Posts Tagged With: Americans

Looking for Toilets, My Travels Through Europe: Venice

VENICE

Doge’s Palace has a public toilet.

See Venice while you can for many parts of it are sinking into the sea. It’s kinda like California slipping into the ocean at the rate of a half inch a year. But there are differences as well.

California has earthquakes, fires, has water shortages, is a hot bed of information technology, has a huge agricultural sector, gives free water at restaurants (if you ask for it) and lets you use restrooms at all sorts of places such as restaurants, supermarkets, and just about any sort of business where the public comes in.

Venice has no shortage of water. It’s everywhere sometimes it floods the main square that tourists infest, which is exciting if you’re wearing designer shoes.

Venice was founded in the fifth century when Attila the Hun was rampaging through Italy, sacking cities, slaughtering the populace, destroying the Roman Empire, and otherwise being rather unpleasant. Anyway, the citizens of Aquileia, a thriving city, saw no future in being massacred and high tailed to the nearby swamp. They reckoned the Huns, a tribe that grew up in east-central Europe, wouldn’t want to slog through the swamp just to extinguish a bunch a people whom they had no real quarrel with. The Aquileians were right and before you knew it, they were sinking pillars in the marsh to provide support for the buildings they were going to put up.

These swamp people called their new city, Venice after Venn diagrams, they were astoundingly into the theory of logic, and ice, a rare commodity in a Mediterranean* seaport in the Dark Ages. Anyway, the Venetians minded their own business for centuries. In disgraceful contrast, the other nations and city states, generally went around for centuries impaling each other with lances and other weapons.

All of a sudden a Venetian woke up and decide to make galleys. These were ships powered by men using oars. Think of fishing in a tiny lake. You used a rowboat. Only the Venetians galley were huge multi-decked rowboats requiring hundreds of oarsmen. Just as you want to protect your fishing spot and perhaps wanted the lake to yourself, the Venetians wanted the Mediterranean to themselves and used their galleys to sink the other nations ships.

However, instead of catching fish, the Venetians transported spices from the Middle East to the rest of Europe. The Europe of the Middle Ages and Renaissance had really no refrigerators to speak of. Thus, their food other rotted and stank, more than lutefisk even. So, the Middle Age diners really appreciated a good spice to cover up the bad food. And so the Venetians thrived.

Until suddenly, the Ottoman Empire conquered the Near East and shut off access to the spices. Moreover, Western Europe developed large sailing vessels that could whoop the pants off the Venetian galleys in combat and could travel long distances across the open sea. Venice went into a centuries long decline. You would have thought they could have used that declining time to come up with anything, like reclining chairs and public restrooms, but no.

Venice lost its independence to Austria in 1806. However, the conquered city still had lots and lots of pasta and fish. This made going to restaurants lots of fun. About this time, Signor Scampi added chairs to his pizzeria. What a great idea. People loved being able to seat down for supper. More and more chefs provided chairs for their customers. The trend toward chairs in Venetian restaurants continues to this very day.

Venice was a republic of sorts, although if you didn’t like the current governor–doges they called them–you were denounced, tried, convicted, and imprisoned or executed in one day. Movers and shakers you bet. People were so afraid of appearing unhappy, that they sported smiles all day long. Hence, the expression, “As smiley as a Venetian.”

My family and I as we got off the water taxi that took us from the port to St. Mark’s square. We headed to our first event, a gondola ride. We took our time, enjoying the architecture. Inevitably with a family of four, some of us had to pee. Where were the public toilets? Where was Waldo? Where was Ameila Earhardt? Actually, we found Ms. Amelia, but the need for the toilets remained unabated. Indeed the pressure mounted. We did find a fancy hotel near the gondola ride. After making our donations, we went outside to find the place where we would show our vouchers. According to the maps, the gondola extravaganza was supposed to be only ten yards away.

