Posts Tagged With: Chef Paul

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

Categories: history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Son of a Bun Cheeseburger

American Entree

SON OF A BUN CHEESEBURGER

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2¼ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

INGREDIENTS – REST

1 onion
1 tomato
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1¼ pounds ground beef (80% is best)
8 slices American cheese
8 hamburger buns
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

Makes 8 cheeseburgers. Takes 1 hour.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline
outdoor grill

PREPARATION- SAUCE

Add all sauce ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Chill in refrigerator until ready.

PREPARATION – REST

Dice onion. Use mandoline or knife to cut tomato into slices ¼” thick. Add onion and oil to pan. Sauté onion at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Remove from heat. Divide beef into 8 balls. Press down on balls until they become patties ¼” thick.

Grill patties at medium heat for 7 minutes. Flip patties over. Grill for 4 minutes. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Grill for 2 minutes more. Remove patties from heat. Divide special sauce equally among all 16 bun halves. Spread sauce evenly over bun haves. Add cheese-covered patties to bun bottoms. Top patties with sautéd onions. Sprinkle iceberg lettuce evenly over onions. Place 1 tomato slice over each cheeseburger. Place top bun on each cheeseburger.

TIDBITS

1) I had some difficulty naming this dish. So I had a contest where my FacebookTM friends got to name this burger.

2) Mike Allsopp, a retired policeman from Florida, came up with the winning entry. Thanks Mike!

3) So Mike has helped his community by arresting bad guys and in general by keeping the peace.

4) Mr. Allsopp also won a BoeingTM 747 for his clever suggestion.

5) Though there are doubts that he ever received his prize.

6) For although I know the name of the city where he lives, I don’t know his specific address.

7) And pilots for commercial jets really want to know that sort of thing.

8) Moreover, Mike has a short driveway.

9) How short? Oh I don’t know, maybe 30 feet long.

10) How long a runway does a 747 require to land?

11) The answer seems to be about 10,000 feet.

12) So most likely. the jet landing at Mike’s house would hurtle past the 30 foot driveway and into his garage where it’d completely demolish a Honda FitTm as if it weren’t even there.

13) Which might not be the case. Mike might have a HummerTM limo for partying around town.

14) Sad to say, though, the Hummer limo wouldn’t stand up the rampaging 747 either.

15) Most likely the 747 wouldn’t halt stop until it tore down several fences and pancaked house after house after house.

16) The plane, would also certainly destroy any garden gnomes in the neighborhood. So some would come out of it.

17) But upon sober reflection, I would have to say, all in all, Mike’s neighbors would be rather peeved at him. Miffed even.

18) Especially those neighbors whose garden gnomes got crushed.

19) And I’m entertaining doubts that the pilots’ union would even countenance such a difficult landing. So, it’s quite possible the plane meant for Mike never even took off. ☹

20) So Mike if you’re ever in my neighborhood, come on over and I’ll grill you some Son of a Bun Cheeseburgers.

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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Boston Baked Beans

American Appetizer

BOSTON BAKED BEANS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound great Northern beans
8 cups water
1 medium onion
5 ounces salt pork
¼ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

Makes 9 bowls. Takes overnight to soak plus 6 hours to cook.

PREPARATION

Add beans and water to large pot. Soak overnight. Reserve liquid from pot. Mince onions. Cut salt pork into ½” cubes. Add all ingredients including reserved liquid to slow cooker.  (If you discarded the liquid, add 5 cups water.) Use low setting to Cook for 6 hours or until beans are tender. Stir before serving.

TIDBITS

1) Beans are fairly round. Bowls are completely round. The Britons of King Arthur’s time ate beans before battle. Beans gave them strength and courage.

2) Though not the element of surprise. The many toots that came of Arthur’s knights always gave them away, no matter how carefully they concealed themselves in ambush. But the armies of King Arthur’s day generally eschewed–not that the illiterate warriors of the day would have known a two-dollar word as eschewed–complicated tactics such as ambush. Generally they came together and bashed the heck out of each other until one side gave way.

3) Naturally, King Arthur’s knights wanted to eat strength-and-courage-giving beans before combat for the knights eating the most beans, bashed the most enemy knights. In turn, these knights got the most gold, land, and the best castles from a grateful and victorious Arthur.

4) All knights wanted this. This meant they had to get the biggest bowl of beans. Soon combat broke out among King Arthur’s fighters. His warriors began to die off before they even saw the enemy.

