Posts Tagged With: Rome

Wanda Wunder Wonders About Roman Roads

Well?

Wanda Wunder #21

 

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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Costa Rican Chifrijo

Costa Rican Entree

CHIFRIJO

INGREDIENTS – PICO DE GALLO

4 Roma tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper (or ½ if you like it milder)
4 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon more later)

INGREDIENTS – MAIN

1⅓ cups rice
1 pound pork belly*
2 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow or white onion
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons salsa Lizano* or Worcestershire sauce

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

2 avocados
1 cup tortilla chips

* = Pork belly can be found at CostcoTM. They tend to sell in 5-to-6 pound packages. However, what you don’t use, can be sliced to make bacon.
* = Salsa Lizano can be found online and in ethnic supermarkets.

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION – PICO DE GALLO

Dice tomatoes, white onion, and cilantro. Seed and dice jalapeno. (Wash hands afterward. If you touch your face before washing, it will burn.) Put tomato, white onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl. Mix with spoon until well blended.

PREPARATION – MAIN

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Cut pork belly into ½” cubes. Dice garlic cloves and yellow onion.

Add pork-belly cubes, garlic, cumin, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt to small mixing bowl. Mix by hand until pork-belly cubes are well coated. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Heat olive oil using high heat until a tiny bit of garlic starts to dance in the oil. Add coated pork belly cubes. Sauté cubes for 10 minutes or until cubes turn golden brown and become mostly crispy. Stir frequently, especially so when they start to brown.

While pork belly sautés, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and yellow onion to pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until yellow onion softens. Stir frequently. Add red kidney beans and salsa Lizon. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until beans are warm. Stir occasionally

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel avocados and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove pits. Cut avocado halves into 4 slices each. Add equal amounts of cooked rice to 4 serving bowls. Top rice with red kidney beans and yellow onion,. Top red kidney beans with pork belly cubes (chicharrone). Finally, top chicharrone with pico de gallo. Garnish with avocado slices and tortilla chips.

TIDBITS

1) This dish uses Roma tomatoes.

2) Roma is Latin for Rome. The Romans had a word for everything.

3) The Roman legionnaires carried Roma tomatoes into battle.

4) When the Roman soldiers got close to the enemy’s forces, they’d hurl Roma tomatoes.

5) The tomatoes splattered on the faces of the opposing infantry. Tomato juice got into the eyes of the foe.

6) Clear-sighted Romans charged into the ranks of the blinded enemy. The professional Roman army would gain a decisive victory within minutes.

7) “LycopersiciSusceptibility et gladii,” “Tomatoes and Swords.” was the slogan of the Roman soldiers.

8) Indeed, early Roman emperors wore a purple robe with vivid red Roma tomatoes on it.

9) But in late 405, extreme frost conditions totally destroyed the entire Roman Empire’s crop of tomatoes. Barbarian hordes crossed the frozen Rhine River and plunged into the heart of the empire.

10) It had been quite a long time since the legionnaires had fought without tomatoes. They didn’t know how to fight without them. The confused Roman army could no longer hold the barbarian forces at bay.

12) So Rome lost battle after battle. The barbarian conquered everything. Mighty Rome was no more. This is why you should stock your pantry with tomatoes.

 

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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Huckleberry Milkshake

American Dessert

HUCKLEBERRY MILKSHAKE

INGREDIENTS

3 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
½ cup huckleberry preserves

SPECIAL UTENSIL

blender

Serves 4. Takes 5 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add all ingredients to blender. Set blender to milkshake. Blend until you get the consistency of a milkshake.

TIDBITS

1) Fresh huckleberries can be quite hard to find. Really, really hard As hard as finding yak butter? No, you find can buy fresh huckleberries in Wyoming when they’re in season.

2) Honest men, according to Diogenes, the ancient philosopher, are as hard to find as fresh huckleberries.

