Posts Tagged With: giraffes

Mincemeat Pie

British Dessert

MINCEMEAT PIE

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

3¼ cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar (1 tablespoon more later)
1¼ cups butter, cubed
1 egg
ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, as necessary
2 tablespoons flour

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

1 28-ounce jar mincemeat
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

SPECIAL UTENSILS

round pastry cutter, glass cup, or muffin tray
sonic obliterator

Makes 12 small pies. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add 3¼ cups flour and confectioners’ sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Use cold hands to fold butter and egg into flour. Add ice water 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary, until dough starts to form a ball without being sticky. (Don’t over do it.) Cover pastry and let chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes. (You might to re-roll the dough so you can make more circles.)

Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Place about ¼ of the dough at a time on flat surface.. Leave the rest in the refrigerator until needed. (You really do want to work with cold dough.) Roll out dough until it is 1/6″ thick. Use round pastry cutter to make a large circle sufficiently wide to fill the bottom and side of muffin cups, about 5″ wide. Re-roll the dough as needed to make more circles.

Line muffin cups with 5″ dough circles. Now make 12 small circles wide enough to cover the top of the muffin, about 3″ wide. Use ¼ of the remaining dough, left over from making the 5″ circles, Leaving the rest in the refrigerator until needed.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill the pastry-lined muffin cups ¾ full with mincemeat. Cover with 3″ dough circles. These lids should overlap the mincemeat-filled pastry cups. (But not go over onto the rest of the muffin tin.) Gently push down on lid edges to form seals. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on wire racks then sprinkle mincemeat pies with 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar. Or serve right away. Zap any guest who doesn’t fully appreciate the care you took in making this dish.

TIDBITS

1) Mincemeat pies don’t have mincemeat in them.

2) But way back in the 16th century, in Tudor times, they did.

3) Because meat was cheaper than fruit in those days. The meats of choice were: beef, venison, and lamb. There was even a Tudor poem about this.

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep.
But where did they go?
Into a neighbor’s pie they weeped.
Ho, ho. Ho, ho. Ho, ho.

In real life, the next-door neighbor was usually a rapacious, unfettered lord, who supported King Henry VIII. So many sheep were stolen by the greedy nobility that the peasantry became increasingly disgruntled.  It didn’t help that space aliens kidnaped the remaining sheep in 1535. Since the extraterrestrial sheep abductions occurred at night, no one saw them happen. The poor people naturally blamed the barons, lords, and earls.

A surly mob of peasants gathered at the Duke of York’s castle demanding the return of all their sheep. We are lucky to have the following exchange in writing as the historian John Haggis was just happened to be present. Here it is:

Surly Peasant Leader: We want our sheep back!
Duke of York: There are no sheep. I have no sheep. No one has sheep.
Surly Peasant 1: We don’t believe you.
Duke of York: I don’t care.
Surly Peasant 2: But how can we make mincemeat pies without sheep?
Duke of York: Eat mincemeat pie made from giraffes.
Surly Peasant Leader: C’mon lads, lets throw Duke Greedypants from off the castle walls.

They stormed the castle and they him down into the moat. This act precipitated a rather serious revolt with the rather mild title of The Pilgrimage of Grace. Eventually, King Henry VIII had this revolt put down.

But the king had seen the writing on the wall. King Henry proclaimed in The Great Ingredient Decree of 1538 that no matter the prevailing conditions of the realm, every peasant would had a right to find all she needed to make a proper mincemeat pie. Since, the sheep were all gone, pie makers switched to beef. Centuries later, the price of fruit began to fall compared to that of beef. So the beef in the pies began to be phased out in favor of dried fruits. Nowadays, mincemeat pies have no meat in them at all. Now you know. Oh, the sheep found their way back to Earth and England in 1567,

 

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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Comfort Rocks Banned on Airlines

Banned Comfort Companions

It was bound to happen. Today, all the major airlines banned the use of rocks as comfort companions.

“It was getting out of hand,” said Carl LaFong, CEO of Duluth Airlines. “First it was comfort dogs, then comfort cats–boy did they hide everywhere. Then it was comfort mice–boy oh boy, didn’t they cause a lot of shrieking. Then it was a comfort rhino. It caused an incident the very first time onboard. We had to ban them all.”

