Posts Tagged With: appetizer

Quick Barbecue Sauce

American Appetizer

QUICK BARBECUE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

½ cup brown sugar
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup ketchup
1¼ teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Makes 1½ cups. Takes 10 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add all ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Put any unused sauce in Mason jar. Store in refrigerator.

TIDBITS

1) King Arthur reigned in Camelot. He had a circle of knights that kept the peace and enforced his decrees. But his knights showed themselves time and time again to be extremely jealous of their prestige and social ranking compared to the others.

2) This constant jockeying for power came out in the open at mealtimes as the head of the table conferred the most prestige on the knight who sat there. This place went to the king whenever he was around. Similarly, the next two most powerful knights sat on opposite sides of the table and one chair away from the head knight. And so on. Everyone could easily calculate his importance at the court just by counting chairs.

3) Naturally, all knights felt they deserved a chair closer to the king. Differences arose. Elbows were thrown. Insults such as “Yea verily, your mater” got bruited about. Knights drew swords. Blood got shed. King Arthur realized he’d have no knights left unless something happened. And happen it did. One fine May day, Arthur and his knights gathered on the castle green for Smoked Pork Ribs. The knights all sprawled around a giant cauldron of Quick Barbecue sauce. The cauldron’s roundness meant no jockeying for the most prestigious spots; there weren’t any. The reason for conflict disappeared.

4) King Arthur saw this and decreed a Round Table for his court’s meals. The knights celebrated feasts there in perfect harmony. A just and lasting peace descended on Camelot. Then Sir Kay noticed that you could determine your value to King Arthur simply counting the number of chairs you were away from him. Civil War broke out. The Kingdom of Camelot fell apart. This is why our leaders always consult books on dining etiquette for meals held for visiting heads of state.

 

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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Fun Festivals – Outhouse Races and More

On a roll

How many times have you had to run to the toilet? How many times has the toilet sped toward you? None. But it gets you thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if the scenery would change while you’re doing your business? Of course, it would. Look at the immense popularity of dinner trains or  cruises. People on these touristy getaways love to see the great outdoors slowly move by as they eat.

People on toilets are no different. They’d dearly love to see the outdoors move while they move their insides. Let’s face it, this isn’t going to happen with our indoor toilets. Doing so would require extensive structural damage to our home.

But it is possible with outhouses. Simply place the half-moon shed on runners or skis, get something to do the pulling, and Bob’s your uncle. Poetry in motion.

Why not make mobile outhouses fun and competitive?

You can at the Outhouse Races held during the Fur Rondy Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. Sure there are other outhouse races, but Rondy’s is the biggest. Go big or go home.

Would-be participants should know the rules. You need a port-a-potty. You need to put the pooper on a pair of skis. The port-a-potty must be structurally sound. It’s really no fun at all and most embarrassing to be in a exploding or collapsing crapper. Registration costs $100 per team.

Then decide if you wish to enter in the traditional or unlimited divisions. Are you an old-school race pooper or are you a visionary?

Go there. Have fun.

You got to move it, move it.

Register by February 22 to compete in this year’s race. Um no, unless you have a time machine. And if you really had a time machine, would you really use it to compete in an outhouse race? The bright side is, of course, that you have about 354 days to register for next year’s race. Mark the calendar. Don’t be caught with your pants down.

But wait, there’s more! Other events include:

Fur Rendezvous Royal Tea & Coronation
Alaska State Snow Sculpture Competition – (Carving)
ALL Alaska Native Fur Rondy Basketball Tournament
Sled Dogs Downtown
Frostbite Foot Race Bib Pickup
Curling Bonspiel
Rondy World Championship Sled Dog Races
Carnival
Snowshoe Softball
Frostbite Footrace and Costume Fun Run 8am
Ice Bowling
Grand Parade
Blanket Toss
Fireworks Extravaganza Party, Tickets were limited, but you missed it anyway.
World Championship Outdoor Hockey Tournament
Blizzard Bash Concert
Cornhole Ice Breaker Tourney
Family Skate / Skate with the Critters
Running of the Reindeer

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., and travel advisor

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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Venezuelan Guasacaca

Venezuelan Appetizer

GUASACACA

INGREDIENTS

3 avocados
1 green chile
2 garlic cloves
⅓ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh parsley
1½ tablespoons lime juice
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2½ tablespoons white vinegar

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Serves 8. Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Peel and seed avocados and green chile. Add all ingredients to food processor. Blend until you get the desired consistency. Store in a Mason jar in the refrigerator.

