Posts Tagged With: Italy

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Are you an introvert who loves to dine out? Did you visit Florence, Italy only to be terrified by the mobs of tourists who completely fill entire streets? Do you love Chinese and Italian food, but simply cannot live without fresh reindeer stew? Is southern Alaska too urban for you? Well, I have the place where you can chill out where it’s chilly and feast where it freezes. It’s Kotzebue, Alaska!
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your cuisine cash will be intense. Let’s take in the local cuisine.
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The top rated dining establishment is the highly regarded Little Louie’s. They serve a scrumptious reindeer sausage. Yet Little Louie’s is also vegetarian friendly. They make their own sweets. Hooray!  It has great pizza. All its food is good. They pour great coffee. The service is good. What more do you want?

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Next on our restaurant tour is the Bayside Restaurant. Their Mongolian beef platter is great. (Probably because Kotzebue is about as far west you can get in the continental U.S. before hitting Mongolia. Indeed, the Bayside Restaurant is a beacon in the Western Alaskan culinary scene.) Vegetarians will find themselves welcome here. All diners will appreciate their friendly service.
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Winning the culinary bronze medal is  Nullagvik Restaurant. While known for good food, you really must try their reindeer stew. Does your hometown serve great reindeer stew? No, I didn’t think so. Don’t leave Kotzebue without dining on reindeer stew at the Nullagvik Restaurant.

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Next on our list is the Empress Chinese Restaurant. It has the best Chinese food in town. If you crave Chinese cuisine by the Bering Sea, then the Empress Chinese Restaurant is your dining destination.
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Honorable mention goes to the Uutuku restaurant. People have complained that it was only okay, but that it did serve good spicy chicken. For goodness sakes people, how can it be only okay if it plates good spicy chicken? If you’re still not impressed, let me tell you that there isn’t a restaurant within hundreds of miles that makes spicy chicken as good as they do here. And they’re open until midnight. So there.
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Flying to Kotzebue is by far the easiest way to get there. I suppose you could find a way to book passage on some ice breaker or fishing boat. After that, the ease of getting to Kotzebue by other means, such as by car or unicycle, drops off dramatically. Anyway, there are many interesting places to visit here.

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Be sure to visit The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center. It’s run by the National Park Service. It’s chock full of interesting displays and films that help you discover the rich cultures and natural wonders of the Northwest Arctic Circle. The staff is pleasant and helpful. What more do you want?

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By all means, by plane really, go to the Noatak National Preserve. See polar bears, seals, peregrine falcons, and wolves. Just don’t be gauche and complain to your tour leaders about the lack of cell-phone coverage. Don’t make me come up there.

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Immerse yourself in the Northwest Alaska Areas. The best way to get there is through Golden Eagle Outfitters. See grizzly bears and local birds. Go fishing for char, salmon, and Arctic grayling.
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Go to Serpentine Hot Springs where you can witness caribou migrations if you go during the right times of the year. If you appear during caribou-free months, forget your cares in the private bath house. Luxuriate in hot water from Serpentine’s hot spring.

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Other things to see are: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Sulianich Art Center (not to be confused with a sandwich center).

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119 people moved to Kotzebue from 2000 to 2010. No doubt, more moved there in the eleven years since then. So don’t wait. See Kotzebue before it turns into a bustling metropolis.
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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– 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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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.

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Pastrmajlija, Macedonian Pizza

Macedonian Entree

PASTRMAJLIJA
(Macedonian Pizza)

INGREDIENTS

1¼ pounds pork chops, center cut or lamb
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups flour (4 tablespoons more later)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon yeast
1½ tablespoons milk
½ cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour (1½ tablespoons for each pizza)
4 tablespoons lard or butter (2 tablespoons for each pizza)
no-stick spray.
2 eggs

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
baking sheet
x-ray vision

Makes 2 small pizzas. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cut pork into ½” cubes. Add pork cubes, cayenne pepper, and pepper to mixing bowl. Toss pork cubes until well coated. Put in refrigerator and let marinate for 1 hour or until is ready to have meat put on it.

While pork marinates, add salt, sugar, yeast, and milk to a large, 2nd mixing bowl. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups flour. Mix with fork until thoroughly blended. Gradually add water. Mix with fork each water gets added. Dough should be soft and pliable. Knead dough for 10 minutes or put in bread machine for 10 minutes on dough setting. (There’s a tiny ant crawling over my monitor as I am typing this. It can’t wait for the recipe.)

