Posts Tagged With: entree

Chispi Mayai (French Fry Omelette)

Tanzanian Entree

CHIPSI MAYAI
(French Fry Omelette)

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon fresh coriander*
1 small onion*
3 eggs
⅛ teaspoon pepper*
¼ teaspoon salt*
½ cup vegetable oil (½ tablespoon later)
2 pounds potatoes

SPECIAL UTENSIL

no-stick pan or spray pan or no-stick spray before adding egg mixture.
x-ray vision

* = These ingredients are all optional. You have an unparalleled opportunity to create you own unique chipsi mayai. Go for it. Go for gold.

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Dice coriander and onion. Add eggs to mixing bowl. Beat with whisk or fork until well blended. Add coriander, onion, pepper, and salt. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended.

Cut potatoes into French fries. Add ½ cup vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at high heat until a tiny piece of French fry in the oil starts to dance. Carefully add French fries. (Hot oil is nasty when it splatters.) Fry French fries for 10 minutes until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Remove fries. Drain oil from pan. Add fries and ½ tablespoon oil to a second, unused pan.

Ladle coriander/onion/egg mixture evenly over fries. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium heat or until bottom side is golden brown. (X-ray vision is helpful here.) Spray plate with no-stick spray. Then place plate over pan. Hold plate on pan while flipping pan upside down. The half-cooked omelette will now be upside down. Slide omelette back into pan to cook the other side. Cook for another 3 minutes or until this side too is golden brown.

Goes well with kachumbari (an East African salad), ketchup, tomato sauce, or chili sauce.

TIDBITS

1) You wake up at 3 a.m. to whispering in the kitchen. You sit up in bed. As you do so, the bed frame creaks. The little voices fall quiet. Silence, there is silence. You lie down or perhaps lay down; this is a miserable verb to conjugate. Nervous little laughter emanates from the kitchen. Then more whispering. This time it’s a little more rapid. Does it have a nasty tone? Yes, yes, it does.

2) Post traumatic stress from watching all Friday 13th(TM) makes your heart race. You get out of bed, oh so carefully. Don’t make any noise. Tiptoe to the closet. Get that baseball bat. Go the kitchen. Turn on the light.

3) Dozens of russet potatoes shriek. Their eyes are on you. It’s uncanny how they don’t blink. Is it because of an evolutionary dead end or because they’re tough?

4) They’re wearing potato panty house over themselves. Oh my gosh, your potatoes are going bad. You raise the baseball bat.

5) A potato rolls with amazing speed and strikes your shin. Ow. Another spud rolls on top of that. And then another and another until one has shoved itself into your mouth. You can’t breathe. You drop your bat.

6) In your panic, your stagger to the kitchen-utensil drawer. Your hand flails as you grab for anything to fight off your rogue, murderous tubers.

7) As contrived luck would have it, you latch onto a potato peeler.

8) The potatoes gasp in horror, drop off you and roll to a corner. You julienne the whimpering spuds one by one into majestic, harmless French fries.

9) What to do with all those fries? Why, make this entree, Chipsi Mayai.

10) Indeed, culinary historians believe Chipsi Mayai came about, in Tanzania, because of repeated potato uprisings.

11) Indeed, it is for this very reason that it is illegal to have more than two pounds of potatoes in Tanzanian homes.

12) Don’t try to cheat and say you have two pounds of taters when you actually have three. The phrase “The Tanzanian Potato Police” is a byword for terror.

13) Look at the potatoes below. Are they about to go bad? Don’t take chances. Cook them now.

Chef Paul

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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Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla)

Thai Entree

THAI FISH CAKES
(Tod Mun Pla)

INGREDIENTS

10 Chinese long beans or 10 green beans
6 kaffir lime leaves (Fresh is best, then frozen, then dried)
¾ pound boneless fish fillets*
1 egg
2½ tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup vegetable oil

* = First choice is clown knifefish which is popular in Thailand. Should you not live there, your favorite fish will do nicely.

Makes 20 2″-fish cakes. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Thinly slice Chinese long beans. Finely slice kaffir lime leaves. Add fish to blender. Blend at medium setting until fish becomes a paste. Add fish paste, egg, red curry paste, and sugar to mixing bowl. Mix by hand until thoroughly blended. Add Chinese long beans and kaffir lime leaves. Mix again by hand until fish mix is completely blended.

