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Italian Panini

Italian Entree

ITALIAN PANINI

INGREDIENTS

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

SPECIAL UTENSIL

panini press

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

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

TIDBITS

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

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

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

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

Chef Paul

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

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Garlic Bread

Italian Appetizer

GARLIC BREAD

INGREDIENTS

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

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor (optional)
tin foil

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

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

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

TIDBITS

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

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

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

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

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

Chef Paul

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

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Chicken Fried Steak

American Entree

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

INGREDIENTS

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

Serves 8. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

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

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

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

TIDBITS

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

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

Chef Paul

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

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Brazilian Shredded Collard Greens

Brazilian Appetizer

SHREDDED COLLARD GREENS

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds collard greens (about 4 bunches)
4 garlic cloves
3½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Serves 6. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Wash collard greens. Remove the thick part of the stems. Bundle up 8 leaves at a time. Cut bundle crosswise into ¼” strips. Mince garlic cloves. Add olive oil to large pan. Sauté garlic on medium-high heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir occasionally. Add collard greens. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes or until greens have started to wilt, but still are semi-firm. Stir frequently. Add pepper and salt. Stir until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) In Greek mythology, Ancient Earth was not peopled with people. It was horsed with horses. Zeus let the horses roam free with the stipulation that they never ate all the tacos from the Olympian taco truck.

2) But they did and Zeus was so angry for he loved the mighty taco. As who would not? So Zeus put green collars made from veggies on the horses and tied the beasts to trees. He could eat tacos again. And he was happy. So happy, in fact, that he created humans.

3) Zeus kept the gift of fire from the humans. People who knew how to use fire, would learn to make crispy shredded tacos. With that knowledge people would soon become powerful enough to overthrow Zeus. They would send him to clean restrooms in casinos for all eternity.

4) Then, on August 10th, Prometheus, the first poor sport, lost a game of ScrabbleTM to Zeus. Enraged, he set loose all the horses and gave fire to humanity. Zeus took his revenge on Prometheus, but it was not enough. Humanity soon dethroned him.

5) Right now, Zeus cleans men’s rooms at a casino in Monaco. Be sure to live him a small tip. He really is in a bad way. Oh my gosh, his apartment is tiny. It got a lot better for us humans, though. We learned how to make tacos and have become ever more advanced since them. Now you know.

Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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SPAM Fried Rice

Guamanian Entree

SPAM(TM) FRIED RICE

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rice
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1 12-ounce can SPAM
2 tablespoons oil
3 eggs
¼ cup soy sauce

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Mince garlic cloves and onion. Cut SPAM into ½” cubes. Add garlic cloves, onion, and oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Remove garlic and onion and set aside. Keep any oil. Add eggs to pan. Scramble eggs at medium heat for 2 minutes or until eggs are done to your liking. Remove scrambled eggs and slice any large bits into ¼” wide strips.

Add SPAM cubes to pan. Cook at high heat for 3 minutes or until SPAM starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add garlic, onion, and eggs back to pan. Add rice and soy sauce. Cook at medium heat for 2 minutes or until all is warm and the rice is brown.

TIDBITS

1) Guamanian is the adjective for something from Guam. Ché Guevarra–If this is spelled correctly, it is purely by chance–was a revolutionary.

2) A Guavanian is someone from Guava. Well no, it isn’t. Guava is a bush. The guava bush’s fruit is a guava. No, people live in or around a guava bush. Thus, there are no Guavanians. Indeed, there is no guavanian anything. The adjective for guava is guava.

3) Indeed, this has been the case since prehistoric times. Exactly sometime ago, Cro Magnons switched from herding mastodons and sabertooth tigers to herding the rather more stationary and easygoing guava bush.