Add olive oil to 3rd mixing bowl. Spread oil over the bowl. Add kneaded dough to this mixing bowl. Turn dough until it is well coated with oil. Cover for 40 minutes or until dough doubles in size. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Divide risen dough ball into 2 balls. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1 dough ball to flat surface. Flatten dough ball with rolling pin, can, or hand until it is a ¼” thick oval about 9″ by 7″. Use spatula to smooth 2 tablespoon lard over dough oval. Add half of the pork cubes to the dough leaving a 1½” edge all around. Fold edges inward until they almost touch the pork. Repeat to make 2nd pizza.

Spray baking sheet with no-stick spray. Add pizzas to baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until dough is done to your liking and pork is no longer pink inside. (X-ray vision helps a lot with this. If you don’t have x-ray vision and let’s face it it’s not possible everything to make every recipe, you make remove a pork cube and cut it open.)

While pizzas bake, add eggs to small bowl. Beat eggs with whisk or fork. Take baking sheet out of oven. Brush edges of pizzas with egg. Ladle the remaining egg over the pizza’s pork centers. Bake for 5 minutes over egg is cooked to your liking.

TIDBITS

1) Pastrmajlija tastes fantastic hot of the oven. Like all pizzas it still tastes great the second day. Very good the third day. Good the fourth day. Okay the fifth day, and highly edible the sixth day. And on the seventh it gets so hard that you could use it in your garden as a stepping stone.

2) Many have done so. See, the June 1985, edition of Better Homes and GardensTM for the definitive article on this subject.

3) Dried out, hardened Macedonian pizzas buckle and crack under the weight of a semi truck. This is one reason America’s freeways use concrete instead. However, properly dried-out Macedonian pizzas (MPs) will sustain the weight of people, cattle, and wagons.

4) Indeed, the great Cumberland Pike Road, built 1811-1837, was to have been constructed with MPs. After all, the fabled Roman roads were built with MPs. Unfortunately in 1809, the Federal Government clashed with the project’s culinary engineer, Alexander Cleitus, over the materials for the pike. President Madison, had a delicate stomach and couldn’t handle cayenne pepper. So he hated MP and demanded dried-out Italian pizzas (IPs). Cleitus refused. Madison insisted. Cleitus said, “It’s my way or the highway.” “Na, na, na, poo, poo,” said President Madison, “it’s my funds. It’s my highway. You’re on your way.”

5) The project languished for two years while President Madison searched for other culinary engineers. He did manage to hire the famed Alfonso Linguini from Sorrento, Italy. However, Linguini used too much oregano for Madison’s liking. Not only that, his round pizzas wouldn’t fit together neatly like the rectangular Macedonian pizzas. Signore Linguini was so fired.

6) After that, no culinary engineer would touch the Cumberland Pike Project. It looked like the lands to the west would never be opened up to settlers and commerce. America seemed doomed to hug the Atlantic Coast forever.

7) Then Secretary of the Treasury, Benedict Cumberland, suggested hiring a civil engineer instead. “What a great idea!” said everybody. And so, John Loudon McAdam was hired to complete the turnpike. His macadam roads so revolutionized travel that no one considered using pizzas as materials ever again.

– 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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Affogato, Italian Ice Cream Coffee

Italian Dessert

AFFOGATO

INGREDIENTS

2 cups hot espresso or hot and very strong coffee*
2 scoops vanilla ice cream*

* = There’s only two ingredients here. Higher quality ingredients will show up more than in other recipes. Also, there’s a lot of leeway. The size of your glass or cup and ice-cream scoop can vary a lot. Frequent research will reveal your optimal amounts. Excelsior!

Serves 4. Takes 2 minutes (Plus any time to brew the espresso.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

4 narrow juice glasses or other glasses you might have. I mean how easy is it to find espresso glasses near you? And if no one’s looking, a Minnie MouseTM coffee mug will do just fine. Of course, a Minnie Mouse espresso glass would be better. The culinary world is fraught with perilous decisions.

PREPARATION

Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in each glass. Pour hot espresso over ice cream.

TIDBITS

1) “Affogato” is a condensed version of the phrase “(A fog, a to)mato.” Actually, it’s short for “(A f)rigging (fog, a to)mato”

2) Italy experienced tumultuous–There are four “u”s in that word. Remember that for ScrabbleTM- times in 1968. The oafish Soviet led Warsaw Pact invaded nearby Czechoslovakia. Communist provoked student riots erupted up and down the Italian peninsula. It seemed inevitable that Italy would go communist and fall under Russian domination.

