Posts Tagged With: Mississippi

Shrimp And Grits

American Entree

SHRIMP AND GRITS

INGREDIENTSshrimpandgrits

1 cup chicken broth
¾ cup milk
2½ cups water
1 cup grits
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1¾ cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove
4 stalks green onions
5 bacon strips
1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth, milk, and water to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Add grits gradually, stirring with whisk until no lumps exist. Add pepper and salt. Reduce heat to warm. Simmer to 10-to-20 minutes or until grits become tender and all the water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add butter and Cheddar cheese. Blend in cheese and butter with fork. Cover.

While liquid boils and grits become tender, mince garlic and dice green onions. Chop bacon into ½” squares. Add bacon squares to pan. Cook at medium-high heat for 3-to-5 minutes or until bacon becomes crispy, turning them over at least 1 time. Remove bacon and place on paper towel. Keep bacon grease in pan.

Add shrimp to pan. Sauté shrimp for 3 minutes at medium heat or until they start to turn pink or orange. (Don’t overcook shrimp. It will get mushy.) Add lemon juice. garlic, and green onion. Stir quickly until shrimp is well coated with garlic and green onion. Remove from heat.

Ladle grits into bowls. Top with shrimp and garlic/green onion/lemon juice. Sprinkle with bacon squares.

TIDBITS

1) It seems hard to believe now, but shrimp portraits were once quite popular in America during the late nineteenth century.

2) Darned difficult. I mean, why?

3) Okay, to understand phenomenon, one simply must read, Dr. Amos Keeto’s enthralling work, “Amazing Fads of the Gilded Age,” Garlic Press, Paducah, Kentucky, 1933.

4) According to Dr. Keeto, horse racing was incredibly popular in the 1890s. People with too much money, having bought up anything of any value in America, turned to gambling. They wouldn’t bet on baseball. Ordinary folk did that.

5) So the filthy rich, so called because oil from their wells constantly spurted onto their clothes, would clean up and go the race tracks to wager on horses, the sport of kings.

6) Everything went well. The had fun playing the horses. They lost vast sums, of course, but they had vast sum to lose. The race course owners became quite wealthy as well. They purchased gigantic mansions and went on railroad buying sprees. The Race Track magnate, Silas Brunswick, even bought BrusselsSproutsTM for $250,000 after it came out with the BS PadTM.

7) The BS Pad, a precursor to iPhonesTM, tablets, and the such, consisted of two tin cans tied together with a string, an abacus, and a sketch pad. Improvements have been made since then. Nevertheless, it was all new back then and the sexy BS was all the rage

8) But the craze stopped a scant year later when all of a sudden shouting became socially acceptable once more.

9) Then horse racing died out. On May 5, 1897, the swiftest horses gathered for the prestigious Mississippi Derby in Biloxi. Society’s elite bet over a million on the horses. The favorites were Southern Boil and Sandstorm.

10) People still debate what happened. As the horses turned the corner to enter the final stretch, an enormous fog rolled into. When the fog had lifted, all of the horses were gone. Everyone.

11) Where had they gone? Some speculated that the horses had gone to the same parallel universe that orphan socks go to when placed in a dryer. Some folks dispute this, noting electric dryers weren’t invented back then. The proponents counter, “Where you there, na, na, na, na, poo, poo?”

12) Some folks say that a mare in heat passed by the track and that time and the stallions merely left the race to chase after her. Still others maintain mass spontaneous combustion claimed all the horses, ignoring the fact that no explosions were ever heard. I mean, really.

13) We’ll never know what happened to the race horses. The race-track owner claiming that since no horse crossed the finished line, paid off none of the bets. This defiant act angered the wealthy bettors. Horse racing rapidly fell out of favor.

14) Fortunately, the crowd spied a cocktail of shrimp–you know, like a pod of whales–swimming off shore, and fast! An energetic entrepreneur, his name is lost to history, improvised a shrimp race course. By heavens, the event was fun. Shrimp racing became the most popular social event of the 1890s.

15) Breeding shrimp for speed became a lucrative business. Wealthy owners hired artists to paint their prize shrimps. These artists loved to eat grits. Hence, shrimp and grits. There you go.