5) The only way to have equally large bean bowls was to have only one bowl for all the knights, one they ate from at the same time. Naturally, this bowl had to be enormous. An enormous round bean bowl requires an enormous round table to support it. This is how the Round Table came about.

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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prawn Barbecue

Australian Entree

PRAWN BARBECUE

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt or salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ pounds shelled-and-deveined extra-large shrimp* (16-to-20 per pound)
1 lemon (optional)

* = The terms prawn and shrimp are often used interchangeably. However, they are technically different having some unmemorable difference in their shells.

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

outdoor grill
5 skewers

PREPARATION

Mince garlic and parsley. Add garlic, parsley, butter, olive oil, white wine, pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, and shrimp to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until shrimp are well coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

10 minutes before marinating is done, heat outdoor grill to medium heat. Thread 6 shrimps onto each skewer. Cut lemon into 5 slices. Grill shrimp for 2 minutes or until it turns pink. Flip skewers over and grill the other side for 2 minutes or until it to is pink. Garnish with lemon slices. Goes well with rice, spinach,  avocado salad, and beer.

TIDBITS

1) Alexander the Great of Macedon invaded the Persian Empire. in 336 BC. This was okay as the previous year was 337 BC, although the people of the time didn’t know this. Alex was a complete foodie. Unfortunately. the menu of his kingdom, Macedon, consisted of 1,223 almost indistinguishable varieties of wheat and olive oil. So when he heard of prawn barbecues to be had in the Persian empire, he invaded. It transpired that the idea of prawn barbecues was story concocted by long suffering Greek chefs to get the ever harping food critic Alexander far away.

2) Alexander’s army thrashed the Persians at the battle of Granicus. Being an relatively young army– about the age of frat boys albeit ones with twenty-foot spears and trained be an unparalleled fighting machine–they repaired to the local tavern to eat and drink. The tavern’s cook, Bessyrus, knowing a little something of Macedonian cuisine offered Alexander and his troops bread drizzled with olive oil. Alexander became enraged, shouted, “I’m sick of bread and olive oil. Where’s the prawn barbecues?” and ran a spear through the tavern’s chef.

3) This still seems a little unfair. The chef knew nothing of the mythical prawn barbecue. In fact, culinary historians remain absolutely amazed that a cook over 2,000 years ago could make enough bread in one hour to feed 50,000 ravenous soldiers. Alexander’s mob headed to the town’s other eatery and asked for prawn barbecues. Fortunately, the synapses in this restaurant’s cook were firing particularly well. He said that there were prawn barbecues in Egypt. And off Alexander’s mob went dispatching another Persian army along the way.

4) Alexander asked the first Egyptian priest/chef he saw for a prawn barbecue. The priest/chef offered bread drizzled with honey. Alexander drew his sword. The quick thinking priest/chef mollified Alexander by declaring him to be a god. Alexander really liked the idea of being a god and strutted around for days saying, “Look at me, I’m a god. Wow, it’s really cool to be a god.” Anyway, Alexander was so smitten by the idea of his divinity, that he plum forgot to behead the priest/chef. The holy Egyptian chef, however, couldn’t help but dwell on his close call. :Hey, Alex,” he said one day, “there’s plenty of prawn barbecues in Persia.” And off Alexander’s army went.

5) The Macedonians utterly crushed the Persian King’s army at Guagamela. The surviving Persian nobles didn’t want Alexander staying around. Alexander was losing his head beheading them. “Hey Alex,” they said, “there’s prawn barbecues aplenty in India.” And off Alexander’s soldiers went.

6) Alexander’s force kicked hiney in India. But the story remained the same. Alexander the Great One didn’t care for the rajahs’ curry bread and offed one baker after another. “Hey, Alex,” the noble bakers said, “there’s oodles of prawn barbecues in Australia.” And off went Alexander.

7) Except this time, the Macedonian spearmen didn’t follow. They were sick of endless marching. Besides, they had discovered pistachios in Persia and really, really liked them. Why massacre entire cities for an alleged gourmet meal when you could munch on delicious, almost addictive pistachios?Alexander gave in. The Macedonian army would conquer no more. But the mutiny by his beloved army broke his heart. He died soon after. Ironically, the noble Indian bakers were right. There were prawn barbecues in Australia.

