observations

Kung Pao Chicken

Chinese Entree

KUNG PAO CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce (2 more tablespoons later)
1½ tablespoons cornstarch (1 teaspoon more later)
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice (¼ teaspoon more later)
2 teaspoons rice wine
1½ tablespoons water

SAUCE

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 red chiles
½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

wok or skillet

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION OF MARINADE

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mince garlic. Dice green onion. Mix 1½ tablespoons cornstarch, garlic, green onion, ginger, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, rice wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and water. Cover all sides of the chicken cubes with this mixture. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

PREPARATION OF SAUCE

Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, malt vinegar, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in 2nd mixing bowl. Set aside.

FINAL PREPARATION

Cut red chiles in half, remove seed, and mince (I cannot say strongly enough, WEAR GLOVES OR WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP after touching the chiles and their seeds. They make your skin burn. My gosh, they cause pain. Don’t rub a throbbing temple or wipe sweat from your upper lip immediately after touching red chiles and their seeds. Your face will be on fire. And guy chefs, this is a really bad time to scratch your balls.)

Put unsalted peanuts and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil in wok. Sauté at 350 degrees until peanuts start turning golden brown. Stir frequently. (The golden brown phase is astonishingly short. The following dark brown/black state is forever.)

Add the coated chicken cubes. Sauté at 350 degrees. Fry for 2 minutes or until chicken is done or no longer pink inside. Stir and turn cubes frequently.

Add red chiles and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Sauté at 350 degrees and stir until the peppers turn dark. Add soy/malt vinegar/sugar/sesame oil sauce. Cook until sauce thickens. Stir frequently.

Thank the person who washes and cleans after this meal. If you are both the cook and cleaner, sit down, have a cold root beer, and admire the halo above your head.

TIDBITS

1) If all strange dishes taste like chicken, why not have chicken?

2) Kung Pao chickens are much milder than their more peppery cousins, Kung Fu Chickens.

3) Peppers that look similar to each other can vary greatly in spiciness. So, keep that in mind when you and a bunch of friends from Madison, Wisconsin travel to St. Louis, Missouri to see two classmates get married and you all stop in a restaurant that serves free peppers.

4) Throat germs don’t like peppers either. Hah, take that!

5) Some people think that cuisine near the Equator is filled with peppery dishes because food didn’t keep well there before refrigeration. I think people in Cuba eat more peppers than the Swedes because peppers are grown in Cuba and not in Sweden.

 

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

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

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Italiano Breakfast Sandwich

Italian Breakfast

ITALIANO BREAKFAST SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

6 pairs of sourdough muffins top and bottom
6 slices provolone cheese
½ cup pasta sauce
6 eggs
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon garlic salt
no-stick cooking spray.

PREPARATION

Mix eggs, basil, parsley, and garlic salt in small bowl. Spray saucepan with no-stick cooking spray in hopeful attempt to prevent any egg bits sticking to the pan.

Scramble eggs and spices in pan. Add pasta sauce and scramble some more. Cook until eggs are done. This is a matter of taste.

Toast sourdough muffins. (To your health, sourdough muffin.) Adorn bottom muffin with scrambled eggs. Top with a slice of provolone. Complete sandwich with top muffin half. Mange bene.

TIDBITS

1) The sourdough biscuits are in honor of the hardy Italian restaurateurs who came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush to feed the hungry 49ers.

2) Tidbit 1 is quite possibly true.

3) Provolone cheese did not originate in Provo, Utah.

4) This dish symbolizes the major theme of this cookbook, “Cooking With What’s Handy.”

5) A “theme” was also a major administrative district of the Byzantine Empire.

6) “Parsley” is easy to misspell. Thank goodness, it was never on a spelling test.

7) Garlic is thought to ward off vampires. As far I can tell, it works. We have lots of garlic cloves and garlic salt, and vampires never bother our home.

8) Vampires might like basil, but how would we know? We’ve already frightened them off.

9) Basil Rathbone was famous for his movie portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

10) Eggs sure can stick to pans, can’t they?

 

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

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

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My Mother as a Young Lady

Today was a horrible day. One of my cars started leaking oil. The repair is going to cost a minimum of $1,500 and the handwriting is on the wall for its demise. Maybe it’s as soon as tomorrow. The other car might last another year, Ugh.

Fortunately, a two-week reorganization of the garage, my office, and part of the living room help me uncover this picture of my mom when was especially beautiful.

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

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

 

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Why I Hate WalMart

All the following thoughts come from personal experience, from  watching TV, reading articles, and from what I consider reputable online sites, such as Yahoo Finance, CNN, etc.

THING I LIKE ABOUT WALMART(tm)

You can see what WalMart carries and where they stock it. For example, I looked up Nescafe(tm) Cafe Mocha Creamer. Their website walmart.com said they had it and listed to be in 35A. This is wonderful information for someone who needs a particular ingredient and other things. Sure beats the heck of searching stores all around the county, going up and down one aisle after another. Thumbs up, WALMART.

Unfortunately . . .

THINGS I HATE ABOUT WALMART

1) Their chaotic parking lots.

