Posts Tagged With: Russia

Banitsa (Cheese Pie)

Bulgarian Entree

BANITSA
(Cheese Pie)

INGREDIENTS

¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk yogurt
½ pound Bulgarian white cheese, sirene, or feta
no-stick spray
½ pound phyllo sheets
1 tablespoon butter

SPECIAL UTENSIL

9″-pie pan

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add baking soda, eggs, cup vegetable oil, and yogurt to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Crumble white cheese into bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Spray pie pan with no-stick spray.

Gently unroll phyllo dough. Drizzle 2 tablespoons yogurt/feta mixture onto phyllo sheet. Gently smooth mixture over entire phyllo sheet. Gently roll up the covered sheet into a log. Repeat for each phyllo sheet.

Place a phyllo log seam-side down along edge of pan. Gently shape phyllo log into a spiral. Place end of next phyllo log at the end of first log. Shape this phyllo log so as to continue to spiral started by the first one. Repeat until pie pan is completely filled with phyllo logs. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until pie turns golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) In 1946, Bulgaria came under the control of the Soviet Union. Culinary historians note that Russia pretended to let Bulgaria rule through a council known as the Karfeni Glavi. This, of course, translates to “Potato Heads.” So, you can see how little the average Bulgarian though of the council. But by the late 1980s the Soviet Union was teetering on collapse. A few Potato Heads, sensing independence, while not yet ready to challenge Russia directly, started abstaining. But not many. Few wanted to stick his neck out. Then in 1989, Potato Head Iliev, noted Bulgaria’s national dish “Banista” was, in English, an anagram for “abstain.” He’d bring banitsa every time he abstained saying, “I’m hungry.” He’d let his fellow Potato Heads in on his secret. Soon, all the Heads were bringing banitsa and abstaining. Russian rule collapsed in the face of such a united opposition. Yay.

 

Paul De Lancey, 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, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exciting News From 1995

 

I still find it astonishing that Russia, for a brief period in 1994, was unable to launch its nuclear missiles. Also consider that squirrels have three times brought down NASDAQ, a stock exchange, by chewing into its power cables.  Combine those two facts. Get squirrels to gnaw into the powerline between Moscow Electric and Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Get those critters to knock out Putin’s ablility to nuke the USA.

Or perhaps the Pentagon already has such plans. And they’re secret. Oopsie.

The other bits of news shown on the page on the right remain interesting in their own right. Particularly the one at the bottom.

 

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: apocalyptic, history, humor, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Arctic Eats – Archangelsk, Russia

Great Arctic Eats – Archangelsk

Do you like to eat well, but you’re an introvert? Do you find social distancing difficult in your crowded, bustling metropolis? Well, I have the place for you. It’s Archangel in northern Russia. It’s perfect for those who can’t find authentic Russian cuisine near their home and absolutely have to turn the thermostat down whenever the office gets above 40 degrees.
As of press time, Archangelsk’s population was 351,000. The temperature was 12º F.
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SPECIAL NEW FEATURE! Top rated restaurant that delivers: Presto/Presto Pizzeria. Click here for menu.
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SPECIAL NEW FEATURE! Top rated restaurant with outdoor seating: Paratov Club & Restaurant
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If you traveled to Russia to get an authentic Russian meal, by all means, make your way to Velvet. People love this restaurant; I can tell by its good ratings. However, what customers raved about is a mystery to me as all the comments are in Russian. Commenting in Russian for the Russian restaurants seems to be a thing for the inhabitants of Archangelsk. It’s quite likely this occurs from the nearly all Russian population of Archangelsk. By the way, the Russian language has a word for everything.
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However, the best restaurant in Angelesk is El Fuego. It’s a Latin Steakhouse where they serve amazing food. No, Latin does not mean the menus are in Latin and that the waiters speak Latin. Rather, this establishment serves Latin American specialties.
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Fine diners who meant to fly to the French Riviera, but accidentally boarded a plane to arctic Archangelsk, can at least feast on Mediterranean fare at restaurant Rika where they serve beautiful food at a great price. Although you may wish to sample Restaurant Pochtovaya Kontora 1786. It also serves Mediterranean cuisine. However this restaurant is known for good food AND comfy seats. With all that, I am at a loss to know why Poctovaya Kontora 1786 doesn’t score higher than Rika.
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Hungry travelers who meant to fly to the French Riviera but ended up here can also drown their sorrows in alcohol at the gastropub Lock Stock Pub where they serve excellent beers and good food.
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What whirlwind tour of frigid Archangelsk would be complete without dining on the fine Czech dining to be had at Stare Mesto? One customer summed his experience up by simply saying, “The Meat.” What more do you need to know?
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Finally, don’t let your culinary adventure of the pizzeria capital of Arctic Russia end without visiting Dodo Pizza. Its customers can’t stop raving about it in Russian.
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In my mind, the most exciting thing to see in Archangelsk is a British Tank Mark V from World War I. How it got here beats me. Did it break through German lines in France and simply through lack of orders keep going until it ran out of gas in northern Russia? How did it manage to go so far on one tank of gas? How did the German air force and army not even notice the tank plodding ever forward on its epic journey across nearly all of Europe? Disappointingly though, it’s enclosed in glass. You may not take it for a spin.