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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Noodles With Poppy Seeds

Polish Dessert

NOODLES WITH POPPY SEEDS

INGREDIENTSPoppyPasta-

8-ounce bag egg noodles
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey

Takes 15 minutes. Makes 4 bowls.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

PREPARATION

Cook egg noodles according to instructions on bag. While noodles cook, melt butter. Grind poppy seeds thoroughly with spice grinder. Drain noodles. Add ground poppy seeds, melted butter, and honey to noodles. Mix ingredients with fork until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) I was tempted to write, “Toss ingredients,” but I recently saw a football movie and I kept picturing someone tossing the poppy pasta down the length on the kitchen.

2) Pasta football almost caught on during World War II. Real football production had ceased in 1942 due to wartime restrictions. Real footballs became harder and harder to find.

3) Professional football merged to conserve the nation’s dwindling supply of real footballs.

4) But the fans in the cities that lost their teams still wanted to see professional football. Patriotic Polish-American chefs came up with the poppy pasta football. It was enough for the football starved fans. In 1944, the PPPFL, Polish Poppy Pasta Football League was formed.

5) The league was comprised of franchises from: St. Louis, Poway, California, Keokuk, Illinois, Madison, Wisconsin, Taos, New Mexico, and Biloxi, Mississippi. The league did not thrive. The poppy pasta football kept disintegrating in the rain.

6) Then on November 17, 1944 with Keokuk losing to Poway 44 to 13 and three minutes left, Keokuk quarterback, Chris Gashud ate the last football. No football, no more playing. There were no rules to cover this. The game was considered to be the same as a rainout. Losing teams took their cue from this incidents and ate the pasta ball in the final minutes of game after game. The league folded in late December.

7) Isn’t Gashud Swedish for “gooseflesh?” Yes, it is.

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

Powegian Wonderful Soup Recipe

American Soup

POWEGIAN WONDERFUL SOUP

INGREDIENTSWonderS-

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 red bell peppers
1 cup fresh spinach
3 big tomatoes
1/2 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Jamaican All Purpose spice
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon thyme

SPECIAL APPLIANCE

spice grinder

PREPARATION

Mince carrots, celery, onions, red bell peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. Grind peanuts into powder. Add all ingredients to large soup pot. Cook on medium-high heat until soup boils. Stir frequently. Lower temperature to low heat and simmer with lid on for 40 minutes or until onion and carrot is tender. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) This Powegian soup has a rich tradition.

2) In late 1863, Annabelle and Clayton Morrison left Vicksburg, Mississippi for good. They had lost everything during the Great Siege even though they had resolutely taken no sides during the Civil War. The Confederate Army had requisitioned all their crops, all their livestock. The Yankees burned their home and all their buildings to the ground.

3) After the briefest of cries, Annabelle had told her husband she never wanted to see their accursed land again. But Where would they go?

4) “I’d like to go to California to grow carrots, celery, red bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and peanuts,” said Clayton,
“Why, I declare,” said his devoted wife, “when did you come up with this pla?.”
Clayton furrowed his brows for dramatic effect. “I’ve always wanted to grow all that.”
“I never knew,” said Annabelle. “Why did you never say anything about it.”
Clayton shrugged. “There’s a powerful lot of pressure ‘round these parts to grow cotton. Folks would have laughed at me if I had grown anything but cotton. King Cotton, hah!” He gestured to the burnt farms all around. “Annabelle, I need to go to California, where a man can grow whatever produce and herbs he wants and no one will think the less of him for it.
Annabelle nestled against her husband’s shoulder. “And so you shall. I’ve always wanted to catch a peak of the Golden State.”

4) And so, Annabelle and Clayton Morrison made their way west by wagon train. They faced floods, raging rivers, poisoned wells, and Apache attacks. Some of their fellow wagoneers turned back, but not the Morrisons. Fired by their vegetarian dream, they pressed on.

5) Finally, on May 5, 1864, they reached Poway, California. Their hearts soared at the valley’s majestic beauty. So did the flocks of bluebirds that flitted and swirled about them.

6) Months later they harvested a bumper crop of carrots, celery, red bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and peanuts. Annabelle wanted to provide a feast right there and then.

