Posts Tagged With: mushrooms

Beef Smore From Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Entree

BEEF SMORE

INGREDIENTS

2 pound piece of sirloin or beef chuck
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
1 large onion
1 small green chile
1 stalk lemongrass (tender inner bottom part only)
2½ tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2″ cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10 fresh curry leaves or ½ teaspoon dry curry leaves or curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1¼ cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon or tamarind juice

Serves 6. Takes 2 hour 30 minutes

PREPARATION

Make holes in beef with fork. (This will aid in marinating.) Add beef, vinegar, and pepper to bowl. Marinate for 1 hour.

While beef marinates. Mince garlic cloves, ginger root, green chile, and onion. Seed and mince green chile. Thinly slice lemongrass. Add ghee to pan. Heat ghee at high heat until is hot enough to make a fenugreek seed dance. Carefully add beef to pan. Sauté for 2 minutes on each side or until browned all over. Remove meat to plate. Leave beef juices in pan.

Add garlic, ginger, green chile, onion, cinnamon stick, fenugreek seeds, fresh curry leaves. and lemongrass. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. Add beef back to pan. Add beef, red pepper flakes, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Lower heat to low and simmer 40 minutes or until the beef reaches your desired level of doneness and coconut milk reduces to a gravy. Turn beef over every 10 minutes. Slice beef to your desired thickness. Spoon onion gravy over beef slices.

TIDBITS

1) At first, Sri Lankan Beef Smores were cooked on a handy twig over an open flame.

2) But the weight of the meat made the twig snap

3) The sirloin would fall into the ashy fire pit.

4) Chefs then shouted, “I need more sirloin.”

5) So many sirloins landed on ashes that this requested shortened to, “I need smore sirloin.”

6) Then eventually to “Smore” by the Monosyllabic Chef Association (MCA).

7) And so it went. Sirloin after sirloin fell into one campfire pit after another.

8) This food wastage bankrupted one restaurant after another.

9) Clearly, the food-service industry needed a new idea.

10) And in 1619, Chef Kasun Perera revolutionized everything when he said, “Why not move this meal indoors? We won’t get rained on.”

11) “Or even stampeded by elephants.”

12) Sure, moving the meal to avoid getting crushed by wild beasts seems obvious now.

13) But isn’t the way with all new ideas?

14) No, not all new ideas arise from Stampeding Elephant Fear Syndrome (SEFS). Rather, all new ideas will eventually seem obvious.

15) You could have skipped to this tidbit from tidbit 11, but it wasn’t obvious then. It is now. See?

16) Or even have skipped to here. Any way, moving fire pits inside dramatically lessened the number of deaths due to elephants.

17)However, way too many restaurants burned to the ground from the flames in the open pits.

18) Customers look askance at fleeing a burning restaurant.

19) The restaurant industry needed another fertile mind.

20) It got with Tharindi Bandari, when in 1878, he said, “How about cooking things on a pan on a metal stove?” They will be no fires when we cook our beef smores this way.”

21) It’s impossible to overstate how this brainstorm transformed cooking.

22) Now, the entire world enjoys fire-storm free dining.

23) America came up with a different solution to the ashy sirloin problem. In 1958 little Timmy Perkins replaced the ingredients of the Sri Lankan Beef Smore with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate saying, “The weight of melting marshmallow will never break our twig.” It worked! It tasted great. “I’ll have smore,” said Timmy’s dad. And in 1997, Timmy’s brilliance would win him the Noble Price for Culinary Achievement.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Use, #1, The Kitchen Timer

Dear readers,

Today we learn to use the kitchen timer. You may have one that looks like this.

Here are the two things you must know if you wish to master the art of cooking with a kitchen timer. Or so a friend has told me.

1) Get a loud one. You won’t hear a quiet timer if you’re in a room far, far away from the kitchen looking a pictures of cats on FacebookTM. The alarm will go off unnoticed. The oven will continue baking, eventually turning your once magnificent creation into charcoal.

