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Pastrmajlija, Macedonian Pizza

Macedonian Entree

PASTRMAJLIJA
(Macedonian Pizza)

INGREDIENTS

1¼ pounds pork chops, center cut or lamb
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups flour (4 tablespoons more later)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon yeast
1½ tablespoons milk
½ cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour (1½ tablespoons for each pizza)
4 tablespoons lard or butter (2 tablespoons for each pizza)
no-stick spray.
2 eggs

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
baking sheet
x-ray vision

Makes 2 small pizzas. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into ½” cubes. Add pork cubes, cayenne pepper, and pepper to mixing bowl. Toss pork cubes until well coated. Put in refrigerator and let marinate for 1 hour or until is ready to have meat put on it.

While pork marinates, add salt, sugar, yeast, and milk to a large, 2nd mixing bowl. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups flour. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Gradually add water. Mix with fork each water gets added. Dough should be soft and pliable. Knead dough for 10 minutes or put in bread machine for 10 minutes on dough setting. (There’s a tiny ant crawling over my monitor as I am typing this. It can’t wait for the recipe.)

Add olive oil to 3rd mixing bowl. Spread oil over the bowl. Add kneaded dough to this mixing bowl. Turn dough until it is well coated with oil. Cover for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in size. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Divide risen dough ball into 2 balls. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1 dough ball to flat surface. Flatten dough ball with rolling pin, can, or hand until it is a ¼” thick oval about 9″ by 7″. Use spatula to smooth 2 tablespoon lard over dough oval. Add half of the pork cubes to the dough leaving a 1½” edge all around. Fold edges inward until they almost touch the pork. Repeat to make 2nd pizza.

Spray baking sheet with no-stick spray. Add pizzas to baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until dough is done to your liking and pork is no longer pink inside. (X-ray vision helps a lot with this. If you don’t have x-ray vision and let’s face it it’s not possible everything to make every recipe, you make remove a pork cube and cut it open.)

While pizzas bake, add eggs to small bowl. Beat eggs with whisk or fork. Take baking sheet out of oven. Brush edges of pizzas with egg. Ladle the remaining egg over the pizza’s pork centers. Bake for 5 minutes over egg is cooked to your liking.

TIDBITS

1) Pastrmajlija tastes fantastic hot of the oven. Like all pizzas it still tastes great the second day. Very good the third day. Good the fourth day. Okay the fifth day, and highly edible the sixth day. And on the seventh it gets so hard that you could use it in your garden as a stepping stone.

2) Many have done so. See, the June 1985, edition of Better Homes and GardensTM for the definitive article on this subject.

3) Dried out, hardened Macedonian pizzas buckle and crack under the weight of a semi truck. This is one reason America’s freeways use concrete instead. However, properly dried-out Macedonian pizzas (MPs) will sustain the weight of people, cattle, and wagons.

4) Indeed, the great Cumberland Pike Road, built 1811-1837, was to have been constructed with MPs. After all, the fabled Roman roads were built with MPs. Unfortunately in 1809, the Federal Government clashed with the project’s culinary engineer, Alexander Cleitus, over the materials for the pike. President Madison, had a delicate stomach and couldn’t handle cayenne pepper. So he hated MP and demanded dried-out Italian pizzas (IPs). Cleitus refused. Madison insisted. Cleitus said, “It’s my way or the highway.” “Na, na, na, poo, poo,” said President Madison, “it’s my funds. It’s my highway. You’re on your way.”

5) The project languished for two years while President Madison searched for other culinary engineers. He did manage to hire the famed Alfonso Linguini from Sorrento, Italy. However, Linguini used too much oregano for Madison’s liking. Not only that, his round pizzas wouldn’t fit together neatly like the rectangular Macedonian pizzas. Signore Linguini was so fired.

6) After that, no culinary engineer would touch the Cumberland Pike Project. It looked like the lands to the west would never be opened up to settlers and commerce. America seemed doomed to hug the Atlantic Coast forever.

7) Then Secretary of the Treasury, Benedict Cumberland, suggested hiring a civil engineer instead. “What a great idea!” said everybody. And so, John Loudon McAdam was hired to complete the turnpike. His macadam roads so revolutionized travel that no one considered using pizzas as materials ever again.