“Not yet, dear wife. I need to go to the port of San Diego. I’ll be gone a few weeks.”
“Land sakes, Clayton, two weeks, whatever for?”
Clayton smiled. “A surprise, a wonderful surprise.”

7) Two weeks later Clayton returned bearing fabric for new dresses for his love. She had not had a new dress in years. More importantly though, he had traded for: bay leaves, Jamaican All Purpose spice, ground mustard, parsley, sea salt, tarragon, and thyme.

Annabelle threw up her hands in delight. “Now I can make wonderful. I’ve already made mayonnaise and vegetable broth and I can borrow some milk from the Hendersons.”

8) Thus Annabelle, Poway’s great pioneer lady, made her soup. And it was indeed wonderful.

cover

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

Tamales

Mexican Entree

TAMALES

INGREDIENTS – MEAT MIX

1 onion
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (or ground beef or shredded pork)
1 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder (1 tablespoon more later)
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon more later)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

INGREDIENTS – CORNMEAL COATING

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoons chili powder (2 tablespoons more earlier)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (1/2 tablespoon more earlier)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package corn husks or tamale paper

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

1 cup tomato sauce
1 7.5 ounce can chili
1 bouillon cube
1 cup vegetable oil

(This recipe is spicy. If you prefer milder food, consider reducing the amounts of chili powder by up to half the stated amounts.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

2 large pots
Box of wooden toothpicks (optional)

PREPARATION – SOAKING OF CORN HUSKS

Place corn husks at a time in first large pot. Heat corn husks at warm heat for 1-to-2 hours.

Soaking makes the corn husks pliable. Stiff, brittle corn husks really don’t roll well. The corn husk will split or the tamale will unravel. (You’ll end up shouting over the ensuing disaster and your whole family will head grumpily out to a fast- food joint.) Soak those corn husks.

PREPARATION – MEAT MIX

Set aside an afternoon to do this. Mince onions. Shred chicken breast or meat of choice. Crumble bouillon cube. Combine onion, tomato sauce, shredded chicken, chili powder, coriander, cumin, corn meal, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and bouillon.

Mix thoroughly with hands. Shape mix into sticks no longer than about 3/4 the width of the corn husks.

PREPARATION – TAMALE COATING

In large bowl, mix corn meal, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Roll meat sticks in corn meal until coated all over.

Take a tablespoon of this coating and place it near the top, narrow part of the corn husk. Roll the husk from the top until the meat stick is enclosed. Fold in the sides of the husk and finish rolling. Be sure to roll it tight. Place the resulting tamale in second large pot with the seam side down.

Continue with the rest of the tamales. Put each tamale right up against the side of the pot or another tamale to prevent the husks from unraveling. You might wish to hold the tamales together with a wooden toothpick as well.

REMAINING PREPARATION

Mix sauce ingredients together. Pour sauce over tamales. Add enough water to cover the top layer of tamales. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add vegetable oil. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Let soak for 30 minutes. This gives the cornmeal time to absorb the sauce.

Unroll the corn husks and serve the tamales. Cover the tamales with as much sauce as desired from the pot.

ADDITIONAL MEALS FROM THIS RECIPE

It’s possible that you might run out of pots to cook all the tamales you would otherwise make. You can use the excess meat mix as a burrito or taco filling. The remaining sauce in the pot makes an excellent chili soup. Reorganize the fridge. Make room for all this great food.

TIDBITS

1) My grandmother, who was born in Sonora, used to make tamales. I wish I remembered this better.

2) After making this dish, you’ll have a much greater appreciation of why tamales cost so much in stores and in restaurants. You’ll also see why establishments make tamales in such big batches.

3) Profusely thank your sweetheart who cleans up after your cooking. If you don’t have a sweetheart, consider finding one to help you tidy up after making tamales.

4) There is a Tamale Museum in Newport Beach, California. Featured there are paintings of Los Angeles’ taco trucks.

5) The first tamale factory in America opened in Austin, Texas in 1911. Prior to that, America was in the culinary dark ages.

6) There is a tamale factory in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It opened in 1939. I’ve been there. Their food is good. People in Northwest Mississippi are serious about their tamales. Who knew?

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

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