3) Diogenes, the ancient philosopher, carried a lamp with him as he wandered the days looking for an honest man. He never found a honest soul as most people walked away from him. What a loony, using a lamp when there was a perfectly good Sun in the sky illuminating everything.

4) Travelers also thought Diogenes was a highwayman out to steal their fresh huckleberries. Looking for honest men selling blueberries took up all Diogenes time. He had no time to get a good-paying job. So, he remained poor. Then he made a virtue of poverty. The little faker

5) It’s too bad. The Great Greek was a crackerjack philosopher when he put his mind to it. But he didn’t. Bereft of his calming philosophical guidance, the Greek city states plunged themselves in decades-long war where many died and all huckleberry farms withered away from neglect.

6) Some 100 years later the brainy mathematician, Archimedes, proved the proved the Earth to be round and, for extra credit, calculated its circumference. The Earth was round! Greek sailors could have traveled across the Atlantic Ocean without fear of falling off the edge of the Earth. Then it would have only been a hop, skip, and a jump to Wyoming, land of the huckleberries. But all knowledge of huckleberries had long since disappeared. Huckleberry deficient Greeks got conquered by Rome. All because of events set in motion by the obsessed Diogenes. Bummer.

 

– 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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North Dakota Caramel Rolls

American Dessert

NORTH DAKOTA CARAMEL ROLLS

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup white sugar
1 cup warm water
⅔ cup softened butter (⅓ cup + ½ cup more butter later)
4 cups flour (¼ cup more later)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¼ cup flour
⅓ cup melted butter (½ cup more later)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1¼ cups more later)
no-stick spray

INGREDIENTS – CARAMEL SAUCE

½ cup melted butter
1¼ cups brown sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater or bread maker
2 9″-x-13″ cake pans
sonic obliterator

Serves 12. Takes 3 hours.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add yeast, white sugar, and warm water to large mixing bowl. Blend with fork. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add ⅔ cup softened butter, and eggs. Gradually add 4 cups flour while mixing with electric beater until you get a smooth-and-slightly-sticky dough ball. (If using a bread machine, use the dough setting for 10 minutes.)

Dust flat surface with ¼ cup flour. Add dough ball to flat surface. Roll out dough until it is ⅛” thick. (This should require about 2 14″-x-8″ surfaces.) Brush dough with ⅓ cup melted butter. Sprinkle dough with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Roll up dough. Seal edge of dough by pressing it into dough roll. Cut dough roll into 12 equal pieces. Spray cake pans with no-stick spray. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour.

PREPARATION – CARAMEL SAUCE

While dough rolls rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add ½ cup melted butter and 1¼ cups brown sugar to pot. Heat using low-medium heat. Stir constantly until brown sugar melts. Add heavy cream, light corn syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour this caramel sauce over risen dough rolls. Bake dough rolls at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or they turn golden brown Serve immediately from the cake pans or wait 5 minutes, loosen rolls with knife and invert cake pan onto serving plate..

This is a long and possibly messy recipe what with flour dust flying everywhere. So, if your guests give you any guff about the rolls or for that matter anything really, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, certainly not in your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) I list the sonic obliterator as an essential utensil in many recipes. But can’t it be used as a weapon? Yes, yes it can. However, like many dual-use kitchen utensils, it started out with only a culinary role.

2) Everyone knows that Italian chefs have brought us many great inventions. The balloon comes to mind. In 1791 Paolo Sforza let an enormous cow stomach hang over a pot of steaming clams. Still, he was smart enough to realize its military potential. He sold the idea to the new French Republic of 1792. France then made balloons to watch for approaching armies. The monarchial powers of Europe could never catch the French forces by surprise. The French Revolution remained. Democracy’s spread became inevitable. America owes its democracy to the French Republic and, by extension, to an Italian chef inadvertently steaming a cow stomach.

3) But so many other kitchen utensils gave birth to weapons and vice versa. Here are some of them:

Knives: Stone knives were used to slay and eat mastodons. Stone Age raiders used them to attack villages. Early, early chefs carved bison steaks with long knives. Long knives became swords. Rome built its legendary empire with swords.