As the crow flies. As the drunken crow flies. We crossed a bridge and went to the gondola kiosk. The sphinxes periodically manning the booth ignored us. We recrossed the bridge in search of a caring employee. Nothing. We crossed back to the booth. Nothing. We ended up going over that bridge six times before we found an employee who put a round orange sticker on our shirts. We were good to go.

We got in line. We had a good position even though the gondola guys had sold hundreds of tickets for our time slot. Actually this wasn’t true due to a cultural misunderstanding. In America, people generally stand behind the last person in line. In Venice and in the airport coming back, standing in line meant standing to the side of people in line, generally near the front. Soon a vast semi-circle sea of people stood around the gondolas pressing ever forward as if  trying to get into a Who concert.

Eventually we got on a gondola and began our bumper-to-bumper (prow-to-bow on a gondola?) tour of the back canals of Venice. Many power boats made deliveries on alcohol to the back entrances of various bars. Cool, actually.

After the ride, I had the clever idea of finding where our evening Vivaldi concert would be. Although the venue had St. Mark’s as part of its address, our consensus was to use GPS. GPS resolutely marched us to and around tiny alleys away from St. Marks. We came to an epiphany; GPS sucks in narrow alleys.

We did find a small pizzeria where authentic Chinese waitresses provided efficient and cheerful service. This restaurant might have had a restroom. We’ll never know. None of us felt brave enough to pass a shrieking toddler to look. Oh how, weak and naive we were.

But we were smart and experienced enough now to head back to St. Mark’s Square to find Saint Mark’s Cathedral. (By the way, twenty-four years earlier I had the good fortune to visit this square during the Carnival season. I saw many wonderful acts, many in Italian and some in English. I also did the Hokey Pokey with a bunch of Americans. My contribution was, “You put your left ear in. You put your left ear out…)

Anyway the biggest tourist attraction in Venice is St. Mark’s Cathedral, named after St. Mark. My family went there for a full mass on Saturday evening. Mass was in Italian, but the choir was from Britain and sang in English, which was cool. But no restroom. During mass, touring around the cathedral is forbidden. So is flash photography, at least in theory. Sitting is forbidden during the tourist hours. So, you can’t sit in a pew and look at spectacular mosaic in the ceiling. And there’s no public restroom inside.

After mass, we went outside to find our concert. My gosh, it was literally twenty yards away. There was a big sign saying, “Vivaldi Concert tonight.” Fuck you, GPS.

The concert was fantastic. We were in the second row, only fifteen feet away from the musicians. The concert hall had seats for only about forty people. The energy and the skill of the musicians, well oh my gosh they were great. And they played Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons, one of my favorites. (I had listened to Vivaldi’s Two Seasons a couple decades earlier from a slow-arriving herd of Parisian violinists. No comparison, these Venetian folks were the real McCoys.)

And the concert venue had a public toilet. Sure I had to clamber up a two-foot high step, but I had been toughened, and so it proved no obstacle at all.)

A great concert, two public toilet, and mass at one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the day had been good.

Next day we stampeded the doge’s palace in St. Mark’s square. The doges had  lived there. It’s also where the nobility conducted the affairs of state. Venice was by the standards of its times, a rabid democracy. At first, nearly all the men could vote. Then sometime during the Middle Ages, the nobility in an admirable display of voter suppression struck all but a few thousand men from the voting rolls. The criminal justice system occurred in this building as well. With a strong Protestant work ethic, this Catholic government (the Reformation wouldn’t occur for centuries) heard, convicted, and sentenced people with assembly line efficiency.

Which they needed to do as they apparently had and still have, thank goodness, one public restroom. Would you want to spend hours uncovering quilt when you needed to pee. How did I know of this restroom? Twenty-four years earlier, I had toured the doge’s palace with a reasonably empty bladder. Only after leaving the palace did I look at my tour guide. It said, “Don’t forget to visit the public restroom at the palace. People restrooms are scarcer than hens’ teeth in St. Mark’s Square.” The tour book was right. A few hours later, I found myself wandering the Square saying, “A toilet! My American ExpressTM travellers checks for a toilet.” So this time I was able to comfortably whiz away while surrounded by centuries of history.