2)  After setting the timer, it’s absolutely essential to start it going. Having the timer remain at 20:00 will not help you at all.

Try this! And as always, bon appetit.

– 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, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

French Fry Soup

American Soup

FRENCH FRY SOUP

INGREDIENTS

½ pound French fries (leftovers or cooked)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 green onions
½ cup milk
6 tablespoons sour cream
½ cup cheese, grated (your favorite type)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add French fries, broth, pepper, and salt to pot. Bring to boil at high heat. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 3 minutes or until fries become quite tender. Stir occasionally. Pour contents into food processor. Puree until smooth. Return contents back to pot.

Dice green onions. Add milk and sour cream to pot. Mix with fork until well blended. Simmer at low-medium heat. Gradually add cheese. Stir constantly until well blended. Simmer at low-medium heat until cheese melts. Stir enough to prevent sticking. Garnish with green onion.

TIDBITS

1) This is an excellent recipe for using up those mounds of French fries you get from eating out. If you go use the drive through at a McDonald’sTM or a Burger KingTM, each and every order of hamburger and chicken sandwich will be met by “Do you want fries with that?” I’ve ever been asked if I wanted fries with that after ordering fries. Being the kind soul that you are, you always say, “Yes.” Soon, you are bringing home enough French fries to catapult a NASATM capsule into orbit.

2) This mania for adding fries extends to formal sit-down restaurants. One has to be quite diligent to find a dish that doesn’t come with a side of fries. Ice cream is the only item that comes to mind.

3) People cannot possibly eat all the French fries they bring home. So they throw it in the trash. A lot of trash makes it to the oceans. Millions of tons of fries congregate to form huge floating islands, large enough for jet fighters. As of now, various countries,–I’m not a liberty to mention them–are eying these French-fry islands as floating air-force bases. Such an increase of air power, particularly in the western Pacific Ocean would certainly destabilize the balance of power over there. This would be dangerous. Prevent war! Use up all your left-over fries with this recipe.

– 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, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Khoresh Ghormeh Sabzi

Iranian Entree

KHORESH GHORMEH SABZI
(Herb Meat Stew)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup basmati rice or rice
1½ pounds stewing beef or lamb
1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil (2 more tablespoons later)
¼ cup fresh cilantro*
¼ cup fresh fenugreek leaves*
¼ cup fresh garlic chives or green onions or fresh chives*
4 green onions
½ cup fresh parsley*
½ tablespoon turmeric
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2½ cups water

* = As a rule, you may substitute an amount of fresh herbs with ⅓ the amount of dried herbs.

Serves 5. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Cook rice according to instructions on package. While rice cooks, chop beef into 1″ cubes. Mince onion. Dice cilantro, fenugreek leaves, garlic chives, green onions, and parsley. Add onion and 2 tablespoons olive oil to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add beef cubes and turmeric. Sauté at medium heat for 5 minutes or until beef cubes brown on all sides.

Add cilantro, fenugreek leaves, garlic chives, green onions, parsley, and 2 tablespoons olive oil to small pan. Sauté at medium heat for 3 minutes or until herbs start to wilt. Stir frequently. Add sautéed veggies and herbs to large pan. Add kidney beans, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and water. (There should be enough water to cover ingredients by 1″.) Simmer on low heat for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Serve over rice.

TIDBITS

1) Eating khoresh ghormeh sabzi makes you smart. Hence, people who eat this entree are known as “ghormehful” or “gormful.” However, folks who don’t eat khoresh ghormeh sabzi have, of course no ghormeh inside themselves. They are known as “gormless.” Those who refuse to eat ghormeh are called “gormless fools,” particularly so in Britain where culinary intelligence is particularly valued.