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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Affogato, Italian Ice Cream Coffee

Italian Dessert

AFFOGATO

INGREDIENTS

2 cups hot espresso or hot and very strong coffee*
2 scoops vanilla ice cream*

* = There’s only two ingredients here. Higher quality ingredients will show up more than in other recipes. Also, there’s a lot of leeway. The size of your glass or cup and ice-cream scoop can vary a lot. Frequent research will reveal your optimal amounts. Excelsior!

Serves 4. Takes 2 minutes (Plus any time to brew the espresso.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

4 narrow juice glasses or other glasses you might have. I mean how easy is it to find espresso glasses near you? And if no one’s looking, a Minnie MouseTM coffee mug will do just fine. Of course, a Minnie Mouse espresso glass would be better. The culinary world is fraught with perilous decisions.

PREPARATION

Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each glass. Pour hot espresso over ice cream.

TIDBITS

1) “Affogato” is a condensed version of the phrase “(A fog, a to)mato.” Actually, it’s short for “(A f)rigging (fog, a to)mato”

2) Italy experienced tumultuous–There are four “u”s in that word. Remember that for ScrabbleTM- times in 1968. The oafish Soviet led Warsaw Pact invaded nearby Czechoslovakia. Communist provoked student riots erupted up and down the Italian peninsula. It seemed inevitable that Italy would go communist and fall under Russian domination.

3) Remember the fogs of 1968. Over and over, drivers racing high-performance cars through Italy’s mountain passes experienced massive car pileups when fogs descended with stunning quickness. When the fogs lifted, inspectors would wrecked cars along with a single red tomato, the symbol of Italy’s communist party.

4) Italy teetered. But once aroused, its leaders acted decisively. By law, all Italian tomatoes had to be made into pasta sauce. This decree left no tomatoes for Italy’s Communist party. Deprived of their symbolic flourish at car-crash sites, they lost all interest in the people’s revolution thing and went out to restaurants to sample all the new exciting pasta sauces. Italy has been at peace ever since.

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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Piri Piri Chicken

Mozambican Entree

PIRI PIRI CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

6 garlic cloves
6 piri piri chiles (or Thai chiles)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
7 tablespoons olive oil
3½ pounds boneless chicken parts, skin on

SPECIAL UTENSILS

blender
outdoor grill
meat thermometer (You really do need this. There is a huge range of times needed to grill the chicken depending on your grill and the size of the chicken breasts.

Serves 6. Takes 15 minutes preparations 12 hours marinating, and another 30 at the grill.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves and chiles. Add all ingredients except chicken to large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk or fork until well blended. Add chicken parts. Mix with fork until chicken is well coated. Cover and let marinate in fridge for 12 hours or overnight. Keep marinade.

Place chicken on grill skin side up. Grill chicken on outdoor grill for 15 minutes using low-medium heat. Flip chicken parts over and grill for another 10 minutes. Baste every 10 minutes with reserved. Check heat with meat thermometer after 20 minutes of grilling. Chicken breasts should have an internal temperature of 165-to-170 degrees.)

TIDBITS

1) “Sugar, Sugar” was big hit song for the Archies in 1969. The song “Piri Piri” was not a hit song for the Chickens in 1976. The Chickens had the great bad luck to form in the start of a nasty civil war Fellow Mozabicans simply didn’t have the money to buy records. And all the radio stations were monopolized to provide propaganda for the warring sides.

2) Piri Piri reunited in 2012. They played minor gigs in Mozambique, when by sheer good luck they landed a concert date in Wrigley Field, Chicago for November 3, 2016. Unfortunately, everyone was watching the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 and so, no one showed. I’m happy to report though, that the group has landed a permanent engagement at the South Pole’s research station where the saying “Party all night” really means something.

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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Peruvian Quinoa Salad

Peruvian Appetizer

QUINOA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quinoa
½ cucumber
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 Roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
¼ pound queso fresco or feta cheese
1¼ teaspoons aji amarillo, aji panca, or chipotle powder
1½ tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 avocados

Serves 6. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook quinoa according to instructions on package. Remove from heat and let cool. While quinoa cooks and cools, peel and dice cucumber. Dice cilantro, tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Dice queso fresco. Add quinoa, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, queso fresco, aji amarillo, lime juice, and olive oil to salad bowl. Toss salad with forks until well blended. Garnish with cilantro. Peel, pit, and cut each avocado into 6 slices. Garnish with avocado slices.

