Posts Tagged With: Mediterranean

Looking for Toilets, My Travels Through Europe: Venice

VENICE

Doge’s Palace has a public toilet.

See Venice while you can for many parts of it are sinking into the sea. It’s kinda like California slipping into the ocean at the rate of a half inch a year. But there are differences as well.

California has earthquakes, fires, has water shortages, is a hot bed of information technology, has a huge agricultural sector, gives free water at restaurants (if you ask for it) and lets you use restrooms at all sorts of places such as restaurants, supermarkets, and just about any sort of business where the public comes in.

Venice has no shortage of water. It’s everywhere sometimes it floods the main square that tourists infest, which is exciting if you’re wearing designer shoes.

Venice was founded in the fifth century when Attila the Hun was rampaging through Italy, sacking cities, slaughtering the populace, destroying the Roman Empire, and otherwise being rather unpleasant. Anyway, the citizens of Aquileia, a thriving city, saw no future in being massacred and high tailed to the nearby swamp. They reckoned the Huns, a tribe that grew up in east-central Europe, wouldn’t want to slog through the swamp just to extinguish a bunch a people whom they had no real quarrel with. The Aquileians were right and before you knew it, they were sinking pillars in the marsh to provide support for the buildings they were going to put up.

These swamp people called their new city, Venice after Venn diagrams, they were astoundingly into the theory of logic, and ice, a rare commodity in a Mediterranean* seaport in the Dark Ages. Anyway, the Venetians minded their own business for centuries. In disgraceful contrast, the other nations and city states, generally went around for centuries impaling each other with lances and other weapons.

All of a sudden a Venetian woke up and decide to make galleys. These were ships powered by men using oars. Think of fishing in a tiny lake. You used a rowboat. Only the Venetians galley were huge multi-decked rowboats requiring hundreds of oarsmen. Just as you want to protect your fishing spot and perhaps wanted the lake to yourself, the Venetians wanted the Mediterranean to themselves and used their galleys to sink the other nations ships.

However, instead of catching fish, the Venetians transported spices from the Middle East to the rest of Europe. The Europe of the Middle Ages and Renaissance had really no refrigerators to speak of. Thus, their food other rotted and stank, more than lutefisk even. So, the Middle Age diners really appreciated a good spice to cover up the bad food. And so the Venetians thrived.

Until suddenly, the Ottoman Empire conquered the Near East and shut off access to the spices. Moreover, Western Europe developed large sailing vessels that could whoop the pants off the Venetian galleys in combat and could travel long distances across the open sea. Venice went into a centuries long decline. You would have thought they could have used that declining time to come up with anything, like reclining chairs and public restrooms, but no.

Venice lost its independence to Austria in 1806. However, the conquered city still had lots and lots of pasta and fish. This made going to restaurants lots of fun. About this time, Signor Scampi added chairs to his pizzeria. What a great idea. People loved being able to seat down for supper. More and more chefs provided chairs for their customers. The trend toward chairs in Venetian restaurants continues to this very day.

Venice was a republic of sorts, although if you didn’t like the current governor–doges they called them–you were denounced, tried, convicted, and imprisoned or executed in one day. Movers and shakers you bet. People were so afraid of appearing unhappy, that they sported smiles all day long. Hence, the expression, “As smiley as a Venetian.”

My family and I as we got off the water taxi that took us from the port to St. Mark’s square. We headed to our first event, a gondola ride. We took our time, enjoying the architecture. Inevitably with a family of four, some of us had to pee. Where were the public toilets? Where was Waldo? Where was Ameila Earhardt? Actually, we found Ms. Amelia, but the need for the toilets remained unabated. Indeed the pressure mounted. We did find a fancy hotel near the gondola ride. After making our donations, we went outside to find the place where we would show our vouchers. According to the maps, the gondola extravaganza was supposed to be only ten yards away.

