Posts Tagged With: festival

Cantonese Ginger Beef

Chinese Entree

CANTONESE GINGER BEEF

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¾ pound sirloin steak or flank steak
2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mirin or rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

¼ cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
¾ teaspoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

1½” ginger root
3 scallions or green onions
1 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

wok (optional, not to be confused with an EwokTM. Although having an Ewok would be cool.)

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Cut steak against the grain into as thin as possible slices. Cut these slices into 1″ squares. Add all marinade ingredients to large mixing bowl. Stir with hands until cornstarch is no longer visible and steak squares are well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

While steak marinates, Add all sauce ingredients to small mixing bowl. Stir with fork until cornstarch is no longer visible.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel ginger root. Cut ginger root into thin strips or rounds. Cut scallions into ½” long pieces. Add peanut oil and marinated steak squares to wok. Sauté at medium-high for 3 minutes or until steak squares brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Remove steak squares and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from work.

Add ginger strips and scallion pieces to work. Sauté for 30 seconds. Stir frequently. Return steak squares and add sauce to wok. Stir fry using medium-high heat until liquid starts to boil and steak squares are cooked through. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) America has the Easter Bunny. It is both a symbol of the Resurrection and of fertility.

2) Britain also has the Easter Bunny.

3) The Easter originally came to America from Germany.

4) But Germany hasn’t really celebrated the Easter Bunny for a long time.

5) Germany also started two world wars.

6) Coincidence? Perhaps.

7) Australia doesn’t have an Easter Bunny either. In 1859 or so, someone released rabbits into the wilds. The rabbits bred like rabbits. Soon, rabbits were displacing all sorts of native critters and munching acres upon acres of crops. Farmers hated that. So, Australia periodically wages a campaign against the rabbit hordes. But the rabbits keep coming back. Farmers still hate them.

8) Thus, the land Down Under doesn’t have an Easter Bunny. It has the Easter tilby. A tilby looks a bit like a rabbit. The tilby has great sex, producing eight babies a year. This number is apparently, less than what the rabbit can do. But even so, the Easter tilby isn’t as celebrated as the Easter Bunny is in other lands.

9) America, Britain, Germany, and even Australia aren’t the only nations with a rabbitish animal celebrating fertility.

10) Oh no, the Cantonese region of China honors fecundity through cattle.

11) What is the singular form of cattle? Technically, there isn’t one. However, extensive research –Watching hours of the TV show Rawhide–gives us “beeves” as an alternative word for “cattle.” “Beef” is the singular form of “Beeves.” There you go.

12) It might seem strange for a beef to symbolize fertility. Would a bee have been a much better representative for reproduction?

13) Yes, it would have. Except that in 1884, a British newspaper, The Lion, wrote an article about Canton’s annual Bee Festival. Only The Lion didn’t say that. A misprint turned the celebration into the Beef Festival.

14) Hundreds of thousands of tourists thronged Canton to honor beef., spending millions of pounds while there. The Cantonese government knowing a good thing when they saw it, officially renamed the event, The Beef Festival. Local restaurateurs developed this dish to serve their British guests. Now you know.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Fun Festivals – Steamed Buns On a Bamboo Tower

 

Would you climb a giant bamboo tower for these?

Lovers of bamboo and buns will not want to miss Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau Ben Festival . The festival takes place on or around Buddhas Birthday, near the end of April or May. in Hong Kong. Contestants climb a giant bamboo tower covered in Chinese steamed buns. Um, okay, it’s not entirely clear from that whether the tower is covered in Chinese steamed buns or the climbers are covered in them. Either way, it’s pretty darn exciting. Anyway, buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom. People there go vegetarian during this festival. It’s not clear why. Maybe I would too if I had to climb a tall tower with steamed buns all over me.

The festival’s star attraction are the huge bamboo towers covered with handmade buns. Legends says the island was plagued by an epidemic that killed thousands. Resourceful Cheung Chau locals brought in the god Pak Tai and built it a temple. Pak Tai then shooed the plague and evil spirits away.

In this festival, the inhabitants honor Pak Tai with the Bun Grabbing contest. (Naughty, mind your thoughts.) Contests clamber up a 60-foot tower that’s covered with steam buns. Climbers try to grab as many lucky buns as they can in three minutes. Hard to reach buns give extra points. Or you could simply go for the prestigious Full Pockets of Lucky Buns award. This is won by the climber who grabs the most buns in three minutes. There is also a rather exciting team-relay event.