3) Remember the fogs of 1968. Over and over, drivers racing high-performance cars through Italy’s mountain passes experienced massive car pileups when fogs descended with stunning quickness. When the fogs lifted, inspectors would wrecked cars along with a single red tomato, the symbol of Italy’s communist party.

4) Italy teetered. But once aroused, its leaders acted decisively. By law, all Italian tomatoes had to be made into pasta sauce. This decree left no tomatoes for Italy’s Communist party. Deprived of their symbolic flourish at car-crash sites, they lost all interest in the people’s revolution thing and went out to restaurants to sample all the new exciting pasta sauces. Italy has been at peace ever since.

– 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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Fried Green Tomatoes

American Appetizer

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
With Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS – DIPPING SAUCEFriedGreenTomatoesCornmeal-

2 stalks green onions
⅔ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon white pepper

INGREDIENTS – TOMATOES

4 large or 2 pounds green tomatoes*
½ tablespoon salt (1 teaspoon more later)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
up to 2 cups vegetable oil

* = WARNING. This really is a lot of work if you’re using many tiny green tomatoes. If it takes more than 8 green tomatoes to make 2 pounds, consider cutting the amount of ingredients in half. Certainly, you’ll only get to eat only 1 pound of tomatoes this way, while people living in the land of big tomatoes get 2 pounds. However, you won’t be muttering to yourself and looking in the garage for an axe. Alternatively, move to the land of the big tomatoes. Oh, and leave your axe behind.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet
3 mixing bowls

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on the size of the tomatoes. Bigger tomatoes take less time. They really do.

PREPARATION – DIPPING SAUCE

Mince green onions. Add dipping sauce ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Cover and chill until tomatoes are deep fried.

PREPARATION – TOMATOES

Cut tomatoes into ¼” slices. Pat tomato slices dry with paper towel. Put slices on wire racks over plates. Sprinkle slices evenly with ½ tablespoon salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to draw out water.

While tomato slices sit, add cornmeal, flour, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt to large, second mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Divide this cornmeal/flour mixture onto 3 plates. (This will keep the cornmeal/from clumping up from the moisture of buttermilk laden tomato slice.) Add buttermilk to third mixing bowl. Dip tomatoes slices in buttermilk. Dredge buttermilk-covered slices one at time through cornmeal/flour mixture until they are well coated.

Set skillet to 375 degrees. Add enough oil to coat tomato slices to skillet. Oil will be hot enough when a tiny bit of flour added to skillet will dance in the oil. Add as many tomato slices as possible to skillet without them touching each other. Fry 3 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown. (Cooking time tends to go down a little with each successive batch.) Additional batches might be necessary. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce.

TIDBITS

1) Tomatoes can be cut with a regular knife. But not with any uniformity. Sure, you’ll get the occasional .25″ thick slice, but more often than not you’ll get slices with widths of .28″ or even .35″. However if your neighbors know that your make half-inch wide slices, you will be shunned.

2) In cases like these, it’s best to bolt all the doors and pull down all the shades until you have gotten rid of your deformed tomato slabs. Thieves know that houses with drawn shades and bolted doors mean that desperate knife-wielding, tomato-disposing folks are at a home and leave them at home. So when you leave the homestead, bolt your doors and draw their shades. Thieves won’t know if you’ve stepped out or are destroying culinary crimes. They won’t take the chance.

3) So don’t slice tomatoes with a knife. Then with what? A mandoline. This kitchen device makes uniform tomato slices. Now you can raise your shades and go out into your anal retentive, tomato-loving neighborhood. Be accepted, even.

4) How did the mandoline get started? Renaissance mandolin players loved sliced tomatoes. But the knives way back were even less precise than the ones we use today. Thick-tomato-slice shame ran rampant. Frustrated mandoliners took to smashing their tomatoes with their mandolins. This is how pasta sauce got invented. This is how spaghetti with marinara sauce came about. This is how Italy became the culinary capital in the world.

5) Folk music became popular in America during the 19th century. Folk guitarists took over the role of pasta-sauce makers. However, wooden acoustic guitars were amazing fragile. Just a few tomato smashings would break them. So, the pasta-sauce industry invented the sturdy electric guitar. Those things could smash tomatoes forever.

6) In 1968, a word-changing event occurred. The band Iron Butterfly released the song “In a Gadda Da Vida.” It was great. It was immensely popular. Rock bands started earning big bucks playing music of all things.