– 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, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Falafel (Tamiya) From Egypt

Egyptian Appetizer

FALAFEL
(Tamiya)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dried fava beans* (aka broad beans)
1 small onion
8 green onions
2 garlic cloves
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable oil (Enough to cover falafel patties)

* = Look in Middle Eastern supermarkets, supermarkets selling mostly organic food, or online. Also see if you can get these dried beans with the skins already removed. If you can only find canned fava beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
large no-stick pan

Serves 6. Takes overnight for soaking plus 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add fava beans to large pot. Cover with water. Cover with lid and let soak overnight.

Rinse fava beans. Rub skins off beans. Add onion, green onion, garlic, baking powder, coriander, cumin, salt, fresh cilantro, and fresh parsley to food processor. Blend until everything is blended and minced. Add beans, Blend only until beans form a paste. (If the beans are blended more, your falafel might fall apart later.) Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape bean paste in 1″ balls. Flatten balls until they are ½” thick patties. Add oil, enough to cover patties, to large no-stick pan. Heat oil at high heat until bubbles form on the bottom. Carefully add falafel patties to pan. Don’t let them touch each other. (You will need to cook in batches.) Fry patties until golden brown. (This happens quickly.) Remove patties and drain on paper towels. Goes quite well with warm pita bread, hummus, and tomato salad.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is an appetizer. Culinary cryptographers will tell you that “appetizer” comes from an anagram for “Zap Peter I.”

2) And culinary linguists know that “zap” comes from the Russian “zapkya.” This word means to assassinate, kill, plot against, and otherwise dethrone and overthrow by means of feeding appetizers to the hated tsar.”

3) So, zap Peter I means to overthrow Peter I, perhaps even kill. Tsar Peter I was not completely enamored of this concept. Particularly so when the streltsky, Russian musketeers, engineered coups against him by serving appetizers to the palace guard. “Have some appetizers,” they said to the guards, “They’re quite tasty.” And they were. So much so that the entire guard ate and ate until they all had to take lengthy naps.

4) While the palace guard napped, the musketeers rounded up Peter’s supporters and imprisoned them. The streltsky would then enthrone in a figurehead, one who could be counted on the double the daily vodka ration.

5) Doubling the vodka ration made the musketeers drunk and pass out. Peter then reclaimed power while the streltsky lolled around in drunken stupors. Eventually, the musketeers sobered up and fed appetizers to the palace guards again.

6) And so it went, appetizers put the musketeers’ figurehead in power again. Drunken binges enabled Peter I to get back in control.

7) Then on April 1, 1698, Peter I experienced a brainstorm. Why not try giving the musketeers rivers of vodka AND appetizers? The idea worked. The besotted musketeers became so logy from eating platter after platter of appetizers, they slept themselves into oblivion.

8) Peter I, tsar of all the Russias, took advantage of the streltsky’s lasting inertia to tie them up. When they came to, they found themselves on a giant iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. The musketeers had enough food to last 30 days, along with hundreds of ping pong battles and ping pong balls. Tsar Peter had thoughtfully provided them also with enough pencils and entry forms to the First Winter Ping Pong Arctic Ocean Tournament.

9) Culinary historians doubt that the musketeers ever finished the tournament. The strong winter gales prevalent would have simply blown one ping pong ball after another into oblivion. At any rate, the marooned men would have found hitting remaining white ping pong balls quite difficult in the ever present white blizzards.

10) But the constant appetizer-fed revolts burned a lesson into Tsar Peter I’s brain. Never let any Russian eat appetizers. In 1699, he ordered the destruction of all the restaurants making appetizers.
No one would ever “Zap Peter I.”

11) But in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II foolishly permitted the making of appetizers. Lenin and Trotsky fed appetizers to the palace guard who fell asleep. The communists seized power. We are still living with the consequences of the Russian Revolution. Now you know why.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Llapingachos

Ecuadorian Entree

LLAPINGACHOS
(Potato Cheese Patties)

INGREDIENTS – POTATOES

½ small white onion (½ small onion more later)
2½ pounds russet or brown potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (additional ¼ cup vegetable oil later)
½ tablespoon achiote powder
3 green onions
¼ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 cup queso blanco, queso fresco, quesillo, or mozzarella cheese
¼ cup vegetable oil (or ¼ cup per batch)

INGREDIENTS – SALSA DE MANI

1¼ cups milk
½ small white onion (See? I told you it would show up again.)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
¼ teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSIL

potato masher

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – POTATOES

Dice ½ small white onion. Peel potatoes. Cut each potato into eight pieces. Put potato pieces into large pot. Add enough water to cover potato bits. Bring water to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove potatoes and let cool.

