Posts Tagged With: impressionist

Carrot Cake

American Dessert

CARROT CAKE

INGREDIENTS – MAINcarrotcake

4 eggs
1⅓ cups sugar
⅔ cup light brown sugar
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups cake flour or flour
½ tablespoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or combination
no-stick spray

INGREDIENTS – ICING

6 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
9″ x 13″ casserole dish
3 mixing bowls (Or are you an outstanding chef like my Grandma Anna wished us all to be and who cleanse bowls and utensils as you cook?)
sonic obliterator

Makes about 30 2″-squares. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – MAIN

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add eggs to first large mixing bowl. Use medium setting on electric beater until frothy. (The eggs, not you.) Gradually add sugar and light brown sugar. Blend using electric mixer set on whip until well blended. Add carrots, vegetable oil, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Blend with mixer set on medium-high until well blended.

Add flour and baking soda to second large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Add flour/baking soda from second mixing bowl to first mixing bowl. Blend using electric beater’s medium-high setting. Add nuts and stir with spoon.

Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Pour eggs/sugar/spice/baking soda mixture into casserole dish. Smooth with spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-to-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Use spatula to smooth icing over carrot cake.

(Okay, little secret here. After 15 minutes, you can cool the cake down considerably faster by putting the casserole dish in cold water in the sink. Be sure the water is only halfway to the top of the casserole dish. If your casserole dish is too big for the sink, simply put it in the bathtub. Again, let the water go no higher than halfway up the side of the casserole dish. If someone happens to see your cake cooling in the bathtub and makes a snarky comment, zap him with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that negativity in your life.)

PREPARATION – ICING

While cake bakes, add butter, confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract to third mixing bowl (Note: this cookbook always employs the Oxford comma when providing a list of ingredients. Long live the Oxford comma! Vexation to its enemies!) Ahem, beat ingredients using electric beater set on cream until ingredients become a fluffy icing.

TIDBITS

1) The famous French painter, Paul Cézanne believed, “A single carrot newly observed will cause a revolution.”

2) Eleven years after Cézanne died, the Russian Revolution began. People in the streets of St. Petersburg, the Russian capital, had been starving. They couldn’t afford the price of a loaf of bread.

4) Desperate to maintain order, the czar and his ministers bought up food from all over the world. They purchased cabbages from Germany, eggs from Sweden, and carrots from the gardens of Cézanne’s children. The authorities even bought beans, cotija cheese, and tortillas from Mexico. Surely, the rioters would be placated by burritos. I mean, who doesn’t like a burrito?

5) Unfortunately, as in the case of many government programs, well intentioned though they might be, something went wrong. The newly formed Russian Ministry of Burrito Assembly put a raw carrot in every burrito.

6) The Russian rebel rabble not appreciate the taste of the raw carrot, bean, and cheese burrito. They did not like its texture either. They did not like it in the city square. They did not like in their hair. They did not like it in the air. They did not like it anywhere.

7) So the Russians did not eat these burritos. And they grew hungrier and hungrier.

8) Then an artist named Ivan Popoff came across one of the burritos lying–Oh gosh, I hope I conjugated this evil verb correctly–split open on the street. Something about the burrito’s carrot struck him. “Oh ho,” he said, “I am observing this carrot in an entirely new way.” Lenin, a passerby, heard this and immediately started the Russian Revolution.

9) Millions died during the Russian Revolution and the ensuing decades. We should all pay more attention to French post-Impressionist painters.

cookbookhunksChef 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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Oeufs en Meurette

French Entree

OEUFS EN MEURETTE

INGREDIENTSOeufsEnMeurette-

3 ounces thick, really fatty bacon*
12 pearl onions
1 small onion
½ celery stalk
2 shallots
1 garlic clove
5 cups water
¼ teaspoon pepper
12 ounces red Burgundy wine
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf**
5 springs parsley**
2 sprigs thyme**
2 tablespoons butter (2 additional tablespoons later)
3 tablespoons flour
4 eggs
4 slices white bread (¼” thick)
2 tablespoons butter

Makes 4 servings. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

* = How do you look for fatty bacon? It’s easy! Simply go to your supermarket and pick the package of bacon that has been tossed to the side, the one where the little flaps have been torn open. That’s the bacon for you. Or . . . buy any package of bacon and cut off all the fatty sections. Save the lean bits for future breakfasts. Your kids, family, and friends will love you for it.

** = This ingredients comprise bouquet garni or bouquet garnish. Now impress your friends with your culinary knowledge. Walk with pride.

PREPARATION

Cut bacon crosswise into ¼” wide strips. Cut off tops and bottoms of pearl onions. (Do not remove skins.) Dice onion. Thinly slice celery and shallots. Crush garlic. Add water to pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Add pearl onions to pot. Boil for 1 minute. Remove pearl onions and set aside. Save oniony water to poach eggs.

While water comes to boil, add fatty bacon strips to pan. Fry using medium heat for 3 minutes or until bacon starts to brown. Stir frequently. Remove bacon strips and place them on a plate covered by paper towels. Keep bacon grease in pan. Remove skins from pearl onions. Place pearl onions in pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until they soften and turn golden brown. Stir frequently. Remove pearl onions and set aside. Keep bacon grease in pan.