As the crow flies. As the drunken crow flies. We crossed a bridge and went to the gondola kiosk. The sphinxes periodically manning the booth ignored us. We recrossed the bridge in search of a caring employee. Nothing. We crossed back to the booth. Nothing. We ended up going over that bridge six times before we found an employee who put a round orange sticker on our shirts. We were good to go.

We got in line. We had a good position even though the gondola guys had sold hundreds of tickets for our time slot. Actually this wasn’t true due to a cultural misunderstanding. In America, people generally stand behind the last person in line. In Venice and in the airport coming back, standing in line meant standing to the side of people in line, generally near the front. Soon a vast semi-circle sea of people stood around the gondolas pressing ever forward as if  trying to get into a Who concert.

Eventually we got on a gondola and began our bumper-to-bumper (prow-to-bow on a gondola?) tour of the back canals of Venice. Many power boats made deliveries on alcohol to the back entrances of various bars. Cool, actually.

After the ride, I had the clever idea of finding where our evening Vivaldi concert would be. Although the venue had St. Mark’s as part of its address, our consensus was to use GPS. GPS resolutely marched us to and around tiny alleys away from St. Marks. We came to an epiphany; GPS sucks in narrow alleys.

We did find a small pizzeria where authentic Chinese waitresses provided efficient and cheerful service. This restaurant might have had a restroom. We’ll never know. None of us felt brave enough to pass a shrieking toddler to look. Oh how, weak and naive we were.

But we were smart and experienced enough now to head back to St. Mark’s Square to find Saint Mark’s Cathedral. (By the way, twenty-four years earlier I had the good fortune to visit this square during the Carnival season. I saw many wonderful acts, many in Italian and some in English. I also did the Hokey Pokey with a bunch of Americans. My contribution was, “You put your left ear in. You put your left ear out…)

Anyway the biggest tourist attraction in Venice is St. Mark’s Cathedral, named after St. Mark. My family went there for a full mass on Saturday evening. Mass was in Italian, but the choir was from Britain and sang in English, which was cool. But no restroom. During mass, touring around the cathedral is forbidden. So is flash photography, at least in theory. Sitting is forbidden during the tourist hours. So, you can’t sit in a pew and look at spectacular mosaic in the ceiling. And there’s no public restroom inside.

After mass, we went outside to find our concert. My gosh, it was literally twenty yards away. There was a big sign saying, “Vivaldi Concert tonight.” Fuck you, GPS.

The concert was fantastic. We were in the second row, only fifteen feet away from the musicians. The concert hall had seats for only about forty people. The energy and the skill of the musicians, well oh my gosh they were great. And they played Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons, one of my favorites. (I had listened to Vivaldi’s Two Seasons a couple decades earlier from a slow-arriving herd of Parisian violinists. No comparison, these Venetian folks were the real McCoys.)

And the concert venue had a public toilet. Sure I had to clamber up a two-foot high step, but I had been toughened, and so it proved no obstacle at all.)

A great concert, two public toilet, and mass at one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the day had been good.

Next day we stampeded the doge’s palace in St. Mark’s square. The doges had  lived there. It’s also where the nobility conducted the affairs of state. Venice was by the standards of its times, a rabid democracy. At first, nearly all the men could vote. Then sometime during the Middle Ages, the nobility in an admirable display of voter suppression struck all but a few thousand men from the voting rolls. The criminal justice system occurred in this building as well. With a strong Protestant work ethic, this Catholic government (the Reformation wouldn’t occur for centuries) heard, convicted, and sentenced people with assembly line efficiency.

Which they needed to do as they apparently had and still have, thank goodness, one public restroom. Would you want to spend hours uncovering quilt when you needed to pee. How did I know of this restroom? Twenty-four years earlier, I had toured the doge’s palace with a reasonably empty bladder. Only after leaving the palace did I look at my tour guide. It said, “Don’t forget to visit the public restroom at the palace. People restrooms are scarcer than hens’ teeth in St. Mark’s Square.” The tour book was right. A few hours later, I found myself wandering the Square saying, “A toilet! My American ExpressTM travellers checks for a toilet.” So this time I was able to comfortably whiz away while surrounded by centuries of history.