The Small Korela Wooden Architecture and Folk Art Museum comes highly rated. It’s unclear if: the museum is small in number of buildings, if it’s buildings are actually small as in three-feet tall, or if it’s named after Ms. Korela Wooden who was small. If you go, please let me know.

Visit Archangelsk Gastiry Dvory, This museum tells the story of the area through stone objects, bone carvings, Middle Ages’ stuff, church icons, and other stuff. This is a must-see stop for lovers of stuff.

People who love to ride horses should go on the Horse Lovers Tours. The name says it all, doesn’t it?

Jazz lovers will feel at home at Jazz Club JAZZ WORKSHOP. I don’t know why jazz workshop is completely capitalized. Perhaps their caps-lock button got stuck.

Similarly, lovers of puppet theater, must visit the Puppet Theater.

Many fine churches and monasteries adorn Archangelsk. Be sure to visit the Holy Trinity Antony of Siya.

Northern Tourist Company provides a multi-day historical-and-heritage tours.

As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.” See the city’s points of interest, the countryside, and snow.

– 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: Arctic eats, international, things to see and do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Roast Beef Po’ Boys

Cajun Entree

ROAST BEEF PO’ BOYS

INGREDIENTS

8 garlic cloves
3½ pounds beef chuck
¼ cup flour
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
5 8″-po’ boy, French, or Italian loaves
1 large carrot
1 medium yellow onion
1 small pickle
1 tomato (beefsteak is best)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups beef stock (additional stock or water may be necessary later)
¾ cup mayonnaise
1½ cup shredded lettuce
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon thyme

SPECIAL UTENSILS

no-stick pot
Dutch oven (If you don’t have a Dutch oven, use an oven-safe pot.)
cookie sheet

Serves 6. Takes 4 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut garlic cloves in half. Make 16 1″-slits spaced evenly in roast beef. Insert a garlic half in each slit. Add beef, flour, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Turn beef until it is well coated. Dice carrot and onion.

Add oil to no-stick pot. Heat oil at high heat. Add beef when a bit of onion starts to dance in the oil. Sear beef at high heat for 5 minutes on each side or until beef is well browned. Remove beef and place on plate. Add carrot and onion to no-stick pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and carrot soften. Add bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce.

Add liquid with carrot and onion, beef, and beef stock to Dutch oven. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours or until beef is tender to the fork. Turn over beef chuck every 45 minutes and add additional stock or water as necessary to keep the level of liquid in Dutch oven to 1½”. Remove Dutch oven. Remove bay leaf.

Cut pickle into thin slices. Cut tomato into 10 slices. Shred beef using two forks. Slice bread loaves in half lengthwise. Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over all bread-loaf halves. Add shredded beef equally over all bottom loaf-halves. Drizzle liquid from Dutch oven over shredded beef. Be sure to include in the liquid all the little bits or debris. Top beef-laden bread-loaf bottoms equally with lettuce, tomato slices, pickle slices, parsley, and thyme. Top with top halves of bread. Add sandwiches to cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 minutes to warm the bread and make it crispier. (This keeps the bread from getting soggy from the mayonnaise and the liquid from the Dutch oven.) Cut in half and serve immediately. Oh gosh, yes. And the liquid remaining in the Dutch oven makes a good soup base.