We then took our self-guided tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral. For love of God, Montressor, book your tickets in advance. Plate tectonics moves faster than lines at the Cathedral’s kiosks. The cathedral was as beautiful as it had been the previous day.

Our ticket to the doge palace gave our free entry to the city’s art museum. Let me tell you the energy spent railroading enemies of the state to their death did not diminish in the slightest the output of the land’s magnificent artists. Lots of busts of Napoleon, which was exciting for me as I am a direct descendant of his and it was nice to speculate how all this art and city could have been mine if only he had won the Battle of Waterloo.

Then tragedy struck. The men’s bathroom in the museum was, was . . . oh the humanity, was blocked of for cleaning. Well fuck. So we went outside to look for a public bathroom. We saw a sign for one. We did! We did!

We didn’t find it. We looked for hours. In desperation, we went into a restaurant. Number Two Son approached the proprietor*. The conversation remains burned in my brain.

“Do you have a restroom?” asked Number Two Son.

“Yes,” said the evil proprietor.

“May we use it?”

“No.”

“How about if we eat dinner here?”

“No.”

So we head back to the water-taxis with my bladder full as Boulder Dam after a rainy season. And there it was, Harry’s Bar! My gosh, the famous Harry’s Bar. Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Orson Welles, Aristotle Onassis, and other luminaries used to get drunk here and it was quite all right. And carpaccio was invented here. Contessa Amalia Nania Mocenigo was told that for her health she had to give up cooked meat. The clever bar owner sliced sirloin steak as thin as possible drizzled a sauce made of mayonnaise, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and a soupçon of milk. A place fit for an exclamation point!

I went in to whizz. I asked to use the restroom. They answered politely and pointed the way. I expressed my gratitude after I came out. I said how excited I was to be at Harry’s Bar. They smiled and thanked me. We went back to our ship. A palace, an art museum, culinary history, and two public restrooms. Life was good.

* = Mediterranean is hard to spell. So is proprietor.

Paul De Lancey, Intrepid Explorer

 

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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Beef, Herb, and Yogurt Soup (Aashe Mast)

Iranian Soup

BEEF, HERB, AND YOGURT SOUP
(Aashe Mast)

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ pound ground beef
⅓ cup long grain rice
4½ cups water
3 cups Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh chives*
¼ cup fresh cilantro*
¼ cup fresh parsley*
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (aka garbanzos beans)
¼ cup fresh mint*

* = Substitute 4 teaspoons dried herbs for 4 tablespoons fresh herbs.

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves and onion. Add onion, garlic, pepper, salt, turmeric, and ground beef to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Use hands to make ½” -to-1″ meatballs. Add rice, water, yogurt, chives, cilantro, and parsley to large pot. Simmer on low heat for 30 or until rice softens. Stir frequently. Add meatballs and chickpeas. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and gently. Garnish with mint.

TIDBITS

1) Earth, Wind, and Fire, a superb American band (1969 to present.) has excelled in many genres including : R&B, soul, funk, disco, Latin, and African. It’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has played for President Obama.

2) Alas, not all bands succeed . The Iranian group Beef, Herb, and Yogurt (1977-1979) rocked the musical genres of cuisine and bubble-gum love. Their song, “I give you my saffron and my heart” was the number-two Iranian song of 1978 . The shah of Iran even invited them to play for him in early 1979. The Iranian Revolution broke out a scant two weeks later. The Shah was deposed. The police hunted all supporters of the previous regime. Beef, Herb, and Yogurt, tied to the Shah by their command performance, fled to the U.S.. Stigmatized unfairly by Americans who blamed them for the storming of the American embassy, they never played again. The band members eventually opened up an Iranian restaurant in Dubuque, Iowa, where they have been trying to blend in.

