Posts Tagged With: Greek

Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Greek Soup

LEMON CHICKEN SOUP
(Avgolemono)

INGREDIENTS

8 cups chicken stock
2 pounds chicken breasts
1 cup arborio, other rice, or orzo
3 eggs
½ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh parsley

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken stock to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Add chicken breasts. Lower heat to medium. Add arborio. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken breasts can be pulled apart with 2 forks. Stir enough to prevent burning, Remove chicken breasts to large bowl. (Keep chicken stock.) Shred chicken with forks. Return shredded chicken to pot. Stir until well blended.

While chicken simmers for 20 minutes, add eggs and lemon juice to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Take 2 cups chicken stock from large pot and add to measuring cup. Drizzle chicken stock from measuring cup to mixing bowl. Whisk continually as you drizzle in the stock. Add this egg/lemon/stock sauce to the large pot. Add pepper and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soup thickens. Stir enough to prevent burning.

Dice parsley. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) Wolves like to eat chickens. Isaac Newton’s chickens were the best. So, it’s no surprise that numerous gangs of unemployed, teenage wolves attacked his chicken coops night after night. Newton first reasoned with the wolves, but his “Now, see here” was met with scorn. He even tried making scary faces. The wolves yawned briefly, then continued their attacks.

2) Desperate, Newton climbed his lemon trees and threw lemon after lemon at the wolves until he had no more. “Deuced wolves, take that.” And the wolves couldn’t take that barrage. They scurried away. Wolves have feared lemons ever since. This is why most chicken ranchers surround their coops with lemon trees. Eventually, culinarily minded lemon tree/chicken ranchers made this dish.

3)Anyway, Newton saved his chickens, but the loss of his lemons ruined him financially. He turned his mind to scientific observation and mathematical theory. Which is why we’ve heard of him.

 

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.

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

Fun Things to Do at the DMV

Dance as a Greek goddess at the DMV

Everybody knows that waiting in line at the DMV is the most soul-sucking experience imaginable.

But we are all wrong.

Just because the slow lines inside the DMV resemble plate tectonics, it doesn’t mean our imagination and hopes have to slow that much as well. No! Well then, what do we do in those funereal confines?

I’m glad you asked. Here are some fun things you can do while waiting to turn in your paperwork for a smart license.

1)  Start a flash-mob Greek dancing extravaganza. Put on your togas, crank up the Hellenic flute music and rock the joint as your favorite Greek goddess or muse.

2) Start a chess tournament. Don’t worry, there will be enough time. You’ll need to bring your own tables and chess sets.

Such fun

3) Give archery lessons. Isn’t there a risk of hitting someone? Won’t someone move into the path of the arrow? No, people don’t move inside the DMV. Well, hardly ever. And even then, your impeded shot will just make the line shorter. It’s a win-win scenario for all but the victim.

4) Organize a reading contest. The first person to read Moby Dick from cover to cover wins.

5) Set up a film festival. Screen the car classics, Thunder Road, Smokey and the Bandit, Death Race 2000, and if time permits, Mad Max – Fury Road.

6) Do DMV dating. It’s just like speed dating where you get five minutes with a potential date, but much, much longer.

7) Keep track of your time and apply it to any future jail sentences.

Dine Well While Waiting Out the Line

8) Bring a crossword puzzle book. Finish it.

9) Have a candlelit gourmet lunch with the person next in line. Dinner on lobster thermidor, steak au poivre vert, chicken Florentine, and baked Alaska. Meet the love of your life, make a business contact, or just past the time with delicious food and pleasing conversation.

10) Learn Portuguese. You never know when you’ll go to Brazil.

11) Get paid by the hour while you keep a billionaire’s place in line. The billionaire can use this time to rocket into space. It’s a win-win situation.

As you can see, there are many exhilarating things you can do while in line in the DMV. I hope to see you there. Son of a bee, we’ll have great glee at the ‘MV

 

– 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.

 

 

Categories: things to see and do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

John Wallis and Infinity

Sure, Greek philosophers, and other smarty pants after them, talked up a storm now and then about the concept of infinity. But none of it wrote down a symbol for it. So they all got forgotten, except for Socrates. And as we all know, Socrates was forced to take hemlock for not coming up with a symbol for infinity. The ancient Athenians took their proto-calculus discussions seriously.

