Posts Tagged With: entree

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

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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

Pastrmajlija, Macedonian Pizza

Macedonian Entree

PASTRMAJLIJA
(Macedonian Pizza)

INGREDIENTS

1¼ pounds pork chops, center cut or lamb
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups flour (4 tablespoons more later)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon yeast
1½ tablespoons milk
½ cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour (1½ tablespoons for each pizza)
4 tablespoons lard or butter (2 tablespoons for each pizza)
no-stick spray.
2 eggs

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
baking sheet
x-ray vision

Makes 2 small pizzas. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into ½” cubes. Add pork cubes, cayenne pepper, and pepper to mixing bowl. Toss pork cubes until well coated. Put in refrigerator and let marinate for 1 hour or until is ready to have meat put on it.

While pork marinates, add salt, sugar, yeast, and milk to a large, 2nd mixing bowl. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups flour. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Gradually add water. Mix with fork each water gets added. Dough should be soft and pliable. Knead dough for 10 minutes or put in bread machine for 10 minutes on dough setting. (There’s a tiny ant crawling over my monitor as I am typing this. It can’t wait for the recipe.)

Add olive oil to 3rd mixing bowl. Spread oil over the bowl. Add kneaded dough to this mixing bowl. Turn dough until it is well coated with oil. Cover for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in size. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Divide risen dough ball into 2 balls. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1 dough ball to flat surface. Flatten dough ball with rolling pin, can, or hand until it is a ¼” thick oval about 9″ by 7″. Use spatula to smooth 2 tablespoon lard over dough oval. Add half of the pork cubes to the dough leaving a 1½” edge all around. Fold edges inward until they almost touch the pork. Repeat to make 2nd pizza.

Spray baking sheet with no-stick spray. Add pizzas to baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until dough is done to your liking and pork is no longer pink inside. (X-ray vision helps a lot with this. If you don’t have x-ray vision and let’s face it it’s not possible everything to make every recipe, you make remove a pork cube and cut it open.)

While pizzas bake, add eggs to small bowl. Beat eggs with whisk or fork. Take baking sheet out of oven. Brush edges of pizzas with egg. Ladle the remaining egg over the pizza’s pork centers. Bake for 5 minutes over egg is cooked to your liking.

TIDBITS

1) Pastrmajlija tastes fantastic hot of the oven. Like all pizzas it still tastes great the second day. Very good the third day. Good the fourth day. Okay the fifth day, and highly edible the sixth day. And on the seventh it gets so hard that you could use it in your garden as a stepping stone.

2) Many have done so. See, the June 1985, edition of Better Homes and GardensTM for the definitive article on this subject.

3) Dried out, hardened Macedonian pizzas buckle and crack under the weight of a semi truck. This is one reason America’s freeways use concrete instead. However, properly dried-out Macedonian pizzas (MPs) will sustain the weight of people, cattle, and wagons.

4) Indeed, the great Cumberland Pike Road, built 1811-1837, was to have been constructed with MPs. After all, the fabled Roman roads were built with MPs. Unfortunately in 1809, the Federal Government clashed with the project’s culinary engineer, Alexander Cleitus, over the materials for the pike. President Madison, had a delicate stomach and couldn’t handle cayenne pepper. So he hated MP and demanded dried-out Italian pizzas (IPs). Cleitus refused. Madison insisted. Cleitus said, “It’s my way or the highway.” “Na, na, na, poo, poo,” said President Madison, “it’s my funds. It’s my highway. You’re on your way.”

5) The project languished for two years while President Madison searched for other culinary engineers. He did manage to hire the famed Alfonso Linguini from Sorrento, Italy. However, Linguini used too much oregano for Madison’s liking. Not only that, his round pizzas wouldn’t fit together neatly like the rectangular Macedonian pizzas. Signore Linguini was so fired.

6) After that, no culinary engineer would touch the Cumberland Pike Project. It looked like the lands to the west would never be opened up to settlers and commerce. America seemed doomed to hug the Atlantic Coast forever.

7) Then Secretary of the Treasury, Benedict Cumberland, suggested hiring a civil engineer instead. “What a great idea!” said everybody. And so, John Loudon McAdam was hired to complete the turnpike. His macadam roads so revolutionized travel that no one considered using pizzas as materials ever again.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

Piri Piri Chicken

Mozambican Entree

PIRI PIRI CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

6 garlic cloves
6 piri piri chiles (or Thai chiles)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
7 tablespoons olive oil
3½ pounds boneless chicken parts, skin on

SPECIAL UTENSILS

blender
outdoor grill
meat thermometer (You really do need this. There is a huge range of times needed to grill the chicken depending on your grill and the size of the chicken breasts.