Form fish into 1″ balls. Flatten them until they become 2″ pancakes. Add oil to pan. Heat oil with medium heat until a tiny bit of paste will dance in the oil. Carefully add pancakes, perhaps with spatula, to hot oil. Sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes or until the bottoms of the fish pancakes turn golden brown. Flip pancakes over and sauté for another 2 minutes or until the pancakes are golden brown all over. You might need to cook in batches. Goes well with cucumber relish or sweet Thai chili sauce and sliced cucumbers.

TIDBITS

1) Thai fish cakes look a lot like bean bags. This is no accident. The shape of the modern beanbag is based on Thai fish cakes.

2) During the Vietnam War, Todd Pla, a pilot, was based in Thailand. Between bombing raids, he’d relax by watching locals play Toss Fish Cakes Into Holes In The Ground. Unfortunately, tossing perfectly good food away like that meant the Thais wouldn’t eat. The Thais grew ever thinner. What to do? A light bulb went on in Todd “The Man” Pla’s head. Why not put dry beans in a cloth sack and sow it up? The beanbag could be reused game after game. The beans in the bags would never go bad and the fish that would have gone in it could now be eaten. The grateful Thais renamed their fish cakes, Tod Mun Pla, which is close to Todd “The Man” Pla. Todd feels quite honored.

Chef Paul

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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Pabellón Criollo

Venezuelan Entree

PABELLÓN CRIOLLO

INGREDIENTS – PULLED MEAT

3 garlic cloves (2 more cloves later)
1 medium onion
1 tomato
2 pounds flank steak
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cumin (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper (¼ teaspoon more later)
3 quarts water (or enough to cover ingredients)

INGREDIENTS – BLACK BEANS

2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
¼ cup olive oil or oil (¼ cup more later)
1 green bell pepper
1 15-ounce-can black beans
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – RICE & PLANTAINS

1⅓ cups rice
2 plantains or bananas
½ cup olive oil or oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

3-quart pot
4 plates with 3 sections. These are mighty hard to find if you’re looking for them at the last moment.
sonic obliterator

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 50 minutes.

PREPARATION – PULLED MEAT

Dice 3 garlic cloves, medium onion, and tomato. Add diced garlic, onion, tomato, flank steak, bay leaf, ¼ teaspoon cumin, oregano, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil using high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes or until meat is tender to the fork. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove meat and place on plate. Pull flank seat apart with forks. Save stock for future soups.

PREPARATION – BLACK BEANS

While flank steak simmers, mince 2 garlic cloves and small onion. Seed and dice green bell pepper. Add garlic, onion, green bell pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add black beans, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

PREPARATION – RICE & PLANTAINS

About 30 minutes before flank steak should be ready to be pulled apart, cook rice according to instructions on package. Peel plantains. Cut plantains into slices 1″ wide diagonally along the length of the plantain. Add plantain and ½ cup oil to pan. Sauté slices for 3 minutes on each at medium heat or until plantain softens and browns.

PREPARATION – FINAL STEP

This step is much easier if you have a plate that is divided into 3 sections. Carefully add enough pulled flank steak to make a pie wedge that takes up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add enough beans next to the flank steak to make a pie wedge taking up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add (Yes, you are doing things carefully here.) enough rice to take up the remaining ⅓ of the plate. Add ¼ of the plantain slices to the outside of the rice pie-wedge.

Zap, with your sonic obliterator, any guests who fail to appreciate just how much heart and soul went into the preparation of this dish.

TIDBITS

1) This dish, pabellón criollo, is enormously popular, among Venezuelans. So much so, that Venezuelans will bring the ingredients for this dish wherever they travel or migrate.

2) And boy, they sure have migrated. On May 1, 16,870 BC priests revealed to the proto-Venezuelans that their gods would be having a millennium-long jamboree in a land beyond the Great Mother Sea. Of course, everyone knows the best time to petition gods is when they’ve been drinking, eating pulled beef, and dancing and singing up a storm.

3) So, all the proto-Venezuelans took to their rafts and floated and paddled their way down the east coast of South America, suffered ice storms in the Straights of Magellan, endured fresh-water deprivation, and got eaten by gigantic sharks and whales.

4) All of which sucked, especially when compared to jamboreeing with the gods. So once there, the proto-Venezuelans stayed and planted rice. This is how rice came to India, Vietnam, China, and Japan.

5) The proto-Venezuelans were pretty happy. Then the gods’ beer ran out. The deities became surly and hurled thunderbolts and really hard bread rolls at the humans.

6) Life sucked again. Enough to brave the perils of an ocean voyage back home. This is how peoples from Asia settled the Americas, not by the headline hunters who crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska.