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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Nice Things About All the Presidential Candidates

Candidate De Lancey
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I’m tired of relentless attacks on the candidates. In the spirit of reconciliation and togetherness, here are positive things to be said about all the candidates.

Clinton: My father’s first name was Clinton.
Sanders: I love how Sanders made fried chicken popular and available across the nation:
Cruz: Nice, short, easy to spell last name. Cruz was a scrappy infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Trump: I played some bridge in grad school. Trump cards are good in bridge.
O’Malley: Last name is similar to malted. I love malteds.
Rubio: Love his national chain of restaurants.
Carson: Just said no to arson, a crime by the way, by adding “C” for chocolate in front of arson. Everybody loves chocolate.
Fiorina: A great name for a nutritious breakfast cereal.
Jindal: That game with those wooden stick towers, has given millions of hours of fun to Americans. Jindal! Jindal! Jindal!
Christie: Last name is close enough to Krispies to associate him favorably with Rice Krispy squares.
Huckabee: The name ends with bee. Without bees polinating plants and flowers our entire food chain would disappear.
Kasich: He’s from Ohio. Without Ohio, there would be a dangerous void between Indiana and Pennsylvania. Would you like to fall all the way to the Earth’s molten nickel core? Not I!
Paul: Rand Paul’s last name is my first name. We have to stick together.
Santorum: The Inner Sanctum was a really cool radio show some years back.
De Lancey: Of the Bacon & Chocolate Party: What a sweetheart!

– Paul De Lancey, presidential candidate and nice guy.

CoverFrontFinal

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com.

 

 

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Palaw (Pilaf) From Turkmenistan

Turkmen Entree

PALAW
(pilaf )

INGREDIENTSPalaw-

2 pounds steak (rib eye, round, or chuck)
3 medium yellow onions
6 large carrots
¾ cup vegetable oil
4 cups basmati rice
6½ cups water
2 tablespoons salt

Makes 12 bowls

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven
Food processor for thin slicing

PREPARATION

Cut steak into 1″ cubes. Dice onions. Cut carrots into thin slices 3″ long. (A food processor that does thin slicing is a big help.)

Add beef cubes and oil to Dutch oven. Sauté beef for 10 minutes on medium-high heat or until beef starts to brown. Add onion and carrot. Sauté for 10 minutes or until onion and carrot soften. Stir occasionally.

Add rice, water, and salt. Raise heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-to-40 minutes. Stir three times. Be careful when stirring, especially if the food is near the top of the Dutch oven.

TIDBITS

1) This dish, palaw, is the inspiration for the hit TV show, PA Law. In this series, Detectives Donna Goreng and Ed Dejaj investigate rice crimes in the greater Philadelphia area. It’s not easy work for the bold and dedicated duo. The crimes are perpetrated by the Jell-O,TM Mold Militants, JMM!

2) Prior to 1970, every homemade dish was a Jell-O mold. These concoctions were often quite strange and offputting, like the tuna, oyster, Rocky Mountain oyster, bacon, peanut butter, sautéed eggplant and other science-fiction-like molds that graced the dining room table in that era.

3) Naturally, these molds made Americans cranky, resulting in many riots during the 1960s. Then we discovered palaw from Turkmenistan, hamburgers, and ice cream. Things calmed down something considerable. Except for the JMM. They hate our culinary freedoms.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperpack
or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Filipino Chicken Adobo

Filipino Entree

CHICKEN ADOBO

INGREDIENTSChickenAdobo-

6 garlic cloves
2 pounds chicken breasts
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 bay leaves
½ cup vinegar
1¾ cups water
½ tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSIL – OPTIONAL

herb infuser (quite similar to tea infuser)

PREPARATION

Mince garlic. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Add garlic, chicken, and soy sauce to mixing bowl. Turn chicken cubes until well coated with garlic and soy sauce. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Add chicken cubes and its marinade and the rest of the ingredients. (If you have an herb infuser, play peppercorns in it. Attach peppercorn lader herb infuser to pot.) Bring to boil using medium heat. reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens to desired consistency.

