Posts Tagged With: hunks

Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla)

Thai Entree

THAI FISH CAKES
(Tod Mun Pla)

INGREDIENTS

10 Chinese long beans or 10 green beans
6 kaffir lime leaves (Fresh is best, then frozen, then dried)
¾ pound boneless fish fillets*
1 egg
2½ tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup vegetable oil

* = First choice is clown knifefish which is popular in Thailand. Should you not live there, your favorite fish will do nicely.

Makes 20 2″-fish cakes. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Thinly slice Chinese long beans. Finely slice kaffir lime leaves. Add fish to blender. Blend at medium setting until fish becomes a paste. Add fish paste, egg, red curry paste, and sugar to mixing bowl. Mix by hand until thoroughly blended. Add Chinese long beans and kaffir lime leaves. Mix again by hand until fish mix is completely blended.

Form fish into 1″ balls. Flatten them until they become 2″ pancakes. Add oil to pan. Heat oil with medium heat until a tiny bit of paste will dance in the oil. Carefully add pancakes, perhaps with spatula, to hot oil. Sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes or until the bottoms of the fish pancakes turn golden brown. Flip pancakes over and sauté for another 2 minutes or until the pancakes are golden brown all over. You might need to cook in batches. Goes well with cucumber relish or sweet Thai chili sauce and sliced cucumbers.

TIDBITS

1) Thai fish cakes look a lot like bean bags. This is no accident. The shape of the modern beanbag is based on Thai fish cakes.

2) During the Vietnam War, Todd Pla, a pilot, was based in Thailand. Between bombing raids, he’d relax by watching locals play Toss Fish Cakes Into Holes In The Ground. Unfortunately, tossing perfectly good food away like that meant the Thais wouldn’t eat. The Thais grew ever thinner. What to do? A light bulb went on in Todd “The Man” Pla’s head. Why not put dry beans in a cloth sack and sow it up? The beanbag could be reused game after game. The beans in the bags would never go bad and the fish that would have gone in it could now be eaten. The grateful Thais renamed their fish cakes, Tod Mun Pla, which is close to Todd “The Man” Pla. Todd feels quite honored.

Chef Paul

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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Squid Ink Spaghetti

Italian Entree

SQUID INK SPAGHETTI

INGREDIENTS

10 ounces squid-ink spaghetti*
4 garlic cloves
3 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup olive oil
6 ounces nduja**
½ cup white wine
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

* = Sorry, you really need to get squid-ink pasta. You can make your own pasta, but then you’ll need to find squid ink. Squid-ink spaghetti may be found online or in specialty stores.

** = This is a spreadable Italian salami. It may be ordered online or found in specialty stores. In a pinch, puree pepperoni.

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook squid-ink spaghetti according to directions on package. While spaghetti cooks, mince garlic. Dice tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Add garlic and olive oil to pan. Sauté garlic at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic softens. Stir frequently.

Add tomato and nduja. Reduce heat to medium. Stir until nduja breaks into little bits and you get a meaty sauce. Add white wine and shrimp. Sauté at medium heat for 4 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Garnish with basil and parsley.

TIDBITS

1) Squid ink is hard to locate. However, Milk is easy to find. I remember when milkmen used to deliver milk to our door. It was a golden age for milk drinkers.

2) When I was twelve, I lived in Holland. The milkman there delivered milk, butter, eggs, soup, and beer. It was a global, golden age.

3) Why can’t we have another golden age? Why can’t we have milk, eggs, and beer delivered to our door? Do we want to wake up without milk? Do we want the inebriated driving to the store to get their beer? And may we, pretty please, have the milkmen deliver squid-ink pasta so that all cooks around the world can make this entree at any time? That would truly be the greatest golden age ever.

Chef Paul

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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Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

American Appetizer

BACON WRAPPED SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS

24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 slices bacon
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

24 toothpicks
baking rack
cookie sheet.

Serves 6. Takes 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Set oven to broil and preheat to 400 degrees. Soak toothpicks in water. Slice each bacon strip into two halves crosswise.. Add shrimp, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce to mixing bowl. Toss shrimp until they are well coated. Wrap each shrimp with bacon. Secure with soaked toothpick. Repeat for each shrimp.

Spray baking rack with no-stick spray. Place shrimp on baking rack. Place baking rack 3″ from heat. Place cookie sheet under rack to catch drippings from bacon. Broil at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until bacon becomes crispy. Watch carefully, bacon can go burned quickly.