8) The Australian aborigines of that time loved shrimp (Same as prawns, remember?)  like no one has ever since. They’d eat 100 shrimp at a time. Of course, no one could barbecue 100 shrimp on the tiny skewers of today. Those hardy people fashioned wooden skewers out of trees. Unfortunately, the millions upon millions of Native Australians made so many long skewers that they totally deforested most of Australia. Shrimp barbecues became impossible. The crestfallen aborigines left Australia in outriggers to settle Hawaii.  They left behind petroglyphs of their enormous shrimp skewers.

9) In 1895, Baron de Courbertin saw these shrimp-skewer pictures. You and I would shrug them off, but the young baron’s mind came up with pole vaulting. His active mind would not rest until he found a way to showcase his new athletic event and so the Olympics were born. 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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grandma Anna’s Spritz Cookies

Swedish Dessert

GRANDMA ANNA’S SPRITZ COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 sticks) butter*
⅔ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2½ cups flour
1 tsp almond extract (optional)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater**
cookie gun, aka cookie press
2 cookie pans

* = This was also made with NucoaTM. It’s hard to imagine how fiercely devoted some people were to this margarine.

** = Grandma didn’t use an electric beater. She used a hand-held one. However, those beaters are mighty hard to find these days.

Makes 80 cookies. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.  Add butter to large mixing bowl. Use beater set on high until butter is light and fluffy. Add sugar. Mix with beater until butter and sugar are well blended. Add 1 egg yolk at a time, blending each instance. Gradually add flour, mixing all the time. Add almond extract, if desired, and mix briefly with electric beater.

Grease cookie pan lightly with paper from butter. Choose a disk for the cookie gun. Add dough to cookie gun. (Follow instructions that come with cookie gun.) Use cookie gun to press out dough onto cookie pan. Be creative. Make whatever shape you want. (My grandma favored the letter s.) Bake at 360 degrees for 10 minutes or until cookies start to brown. You might have to cook in batches. Gently remove cookies from cookie pans using fork. Gently, gently, as some cookie shapes crumble easier than others.

TIDBITS

1) Why are there so many towns in the western America named after Sweden? Culinary historians hold it is because of the wondrously sturdy wheels the immigrant Swedes used in their covered wagons. While others used wooden spokes in their wagon wheels, the Swedes made theirs from spritz cookie dough. Egg yolks were much stronger back then, making for more durable spokes than ones made from wood. Indeed, chickens were buffer in the 1800s, being able to bench press a 200-pound man.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crab Rangoon

Chinese Appetizer

CRAB RANGOON

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove
1 green onion
½ pound canned crabmeat
1 egg
½ pound cream cheese (room temperature)
⅛ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
48 wonton wrappers
3 cups or enough vegetable oil for deep frying

SPECIAL UTENSIL

wok

Makes 48 wontons. Takes 1 hour 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic clove. Cut green onion into thin slices. Drain and flake crabmeat. Add egg to cup. Beat egg with whisk. Add garlic, green onion, crabmeat, cream cheese, pepper, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Use brush to moisten to edges of wonton wrapper with egg. Add 1-to-1½ teaspoons of crabmeat/cream cheese filling to center/upper half of wonton wrapper. Flatten mixture slightly with spoon. (Do not let mixture reach edges or bottom half.) Fold bottom corner of wrapper to top corner to form a triangle. Press down gently as you go. (This will squeeze out pockets of air.) Press down firmly on edges to seal wonton. Place completed wontons on plate and cover with thin, damp towel. (This will keep the completed wontons from drying out.)

Add enough oil to wok to cover wontons. Heat oil to medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a little bit of wonton wrapper will dance in it. Carefully ladle in wontons. Do not let wontons touch each other. (You probably will need to cook wontons in batches.) Deep fry for 45 seconds or until wontons turn golden brown on bottom. Turn wontons over and deep fry for another 45 seconds or until that side becomes golden brown. Remove wontons with slotted spoon and let drain on plate covered with paper towel. Goes well with sweet-and-sour and Chinese-mustard.

TIDBITS

1) The Northrop GrummanTM B-2 Bomber, is designed to penetrate deep into enemy airspace to deliver nuclear and conventional bombs, even in the teeth of formidable air-defense systems.

2) Speaking of teeth, did you know that the B-2 bomber’s design is based on the shape of the humble, yet tasty, crab rangoon? Yep.

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, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

Bad Advice Friday, 5-12-17

Oh my gosh. It’s Friday already. Did you know there’s one every week? So, I shall once more be dispensing bad advice As usual, the advice will stupendously bad.
************************

JW asks: Should I really call my mom, or get her a gift or card, or visit her, or any of those other mother’s day things?

