Posts Tagged With: God

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

Portuguese Fish Sauce (molho cru)

Portuguese Appetizer

FISH SAUCE
(molho cru)

INGREDIENTSMolhoCru-

3 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
½ teaspoon pepper
1 package saffron
⅓ cup cold water
1 cup cider vinegar

PREPARATION

Mince garlic and parsley. Dice onion. Add all ingredients to serving bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Put bowl in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve cold. This dish also works well for marinating fish.

TIDBITS

1) Want to really run with the bulls? Visit the Portuguese island of Terceira for the Sanjoaninas festivites in August. Simply hold a rope that is tied to a running bull. Okay, it is suggested that you run as well. Prove your courage to your loved one by scampering as close to the enraged, huge, muscular, sharp horned beast as possible. A gore wound is guaranteed to give you a story you can tell your friends forever. Go for it!

2) Admittedly, painful injuries just aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Well, if you’re one of these people may I suggest the Orange Throwing Competition in Ivrea, Italy? Held forty days before Lent, it’s perfect for the warrior in all of us yearning to participate in a safe war. (And how many of those occur these days?) Watch a parade. Blend in, pretend to savor the historical significance of some long ago battle. Then pelt other tourists and locals with overripe oranges. If life gives you rotten oranges, hold a festival.

3) Sometimes you just feel like being a dick. That’s a good time to head to Tyrnavos, Greece for its Phallus Festival. Start your celebration of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and whoopee, by eating spinach and nettle soup. Then go crazy and bop others on their heads with an enormous phallus–fake, not your own. This all ensures a good harvest and occurs at the start of Lent.

4) The Festa della Madonna Bruna in Matera, Italy, is perfect for everyone thirsting for vengeance against the law for that $400 in towing fees and fines they gave you for parking illegally in a spot where you couldn’t see the no-parking signs twelve feet off the ground and twenty yards behind you. Ahem. Police, locals, and participants battle for the possession of the float honoring the Madonna. Held on July 2, it’s good fun, it’s legal, and doesn’t cause run-on sentences.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight on Stacey Roberts, author of “Trailer Trash with a Girl’s Name”

Stacey Roberts

Chapter Two: A Bastard’s Thanksgiving…With a Side of Gravy

Uncle George was a bastard. I knew this because my mother always called him one, and she was specific with titles. My Uncle Stuart was a drinker, her business partner was a schmuck, and my father was a son of a bitch. Her business partner was never a son of a bitch, and my father was never a drinker, even when he drank. I could never aspire to be a schmuck, no matter how hard I tried. Uncle George was pigeonholed: once a bastard, always a bastard.

I even asked my mother: “Why can’t Daddy be a bastard?”

Mom: “Because he’s a son of a bitch.” Done. She was the FDA of human frailty – whatever was wrong with you, she knew it, and gave you a label.

Me: “So what am I?”

Mom: “You’re just like your father.”

Me: “So I’m a son of a bitch?”

Mom: “Go to bed.”

Uncle George the Bastard wasn’t a dictionary definition bastard – his parents were married – they were Irish Catholic and probably promised to each other at age five. He was the other kind of bastard, the colloquial kind, who despised bitches, niggers, spics, dogs, cats, kids, hebes, and my grandma.

He spoke only after long silences and thought good parenting was striking any misbehaving kid with whatever he could lay his hands on. You didn’t pee in his pool and you didn’t sit in his chair. You didn’t think for one second that your favorite TV show could possibly preempt whatever he was watching. You rode in the back seat of whatever he drove and when he told you to go fetch that thing over there and bring it back to him, you didn’t ask him, “Which thing over where?” unless you wanted to wake up sixty seconds later on the ground; you brought over all you could carry as fast as you could.

He had been a police sergeant when my father was on the force, back in the 1950’s, a decade and a half before they each met and married Jewish sisters. Uncle George the Bastard was the one who packed up my father’s shit when my mother threw him out of the house.

My mother had called her sister in a rage.

Mom: “Sis, that son of a bitch. Send George over here to pack up his shit and put it out on the curb. Sssssssssssssssss.”

She added a long hissing sibilant to the end of her words so you knew she was mad or making a point.

At this point, my Aunt Maxine (Sissy to everyone) did not do a number of things: She did not ask what Fred had done this time. She did not protest that George and Fred had been best friends since the Second World War. She did not say that George was busy eating, watching TV, beating one of his kids, degrading my grandmother, or complaining about Gerald Ford. She put down her quilting and pressed the phone to her breast.

Aunt Sissy (looking at Uncle George the Bastard): “George. Carol wants you to put Fred’s shit out on the curb.”

He looked back at her, his watery Irish blue eyes cold, falling into one of his deadly silences like an archer pulling back the drawstring on a bow. Sissy stared at him with coal black eyes and an implacable face only two generations removed from icy Polish farmland.