TIDBITS

1) Quinoa salad is an anagram for Quad Sinaloa. Sinaloa is a state in Mexico. It is all that remains of the once proud and vast Sinaloan Empire. The heyday of the Sinaloan Empire occurred over 4,000 years ago. It’s realm included North America, South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. It’s technology while primitive by today’s standards was absolutely whizzo back then.

2) Way back then, Rubberto Sinaloa got drunk, cut open a rubber plant, and poured its sap into a boiling cauldron meant to cook fish. The heat turned the sap into rubber. He made rubber bands. Rubberto shot his rubber bands at his neighbor and took over his lands. He made the same land grab over and over again. Soon, he became emperor of Indonesia. We should all go on such drunken tears.

3) Anyway, Rubberto’s armada of rubber rafts crossed the mighty oceans. His marines and soldiers equipped with mighty rubber bands conquered pitiful natives armed only with stick and scary faces. Then Rubberto died, no doubt at the end of his life, leaving no heir. His four main generals quarreled and the Empire divided itself into the Quad Sinaloas of Viking Sinaloa, the Pharaoh’s Egypt, the Aztec Empire, and Poway, California. Sinaloa, Mexico is all that remains of the once feared empire. The prudent Mexican Federal government has banned Sinaloa’s inhabitants from possessing rubber bands, so things are kinda okay.

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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Spelt Bread

Swedish Appetizer

SPELT BREAD

INGREDIENTS

2¼ teaspoons (1 package) yeast
1½ cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon butter (2 more tablespoons later)
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon salt
4 cups spelt flour
1 tablespoon butter (1 more tablespoon later)
1 tablespoon butter (1 more tablespoon later)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater or stand mixer
9″-x-5″ loaf pan

Makes 1 loaf. Takes 2 hours 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add yeast, lukewarm water, and honey to mixing bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes or until water becomes foamy. While yeast sits, melt 1 tablespoons butter in small pot using low-medium heat. Add melted butter and salt. Stir gently until well blended.

Add 1 cup flour to bowl. Blend using low setting on beater for 1 minute. Repeat until all flour has been added. Dough should be slightly sticky. Cover with cloth and let sit for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size. Grease flat surface with 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer dough to flat surface. Press down on dough to push air out of it. Cover with cloth and let sit for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size again. While dough is doubling in size a second time, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease loaf pan with 1 tablespoon butter.

Bake dough at 425 degrees for 40 minutes or until dough turns golden brown and toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean. Gently remove bread from pan and let cool on wire rack for 30 minutes or until bread firms enough for slicing.

TIDBITS

1) On January 31, 1968, Hiraama Kamouda of the tiny U.S. island of Madrana spelt “heteroskedasticity” with a c instead of a k. That cost Hiraama the National Spelling Bee Championship. Kamouda’s supporters vigorously maintained their spelling, but to no avail.

2) Their island’s honor tarnished, the Mandranans seceded from America. But no one noticed because the North Vietnamese had just launched the Tet Offensive. Now no one can find the island nation because Happy MapsTM mislabeled it as What Island. Madrana’s tourism industry is suffering.

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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Carne Asada Tortas

Mexican Entree

CARNE ASADA TORTAS

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¼ cup fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1½ pounds flank or skirt steak
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil (2 tablespoons more later)

INGREDIENTS – OTHER

1 medium onion
1 Roma tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bolillo, telera, or French rolls
grilling or cooking spray
½ cup refried beans
1 avocado
¼ cup crema Mexicana or mayonnaise

Makes 4 tortas. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline (optional)
outdoor grill

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Dice cilantro. Mince garlic cloves. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix by hand until steak is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Let excess marinade drip off steak. (If not, you will have some rather exciting flames coming from the outdoor grill.)

PREPARATION – OTHER

Preheat outdoor grill to high. Use mandoline or knife to cut onion and tomato into ¼” thick slices. Add onion and 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Sauté onion at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add steak to grill. Grill steak on high heat for 5-to-10 minutes on each side, depending on your desired level of doneness. Remove steak. Spray the cut side of roll halves with grilling spray. Put roll halves spray side down on grill. Grill on high heat for 1 minute or until grilled side of roll halves turn golden brown. Watch carefully. Remove from heat. Cut steak against grain into 4 pieces.