TIDBITS

1) There are 11 million Filipinos living outside the Philippines. These expatriates missed it when the Philippines hosted the world’s largest, mass public breast-feeding event in. Filipinos are still buzzing about that. That’s why they text more than all Americans and Europeans combined.

2) Life is not all breast feeding in the Philippines. The island nation has a dark side. It invented karaoke.

3) Interrogators from at least one nation have played the Barney the Dinosaur theme song to break the resistance of captured soldiers. However, no country has subjected its prisoners to Barney the Dinosaur karoake. There is only so much you can make good people to do, even in war.

5) Indeed, famished and weary travelers the world over are always admonished to leave their guns in their cars when entering establishments advertising themselves as “karaoke bars and grills.”

6) The yo-yo was invented in the Philippines as a weapon. As of the upcoming July, yo-yos will be banned in all karaoke bars.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spam Burger From Hawaii

Hawaiian Entree

SPAM BURGER

INGREDIENTSSpamBurger-

3 cloves garlic
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 12 ounce can SPAM

4 pineapple rings
4 slices mild cheddar cheese
4 lettuce leaves
4 hamburger buns

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves. Put garlic, brown sugar, lemon juice, pineapple juice, red wine, soy sauce, water, and cornstarch in large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk or fork until brown sugar dissolves and cornstrach blends in. Cut SPAM into 8 strips. Add SPAM. Let SPAM marinate for 60 minutes.

Set skillet to 350 degrees. Put SPAM strips and pineapple rings in skillet. Fry for 4 minutes. Turn over SPAM and pineapple. Add cheese slices. Fry for another 4 minutes.

While SPAM strips and pineapple rings are frying, add marinade to frying pan. Simmer for 8 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly.

Put 2 SPAM strips with melted cheese on bottom buns. Ladle as much cooked marinade on top as desired. (If you desire a lot of sticky marinade, may I suggest a lot of napkins.) Add lettuce and complete with top hamburger bun.

Left over sauce goes great with stir fry.

TIDBITS

1) The derivation of the term “spam” for torrents of unsolicited e-mail and posts comes from a Monty Python skit where a diner serves SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, and more SPAM. This skit can be seen on YouTubeTM via the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anwy2MPT5RE

2) While tidbit 1) advanced the cause of literature and the arts, the following tidbits will extol SPAM’s contribution to culinary history.

3) SPAM was first canned in 1937. It’s jingle was: “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, Hormel’s new miracle meat in a can. Saves time, tastes fine, to eat something grand as for SPAM.”

4) SPAM featured in soldiers’ meal during World War II as it is a good source of protein and is easy to eat. Famous people have spoken out about Spam.

“Without SPAM we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”
– Russian President Nikita Kruschev

“SPAM was a war-time delicacy.”
– Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

“I ate my share of SPAM along with millions of other soldiers, I’ll even confess to a few unkind words about it – uttered during the strain of battle you understand. But as the former commander-in-chief of the allied forces, I believe I can still officially forgive you for your only sin: sending us so much of it.”
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

5) The SPAM Museum is Austin, Minnesota, “SPAM Town, USA.” Admission is free.

6) In 1989,Americans purchased 1,750 tons of SPAM. Purchases for other years is apparently a secret.

7) Hawaii has the largest per capita consumption of SPAM in the world. These islanders acquired their love for SPAM during World War II when millions of soldiers, marines, and seamen stationed there were fed vast amounts of SPAM.

8) There is an annual SPAM Jam block party in Waikiki. McDonald’s restaurants in Hawaii include SPAM, eggs, and rice on its breakfast menu.
cover

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Suaasat – Greenlander Soup

Greenlander Soup

SUAASAT

INGREDIENTSSuaasat-

1 chicken breast (1 pound reindeer if you can get it)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 quart water
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup millet
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Makes 6 bowls

PREPARATION

Chop reindeer meat or chicken into 1/2″ cubes. Dice onions and carrots. Add cubes, onions, carrots, water, barley, millet, coriander, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme to large pot. Cook soup on medium heat for about 1 hour or until chicken or reindeer cubes are fully cooked and barley and millet are tender.