One day, British mathematician and doughnut lover, John Wallis, was sitting at his table looking at two alluring pink doughnuts. His next door neighbor, Carl La Fong sat across from John gazing longingly at the pink delights. The great British painter, John Hoskins, happened to be there. This is his painting, “Two Pink Doughnuts.” It hangs in the Tate Museum in London, England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“May I have one of your pink doughnuts?” asked La Fong.

“No, you may not,” said Wallis, “I love pink doughnuts beyond all measure.”

“Would you, could you, give me one pink doughnut if you had three?” asked La Fong.

“No, I would not. I would eat all three. I would eat them just with me.”

“Would you, could you, give me one pink doughnut if you had four?”

Wallis shook is head. “No, I would not. I would eat all four. I would eat them by the door.”

“Would you, could you, give me one pink doughnut, if you had an infinite number of pink doughnuts?”

“No, I would not. I would eat an infinite number of doughnuts.” Wallis scratched his head. “Say, what would the symbol for infinity look like?”

“Like this, you greedy man.” La Fong squished the two doughnuts.

And, lo and behold, John Hoskins painted the squished doughnuts. The wildly popular painting is on display at the British Science Museum in London. It’s called, “Infinity.” Here it is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so due to Wallis, La Fong, and Hoskins, we now have the symbol for infinity. Sir Isaac Newton used it to develop calculus. 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.

Categories: history, proof you cannot deny | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mistakes That Hollywood Does Over and Over

Freeze Frame Photo Of Bad Man’s shot

Watching movies and television shows can be a pleasant way to pass the time. They can even be great fun. However, the logic and laws of physics are so often thrown out the window, leaving me the think, “Why even an amoeba could more realistic and better entertainment.” Here then, as they occur to me, recurring mistakes in movies and shoes,

  1. The bad guy never, ever, ever can shoot the good guy, even if they stand only one foot apart.
  2.  The good guy never misses, even if he is 100 feet away.
  3.  The good guy never misses even when he isn’t looking at someone.
  4.  Bad guys will step into open to shoot. Then they get shot.
  5.  When the good guy shoots with two machine guns he doesn’t have to aim. He also is invulnerable. (I know, some of these pickies are similar.)
  6.  One good guy will die so that the upright people can be shown to have affection and compassion. The surviving good guys are then justified in slaughtering boat loads of badies.
  7.  The bad guy will always leave a captured good guy alone and give him enough time to escape.
  8.  The teenage girl will always explore all the rooms in the house even though her friends were already slaughtered there.
  9.  Archers will shoot flaming arrow after flaming arrow at the enemy. How hundreds of archers manage to light thousands of arrows from three fiery cauldrons is a mystery to me. I also wonder how none of the archers get burned drawing and loosing the arrows.
  10.  The actors in action movies deliver there cliche-ridden lines with such intensity as to bring on hernias.
  11.  Police have the funds and time to pursue any murder, any major crime.
  12.  Detectives always throw away the rule book.
  13.  Sword fights look so staged. Yep, we’ll clash their swords up here. Then we meet by our feet.
  14.  Why would swordsmen strike for the ankles?
  15.  No matter how disciplined the ancient armies were, they always break formation to go into individual duels. Even if we know from tons of contemporaneous records that the Romans and the Greek hoplites trained for months to manuever as one.
  16. The driver can turn his head to talk to the passenger for up to a minute and never hit an oncoming car.
  17.  The murderer never, ever, ever, ever, ever goes very far from the scene of the crime.
  18.  The crime scene never get contaminated.
  19.  Suspects always sass the questioning detective.
  20.  Wives die off first, especially in Disney(tm) movies. The real world has the husband dying first.

Enough ranting for now. Carry on.

 

– 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.

Categories: observations, proof you cannot deny | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Koftay – Pakistani Meatballs

Pakistani Entree

KOFTAY
(Meatballs)

INGREDIENTS – MEATBALLS

½ inch ginger root (½ inch more later)
1 onion (1 onion more later)
1 egg
1¼ pounds ground beef (80% is best)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
¼ cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

1 garlic clove
½ inch ginger root
1 onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon coriander
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 cups water
½ cup fresh (3 tablespoons if dry) tarragon, cilantro, or parsley

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor or blender

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – MEATBALLS

Add ½” ginger root and 1 medium onion to food processor or blender. Blend until you get paste. Beat egg in small bowl. Add ginger root/onion paste, egg, and all other meatball ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients with hands until well blended. Form mix into 1″ meatballs.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

Mince garlic clove, ½” ginger root, and 1 onion. Add garlic, ginger, onion, and oil to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, turmeric, water, and yogurt. Reduce heat to low. Blend with fork.