Aunt Sissy: “George. Just go now.”

I don’t know how Uncle George the Bastard felt about siding with family over his best friend, but he must have gone. My father’s shit did indeed hit the curb in 1976. I watched from the window, my mother standing behind me, her arms folded, her lips pursed.

Me: “Mom, what’s Uncle George doing?”

Mom: “Putting your father’s shit out on the curb. That son of a bitch.”

Me: “Why is his shit going out to the curb?”

Mom: “Because I’m not having it in this house anymore.”

My mother never answered the question being asked – she made it sound like we were out of room to store things or that my father’s golf clubs and underpants were toxic and slowly killing us all.

I asked “why the curb” because the back porch was closer, which would have made the job easier on Uncle George the Bastard. Apparently the use of the curb was part of some kind of 1970’s divorce ritual as stringent as leaning left at Passover or the wine-to-bread ratio of a Catholic mass. There was a system:

Step 1: Put the offender’s belongings on the curb.

Step 2: Change the locks.

Step 3: Leave a note:

Fred,

Your shit is on the curb.

You’re a real son of a bitch.

Carol

Step 4: Reassure the children.

Mom: “Layner, I’ve put your father’s shit on the curb.”

Step 5: Turn the children against the missing parent.

Layne the Favorite: “That son of a bitch.”

As a practical matter, it meant my father had to drive up our long driveway, go to the back porch, try his key, curse, read the note, hurl more expletives, drive back down to the street, collect his shit, swear eternal vengeance upon my mother, and depart.

Our street was a busy two lane road, so he had to park along the curb with his emergency flashers on so cars would detour around him while he packed up his shit. I’m sure more than one man driving by that scene felt some sympathy for him:

Anonymous New Jersey Man: “Oh, hell. His shit’s on the curb. That poor son of a bitch.”

***

Uncle George the Bastard was the king of Thanksgiving in 1980. He had retired after twenty years on the force and moved his family from Cranford, New Jersey, a mile from my house, to a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, which was four hours away. That year was the first Thanksgiving we spent with them. Not sure why we couldn’t do it when the drive didn’t require pee stops, but I wasn’t in charge of anything at all until the early nineties, and then for maybe three days before I got married.

That Thanksgiving was the first time I ever had gravy. Can a good gravy change your life? This one did. Jews should reconsider gravy. We don’t use it for anything. It’s made from meat drippings and a thickening agent. It’s something you would normally throw away that instead gets resurrected and used. If we Jews had put gravy on trial before we pitched it out, it would be Jesus. In the genteel cold war between our religion and that of the Goyim, gravy is Easter.  It is nowhere close to what God had in mind when He freed us from slavery in Egypt to wander the desert, eat flat crackers, and wait a dozen centuries for the Cossacks to storm down from the hills and pee in our wells.

My mother can’t cook, and knows God is okay with that. If He thought His Chosen could prepare food properly, why all the dietary restrictions? Instead of saying, “Undercooked pork can kill you, so do it right,” He ordered, “No pork.” It implies a lack of confidence in our culinary talents. He could have said, “Cook two cubits of pork over a dry fire for five minutes.” Whatever a cubit is.

So, no pork. My mother is food obsessed, and believes herself to be a great Talmudic scholar in pursuit of the Lord’s plan. At my wedding, she ruled that there must be a kosher meal. The wedding planner offered fish. My mother agreed. All fish is kosher, she informed me, so we were good.

During my first Thanksgiving on the farm, I noticed my cousins passing around a weird porcelain boat.

Me: “What’s that?”

Cousin David: “Gravy.”

Me: “What do you put it on?”

Cousin David: (dreamily) “Everything.”

I took the gravy boat.

Mom (catching my eye): “SSSSSSSSSSStace. Don’t eat that crap.”

Me: “But it has its own special dish!”

We Jews love that sort of thing. Passover has its own segmented dish. Wine goes in special cups at Bar Mitzvahs. This gravy boat must have been a relic of one of the lost tribes of Israel, so I brought it back into the fold, covering turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce with it.

My brother, Layne the Favorite, obediently choked his food down dry. I was so covered in gravy I needed a bath when I was done. I asked my Aunt Sissy, who I now believed to be the world’s best cook, what was in her spectacular stuffing, which was so unlike any I had ever had.

Her face got bright red.

Aunt Sissy (through clenched teeth): “Nothing special.”

My mother, who never ate stuffing, looked at me wide-eyed.

Mom: “SSSSSStace. It’s stuffing. It’s bread. What’s wrong with you?”

My aunt hustled me from the table to scrub the gravy from my hair and shoes.

Aunt Sissy (whispering): “There’s pork sausage in the stuffing. If your mother knew she would just kill me. Or give me a title. Sissy the Corrupter. Something like that. You know how she is.”

Me: “It’s got a nice ring to it. I think I’ve got gravy in my belly button.”