Add diced onion, sliced shallot, and pepper to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until onion and shallot soften. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic. Sauté for for 1 minute or until you can smell the garlic. Add wine, beef stock, celery, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half.

While sauce reduces, add 2 tablespoons butter and flour to bowl. Smash together with fork. This is called beurre manié. (Don’t confuse beurre manié with beurre manic. You don’t want to know what manic butter is. Even I don’t want to know.) Add this to pan. Mix with whisk. Simmer on low-medium heat for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Add beurre manié to pan. Simmer for 3-to-5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Strain sauce through colander into bowl.

While sauce still reduces, bring oniony water in pot to boil using high heat. (You did save the oniony water, didn’t you?) Crack eggs into a large ladle. Gently place eggs in water one at a time. Poach the eggs for 3-or-5 minutes, depending on your preference for soft or hard eggs. Remove pot from burner. Add fatty-bacon strips.

Now make the croûtes, a fancy French work for bread crusts. Use a round cookie cutter, about the size of a poached egg, cut the 4 bread slices into 4 circles. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan. Melt using medium heat. Add bread circles to pan. Sauté bread for 1-to-2 minutes on each side or until browned Add a croûte to each plate. Use slotted spoon to remove poached egg from pot. Place egg on top of croûte. Ladle ¼ of the sauce onto the egg. Garnish with ¼ of the pearl onions. Repeat for each croûte.

TIDBITS

1) A small kitchen is a kitchenette. A small pipe is a pipette. So, a small mural should be a muralette. But it isn’t. It’s a meurette. We can all blame the French impressionist Paul Gauguin for this.

2) Monsieur Paul was a painting maniac. He literally painted every moment he was awake. When he was full of vim and vigor and ate this recipe, then called oeufs en vin, he painted outside with his friend Vincent van Gogh. Paul and Vincent would talk about brush versus finger painting, the local babes, and fantasy baseball leagues. Yes, they were visionaries in matters outside of the arts as well.

3) However, on days when Paul had been consuming vat after vat of wine, it was hard for him to get out of bed, pick up his easel and paints downstairs, and head to the fields. Indeed, he even found it difficult to head down to the breakfast table. On these occasions, the owner of La Meur would bring a plate on runny, fried eggs to Paul’s bed. But even with a throbbing wine induced migraine, Paul had to paint. He’d just prop himself up on one elbow, dip his hand into the runny yolks, and fingerpaint on a mural on the wall. He did a great job! Wealthy art lovers came from all over France to admire his little murals.

4) Since Paul had no money to pay for his room and board, he sold the rights to his little murals to La Meur’s owner. This and the fact that Paul drank wine heavily and painted with runny eggs, made the renaming of oeufs en in to oeufs en meurette inevitable. And if you wish, you can go to the Gauguin room at the Louvre in Paris and see Monsieur Paul Gauguin’s walls covered with one finger-painted egg mural after another. Be sure to spend some looking at his most famous one, Le Chaton d’Or.

– Chef Paul

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My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperpack
or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

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

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Movie Commentary: The Ancient Greeks Did Not Fight in Speedos

300 makes my all-time fetid-movie list. While it is true that the Spartans heroically delayed the Persian invasion at Thermopylae, it is not true that:

1) All Persians were hideous, hairless, trolls. Most Persians probably looked like people. Well, maybe not the people of Walmart.TM

2) Xerxes, the Persian king, was bearded and did not have earrings all over his face.

3) The Greeks did not fight in Speedos. They usually fought with body armor and leg armor. On occasion they fought naked, but it was to avoid infection from dirty garments, not to strut their stuff.

4) There was not a narrow mountain pass or gate at the battlefield. The mountains however were close to the sea.

5) If there were a narrow mountain pass with the width of three men, then why the heck didn’t they fight there instead of on the beach which had a width of perhaps thirty? Think about it. You’re late to a lecture on neo-post-impressionist geometry. Would you rather fight your way through a narrow hallway packed with students on their way to workshop on beer appreciation or across the sparsely occupied grassy quad? I rest my case.

6) A shepherd did betray the Spartans by telling the Persians of a mountain pass that circled behind the Spartan position. However, he was a local and is quite doubtful that he possessed a two-foot high hump.

7) In fact, it is highly unlikely that all baddies in the fifth-century BC looked like orcs from the Lord of the Rings.

8) The Persian Immortals were not short, probably not beardless, did not wear metallic masks, did not have metallic shields. In fact, they had wicker shields.

9) It is true that most of the Spartan soldiers stayed at home because of a religious holiday. There is no record of it resulting from domestic intrigue.

10) There is no record of the Spartan religious establishment as looking like evil cartoon characters.

11) The Greeks did not build their temples atop mountains with sheer cliffs. They could not have constructed such places of worship without an anti-grav machine, which they didn’t have.

12) And finally, just from looking out my window, I find it quite hard to believe that the Greek world of 480 BC was completely and relentlessly lived every moment in grimy-sepia tone. Perhaps they had a spot of green, red, or blue on some spot of the landscape every third day?

– Paul the peace maker

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Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, 

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

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