4) Che Chevarra–How the heck do you spell his name?–loved sedentary guavas. You can tell he was direct descendant of Cro Magnons. However, Ché didn’t know how to spell guavas. So, if he couldn’t spell guavas, you can’t really expect people to spell his last name correctly. It’s kinda like spelling Benadryl(TM) Cumberbund’s name correctly, who by the way also descends from Cro Magnons.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Burmese Fried Fish Cakes

Burmese Entree

FRIED FISH CAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 pound filleted flounder, cod, or other whitefish
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Makes 8 fish cakes. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flounder, garlic cloves, ginger, red chile flakes, salt, and turmeric to food processor. Process the ingredients until you get a well-blended paste. Dip your fingers in fish sauce. Take 1 teaspoon of paste in your hands and smoosh it flat until you get a patty 3″ across. Repeat until you use all the paste. Keep dipping your fingers in fish sauce to keep them moist.

Add oil to large pan or wok. Heat oil in pan using medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a tiny bit of paste in the oil starts to dance. Carefully use spatula to add fish patties to oil. Don’t let patties touch each other. You might need to cook in batches. Deep fry for 3 minutes or until bottom of patties turns golden brown. Flip patties over and deep fry for 3 minutes or under the new bottoms are golden brown as well. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all patties have been deep fried.

TIDBITS

1) The original birthday cake was deep fried on November 7, 1769 was made of cod, not flour. It was made for Captain James Cook’s 41st birthday. It was made, as far as I can tell from the same ingredients used in this recipe. Cook was in the second year of his first voyage of discovery and circumnavigation. His officers loved him. The crew loved him. Seals and tuna swam by the boat just to be near him. Captain Cook was that kind of guy. So his birthday had to be celebrated. But there was no flour for the traditional birthday bread roll. So the cook whipped up this dish and shaped it like a roll, well sorta. He stuck 41 candles in it to symbolize his age and the stars they sailed under. The idea caught on like wildfire and everybody had fish cakes for their birthday.

2) Alas, on February 14, 1779, Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish in Hawaii. Fish birthday cakes rapidly fell out of favor. Bakers kept the cake shape, but switched back to flour. Now you know.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Hatch Chile Onion Pie

American Entree

HATCH CHILE ONION PIE

INGREDIENTS

3 medium onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
4 Hatch chiles or 1 can Hatch chiles
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 9-inch pie shells
6 ounces white Mexican cheeses or any desired white cheeses

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Makes 2 pies. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use mandoline or knife to slice onions ⅛” thick. Add butter and onion slices to pan. Sauté on medium-heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add onion and its drippings, eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend well with whisk. Pour into pie shell. Grate cheese. Sprinkle pie with cheese. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20-to-40 minutes or until center of pie is firm.

TIDBITS

1) Cro Magnon chefs felt unfulfilled serving the same old berries year after year. One day a caveman chef pointed to a mastodon. “Why not eat that?” he asked. “Yes, let’s,” said his tribe. So, the Twofoot Tribe organized mastodon hunts which became more successful when they attacked with rocks instead of berries. And the tribe would dine on raw mastodon chunks.

2) A century later, an enfant terrible chef pointed to some chickens. “Why not eat those?” “Yes, let’s,” said the Hatch Valley clan. And the cavemen started to herd chickens.  A decade later, through a series of fortuitous accidents, the H.V. Clan invented pie crusts. It was a natural step to get their chickens to lay eggs into the pie crusts, add a few Hatch chiles, onions, and sour cream from sour cows. Then cook the pie over an open flame, thank goodness for the invention of fire. And so Hatch Chile Onion Pies were first made. You can see finger paintings of them in the famous Lascaux Caves. Oh, we’ve made improvements since then. We pick the egg shells out of the pies.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Newfoundland Pork Buns

Canadian Appetizer

NEWFOUNDLAND PORK BUNS

INGREDIENTS

½ pound salt pork
¼ cup shortening or butter
3 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water

SPECIAL UTENSIL

cookie sheet

Makes 7 buns. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Dice salt pork. Add salt pork and shortening to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until salt pork browns. Add 3 cups flour, baking powder, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Use first to make well in flour. Add salt pork and fat from pan to well in flour. Add water. Mix with fork until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Roll out flour until it is ½” thick. Cut out 4″-wide circles or any other shape or size you desire. Arrange dough circles on cookie sheet. Allow at least 1″ between dough circles. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick stuck in the center of a bun comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) Ancient Japanese samurai got into so many sword fights that they had to have swords in both hands at all times. If you were a pork-bun-holding samurai, you’d die if a ninja armed with knives, axes, swords, and death stars jumped out of the shadows to attack you. Sure, you might in the first blow, but the best you could hope is crumbs all over the murderous assailant’s face. Then you’d die.