Chef Paul

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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Squid Ink Spaghetti

Italian Entree

SQUID INK SPAGHETTI

INGREDIENTS

10 ounces squid-ink spaghetti*
4 garlic cloves
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup olive oil
6 ounces nduja**
½ cup white wine
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

* = Sorry, you really need to get squid-ink pasta. You can make your own pasta, but then you’ll need to find squid ink. Squid-ink spaghetti may be found online or in specialty stores.

** = This is a spreadable Italian salami. It may be ordered online or found in specialty stores. In a pinch, puree pepperoni.

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook squid-ink spaghetti according to directions on package. While spaghetti cooks, mince garlic. Dice tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Add garlic and olive oil to pan. Sauté garlic at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic softens. Stir frequently.

Add tomato and nduja. Reduce heat to medium. Stir until nduja breaks into little bits and you get a meaty sauce. Add white wine and shrimp. Sauté at medium heat for 4 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Garnish with basil and parsley.

TIDBITS

1) Squid ink is hard to locate. However, Milk is easy to find. I remember when milkmen used to deliver milk to our door. It was a golden age for milk drinkers.

2) When I was twelve, I lived in Holland. The milkman there delivered milk, butter, eggs, soup, and beer. It was a global, golden age.

3) Why can’t we have another golden age? Why can’t we have milk, eggs, and beer delivered to our door? Do we want to wake up without milk? Do we want the inebriated driving to the store to get their beer? And may we, pretty please, have the milkmen deliver squid-ink pasta so that all cooks around the world can make this entree at any time? That would truly be the greatest golden age ever.

Chef Paul

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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Chicken Shrimp Jambalaya

Cajun Entree

CHICKEN SHRIMP JAMBALAYA

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds chicken breasts or thighs
½ pound andouille sausage or Polish sausage
1 bell pepper
2 celery stalks*
4 green onions
3 tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
3 tablespoons lard or butter
2 bay leaves
⅔ cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock or fish stock
2 cups rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

* = Technically, the entire thing of celery you buy in the store is a stalk. However, most people think of each individual rib or piece as a stalk. Indeed, many, if not most cookbooks, have thrown up their hands and call each long thingy of celery a stalk. I too have been assimilated and will be calling each long celery thingy a stalk. We live in a perilous world of celery flux.

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes

SPECIAL UTENSILS

Dutch oven
sonic obliterator

PREPARATION

Chop chicken and sausage into ½” cubes. Dice bell pepper, celery, green onion, and tomatoes, and yellow onion. Mince garlic cloves. Add chicken cubes, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, and white pepper to mixing bowl. Mix by hand until chicken cubes are well coated.

Add sausage cubes and lard to Dutch oven. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until sausage browns. Stir occasionally. Add bell pepper, celery, yellow onion, and garlic. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until yellow onion softens. Stir frequently. Add coated chicken cubes. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Stir frequently. Add green onion, diced tomato, and bay leaves. Lower heat to low-medium and cook for 5 minutes or until chicken becomes tender. Stir enough to prevent burning. Add tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

Add stock and bring to boil using medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Add rice. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice becomes tender. Stir enough to prevent burning. Add shrimp. Cook at medium heat for 3 minutes or until shrimp becomes pink or orange. Stir enough to prevent burning. Remove bay leaves. This dish requires at lot of chopping, so if anyone distracts you, zap them with your sonic obliterator.

TIDBITS

1) There are brave shrimp and there are chicken shrimp.

2) Chicken shrimp tastes better.

3) Everybody knows that.

4) Brave shrimp are absolutely unsuited for chicken shrimp jambalaya.

5) Your guests will laugh at you if you make this entree with brave shrimp. And they will hate you.

6) They will tell their friends and those people will tell their own friends in turn. Soon your entire neighborhood will shun you. Eventually, the whole world will do the same.

7) You will have to join the Culinary Protection Program.

8) So buy chicken shrimp.

9) Do chicken shrimp cost more than brave shrimp?

10) Yes, of course. Fierce shrimp are out in the open, daring all comers to fight. They think they can kick their opponents real good with their many feet.

11) However, they are easy prey for shrimp boats with their large nets. Their leg kicks don’t damage shrimp nets much. Not at all actually, to be honest.

12) Most fierce shrimp are thrown back into the sea. Some are saved for caged shrimp fighting. But this is a barbarous sport and nearly all nations have banned it.

13) Where are the chicken shrimp?