It’s not at all clear to me how grabbing buns of a bamboo tower shows gratitude to a god who stopped a plague or why these buns are lucky. But there you go. The locals love the event. Tourists from all over the globe come to see it. And you should too. So make your flight plans. Book your hotel and by all means see the Bun Grabbing contest. It’s on the last day of the festival.

But there’s more to this festival than grabbing buns. The week-long festivities includes incense, prayers for prosperity and health, and offerings to festival’s god. Pay a respectful visit to Pak Tai’s altars.

Then wander around the grounds and sample the incredible variety of steamed buns sold by the many food vendors. Heavens, those steamed buns are tasty. And be sure to bring home souvenirs of the event.

Don’t get so distracted by the yummy buns that you miss the festival’s spectacular parade. See elaborate lion dances (No, no ravenous, wild lions are used), and marching bands. Be entranced by the martial arts demonstrations. Biff, biff. Don’t miss the “Floating Children” parade where children dress as Chinese deities. They sit on stands so high that they appear to be floating.

But wait, there’s more. See unicorn dances. Does your town have anything like that? No, I didn’t think so.

It’s well worth arriving in Hong Kong the weekend before the festival for the preliminary Bun Carnival. Watch instructions teach you how to climb the Bun Tower. Climb it for fun. Practice on it. If you find you’re good enough, why not enter the event itself? Go for it. Do it for yourself. Do it for me. Do it for all us who aren’t able to attend.

Oh my gosh, this sounds like such a fun festival.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Fun Festivals – Accordion Extravaganza!

 

Next year, sir, next year

Clear your musical palate by attending the Accordion Extravaganza! in Edmonton, Alberta. Pop in on all sorts of concerts, workshops, dances, and competitions, all featuring the accordion. Accordion lovers will melt in ecstasy here.

Oh no, the extravaganza has been put on indefinite hold because of Covid-19 restrictions. While I applaud the organizers’ concern for our safety, I think our world has just gotten a little grayer. I know of least one other accordion festival being canceled. I’m aware, though, of an online accordion celebration. I’m happy for that, but really there’s nothing really like enjoying an according in person.

Here’s to the Accordion Extravaganza! being held next year!

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Fun Festivals – Tossing Tomatoes at La Tomatina

The world’s best tomato festival, La Tomatina, is held in Buñol, Spain. The festival starts with the eating of many different tomato-based dishes. Yum! However, dining on the tomato is not the reason for La Tomatina’s extraordinary popularity. The festival hosts the world’s biggest tomato fight. Yippee.

Strangely enough this fun festival grew out of parade where musicians and people dressed up as giants and big heads. The local youth, decided to join the parade, as who would not? I mean giants and big heads. The teens got rambunctious. One of the marchers lost his fake head in the commotion. He became angry and started hitting all the young folks that came near him.

The teens took offense at this battery. As fate would have it, the young ones were next to a vegetable cart. The local youth grabbed tomatoes and other veggies and threw them at the battering marcher. Well, the aim of most people is rather poor and most of the hurled tomatoes missed their target. The people hit by these errant missiles got angry. So, they hurled tomatoes back. And missed. Hitting still others. Soon, the tomato tossing became general, just like all those bar fights in Western movies.

The following year, Buñol’s youth commemorated the event by staging a fake argument that deteriorated into a tomato-throwing free for all. The authorities, not foreseeing the tourist draw this tomato hurling would become, broke up the fight. But the tomato-hurling came back the next year. Now la Tomatina happens every year. Why? Because it’s such great fun. Locals hose down the participants. Authorities hose down the streets. So much citric acid, from the tomatoes, gets everywhere that the washed streets will sparkle.

I want to go to La Tomatina. So let’s go there some time. We’ll arrange a meeting. Stay tuned.

Authorities banned this tomato tossing once. Possibly to honor my birth. Possibly because police traditionally look askance at anything resembling a riot. Anyway, devotees of the festival protested this by carrying a huge tomato in a coffin through the center of town. Buñol’s authorities relented and from then on allowed the La Tomatina Festival to continue. Really! Is that all it takes to make the authorities relent? Just carry a tomato-laden coffin through town. (Writes this down for future reference.)

La Tomatina increases in popularity every year and occurs on the last Wednesday in August. Up to 100,000 people attend. It’s so popular that you must buy tickets to attend. Now, the world has finally taken notice. Similar events take place in Colorado, Nevada, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, and India. La Tomatina has made its way in to movies around the world and even into a Mickey Mouse(tm) episode.

