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Chilli Taiyo (Spicy Tuna Casserole)

Solomon Islander Entree

CHILLI TAIYO
(Spicy Tuna Casserole)

INGREDIENTS

½ pound thin noodles (Chinese or Italian)
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 12-ounce can tuna*
4 ounces chili paste*
2 tablespoons lime juice.
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
8 fresh basil leaves

* = If you are willing to order from Australia, you can buy cans of chilli taiyo instead of getting the first two ingredients. You can also substitute the chili paste with 6 very small but quite spicy hot peppers. Do you feel lucky?

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook noodles according to instructions on package. Drain and reserve noodles.

Mince garlic cloves. Dice onion. Add garlic, onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Add tuna and chili paste to pan. Stir with spoon until well blended. Flatten the tuna. Cook at medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning. Add lime juice, pepper, and salt. Stir until blended. Cook for an additional 7 minutes or until tuna reaches your desired level of crispiness. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning.

Add noodles to tuna in pan. Simmer at low-medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning. Garnish with basil leaves.

TIDBITS

1) This entree is served in a round bowl.

2) Have bowls always been round?

3) No, although culinary archeologists have found many round bowls in Cro-Magnon burial grounds, the evidence shows that Neanderthals used rectangular bowls.

4) Moreover, when experts say that Neanderthalic bowls were rectangular, they were being generous. Not a single bowl fashioned by a Neanderthal boasts of having a straight edge. It’s almost as if the neanderthals didn’t care if their bowls made a fashion statement. In fact, the Neanderthals often made bowls with more than four angles, with hardly any of them being 90 degrees.

5) Please refer to the definitive study on this matter: von Kartofflen, Otto, Ph.D., “Lack of Geometric Precision in Neanderthalic Bowls, Indifference or Straight-Edge and Right-Angle-Tool Technology Deprivation, Prehistoric Research, August, 1973.

6) Many culinary researchers believe possession of round bowls enabled the Cro Magnons to overcome their Neanderthal cousins. Perhaps the round bowls could be hurled farther, like a discus.

7) This discus-bowl theory is gaining more and more credence. One only has to look at Ancient Greek paintings on vases. The earliest depictions show the athletes flinging round bowls. As time went on, discuses supplanted the bowls.

8) In 1673 B.C., geometricians of Sumer-Akkad develop the first straight edges and right angles. People could now dine out and eat off tables! It was the first golden age of dining out.

9) But this golden age of eating, did not last for ever. For in the times of legend, knights all wanted to be seated nearest to the king while feasting. The closer you were to your liege lord’s chair, the more prestige you had. If you sat far away, the more prestigious knights would laugh at you and say “Na na na poo poo” to say and you would hang your head in shame.

10) But then the quite possibly fictitious ruler, King Arthur, thought why not make a round table? With such a table, there is no specific king’s chair, so no one will know how far, in advance, how much or little prestige they have when sitting down to sup. This idea worked marvelously well. Jockeying for position and status by the knights in the feasting hall disappeared.

11) Hundreds of years later, a knight noticed that you could count how many spots you sat away from the king. War, born out of rivalry, would have broken out but for the soothing round shapes of their soup bowls. It was a near run thing. This is why bowls, to this day, are always round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Round shape brings peace.                                                                       Rectangular shape brings war.

 

– 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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Beef Smore From Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Entree

BEEF SMORE

INGREDIENTS

2 pound piece of sirloin or beef chuck
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
1 large onion
1 small green chile
1 stalk lemongrass (tender inner bottom part only)
2½ tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2″ cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10 fresh curry leaves or ½ teaspoon dry curry leaves or curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1¼ cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon or tamarind juice

Serves 6. Takes 2 hour 30 minutes

PREPARATION

Make holes in beef with fork. (This will aid in marinating.) Add beef, vinegar, and pepper to bowl. Marinate for 1 hour.