TIDBITS

1) Guasacaca, wait, wait, wait! How the heck does my spell checker know the word “Guasacaca?”

2) Does everybody in America and the rest of the English speaking world know what guasacaca is? Do people know where to find guasacaca in their supermarket? Or if not, do they ask the employees for help in finding it. Hint: it’s usually in aisle 7A.

3) Oh great, just great I saved this file to look up something. Now that I’ve come back, the spell checker doesn’t recognize the word “guasacaca” anymore. I tell you, there are dark forces lurking in every hidden crevice of our world.

4) Well now, I don’t have much space left to expound on how to find gusacacaca if you don’t feel like making it. Guasacaca resides in vast pools in the Earth’s mantle. It then gradually and gently percolates upward and through Earth’s crust in much the same way coffee percolates.

5) If you’re lucky enough to live above subterranean pools of guasacaca, then all you have to do is go to a guasacaca lake, scoop some up with a bucket, and take it home. However, if you reside above great pools of lava, then you will suffer through endless cycles of volcanoes and lava flows. Choose the location of your home wisely.

 

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.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spanish Shrimp in Crispy Batter (Gambas en Gabardina)

Spanish Appetizer

SHRIMP IN CRISPY BATTER
(Gambas en Gabardina)

INGREDIENTS

1 egg
½ cup water
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon saffron (or ¼ teaspoon safflower)
¾ pound jumbo shrimp (20-25 count, peeled and deveined)
2 cups oil (vegetable or olive)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

deep fryer or skillet with tall edges

Serves 8. Takes 25 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add egg and water to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Add flour and salt. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add baking soda and saffron. Mix batter with whisk until well blended.

Add oil to deep fryer. Heat oil using medium heat. until a little bit of batter starts to dance in the oil. Roll shrimp in batter until they are completely covered. Shake off any excess.

Carefully drop shrimp one at a time into the hot oil. Do not let them touch each other. Let shrimp deep fry for 2 minutes they become crispy and turn golden brown. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon or regular spoon and let dry on plate covered with paper towel. Goes well with parsley and lemon wedges.

TIDBITS

1) Shepherds use sheep dogs to move their flocks of sheep. No other animal does this job as well. Similarly, clover drovers use shrimp to corral their herds of clover. (An unattended clover is prone to wander off anywhere and get into all sorts of mischief.)

2) Four-leaf clovers are more than worth their weight in gold. For these clovers will provide good luck as long as you keep them on your person. (Take that genies, with your paltry three wishes.) So, four-leaf clover drovers employ shrimp in crispy batter. Culinary veterinarians tell us this is because the whole process toughens up the shrimp something considerable, making them more than a match for the wily four-leafers. Just like boot camp toughens up marine recruits.

 

– 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.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sun Dried Tomato Butter

American Appetizer

SUN DRIED TOMATO BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

1¼ ounces sun dried tomatoes*
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 cup butter, softened

* = or 4 tablespoons ground

SPECIAL UTENSILS

spice grinder
electric beater

Makes 1⅓ cups. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince sun-dried tomatoes in spice grinder. (Don’t add so much at a time that your grinder can’t handle the load). Mince basil, garlic, and parsley.

Add butter to mixing bowl. Cream butter with electric beater set at medium. Add all other ingredients. Cream with electric beater set on medium until well blended. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Place unused tomato butter in sealed container. It should keep for a week in the fridge.

TIDBITS

1) We all know the saying “Red sky at night, sailors delight.” For a night’s red sky the setting Sun’s rays are traveling through a thicker than usual concentration of dust particles. This event foretells high pressure and stable air coming in from the west.

2) I suppose this means easy sailing if your boat’s heading to the west. But what if your ship is heading east, wouldn’t a red sky indicate foul weather in the morning? Perhaps this saying needs to be made more robust?

3) Anyway, a red sky at night also means a rising moon will be red at night. Quick witted sailors soon associated red moons with smooth sailing. It was but two shakes of a lamb’s tail to think that red moons brought luck.

4) Then in 1822, during a red half moon, First Mate Tom Albacore won and won and won playing poker. At port, the next day, he wooed and wed the richest heiress in the world. From then on red half moons became a particularly lucky sign to sailors. But red half moons are rare, so sailors took the making Sun Dried Tomato Butter on sourdough toast because it looks like that phenomenon.