Unfortunately, the festival was not held in 2020 and will not be held this year, because of the Covid pandemic. Let us strongly hope that we can soon, and safely, engage in boisterous fun once again.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., travel adviser

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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Mustard Chicken

Gabonese Entree

MUSTARD CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

3 garlic cloves
2 onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup Dijon mustard

Serves 6. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves. Dice onions. Add oil to large pan. Heat oil using high heat until a tiny bit of onion will dance in the oil. Carefully add chicken breasts to pan. (You might need to cook in batches.) Sear chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside. Keep oil.

Add garlic and onion to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add garlic, onion, chicken, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard to pot. Mix with fork until well blended. Cover and simmer at low/medium heat for 25 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink inside. Stir occasionally. Put chicken breast on each plate. Ladle mustard/onion sauce over chicken breasts. Goes quite well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) “Mustard” is an anagram for “Drums rat.” And it almost goes without saying that “chicken” is an anagram for “chicken.” So, “Mustard chicken” by an extension of logic, an anagram for “Chicken drums rat.” Indeed, “Chickens drum rat” is the first complete sentence in English. In fact, a newly discovered fresco at St. Camembert’s church, dating before 1000 AD, shows chicken pounding drums with their wings. Beneath the painting are the words, “Chickens drum ‘rats’.” And whenever farmers heard “rat” being drummed out, they rushed back and shooed off the ravenous vermin.

2) Unfortunately, English farmers never taught their chickens to drum out “Normans.” So when in 1066 Duke William of Normandy landed his army, a perplexed chicken sentry didn’t know what to do. Eventually, she drummed out “rat” to England’s king. King Harold Godwinson didn’t give a fig about rats and instead scurried north to defeat Harold Hardrada. Meanwhile, back on the southern English beaches, the Norman forces assembled unmolested into a coherent, compact army. The two forces met as Hastings. The tired English lost to the fresh Normans. Duke William became the new English king. However, William knew what a near-run thing his invasion had been. His barons went through the realm slaying every single chicken-drumming teacher. Now, no chicken knows how to drum. It’s a pity as the Chicken Drumming Festival at St. Albans was something to behold.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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Tourtiere (Canadian Meat Pie)

Canadian Entree

TOURTIERE
(meat pie)

INGREDIENTSTourtiere-

1 pounds ground pork
½ pound ground beef
1 medium onion
1 small brown potato
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon thyme
1¼ cups water

1 small egg
1 pastry for 9″ double-crust pie

SPECIAL INGREDIENT

9″ pie pan

Takes 2 hours

PREPARATION

Dice onion. Peel potato. Slice potato into ½” cubes. Add top thirteen ingredients, ground pork to water, to large pan Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Cover, reduce heat to low-medium, and simmer for 30 minutes or until onion and potato are soft. Stir occasionally, enough to keep ingredients from burning. Add water as necessary to keep mixture moist.

Line pie pan with layer of pastry. Add pork/beef/potato mix to pie pan. Let cool at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover pork/beef/potato mix with top layer of pastry. Use fork to push edges of the pastry layers together. Use knife to make 6 1″ slits in top pastry layer. Add egg to small mixing bowl. Beat with whisk. Brush top pastry layer with thin egg coating. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) I wish I had known about the following event when I was more athletic, agile, and the intellectual terror of the world. But whatever you skill level, run, jump and hop to the Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championship in Toronto, Canada. Rock, paper, scissors (RPS) is often called the best non-violent resolution to conflicts the world over. It must be so; Canadian RPS grand masters have successfully kept their country out of major conflicts for decades. Culinary personal trainers will tell would be contestants dedicate 30 minutes each day to finger-flexing, wrist-twisting, and elbow-bending exercises if they wish to do at all well at the championship. Cross training by playing chess is often recommended as well.

2) The more aquatically minded tourists head to Nanaimo, British Columbia, for its four-day marine festival. All sorts of fun events take place, but really everyone is looking ahead to the the World Championship Bathtub Race (WCBR) which takes place on the last day. It’s a 36-mile race across the Georgia Straits which presumably is nearby. Serious contestants $3,000 on their tubs outboard motors. And after the race, why not cruise the Canadian coast in your tub? Traveling by airplane, car, train, or even cruise ship is so 2014. Just be sure to carry a good life jacket and stay close to shore, and avoid big ships.