While potatoes and then cool, add 2 tablespoons oil, onion, and achiote powder to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Drain potatoes Mash potatoes with potato masher. Mince green onions. Add white onion, green onion, and salt to mashed potatoes. Mix with fork until well blended.

Form mashed-potato mix into 16 balls. Insert 1 tablespoon queso blanco into center of each potato ball. Close hole in potato ball and flatten slightly to make llapingachos. Add ¼ cup oil and llapingachos to pan. Heat oil using low-medium heat. Do not let llapingachos touch. Sauté for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Gently turn over once. Repeat for each batch.

PREPARATION – SALSA DE MANI

While potatoes cook and then cool, slice ½ small white onion into 4 pieces. Add this white onion and milk to pan. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to keep milk from burning. Remove onion and discard. Add peanut butter and salt. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until peanut-butter sauce, salsa de mani thickens. Spread warm salsa de mani over llapingachos.

TIDBITS

1) Ever get deja vu? Like you read this recipe some twenty years ago? Or maybe you knew tonight’s dinner would be pot roast? Okay, maybe you knew that because today is Tuesday and you always have pot roast on Tuesday. But what about the time you saw Spiffy the Squirrel win the Boston Marathon and only you had known he’d win because you somehow had seen it happen a week ago?

2) Anagram scientists know now that deja vu is not merely a feeling but instead that alga, the stuff that grows on the surface on ponds, are trying to communicate to us from the future. It’s true! Fishermen, golfers, and politicians will tell you the same. Look at the name of this dish, Llapingachos” That word is an anagram for “alga phonics.”

3) In 2032, internet providers, locked in ever increasing competition search looked frantically for faster and faster ways of data transmission. On April 2nd , Timothy “Timothy” Harris, Ph.D and CEO. of Harris Labs dropped his cell phone in an alga-ridden pond. To his surprise, it still dried out instantly! It still worked! It even worked 38% faster than before! Timmy’s brain swirled with exclamations marks. He’d win a Nobel Prize! Then his phone stopped transmitting. The screen stayed on, but the wallpaper switched to pond scum. Dr. Harris slapped his forehead. But, of course, the alga now in his phone had dissolved and replaced its the precious metals. The phone would now only send forth images and concepts the alga understood.

4) Indeed the alga, relatively dim witted due to their single-cell existence and, to be frank, lack of any secondary education to speak of, couldn’t comprehend even the simplest text messages such, “lol” or “smh.” Clearly, alga needed to up their linguistic skills. But how to do this?

5) Timothy had another “aha” moment. Didn’t there, wasn’t there, a program called “Hooked on PhonicsTM? Did they ever make a version for alga? They had! It was still out there on EBayTM. Would this program work on specific single-celled organisms? It would! Harris Labs’ revolutionary cell phones took the communication world by storm. However, Dr. Harris feared industrial espionage and never wrote down the specifics of his invention. But how would he remember to process to make his phones? After all, he was scatter-brained after all.

6) Simple. For in 2033, he had a flash of insight. Could phonics-enabled alga send messages back in time to people’s brains if they were first coded in anagrams? Yes, yes, it proved to be so! Who knew? All you had to receive this message was to walk by a stagnant pond. So yes, whenever you experience deja vu, it is really coming from alga way into the future.