While beef marinates. Mince garlic cloves, ginger root, green chile, and onion. Seed and mince green chile. Thinly slice lemongrass. Add ghee to pan. Heat ghee at high heat until is hot enough to make a fenugreek seed dance. Carefully add beef to pan. Sauté for 2 minutes on each side or until browned all over. Remove meat to plate. Leave beef juices in pan.

Add garlic, ginger, green chile, onion, cinnamon stick, fenugreek seeds, fresh curry leaves. and lemongrass. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. Add beef back to pan. Add beef, red pepper flakes, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Lower heat to low and simmer 40 minutes or until the beef reaches your desired level of doneness and coconut milk reduces to a gravy. Turn beef over every 10 minutes. Slice beef to your desired thickness. Spoon onion gravy over beef slices.

TIDBITS

1) At first, Sri Lankan Beef Smores were cooked on a handy twig over an open flame.

2) But the weight of the meat made the twig snap

3) The sirloin would fall into the ashy fire pit.

4) Chefs then shouted, “I need more sirloin.”

5) So many sirloins landed on ashes that this requested shortened to, “I need smore sirloin.”

6) Then eventually to “Smore” by the Monosyllabic Chef Association (MCA).

7) And so it went. Sirloin after sirloin fell into one campfire pit after another.

8) This food wastage bankrupted one restaurant after another.

9) Clearly, the food-service industry needed a new idea.

10) And in 1619, Chef Kasun Perera revolutionized everything when he said, “Why not move this meal indoors? We won’t get rained on.”

11) “Or even stampeded by elephants.”

12) Sure, moving the meal to avoid getting crushed by wild beasts seems obvious now.

13) But isn’t the way with all new ideas?

14) No, not all new ideas arise from Stampeding Elephant Fear Syndrome (SEFS). Rather, all new ideas will eventually seem obvious.

15) You could have skipped to this tidbit from tidbit 11, but it wasn’t obvious then. It is now. See?

16) Or even have skipped to here. Any way, moving fire pits inside dramatically lessened the number of deaths due to elephants.

17)However, way too many restaurants burned to the ground from the flames in the open pits.

18) Customers look askance at fleeing a burning restaurant.

19) The restaurant industry needed another fertile mind.

20) It got with Tharindi Bandari, when in 1878, he said, “How about cooking things on a pan on a metal stove?” They will be no fires when we cook our beef smores this way.”

21) It’s impossible to overstate how this brainstorm transformed cooking.

22) Now, the entire world enjoys fire-storm free dining.

23) America came up with a different solution to the ashy sirloin problem. In 1958 little Timmy Perkins replaced the ingredients of the Sri Lankan Beef Smore with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate saying, “The weight of melting marshmallow will never break our twig.” It worked! It tasted great. “I’ll have smore,” said Timmy’s dad. And in 1997, Timmy’s brilliance would win him the Noble Price for Culinary Achievement.

– 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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Mocha Coffee Creamer

American Appetizer

MOCHA COFFEE CREAMER

INGREDIENTS

4 cups half and half
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

2-to-3 screw-top bottles or jars.

Makes 4 cups. Takes 15 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling in refrigerator

PREPARATION

Add half and half and sugar to pot. Warm on low-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir constantly. Don’t let it boil. Remove from heat. Add cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir until cocoa powder dissolves and liquid is well blended. Pour into bottles and refrigerate. This creamer will stay fresh up to 7 days.

TIDBITS

1) The bottle in this picture looks tall. It is tall! How tall is it? It’s as tall as Mount Everest. In fact, it was constructed right next to the world’s highest mountain. That’s how we know the bottle’s height.

2) Wow, how did I not notice it? You did. The Tall Bottle Filled With Mocha Creamer Next To Mount Everest story dominated the news for a week.

3) Then thieves stole the bottle for its recycling value. The epic journey of the bottle to a recycling center in Manchester, England became news as well.