TIDBITS

1) A Viking called Gunnbjorn discovered Greenland in 876.

2) Why does Gunnbjorn get all the credit for discovery when thousands of Eskimos had been living there for hundreds of years?

3) Because Gunnbjorn sounds a lot like GummiTM bears and everyone likes those.

4) Leif Erikkson discovered North America in 1000.

5) Why did Leif get all the credit when North America was discovered thousands of years by peoples crossing the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska thousands of years before?

6) Because Leif sounds exactly like leaf. The maple leaf grows on the maple tree. Maple trees produce maple syrup. Everybody loves maple syrup.

7) Proper branding is a must for all discoverers.

8) Erikkson is variant of Erickson. Erickson is the name of my Swedish born grandparents who settled in America about 100 years ago.

9) I don’t believe the Erikksons and Ericksons ever relinquished their claim of discovery.

10) So North America quite possibly belongs to me.

11) As long as North Americans love maple syrup.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

La Daube Provencale

French Entree

LA DAUBE PROVENÇALE

LaDauPr-

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds stewing steak or better
2 yellow onions
8 whole cloves
1 carrot
4 garlic cloves
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces bacon strips
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup red wine

PREPARATION

Cut the steak into 1/2-inch cubes. It is all right to use a better grade of steak than stewing. (As I write this recipe, my local supermarket is having such a sale on top sirloin it’s cheaper than the fattiest ground beef. Go figure. Now if they would only have a sale on gold.)

Peel the 2 onions and cut each of them into 4 wedges. Stick a whole clove into each of the 8 onion wedges. Scrape off the surface of the carrot. Cut the carrot into round pieces no more than 1/2-inch thick. Peel and mince garlic cloves.

Put olive oil and bacon strips in skillet. Heat at medium-heat until bacon begins to brown. (Some versions of this recipe call for strips or slices heavily marbled with fat. This is no problem at all. Simply pick the package of bacon that is on top of the others. Some good Samaritan has gone before you, heroically going through all the bacon packages looking for the meatiest and leaving you exactly what you wanted.)

Back at the range it is time to add to the skillet: steak cubes, onion wedges with cloves in them, carrot pieces, garlic,
diced tomatoes, bay leaf, peppercorns, orange zest, sea salt, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. (“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?” Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Cook on medium heat until steak cubes start to brown. Add red wine. Bring to boil. Lower temperature to between off and warm. Cover with lid and let stew simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

This is great. Give it only to loved ones or a boss at promotion time.

TIDBITS

1) Insects don’t like the scent of onions. So, cut open an onion and rub the two halves all over your body before crossing a mosquito-infested swamp.

2) The French tried to build the Panama Canal before the Americans did. They failed because too many of their workers succumbed to malaria.

3) The Americans succeeded because they discovered malaria was borne by mosquitoes. We destroyed the pesky critters by destroying their swamps.

4) Mightn’t it have been simpler to have the canal workers rub their bodies with onion halves before going to work each day?

5) Of course, the thousands of sweaty, oniony workers would have had problems convincing beautiful ladies to dance with them after work.

6) But just how many spiffed-up young ladies could the workers have found in the middle of a mosquito-riddled swamp?

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Spinach Ravioli

Italian Entree

SPINACH RAVIOLI

INGREDIENTS

PASTA

3 cups or more of flour (1/4 cup more later in FINAL STAGE)
2 eggs
3/4 cup water or more
1 tablespoon olive oil (1 tablespoon more used later)
1 teaspoon salt (Used 3 times for a total of 2 teaspoons)

FILLING

2 garlic cloves
1/2 pound fresh spinach
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (Used 3 times for a total of 2 teaspoons)

MARINARA SAUCE

6 Roma tomatoes
1/2 large white onion
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (Used 3 times for a total of 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 6 ounce can tomato sauce

UTENSILS

rolling pin
cutting board

FINAL STAGE

water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (1 tablespoon more used earlier)
1/4 cup flour (3 cups more earlier in PASTA)

Makes about 40 ravioli.