Spears: They arose from the wooden skewers cavemen used for mastodon kebabs.

Can Openers: English pikemen carried armor openers to get plate armor off French knights. Armor openers changed into can openers. So, whenever you open a can of Chef Boyarditm mini ravioli, give a moment to thank the victors of Agincourt in 1415.

4) In 2015 Chef Conti grew so tired of lugging beef fat to the bins outside that he invented the sonic obliterator. He’d make an entire tower of fat disappear with just one push of a button. Yay.

5) A few years later an American tourist so insulted Chef Cavour of La Mucca Ubriaca restaurant in Venice that obliterated the offending oaf. The oaf’s family had the police arrest the chef for murder. However Italy’s culinary courts acquitted the chef in the landmark case Oafs v Cavour, 2017. So behave yourself when you dine out.

6) Armies all over the world are frantically developing the sonic obliterator into a long range weapon suitable for modern combat. And so it goes.

 

– 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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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.

– 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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Flatbread From Somalia (Sabaayad)

Somali Appetizer

FLATBREAD
(sabaayad)

INGREDIENTSFlatbread-

2⅓ cups flour
⅔ cup wheat flour (another ⅓ cup later)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 to 1½ cups water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (another 4 teaspoons later)
⅓ cup flour
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet

PREPARATION

Add flour, wheat flour, and salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Add ghee. Mix again with whisk. Gradually add water to bowl. Knead flour and water by hand each time. Add water until dough becomes smooth and flexible. Let dough sit for 45 minutes.

Make 8 equal dough balls. Dust hard surface with ⅓ cup flour. Roll out dough ball into a circle 8″ wide. Spread ½ tablespoon oil evenly over dough circle. Fold edges of dough circle in so that four parts meat in the square. You should now have a square.FlatbreadDough-

Roll out square until it is again 8″ wide. (This gives the bread layers and makes it flakier.) Repeat for 7 remaining dough circles.

Set skillet to 325 degrees or medium. Place 8″ dough square in skillet. Let dough square cook for 1 minute or until dough square starts to puff. Flip the dough square and add ½ teaspoon oil evenly to the top. Cook for 1 minute. Continue to cook 1 minute per side until each side turns golden brown Repeat for the remaining 7 dough squares. Drain the golden brown flat breads of paper towels.

Serve warm with: fried eggs, honey, curries, or other stews

TIDBITS

1) The top picture on the previous page looks like a sock. The bottom picture on that page appears to be a sock puppet. These similarities are not an accident. There are an homage to the great Rome-to-Somalia olive-oil-for-socks trade.

2) This trade started in 31 BC after Caesar Augustus secured his position as emperor with his victory over Mark Anthony in the battle of Actium.

3) Rome desperately needed a new source of socks for its vaunted army. Without good socks, the legionnaires developed foot blisters. No soldier can march far with blistered feet. If the Roman legionnaires couldn’t march, they couldn’t catch the invading barbarian hordes before they looted and fired the Roman towns. Unfortunately, the long series of Roman civil wars, 83 BC – 31 BC had completely destroyed the once vibrant sock industry. Things looked grim. The Roman Empire was readt to collapse. The plays of Plautus, Terrance, and Maccius would have been replaced by barbarian reality plays.

6) Fortunately, in 18 BC, Primus Secundus Tertius, a goat herder set out from the tiny village of Perdiem in the southern Egypt to find a missing goat. He headed south, because all good goat herders know that goat only go missing in the south.

7) He walked for years looking for that goat. He was no quitter. Finally, he came across some villagers in Somalia. They were cooking lamb stew. The villagers didn’t give their real names upon meeting Primus for the first time. After all, Somalia is an anagram for Mo’ Alias.