TIDBITS

1) This dish uses a bay leaf. Like every recipe I’ve come across, this one tells you to remove the bay leaf. Where do used bay leaves go? In the bin labeled “Bay Leaves,” of course. What? You mean you never wondered why bay leaves should be separated from trash and recyclables.

2) Well, in 2007 the great nations of the world, along with some very good ones, some okay ones, some dodgy lands but still attending, and even some teeny tiny countries such as San Marino and Nauru got together to solve the formidable problem of floating islands of plastic waste in our oceans. Oh, and stinky solid waste flowing unchecked into our harbors. They tackled that issue, too.

3) As might be expected from a meeting infested with international politicians, nothing happened. They all adjourned for lunch. Everyone ate roast beef po’ boys, except for vegetarians who ate kale po’ boys and the squidtarians who, of course, ate squid po’ boys.

4) As lunch started, the delegate from Russia bit into a bay leaf. “I’ve been insulted,” he cried. “This means thermonuclear war. Why should anyone live after this assault to my taste buds.” War clouds dissipated when all other conferees stated that they too had bay leaves in their sandwiches. “Throw the bay leaves out!” they all said. And they did.

5) A few minutes later, Carl LaFong, sitting near the trash can with all the discarded bay leaves stood up and addressed the meeting. “Zounds,” he said, “those bay leaves smell mighty good. Why not add tons of used bay leaves to our reeking harbors? That way our ports will smell wonderful without resorting to expensive sewage-treatment facilities.”

6) “Bonne idée,” shouted the slightly tipsy French delegate–slightly sloshed because listening to long winded speeches is thirsty work–“and let’s cover the plastic islands in our Earth’s oceans with bay leaves. This will hide the plastic while marinading all those fish while they’re still alive.”

7) “Hurrah for LaFong and that French guy,” said all the delegates, “let’s do what they proposed. Let’s dump all our bay leaves in the ocean.” And they did.

8) The delegates fired the caterer, but on the other hand, all the plastic islands in our oceans are hidden, our harbors smell nice, and we stepped back from the brink of nuclear war. So something good came out of the conference. And now we separate our bay leaves for pickup.

– 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: history, humor, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smoked Sirloin Roast

American Entree

SMOKED SIRLOIN ROAST

INGREDIENTS

3½ pounds top sirloin roast
5 tablespoons Montreal steak spice
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 cups wood chips: hickory, mesquite, or oak

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric smoker
kitchen string
digital thermometer (if your smoker doesn’t have one)

Serves 6. Takes 2 hours.*

PREPARATION

Preheat electric smoker to 250 degrees. Trim off excess fat from sirloin roast. Rub both sides with Montreal steak spice and sea salt. Roll up sirloin and tie it with kitchen string.

Add wood chips to electric smoker. Add sirloin to basket in smoker. Smoke until internal temperature, as measured by thermometer, reads 145 degrees. This will take about 2 hours.* The thermometer should be inserted into the thicket part of the meat. Check every 15 minutes after 1 hour. If you’re lucky, your smoker will be set up so that your smart phone will tell you when it’s done. Carefully remove basket from smoker and let sit 10 minutes. Carve and serve.

* = Please note that the various smokers perform differently. So, check the manual for placement of sirloin in smoker, cooking temperature, how to use wood chips, and other pertinent information.

TIDBITS

1) To serve six million people, simply multiply the ingredients and the number of special utensils by one million. Except for the ball of kitchen string. Simply get a ball of string that’s large enough. Buying ingredients for that number of guests will cost a lot of money. This is where your enormous ball of string comes in. People will pay good money to see a string ball that big. Why it would have a diameter (Does quick calculation in head.) of at least 25 feet. That’s all? Sorry, you’re on your own with expenses.

2) Then there’s the problem of finding 1,000,000 outlets. Even if you used every outlet in your city of 50,000, your smokers’ power surges would bring down your municipality’s power grid. The Pentagon, of course, knows this, and has plans to air drop millions of slow cookers and tons of ingredients around Russia’s nuclear basses. The resultant power surges will disable Russia’s entire nuclear capability. Now you know how the world will be safe.

