Posts Tagged With: paintings

Roasted Chestnuts

American Dessert

ROASTED CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound chestnuts (most of the fresh ones are available in Autumn)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

baking pan

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven preheats, cut an “x” that covers one entire side on each chestnut. Make the cut deep enough to cut through the shell. (This makes the chestnut easy to peel. It also keeps it from exploding. This really can happen if you omit this step.)

Place chestnuts on baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until chestnuts become tender, the chestnut shells start to open and become easy to peel, and the edible nut that’s inside turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Cover with kitchen towel. Let cool for 5 minutes. Peel and eat immediately.

TIDBITS

1) As you can see, the left chestnut in the above photo is unpeeled. It also has an “x” cut into it by a knife. This makes it much easier to peel. The two chestnuts on the right have been peeled and are ready to eat. ☺

2) But wait! This narrative gets even more exciting. ☺☺

3) When prehistoric tribes decided to cut “x”s on chestnuts, they inadvertently developed the game Tic-Tac-Toe. The uncut chestnuts became “zero” or the letter “o.” These doughty cavemen were already two letters on the way to the present English alphabet. Go, cavemen, go! Excelsior!

4) Then one fine summer day caveman Carl La Fong invented the letter “b.” (We know about La Fong because he signed his cave paintings. They’re worth quite a bit if you can discover one.) Ancient peoples could now spell the word “box.”

5 Before you knew it, peoples everywhere had an alphabet and words for everything. Not much later, the word “box” led to actual boxes. CheeriosTM and AmazonTM became possible. And we owe it all to chestnuts and the visionary Carl La Fong. Yay.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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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Chicken Banh Mi

Vietnamese Entree

CHICKEN BANH MI

INGREDIENTSChickenBanhMi-

4 8″ baguettes (not overly cripsy)
3 medium carrots
¼ pound daikon
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup rice vinegar
2 Thai red chiles or jalapeños
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil                                                                           Not a Van Gogh painting
½ cup aioli sauce (see recipe) or mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 cucumber
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSIL

cookie sheet

Makes 4 banh mi sandwiches. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Split baguettes in half along their lengths. Grate, or julienne, carrots and daikon. Add sugar and rice vinegar to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove and let cool. Add carrot and daikon to pot. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While carrots and daikon marinate, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mince Thai red chiles. Cut chicken breasts into 1″-wide strips. Add Thai red chiles, lime juice, garlic salt, pepper, and chicken to large mixing bowl. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes. While chicken marinates, add aioli sauce and sriracha to small mixing bowl. Blend together with whisk. Dice cilantro. Slice cucumber into thin circles.

Coat chicken breasts with vegetable oil. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Add baguette halves to oven. Turn chicken over. Bake chicken and baguettes for 10 minutes or chicken is no longer pink inside and baguettes are lightly toasted.

Spread aioli/sriracha sauce on baguette half. Add an equal layer of cucumber circles to each baguette. Add an equal of chicken strips to each baguette, followed by a layer of mixed carrot and daikon. Sprinkle each baguette with diced cilantro.

TIDBITS

1) Bright, vibrant colors emanate from chicken banh mi. See above photo.

2) The artist Van Gogh (1856-1893) is famous for his bright, vibrant paintings such as Sunflower and starry night. His character is depicted in the well-loved Doctor Who episode, “Vincent and the Doctor,” where he saves the universe. Well done, Vincent.

3) Food always inspired Vincent. His first famous painting is “The Potato Eaters” (1885), known by everyone who has known of it. It was typical of an artistic style called brown gravy, where the only colors on a painter’s palette were: beige, light brown, ecru (remember that for crossword puzzles), brown, dark brown, and chocolate brown.

4) However, Vincent’s magnificent obsession with food developed earlier, certainly after birth and before death.

5) He wrote, during this period of life, wrote many letters to his brother. Food provided the dominant, recurring theme of these epistles.

6) In his letter of September 17, 1875, Vincent worries his brother, Theo, isn’t eating properly. He admonishes his brother to eat lots of bread. Just twelve day later, Vincent tells Theo to eat more bread. On August 18, 1877, the great artist tells his sibling to eat bread as it deters people from suicide. He cites Dickens as his source for this bit of knowledge.

7) Clearly, Vincent did not belong to the gluten-free school of painting.

8) Vincent did take a brief walk on the wild side, when he favored oatmeal over bread. (See his letters of November 9 and November 15, 1875.) Culinary-art historians still debate the reason for this. The dominant view seems to be that his illnesses had been flaring up more than usual. Others maintain that Vincent had simply gone off feed.

9) Then? I don’t know. I cleverly managed to print out only the first nine of Vincent’s twenty-five food-and-drink letters to his brother.

10) Then my friggin’ printer jammed. By the time the cussing had stopped and the printer actually was willing to work again, the mood for research had passed. Hey, don’t judge me.

11) One of Van Gogh’s few non-vegetarian paintings is “Prawns and Mussels” (1886). Everybody loves shrimp and Vincent was no exception. His one true love, however, was potatoes as his many spud painting testify. He did have brief flings with: citrus, cabbage-red and green, onions, grapes, apples, and even quinces!! His one true love, however, was potatoes as his many spud paintings testify.

12) In 2010, the Doctor and Amy Pond visit Vincent with their TARDIS. The Doctor tells Vincent that he shall become the greatest painter of all time. Vincent abandons his bread mania and paints many famous non-culinary paintings. Vincent dies within a year.

13) The great artist would probably have lived long if he had only stayed with still lifes of potatoes. Something to think about for aspiring artists.

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

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