4) How do I not remember any of this? Well, other things happened in the world, sports, politics, etc. On Facebook, pictures of kittens and puppies crowded out all other items.

5) Oh, and when the thieves emptied the bottle, they created a vast mocha-creamer glacier right there in Tibet. Inspired culinary scientists are now looking to making sheets made of mocha-creamer to replace the disappearing polar-ice shelves. This is why you can’t find any mocha creamers on your supermarket shelves.

– 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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Beef Rendang

Indonesian Entree

BEEF RENDANG

INGREDIENTS

4 red chiles
1 inch galangal or ginger root
5 garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon peppercorns
6 shallots
1 inch turmeric root
1 stalk lemongrass
2 pounds beef tenderloin or top round
2 tablespoons oil
1 inch cinnamon stick
½ tablespoon salt
3 kaffir lime leaves or ½ teaspoon lime zest
1 salam leaf or bay leaf
3 13-ounce cans coconut milk

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Seed red chiles. Add red chile, galangal, garlic cloves, peppercorns, shallots, and turmeric to spice grinder. Grind until these spices become paste. Remove and discard upper ⅔rd of lemongrass stalk. Remove and discard the three outer layers. Dice remaining lemongrass. Cut beef into 1″ cubes.

Add spice paste and oil to work or large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until paste becomes fragrant. Stir constantly. Add all remaining ingredients to wok. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour. Stir enough to prevent burning. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the milky part of the liquid is gone, leaving a little bit of coconut oil. (Most of the liquid should be evaporated.) Stir enough to prevent burning. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes or until beef and sauce turn brown. Remove cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and kaffir lime leaves. Goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) The dish into the above picture is served on, well, a dish. The dish is round.

2) Why is it not square?

3 )Because you cannot roll something is square

4) Why does it matter if you can roll a dish? After all, if you rolled the above dish before you ate, you lost the food.

5) Clearly, the round shape was designed for something else in mind.

6) What was that?

7) One theory, advanced by culinary, archeologists, is that primitive caveman invented the stone FrisbeeTM.

8) They didn’t call it the Frisbee, of course. It’s named after the Frisbee Pie Company which sold its wares in round pie dishes.

9) Culinary historians believe most prehistoric companies were called Ogg, Inc. because nearly all cavemen were named Ogg. Cavewomen were called Ogg.

10) Therefore, these ancient humans probably named their invention the OggTM.

11) Isn’t surprising early humankind possessed the knowledge to incorporate and trademark things?

12) Alas though, the Ogg proved a dismal failure. If you didn’t catch it, it hit you in the head and that was that.

13) Indeed, culinary historians believe widespread Ogg playing extinguished the Neanderthals.

14) After a much briefer fling with the sport, the Cro Magnons abandoned Ogg tossing.

15) Tossing the Ogg around was supposed to be a fun leisure time activity. But making the circular Ogg took up all their free time. So, what was the point of making Oggs?

16) None, the Cro Magnons concluded. So, they went on to make spears, axes, animal skins, and the like. Humanity went on not quite a talc age, which is a bit below a golden age.

17) Throwing round things became a popular sport in Ancient Greek Olympics. Physically fit from throwing the much lighter and metallic Ogg–by then called the discus–Greeks explored the entire known world.

18) The Romans, inheritors of Greek civilization, conquered the entire Mediterranean and much of northwestern Europe. The Roman built roads to facilitate rapid deployment of legions from crisis point to another. And we all know, the Roman legionnaire loved to throw the discus.

19) The Roman army passed on discuss throwing to the natives wherever they went. The natives became buff as well. So, the Roman conquest proved to be quite the good thing for the locals once everybody got past the initial wholesale slaughter-and-enslavement phase. And ever since then we have lived in a round-thingy-throwing golden age.

20) But it’s sobering to think how the Cro Magnons, the last remaining branch of humankind, came to throwing themselves into extinction.