Chef Paul

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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tiramisu

Italian Dessert

TIRAMISU

INGREDIENTStiramisu

6 lady fingers
6 egg yolks
⅔ cup sugar
½ teaspoon rum extract or 2 tablespoons rum or Marsala wine
1 pound marscapone*
½ cup room-temperature espresso
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

* = You could use cream cheese as a substitute, but then the ghosts of thousands of Italian chefs would arise to terrorize the world and you don’t want that, do you?

SPECIAL UTENSILS

8″ x 8″ casserole dish
double boiler (This utensil makes this recipe easier. However, the recipe is written for those who don’t have one. Life is fraught with difficult choices.)

Serves 6. Takes 6 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add egg yolks and sugar to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add rum extract. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add egg yolk/sugar mixture to pan. The pan needs to be just wide enough not to fall into to the pot that will go beneath it.

Add water to pot until it is 2/3 the way to the top. Heat on high heat until water is nearly boiling. Reduce heat to low and rest pan on the pot. Stir egg yolk/sugar mixture for 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until mixture is cold. Add marscapone. Mix gently with whisk until mixture is creamy.

Cut lady fingers in half along their lengths Drizzle lady-finger halves with espresso. Arrange the bottom halves of the lady fingers in casserole dish. Add ½ of the marscapone/egg yolk mixture over espresso and lady fingers. Smooth with spatula. Add lady-finger tops and the remaining marscapone/egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate for 5 hours or until tiramisu is firm.

TIDBITS

1) The Russia of 1611 to 1613 was ruled by a cat, Tsar Miiu. Miiu is the way Russian cats say “meow.” Now, cats do not ordinarily rule such a large country or even a smaller one like Belgium.

2) However, Tsar Miiu reign began during difficult times. Indeed, the years of 1598 are known as The Time of Troubles. Because they were troubling times. With lots of troubles. People were troubled by the troubling troubles.

3) On August 23, 1601, a young teen named Ivan stayed in bed. He should have been out helping with the harvest. Instead he daydreamed and daydreamed about the beautiful Reiko Go. The Gos ran a small restaurant in the nearby. As the only place serving Japanese noodles within thousands of miles, Go to Go’s pretty much had the Miso Soup market cornered. When the peasants didn’t have time to sit down, they ordered to go at Go to Go’s to go window.

4) Anyway, Ivan’s parents came in and raged at Ivan for his laziness. They called him: moss, a rock, a slug a sloth, and a sluggish sloth. Disgusted at this abuse, Ivan, a scant hour later, bolted out of bed and took off to Go to Go’s to see Reiko. He asked her to elope. Reiko said, “You’re as handsome as the perfect noodle, but I’d so as eat lutefisk as marry you. You have no money. You have no prospects. You’ve as much get up and go as a snail relying on plate tectonics for a burst of speed.”

5) There you have it, the first mention of plate tectonics. Reiko often mused about the Earth’s shifting plates during slow times at the restaurant. That Reiko had figured out the Earth was composed of a core composed of molten nickel, a mantle made of rockish stuff (This was a theory in its infancy, after all.), and a crust comprised of slowly moving plates. She could have revolutionized the world of science. But instead, she devoted herself to making the perfect noodle.

6) Reiko pointed her finger at the door. “Go, be like Dmitri, the son of our late Tsar.”
“But he’s dead, sweetheart. People say he staggered off a cliff.”
“Ivan, I don’t know that. I didn’t see that. No one saw him die. He could have journeyed to Paris for the perfect boeuf bourguignon.”

7) A light bulb went off over Ivan’s head. If no one saw Dmitri die and no one knew what he looked anymore like as it had been years since his last appearance and Dimitri had worn a cloth sack over his anyway due to his acne. So, Ivan showed up at the Russian Duma and proclaimed himself to be Dmitri, the true heir to the Russian throne. Most of the Russian nobles put up no resistance, having dined on lutefisk for lunch.

8) However, the nobility that had eaten chicken instead contested his claim. Civil war broke out. Battles raged all over the country. Crops were trampled and burnt. Foreign governments sensing opportunity, invaded. Land was taken. Citrus trees were chopped down. The Russian tangelo industry would never recover. More pretenders to the throne arose. Even more fighting occurred, enough to warrant an exclamation point! The Russian Duma met and withdrew support from all contenders. A new tsar needed to be crowned.