14) Being timid, this shrimp hide in tiny rock caves.

15) Doesn’t that make them hard to find?

16) You have no idea. To find chicken shrimp, you need thousands of teeny, tiny subs all equipped with teeny, tiny: sonar, jet-propelled harpoons, and tractor beams. This is why the chicken shrimp, the good shrimp, is so expensive.

Chef Paul

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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Icelandic Crepes (Pönnukaka)

Icelandic Entree

ICELANDIC CREPES
(Pönnukaka)

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1¾ cups flour
12 ounce jar lingonberry jam
1 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
no-stick spray

Makes 16 crepes. Takes 50 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

crepe pan or skillet

PREPARATION

Melt butter in skillet. Let butter cool. Add cooled butter, eggs, milk, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk for 1 minute or until thoroughly blended. Add baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and flour to second mixing bowl. Mix these dry ingredients with whisk. Gradually fold in the baking powder/baking soda/cardamom/flour mix into the butter/
eggs/milk/sugar bowl. Mix with whisk. Batter is ready when lumps disappear.

Add drop of water to pan. Turn heat to medium-high. Pan is ready when water sizzles. Spray pan with no-stick spray. Pour ¼ cup batter into pan. Tilt pan or use spatula to make sure batter spreads thinly and evenly. Cook first crepe at medium-high heat for 1 minute or until bottom of crepe turns golden brown. (X-ray vision helps. If you do not possess this skill, gently lift up the edges of the crepe with a spatula and take a peek.) Turn crepe over with spatula, a wide one is helpful, and cook for 1 minute or until golden brown. Or turn over crepe when bubbles break it surface. Remove crepe from pan. Repeat for each crepe. (Note the temperature needed to turn crepes golden brown will go down with each successive crepe.)

Place 1 tablespoon whipped cream and 1 tablespoon lingonberry jam on the middle of each crepe. Fold in half to make a half-moon shape. Fold in half again to make a pie wedge. Press down gently to spread lingonberry and whipped cream through crepe. Top with ½ teaspoon confectioner’s sugar. Repeat for each crepe. Serve right away.

TIDBITS

1) More than half of all Icelanders believe in elves! Icelandic music companies have a bias in signing musicians who profess to believing in elves. It is said the elves will defend their rocky homes by using magic powers. Bulldozing companies sometimes arbitrate with elves in hopes of getting the wee people to leave. I would love to see this.

2) The Yule Lads are Iceland’s answer to Santa Claus. While the story around Santa Claus originated from a real person, Saint Nicklaus; the Yule Lads descended from evil trolls. Indeed, parents tormented wild children with, “The Yule Lads will get you if you don’t behave.” However, the Powers That Be made this form of parenting illegal in the 18th century. Now, the Yule Lads are relatively benign even though they sport names such as Bowl Licker and Window Peeper.

3) Today, kids are tormented by Internet outages.

4) Britain and Iceland nearly went to war three times over the right to fish for cod near the Icelandic shores. Something to think about when munching on a fish stick.

5) This tidbit did not survive editing.

6) Icelanders love to play midnight golf during June and July when the day is twenty-four hours long. There are lava beds on some Icelandic golf courses. Is there a lava-bed wedge in Icelandic golf bags? I don’t know.

7) Ice melts when dropped into any one of Iceland’s volcanoes.

8) Indeed, ice melts in any of the world’s volcanoes.

9) Cheese sandwiches burn rapidly when placed in an active volcano. That’s a bad way to toast your cheese sandwiches. Indeed, doctors everywhere recommend against this cooking technique, citing near certain incineration of the chef.

10) This is why Iceland has no gourmet toasted-cheese sandwich restaurants close to active volcanoes, not even for tourists.

11) Can Iceland’s magical elves survive the intense heat of an active volcano? If so, they could toast cheese sandwiches. Sure, Iceland’s elven chefs would have to have incredibly quick and skilled hands. But wouldn’t a volcano-fired golden brown cheese sandwich be way cool?

12) I left enough space below for a scratch pad.

Chef Paul

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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Corn On The Cob

American Entree

CORN ON THE COB

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ears corn, in their husks

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

aluminum foil
outdoor grill                                                                                              Modern food, ancient weapons.

PREPARATION

Dice basil. Add all ingredients save corn to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Peel back corn husks most of the way and remove corn silk. Brush corn with buttery blend. Close husks over ears. Tightly wrap corn in aluminum foil. Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Place foil-wrapped corn on grill. Grill for 20 minutes or corn is tender to the fork. Remove corn and place on plate. Let sit for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove husks.