– 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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Medfouna

Moroccan Entree

MEDFOUNA
(Marrakech Pizza)

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

2¼ teaspoons yeast
¾ cup warm water
1¾ cups all-purpose flour (4 more tablespoons later)
½ cup wheat flour or semolina
¾ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – FILLING
1 onion
1 red chile
⅓ cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt or salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 pound steak or lamb (minced or ground)

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 more tablespoons later)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
¼ teaspoon sea salt or salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
plastic wrap or kitchen towels
baking sheet
parchment paper

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add yeast and warm water to 1st large mixing bowl. Stir with fork until yeasts dissolves. Let sit for 10 minutes or until yeast becomes bubbly. Gradually add in 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, wheat flour, and salt. Stir with fork until well blended. Use medium setting for electric beater on flour/yeast mix until you get a smooth and elastic ball of dough.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Place in bowls and cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towels. Let rise for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

PREPARATION – FILLING

While dough rises. mince onion. Seed and dice red chile. Dice parsley. Add all filling ingredients to 2nd large mixing bowl. Mix well with hands until well blended.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Roll out one dough ball until it’s a circle 11″ across. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Put 11″ dough circle on parchment paper. Poke the circle 10 times with a fork. Spread filing over 11″ circle, leaving 1″ uncovered around the edges.

Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Roll out remaining dough ball into an 11″ circle. Place this 11″ dough circle on top of filling. Dip fingers in water and press edges together to form a seal. Beat egg. Spread egg on top. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 360 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) In 1801, William Playfair ordered medfouna in a small cafe in while in Marrakech. He sliced his pizza into four pieces. He ate a slice. It was delicious. Playfair gazed at the three remaining pieces. The proportion of the slices equaled the ratios of the Ottoman Empire that were in Europe, Asia, and Africa! He called his startling idea the “pizza-pie chart,” shortened afterward to “pie chart.”

2) You might think his idea would have sparked little interest among Britain’s scientific community. But no, that’s all the island nation’s greatest minds could talk about. They’d gone pie-chart mad.

4) So much so that the British scientists abandoned all research on the not as sexy topic of time travel. That’s too bad for King George III’s redcoats. For if Britain had had time travel, they could have gone forward to the 20th century and bought back machine guns, howitzers, jet fighters, and all sorts of bombers. It’s difficult to see how the French army of the early 19th century could have stood up to all of that, even with the element of surprise.

5) But the pie-chart mania precluded the development of all modern weaponry. The Napoleonic Wars dragged on for fourteen more bloody years. The British public blamed the pie chart. Whereas, pie charts were once found on every street in London, by 1816 they were all gone.

7) Pie charts came back during the Crimean War when Nurse Florence Nightingale taught the idea to her bandaged patients. It was her way of helping them pass the time. Pie charts died out when the war ended and Britain closed all its pie-chart hospitals in Crimea.

8) Pie charts remained unloved when World War II rolled around. With no pie charts to distract them, British boffins created one dazzling breakthrough after another, such as radar and the Spitfire. Enabled by this technology, the British defeated the Nazi War machine. Now, of course, we have both spiffy weapons and pie charts, but only because today’s scientists have learned to specialize.

– 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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Saag Aloo

Indian Entree

SAAG ALOO

INGREDIENTS

½ tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds or combination
3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2 green chiles
1 inch ginger root
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tomato
1½ pounds potatoes
10 ounces spinach
½ teaspoon coriander
½ tablespoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Seed and mince green chiles. Mince ginger and onion. Dice garlic cloves and tomato. Peel and cut potatoes into ½” cubes. Add ghee, potato, chile, ginger, onion, and garlic cloves to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and garlic soften. Stir frequently. Add mustard seeds to second pan. Reduce heat to medium and toast for 2 minutes or until they splutter and pop. Stir frequently.

Add toasted mustard seeds, coriander, garam masala, pepper, salt, and water to pan with potato cubes. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato. Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add spinach evenly over potato cubes. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until potato cubes are tender. Stir gently and just enough to prevent burning.