9) A that point Miiu, a cat, padded into the building, a mouse in his mouth. Boyar Koniev pointed at it. “That cat for Tsar.”
Boldin shook his head. “Nyet, that is only a cat. All it will do is catch mices and nap.”
“Bo ho,” said Koniev, “wouldn’t that be a huge improvement over all the tsars and claimants we’ve had lately?”
Everyone agreed and Miiu became Tsar. Miiu reigned for two years, By that time Russia had calmed down enough to raise a human to the throne. The new tsar’s chef and anagrammatist, created a new dessert in Tsar Miiu’s honor, tiramisu.

– 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

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.

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Steak au Poivre Vert

French Entree

STEAK AU POIVRE VERT

INGREDIENTSSteakAuPoivre-

¾ cup whipping cream
¼ cup green peppercorns
2 shallots
1½ pounds tender boneless beef steaks cut 1″ thick
1½ tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoons olive oil
7 tablespoons cognac or brandy
½ cup beef broth
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons tarragon

SPECIAL UTENSIL

x-ray vision (helpful, but not required)
Sonic obliterator

Makes 4 steaks. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add whipping cream to pot. Cook using medium heat for 12 minutes or until cream thickens and is reduced by half. Stir frequently. Place cream in bowl and let sit in refrigerator.

Crack peppercorns by crushing them against a cutting board with a kitchen mallet or the side of a heavy knife Mince shallots. Add steaks, butter, and olive oil to large skillet. Sauté using medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side for medium rare or until steaks reach desired doneness.

Desired doneness is quite personal and just as open to heated debate just like politics. How do you decide it’s done? Well, x-ray vision is helpful. So is practice. Or you can just cut off a tiny piece and look. You are the master of your domain.

Okay. Add cognac to skillet. Sauté each side at medium-high heat for 1 minute. Place meat on serving plate. Cover with foil. Leave drippings in skillet.

Add shallot to skillet. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until shallot softens. Add cracked peppercorns, chilled whipping cream, beef broth, salt, and tarragon. Bring to boil using high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium for 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Place steaks on plates. Ladle sauce equally over steaks. Serve hot to adoring guests. Use sonic obliterator on guests who don’t appreciate the cost and the effort. You don’t need that kind of negativity.

TIDBITS

1) Ruva Boldin, 1897 – 1962, was a famous doughnut maker in the Soviet Union. In fact, she made the best doughnut anywhere in the world. It was impossible for any world leader to stay mad at Russia when they bit into one of Ruva’s creations.

2) Stalin, the USSR’s dictator, knew this. This

3) And then what? I started to write tidbit 2) a few days ago. What interrupted me?

4) I’d like to think it was a comet. That would be a good excuse for not working, don’t you think?

5) Me: Sorry boss, I can’t go to work today, there’s a comet passing by my garage door.

Boss: Like I haven’t heard that one before.

6) Yep, it’s better to have believable excuses when calling in sick such as:

Me: Sorry boss, I can’t make it to work today. I know we have a critical meeting with our most important client, but all I have are orphaned socks. I know that their CEO is extremely fashion conscious and if I showed up with mismatched socks, we’d lose that account forever. Can we reschedule the meeting for tomorrow? I need today to buy more socks.

Boss: I know! Just yesterday. I lost half the socks I put in the dryer. I suspect the dryer is merely a portal into a sock-hungry parallel universe. Of course, we’ll reschedule. I need to buy socks myself, but was too embarrassed to say so. I would have shown up with different socks at the meeting, lost the account, and bankrupted the company. Your courage in speaking up has saved the day. I’m giving you a promotion and a raise.

7) Maybe the aliens who ride comets have tractor beams that pull in our socks. With each successive pass by the Earth, they take more and more of our socks.

8) Why do the comet-riding aliens only take one sock from each pair? Because they’re juvenile delinquents, going on a joy ride.

9) But there is a serious consequence to their behavior. As these comets take on more and more socks, the mass of the comet grows and grows. The comet’s gravitational field becomes ever stronger, strong enough to change the orbits of neighboring celestial bodies.

10) Just recently, someone predicted the discovery of huge new planet in our Solar System, because of orbit irregularities in our outer planets. However, it seems more likely that the huge gravitational pull on these planets is coming from the sock-laden Halley’s Comet. This comet is so heavy with socks that when it passes by the Earth in 2062, it’s immense gravitational field will pick us up and hurl us into the Sun.