“Then about a month ago, Farine du Ble, traveling from Duluth to Paris, brought a painted rock onboard. She held it in her hand, turning it over and over. The passenger in the middle, Amos Keeto, said a rock companion was stupid. Ms. du Ble took offense and hit Mr. Keeto in the head with it. We had make an emergency landing in Gary, Indiana of all places. Comfort rocks are now banned.”

Indeed the Airline Safety Council took preemptive action and banned the following pets from comfort companionship:

ants
bats
bees
crocodiles (they mess the passenger count)
giraffes (not even if you can put them in the overhead bins)
lutefisk (not even a creature, still don’t try it)
snails

Additional pets may be added as needed.

 

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

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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Shrimp Bisque

French Soup

SHRIMP BISQUE

INGREDIENTS

1 pound medium shrimp, shells on*
1 medium carrot
1 stick celery
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups water
1 small bay leaf
½ tablespoon dry parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon brandy or white wine
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1⅓ cups cream
croutons as desired
6 sprigs fresh parsley

* = To get the most authentic flavor, you need to buy shrimp with the heads on. This is difficult if you don’t live in a hopping culinary center. My Poway is like this. I feel your pain.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

colander with fine mesh

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Peel and devein shrimp. KEEP SHELLS. Dice carrot, celery, garlic, and onion. Add oil and shrimp shells and heads, if you could buy them, to 1st pot. Sauté at high heat for 5 minutes or until shells start to brown. Stir frequently. Add garlic and onion. Reduce heat to medium-high. Sauté for 5 minutes until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add carrot, celery, tomato paste, water, bay leaf, dry parsley, salt, and thyme. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer shrimp-shell stock for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Strain this stock through a colander and into a large bowl. Return clear stock and add brandy to 2nd pot.

While stock simmers, add butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Add flour. Blend in flour. Stir frequently. Cook for 2 minutes or until flour turns golden brown.

Add golden-brown flour to 2nd pot. Blend with fork until golden-brown flour blends completely into stock. Strain stock again through colander into 2nd pot. Add cream to 2nd pot with stock. Stir in cream with spoon until well blended. Cook at medium heat. Add shrimp. Cook at medium heat or until shrimp turns orange. Garnish each bowl with croutons and fresh parsley sprigs.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe uses water.

2) Life uses water. Every organism needs water to live.

3) Unless, of course, you’re a bacterial endospore. Even then, you’d need water eventually.

4) I harbor doubts, though, that you are a bacterial endospore, BA.

5) For such endospores rely on a notoriously deficient system of public education. There’s no funding for it. None. So, BAs can’t read. But you can read. Therefore you are a human or possibly a very smart giraffe.

6) People are not allowed to take giraffes to sporting events, not even as a comfort animal. People behind would be forever yelling, “Down in front.”

7) Giraffes can be surly and are apt to smack your head with their strong, necks if you try to make them leave a ball game, particularly if you didn’t ask them nicely. Manners are always in fashion.

8) Yes, the best way to get a giraffe to leave a Cubs/Cardinals game is for the security guard to say, “Excuse me please, Mr. Giraffe, would join me in eating some popcorn just outside?” This will work nine times out of ten, for giraffes love popcorn. Yay!

9) But how does popcorn pop? There’s a little bit of water inside every corn kernel. Yes, staying hydrated is important for everyone whether you be a human being or a future corn plant.

10) When you heat the kernel sufficiently, pressure builds up as the water in the middle turns to steam. But the kernel’s solid shell prevents steam from seeping out. Eventually, there’s enough pressure to rip apart the shell. Et voilà, you have popcorn.

11) Admiral Halsey contemplated this very fact while munching on popcorn in early 1943. “If only we could have harnessed the explosive power of popcorn during the Battle of Midway. We could have launched our planes so much quicker.”

12) And what the Admiral wanted, the Admiral got. Plane after plane would be launched by exploding popcorn. American fighters got to the Japanese Zeros so fast that they could not respond in time. America would thrash Japan in every carrier battle. We would win the war.

13) At first, the carriers’ crews poured melted butter over the popcorn left behind by the launches. But although the sailors would eat every tasty popcorn kernel, the remaining melted butter would leave the flight deck extremely slick. The returning American planes skidded off the buttery carriers and into the sea. This is why the U.S. Navy has banned buttered popcorn.

– 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.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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