Posts Tagged With: Chef Paul

Paul’s Camembert Burger – Blog 999

American Entree

PAUL’S CAMEMBERT BURGER

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds ground beef
½ teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine
½ cup heavy whipping cream or crême fraiche
1 tablespoon fresh* herbs (thyme, marjoram, or sage)
4 ounces Camembert cheese, no rind
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 French rolls

* = Try to use fresh ingredients for this dish. However, if that is not possible, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs instead.                A still-life painting by Vincent van Gogh.

Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add ground beef and herbes de Provence to mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Shape beef into 4 oblong patties that match the shape of the French rolls. Add butter and olive oil to pan. Warm butter using medium heat until butter melts and browns. Tilt pan occasionally to ensure even melting. Add beef patties. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side or until meat is done to your liking. Remove beef patties to dish and cover to keep warm. Keep liquid in pan.

Toast French rolls. Add wine to pan. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Add whipping cream and herbs. Stir. Bring to boil again using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium high. Add Camembert cheese and Dijon mustard. Stir constantly until cheese dissolves and blends into the rest of the sauce. Add beef patty to each French roll bottom. Pour sauce over beef patties. Place French roll tops on sauce-covered patties.

TIDBITS

1) Vincent van Gogh painted food for cookbooks. It kept him going during his lean years which were many as he sold only one non-food pictures in his lifetime. Van Gogh also had to work at carnivals as an egg catcher. He and his pals wowed crowds by tossing raw eggs for longer and longer distances without dropping them or letting them break. Van Gogh’s supple hands that helped him catch eggs also allowed him to wield his paint brush with a deft touch. Today, we honor his memory with Poway’s annual Impressionist Egg Toss Festival.

2) All his food paintings but for the incredibly valuable one here perished in s freak fire. Odd.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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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Homemade Butter

American Appetizer

HOMEMADE BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

3 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup ice water
¼ teaspoon salt (optional, to taste)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor (best), immersion blender or electric whisk
fine-mesh colander or colander with cheesecloth
butter molds (optional)

Makes 1 cup or 2 sticks butter. Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add whipping cream to food processor. Whip cream until it cream fully separates into thickish butter and buttermilk. This can take up to 10 minutes. Place large bowl under colander. Pour contents of food processor into colander. Most of the buttermilk will go through the colander and into the bowl.

Put butter into 2nd bowl. Use your hands to press down on the butter until all of the buttermilk is out of the butter. Pour some cold water onto the butter. Knead butter. Carefully drain water from bowl. Repeat until poured-off water is clear. This process removes the last of the buttermilk from the butter. Add salt, to taste, and mix into butter with fork. Save the buttermilk for drinking or for recipes.

This butter is soft but will harden in the refrigerator. You can make sticks of butter with butter molds. Butter will store in the fridge for 2-to-6 weeks.

TIDBITS

1) There’s always the hope that prison time will rehabilitate criminals.

2) This is why most American prisons have ParcheesiTM leagues. This game teaches people to deal with the ups and downs of life and to take a longer view of things. Plus the long Parcheesi season keeps the inmates busy. More than one avid prisoner has had to be dragged from a post-season tournament game simply because his sentence was up.

3) Freshly made butter hardens in refrigerators. So do freshly made convicts. This is why the higher-security prisons never let jailbirds ever get inside a fridge or even own one. Butter also makes it much easier for people get out of handcuffs. This is why arresting officers won’t give their suspect a stick of butter. One phone call yes, but butter never.

Chef Paul

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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Newfoundland Pork Buns

Canadian Appetizer

NEWFOUNDLAND PORK BUNS

INGREDIENTS

½ pound salt pork
¼ cup shortening or butter
3 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water

SPECIAL UTENSIL

cookie sheet

Makes 7 buns. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Dice salt pork. Add salt pork and shortening to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until salt pork browns. Add 3 cups flour, baking powder, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Use first to make well in flour. Add salt pork and fat from pan to well in flour. Add water. Mix with fork until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Roll out flour until it is ½” thick. Cut out 4″-wide circles or any other shape or size you desire. Arrange dough circles on cookie sheet. Allow at least 1″ between dough circles. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick stuck in the center of a bun comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) Ancient Japanese samurai got into so many sword fights that they had to have swords in both hands at all times. If you were a pork-bun-holding samurai, you’d die if a ninja armed with knives, axes, swords, and death stars jumped out of the shadows to attack you. Sure, you might in the first blow, but the best you could hope is crumbs all over the murderous assailant’s face. Then you’d die.