Serves 6. Takes 15 minutes preparations 12 hours marinating, and another 30 at the grill.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves and chiles. Add all ingredients except chicken to large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk or fork until well blended. Add chicken parts. Mix with fork until chicken is well coated. Cover and let marinate in fridge for 12 hours or overnight. Keep marinade.

Place chicken on grill skin side up. Grill chicken on outdoor grill for 15 minutes using low-medium heat. Flip chicken parts over and grill for another 10 minutes. Baste every 10 minutes with reserved. Check heat with meat thermometer after 20 minutes of grilling. Chicken breasts should have an internal temperature of 165-to-170 degrees.)

TIDBITS

1) “Sugar, Sugar” was big hit song for the Archies in 1969. The song “Piri Piri” was not a hit song for the Chickens in 1976. The Chickens had the great bad luck to form in the start of a nasty civil war Fellow Mozabicans simply didn’t have the money to buy records. And all the radio stations were monopolized to provide propaganda for the warring sides.

2) Piri Piri reunited in 2012. They played minor gigs in Mozambique, when by sheer good luck they landed a concert date in Wrigley Field, Chicago for November 3, 2016. Unfortunately, everyone was watching the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 and so, no one showed. I’m happy to report though, that the group has landed a permanent engagement at the South Pole’s research station where the saying “Party all night” really means something.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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

Minced Meat Croquette

Moldovan Entree

MINCED MEAT CROQUETTE
(Parjoale)

INGREDIENTS

3 slices white bread
3 tablespoons milk
1 small potato
1 large onion
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork or veal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup bread crumbs
⅓ cup lard or vegetable oil

Makes 12 croquettes. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add white bread and milk to small mixing bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes. Press gently on soaked bread. Pour out any milk. While bread soaks, grate or mince potato. Mince onion. Add onion and butter to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens.

Add all ingredients except bread crumbs and lard to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Shape meat/potato/onion mixture into croquettes 4″ long, 2″ wide, and 1″ thick. Add bread crumbs to plate. Dredge croquettes through bread crumbs until they are well coated on both sides.

Add lard to pan. Melt lard at medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add croquettes to pan. Sauté at low heat for 10 minutes on each side or until croquettes are golden brown all over. You will most likely need to cook in batches.

TIDBITS

1) It’s easy to confuse croquet with croquette; they’re spelled nearly the same. Croquet is played with wooden mallets. Minced meat croquette is played with mallets made of minced meat.

2) Wooden mallets do not break when you use it to hit a wooden ball. The ball goes far. You need an entire lawn to play croquet, which is sometimes called lawn croquet. A mince-meat mallet will disintegrate if you use them to hit a wooden ball. Use a meatball instead. Still, a meatball hit by a mince-meat mallet will not go far. Mince-meat croquette is often played on a napkin. So remember.

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

Carne Asada Tortas

Mexican Entree

CARNE ASADA TORTAS

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¼ cup fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1½ pounds flank or skirt steak
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil (2 tablespoons more later)

INGREDIENTS – OTHER

1 medium onion
1 Roma tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bolillo, telera, or French rolls
grilling or cooking spray
½ cup refried beans
1 avocado
¼ cup crema Mexicana or mayonnaise

Makes 4 tortas. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline (optional)
outdoor grill

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Dice cilantro. Mince garlic cloves. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix by hand until steak is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Let excess marinade drip off steak. (If not, you will have some rather exciting flames coming from the outdoor grill.)

PREPARATION – OTHER

Preheat outdoor grill to high. Use mandoline or knife to cut onion and tomato into ¼” thick slices. Add onion and 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Sauté onion at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add steak to grill. Grill steak on high heat for 5-to-10 minutes on each side, depending on your desired level of doneness. Remove steak. Spray the cut side of roll halves with grilling spray. Put roll halves spray side down on grill. Grill on high heat for 1 minute or until grilled side of roll halves turn golden brown. Watch carefully. Remove from heat. Cut steak against grain into 4 pieces.

Add refried beans to pan. Cook on medium-high heat until beans are warm. Remove from heat. Peel and cut avocado into 4 slices. Spread crema Mexicana on all roll halves. Add steak strips to bottom halves of rolls. Add onion, tomato, and avocado slices to bottom halves. Make an indentation in top halves of rolls. Place refried beans in indentations. Carefully turn over top halves with refried beans onto the bottom halves with the meat and veggies. Olé.