We then took our self-guided tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral. For love of God, Montressor, book your tickets in advance. Plate tectonics moves faster than lines at the Cathedral’s kiosks. The cathedral was as beautiful as it had been the previous day.

Our ticket to the doge palace gave our free entry to the city’s art museum. Let me tell you the energy spent railroading enemies of the state to their death did not diminish in the slightest the output of the land’s magnificent artists. Lots of busts of Napoleon, which was exciting for me as I am a direct descendant of his and it was nice to speculate how all this art and city could have been mine if only he had won the Battle of Waterloo.

Then tragedy struck. The men’s bathroom in the museum was, was . . . oh the humanity, was blocked of for cleaning. Well fuck. So we went outside to look for a public bathroom. We saw a sign for one. We did! We did!

We didn’t find it. We looked for hours. In desperation, we went into a restaurant. Number Two Son approached the proprietor*. The conversation remains burned in my brain.

“Do you have a restroom?” asked Number Two Son.

“Yes,” said the evil proprietor.

“May we use it?”

“No.”

“How about if we eat dinner here?”

“No.”

So we head back to the water-taxis with my bladder full as Boulder Dam after a rainy season. And there it was, Harry’s Bar! My gosh, the famous Harry’s Bar. Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Orson Welles, Aristotle Onassis, and other luminaries used to get drunk here and it was quite all right. And carpaccio was invented here. Contessa Amalia Nania Mocenigo was told that for her health she had to give up cooked meat. The clever bar owner sliced sirloin steak as thin as possible drizzled a sauce made of mayonnaise, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and a soupçon of milk. A place fit for an exclamation point!

I went in to whizz. I asked to use the restroom. They answered politely and pointed the way. I expressed my gratitude after I came out. I said how excited I was to be at Harry’s Bar. They smiled and thanked me. We went back to our ship. A palace, an art museum, culinary history, and two public restrooms. Life was good.

* = Mediterranean is hard to spell. So is proprietor.

Paul De Lancey, Intrepid Explorer

 

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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Mozzarella En Carrozza

Italian Appetizer

MOZZARELLA EN CARROZZA

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE*MozzellaEnCarrozza-

½ cup butter
3 anchovy fillets or ½ tablespoon anchovy paste or .3 ounces nori (seaweed)
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons parsley

* = Use marinara sauce instead, if you find both anchovies and seaweed to be icky.

INGREDIENTS – SANDWICH

12 slices ¼”-thick white Italian bread
1 pound mozzarella cheese
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
¾ cup fine bread crumbs
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs

SPECIAL UTENSIL

parchment paper

Makes 12 little sandwiches. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

Add butter to small pot. Melt butter using medium heat. Do not let it bubble. Stir frequently. Add anchovies, capers, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir until well blended. Turn off heat and cover.

PREPARATION – SANDWICH

Trim edges off bread slices so that you 5″ squares. Cut mozzarella into 6 equally thick slices. Slices should be square with 3″ edges. Put mozzarella squares on half of the bread squares. Put remaining bread slices on top of mozzarella squares.

Add flour to mixing bowl. Thoroughly coat sandwiches with flour. Add bread crumbs to plate. Add milk to a bowl. Briefly dip both sides of sandwich in milk. Seal cheese in sandwich by pressing the bread edges together. Dredge sandwich through bread crumbs until well coated. Place sandwiches on parchment-lined plate. (This prevents sandwich from sticking to plate.) Repeat for the remaining 5 sandwiches. Chill sandwiches in refrigerator for 40 minutes.