3) Perhaps the best Elvis impersonator festival in the world occurs in the summer at the Collingwood Elvis festival which thank goodness, is held in Collingwood, Ontario. This festival draws a variety of people . . . Oh heck, no it doesn’t. Only lovers of Elvis’ music will go. Oh, and Elvis impersonators. Expect to see lots and lots of Elvis impersonators. This is a good thing, however, if you love Elvis’s music and if you don’t love his songs, then why are you attending an Elvis festival?

4) Clear your musical palate by attending the Accordion Extravaganza! in Edmonton, Alberta. Pop in on all sorts of concerts, workshops, dances, and competitions, all featuring the accordion. Accordion lovers will melt in ecstasy here. Accordion haters will spontaneously combust. Culinary psychologists speculate that the three leading causes of divorce are: 1) monetary problems, 2) infidelity, and 3) irreconcilable–Woo! I spelled that word right on the first try–differences over accordion music.

5) Looking for something to do after your significant other combusted? Then make your way to the Poutine Festival in Drummondville, Quebec. Poutine, perhaps Quebec’s most famous dish, consists of French fries, beef gravy, and cheese curds or mozzarella. Listen to wonderful music while tasting caloric culinary greatness. Heart specialists are standing by.

6) Sluggish after overindulging with poutine? It’s delicious, who could not? Then have someone take you to Calgary, Alberta, International Festival of Animated Objects.. Puppet shows and performances with other animated thingys touch on dark, troubling themes. Even though, many of the shows are supposed to be family friendly, it all seems rather ominous.

7) Clear your head of scary puppets by attending any number of Scottish festivals around Canada, where they eat Scottish food, dance to Scottish music, and do all sorts of Scottish things.

8) Continue to embrace your inner Northern Europeaniness by raiding your way to the Icelandic Festival in Gimli, Manitoba, in August. The festival features a Viking encampment AND demonstrations of Viking warfare. Woot! Way Cool! Way Cool! I want to go there. I want to go. Take me with you, I’ll be ever so good. I’ll cook and clean, and everything. There is also a Viking parade which is also way cool. And don’t forget the crowning of the Fjalkona, the Maid of the Mountain. The Fjalkona is held to be the female incarnation of Iceland. Heavy responsibility, you bet! This is festival is so cool. Please take me with you.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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Draniki (Potato Pancakes from Belarus)

Belarus Entree

DRANIKI
(potato pancakes)

INGREDIENTSDraniki-

1 small onion
6 medium brown potatoes
1 egg
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
up to 6 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
6 teaspoons dill (optional)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Food processor

Makes 12 draniki. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince onion. Peel potatoes. Use the side of a grater with the tiny raised holes to grate potatoes as fine and liquidy as possible. Oh gosh, don’t do it this all; it’s hell. Preserve your sanity, use food processor to mince potatoes to teeny, tiny bits.

Add potato, onion, egg, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend well with whisk. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat. Oil is ready when a tiny potato bit will dance around in the oil. Add 1/12th, about ¼ cup, of potato/onion mixture to pan. Sauté with medium-high heat for 1½ minutes or until bottom of pancake is golden brown. (Lift pancake with spatula to see. X-ray vision works tool.) Flip pancake and sauté for another 1½ minutes or until the new bottom side is golden brown as well.

Repeat for each draniki, potato pancake. Add vegetable oil as needed. If desired, top each draniki with ½ tablespoon sour cream and/or ½ teaspoon dill.

TIDBITS

1) There are probably millions upon millions of people who would go to church more often if its ceremonies were, well, more exciting. If you belong to this group, why not head to Belarus for its Ivan Kupala festival? If your heart races at the sight of fireworks and the opportunity to leap over roaring fires, then this is the ceremony for you. It used to be a pagan festival, but it was taken over by church leaders and converted to a celebration of John the Baptist. It’s on July 6. See you there.

2) By the way, if you’re in line for confession, don’t bother offering to switch sins with the people around you. They will invariably look at you askance and edge away.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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Vidalia Onion Rings

American appetizer

VIDALIA ONION RINGS

INGREDIENTSVidaliaOnionRings-

3 medium Vidalia onions or other onions
1¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup beer (8 ounces left in that bottle for drinking, eh?)
½ cup milk
3 cups peanut oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet

Makes 40 onion rings. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Peel onions. Slice onions into rings ⅓” thick. Punch out onion rings from slices. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to first mixing bowl.. Mix with whisk until well blended. Separate egg yolk from egg white. Add egg yolk, beer, and milk to second mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add egg yolk/beer/milk mixture to bowl with flour mixture. Blend with whisk until smooth. Add egg white to third mixing bowl. Whip with whisk until peaks form. Fold egg white into bowl with flour/beer/milk mixture. Mix with whisk until well blended.