PREPARATION OF PASTA

Combine flour, eggs, and cup water. Mix with hands. Make a ball of the mixture. It should just be able to come off your hand. If some of the ball sticks to your hand, then add a bit more flour, mix again, and try the new flour. If the flour ball is powdery, it is too dry. Add a bit more water, mix again, until the consistency of the next ball is just right.

Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on your cutting board and rolling pin. Roll flour ball out until it is NO THICKER than 1/4-inch. Frequently sprinkle the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. Let rolled-out flour sit for AT LEAST 4 hours. It should be nearly dry.

PREPARATION OF FILLING

While rolled out flour dries, peel and mince 2 garlic cloves. Dice spinach. Put garlic, spinach, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and salt in frying pan. Cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Put contents of frying pan into bowl. Mix and put spinach filling in fridge.

PREPARATION OF MARINARA SAUCE

Mince Roma tomatoes. Peel and mince 1/2 onion (Wouldn’t it be nice if you could buy a 1/2 onion at the store?) and 2 garlic cloves. Add tomato, onion, garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, salt, thyme, and tomato sauce to sauce pot. Cook ingredients on medium-high heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on. Stir occasionally.

FINAL PREPARATION

Dust cutting board with flour. Use knife to make 1 1/2-inch wide strips in the flour. Cut these strips into rectangles every 3 inches. Dust strips with flour. Put a 1/2 teaspoon or so of the filling on the right side of the 1 1/2-inch by 3-inch flour rectangle. (Did you know there is cutting board that has all sorts of measurements and angles on it if you want to make an exact 1 1/2-inch square ravioli? You can order it on line.) Fold the left side over the filling. Push down on the open sides with the tines of the fork to seal the spinach ravioli.

Fill pot with enough water to cover ravioli. Add salt and olive oil. Boil water. Add ravioli and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Ravioli should float to the top and the dough should be completely soft.

While your ravioli boils itself to perfection, cook pasta sauce in pot on medium heat until it is warm. Put ravioli in bowl and add pasta sauce.

TIDBITS

1) There are a lot of Italians in Italy.

2) There are a lot outside Italy as well. This is why Italian cuisine is so easy to find.

3) But Caesar’s salad isn’t Italian. This salad is often considered to be American though it was actually first made at Caesar’s Hotel in Tijuana, Mexico.

4) I recently went to a dentist in Tijuana for my teeth. Dentist’s in Mexico are much cheaper than in America. Caesar’s Hotel was only a block away.

5) The savings from seeing the Mexican dentist vastly outweighed the cost of the meal.

6) Indeed, there are “surgery” cruises and vacation packages to Mexico. People enjoy the cruise ship, the sights of the Mexican ports, and have a surgery for less than the cost of the same surgery in the United States.

7) There are a lot of ordinary American tourists in Mexico as well.

8) And there are certainly a lot of Mexicans in Mexico.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Run For Senator, Governor, Or Whatever On The Bacon & Chocolate Party Ticket

We’ve all seen the horrible gridlock that threatens to send our great nation’s economy over the cliff. Sure, it’s becoming more and more likely the American voters will elect me, Paul De Lancey as our nation’s president. But what about Congress? Will Democrats and Republicans humiliated by the loss of the presidency to the darkest of dark horses work with me to restore greatness and tranquility to this mighty land? Heck, no. They’ll block him and the will of the people at every turn

unless….

Bacon & Chocolate wins control of the Senate and the House of Representatives in November. We can only do that if you run for Representative, Senator, or even the humble spot of governor. Please declare your candidacy on the Bacon & Chocolate ticket. Do it for America. Do it today.

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