2) Which would be a bummer. So, samurai learned to cook pork buns. They’d poke a hole in the pork bun just wide enough to fit around the warrior’s pony tail. The fierce samurai would then tie the pony into a knot. The knot kept the pork bun from falling off. This freed the samurai’s hands to hold swords. Sword wielding samurai no longer got assassinated by ninjas. The now long-living samurai of 1178 were free to pick flowers and inhale their fragrance.

3) Which didn’t happen, of course. The fierce samurai sought out danger. Since there was none at home, they traveled to Newfound in search of it. They took their pork bun recipe with them, which is why Newfoundland has the recipe. Indeed, culinary archaeologists expect to find  evidence of  samurai habitation in Newfoundland just as they did with the Vikings at L’anse aux Meadows.

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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Bananas With Split Peas

Rwandan Entree

BANANAS WITH SPLIT PEAS

INGREDIENTS

1¾ cups dried split peas
4 cups water or enough to cover split peas
4 ripe bananas¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons palm oil or peanut oil
1 medium onion

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add split peas and water to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until peas soften. Stir occasionally.
Peel bananas. Place entire bananas on top of mushy peas. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep peas from burning. (Stir gently so that bananas don’t break into pieces.)

While bananas and peas simmer, use mandoline to cut onion into slices ⅛” thick. Add onion, palm oil, and onion to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens and browns. Add cayenne pepper and salt. Ladle onion and oil over bananas. Stir gently until oil blends in with the peas.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe calls for a medium onion. Onion mediums help us, the living, communicate with those who have gone to the Great Beyond.

2) This differs from musicians communicating to the great Beyoncé. They do that by cell phone.

3) Anyway, the most commonly question asked of the dearly departed was, “Our are missing socks over there with you?” The answer was always, “Yes. you’ll soon see them again.”

4) Unfortunately, people asked that question so often that the onion mediums became unable to channel any other questions between our world and the next. So, frustrated truth seekers took to eating the mediums. The onions proved to be tasty. This is why they are in so many recipes. But do try to cook with medium onions, they’ll leave you more than enlightened than will the other sizes.

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 apocaly

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Picadillo

Cuban Entree

PICADILLO

INGREDIENTS

1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
12 pimiento (aka pimento) stuffed olives
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Seed and mince bell pepper. Mince garlic cloves. Dice onion and tomato. Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, olive oil, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add ground beef, wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add olives and raisins. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until raisins plump. Stir occasionally. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) The first soup bowls didn’t have a bottom. Scalding-hot soup ladled into them went straight through to the would-be diner’s lap. This is why birth rates were so low until the Renaissance. Then in 1466 a young busboy, Leonardo Da Vinci, weary of cleaning up soup spills, invented soup bowls with bottoms. Suddenly, he had free time to invent and paint. Other busboys such as Michelangelo used this expanded off hours to paint and sculpt. The Renaissance was born.

2) Unfortunately, with creative energies diverted to the arts, bowl design stagnated. Soup-eating armies found little time for campaigning as they took forever to be served. Indeed, General Lee’s peanut-eating army consistently stole a march on their soup-slurping Northern counterparts. Then in 1863, busboy, George Meade discovered he could toss the soup bowls like a FrisbeeTM, if he made the bowls round. (Yes, it does take practice to this without spilling the soup.) President Lincoln, realized an army that could serve soup suddenly could keep up with the Rebels. He made Meade general. Three days, the round-bowl eating bluecoats defeated the gray coats at Gettysburg. The Union would be preserved, slavery would be abolished, and we are eating out of round bowls.

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

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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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

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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

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