Add refried beans to pan. Cook on medium-high heat until beans are warm. Remove from heat. Peel and cut avocado into 4 slices. Spread crema Mexicana on all roll halves. Add steak strips to bottom halves of rolls. Add onion, tomato, and avocado slices to bottom halves. Make an indentation in top halves of rolls. Place refried beans in indentations. Carefully turn over top halves with refried beans onto the bottom halves with the meat and veggies. Olé.

TIDBITS

1) The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 revolved around exceedingly complex issues such as: democracy versus oligarchy, large landed owners* versus impoverished peasantry, the authority of the Catholic church versus secular governments, and the ambitions of powerful generals and local strongmen.

2) * = This is not to imply the land owners were large, perhaps from the eating of too many too many burritos stuffed with shredded beef, lettuce, queso fresco, guacamole, and crema Mexicana. No, they had large estates, haciendas, that ran** for many miles in many directions.

3) ** = Land cannot run. A really big earthquake, 9.0 on the Richter Scale for example, can send shock waves through the ground that look like an ocean wave to any bystander***.

4) *** = Not that you’ll be able to stand up during a 9.0 earthquake. Most likely you’ll be toast.

5) I’ve used my daily allocation of asterisks – *. Life moves on.

6) Anyway, toast in Spanish is tostada. Tostadas are made mostly with beans and corn tortillas, which are cheap. This is revolutionary bands in Mexico ate quite a bit of tostadas.

7) The factions uniting, however briefly, behind successive central governments always had much more money than the rebelling peasants. The authorities could afford steak. Their armies ate well, often dining on carne asada tortas, the dish featured here.

8) The Mexican civil war was a lengthy, bloody affair. Armed bands and their leaders, jefes, shifted allegiances like the wind. Sometimes they fought for the rights of the peasants and sometimes they deserted to the government, the desire to devour a juicy, scrumptious carne asada torta proving too strong the resist.

9) Of course, the Mexican vegetarians stayed true to the cause of the bean tostada. Sometimes, even the most carnivorous soldiers in the Federal army felt the need to cleanse the palate with the delightfully simple bean tostada. When this happened, they deserted back the rebels.

10) And so it went. Battles went this way. Battles went that way. It all came down to which side would strike the decisive blow, to which side appeared the fiercest.

11) Both the Federales and the rebels used people. That was kind of a tie. The forces searched for something else. Then in an accident of fate, Pancho Villa and El Presidente Carranza both hit on the idea of using giant inflatable balloons made from MylarTM. Villa’s soldiers brought huge inflatable squirrels to the battlefield of Celaya. Carranza’s men, however, carried enormous inflatable snakes with them. Snakes are much fiercer than squirrels. Villa’s army broke and ran. The Mexican Revolution was effectively over. This is also why there’s a snake on the Mexican flag. There you go.

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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Cuban Hamburger (Frita Cubana)

Cuban Entree

CUBAN HAMBURGER
(Frita Cubana)

INGREDIENTS

4 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon cumin
½ tablespoon Spanish paprika or paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ketchup
¼ chorizo (no casings)
1 pound ground beef
¾ pound ground pork
½ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds shoestring potatoes (And cooking oil as well if deep frying or pan frying.)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
12 hamburger rolls

Makes 12 hamburgers. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves and onion. Add garlic, onion, and olive to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and garlic soften. Add sautéed onions and garlic, cumin, paprika, pepper, salt, ketchup, chorizo, ground beef, ground pork, and bread crumbs. Mix with hands until well blend. Shape meat mix into 12 patties.

Cook shoestring potatoes according to directions on package. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan and as many meat patties that will fit. Cover. Sauté meat patties at medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked to your desired level of doneness. You might need to cook the patties in batches. Top patties with Worcestershire sauce. Warm or lightly toast buns. Add patties to bun bottoms. Top patties with shoestring potatoes. Place bun tops on shoestring potatoes.