Beat eggs in mixing bowl until well blended. Briefly dip sandwiches into blended eggs. Add oil to frying pan. Heat oil at medium heat until it sizzles when a few bread crumbs are put in it. Put as many sandwiches as will fit in the frying pan. Sauté sandwiches at medium heat for 2-to-3 minutes on each side or until coated bread turns golden brown. (Sauté times tend to shorter a bit for each successive batch of sandwiches.) Repeat until all sandwiches are sautéeed. Drain sandwiches on paper towels. Cut sandwiches in two along the diagonal. Why the diagonal? I don’t know.

Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

TIDBITS

1) Pythagoras, the ancient Greek chef, loved to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

2) As who does not?

3) But Pythagoras made really, really good grilled cheeses. Philosophers from all over the Hellenic world flocked to his restaurant, Το Ψητό Τυρί.

4) The philosophic debates were of the highest order. Concepts such as: democracy, equal rights, rule of law, and cheese making got bandied about. Indeed, these debates made Greece the envy of the ancient Mediterranean world.

5) So much so that in the 2nd century B.C. Rome subjugated Greece for its grilled cheese sandwiches and democratic principles. For a long time, culinary historians remained divided on this conquests. Some held subjugating a people for democratic principles is an oxymoron like customer service or a working printers. Others averred that conquest is always a good thing as it facilitates the movement of great appetizers, entrees, and desserts to the conquering nation. As we all know, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 settled this debate forever.

5) In 1776, America’s founding fathers emulated the Greek philosophers when they framed The Declaration of Independence and baked the first apple pie.

6) In 1812, Zorba of Piraeus found a clay tablet will plowing his field. The tablet showed how to prove the Pythagorean Theorem, i.e., α^2 + β^2 = γ^2.

7) This theorem revolutionized the world by making more students more students hate mathematics than ever before.

8) In 1820, the Turkish Sultan Abim Bam Bu decreed that Pythagorean theorem would henceforth be written using the Arabic alphabet.

9) Instructing Greek students in Arabic and Turkish had been tolerated. So had the Pythagorean theorem. But teaching the young ones the Pythagorean theorem in Arabic pushed the Greek parents over the edge and in 1821 the Greek populace revolted against their Turkish overlords.

10) The Greeks finally gained their independence in 1833, permitting the free travel of Greek chefs all over the world. We live in a golden age.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback 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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Kenyan Coconut-Milk Plantain Recipe

Kenyan Entree

COCONUT-MILK PLANTAINS

INGREDIENTSCocoMilkPlan-

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

PREPARATION

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

TIDBITS

1) Cinnamon is truly a happening spice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Chef Paul

4novels

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

As an e-book on Nook

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

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

Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian Entree

HAWAIIAN PIZZA

INGREDIENTSHawaiPi-

no-stick spray
1 pizza crust
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup pasta sauce
6 ounces deli-sliced ham
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

SPECIALTY ITEM

pizza pan

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray pizza pan to keep the pizza from sticking. (It’s not a good feeling to have your great looking, great smelling pizza fall apart because it sticks to pan when you try to serve it.) Put crust on pan. Mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, and pasta sauce until sugar dissolves. Spread mix evenly over crust.

Cut deli-sliced ham into 1″ squares. Place ham squares and pineapple chunks on crust. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Put pizza in oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-to-15 minutes or until cheese or crust in golden brown. Now you have a Hawaiian pizza. Life is good.

TIDBITS

1) In 334 BC Alexander the Great, invaded the Persian Empire, changing culinary history forever.

2) In 327 BC, while conquering much of the known world, he discovered sugar cane.

3) Alexander the Great came so close to dying in battle in 334BC.

4) If he had died then, he wouldn’t have conquered the Persian Empire. If he hadn’t have conquered the Persians, he wouldn’t have been able to bring back sugar to the Mediterranean.

5) In 1493, Columbus introduced sugar to the New World.

6) Sugar was so prized by European nobility up until 1800 that many bloody wars were fought over islands with thriving sugar plantations. These plantations required vast numbers of slaves to work them.