8) While enjoying a delicious meal, Sam and the villagers engaged in pleasant conversation and swapped witty and urbane anagrams. Eventually, Sam handed his empty bowl to the villagers; his mother had raised him to always bring his dirty dishes to the sink. As he did so, he noticed a goat tag at the bottom of his bowl. It read, “Daphne, owned by Primus Secundus Tertius.” The villagers had killed his own goat. The fact that Daphne tasted great after being marinated in lemon juice and pepper only eased his rage a tiny bit.

9) With all the wonderful books deliberately burned in Alexandria’s magnificent library in 395 AD, it’s amazing and perhaps ironic that we have amazing that we have a partial, written record of the following conversation:

Primus: You killed my Daphne?
Villager #1: Who is this Daphne? No woman around here is called Daphne.
Villager #2: I think he means his goat. Roman goat herders like to name their goats Daphne.
Villager #3, Good Primus, are referring to the goat that was in this stew?
Primus: (Shows the goat tag.) I am.

10) The villagers, as was their custom, agreed to compensate Primus with ten pairs of socks. Primus was ecstatic. Emperor Augustus had promised to give a million denarii to any one securing a sock source for the empire. So Primus became fabulously wealthy, the legionnaires got their socks, and the empire became well defended again. It was only when the olive-oil-for-socks trade route got permanently disrupted in 476 AD, that Rome fell. Today, the production of socks is protected everywhere by an international treaty.

– 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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Caprese Burgers

Italian Entree

CAPRESE BURGER

INGREDIENTSCapreseBurgers-

1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
12 ounces pound mozzarella cheese
2 Roma tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns (or black pepper)
6 hamburger buns
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

PREPARATION

Mince onion and garlic cloves. Mix onion, garlic, ground beef, and Italian seasoning. Form 6 patties.  Put patties in frying pan. Fry at medium-high heat with lid on for about 15 minutes or until the insides of the patties are done to the desired level of pinkness or brownness. Flip patties 2 times.

While patties are cooking, slice mozzarella into 24 slabs. Slice tomatoes 1/8″ thick. Grind peppercorns. Toast hamburger buns. Put a patty on each bun. Put 2 slabs on mozzarella on patty. Put 2 slices of tomato on mozzarella slabs. Put 2 slabs of mozzarella on bun top, then put 2 slices of tomato. Drizzle olive oil on and sprinkle the bottom half with ground pepper, and salt. Sprinkle top half with basil. Combine the bottom and top parts of the burger. Repeat for the next 5 burgers.

TIDBITS

1) In 408 A.D., Alaric besieged Rome with his Visigothic army. The Romans bought him off with 3,000 pounds of pepper. It is quite possible, though historians are by no means unanimous of this point, the Visigoths used this pepper to make caprese burgers.

2) In 410 A.D., their supply of pepper exhausted, the Visigoths were reduced to eating porridge. Clearly, this was not a stable situation. Alaric took his army once more to Rome. This time, the Romans refused to give the barbarians their pepper; Italian pork chops with pepper having become the latest culinary rage. The culinary-driven Visigoths stormed Rome, sacking it for 3 days while they searched for hidden stores of pepper.

3) Rome never recovered. The great chefs of Rome, deprived of pepper, gradually drifted off into banditry. The entire Roman Empire collapsed. The Dark Ages descended all over Europe not to be lifted for a thousand years.

4) This is why I always keep a lot of pepper in my kitchen.

– 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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Hawaij, Spice Mix from Yemen

Yemeni Appetizer

HAWAIJ
(spice mix)

INGREDIENTSHawaij-

2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons coriander
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon turmeric

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

PREPARATION

Grind peppercorns, cloves, and caraway seeds in spice grinder. Use fork to mix peppercorn, cloves, caraway, cardamom, coriander, cumin, and turmeric in small mixing bowl. Store mixture in airtight jar.

TIDBITS

1) According to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, cardamom is “the spice of Paradise.” It’s not clear how he knew that. Perhaps he had an Ouija board.