Dear JW: I think you should give the Mothers’ Day of Benedict Cummerbund. He’s handsome as anything, he’s rich, he has a career, what more could mother want? Ask Benadryl Cuminpatch if he’d like to spend the rest of his life with Mom. You’ll have to ask Benpicked Cucumber nicely as he is, as indeed all celebrities, used to people gushing up to him. If a lifetime commitment is too much, would he be willing to do whatever Mom wanted for one day. Should he complain of lost income from his movies, you’ll just have to rob banks until you’ve accumulated $100 million. Oh, and a grilled cheese sandwich. Make sure the cheese is gruyère. Celebrities have expenses tastes. This will be a Mothers’ Day Mom will never forget.

************************

SL Red, purple, or green?

Dear SL: The White House has been that uninspired white ever since its construction. I applaud your desire to spiff up the world’s most recognized building, to give it some character, to have some fun. Since, the color of the Republican party is often thought to be red, it would good to paint the White House red. I strongly suggest using spray paint for the job as the Secret Service is not going to give you much time to do a professional job with a roller and a paint brush. Indeed, they apt to be rather cross with you while hauling you away to ask such questions such as, “How did you get over the fence and so close to the White House without being spotted?” You’ll be able to answer with, “Why I went to the nearest circus and bought a cannon from the Human Cannonball. I then shot myself and my paint.” Maybe that will impress them. It’s worth a shot. (See what I did there?)

************************

JCA asks: Mayo, or Miracle Whip? Not for food, but for bedroom fun. (Asking for a friend).

Dear JCA: My natural inclination as a chef is to suggest mayonnaise as it is a purer food and less likely to be a chemical sh*tstorm. Indeed, try to get mayonnaise with all natural ingredients. Let’s keep our planet green. However in this case, spreadability and lubrication will be prized more than it would be in making a tuna sandwich, I suggest the scientific method. Have two bedroom romps with each volunter. Ask them if they preferred the mayonnaise experience or the one with Miracle WhipTM. You might need hundreds of volunteer partners before you become quite confident in your results. Should you have a spouse who balks at your scientific zeal, you might need to present your sweetheart with a nice box of chocolates and some lovely flowers when asking their permission. Oh, and make sure you always use fresh mayonnaise and Cool Whip. You don’t want to get false responses from your volunteers because you used something rancid. Check those expiration dates.

************************

KGV states: Thanks for the reminder. Being retired, I easily forget which day of the week we are celebrating.

Dear KGV: It is easy to forget the day of the week, isn’t it? Buy yourself a $600 cell phone, one that shows the day of the week. You don’t have to use the phone for anything. If opening the cell phone just to find the day of the week seems a bit weird, hire a butler. The butler will follow you around and will be pleased to tell what day it is no how many times you ask.

************************

LF asks: Why do ticks tick?

Dear LF: Not all ticks tick, only the explosive ones. Explosiveness was a defensive trait evolved by ticks during the Cretaceous period. Ticks of that time were forever getting trampled underfoot by tyrannosaurus rexes hot on the pursuit of a brontosaurus burger. A tick scout would raise the alarm whenever a T-rex approached. The explosive ticks would rush the killer dinosaur and explode themselves. The explosion would kill the tyrannosaurus, but the rest of the tick colony would be saved. Sure it would take a lot of ticks to fell a mighty Rex, but holy moly, there are a boatload of ticks. There’s a practical use to this as well. North Korea has not acting at all neighborly lately. To help the world, get on the plane to North Korea with a carry-on bag full of explosive ticks. Don’t worry about TSA, the ticks aren’t metallic and aren’t even on any list of prohibited items. The North Koreans, being a wary sort, might ask you what’s in your bag. They might even open your bag and ask, “What are those ticks doing?” You should say, “I don’t know. Do ticks talk?” (See what I did there?) Then head to the nearest military installation, the one where you can do the most damage. Tell the ticks that those North Korean missiles or fighter planes are T-Rexes. The ticks will blow up the entire installation or base. Oh I forgot, the North Korea security is a distrustful lot. Try to blend in as you make your way through the countryside.

Doctor Paul De Lancey

(Please click on my name and submit Bad Advice questions to my Facebook page and simply make a comment to this post. I look
forward to hearing from you.)

 

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: bad advice Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: