Posts Tagged With: entree

SPAM Fried Rice

Guamanian Entree

SPAM(TM) FRIED RICE

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rice
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1 12-ounce can SPAM
2 tablespoons oil
3 eggs
¼ cup soy sauce

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Mince garlic cloves and onion. Cut SPAM into ½” cubes. Add garlic cloves, onion, and oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Remove garlic and onion and set aside. Keep any oil. Add eggs to pan. Scramble eggs at medium heat for 2 minutes or until eggs are done to your liking. Remove scrambled eggs and slice any large bits into ¼” wide strips.

Add SPAM cubes to pan. Cook at high heat for 3 minutes or until SPAM starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add garlic, onion, and eggs back to pan. Add rice and soy sauce. Cook at medium heat for 2 minutes or until all is warm and the rice is brown.

TIDBITS

1) Guamanian is the adjective for something from Guam. Ché Guevarra–If this is spelled correctly, it is purely by chance–was a revolutionary.

2) A Guavanian is someone from Guava. Well no, it isn’t. Guava is a bush. The guava bush’s fruit is a guava. No, people live in or around a guava bush. Thus, there are no Guavanians. Indeed, there is no guavanian anything. The adjective for guava is guava.

3) Indeed, this has been the case since prehistoric times. Exactly sometime ago, Cro Magnons switched from herding mastodons and sabertooth tigers to herding the rather more stationary and easygoing guava bush.

4) Che Chevarra–How the heck do you spell his name?–loved sedentary guavas. You can tell he was direct descendant of Cro Magnons. However, Ché didn’t know how to spell guavas. So, if he couldn’t spell guavas, you can’t really expect people to spell his last name correctly. It’s kinda like spelling Benadryl(TM) Cumberbund’s name correctly, who by the way also descends from Cro Magnons.

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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Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Burmese Fried Fish Cakes

Burmese Entree

FRIED FISH CAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 pound filleted flounder, cod, or other whitefish
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Makes 8 fish cakes. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flounder, garlic cloves, ginger, red chile flakes, salt, and turmeric to food processor. Process the ingredients until you get a well-blended paste. Dip your fingers in fish sauce. Take 1 teaspoon of paste in your hands and smoosh it flat until you get a patty 3″ across. Repeat until you use all the paste. Keep dipping your fingers in fish sauce to keep them moist.

Add oil to large pan or wok. Heat oil in pan using medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a tiny bit of paste in the oil starts to dance. Carefully use spatula to add fish patties to oil. Don’t let patties touch each other. You might need to cook in batches. Deep fry for 3 minutes or until bottom of patties turns golden brown. Flip patties over and deep fry for 3 minutes or under the new bottoms are golden brown as well. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all patties have been deep fried.

TIDBITS

1) The original birthday cake was deep fried on November 7, 1769 was made of cod, not flour. It was made for Captain James Cook’s 41st birthday. It was made, as far as I can tell from the same ingredients used in this recipe. Cook was in the second year of his first voyage of discovery and circumnavigation. His officers loved him. The crew loved him. Seals and tuna swam by the boat just to be near him. Captain Cook was that kind of guy. So his birthday had to be celebrated. But there was no flour for the traditional birthday bread roll. So the cook whipped up this dish and shaped it like a roll, well sorta. He stuck 41 candles in it to symbolize his age and the stars they sailed under. The idea caught on like wildfire and everybody had fish cakes for their birthday.

2) Alas, on February 14, 1779, Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish in Hawaii. Fish birthday cakes rapidly fell out of favor. Bakers kept the cake shape, but switched back to flour. Now you know.

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

Hatch Chile Onion Pie

American Entree

HATCH CHILE ONION PIE

INGREDIENTS

3 medium onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
4 Hatch chiles or 1 can Hatch chiles
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 9-inch pie shells
6 ounces white Mexican cheeses or any desired white cheeses

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Makes 2 pies. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use mandoline or knife to slice onions ⅛” thick. Add butter and onion slices to pan. Sauté on medium-heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add onion and its drippings, eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend well with whisk. Pour into pie shell. Grate cheese. Sprinkle pie with cheese. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20-to-40 minutes or until center of pie is firm.

TIDBITS

1) Cro Magnon chefs felt unfulfilled serving the same old berries year after year. One day a caveman chef pointed to a mastodon. “Why not eat that?” he asked. “Yes, let’s,” said his tribe. So, the Twofoot Tribe organized mastodon hunts which became more successful when they attacked with rocks instead of berries. And the tribe would dine on raw mastodon chunks.

2) A century later, an enfant terrible chef pointed to some chickens. “Why not eat those?” “Yes, let’s,” said the Hatch Valley clan. And the cavemen started to herd chickens.  A decade later, through a series of fortuitous accidents, the H.V. Clan invented pie crusts. It was a natural step to get their chickens to lay eggs into the pie crusts, add a few Hatch chiles, onions, and sour cream from sour cows. Then cook the pie over an open flame, thank goodness for the invention of fire. And so Hatch Chile Onion Pies were first made. You can see finger paintings of them in the famous Lascaux Caves. Oh, we’ve made improvements since then. We pick the egg shells out of the pies.

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

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

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

Chicken Chipotle

Mexican Entree

CHICKEN CHIPOTLE

 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 chicken breasts
1 cup crema Mexicana
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh parsley or oregano
2 limes

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Serves 6.  Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Use mandoline or knife to slice onion as thinly as possible. Add onion and oil to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Remove onion. Add chicken breasts. Sauté at medium heat for 15 or until browned on both sides. Flip chicken breasts once. While chicken sautés, add crema Mexicana, chipotle powder, pepper, and salt to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir constantly.

Ladle crema Mexican/chipotle sauce over chicken breasts. Simmer at low heat for 15 minutes. Flip chicken breasts once. Stir occasionally. Ladle chicken stock over breasts. Simmer at low heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally

While chicken simmers, dice parsley and slice limes into quarters. Add sautéed onion to serving dish. Place chicken breasts on onion. Ladle crema Mexicana/chipotle powder sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley and lime quarters. Goes well with rice and warm corn tortillas.

TIDBITS

1) A conga line is a fun way to dance. A mango line has people dancing while slicing mangoes. This idea proved to be dangerous as mango bits on the floor made people slip and fall. The dancing stopped. Knives were replaced by mangolines. Then a typo in the influential cookbook, Latin Cooking, by Auntie Matter, changed mangolines forever into mandolines.

2) Chefs soon discovered that mandolines sliced onions better than mangoes. Within a week of Latin Cooking’s publication, the timid Juan Chipotle created Chicken Chipotle. Life is good.

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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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

Chicken and Hearts of Palm Pie

Brazilian Entree

CHICKEN AND HEARTS OF PALM PIE

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

4 cups flour (3 tablespoons more later)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups lard or butter
1 egg

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

1½ pounds chicken breast
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 pound hearts of palm
3 tomatoes
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons parsley
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – ASSEMBLY

2 tablespoons flour (1 more tablespoon flour later)
no-stick spray
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg yolk

SPECIAL UTENSIL

8″ x 8″ casserole dish
Serves 9. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add 4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend together with whisk. Add lard and egg. Moosh together, or knead, with hands until dough is well blended. Separate dough into 2 balls. One ball should be almost twice as big as the smaller one. Cover dough balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – FILING

While dough refrigerates, cut chicken breast into ½” cubes. Mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice heart of palm and tomatoes. Add garlic, onion, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add chicken cubes. Sauté for 10 minutes or until chicken starts to brown. Stir frequently. Add hearts of palm, tomatoes, parsley, pepper, and salt. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium heat. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – ASSEMBLY

While filling cools. preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Flatten larger flour ball until you get a square that is 12″ wide or large enough to cover the bottom of the casserole both and its sides . Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Carefully place 12″ dough square into pie pan. Remove any dough hanging over the edge with a knife. Ladle filing into pie pan. Smooth filling with spoon.

Dust flat surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Flatten remaining, small dough ball until you get a square that is 8″ wide or large enough to cover the filling. Carefully place 8″ dough square on top of filling. Remove any dough hanging over the edge with a knife. Add egg yolk to small bowl. Beat egg yolk with whisk. Brush egg yolk onto top crust. Poke 4 holes crust with toothpick or fork. This will let steam escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Some stores carry hearts of palm.

2) Others do not.

3) Mine didn’t. When I went to pay for my groceries the checker asked, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” I answered no, I had been looking for hearts of palm.

4) The checker favored me with a deer in the headlights look.

5) They called over a box boy to help me look. He couldn’t find it. I think we were all happy when I left.

6) The same thing occurred even when I was looking for galangal, Thai basil, or dandelions.

7) Also, don’t even think of asking for a type of radish that is found only in Northwest China and then only occasionally.

8) So the next time the checkers ask you, “Did you find everything?” answer yes.

9) I know we thought the supermarkets had everything when we were little. But they don’t. It’s disillusioning I know.

10) Kinda like finding out Santa Claus didn’t exist.

11) Life is hard.

12) But I have bunnies living in my front yard and that’s way cool.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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

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