Add meatballs. Simmer at warm-low heat for 30 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. While meatballs simmer in sauce, mince tarragon. Garnish meatballs and sauce with tarragon.

TIDBITS

1) Koftay is an Ancient Urartian word meaning meatball.

2 Urartu was an ancient kingdom with lands in what is now eastern Turkey.

3) Urarti civilization thrived under King Sarduri I (832 BC – 820).

4) He formed the fierce Urartian Guard. These proud horsemen swept everything before them.

5) Indeed, the floors of Sarduri’s palace were as clean as anything. Hence, the well-know saying, “As tidy as Sarduri.”

6) Yeah, you could have a safe operation on his tiled floors.

7) And people did. Especially since the Urartian Guard’s practice of riding into battle with brooms meant they incurred quite a few casualties.

8) But it was okay, they were sewn up and were as good as new.

9) Ordinary Urartians noticed the medical success of Sarduri’s palace. They clamored for equal treatment. In 827 the king granted universal health care to his grateful subjects. He could afford this as his other band of horsemen, Urartian Band, armed with lances, sacked one city after another. The gold coins they looted all flowed into the king’s coffers while the meatballs they carried off went to the people

10) Sarduri assessed his people a 10% copay for health care. The coinage starved inhabitants paid in koftay. Our modern word “copay” derives from this concept.

11) However, the Urartian empire declined soon after the king’s death, and eventually disappeared. So did the concept of koftay health care.

12) Universal health care system resurfaced briefly in the late Roman Republic when the reforming Gracchi brothers proposed reinstating koftay. However, the patrician nobility refused. Indeed, they killed the reformers. The Republic soon fell, then did the Empire, followed by barbarian invasions. The Dark Ages of Europe would stretch on for a millennium.

13) However, universal health care would come back to Europe in the late twentieth century. Not so much in America.

14) That’s because Italy loves meatballs so much more than the United States. However, we do have the concept of copay for our private health-care system. We owe this idea to the innovative Urartians and their scrumptious meatballs.

15) Now you know.

– 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: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Elephants Graveyard – Part 1

“The Elephants’ Graveyard is right there in Biloxi.”

The cabby’s assertion startled me.

“Biloxi, Mississippi? Are you sure about that? It seems hard to believe.”

“It’s true all right. You have my word as a cabby.”

“Come now, I don’t see any elephants here.”

“We’re not in Biloxi, friend. We haven’t left the airport. We gotta go east to Biloxi to see any elephants. The FAA don’t let no elephants into Gulfport. Dangerous to landing planes, you know.”

The meter ran as he talked and I was anxious to make my meeting, but I couldn’t resist saying,

“But the government is shut down again. Who will keep the elephants out of Gulfport now?”

“Damn!” The cabby slammed on the brakes to stop the cab, which wasn’t hard to do as we weren’t moving. He jumped out of the car. “Ow!” Chastened and little more cautious he opened the door and then got out. He retrieved a massive weapon out of the trunk and made his way back to the cab.

“Here, take this,” he growled as he hurled the gun at me. Minutes later when the ringing in my ears subsided I replied,

“How is it that I never read about it, anywhere?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I guess the local reporters just got used to ’em, and just never wrote ’em up.”

“But surely, the migration of elephants to Mississippi would have made front-page news?”

“You’re wrong, friend. The elephants came here in 1862, right in the middle of the war. Folks round were just too preoccupied with the fighting to notice them right off. But soon enough, General Lee enrolled them into his army. The ‘phants, as some call them, were in Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. We would have won the battle, but them Yankees let loose thousands of mice. Those mice scared the ‘phants, who turned around and stampeded the Rebel men. That’s how we lost the war.”

“Fascinating, but why did they choose here of all places?”

“For the peanuts.”

“But they don’t grow peanuts in Mississippi, they grow peanuts in Georgia as you well know.”

“Well, those ‘phants didn’t know nothing about that, did they? You’re not as smart as you looked, Mister. I’m fixing to take you there, right now.”

“But, I simply must be at a meeting in Long Beach, to the West!”

He ignored my feeble protests, gunned the engine, and soon we hurtled eastward at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Soon the fair gulf regaled us with its shimmering beauty.

Thalassa! Thalassa!”, I shouted to the cabby, “That’s Greek for the ‘The Sea.’ The Sea.”

“Yea, whatever. Look, there’s Peanuts Pavilion. Right next to that is the Planter’s dock and peanut refinery.”

“Ooh, that looks quite interesting. May we stop and investigate?”