TIDBITS

1) Since the dawn of time, people have been trying to hurt each other. At first, combatants made scary faces. However, all cavemen had scary faces and all fights ended in draws. Then Ogg, an intellectual giant for his time, dislodged the bugs in his hair and let a stiff wind carry the little critters onto his opponents’ face. Exactly, 1,217 years later Ogg LXII found if he lifted up his arms, the wind would waft the ripe odor from his armpits toward his foes, knocking them out instantly.

2) However, this Oggian technique relied rather heavily upon getting the wind at one’s back. However, this secret would soon be discovered by all cavemen a scant two millennia later. Cavemen would dance around each other trying to get the wind advantage. Indeed, Ogga, Ogg CXI’s wife, found herself grabbing Ogg and whirling around, trying to get the upper hand. But then, she found this close-quarter dancing with her husband to be great fun. It caught on with all cave couples. The waltz, and all other forms of dancing, had been invented.

3) Three millennia later, Ogg CCCXXXIII, discovered how to grow corn. This act revolutionized warfare. The corn cob, with its hard kernels, delivered a vicious migraine, extended the attacker’s reach, and most of all, eliminated the role of wind in combat. Migraine battles proliferated. Then, in the Bronze Age, Ogg DCIV figured out how to make swords. The mighty corn cob lost its position on the battlefield, but not in our meals. We eat corn cobs to this day. There you go.

Chef Paul

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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Bulgogi (Barbecued Beef)

Korean Entree

BULGOGI
(Barbecued Beef)

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

4 garlic cloves
1 green onion
1 nashi pear or bosc pear
1⅓ pounds sirloin, beef tenderloin, or rib eye
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup soy sauce

INGREDIENTS – REST

½ leek
1 medium yellow onion
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline (useful, but not essential)
wok (or large pan)

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes..

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Mince garlic cloves. Dice green onion. Peel, core, and grate or dice pear. Slice sirloin into strips ⅛” thick. Then cut strips into 3″-by-1″ rectangles. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing bowl. Toss ingredients until sirloin rectangles are well coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

PREPARATION – REST

While sirloin rectangles, marinate, dice onion. Use mandoline or knife to slice leek and onion into strips ⅛” thick. Add sesame seeds to pan. Toast sesame seeds at medium heat for 5 minutes or until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Reserve sesame seeds.

Add sirloin with its marinade, leek, and onion to wok. Heat at high heat for 4 minutes or until sirloin browns and is cooked to your liking. Stir occasionally. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

TIDBITS

1) Bulgogi is made with sesame seeds.

2) Sesame seeds look like bugs.

3) Bugs move. All the time. Don’t even think of asking them to pose for a portrait.

4) So when scientists want to examine a particular, fixed pattern of bugs, they use sesame seeds in place of the bugs.

5) Or “in lieu of” of the bugs. “In lieu of” sounds fancier than “in place of,” don’t ya think?

6) Anyway, these bug patterns can consist of up to two-million sesame seeds. These large patterns can take sixty sesame-placers a whole year to construct.

7) So, when someone sneezes on the intricate sesame-seed pattern, the bug scientists (entomologists, another cool word) get rather irate.

8) On May 4, 1937, the famed aviator, Amelia Earhart, visited the prestigious American Institute of Sesame Seed Patterns (AISSP) to raise funds for her round-the-world-by-air adventure.

9) Ms. Earhadt wowed the men of the institute. Massive funding from AISSP was promised.

10) Then Amelia sneezed. A gale-force sneeze. 1,223,768 carefully seeds scattered all over the room.

11) Just two more sesames seeds had been needed to form the needed sesame pattern. At which point, photographs would have been taken.

12) Analysis of these photographs would have enabled entomologists to eradicate grasshopper plagues. Massive swarms of these insects had wiped out North Dakotan agriculture in 1935 and that of Montana a year later.

13) Ms. Earhart became deeply unpopular. Indeed, torch-carrying sesame-entomologists chased her to her plane. She quickly started her Model 10-E Electra and decided to start her round-the-world flight. If she had more time, she could have gotten a plane with more sophisticated communications and a longer range.

14) Alas, she, her navigator, Fred Noonan, and her plane disappeared on July 2, 1937.

15) Ten years later, Amos Keeto, photographer from the Paducah Post, realized that he taken a quick picture of Amelia at the AISSP. He was sure that the picture’s background would show the nearly completed sesame pattern. Unfortunately, he’d given the picture to the famed aviator as a keepsake just before she left on her fatal journey.