2) Which would be a bummer. So, samurai learned to cook pork buns. They’d poke a hole in the pork bun just wide enough to fit around the warrior’s pony tail. The fierce samurai would then tie the pony into a knot. The knot kept the pork bun from falling off. This freed the samurai’s hands to hold swords. Sword wielding samurai no longer got assassinated by ninjas. The now long-living samurai of 1178 were free to pick flowers and inhale their fragrance.

3) Which didn’t happen, of course. The fierce samurai sought out danger. Since there was none at home, they traveled to Newfound in search of it. They took their pork bun recipe with them, which is why Newfoundland has the recipe. Indeed, culinary archaeologists expect to find  evidence of  samurai habitation in Newfoundland just as they did with the Vikings at L’anse aux Meadows.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Phosphate

American Dessert

PHOSPHATE

INGREDIENTS

½ teaspoon acid phosphate*
2½ tablespoons syrup (your choice, cherry was the most popular)
1¼ cups carbonated water
ice cubes as desired

Makes 1 glass. Takes 5 minutes.

* = You really need acid phosphate to make an authentic phosphate. Its closest substitute is citric acid which imparts a citric taste to all syrups. You will probably have to order your acid phosphate on line. The path to culinary nirvana is strewn with obstacles.

PREPARATION

Add all ingredients to glass. Stir until well blended. Add ice cubes as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Why did George Washington chop down the cherry tree?

2) He needed cherries to make cherry phosphates.

3) Why didn’t he just pick the cherries from the tree?

4) Culinary historians have been debating this for decades. Two reasons have gained currency. First, chopping down cherry trees is good aerobic exercise while mere cherry picking is not. Second, tree chopping builds strong muscles while cherry picking wouldn’t even strengthen a grasshopper.

5) And young George really wanted to win the International He Man Buff Body Competition of 1745. He needed to make his mother happy and proud of him, as his listed birth dates of February 11, 1731 and February 22, 1732 suggest a difficult childbirth.

6) Anyway, George fessed up to his tree chopping. This gained him a reputation for honesty. Mr. Washington even became general of the Continental Army and won the American Revolution.

7) Double Birth George was chosen to become the new American nation’s first president as his cherry-tree honesty was one more example than all the other politicians could provide. Besides, he was buffer. Now, his face is on the quarter and on the dollar bill. Yay, George.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Picadillo

Cuban Entree

PICADILLO

INGREDIENTS

1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
12 pimiento (aka pimento) stuffed olives
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Seed and mince bell pepper. Mince garlic cloves. Dice onion and tomato. Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, olive oil, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add ground beef, wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add olives and raisins. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until raisins plump. Stir occasionally. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) The first soup bowls didn’t have a bottom. Scalding-hot soup ladled into them went straight through to the would-be diner’s lap. This is why birth rates were so low until the Renaissance. Then in 1466 a young busboy, Leonardo Da Vinci, weary of cleaning up soup spills, invented soup bowls with bottoms. Suddenly, he had free time to invent and paint. Other busboys such as Michelangelo used this expanded off hours to paint and sculpt. The Renaissance was born.

2) Unfortunately, with creative energies diverted to the arts, bowl design stagnated. Soup-eating armies found little time for campaigning as they took forever to be served. Indeed, General Lee’s peanut-eating army consistently stole a march on their soup-slurping Northern counterparts. Then in 1863, busboy, George Meade discovered he could toss the soup bowls like a FrisbeeTM, if he made the bowls round. (Yes, it does take practice to this without spilling the soup.) President Lincoln, realized an army that could serve soup suddenly could keep up with the Rebels. He made Meade general. Three days, the round-bowl eating bluecoats defeated the gray coats at Gettysburg. The Union would be preserved, slavery would be abolished, and we are eating out of round bowls.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

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