TIDBITS

1) Sir Francis Bacon was a mainstay in the Elizabethan era because he was brilliant as all get out, being an author, statesman (Lord High Chancellor England), scientist, blah, blah, blah. . . and a budding culinary saint! Francis was researching the effect of freezing on meat when he contracted pneumonia and died. This selfless act, was no doubt, the inspiration for the safe modern freezer/refrigerator. It is tantalizing to further speculate that Sir Bacon invented the cut of pig known as bacon. Many culinary historians assert this hypothesis most vigorously, particularly so after they’ve been drinking heavily.

2) At any rate, bacon was a staple of the American culinary scene by the early 18th century. America’s settlers wouldn’t have even considered crossing the land’s great expanses without an adequate supply of bacon. Tasty bacon would go onto grow and stabilize the great American Republic.

3) Unfortunately, by 2017, demand for bacon began to outstrip its supply. The Republic is in danger. Civil unrest will surely follow. Indeed, political discourse is already getting ever more heated and frenzied.

Chef Paul

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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Lemongrass and Five Spice Tofu

Vietnamese Appetizer

LEMONGRASS AND FIVE SPICE TOFU

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks lemongrass
3 garlic cloves
1¼ pounds firm tofu
1 cup vegetable oil (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
¼ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
½ tablespoon soy sauce

PREPARATION

Discard all but the tender, inner and lower, green part of the lemongrass stalks. Mince garlic cloves and remaining lemongrass. Slice tofu into 8 long rectangles. Pat dry with paper towel. Add 1 cup vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at high heat until a tiny bit of tofu in the oil will start to dance. Carefully add tofu rectangles to pan. Fry tofu rectangles for 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Turn over once. Fry for 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the new bottom. (Monitor the tofu carefully as the time between golden brown and crispy can be short.) Remove tofu and drain on paper towels.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to 2nd pan. Add garlic, lemongrass, and red chile flakes. Sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes or until lemongrass is tender and fragrant. Stir frequently. Add Chinese five spice, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix until well blended. Add tofu rectangles. Sauté at low-medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn over once. Place 2 tofu rectangles on each plate. Carefully spoon sautéed lemongrass/garlic from pan over tofu rectangles.

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

TIDBITS

1) It’s startling to hear this now, but for centuries, perhaps even millennia, lemons grew on grass rather than on trees. The reason for this change and other  ensuing culinary changes was war.

2) The British navy had been losing thousands and thousands of sailors to scurvy. In 1753, the British conducted controlled experiments to find a cure for this dread scourge. They strongly concluded that lemon juice would keep scurvy at bay. A scant forty-two years later, the British Admiralty began issuing daily rations of lemon juice. Scurvy disappeared! The navy could indefinitely blockade Napoleon’s ships and keep him from invading England. It was all so neat. Unfortunately, the Admiralty’s lemon mowers cut so much lemon grass that ground lemons were on the brink of extinction. Botanists stepped in and grafted lemons onto trees. This process worked well that the lemons developed seeds that would sprout into full-blown lemon bearing trees. History is such fun.

Chef Paul

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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Natilla

Colombian Dessert

NATILLA

INGREDIENTS

1 cup whole milk* (4 more cups later)
1¼ cups cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 panella (Mexican brown sugar) or 2 cups brown sugar
½ cup condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter, softened
½ cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* = Whole milk really is needed. Without it, the cornstarch can’t make this dessert set.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

8″ * 8″ baking dish

Serves 9. Takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add 1 cup whole milk and cornstarch to mixing bowl. Blend with whisk until cornstarch dissolves completely. Set aside. Add 4 cups whole milk, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and panella to pot. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until panella melts. Stir often. When mixture starts to boil, add condensed milk. Stir enough to keep mixture from burning.. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Add cornstarch/milk mixture to pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-to-25 minutes or until liquid is very thick, is hard to stir, and you can see the bottom of the pot when you stir. Stir this natilla mixture constantly. Gently fold in butter and coconut. Pour natilla mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

TIDBITS

1) Attila the Hun was originally named Wholemilk the Hun because he loved whole milk. He’d never drank sissy skim milk. In 434, a Byzantine diplomat, seeking to widen Wholemilk’s taste range, gave WTH–Wholemilk the Hun, not What The Heck–100 jars of skim milk. This enraged WTH so much that he invaded the Byzantine Empire. He also invaded Persia, the Western Roman Empire, and various Germanic kingdoms floating around the west; moderation not being one of his strong points. In desperation, Pope Leo I, in 452, offered him the wonderful dish shown here if he’d just go home. WTH liked it so much that he overate and died. Pope Leo became Pope Leo the Great and Wholemilk became Attila, a near anagram of natilla, the saving dessert of Europe.