 

– 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.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colombian Meatball Soup (Sopa de Albóndigas)

Colombian Soup

MEATBALL SOUP
(Sopa de Albóndigas)

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1 green onion
¼ cup minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ pound ground beef
⅓ pound ground pork
½ cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
½ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
6½ cups beef broth
¼ cup fresh cilantro.

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves, green onion, and yellow onion. Add yellow onion and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium heat for 5 minutes or until yellow onion softens. Add sautéed yellow onion and all other ingredients except beef broth and cilantro to mixing bowl. Use hands to make 16 meatballs. Add beef broth and meatballs to large pot. Bring to boil at medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Lower heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes or until meatballs float and are no longer pink inside. Dice cilantro. Garnish soup with cilantro. Goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) The four meatballs in the above photo are actual planets and asteroids. The planets are Neptune and Pluto, and X3B-17A way beyond the Solar System. Wasn’t Neptune rather big to fit into a soup bowl? Yes, it was. However, it was gaseous giant, that was condensed into a bowl-sized solid planet. Aren’t these celestial orbs rather heavy? Yes, they are. However, hunger and this soup’s wonderful aroma makes us strong. Life’s been rather unkind to Pluto, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. But it’s been rather sad since it lost its full planetary status and has done nothing but orbit morosely around the Sun ever since. We’re really doing it a kindness by eating it.

2) Won’t people miss seeing all heavenly bodies? No for the asteroids, there are too many to notice. X3B-17A is too far away to see. Certainly, people will notice the disappearance of Neptune, but it takes 4 hours for us light to reach us. That’s plenty of time to make this soup and dispose of the evidence, by eating it, before anyone notices. These meatballs are made mostly out of beef and pork. Does this give credence that the universe is made primarily of beef and pork? Yes, it does.

 

– 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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Anafre (Bean and Cheese Dip)

Honduran Appetizer

ANAFRE
(Bean and Cheese Dip)

INGREDIENTS

½ red onion
½ teaspoon chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup refried beans or red refried beans
½ teaspoon pepper
½ pound quesillo or Oaxacan cheese
3 tablespoons crema Hondureño, crema Mexicana, or sour cream
tortilla chips, unsalted if possible, for dipping

Serves 8. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Dice red onion. Add red onion, chicken broth, and vegetable oil to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add refried beans and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or untl boiling. Stir frequently.

Add quesillo and crema Hondureño. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until cheese melts completely. Stir occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips.

TIDBITS

1) Ana Fre was a good Swede who spent some time in Honduras. My grandmother’s first name was pronounced somewhere between Ana and Annie. She went with Anna when she moved to America. You’ll notice that her first name has two ns in it, while Ana Fre’s had just one. That’s because my grandma didn’t fear an extra n. Ana Fre did fear an n. So for her, the previous sentence for her became, “Ana fear a n.”

2) Ana fear a n is, of course, an anagram for Anafre. So in a way, the name Anafre, expresses the Honduran people’s love for Ana, who came up with this dish.

3) Ana was not the first nor to fear extra ns. The Romans phrase for “fear a n” or “fear for the letter n” was “timere litteras n.” The great Julius Caesar suffered from this affliction.

4) Dr. Sigmund Freud, the great Viennese pyschoanalyst, referred to this anxiety as Buchstabe n Phobie.

5) So if you fear the letter n, or just an excessive amount of them, fret not, you are not alone. You can even be a fully functioning member of society.

 

– 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.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beef With Chestnuts

Croatian Entree

BEEF WITH CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound chestnuts
6 cups water
1 large onion
1½ pounds sirloin, tenderloin, or rump
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut an 1″ wide “x” on both sides of each chestnut. Make the cut deep enough to cut through the shell. (This keeps the chestnut from exploding. This really can happen if you omit this step.) Add chestnuts and 6 cups water to pot. Boil on medium-high heat for 45 minutes or until chestnuts become tender, the chestnut shells start to open and become easy to peel. (This is important. A shell that isn’t easy to peel will take forever.) Remove from heat. Cover with kitchen towel. Let cool for 5 minutes. Peel chestnuts. Discard shells.