7) So if Alexander had died at a young age in battle as Alexander the Mediocre, a lot of conflict and misery might have been avoid.

8) On the other hand, we’d have no doughnuts, no cakes, and no brownies. And no pizza too; the yeast in the pizza requires sugar to rise.

9) So, Alex’s wars of conquest resulted in some good as well. Life’s life that.

10) 2001, sugar is found in outer space. Yay!

– Chef Paul

4novels

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

As an e-book on Nook

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

 

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

Sopa De Mani – Bolivian Peanut And Potato Soup Recipe

This is my 300th blog! Thank you for reading.

Bolivian Entree

SOPA DE MANI
(Peanut and Potato Soup)

INGREDIENTS SopaDeM-

2 chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
1 cup water
3 Yukon gold potatoes (to be chopped into pieces)
1 Yukon gold potato (to be cut into strips)
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1/4 cup more later)
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 teaspoon parsley

SPECIAL APPLIANCE

blender

PREPARATION

Cut chicken breasts into 1/2″ cubes. Mince garlic and onions. Put peanuts and water into blender. Use chop setting until you get a smooth white liquid or paste. Peel potatoes. Cut 3 potatoes into 1/2″ slices. Cut each slice into 2 or 3 pieces. Cut 1 potato into 1/4″ by 1/4″ inch strips.

Put oil, garlic, and onion in frying pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onions soften or start to turn golden brown. Stir frequently. Transfer sautéed garlic and onion to soup pot.

Add chicken cubes, peanut paste, potato pieces (not the potato strips), chicken broth, cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt to soup pot. Simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes or until potato pieces are soft. Stir occasionally. (It is also a good idea to stir occasionally when watching tv or you may be thrown out with that old sofa you’re sitting on.)

While soup is cooking, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil and strips from one potato to frying pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until potato strips turn golden brown. Stir frequently enough to keep strips or fries from burning. (Note, hot oil splatters. Tip the frying pan away from you or hold a lid between you and the frying pan when stirring the fries.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish equal bowl with an equal amount of cilantro, parsley, and fried potato strips .If desired, add as much LLAJUA, (spicy sauce) to each bowl.

TIDBITS

1) Bolivians love potatoes.

2) They did not love McDonald’s enough. McDonald’s left Bolivia  on December 1, 2001 after seven years of trying. Bolivians simply preferred their own style of cooking or were too poor to eat out .

3) Iceland does not have McDonald’s either. It costs too much to get potatoes from Germany.

4) Many of the poor countries between the Mediterranean Sea and South Africa are without McDonald’s. The same holds true for ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia.sauté

5) American forces fought in the Vietnam War in: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. These countries do not have McDonald’s.

6) North Korea and Iran have nuclear-weapons programs. They are unfriendly to us and have no McDonald’s.

7) Indeed, most countries do not have McDonald’s restaurants in them are poor, have fought America, or have become hostile nuclear powers.

8) Think about that when you’re tempted to pass by an empty McDonald’s in some foreign land.

– Chef Paul

4novels

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

As an e-book on Nook

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

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

Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

American Breakfast

BACON BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

INGREDIENTSbutt-

15 slices bacon (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup cultured buttermilk blend
4 cups water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

You can, of course, buy buttermilk instead of buttermilk blend, but your buttermilk will go bad if you don’t use it right away.

SPECIALTY UTENSILS

electric mixer
griddle or skillet

PREPARATION

Cut bacon strips in half. Fry bacon on medium-high heat until it starts to get crispy. Put bacon on towel-covered plate.

Melt butter. Use “batter” setting on electric mixer, or beater, to combine buttermilk blend, water, eggs, and butter. Combine in a second large mixing bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the contents of the second bowl into the first mixing bowl. Mix together with fork until just blended.

Fire up the griddle to 350 degrees. Use a 1/2-cup ladle to pour your batter onto the griddle. Put two half bacon strips in batter. Cook for 1 3/4 minutes on the first side and for 1 1/2 minutes on the second side or until brown on both sides.