Chef Paul

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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Deep Fried Mars Bars

British Dessert

DEEP FRIED MARS-TM BARS

INGREDIENTS

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
¼ cup seltzer water
¼ teaspoon baking powder
5 chilled Mars bars (worldwide version) or Milky WayTM (American version)
4 cups vegetable oil or enough to cover Mars bar in deep fryer

SPECIAL UTENSILS

deep fryer Two aliens on a flying saucer
tongs

Serves 5. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flour, salt, water, seltzer water, and baking powder to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Pour batter into tall glass. Add oil to deep fryer. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Use tongs to dip Mars bar into tall glass. Remove and let excess batter drip off. Use tongs to place coated Mars bar in deep fryer. Fry for 2 minutes or until bars turn golden brown and become crisp. Remove from oil with tongs. Place deep-fried bar on paper towel and pat dry. Repeat for remaining bars.

TIDBITS

1) MarsTM was first produced by Forrest Mars in 1932. It’s sparked religious interest ever since.

2) Mars is the Roman god of war. Technically, the deity could have sued Mr. Mars for copyright infringement, but didn’t. Many culinary theologians have argued that a living god of war would certainly challenged Forrest Mar’s logo appropriation. Therefore, Mars doesn’t exist. Once we accept Mars non-existence, belief in all the other Roman dissolves. And indeed, the number of people worshiping Roman gods after 1932 has been pretty darn close to zero.

3) The American Mars bar ceased production in 2002, came back, stopped production in 2011, and finally came back online 2017. Its composition and size has varied over the decades. Culinary theologians hypothesize that these observable events led to widespread believe in reincarnation.

4) Currently, the Muslim community of Australia is debating halal certification for Mars bars.

Chef Paul

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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Costa Rican Pork Casado

Costa Rican Entree

PORK CASADO

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

2 dried chiles, guajillo, ancho, or other
1⅓ cup vegetable or pork stock
5″ carrot
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons molasses
½ small onion (additional 2 onions later)
2½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

INGREDIENTS – SALAD

¼ head cabbage
1 small carrot
1 small tomato
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – RICE

1 cup basmati or white rice
1 onion (1 additional onion later)
2 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (5 additional tablespoons later)

INGREDIENTS – PLANTAINS

2 plantains
5 tablespoons vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS – PORK

1 onion
4 pork loins

1 15-ounce can black beans

SPECIAL UTENSIL

outdoor grill

Serves 4. Takes 1 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Seed chiles. Add chiles and vegetable stock to pan. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or until chiles soften. Add chiles, vegetable stock and the remaining marinade ingredients. Puree in blender until smooth. Coat pork loins with marinade. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Keep marinade.

PREPARATION – SALAD

Shred cabbage. Dice carrot and tomato. Add cabbage, carrot, tomato, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Mix with fork.

PREPARATION – RICE

Add rice to pot. Cook rice according to instructions on package. While rice cooks, mince 1 onion and red bell peppers. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Keep rice and onion/bell pepper mix warm.

PREPARATION – PLANTAINS

Peel plantains. Slice plantains in half lengthwise. Add 5 tablespoons vegetable oil and plantain to pan. Sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes or until plantains become tender and turn golden brown. Drain and keep warm.

PREPARATION – PORK

Cut onion into four slices. Grill onion and pork loins on barbecue grill at high or 450 degrees. Grill onions for 10 minutes or until they start to char. Turn them over once. Grill pork for 20 minutes or until it is cooked through (white inside) or starts to brown. Turn over every 5 minutes. Brush with marinade each time.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Put beans in pot. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Add pork to plate with grilled onion slice on top. Add rice to side and top with onion/red pepper mix. Add 2 plantains to the side. (Lots of sides, aren’t there?) Add cabbage to a remaining spot on plate and top with carrot and tomato.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe has orange zest. As far as I know there are no movie titles with the word zest in them. But there is a classic movie called “Lust for Life.” It’s about Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was an artist. So am I. I had a vase displayed in the Gemente Museum in the The Hague, Netherlands. I am now a chef. The upcoming movie about my life is likely to be called, “Lust for Zest.” See, I finished this tidbit with a line to spare.

 

Chef Paul

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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Tarragon Chicken – Poulet à Estragon

French Entree

TARRAGON CHICKEN
(Poulet à Estragon)

INGREDIENTS

3 chicken breasts
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 shallot
3 green onions
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
⅔ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves (1 tablespoon if dried)

Serves 3. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Rub chicken breasts with pepper and salt. Dice shallots. Thinly slice green onions. Add butter, olive oil, and shallot to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until shallot softens. Stir frequently. Add chicken breasts and green onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes for each side or until chicken starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add white wine and crème fraîche. Stir until sauce is well blended. Bring sauce to boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce has been reduced by half. Stir occasionally. Spoon lemon juice over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with tarragon.