7) “Remember, alga phonics,” thought Dr. Harris. What was an anagram for “alga phonics?” Why no other than the Ecuadorian dish, llapingachos! The great scientist fed this word to his alga who keep forwarding the recipe back in time to us. This is why we keep hankering for this recipe.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Risotto

Italian Appetizer

RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS

5½ cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, or oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio* rice
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter

* = The properties of Arborio are important to this dish. The best substitute for Arborio is Carnaroli, with regular short-grain rice to be used only in a pinch.

Serves 10 or 5 if served as an entree. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth to pot. Simmer at warm heat. While broth simmers, mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice Italian parsley. Add garlic, onion, and olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently

Add rice. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 3 minutes or until rice smells toasty and turns translucent. Stir frequently, making sure rice is thoroughly coated with olive oil. Add wine. Sauté until rice absorbs all the liquid. Stir frequently. Add broth 1 cup at time. Stir gently after each addition until the rice absorbs the broth. This should take about 25 minutes with the rice being creamy and al dente, just a little bit firm. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

TIDBITS

1) Karl Marx visited lovely Florence in 1848. While waiting forever for an espresso, Crabby Karl listened as workers at the next table complained loudly and endlessly about the oppressive Austrian rule over their city. His patience exhausted, he yelled at the workers, “So, riot.” They did. Fortunately, the chef had been whipping up a new rice dish. He served the workers just as they were about to go and throw bricks at the constabulary. The workers loved their risotto. They completely lost their urge to run amuck. The anagramist among them said, “no ‘so, riot.’” He lifted up his bowl of rice. “Risoto.” A typo turned that into “Risotto. Oh, and Karl would go on to other things.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The French Plan For World Domination

Gentle Readers,

France, having failed to take over world under Louis XIV and Napoleon I, is on the march again. Oh no, this time it’s quest for world domination will not occur by force of arms. Mais non, it’s trying to take over one kitchen at a time. Then one house at a time. Then one city at a time and finally one nation at a time.

“But how,” you say, “is this possible?”

I’m glad you asked. A piece of what looks to be dried or cooked meat looking like France will show up mysteriously by your kitchen burner. If this dried-meat France is left undisturbed for more than an hour, it will emit waves that will turn your brain into one that loves France, loves everything French, and will live, fight, and die for La Belle France. That’s okay, but you will find yourself loving mushrooms, lamb’s brain, raw hamburger meat, and buttered snails.

Don’t let this happen! Keep your kitchen immaculate. At all times. And if you happen to like mushrooms, then you were most likely briefly exposed to a dried-meat France. See your doctor immediately and ever year after that.

Remember if you don’t tell your kids about buttered snails, then who will?

– 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: food, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pumpkin Seed Meatballs (Kanda)

Central African Entree

PUMPKIN SEED MEATBALLS
(Kanda)

INGREDIENTS

3½ cups shelled, lightly toasted pumpkins or squash seeds
6 garlic cloves
1 medium onion (1 more later)
1¼ pounds ground beef
½ cup water (if needed)
1 medium onion
4 tomatoes
1 cayenne chile pepper or chile pepper
6 tablespoons palm oil or peanut oil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup fresh parsley

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
mandoline (optional)

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add pumpkin seeds to food processor. Grind seeds until they become a powder. Mince garlic and 1 onion. Add pumpkin-seed powder, garlic, and onion to large mixing bowl. Blend with hands. (If needed to form a moist round meatball, gradually add up to ½ cup water, blending each time water is added.) Form mix into 1″ meatballs and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While meatballs chill, use mandoline to cut 1 onion into ¼” strips. Dice tomatoes. Seed and mince cayenne pepper. Add palm oil to large pan. Heat oil at medium-high heat or until a little bit of onion in oil starts to dance. Add onion slices, tomato, and cayenne chile pepper. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion slices soften. Stir frequently. Add pepper and salt. Stir.

Add 1 cup water. Bring water and sauce to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Gently add meatballs to pan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. Reduce heat to warm-low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. Dice parsley. Garnish meatballs with parsley. This entree goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) Pumpkins are round. Balloons are also round.