TIDBITS

1) The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 revolved around exceedingly complex issues such as: democracy versus oligarchy, large landed owners* versus impoverished peasantry, the authority of the Catholic church versus secular governments, and the ambitions of powerful generals and local strongmen.

2) * = This is not to imply the land owners were large, perhaps from the eating of too many too many burritos stuffed with shredded beef, lettuce, queso fresco, guacamole, and crema Mexicana. No, they had large estates, haciendas, that ran** for many miles in many directions.

3) ** = Land cannot run. A really big earthquake, 9.0 on the Richter Scale for example, can send shock waves through the ground that look like an ocean wave to any bystander***.

4) *** = Not that you’ll be able to stand up during a 9.0 earthquake. Most likely you’ll be toast.

5) I’ve used my daily allocation of asterisks – *. Life moves on.

6) Anyway, toast in Spanish is tostada. Tostadas are made mostly with beans and corn tortillas, which are cheap. This is revolutionary bands in Mexico ate quite a bit of tostadas.

7) The factions uniting, however briefly, behind successive central governments always had much more money than the rebelling peasants. The authorities could afford steak. Their armies ate well, often dining on carne asada tortas, the dish featured here.

8) The Mexican civil war was a lengthy, bloody affair. Armed bands and their leaders, jefes, shifted allegiances like the wind. Sometimes they fought for the rights of the peasants and sometimes they deserted to the government, the desire to devour a juicy, scrumptious carne asada torta proving too strong the resist.

9) Of course, the Mexican vegetarians stayed true to the cause of the bean tostada. Sometimes, even the most carnivorous soldiers in the Federal army felt the need to cleanse the palate with the delightfully simple bean tostada. When this happened, they deserted back the rebels.

10) And so it went. Battles went this way. Battles went that way. It all came down to which side would strike the decisive blow, to which side appeared the fiercest.

11) Both the Federales and the rebels used people. That was kind of a tie. The forces searched for something else. Then in an accident of fate, Pancho Villa and El Presidente Carranza both hit on the idea of using giant inflatable balloons made from MylarTM. Villa’s soldiers brought huge inflatable squirrels to the battlefield of Celaya. Carranza’s men, however, carried enormous inflatable snakes with them. Snakes are much fiercer than squirrels. Villa’s army broke and ran. The Mexican Revolution was effectively over. This is also why there’s a snake on the Mexican flag. 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

Raznici (Grilled Pork Skewers)

Croatian Entree

RAZNICI
(Grilled Pork Skewers)

INGREDIENTS

1¼ pounds pork loin
1 small onion
2 bell peppers (any color)
2 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

outdoor grill
10 skewers

Makes 10. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into 1″ cubes. Cut onion in half. Separate onion layers and cut them into 1″ squares. Seed bell pepper. Cut bell pepper into 1″ squares. Mince garlic cloves. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until pork cubes are coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

15 minutes before pork cubes have finished marinating, preheat grill to medium. Drain liquid from mixing bowl. Alternate putting pork cubes, onion squares, and bell-pepper squares on skewers. Repeat for each skewer. Place skewers on grill. Grill skewers for 7 minutes on both sides or until pork browns and is white inside . Goes well with salad or veggies.

TIDBITS

1) Long ago, armies fought each other by throwing rocks. The most clever cities fought back with paper, for as we all know paper covers rocks. Then Assyria overran all with its elite scissor forces. But in 605 the Medes conquered Assyria with old-school rocks. Rock, paper, scissors might be seem to be just an innocent children’s game today, but at one time it was a training exercise that all armies took seriously. The entire region remained in rock-paper-scissors (RPS) turmoil for centuries. But in 336 B.C., young Alexander the Great drew blood when he pricked his finger eating shish kabobs. The brilliant military innovator equipped his troops with shisk-kabob skewers. He soon lengthened these skewers into 12′ long spears. His infantry could impale its RPS enemies before they could get close enough to do any harm in return. Alexander’s technologically superior armies would go onto conquer Greece and Persia. The world would never be the same. Shish kabobs are everywhere.

