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Cottage Pie

British Entree

COTTAGE PIE

INGREDIENTS – MASHED POTATOES

4 medium potatoes
⅔ cup milk
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon more later)
½ cup Cheddar cheese (¼ cup more later)

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

2 carrots*
1 garlic clove*
1 onion*
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons fresh parsley**
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary**
2 teaspoons fresh thyme**
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups beef broth
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup frozen peas*

INGREDIENT – FINAL

¼ cup Cheddar cheese

SPECIAL UTENSILS

potato masher
9″ round casserole dish
sonic obliterator (This gadget really is essential for the modern kitchen.)

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes..

* = There is a fierce controversy over what veggies go into a cottage pie. You are one your own on this one. Carrots and peas are the most popular. You’ll probably want a sonic obliterator on hand in case one of your guests argues with you over your vegetable choice. It’s okay to zap them with your sonic obliterator. There is indeed a legal precedent for this. (See M. Soult v M. Oudinot, 1809) Just remember, a cottage pie uses beef while a shepherd’s pie uses lamb.

** = If you don’t have fresh herbs handy, use 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.

PREPARATION – MASHED POTATOES

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add potatoes and enough water to cover them to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato cubes are tender. Drain water. Add milk. Mash potato cubes with potato masher. Add pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup cheese. Stir with fork until well blended.

PREPARATION – FILLING

While potatoes boil and simmer, dice carrots, garlic clove, and onion. Add carrot, garlic, onion, and beef to large pan. Cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Briefly remove from heat. Dice parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, and flour to pan.

Add beef broth, ½ teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Add contents from mixing bowl to pan. Return pan to heat. Simmer at low-medium heat for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir frequently enough to prevent burning. Stir in peas.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Add filling to casserole dish. Smooth until level. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over filling. If you are adventurous, use fork to make swirly designs in the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheese over mashed potatoes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Serve to appreciative guests. Use sonic obliterator on the ungrateful ones.

TIDBITS

1) Cottage pie uses peas. Peas were likely eaten by Neanderthals 46,000 years ago.

2) Because peas help with: protein, blood-sugar management, digestion, your heart, and protects against cancer. But even so, the Neanderthals died out just 6,000 years later. Why?

3) We know that peas were eaten by modern humans, Cro Magnons 23,000 years ago. So apparently, they went 17,000 years without peas. Yet their branch of the human family tree prospered, Cro Magnon’s descendants walk among us today. I confess to being one of them.

4) Culinary anthropologists agree on the following explanation. From 40,000-to-23,000 thousand years ago, Neanderthals and Cro Magnons engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Both sides strove to gain control of the life-sustaining, wild-pea patches. Ultimately, the Cro Magnons prevailed. So, they lived. The pealess Neanderthals went extinct. Bummer.

5) The Romans ate peas. The built, by conquest, one of the greatest empires in history. The Saxons did not eat peas. The Normans did. This explains the Norman Conquest in 1066.

6) So when your parents told you to eat your peas, they knew what was at stake.

 

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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Stew From Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean Entree

CHICKEN STEW

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs
½ green chile
1 carrot
1 garlic clove
1 onion
1 tomato
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons parsley
½ teaspoon thyme
2½ cups chicken stock

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Cut chicken breasts into 3 pieces each and thighs into 2 pieces. Seed green chile. Dice green chile, carrot, garlic, onion, and tomato.

Rub chicken pieces with pepper and salt. Add chicken and olive oil to pot. Sauté at medium heat for 10 minutes or until chicken pieces are no longer pink on the outside. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken. Add green chile, carrot, garlic, and onion to pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently.

Add basil, parsley, thyme, tomato, and chicken stock. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Add chicken pieces. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe calls for ½ green chile. Stores don’t sell a half of a green chile. Not even if you ask nicely. But then you’ll have an extra half green chile that you don’t need and won’t need. So you throw it away.

2) But all our lives, religious leaders, civic leaders, teachers, and parents have all instructed us with, “Waste not, want not.” Yet here we are, wasting a half chile. This sort of conflict stresses us. It drives our slowly mad, unless we buy a carton of ice cream. Ice cream reduces stress. And, of course, we always eat the entire carton. So we never waste a single bit of cream. Now we are, “Wasting not, wanting not.” We can once again feel good about ourselves and be at peace with the world. There you go.

 

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.

Categories: cuisine, international, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Non (Tajikistani Flat Bread)

Tajikistani Appetizer

NON
(Flat Bread)

INGREDIENTSnon

2¼ cups flour (2 more tablespoons later)
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup water
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1⅔ tablespoons more later)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (½ teaspoon at a time)
½ teaspoon black onion seeds, aka nigella stiva
2 teaspoons minced shallot
Enough ice cubes to fill an 8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

SPECIAL UTENSILS

cookie sheet
parchment paper
8″ casserole bowl or oven-safe pot

Makes 4 flat breads. Takes 3½-to-4 hours.