2) This similarity is no coincidence; Louis XVI loved pumpkin seeds.

3) What the king of France wanted, the king of France got.

4) So great merchant fleets set out from France to import pumpkins from the Spanish territory of Peru. These Peruvian pumpkins cost the royal treasury a million francs every year.

5) Disaster struck in 1777. Pirates based from British Jamaica captured the French fleet bound for Peru, along with its many chests of gold. This loss proved such a blow to French finances that its treasury wouldn’t recover until the next tidbit.

6) King Louis hired Jacques Necker to handle France’s money matter. For Monsieur Necker knew how to get the best price for everything, centuries before AmazonTM even. Many even said he’d able to count up to six billion if given enough time. And that is how many francs he borrowed.

7) The French navy could now buy enough ships to escort their pumpkin fleets to and from France. Then boom! The American Revolution started. France went to war with the British. The French fleet helped America gain its independence.

8) However, French naval expenditures trained the French treasury. Its navy wouldn’t put to sea for decades. This left King Louis’ annual pumpkin fleets unescorted, easy prey for British ships of the line.

9) What to do? Louis XVI having scooped out all the pumpkin seeds, looked down at the empty pumpkin and had an epiphany. Why not carry Peru’s pumpkins seeds back using giant, balloons made from empty pumpkins?

10) Well, of course, the Peruvian pumpkins of 1781 were not big enough to make balloons or even the baskets beneath them. So France bought up an enormous pumpkin farm in Peru dedicated to making enormous pumpkins. No franc was left unspent in pursuit of the venture.

11) By 1789, Louis XVI had no money. His finance minister asked the French nobility if it would accept new taxes. It said, “Na, na, na, poo, poo.” So Necker asked all of France for a gigantic weenie roast to discuss ways to raise revenue. Fine suggestions were made, then disaster struck. A nobleman cut in front of a long line of peasants waiting for weenies. Words were said. Knives with drawn. Before you could say François’s your uncle the French Revolution began.

12) King Louis would lose his head in the ensuing kerfuffle. Napoleon would seize power and discontinue the bigger-pumpkin experiment in Peru. So bummer.

13) However, so good came out of Louis’ misfortune. America borrowed the idea of France’s Great Weenie Roast of 1789 to celebrate every Fourth of July. And Peru’s big pumpkins are still the envy of 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Greenlandic Cake

Greenlandic Appetizer

GREENLANDIC CAKE

INGREDIENTS – CAKE

7 tablespoons butter
1 cup lukewarm milk
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) yeast
⅔ cup raisins
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
4 cups flour
no-stick spray
2 tablespoons cold coffee
1½ tablespoons sugar, pearl or confectioner’s

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
bread pan

Serves 8. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – CAKE

Add butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Add milk. Stir gently until well blended. Add in yeast, stirring gently as you do so. Mix gently until yeast dissolves. Add raisins, salt, and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add flour. Knead with bread maker or by hand for 10 minutes or until you get a smooth dough.

Place dough on flat surface, cover with towel, and let stand for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 390 degrees 15 minutes before dough has finished standing. Spray bread ban with no-stick spray. Add dough to bread pan. Spread coffee on top with brush. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 390 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) The fierce Vikings of old loved cakes, particularly this cake. They got a might testy, particularly when they didn’t get their favorite dessert. Indeed, the Vikings were apt to loot whole cities when in such a mood. What towns did the berserk Norsemen target? Why, the ones with lots and lots of flour and milk, of course, there being no wheat fields or cowherds in icy, cold Greenland.

2) Why didn’t the Vikings simply move to mainland Europe where there were wheat and cows in abundance? Why not set up cake bakeries there? Because all the great Viking cake makers would only live in Greenland. Something about being able to always step out into cold Arctic air after a long day working beside hot ovens. So you can see, if air-conditioned kitchen had been available in the ninth century, there were have been no Fury of the Norsemen. Something to chew on.

– 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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