TIDBITS

1) Look at these two still-life representations The one on the left was painted by Vincent van Gogh. Ponder on his distressing lack of accuracy. The one on the right, shown also above, was taken by me. Regale in its crisp definition. Which one would you rather own, I ask you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– 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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Teriyaki Salmon

Japanese Entree

TERIYAKI SALMON

INGREDIENTS

½ cup mirin or (½ cup white wine and 3 tablespoons sugar)
¼ cup sake or dry white wine
⅔ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 green onion
½ tablespoon sesame seeds
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

large, resealable plastic bag
outdoor grill

Serves 4. Takes 3 hours 25 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add mirin, sake, soy sauce, corn starch, ginger, brown sugar, and white sugar to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. until sugar dissolves. Stir constantly. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Add marinade and salmon fillets to large, resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

30 minutes before marinating is done, dice green onion. Add sesame seeds to pan. Toast sesame seeds at medium heat for 5 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove from heat. Add marinade to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until marinade thickens to a glaze. Stir frequently. Transfer to a bowl.

Spray grill with no-stick spray. Heat grill to low-medium. Brush salmon with glaze. Add salmon fillets to grill. Grill for 10 minutes for every 1″ of fillet thickness or until the thickest part starts to flake when tested with a fork. Turn once. Baste salmon with glaze every 2 minutes. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

TIDBITS

1) Look at the above picture. The piece on the right looks like a triangle. So, in 570 B.C., when the geometry whiz, Pythagoras, was about to feast on a right-angled shaped piece of salmon teriyaki, inspiration naturally struck. “Whoa ho, the sum of the square of the two-sides equals the square of the hypotenuse.” None of this would have happened if he had been eating a hard-boiled egg.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

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

Currywurst

German Entree

CURRYWURST

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil (1 more tablespoon later)
1½ tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound bratwurst, knockwurst, or kielbasa
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Serves 3. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince onion. Add onion and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil to pot. Sauté at medium-high heat or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add curry powder, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 1 minute. Stir frequently. Add tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir enough to prevent sauce from burning.

While sauce simmers, slice bratwurst into ½” slices. Add bratwurst and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium heat for 10 minutes. Flip and stir bratwurst slices until they are all browned on both sides. Pour sauce over bratwurst slices and serve. Goes well with French fries.

TIDBITS

1) The city state of Ur was founded nearly 6,000 years when social media required flint chisels and stone. Archeologists–woo, spelled it right the first time, have found previous few examples of trolling in wall-platform comments’ sections, probably because they took several days to upload. Even then, the ripostes limited themselves to the likes of “Sez you.” and “So’s, your mother.”

2) So, Urs?, Urps?, Curs?,citizens of Ur generally expressed themselves in the culinary arts. German sausages were quite popular, thousands of years before the creation of the modern Germany. So far, culinary historians, always a fractious bunch, haven’t arrived at a consensus explaining this.

3) However, we know that Ramses II, pharaoh of Ancient Egypt–an inventor of the first condom, it still bears his name, loved Nile sausages. He hated the imports from Ur. “Ugh,” he said, “Those Curs, their sausage is the worst.” It was then only a hop, skip, and jump to the calling the foreign sausage, “Curry Wurst.” Currywurst, however, experienced a renaissance with the advent of refrigeration and air travel between Ur and Berlin. It’s now quite popular in the German capital.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

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

Falafel (Tamiya) From Egypt

Egyptian Appetizer

FALAFEL
(Tamiya)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dried fava beans* (aka broad beans)
1 small onion
8 green onions
2 garlic cloves
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable oil (Enough to cover falafel patties)

* = Look in Middle Eastern supermarkets, supermarkets selling mostly organic food, or online. Also see if you can get these dried beans with the skins already removed. If you can only find canned fava beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
large no-stick pan

Serves 6. Takes overnight for soaking plus 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add fava beans to large pot. Cover with water. Cover with lid and let soak overnight.