While chestnuts cook, dice onion. Cut sirloin into 1″ cubes. Add onion and oil to 2ndt pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add sirloin cubes, paprika, pepper, and salt. Sauté for 5 minutes or until sirloin cubes brown on all sides. Stir frequently. Add 1 cup water. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until sirloin cubes become tender. Use slotted spoon to add chestnuts to pot with sirloin cubes. Add enough water to cover. Simmer at medium heat for 15 minutes or until chestnuts soften. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) Beef and chestnuts can only be placed next to each after both get cooked, because they tend to fight each other when they are alive. This hostility stems from the one and only beef/chestnut drive. It started in 1898 in Bend, Oregon and was to have ended in the port of New Orleans. Beef and chestnuts were ferociously desired by American troops fighting the Spanish in Cuba. But from the start, the beeves taunted the chestnut trees for their extreme slowness. This was harsh as chestnuts trees were the fasted trees around, due to their tiny feet.

2) Anyway, the chestnut trees took offense at this verbal onslaught and proclaimed they’d go no further. To show their resolve, they evolved their feet to become roots. Nowadays, you need to look for chestnuts in the stationary-nut-tree section of your supermarket. Oh, and there are no more chestnut drives. The days of the chestnutboys are long gone except in movies.

 

– 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.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Roasted Chestnuts

American Dessert

ROASTED CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound chestnuts (most of the fresh ones are available in Autumn)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

baking pan

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven preheats, cut an “x” that covers one entire side on each chestnut. Make the cut deep enough to cut through the shell. (This makes the chestnut easy to peel. It also keeps it from exploding. This really can happen if you omit this step.)

Place chestnuts on baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until chestnuts become tender, the chestnut shells start to open and become easy to peel, and the edible nut that’s inside turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Cover with kitchen towel. Let cool for 5 minutes. Peel and eat immediately.

TIDBITS

1) As you can see, the left chestnut in the above photo is unpeeled. It also has an “x” cut into it by a knife. This makes it much easier to peel. The two chestnuts on the right have been peeled and are ready to eat. ☺

2) But wait! This narrative gets even more exciting. ☺☺

3) When prehistoric tribes decided to cut “x”s on chestnuts, they inadvertently developed the game Tic-Tac-Toe. The uncut chestnuts became “zero” or the letter “o.” These doughty cavemen were already two letters on the way to the present English alphabet. Go, cavemen, go! Excelsior!

4) Then one fine summer day caveman Carl La Fong invented the letter “b.” (We know about La Fong because he signed his cave paintings. They’re worth quite a bit if you can discover one.) Ancient peoples could now spell the word “box.”

5 Before you knew it, peoples everywhere had an alphabet and words for everything. Not much later, the word “box” led to actual boxes. CheeriosTM and AmazonTM became possible. And we owe it all to chestnuts and the visionary Carl La Fong. Yay.

 

– 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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Cranberry Sauce

Bosnian Appetizer

CRANBERRY SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

1⅓ cups sugar
¾ cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 pound cranberries

Makes 3¼ cups. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add sugar, orange juice, and water to pot. Simmer at low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves completely. Stir frequently. Add cranberries. Cook at medium heat for 15 minutes or until cranberries crack open and sauce is dark and thick. Remove sauce from heat.(Sauce should thicken more as it cools.) Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour or until ready. Goes well on poultry, pork, beef, and fish.

TIDBITS

1) Cranberries are good for you in all sorts of ways. I forget some of them. Apparently, cranberries don’t help the memory much.

2) The Picts and Celts in Ancient Britain were fierce warriors. They got their energy and stamina from eating cranberries. If the these ancient fighters ate too many cranberries they got tummy aches. They also found oodles and oodles of excess energy coursing through their veins. They became too hot. The Picts and Celts had to let some of their escape or they’d collapse.

3) So the first Britons took off all their clothes to cool off. Being nude, they painted their bodies blue for modesty’s sake. Then they charged the opposing army with a ferocity that’s never again been equaled.

4) But they didn’t wear hats or paint their heads. The skin on their heads turned red under the hot unforgiving sun. The invading Romans their skulls, crania, looked as red as the cranberry that the natives ate. So, the Romans called this red berry, the cranberry.

5) I almost forgot, a Roman chef, Quintus Cato, looked at the cranberry sauce in his mason jar and thought, “The mason jar is much taller than it’s wide. Is it possible to build like that as well?” He wrote of this idea to his pal, Emperor Vespasian of Rome. The energetic Emperor immediately ordered construction of the Colosseum, so named because it’s colossal in size. Now you know

 

– 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.

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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