Add enough peanut oil to completely cover onion rings. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Dip onion rings into batter. Turn onion rings until they are completely covered in batter. Make enough battered rings to cover skillet. Sauté at 375 degrees until onion rings turn golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Place paper towel on plate. Place onion rings on towel. Put towel on top on onion rings. Gently push down on towel to remove oil.

TIDBITS

1) Onion-festival groupies will want to know that the Vidalia Onion Festival is held in late April in Vidalia, Georgia and features: onion tasting, cooking demos, concerts, chef competitions, and an onion run. Onions are historically rather sedentary, so this last event is only for the patient.

2) Walla Walla, Washington’s onion festival is held during the first week in June. Go there and watch an onion grow. Again, this is an activity only for the persevering and independently wealthy.. They also have onion bowling. If your onion gives you a 7-10 split, why just eat it. Woot!

3) Go to Weslaco, Texas in late March for its onion festival. It’s the only one with dancing horses.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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Papo de anjo (Cheesy egg puffs)

Brazilian Dessert

PAPO DE ANJO
(syrupy egg puffs)

INGREDIENTSPapoDeAnjo-

1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
9 egg yolks
1 egg white
no-stick spray
1 tablespoon butter

SPECIAL UTENSIL

12-cup muffin tin
electric beater
casserole dish or oven-safe ban large enough to hold muffin tin

Takes 2 hours or more, depending on how long you wait for the syrup to permeate the egg puffs. Makes 12 egg puffs.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and sugar to pot. Cook using low-medium heat for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Stir frequently. Add vanilla extract. Bring sugar water to boil using high heat. Stir constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar water becomes a syrup. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and cover.

Add egg yolks to first mixing bowl. Beat egg yolks using electric beater set on whip until they are frothy and have doubled in size. Add egg white to second mixing bowl. Beat egg white using electric beater set on whip until egg white forms soft peaks. Fold egg white into first mixing bowl with egg yolks.

Spray muffin cups with no-stick spray. Coat muffin cups with butter. Ladle equal amounts of egg mix in muffin cups. Put muffin tin in casserole dish. Add water to casserole dish until it comes halfway up the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until egg puffs become firm and become golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.

Add syrup and egg puffs to mixing bowl. Poke holes in egg puffs with toothpick. syrup. Ladle syrup over egg puffs. Let egg puffs sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb syrup. Refrigerate if egg puffs will sit in syrup for several hours or overnight. Tell adoring guests to use forks when eating this dessert. Tell unappreciative people to syrupy cheese puffs with their hands.

TIDBITS

1) Papo de anjo is an anagram for Joan Pod Poe.

2) Joan could be a descendant of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s hard to say.

3) It’s also quite possible that Joan goes every year to the Bloco de Lama or Mud Festival in Paraty, Brazil.

4) This year the festival was held on February 16.

5) Which is still useful information if you have a time machine.

6) If not, you will have to wait for next year. Plan way in advance! Hotels fill up early as this is a happening event. Where else do you get to smear mud all over yourself and chant, “Uga, uga, uga, rah, rah, rah” with thousands of other mud-covered revelers?

7) Some say the festival honors our caveman/cavewoman roots. Other maintain it pays hommage to the fishermen who would rub mud over themselves to keep mosquitoes away.

8) I don’t know why the fishermen didn’t use bug spray, wear hats with mosquito netting, or simply wear light clothes over every inch of their body.

9) But now, Bloco de Lama, which I hope means blockhead llama in Portuguese, is quite the party, with a blend traditional native music, hip hop, rave, and other musical genres.

10) And dance the night away in your prehistoric bikinis and SpeedosTM.

11) And then go back to your hotel, take a nice, hot relaxing bath, and let the mud gently fall from your body to the bottom of your spacious tub.

12) Boy! I bet housekeeping really hates this festival. Can you imagine having to every day clean dozens of tubs caked with dried mud?

13) No wonder the maids of Paraty, Brazil refer to the tourists as blockhead llamas.

14) Pele, the world’s greatest soccer player, is not a llama. Indeed, no soccer players are.

15) Soccer players do get muddy though when they play on muddy soccer fields. This just happens. It is not done to honor their Neanderthalic ancestors.

16) Indeed mud can be found all over the world, wherever there is dirt and rain.