7) Rich electric guitarists gave up making pasta sauce. Italian restaurants all over the world were in danger on closing. But they didn’t, Mandy Linne, lead singer for Beefsteak had a drug-induced vision. “Why not insert a blade into a fixed surface, couple that with an adjustable upper surface, slide the tomato along the adjustable surface until it meets the blade resulting in uniform slices?” Mandy L. passed out. Her idea did not. We are living in a golden age of uniformly sliced tomatoes.

– 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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chicken Prosciutto Sandwich

Fusion Entree

CHICKEN PROSCIUTTO SANDWICH

INGREDIENTSChickenProscuitto-

4 chicken breasts
1 cup aioli sauce
6 ounces mozzarella
1 Roma tomato
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns
1 cup bread crumbs
8 slices proscuitto
4 lettuce leaves
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen mallet
parchment paper
3 cookie or baking sheets

Takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Makes 4 sandwiches.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flatten chicken breasts with kitchen mallet. Add chicken breasts and aioli sauce to large mixing bowl. Turn chicken breasts by hand until chicken is thoroughly coated. Put in refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.

While chicken marinates, cut mozzarella and tomato into 4 slices each. After marinating, add bread crumbs to 2nd mixing bowl. Place a mozzarella slice on each hamburger-bun top. Remove chicken breasts from 1st mixing bowl, saving the remaining aioli sauce. Dredge chicken breasts through bread crumbs until they are completely coated. Spray 1st cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. (You will be adding two more cookie sheets after 13 minutes.)

While chicken is baking, place parchment paper on 2nd cookie sheet. Place proscuitto on top of parchment paper. Place all hamburger bun halves, including the ones with cheese, on 3rd cookie sheet. After the chicken has baked for 13 minutes, add the proscuitto and the cheese-covered buns to the oven. Continue baking for another 7 minutes or until chicken crumbs are golden brown, proscuitto is starting to become crispy, and the cheese on the buns has melted.

Spread saved aioli sauce on hamburger-bun bottoms. Place lettuce leaf on bottom hamburger bun. Put chicken breast on lettuce leaf, then add 2 prosciutto slices. Complete with cheese covered hamburger-bun top.

TIDBITS

1) Have chicken prosciutto sandwiches always been round?

2) No! Prior to the siege of Picanza, Italy by Napoleon’s troops in 1813, they were triangular. The Picanzans found that shape easy to hold while eating.

3) The triangular sandwiches were also deadly weapons in the hands of the town’s ninjas, particularly after the snack had hardened from being left out in the hot Italian Sun for two weeks.

4) Oh! Don’t forget to go to Picanza’s annual Ninja Chicken Prosciutto Sandwich Toss Festival every April 1. Teams from all over the world compete for the Golden Sandwich Trophy, although Italy and Japan have done all the winning. Be sure to get out of the way of the tosses!

4) The odor from two-week old prosciutto often drove away invading armies just by itself. Well, at least until 1767 when it became standard for armies to carry pumpkin-spiced incense sticks.

5) But in 1813, the clever Napoleon constantly moved his troops upwind from the city. The gale forces winds of that summer continually blew the chicken-prosciutto-sandwich-death triangles back into the city whey dealt widespread carnage among the cafe drinkers. To this day, Picanzans always drink their espresso inside.

6) It looked bad for the Picanzans. The French would fire cannon balls into the city. The Picanzans unable to hurl their hardened sandwich resorted to making scary faces at the besiegers. It was an unequal struggle.

7) Thank goodness for the annual Bowling Ball Festival. Unlike most bowling festivals, this one took place on the precipitous Strada Ripido. Why was it held on such a steep street? The competitors used Parmesan wheels as bowling balls and those 200 pound rounds are heavy. Francesco Poblano suggested they crush the French army by rolling Parmesan cheese at them. The mayor said, “Are you crazy! How will we make eggplant Parmesan?” The ever-clever Franceso said, “Why not make our chicken prosciutto sandwiches round. That way, when they don’t get eaten, we can roll the hardened sandwiches down our steep hills and crush the French down below.”

8) The mayor and other notables proclaimed Francesco a genius and erected a statue in his honor made of bread crumbs and eggs. That statue is still there.

9) Anyway, the Picanzans rolled chicken-prosciutto sandwiches dried out to death dealing hardness at Napoleon’s forces. The bowled over French fled the surrounding hill in terror. Napoleon suffered an irreversible blow to his prestige. Nations all over Europe took courage from his humiliation and rose up against him, swamping the French armies by sheer force of numbers.

10) By 1815, the once great French emperor was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena, where he eked out a tenuous living selling French-style hot dogs out of a vending cart.