“No.” He stomped on the gas pedal as way of protest and soon we were pushing the edge of the envelope at 25. “We’re looking for ‘phants. You gotta problem with that?”

“No,” I meekly replied. Since I was at the cabby’s mercy, I resolved to endure the best I could and would resolutely scan the horizon for the noble beasts whenever I wasn’t following the soaring meter.

Soon we crossed the border into Biloxi and immediately the clouds parted to reveal glorious, golden shafts of sunlight. I could almost swear I could hear angels singing melodious hymns of joy. The cabby belched.

Soon, the traffic in our lane slowed and eventually stopped at Eisenhower Drive, while in the lane to the bookstore, traffic ground to a halt. All the while, the meter merrily climbed. We noticed state troopers inspecting the cars, talking to all, waving some on, and pulling over others. Soon, one made his way to the cabby’s Honda Accord.

“Transporting any illegal elephants with you?”

“No,” the cabby explained at length as he handed over his license.

The trooper examined the license and then carefully pointed his flashlight inside the cab. Eventually, he seemed satisfied by our serene demeanor and waved us on. Whoosh, aided by a tail wind, we again darted eastward, leaving even the most vigorous pedestrians far behind. I turned to watch the Miss-Elephant-Rider-of-the-Mississippi-Gulf-Coast contest taking place on the beach; so did the cabby.

Crash! After shaking off the shattered glass, I looked up to behold a most angry pachyderm. Instinctively, I knew the elephant’s name to be Felix.

“What ho, Felix! How’s it hanging?” I bantered cheerfully to the gray skinned beast breathing in my face. Evidently, this was not proper elephantine etiquette as Felix trumpeted loudly as he crushed the front of the cab with one mighty stamp.

“Damn,” gushed the rattled cabby and then moments later, “I’m ruined.”

“My goodness, it’s not as bad as all that,” I opined. “Aren’t you covered by AAA insurance? I have it and it explicitly states that they will replace any one car crushed by a rampaging elephant.”

“Yep, but that won’t do me no good. That ‘phant will just hunt me down and crush every car I drive.”

“Surely, you are blowing a little tiff by that elephant all out of proportion.”

“No, I’m not. An elephant never forgets.”

The cabby remained inconsolable, and so, I waited quietly for AAA to bring the new cab. I then spied the smashed meter, and so, waited contentedly for the new car.

– 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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Chicken Kebabs from Lebanon

Lebanese Entree

CHICKEN KEBABS

INGREDIENTS

3 boneless chicken breasts
7 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper
1 small onion
¼ cup lemon juice
6 tablespoon Greek or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
2 tablespoons red vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon tomato paste
6 pita loaves

SPECIAL UTENSILS

outdoor grill
6 skewers (If wooden, soak in water for 20 minutes.)

Serves 6. Takes 3 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Crush garlic cloves. Seed and chop green bell pepper into 1″ squares. Chop onion into 1″ squares. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until chicken cubes are well coated. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Thread chicken cubes, bell pepper squares, and onion squares onto skewers. Turn heat on grill to medium. Add skewers to grill. Heat all sides for 3 minutes each. Place skewers in large pot and cover. Let rest for 10 minutes. (This step helps keep the chicken cubes moist.) Serve on skewers or if using pita loaves, remove all ingredients from skewers and place on pita loaves.

TIDBITS

1) Kebabs have been around since Ancient Greece. See Herodotus’s History of Greek Kebabs. You might think it should have been called History of Ancient Greek Kebabs. However, he lived in ancient times only to us. He thought he was being quite modern. Anyway, Herodotus noticed the shape of the pita bread would make a nifty shield and the skewer would make a spiffo spear. Ancient Greek warriors, hoplites, adopted both ideas and would become their era’s fiercest warriors. Now you know.

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

Beef Rendang

Indonesian Entree

BEEF RENDANG

INGREDIENTS

4 red chiles
1 inch galangal or ginger root
5 garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon peppercorns
6 shallots
1 inch turmeric root
1 stalk lemongrass
2 pounds beef tenderloin or top round
2 tablespoons oil
1 inch cinnamon stick
½ tablespoon salt
3 kaffir lime leaves or ½ teaspoon lime zest
1 salam leaf or bay leaf
3 13-ounce cans coconut milk

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Seed red chiles. Add red chile, galangal, garlic cloves, peppercorns, shallots, and turmeric to spice grinder. Grind until these spices become paste. Remove and discard upper ⅔rd of lemongrass stalk. Remove and discard the three outer layers. Dice remaining lemongrass. Cut beef into 1″ cubes.