11) Clearly, this would be bad. Get to your dryer as soon as the buzzer let’s you know the loads is dry. Space aliens will only beam up socks when they’re nice and toasty warm. But move fast, because the aliens are speedy. Save your socks. Save 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, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Pea Soup With Pork (Ärter med fläsk)

Swedish Soup

YELLOW PEA SOUP WITH PORK
(Ärter med fläsk)

INGREDIENTSYellowPeaSoup-

1¼ pounds yellow split peas
6½ cups water
8 ounces salt pork
1 carrot
1 large yellow onion
¾ teaspoon fresh ginger (about ⅔”)
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon white pepper

Makes 8 bowls. Takes 3 hours in addition to the time spent soaking peas overnight.

PREPARATION

Rinse peas in colander to remove grit. Add peas to large pot. Add enough water to cover with 1″ to spare. Let peas soak overnight.

Drain and rinse peas. Add peas and 6½ cups water back to large pot. Add pork to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Let boil for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally, enough to keep peas from sticking to bottom of pot. Reduce heat to warm, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir gently and occasionally. Skim off any form and pea skins.

While peas and pork simmer, dice carrot. Mince ginger. Divide onion in three. Stick cloves into each onion third. Add carrot, onion, ginger, bay leaf, and cloves. Let soup simmer for another 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add bay leaf, marjoram, salt, thyme, and white pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes more or until peas are completely soft. Stir occasionally.

Remove pork and onion from pot using slotted spoon. Dice about ¼th of the pork. Cut remaining pork into slices ¼” thick. Remove cloves from onion. Mince onion. Return diced pork and minced onion back to pot.. Stir with whisk until well blended. Remove bay leaf.

Add ⅛th of the pork slices to each serving bowl. Ladle soup from pot into serving bowls. This soup goes well with potatoes and Swedish mustard.

TIDBITS

1) The light emitted from stars appears to be red. That means they are moving away from us. Scientists used this knowledge to formulate the Big Bang Theory.

2) The Big Bang Theory holds that everything in the universe started from a teeny, tiny point, then pow! it exploded like an egg in the microwave.

3) Or like popping popular popcorn in a popcorn popper without the popcorn popper’s lid on.

4) I did that experiment in my college dorm. While I found that the kernels did indeed pop outward, they did not travel far and certainly not fast enough to exhibit a red shift.

5) Which would have been cool, although I wonder about the damage to the dorm walls caused by popcorn traveling at 100,000 miles per second. Probably would have gotten me kicked out of college.

6) On the other hand, NASA certainly would have contacted me. I mean they spend billions and billions on launch rockets that can only achieve about 7 miles per second.

7) Of course, sending a manned space station to the outer reaches of our galaxy at such a terrifying speed would require a really big popcorn popper.

8) But America is a land of ingenuity, and a relentless dedication to innovation. If we want to build a popcorn popper that can fling a space station into outer space at 100,000 miles, we will do so. After all, we have invented sliced peanut butter.

9) Sweden, however, is certainly way ahead of America in the race to invent the near-light speed popcorn popper.

10) Look at the title of this recipe. Look at the above picture. The Swedes like yellow split peas. This means they prefer this color of split peas over green ones. Or . . .

11) Swedish have discovered a way to hurl their split peas at such a prodigious rate that the light emanating from their legumes appears yellow. That’s not quite as impressive as a red shift sure, but it’s some million times faster than the speediest military jet.

12) Sweden has not been at war for 200 years, even though two world wars raged all around it in the twentieth century. Why?

13) Sure Germany and Russia built impressive tanks, fighter planes and bombers. But no country’s military stands a chance against a nation that can fling hot, nearly molten split-pea soup toward it at over 100,000 miles an second.

14) Or even 50,000 miles a second. And Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, and Stalin knew it. So they left it alone, even though that happy Nordic land has such wonderful pastries.

15) You can order this tasty soup when visiting Sweden, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Soup that travels that fast is impossible to eat. Best try making yellow pea soup from this recipe. Just be sure to buy yellow split peas that are stationary. Doing so isn’t always obvious. You might have to read the packaging for the peas.

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

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