16) If only that picture could be retrieved, we could figure out how to stop all insect-caused crop failures forever. This is why we keep searching for Amelia Earhart and her plane.

Chef Paul

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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Costa Rican Pork Casado

Costa Rican Entree

PORK CASADO

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

2 dried chiles, guajillo, ancho, or other
1⅓ cup vegetable or pork stock
5″ carrot
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons molasses
½ small onion (additional 2 onions later)
2½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

INGREDIENTS – SALAD

¼ head cabbage
1 small carrot
1 small tomato
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – RICE

1 cup basmati or white rice
1 onion (1 additional onion later)
2 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (5 additional tablespoons later)

INGREDIENTS – PLANTAINS

2 plantains
5 tablespoons vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS – PORK

1 onion
4 pork loins

1 15-ounce can black beans

SPECIAL UTENSIL

outdoor grill

Serves 4. Takes 1 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Seed chiles. Add chiles and vegetable stock to pan. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or until chiles soften. Add chiles, vegetable stock and the remaining marinade ingredients. Puree in blender until smooth. Coat pork loins with marinade. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Keep marinade.

PREPARATION – SALAD

Shred cabbage. Dice carrot and tomato. Add cabbage, carrot, tomato, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Mix with fork.

PREPARATION – RICE

Add rice to pot. Cook rice according to instructions on package. While rice cooks, mince 1 onion and red bell peppers. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Keep rice and onion/bell pepper mix warm.

PREPARATION – PLANTAINS

Peel plantains. Slice plantains in half lengthwise. Add 5 tablespoons vegetable oil and plantain to pan. Sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes or until plantains become tender and turn golden brown. Drain and keep warm.

PREPARATION – PORK

Cut onion into four slices. Grill onion and pork loins on barbecue grill at high or 450 degrees. Grill onions for 10 minutes or until they start to char. Turn them over once. Grill pork for 20 minutes or until it is cooked through (white inside) or starts to brown. Turn over every 5 minutes. Brush with marinade each time.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Put beans in pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Add pork to plate with grilled onion slice on top. Add rice to side and top with onion/red pepper mix. Add 2 plantains to the side. (Lots of sides, aren’t there?) Add cabbage to a remaining spot on plate and top with carrot and tomato.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe has orange zest. As far as I know there are no movie titles with the word zest in them. But there is a classic movie called “Lust for Life.” It’s about Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was an artist. So am I. I had a vase displayed in the Gemente Museum in the The Hague, Netherlands. I am now a chef. The upcoming movie about my life is likely to be called, “Lust for Zest.” See, I finished this tidbit with a line to spare.

 

Chef Paul

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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Tarragon Chicken – Poulet à Estragon

French Entree

TARRAGON CHICKEN
(Poulet à Estragon)

INGREDIENTS

3 chicken breasts
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 shallot
3 green onions
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
⅔ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves (1 tablespoon if dried)

Serves 3. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Rub chicken breasts with pepper and salt. Dice shallots. Thinly slice green onions. Add butter, olive oil, and shallot to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until shallot softens. Stir frequently. Add chicken breasts and green onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes for each side or until chicken starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add white wine and crème fraîche. Stir until sauce is well blended. Bring sauce to boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce has been reduced by half. Stir occasionally. Spoon lemon juice over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with tarragon.

TIDBITS

1) In 1922, the Agricultural Department, finding itself with an extra twenty-billion dollars decided to help the American farmer. Specifically, the American tarragon farmer. Why the tarragon growers? It had a really, really, really good lobby back then.

2) That amount of money bought quite a lot of tarragon seeds back then, enough to plant the entire Great Plains. Farmers gave up costly corn and wheat seeds in favor of free tarragon. USA became a global tarragon powerhouse. Tarragon farmers in other lands, however, faced bankruptcy. Foreign nations protected their farmers with prohibitively high tariffs on American tarragon. The United States retaliated with fees on European cheeses, even the non-stinky ones. European countered with tariffs on American wheat. Things got out of hand, with agricultural departments saying, “Na, nana, poo, poo” to each other and finding new ways to destroy each others commerce. Soon the global economy collapsed and we had the Great Depression of 1929-1939. Tens of millions of people were thrown out of work, including America’s tarragon farmers. This was bad; no tarragon on chicken for ten long years. But America survived. Its people are resilient.

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

Chef Paul

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

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