11) Oh! Don’t forget to go to Picanza, Italy for its annual Bowling Ball Festival. It’s exciting, particularly if you watch the event at the bottom of Strada Ripido. I suggest paying extra for seats at the top of the steep road.

– 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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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.

– 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, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pretzels

American Appetizer

PRETZELS

INGREDIENTSPretzel-

3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour or plain flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon dry active yeast

1 egg
no-stick spray
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
(coarse salt is not a crude sailor)

makes 12 pretzels

SPECIAL UTENSIL

bread maker

PREPARATION

Put water, flour, sugar, salt, brown sugar, and yeast in bread maker. Follow instructions for dough setting. Take a nice relaxing bath for about 45 minutes before summoning courage to beat egg.

Beat egg. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When bread maker is done, separate dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 15″ log. Fold each log into a pretzel shape. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Place pretzels on cookie sheet. Brush pretzels with egg. Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-to-15 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Pretzels were invented by Christian monks around the start of the seventeenth century. They were given to children for learning their devotions and resembled arms crossing the chest in prayer.

2) Italians, Spanish, and French have always claimed to have invented the pretzel. This disagreement grew so heated that they fought each other constantly from 1494 to 1525. The Spanish eventually prevailed, winning the right to rule Italy and claim ownership of the pretzels for 200 years. Deprived of pretzel bragging rights, the Italians lost interest in the Renaissance. Indeed, arts languished everywhere for hundreds of years until the Richard Wagner’s operas and Jim Henson’s Muppets Show. It is no coincidence that German Wagner and American Henson hail from the two greatest pretzel making countries in the world.

– 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

Sausage and Lentil Soup

American Soup

SAUSAGE AND LENTIL SOUP

INGREDIENTSSausageLentilSoup-

1 pound Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3 medium onions
1 1/4 cups brown lentils
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
64 ounces chicken broth
12 leaves spinach

makes 8 bowls

PREPARATION

Sauté sausages in olive oil in pan on medium heat for 10 minutes or until done. Remove sausages. Cut sausages into slices 1/4″ thick. Dice garlic cloves and onions. Add garlic and onion to pan. Sauté garlic and onion on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Devein celery. Dice celery, carrots, and spinach. Add all ingredient to large pot. Cover pot and simmer on warm-low heat for 2 hours.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe uses garlic. Garlic wards off vampires.

2) Italy uses a lot of garlic. It has hardly any vampire sightings worth mentioning.

3) Garlic never wards off sausages. Italy has a lot of sausages.

4) So, it could be argued it’s all those Italian sausages that keep vampires away.

5) I’ve looked at garlic and Italian sausage. Neither item looks particularly scary to me. But then again, I’m not a vampire. However, most vampires don’t fear tax auditors as much as we humans do. This is because they don’t have jobs. They just bite necks of teenagers who don’t have the wit to get out of a scary building.

6) The United States, Russia, and China don’t have vampires. It’s safe to say the armies of these mighty nations are well equipped with garlic and Italian sausages.

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

Lime-Chili Popcorn

American Appetizer

LIME-CHILI POPCORN

INGREDIENTSLimeChiliPopcorn-

1/4 cup popcorn
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder

SPECIAL UTENSIL

air popcorn popper

PREPARATION

Put popcorn in popper. Put bowl underneath popper’s opening. Keep bowl in place until all the kernels have popped. Sprinkle lime juice and chili powder into bowl with popcorn. Stir with long spoon or fork.

TIDBITS

1) There is moisture in each kernel. This liquid turns to steam as the popcorn heats up. Water cannot escape the kernel shell. Pressure builds up until the kernel explodes.

2) Popcorn dating from 3000 B.C. has been found in New Mexican caves. People were happy.

3) The first permanent income tax for the United States was established in 1913. Americans became cranky. We fought a bloody war in Germany from 1917 to 1918. We greatly expanded our navy.

4) Charles Manley developed the first good electric popcorn popper in 1925 and sold it to theaters. Americans became happy again. Our economy boomed. It was the Golden Age of Comedy.

5) The Great Depression struck in 1929. Harrowing economic hardships resulted in fascist dictatorships in Germany, Italy, and Spain. America kept its democratic form of government.

6) Why? Popcorn. Popcorn was one of the few treats millions of Americans could afford to eat while watching their beloved movies.

7) The recent and relatively peaceful break up of the Soviet Union occurred because of the easy accessibility of popcorn in contrast to its popcornless Revolution of 1917.

8) The Wampanoag tribe brought popcorn to the colonists for that famous autumnal feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The grateful settlers called the meal, “Thanksgiving.” We are still grateful.

– 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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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