Aunt Sissy: “I’m not gonna risk it over a side dish.” She wiped away a glob of gravy from the back of my left knee.

Me (also whispering and horrified): “But Grandma eats the stuffing. She loves it.” Grandma was very religious.

Aunt Sissy: “Grandma eats lobster too.”

Everything I knew about the book of Exodus hit me like a brick made from Nile river mud.

Me: “Lobster’s not kosher…”

Aunt Sissy: (shrugging) “Nope. How did you get gravy in your ears?”

Me: “You ARE a corrupter! Can you teach my mother to cook?”

Aunt Sissy: “No. No one can.”

Aunt Sissy: “Why are you crying? It’s just a little spilled gravy.”

 

About the AuthorStaceyPic

Stacey Roberts was born in a smoky hospital in New Jersey in 1971. Nine years later, he and his family moved into a Winnebago and traveled across the country. After several near-death experiences, they settled first in California and then Florida.

He attended college at Florida State University and University of Miami, where he received his B.A. in English Literature instead of Finance, which was a great disappointment to his mother.

He went on to get a Master’s degree in Early Modern European History at the University of Cincinnati, to which his mother said, “SSSStace. History? What do you need that for? What is wrong with you?”

His mother was right. He didn’t need it for anything, except to make arcane references about the Roman Empire or Henry VIII that no one else understands.

He founded a computer consulting firm outside of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1994, and resides in Northern Kentucky with his two brilliant daughters and their less than brilliant yellow dog Sophie.

TRAILER TRASH, WITH A GIRL’S NAME is his first novel.

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Horchata From Mexico

Mexican Dessert

HORCHATA

INGREDIENTSHorchata-

2 cups uncooked long-grain rice (white is best)
2 cups water
3 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon (freshly ground is best)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

Put rice and water in blender. Blend using highest setting for 2 minutes. Put blender container in refrigerator overnight.

Add cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla extract to rice/water in blender. Blend at highest setting for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into large pitcher. Add milk. Stir with long wooden spoon. This goes well served over ice. Olé

TIDBITS

1) The director for the middle school near my home loves the song, “Tequila.” However, he and the school disapprove of alcohol, so the band changed the word in the song to “horchata.”

2) “Horchata” is an anagram for “CAA, Thor.” The initials for the Canadian Automobile Association is CAA. Thor was a powerful Norse god. I think this means Thor drives a car and is a naturalized Canadian.

3) What types of car would Thor drive? A Thunderbird.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

 

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenyan Coconut-Milk Plantain Recipe

Kenyan Entree

COCONUT-MILK PLANTAINS

INGREDIENTSCocoMilkPlan-

4 completely ripe plantains
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 3/4 cups coconut milk

PREPARATION

Peel plantains. Cut plantains in round slices no thicker than 1/4″ inch. Combine all ingredients (head ‘em up, move ‘em out) into soup pot. Simmer on low heat for 30-to-40 minutes or until the plantains are tender and have absorbed all the coconut milk. Stir occasionally to ensure that all the plantain slices get covered with liquid. Serve hot. If not, serve cold.

TIDBITS

1) Cinnamon is truly a happening spice.

2) True cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka. Powdered cinnamon sold in America is usually not true cinnamon. Instead is really cassia, a similar tasting spice. Fret not, the sky is not falling. You can buy cinnamon sticks and grind your own cinnamon. Take back cinnamon! Yeah!

3) Cinnamon smells great. Indeed, God told Moses (Exodus 30: 22-33). to make holy anointing oil out of cinnamon, cassia, olive oil, myrrh, and scented cane.

4) The ancient folks scurrying around the Mediterranean and points east believed in the Cinnamon Bird. The Cinnamon Bird lived in Arabia and built its nest with cinnamon which it got from parts unknown.

5) The Arabians left heavy chunks of meat on the ground. The Cinnamon Birds would take the meat back to their nest. The weight of the meat would cause the cinnamon nests to fall to the ground. Of course, they could have accomplished the same thing by throwing bowling balls in these birds’ nest, assuming the sons of the desert had bowling balls way back then.

6) The ancient Roman, Pliny the Elder, debunked the myth of the Cinnamon Bird. Nothing got past old Pliny.

7) Economist alert! One ounce of cinnamon could get you fifteen ounces of silver in Roman times. Kinda made having cinnamon toast a special occasion.

8) During the Middle Ages, your social level was determined by the number of spices you had. Hee, hee, I’m fabulously rich! Oh wait, I’m not living in the Middle Ages. Dang it, where’s my time machine?

9) For centuries, European nations fought wars over who would control Ceylon’s, Sri Lanka back then, supplies of cinnamon. A bit like Black Friday at WalmartTM.

10) For a long time I thought Marshall Crenshaw’s song, “Cynical Girl,” was really “Cinnamon Girl.” It changed the meaning somewhat.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

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