2) Since Ouija boards weren’t invented until the twentieth century, it’s clear Chaucer had a time machine. I would have read Canterbury Tales in High School with much more interest if I had known that.

3) According to some vague, unspecified, nebulous people, cardamom was the most popular spice in ancient Rome. Rome conquered Gaul. Gauls did not spice with cardamom. The frightening implication is clear.

4) Cardamom coffee is popular in the Arab world. The Arabs overran North Africa, the Fertile Crescent, the Spanish peninsula, Sicily, and Southern France in only 100 years. The conquering qualities of cardamom explains why it costs more than oil per ounce. Oil fuels countries’ economies, but cardamom is necessary for sheer national survival.

5) Cardamom is more popular in Sweden than any other spice. Sweden has never been conquered by a non-Nordic nation. Even nations with powerful armies respect countries with large cardamom stockpiles.

6) Cardamom is the world’s second most expensive spice. Only saffron cost more. I don’t even want to think what a global conflict over saffron would be like.

– 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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Kugelis, Potato Pudding Recipe

Lithuanian Entree

KUGELIS
(Potato Pudding Recipe)

INGREDIENTSkugelis-

5 pounds russet potatoes
12 ounces bacon
1 1/2 large white onions
1/4 cup butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup farina

SPECIAL UTENSILS

1 9″*13″ baking dish
or
2 8″*8″ baking dishes
or
127 1″*1″ baking dishes

Serves a lot of people. We’re talking about 7 pounds of rich food here.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes. Grate or shred potatoes. (This is some debate about the authenticity of shredding potatoes for Kugelis. After noting how long it took to merely peel the potatoes, I fired up the trusty food processor and shredded away. Yep, I’m a rebel. Born to be Wild.)

Dice bacon. Shred onions. Put bacon, onions, and butter in frying pan. Cook on medium-high heat until bacon is done to your desired level of crispness and the onions soften. Stir frequently. Hold the pan at an angle away from you while stirring. You really want bacon splatter to head away from you.

Put eggs in large mixing bowl and beat the heck out of them. Add potato, bacon/onion sauté, milk, evaporated milk, salt, pepper, and farina. Mix thoroughly with spoon.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove baking dish from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy the national dish of Lithuania.

TIDBITS

1) Pepper is used in this recipe. It is a happening spice. Pepper was first widely used in India over two millennia ago. India is one of the world’s oldest civilizations One of every seven people in the world is Indian. India has lots of trains, great food, nuclear weapons, and customer-service reps. Okay, the last one is bad.

2) Pepper traded westward to ancient Egypt. Black peppercorns were found stuffed up the nose of the mummified body of Pharaoh Ramses II. Snorting, perhaps? Egypt was the dominant power in that region for hundreds of years. It’s chariots raced all over the countryside. Perhaps they wouldn’t have had to race all over if they had bothered to ask for directions, but you know men.

3) Some think Rome conquered great swaths of North Africa, Europe, and the Near East because the Romans were really cranky from constantly sneezing snorted pepper. The Roman Empire lasted so long because its subject were so down with the taste explosion pepper brought that they really didn’t mind constant taxation and civil wars.

4) Then around the 5th century AD, barbarians invaded and destroyed the Roman Empire for no good culinary reason. Lutefisk crazed Vikings pillaged everywhere. People stashed their pepper. The Vikings killed the stashers. Knowledge of pepper disappeared. The Dark Ages descended.

5) Around 13th century or so the Venetians started trade routes with India. Indian pepper once again flowed westward to Europe. Venice became the richest and mightiest city in Europe. Then they started making blinds and their economy tanked.

6) Portugal started the Great Age of Exploration. It sent fleets around Africa and to the Americas and sooner than you can say heteroskedasticity pepper graced the tables of people around the world.

7) Life’s been pretty good since then. Even the occasional global war was made tolerable by proper amounts of peppers in soldiers’ meals.

– 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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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.

 

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

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