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

Chicken Flautas

Mexican Entree

CHICKEN FLAUTAS

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (4 cups more later)
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ pound queso fresco or feta cheese
½ cup salsa
12 uncooked or freshly made corn tortillas*
4 cups vegetable oil (or at least ¾” deep)
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro

* = Cooked tortillas from the store will require softening in the skillet or microwave. Uncooked tortillas while harder to find will make preparation easier.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

toothpicks

Makes 12 flautas. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken breasts and enough water to cover to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken to plate. Shred chicken using forks.

While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice onion. Add garlic, onion, and 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add shredded chicken and cumin. Stir until well blended. Remove from heat. Add equal amounts of the shredded chicken/onion mixture, queso fresco, and salsa to the middle of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and pin together with toothpicks.

Add oil to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat until a tiny piece of the tortillas starts to dance in the oil. Add rolled-up tortillas to pan seem-side down. Sauté at medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until tortillas turn golden brown. Turn frequently, but carefully, to ensure even browning. You will most likely need to cook in batches. Remove from heat. Drain on plate covered with paper towel. Dice cilantro. Garnish with cilantro. Goes well with salsa.

TIDBITS

1) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “The Angler of Vienna,” was also a pretty darn talented musician, writing such toe-tapping operas such as, Il re pastore, Zaide, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cossi fan tutte.”

2) By the way, Mozart’s agent, Paolo Fettucine, arranged for tutti frutti, a new ice cream with chopped and candied fruits in it to be served at Cossi fan tutte’s debut. It was a stroke of P.R. genius. Ice cream lovers came for the dessert and stayed for the opera. Wolfgang never looked back, except when on the way to his secret fishing places.

3) But it is in Mozie’s culinary operas where The Angler of Vienna’s talents really shined. Who can fail to be uplifted by his sole English work, The Three Penny Hot Dog? or feel the anguish of Gibt es wirklich keine Apfelkuchen? (Is There Really No Apple Pie?)

4) The years 1784 – 1787 were his happiest; he had great fishing spots to himself. These interludes of quietude were also the moments of his greatest musical creativity as witnessed by the Fish Cycle operas: Der Kabeljau auf dem Markt (The Cod at the Market), Limone Pesce Impanati (Lemon Breaded Fish), and of course, “The Angler of Vienna’s favorite, Il Mio Punto di Pesca (My Own Fishing Spot.)

5) It’s ironic that Mozart, a famous fan of German cuisine, would write his greatest opera about Mexican food. But who could not be inspired by the brilliant cuisine of Vienna’s famous restaurant, “Los Cinco Tacos?” Wolfang tried the restaurant’s chicken flautas and fell in love with them. He would stay up all night to compose the brilliant, brilliant I say, opera, Las Flautas Mágicas (The Magic Flautas.) Unfortunately, the politics of that year dictated that no operas be performed in Spanish. (Do try to see it if it’s being performed nearby.) Broken hearted that he was, Mozart rewrote his opus. And so we have the not too shabby Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute.) But Mozart would never again write about Mexican food.

6) Then on December 5, 1791, Mozart’s muse, Ernestine, imparted to him the idea of writing the opera Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch, (Puff the Magic Pufferfish.) So strong was Mozie’s excitement over what he knew what would be his magnum opus that he grabbed his fishing pole and raced to Danube River. He continually glanced over his shoulders to see if anyone were following, for all the local anglers would descend on him en masse and fish and fish out his little side pond. It was heartbreaking. Mozart had to scrap one seafood opera after another because he couldn’t bring in enough fish to give a true, abiding sense of its flavor and abiding soul. On one occasion, competitors once fished all the trout from his special inlet. This is why we never got to hear his Guten Morgen, Forelle (Good Morning, Trout) and had to settle for the markedly Don Giovanni.

7) Anyway, Mozie eluded all anglers that day and caught six pufferfish. (1791 was an extraordinarily bountiful year for Viennese pufferfish.) Wolfie scurried home as fast as his chubby little legs would carry him. He cooked all the fish. Unfortunately, he died. For while his wiener schnitzel was second to none, he didn’t know how beans about preparing the potentially fatal pufferfish. His last words were, “Gott im Himmel, where are my car keys?” There were, of course, no cars in 1791 and so need for car keys. Culinary historians Mozart had channeling the frustration of millions upon millions of people two centuries later.

9) But Wolfgang’s musical vision for the pufferfish lasted through the centuries floating through the atmosphere until it found a suitable vessel, a worthy receptacle. This is how we got the classic song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Sure the name and length of Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch changed a bit, but that magnum-opus had been floating around for centuries and became susceptible to modern musical scenes. And 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, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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