Romans ate peas. The built, by conquest, one of the greatest empires in history. The Saxons did not eat peas. The Normans did. This explains the Norman Conquest in 1066.

6) So when your parents told you to eat your peas, they knew what was at stake.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., fashionisto

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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

Italian Sub

American Entree

ITALIAN SUB

INGREDIENTS

1 Italian sub roll* or ⅓ baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ ounces sliced capicola
1½ ounces mortadella
1½ ounces Genoa salami
1½ ounces provolone
1 leaf iceberg lettuce, shredded (optional)
1 Roma tomato (optional)
¼ red onion (optional)

* Sub rolls can be made crunchy by putting them in a toaster oven. Use “toast” setting for 1 minute.

Serves 1. Takes 10 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut Italian roll in half lengthwise. Drizzle both halves with olive oil. Add capicola, mortadella, and Genoa salami to bottom half of the roll. Put provolone on top of meat. Sprinkle iceberg lettuce on provolone. Cut Roma tomato lengthwise into 4 slices. Place tomato slices on lettuce. Thinly slice the red onion. Place red-onion slices on tomato slices. Put top half of sub roll on tomato slices. And Bob’s your uncle.

TIDBITS

1) In 1794, Signor Fabio Grimaldi of Florence develops the world’s first USB port. Nothing happens. The invention comes way ahead of its time. There are no computers, absolutely no place to put a USB port. There are even no memory sticks to go into the USB port.

2) And anyway Napoleon’s invasion of Italy in 1796 signals the start of nearly non-stop fighting across the European continent. Scientific investigation ends except for Signor Gabelli’s single attempt to build a under water fighting vessel made from bread. This sub research ends in frustration.

3) In 1903 Giovanni Amati makes the first edible Italian sub. It’s too big for Grimaldi’s USB port which unfortunately was tied to a kite’s tail and was blown away, lost forever.

4) But this sub was roughly the right shape. In 1955, for reasons which have been lost, Sarah Marston baked a tiny stick like sub. The dyslexic Sarah called it a USB stick.. Her husband the wine drinker munched on the stick and declared, “It needs port.” Of course, he meant port, the wine, but he had once raised again the USB-port idea. This vision was bound to grow again in the mind of science geeks everywhere. And it did. Today, every computer comes with USB ports and memory sticks. Now you know.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: history, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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