PREPARATION

Add 2¼ cups flour to large mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, and yeast to separate spots on the sides of the flour. Use fist to make a well in the middle of the flour. Add water to well in flour. Knead all ingredients thoroughly for 5 minutes. Make a well in dough with fist. Add yogurt. Knead thoroughly for 5 minutes. Add a little bit of water, if necessary, to make a sticky dough.

Spread 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on flat surface. Add dough to flat surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until dough becomes smooth. Make dough into ball. Spread 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to sides of large mixing bowl. Put dough ball in mixing bowel. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 1½-to-2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Cover flat surface with parchment paper. Dust parchment paper with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough to surface. Flatten dough with hands to knock excess air out. Form dough into ball again. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes-to-1 hour or until dough doubles in size a second time.

While dough is doubling in size a second time, put cookie sheet on top rack in oven and heat to 500 degrees. (You really do want the cookie sheet to be hot when you place the dough circles on it.) Divide into 8 balls. Roll balls out until they are 6″ wide circles. Use a fork to make a 4″ circular depression in the middle of each dough circle. Add an equal amount of shallot to each depression. Brush an ½ teaspoon vegetable oil over each dough circle. Sprinkle onion seeds equally over each dough circle.

Remove cookie sheet from oven. Carefully slide dough covered parchment paper onto HOT cookie sheet. (For goodness sake, use oven mitts.) Place cook sheet on upper rack in oven. Add ice cubes to casserole bowl. Place casserole bowl on lower rack in oven. (This will gradually create steam.) Bake at 500 degrees for 7-to-15 minutes or until breads turn golden brown. Serve hot.

TIDBITS

1) “Non” is Tajikistani for “a type of flatbread.”

2) “Non” is also French for “no.”

3) “Non” is English for “not” as in “non-alcoholic beer.”

4) It is easy to see from these three tidbits alone that languages are different.

5) Miming is the same everywhere, though.

6) And hateful. How often have you suffered through a diner trying to mime his order of a cheeseburger, medium-well done, with a toasted sesame-seed bun, Romaine lettuce, not iceberg lettuce, deli-mustard, caramelized onions, and organic, non-GMO ketchup, all topped with a fried egg from an open-pasture egg? I know! All the time. It takes forever.

7) After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the leaders of America and Russia stopped miming when talking on the hot line. The nuances of the unseen mimed message proved just too much to pick up for the listener.

8) They still don’t mime even though we can now communicate visually. It’s just too slow. Suppose our president rings up their president to mime, “Oops. Sorry. My bad. Err, there’s no easy way to mime this, but we accidentally launched a nuclear missile at Moscow. Please deploy your anti-missile defenses right away. I’m most dreadfully embarrassed. And how’s the wife and kids?”

9) First of all, miming all that would take twenty-nine minutes, leaving the esteemed Russian ruler only one minute to deploy his defensive shield. If … he had only interpreted the mime correctly. Instead he will understand you to mean, “Sorry, my sperm impregnated your wife. She will be giving birth to aardvark sextuplets.”

10) The Russians will have no time to respond. Moscow will be destroyed. The Russian president will be miffed. A permanent state of coolness will exist between the two leaders, making future summit dinners remarkably uncomfortable, even when the shrimp scampi is excellent.

11) So when you parents tell you, “Why don’t you call me, already?” there’s a reason for it.

 

 

– 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

Great Excuses For Late Homework

 1) Teacher, I wrote my homework on paper made of matter. While I was walking to school, my homework paper collided with homework paper made of anti-matter. Woowee! It was almost theSurlyPotatoes end of the universe. Thank goodness, it wasn’t, huh? Anyway, my homework and the anti-homework obliterated each other.

– (your name here)

2) My homework got contaminated with ebola.  Turning it in would only put you at great risk.

3) Plate tectonics, need I say more?

4) I was so tired when I did my homework that I inadvertently switched over to the ancient Incan language. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Ancient Incan, so I’ll need more time to redo it in English.

Surly potatoes

5) Lutefisk vendors moved into the neighborhood. Things got ugly.

6) I wrote my homework on edible paper. Then the dog ate it.

7) The dog ralphed the homework back up, but I figured you wanted something with clean, attractive margins.

8) My homework was erased from the hard drive by the NSA before I could print it out.

11) I took a shortcut to school through Boko Haram territory and they burned my homework in hatred for all Western teaching.

12) I got depressed over Sweden’s treatment in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

13) I’m living backward in time like Benjamin Button. I just haven’t unwritten it yet.

14) The mysterious forces that take single socks from the clothes dryer have switched to taking my homework.

15) Spontaneous combustion. Hoo boy! Good thing it didn’t happen while you were grading it.

16) I wrote it on ancient papyrus. London’s Museum of Egyptology wanted the papyrus back.

17) My homework got sucked into a black hole that’s parked outside my front door. Come in through the back if you want to speak to my parents.

18)  There were surly potatoes between me and my homework.

– Paul R. De Lancey, friend of students everywhere.

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: humor, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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