TIDBITS

1) The most common geometric shapes drawn by the cavemen was the triangle. So, it’s no surprise cavemen engineers chiseled stone into triangular wheels. This shape proved to be quite useless for transportation. The PorscheTM line of high performance cars would have to wait. But then the Cubanhamburgerpithicus tribe invented the Cuban hamburger. Little prehistoric diners thrilled hunter-gatherers with this avant-garde culinary creation. Soon, an engineer, Ogg Edsel Yugo, had himself a Cuban hamburger. It was tasty. It was round. It inspired him to make a wheel, to make a car. Edsel Yugo’s car flopped. Humanity would wait several millennia for Porsches. Bummer.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anise Bread

Burundian Appetizer

ANISE BREAD

INGREDIENTS

2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ teaspoon sugar (5 teaspoons more later)
¾ cup warm water
1 cup flour (2½ cups more later)
7 teaspoons anise seed
1 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons sugar
2½ tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
2½ cups flour
½ cup water (or as needed)
1 egg yolk

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
cookie sheet
parchment paper

Makes 4 bread rolls. Takes 2 hours 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add yeast, ½ teaspoon sugar, and warm water to large mixing bowl. Stir with fork until yeast dissolves. Let sit for 15 minutes or until yeast becomes foamy. Add 1 cup flour. Stir with fork until well blended. Let sit for 30 minutes or until mixture doubles in size. Add anise seed, salt, sugar and oil. Knead mixture with bread maker or by hand until blended. Add 2½ cups flour gradually. Knead by bread machine or by hand for 10 minutes. Add ½ cup water, or as needed, to get soft, pliable dough. Cover and let sit for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Separate dough into 4 balls Add balls to parchment paper. Flatten dough balls slightly with hands. Cover with damp kitchen towel. Let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add egg yolk to cup. Beat egg with whisk. Use kitchen brush to coat dough balls with egg yolk. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until dough balls turn golden brown and their surface hardens. Serve warm or let cool.

TIDBITS

1) In 2200 B.C., King M’bokong of Burundi ordered his subjects bring him a dish to celebrate his 50th birthday. By incredible coincidence, everyone made anise bread. The people further honored their monarch by building a great pyramid three times as tall as the later pyramids of Egypt out of the leftover bread. However, the Pharaohs’ pyramids are made from stone. Stone resists rain. Bread does not. The pyramids of Giza remain. The Burundian pyramid is no more. Bummer.

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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Raznici (Grilled Pork Skewers)

Croatian Entree

RAZNICI
(Grilled Pork Skewers)

INGREDIENTS

1¼ pounds pork loin
1 small onion
2 bell peppers (any color)
2 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

outdoor grill
10 skewers

Makes 10. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into 1″ cubes. Cut onion in half. Separate onion layers and cut them into 1″ squares. Seed bell pepper. Cut bell pepper into 1″ squares. Mince garlic cloves. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until pork cubes are coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

15 minutes before pork cubes have finished marinating, preheat grill to medium. Drain liquid from mixing bowl. Alternate putting pork cubes, onion squares, and bell-pepper squares on skewers. Repeat for each skewer. Place skewers on grill. Grill skewers for 7 minutes on both sides or until pork browns and is white inside . Goes well with salad or veggies.

TIDBITS

1) Long ago, armies fought each other by throwing rocks. The most clever cities fought back with paper, for as we all know paper covers rocks. Then Assyria overran all with its elite scissor forces. But in 605 the Medes conquered Assyria with old-school rocks. Rock, paper, scissors might be seem to be just an innocent children’s game today, but at one time it was a training exercise that all armies took seriously. The entire region remained in rock-paper-scissors (RPS) turmoil for centuries. But in 336 B.C., young Alexander the Great drew blood when he pricked his finger eating shish kabobs. The brilliant military innovator equipped his troops with shisk-kabob skewers. He soon lengthened these skewers into 12′ long spears. His infantry could impale its RPS enemies before they could get close enough to do any harm in return. Alexander’s technologically superior armies would go onto conquer Greece and Persia. The world would never be the same. Shish kabobs are everywhere.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Flautas

Mexican Entree

CHICKEN FLAUTAS

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (4 cups more later)
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ pound queso fresco or feta cheese
½ cup salsa
12 uncooked or freshly made corn tortillas*
4 cups vegetable oil (or at least ¾” deep)
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro

* = Cooked tortillas from the store will require softening in the skillet or microwave. Uncooked tortillas while harder to find will make preparation easier.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

toothpicks

Makes 12 flautas. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken breasts and enough water to cover to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken to plate. Shred chicken using forks.