Makes about 16 8-inch diameter pancakes. Come join bacon mania.

TIDBITS

1) Bacon makes you smart.

2) The choline, whatever that is, in bacon stimulates fetal brain development.

3) China began preserving and salting pork bellies around 1,500 B.C.

4) China was one of the first places on Earth to develop a complex, thriving civilization. It is the most populous nation in the world.

5) The Greeks were one of the first peoples in the West to preserve and salt pork. The Greeks developed modern Western philosophy.

6) The Romans preserved and salted pork. They built the largest empire Europe and the Mediterranean world has ever seen. America’s founding fathers consciously based our system of government on the Roman model.

7) Americans eat bacon all the time. America’s economy is the largest in the world.

8) But other countries’ economies are catching up. Their peoples are eating more bacon.

– Chef Paul

4novels

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

As an e-book on Nook

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

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

Greek Dolmathes

Greek Entree

DOLMATHES
(stuffed grape leaves)

INGREDIENTSDolmath-

100 grape leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 medium onions
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
3/4 cups uncooked rice
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon Prudhomme’s Poultry MagicTM spice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Mediterranean rice seasoning
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

SPECIAL HELP

Your kids, relatives, neighbors, and anyone else who comes within your gravitational field.

PREPARATION

Pick 100 grape leaves. Remove stems. This is a great task for the kids. If you don’t have grapes growing on the side of the hill in your front yard, they can be found at the Greek section of your supermarket.

Dice onion. Saute onion in butter until tender and golden. Pour mix into big bowl. Let it cool for at least five minutes. Your fingers will thank you. Add turkey, rice, parsley, poultry spice, coriander, pepper, rice seasoning, water, tomato sauce, and lemon juice. Whew. Mix thoroughly.

(Memorize the following phrases to sound like a great chef: heat over to 350 degrees, cook to golden brown, use a big pot, mix thoroughly, and stir occasionally.)

Put all the grape leaves in a big pot. (See? Sounds culinary, doesn’t it?) Cover the leaves with water. Cook on medium-high heat until all the leaves turn from a bright green to an olive green. This is called blanching.

Pour out all the water. (Try pouring it on that pan you used to fry eggs. That hot water will loosen the egg bits from the pan right quick.)

Put the leaves on a big plate. Take a leaf and put it on a board, or another plate, with the smooth, shiny side face down. Put about a teaspoon of your meat/rice/spice mix in the middle of the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf until it just covers the mix. Fold both sides in so they completely cover the mix. Roll up the leaf like a burrito or spring roll, making sure to keep the sides folded in. This step takes the longest.

Put a few leaves on the bottom of the pot. Put the first rolled up leaves, dolmathes, up against the sides of the pot. Put the next leaves against those leaves and so on. You need the dolmathes jammed together so they don’t unravel. Add layers as necessary.

Add water to pot until all dolmathes are covered. Place a lid that is slightly smaller than the pot on top of the dolmathes to further keep them from unraveling. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes.

You can speed up the process by cooking the rice while mixing the meat and spices together. In this case, reduce the cooking of the dolmathes to 30 minutes.

Don’t throw away the liquid that remains in the pot after you serve the dolmathes. It makes an excellent broth.

TIDBITS

1) Dolmathe is a great ScrabbleTM word.

2) I first made this dish years ago for my wife’s birthday. We are still married.

3) My family and I first ate dolmathes at a wonderful Greek restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

4) I went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin. The two Greek restaurants nearest to the school were across the street from each other.

5) The three stages of mathematics are: 1) numbers, 2) lower-case English letters, and 3) Greek letters. If there is a fourth stage, I don’t want to know it. My head would explode.

6) Socrates almost died in battle. If he had, all Western philosophical thought would have been completely altered. Cliff Notes would have put out one fewer booklet.

– Chef Paul

4novels

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

As an e-book on Nook

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

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

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