Rinse fava beans. Rub skins off beans. Add onion, green onion, garlic, baking powder, coriander, cumin, salt, fresh cilantro, and fresh parsley to food processor. Blend until everything is blended and minced. Add beans, Blend only until beans form a paste. (If the beans are blended more, your falafel might fall apart later.) Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape bean paste in 1″ balls. Flatten balls until they are ½” thick patties. Add oil, enough to cover patties, to large no-stick pan. Heat oil at high heat until bubbles form on the bottom. Carefully add falafel patties to pan. Don’t let them touch each other. (You will need to cook in batches.) Fry patties until golden brown. (This happens quickly.) Remove patties and drain on paper towels. Goes quite well with warm pita bread, hummus, and tomato salad.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is an appetizer. Culinary cryptographers will tell you that “appetizer” comes from an anagram for “Zap Peter I.”

2) And culinary linguists know that “zap” comes from the Russian “zapkya.” This word means to assassinate, kill, plot against, and otherwise dethrone and overthrow by means of feeding appetizers to the hated tsar.”

3) So, zap Peter I means to overthrow Peter I, perhaps even kill. Tsar Peter I was not completely enamored of this concept. Particularly so when the streltsky, Russian musketeers, engineered coups against him by serving appetizers to the palace guard. “Have some appetizers,” they said to the guards, “They’re quite tasty.” And they were. So much so that the entire guard ate and ate until they all had to take lengthy naps.

4) While the palace guard napped, the musketeers rounded up Peter’s supporters and imprisoned them. The streltsky would then enthrone in a figurehead, one who could be counted on the double the daily vodka ration.

5) Doubling the vodka ration made the musketeers drunk and pass out. Peter then reclaimed power while the streltsky lolled around in drunken stupors. Eventually, the musketeers sobered up and fed appetizers to the palace guards again.

6) And so it went, appetizers put the musketeers’ figurehead in power again. Drunken binges enabled Peter I to get back in control.

7) Then on April 1, 1698, Peter I experienced a brainstorm. Why not try giving the musketeers rivers of vodka AND appetizers? The idea worked. The besotted musketeers became so logy from eating platter after platter of appetizers, they slept themselves into oblivion.

8) Peter I, tsar of all the Russias, took advantage of the streltsky’s lasting inertia to tie them up. When they came to, they found themselves on a giant iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. The musketeers had enough food to last 30 days, along with hundreds of ping pong battles and ping pong balls. Tsar Peter had thoughtfully provided them also with enough pencils and entry forms to the First Winter Ping Pong Arctic Ocean Tournament.

9) Culinary historians doubt that the musketeers ever finished the tournament. The strong winter gales prevalent would have simply blown one ping pong ball after another into oblivion. At any rate, the marooned men would have found hitting remaining white ping pong balls quite difficult in the ever present white blizzards.

10) But the constant appetizer-fed revolts burned a lesson into Tsar Peter I’s brain. Never let any Russian eat appetizers. In 1699, he ordered the destruction of all the restaurants making appetizers.
No one would ever “Zap Peter I.”

11) But in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II foolishly permitted the making of appetizers. Lenin and Trotsky fed appetizers to the palace guard who fell asleep. The communists seized power. We are still living with the consequences of the Russian Revolution. Now you know why.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

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

Llapingachos

Ecuadorian Entree

LLAPINGACHOS
(Potato Cheese Patties)

INGREDIENTS – POTATOES

½ small white onion (½ small onion more later)
2½ pounds russet or brown potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (additional ¼ cup vegetable oil later)
½ tablespoon achiote powder
3 green onions
¼ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 cup queso blanco, queso fresco, quesillo, or mozzarella cheese
¼ cup vegetable oil (or ¼ cup per batch)

INGREDIENTS – SALSA DE MANI

1¼ cups milk
½ small white onion (See? I told you it would show up again.)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
¼ teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSIL

potato masher

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – POTATOES

Dice ½ small white onion. Peel potatoes. Cut each potato into eight pieces. Put potato pieces into large pot. Add enough water to cover potato bits. Bring water to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove potatoes and let cool.