17) If your town has mud, why not start its own Mud Festival? It’s a guaranteed tourist draw, especially if Joan Pod Poe makes an appearance. Just don’t call her a pod person. She doesn’t like it.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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Nepali Pizza (chatamari)

Nepali Entree

NEPALI PIZZA
(chatamari)

INGREDIENTSchatamari-

1 cup black lentils (matpe beans)
3 cups water

1 cup water (about, check for consistency of batter as you add.)
½ cup ghee or butter (1 additional cup later.)
6 garlic cloves
½ tablespoon ginger
1 large onion
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Roma tomatoes
2 chicken breasts or substitute with 1 egg per chatamari

INGREDIENTS – BASE

3 cups rice flour
1 cup ghee or butter
½ teaspoon salt

makes 12 chatamaris. Soaks overnight, then takes about 1½ hours.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Soak black lentils in water overnight or until lentil skins become loose. Rinse lentils with water. Drain. Add lentils, 1 cup water, and ½ cup ghee to food processor. Blend until you get a smooth paste. Dice garlic, ginger, onion, and tomato. Thoroughly mince chicken. Add garlic, ginger, onion, pepper, salt, and oil to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add tomato, lower heat to medium and sauté for 1 minute.

Add rice flour, lentil paste, and salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until you get a cake-like batter. Gradually add about 1 cup water until you get the right consistency. Add ghee to pan. Melt ghee using medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons ghee to the pan for the first chatamari and then add more later as necessary. Add ⅓ cup batter. Make base by spreading batter evenly and thinly with spatula until it’s 8″ in diameter. Cover base with equal amounts of minced chicken and sautéed garlicc/onion. Cook using medium heat for 3-to-5 minutes or until chicken/garlic/onion.is done. Chicken should be completely white. Cooking times tend to go down for each chatamari.

TIDBITS

1) There is no I in team or Nepal, but there is an I in victory and Nepali.

2) Nepali is an anagram for Alpine, which is cool. The Alps and Nepal are also cool from their tall mountains.

3) There is a lot of Snow, gratuitously capitalized, in the Alps and in Nepal.

4) Snow is an anagram for swon.

5) The plural form of swon is also swon, just like the plural of moose is moose.

6) The swon is the natural enemy of the moose.

7) The exciting swon festival is held every year or so in Crebano, Ruritania. Come early to see to the exploding cabbage competition.

8) If you are having trouble finding Ruritania on your map, may I suggest heading to Nepal for Holi, or the Festival of Colors, to celebrate the end of winter. However, it’s held in March and you’ll be in the Himalayan Mountains. It’s kinda like going to Wisconsin for your spring break. However, you do get paint yourself with various dyes. Again, like going to Madison, Wisconsin to see the Badgers play football. The one true difference between Nepal and Wisconsin is that the Nepali like to eat chatamari while the Wisconsinites prefer to munch on bratwursts. Your call.

9) If you happen to be Asia a month earlier, you might wish to see the Naked Man Festival in Japan. The best one is reportedly held in Okayama, although how they decided this is difficult to measure. The men, clad only in loincloths race toward Saldaji Temple to collect lucky sticks. I can just see a naked man saying, “Honestly officer, I’m not fleeing an enraged husband. I’m participating in the Naked Man Festival.” The officer will roll his eyes. “Like I haven’t heard that one before.”

10) After participating in the Naked Man Festival in Japan and having gotten drunk for two months, missed your flight home, and having your wallet and ID stolen, why not take in the Penis Festival held the first Sunday of April? People head to the Kanayama shrine to see giant penises, made, I hope, from paper maché or wood. Appreciate the many penis drawings and costumes.

11) Lovers or bamboo and buns will not want to miss the Cheng Chau Ben Festival held every May in Hong Kong. Contestants climb a giant bamboo covered in Chinese steamed buns. Um, okay, it’s not entirely clear whether the tower is covered in Chinese steamed buns or the climbers are covered in them. Either way, it’s pretty darn exciting. Anway, buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom. People there go vegetarian during this festival. It’s not clear why. Maybe I would too if I had to climb a tall tower with steamed buns all over me.

13) Meat lovers will want to savor the Pig Parade held in Malolos, Philippines in mid September. Watch pigs dressed in all sorts of costumes and wearing makeup. See if you agree with the judges’ decision of the best dressed pig. But win or lose, it doesn’t matter in this egalitarian contest as winners and losers alike get roasted for the magnificent feast.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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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