2) Many of their aisles are tiny.

3) Their apparent war on checkers. I went their today. My WalMart had only one of about twenty checkout stands with a person at it. Of course, the line stretched to the next time zone.

4) Not everyone agrees with me on this one. I hate the self-checkout stands. I always have problems with them. I have seen people who’ve had many experiences with this machine, have problems.

5) I DON’T work for WalMart. I don’t want to do the checking out. Don’t make me do something that all other supermarkets and superstores do.

6) Don’t take jobs away  people. Hire more checkers and have fewer checkout machines.

7) Pay your workers more. Do that and stop telling your workers how to get municipal and state assistance. Stop making taxpayers pay your employees.

8) This is no fault of WalMart’s, but more shoppers there seem to block aisles with their carts than anyone else.

9) Hire checkers with more experience. WalMart checkers seem to need more assistance than anywhere else. Walmart might need to pay more money to get better workers to fix this problem.

10) Stop driving long-standing small stores out of business.

11) Then closing a WalMart. Small towns have seen their small stores shut down because of WalMart. Then when WalMart decides to leave, the small community has nothing. No where to shop. Nowhere to get together.

I’m not a complete grump. I do like some supermarkets. They include Stater Bros., Grocery Outlet, and Sprouts. I also like Target.

 

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

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

 

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Foods to Avoid

I like a lot of different foods. However, I can’t stand the following dishes.

Icky Eats

FOODS TO AVOID

Haggis

Lutefisk
Rocky Mountain oysters
Haggis
Liver and onion
Chef’s surprise – a favorite at my college cafeteria
Any meat mass or cooked veggie that has been in your fridge for more than four days.

What foods do you avoid?

 

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

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

 

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Cajun Hamburgers

Cajun Entree

CAJUN HAMBURGERS

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds ground beef
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Meat MagicTM spice
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon coriander
No-stick cooking spray
6 slices provolone cheese
6 hamburger buns

PREPARATION

Completely defrost hamburger meat. Mince onion in food processor. Preheat skillet to 350 degrees. Mix onion, paprika, salt, cayenne, poultry spice, cumin, thyme, and coriander on large plate. Form 6 hamburger patties. Coat both sides of the patties with no-stick spray.

Place the patties on plate and move them around until they are coated with spices on both sides. Place patties in skillet, gently turning them over every 1 minute, or until spices are blackened. Keep skillet’s lid on while frying.

This is a great dish if you wish to impress people at a barbeque or at an embassy if somehow you manage to get past the guards.

TIDBITS

1) I’ve never seen a Cajun hamburger, but if I were Cajun and was hankerin’ for a burger this is how I would make it.

2) Hamburg is a major seaport in northern Germany. A panhandler at its main train station kicked me in my shin when I declined to give him a handout. On the other hand, one of the city’s prostitutes smiled and said, “Have a nice day,” after I had said no.

3) I had Chinese food on that stopover in Hamburg. I couldn’t find German food near the train station. I went to Tijuana once with a friend. We couldn’t find Mexican food, so we settled for Chinese. What is it with Chinese food being everywhere? If I went to Beijing, would I only be able to find German or Mexican cuisine?

4) Provolone cheese is not really very Cajun. But its inclusion is in keeping with the theme of “Cooking with what’s handy.” I had provolone cheese, so I used it. Besides, it made a nice culinary contrast and complement to the Cajun spices.

5) Or maybe it is not too hard to imagine a French-Italian couple kicked out of Acadia, Canada by the English in the 18th century settling in the bayous of Louisiana sustaining themselves by selling Cajun burgers with provolone cheese.

 

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

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

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Banana Peanut-Butter Milkshake

American Dessert

BANANA PEANUT-BUTTER MILKSHAKE

 

INGREDIENTS

3 bananas (best when ripe)
2½ cups milk
1 cup peanut butter

UTENSIL

blender

PREPARATION

Flex your fingers. Peel the bananas. Put bananas, milk, and peanut butter in blender. Use “milkshake” setting. Blend until shake is sufficiently smooth for your taste.

This delicious milkshake is a diet buster. Drink with care.

TIDBITS

1) The smell of a banana is the same as the pheromones produced by enraged swarms of bees. Just smelling a banana makes them think they should savagely attack an intruder. So, don’t walk up to a hive of bees with a banana in your hands and expect to make friends.

2) And don’t, don’t throw your banana at the hive.

3) You can polish your shoes with a banana peel. If you do, change shoes before approaching the abode of the busy bees.

4) You can buy banana beer in East Africa. I haven’t heard anything about approaching a hive with a mug of banana beer in your hand.

5) And for goodness sake, why do you keep approaching a bee hive, anyway?

6) Indeed, Paris once fell to the Vikings in because of bees.

7) The Viking Army, under the command of Ragnar Lothbrok, attacked Paris in 845.

8) The ferocious Vikings assaulted the city walls time and time again by climbing up tall, thin ladders.

9) But the defending Franks simply pushed the scaling ladders away.

10) Eventually, the Vikings became tired of falling backwards onto hard ground. Indeed, this whole ordeal made them rather cranky.