While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice onion. Add garlic, onion, and 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add shredded chicken and cumin. Stir until well blended. Remove from heat. Add equal amounts of the shredded chicken/onion mixture, queso fresco, and salsa to the middle of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and pin together with toothpicks.

Add oil to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat until a tiny piece of the tortillas starts to dance in the oil. Add rolled-up tortillas to pan seem-side down. Sauté at medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until tortillas turn golden brown. Turn frequently, but carefully, to ensure even browning. You will most likely need to cook in batches. Remove from heat. Drain on plate covered with paper towel. Dice cilantro. Garnish with cilantro. Goes well with salsa.

TIDBITS

1) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “The Angler of Vienna,” was also a pretty darn talented musician, writing such toe-tapping operas such as, Il re pastore, Zaide, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cossi fan tutte.”

2) By the way, Mozart’s agent, Paolo Fettucine, arranged for tutti frutti, a new ice cream with chopped and candied fruits in it to be served at Cossi fan tutte’s debut. It was a stroke of P.R. genius. Ice cream lovers came for the dessert and stayed for the opera. Wolfgang never looked back, except when on the way to his secret fishing places.

3) But it is in Mozie’s culinary operas where The Angler of Vienna’s talents really shined. Who can fail to be uplifted by his sole English work, The Three Penny Hot Dog? or feel the anguish of Gibt es wirklich keine Apfelkuchen? (Is There Really No Apple Pie?)

4) The years 1784 – 1787 were his happiest; he had great fishing spots to himself. These interludes of quietude were also the moments of his greatest musical creativity as witnessed by the Fish Cycle operas: Der Kabeljau auf dem Markt (The Cod at the Market), Limone Pesce Impanati (Lemon Breaded Fish), and of course, “The Angler of Vienna’s favorite, Il Mio Punto di Pesca (My Own Fishing Spot.)

5) It’s ironic that Mozart, a famous fan of German cuisine, would write his greatest opera about Mexican food. But who could not be inspired by the brilliant cuisine of Vienna’s famous restaurant, “Los Cinco Tacos?” Wolfang tried the restaurant’s chicken flautas and fell in love with them. He would stay up all night to compose the brilliant, brilliant I say, opera, Las Flautas Mágicas (The Magic Flautas.) Unfortunately, the politics of that year dictated that no operas be performed in Spanish. (Do try to see it if it’s being performed nearby.) Broken hearted that he was, Mozart rewrote his opus. And so we have the not too shabby Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute.) But Mozart would never again write about Mexican food.

6) Then on December 5, 1791, Mozart’s muse, Ernestine, imparted to him the idea of writing the opera Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch, (Puff the Magic Pufferfish.) So strong was Mozie’s excitement over what he knew what would be his magnum opus that he grabbed his fishing pole and raced to Danube River. He continually glanced over his shoulders to see if anyone were following, for all the local anglers would descend on him en masse and fish and fish out his little side pond. It was heartbreaking. Mozart had to scrap one seafood opera after another because he couldn’t bring in enough fish to give a true, abiding sense of its flavor and abiding soul. On one occasion, competitors once fished all the trout from his special inlet. This is why we never got to hear his Guten Morgen, Forelle (Good Morning, Trout) and had to settle for the markedly Don Giovanni.

7) Anyway, Mozie eluded all anglers that day and caught six pufferfish. (1791 was an extraordinarily bountiful year for Viennese pufferfish.) Wolfie scurried home as fast as his chubby little legs would carry him. He cooked all the fish. Unfortunately, he died. For while his wiener schnitzel was second to none, he didn’t know how beans about preparing the potentially fatal pufferfish. His last words were, “Gott im Himmel, where are my car keys?” There were, of course, no cars in 1791 and so need for car keys. Culinary historians Mozart had channeling the frustration of millions upon millions of people two centuries later.

9) But Wolfgang’s musical vision for the pufferfish lasted through the centuries floating through the atmosphere until it found a suitable vessel, a worthy receptacle. This is how we got the classic song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Sure the name and length of Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch changed a bit, but that magnum-opus had been floating around for centuries and became susceptible to modern musical scenes. And there you go.

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, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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