TIDBITS

1) In 1922, the Agricultural Department, finding itself with an extra twenty-billion dollars decided to help the American farmer. Specifically, the American tarragon farmer. Why the tarragon growers? It had a really, really, really good lobby back then.

2) That amount of money bought quite a lot of tarragon seeds back then, enough to plant the entire Great Plains. Farmers gave up costly corn and wheat seeds in favor of free tarragon. USA became a global tarragon powerhouse. Tarragon farmers in other lands, however, faced bankruptcy. Foreign nations protected their farmers with prohibitively high tariffs on American tarragon. The United States retaliated with fees on European cheeses, even the non-stinky ones. European countered with tariffs on American wheat. Things got out of hand, with agricultural departments saying, “Na, nana, poo, poo” to each other and finding new ways to destroy each others commerce. Soon the global economy collapsed and we had the Great Depression of 1929-1939. Tens of millions of people were thrown out of work, including America’s tarragon farmers. This was bad; no tarragon on chicken for ten long years. But America survived. Its people are resilient.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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

Italian Panini

Italian Entree

ITALIAN PANINI

INGREDIENTS

1 ciabatta roll, Italian roll, or French roll
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 deli-thin slice Provolone cheese (2 more slices later)
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper strips
4 deli-thin slices capocollo
4 del-thin slices Genoa salami
3 deli-thin slices ham
3 deli-thin slices pepperoni
2 ounces pepperoncini peppers
⅛ teaspoon basil
2 deli-thin slices Provolone cheese

SPECIAL UTENSIL

panini press

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Open ciabatta roll. Brush outside of roll with olive oil. Brush inside of roll with mayonnaise. Add 2 slices Provolone to bottom half of roll. Then add in the following order: roasted red pepper strips, capocollo, salami, ham, pepperoni, basil, pepperoncini rings, basil. 2 slices Provolone. and top half of roll. Place completed sandwich in panini press. Toast according to panini press’ instructions or until cheese melts or until bread turns golden brown.. Cut panini sandwich into four smaller ones.

TIDBITS

1) Italian panini is best made with a ciabatta roll. The cia batta roll was originally called the CIA batta roll. Because it was invented by the CIA. Specifically, by Guido Panini, the inventor of the Italian shirt press.

2) Guido was recruited by accident, in 1949, by the CIA. Nevertheless, he continually rose in position because all other employees had made enemies, while everyone loved him for his panini sandwiches. Indeed, in 1961 became director.

3) Later that year, Mr. Panini, suffering from an upset stomach, tried to overthrow Cuba’s Fidel Castro by invading the Bay of Pigs. The whole operation was a fiasco. Guido was given his pink slip, while the CIA was discredited to the extent that the CIA batta roll was quietly renamed, the ciabatta. Chastened, the Agency picks it head nowadays by proficiency in intelligence gathering.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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

Machanka

Belarusian Entree

MACHANKA

INGREDIENTS

1 pound pork shoulder or loin
1 pound Polish or pork sausages
1 medium onion
2½ tablespoons lard or butter
1¼ cups pork stock or beef stock
5 tablespoons flour
2 bay leaves
1 cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into 1″ cubes. Cut Polish sausages into 1″ slices. Dice onion. Add pork cubes and lard to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until pork cubes start to brown. Stir occasionally. Remove pork cubes and drain on paper towel. Keep lard in pan.

Add pork stock and flour to small mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add onion and Polish sausage to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add pork stock/flour mix, pork shoulder cubes, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer at warm-low heat for 1 hour or until pork cubes are tender. Stir enough to keep sauce from burning. Add sour cream, pepper, and salt. Cover and simmer at warm-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir enough to keep sauce from burning. Remove bay leaves.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is made with pork shoulder. It is called Machanka. The speed of sound, 767 miles per hour was, at first, also called Machanka. How was this speed measured? By having someone yell “Machanka” and then measuring the speed of an air molecule issuing from the yeller’s mouth. This technique did not work well. Air molecules are transparent, making them impossible to track.

2) Thank goodness for the scientists at the Pork Shoulder Catapulting Institute (PSCI) in Minsk. The PSCI dates back to the liberation of Belarus from the Mongols in 1373 when Sergey Daškievic, realized that frozen pork shoulders catapulted at Mongol armies completely disrupted their cavalry.

3) In 1962 the United States Air Force needed to know Machanka so it could build wings strong enough to withstand that speed. Naturally, it turned to the PSCI. The Institute’s scientist yelled “Machanka” at a starving artist at the same time a pork shoulder was catapulted. After many trials, the word “Machanka” arrived at the same time as the pork shoulder. The speed of sound was then calculated as (pork shoulder distance/ air time.) Over time Machanka was shortened to Mach 1.

Leave a message. I’d like to hear from you.

Chef Paul

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

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