While potatoes and then cool, add 2 tablespoons oil, onion, and achiote powder to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Drain potatoes Mash potatoes with potato masher. Mince green onions. Add white onion, green onion, and salt to mashed potatoes. Mix with fork until well blended.

Form mashed-potato mix into 16 balls. Insert 1 tablespoon queso blanco into center of each potato ball. Close hole in potato ball and flatten slightly to make llapingachos. Add ¼ cup oil and llapingachos to pan. Heat oil using low-medium heat. Do not let llapingachos touch. Sauté for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Gently turn over once. Repeat for each batch.

PREPARATION – SALSA DE MANI

While potatoes cook and then cool, slice ½ small white onion into 4 pieces. Add this white onion and milk to pan. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to keep milk from burning. Remove onion and discard. Add peanut butter and salt. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until peanut-butter sauce, salsa de mani thickens. Spread warm salsa de mani over llapingachos.

TIDBITS

1) Ever get deja vu? Like you read this recipe some twenty years ago? Or maybe you knew tonight’s dinner would be pot roast? Okay, maybe you knew that because today is Tuesday and you always have pot roast on Tuesday. But what about the time you saw Spiffy the Squirrel win the Boston Marathon and only you had known he’d win because you somehow had seen it happen a week ago?

2) Anagram scientists know now that deja vu is not merely a feeling but instead that alga, the stuff that grows on the surface on ponds, are trying to communicate to us from the future. It’s true! Fishermen, golfers, and politicians will tell you the same. Look at the name of this dish, Llapingachos” That word is an anagram for “alga phonics.”

3) In 2032, internet providers, locked in ever increasing competition search looked frantically for faster and faster ways of data transmission. On April 2nd , Timothy “Timothy” Harris, Ph.D and CEO. of Harris Labs dropped his cell phone in an alga-ridden pond. To his surprise, it still dried out instantly! It still worked! It even worked 38% faster than before! Timmy’s brain swirled with exclamations marks. He’d win a Nobel Prize! Then his phone stopped transmitting. The screen stayed on, but the wallpaper switched to pond scum. Dr. Harris slapped his forehead. But, of course, the alga now in his phone had dissolved and replaced its the precious metals. The phone would now only send forth images and concepts the alga understood.

4) Indeed the alga, relatively dim witted due to their single-cell existence and, to be frank, lack of any secondary education to speak of, couldn’t comprehend even the simplest text messages such, “lol” or “smh.” Clearly, alga needed to up their linguistic skills. But how to do this?

5) Timothy had another “aha” moment. Didn’t there, wasn’t there, a program called “Hooked on PhonicsTM? Did they ever make a version for alga? They had! It was still out there on EBayTM. Would this program work on specific single-celled organisms? It would! Harris Labs’ revolutionary cell phones took the communication world by storm. However, Dr. Harris feared industrial espionage and never wrote down the specifics of his invention. But how would he remember to process to make his phones? After all, he was scatter-brained after all.

6) Simple. For in 2033, he had a flash of insight. Could phonics-enabled alga send messages back in time to people’s brains if they were first coded in anagrams? Yes, yes, it proved to be so! Who knew? All you had to receive this message was to walk by a stagnant pond. So yes, whenever you experience deja vu, it is really coming from alga way into the future.

7) “Remember, alga phonics,” thought Dr. Harris. What was an anagram for “alga phonics?” Why no other than the Ecuadorian dish, llapingachos! The great scientist fed this word to his alga who keep forwarding the recipe back in time to us. This is why we keep hankering for this recipe.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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