Add spice paste and oil to work or large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until paste becomes fragrant. Stir constantly. Add all remaining ingredients to wok. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour. Stir enough to prevent burning. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the milky part of the liquid is gone, leaving a little bit of coconut oil. (Most of the liquid should be evaporated.) Stir enough to prevent burning. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes or until beef and sauce turn brown. Remove cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and kaffir lime leaves. Goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) The dish into the above picture is served on, well, a dish. The dish is round.

2) Why is it not square?

3 )Because you cannot roll something is square

4) Why does it matter if you can roll a dish? After all, if you rolled the above dish before you ate, you lost the food.

5) Clearly, the round shape was designed for something else in mind.

6) What was that?

7) One theory, advanced by culinary, archeologists, is that primitive caveman invented the stone FrisbeeTM.

8) They didn’t call it the Frisbee, of course. It’s named after the Frisbee Pie Company which sold its wares in round pie dishes.

9) Culinary historians believe most prehistoric companies were called Ogg, Inc. because nearly all cavemen were named Ogg. Cavewomen were called Ogg.

10) Therefore, these ancient humans probably named their invention the OggTM.

11) Isn’t surprising early humankind possessed the knowledge to incorporate and trademark things?

12) Alas though, the Ogg proved a dismal failure. If you didn’t catch it, it hit you in the head and that was that.

13) Indeed, culinary historians believe widespread Ogg playing extinguished the Neanderthals.

14) After a much briefer fling with the sport, the Cro Magnons abandoned Ogg tossing.

15) Tossing the Ogg around was supposed to be a fun leisure time activity. But making the circular Ogg took up all their free time. So, what was the point of making Oggs?

16) None, the Cro Magnons concluded. So, they went on to make spears, axes, animal skins, and the like. Humanity went on not quite a talc age, which is a bit below a golden age.

17) Throwing round things became a popular sport in Ancient Greek Olympics. Physically fit from throwing the much lighter and metallic Ogg–by then called the discus–Greeks explored the entire known world.

18) The Romans, inheritors of Greek civilization, conquered the entire Mediterranean and much of northwestern Europe. The Roman built roads to facilitate rapid deployment of legions from crisis point to another. And we all know, the Roman legionnaire loved to throw the discus.

19) The Roman army passed on discuss throwing to the natives wherever they went. The natives became buff as well. So, the Roman conquest proved to be quite the good thing for the locals once everybody got past the initial wholesale slaughter-and-enslavement phase. And ever since then we have lived in a round-thingy-throwing golden age.

20) But it’s sobering to think how the Cro Magnons, the last remaining branch of humankind, came to throwing themselves into extinction.

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

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.

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

Beef, Herb, and Yogurt Soup (Aashe Mast)

Iranian Soup

BEEF, HERB, AND YOGURT SOUP
(Aashe Mast)

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ pound ground beef
⅓ cup long grain rice
4½ cups water
3 cups Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh chives*
¼ cup fresh cilantro*
¼ cup fresh parsley*
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (aka garbanzos beans)
¼ cup fresh mint*

* = Substitute 4 teaspoons dried herbs for 4 tablespoons fresh herbs.

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves and onion. Add onion, garlic, pepper, salt, turmeric, and ground beef to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Use hands to make ½” -to-1″ meatballs. Add rice, water, yogurt, chives, cilantro, and parsley to large pot. Simmer on low heat for 30 or until rice softens. Stir frequently. Add meatballs and chickpeas. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and gently. Garnish with mint.

TIDBITS

1) Earth, Wind, and Fire, a superb American band (1969 to present.) has excelled in many genres including : R&B, soul, funk, disco, Latin, and African. It’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has played for President Obama.

2) Alas, not all bands succeed . The Iranian group Beef, Herb, and Yogurt (1977-1979) rocked the musical genres of cuisine and bubble-gum love. Their song, “I give you my saffron and my heart” was the number-two Iranian song of 1978 . The shah of Iran even invited them to play for him in early 1979. The Iranian Revolution broke out a scant two weeks later. The Shah was deposed. The police hunted all supporters of the previous regime. Beef, Herb, and Yogurt, tied to the Shah by their command performance, fled to the U.S.. Stigmatized unfairly by Americans who blamed them for the storming of the American embassy, they never played again. The band members eventually opened up an Iranian restaurant in Dubuque, Iowa, where they have been trying to blend in.

– 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: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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