11) And there’s nothing worse than a cranky Viking.

12) The Vikings started to fight among themselves.

13) Until Ragnar walked toward a bee hive while holding a mug of honey beer.

14) Sure, the bees viciously attacked him ferociously, but he got an idea.

15) The very next day, Ragnar “Puffy Face” Lothbrok’s army catapulted bee hives and kegs of honey beer over the city walls. The enraged bees attacked the Parisians so mercilessly that the city’s clambered over the city’s fortifications unopposed. Paris fell. The Vikings would run amok in Europe for another 200 years. There you go.

 

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

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

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Please Tell Me of a User-Friendly Cell Phone

 

My cell phone stinks to high heaven. It is superb at doing random things it wants to do. Doing what I want to do . . .

not so much.

I want a cell phone to do the following:

1) I want it to work all the time.

2) I want it to work all the time.

3) I want it to work all the time.

In particular, I DON”T WANT IT TO DO:

1) Switch to RTT mode when I’m talking. I have never nor will I ever want to text people while I’m talking to them.

2) Switch to random screens when I’m trying to do something else, anything else. This happens all the time.

3) Prevent me from hanging up after a misdial. As of now, the only way to stop this is to hang up and restart.

4) Freeze. This happens all the times. Again, as of now, the only way to stop this is to hang up and restart.

5) Randomly disconnect.

In particular, I WANT IT TO DO:

1) I want it to dial correctly the first time everytime.

2) Make it easier to see if I have voice mail.

3) Make texting easy. Making it easier to type the key I want, not one near it.

4) Make using Google Maps easy.

5) Nothing else. If my cell phone just doesn’t do the five things I want it not to do and only the four things I do want it to do, I shall be ecstatic. I prefer a relatively inexpensive phone, but if the only workable cell phone is one that’s expensive, then please tell that too. My current phone makes me so miserable.

Please help. I’m so miserable. Thank you,

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D. (but not with cell phones)

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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Ukrainian Kapusniak (Sauerkraut Soup.

Ukrainian Entree

KAPUSNIAK
(Sauerkraut Soup)

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
1¼ pounds pork spare ribs
9 cups water
1 bay leaf

1 large carrot
2 medium potatoes
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
4½ cups sauerkraut

1 tablespoon minced onion
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons dill or parsley

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic clove and 1 medium onion. Add pork spare ribs, water, bay leaf, garlic clove, and onion to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes or until meat can be pulled of the bones with a fork. Stir occasionally. Remove pork ribs.

While pork ribs simmer, peel potatoes and chop them into ½” cubes. Pull pork off ribs with fork. Chop pull pork into ½” cubes. Mince carrot. Add pulled pork, carrot, potato, pepper, and salt to simmering pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Add sauerkraut. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 25 minutes or until potato softens. Stir enough to prevent burning.

While sauerkrautn/pork/potato soup simmers, add vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon minced onion to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add flour. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes or until flour browns. If necessary, add just enough stock from pot to prevent the flour from clumping.

Add minced onion/flour mix from pan to pot. Stir until well blended. Fold in sour cream to soup in pot. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with dill or parsley. Goes well with guests who appreciate your culinary exploits.

TIDBITS

1) Kapusniak is served in a bowl.

2) That is on a table.

3) Which is below your head.

4) Because of that you have to bend your head down to see the bowl.

5) You have keep your head down as you guide your spoon to the bowl.

6) Sure, that action is a snap. You probably have been doing successfully for years.

7) But that very act of bending your head forward places a strain on a your neck.

8) And you look down at your food multiple times a day for every day of your life,

9) The stresses on your neck builds up every time you eat like this.

10) Then one day, later on in your life, you wake up with a blinding pain in your neck.

11) You might even have to go to your doctor for a muscle relaxer.

12) How did this pain happen to you? And all of a sudden.

13) It did not happen all of a sudden. You brought this painful event forward every time you ate from bowls and plates that rested on the table.

14) But the bowl doesn’t have to sit on the table.

15) It’s better to have your bowl hover at mouth level.

16) Then you won’t need to bend your noggin down as much.

17) You’ll find yourself getting fewer and fewer neck pains. Less severe too.

18) How do you make your soup bowl hover?

19) Simple, attach an anti-grav device to it. Frustratingly, these gizmos remain hard to find as of press time. CostcoTM doesn’t even carry it, even though people say they have everything.

21) No problem. Buy yourself a drone. Attach a rope holding a cradle to the drone. Place your soup bowl in the cradle and set your drone to hover such that the soup bowl is continually at mouth level, and Bob’s your uncle.

22) Bob really is nice to have gifted your with a soup-carrying drone. Be sure to thank him.

 

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

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

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My Containers

It can be annoying to not have the right-sized containers for your leftovers. A container that’s too big will take up too much space in the fridge. On the other hand, containers can take over your cabinets. The picture below shows my containers. Some I bought. Some I received as gifts. I suspect still others resulted from breeding like rabbits late at night.

 

And there’s more containers doing duty in the fridge. Still more carried cookies to friends and neighbors.

 

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

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

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