Posts Tagged With: scurvy

Lemongrass and Five Spice Tofu

Vietnamese Appetizer

LEMONGRASS AND FIVE SPICE TOFU

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks lemongrass
3 garlic cloves
1¼ pounds firm tofu
1 cup vegetable oil (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
¼ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
½ tablespoon soy sauce

PREPARATION

Discard all but the tender, inner and lower, green part of the lemongrass stalks. Mince garlic cloves and remaining lemongrass. Slice tofu into 8 long rectangles. Pat dry with paper towel. Add 1 cup vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at high heat until a tiny bit of tofu in the oil will start to dance. Carefully add tofu rectangles to pan. Fry tofu rectangles for 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Turn over once. Fry for 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the new bottom. (Monitor the tofu carefully as the time between golden brown and crispy can be short.) Remove tofu and drain on paper towels.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to 2nd pan. Add garlic, lemongrass, and red chile flakes. Sauté at medium heat for 2 minutes or until lemongrass is tender and fragrant. Stir frequently. Add Chinese five spice, white pepper, and soy sauce. Mix until well blended. Add tofu rectangles. Sauté at low-medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn over once. Place 2 tofu rectangles on each plate. Carefully spoon sautéed lemongrass/garlic from pan over tofu rectangles.

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

TIDBITS

1) It’s startling to hear this now, but for centuries, perhaps even millennia, lemons grew on grass rather than on trees. The reason for this change and other  ensuing culinary changes was war.

2) The British navy had been losing thousands and thousands of sailors to scurvy. In 1753, the British conducted controlled experiments to find a cure for this dread scourge. They strongly concluded that lemon juice would keep scurvy at bay. A scant forty-two years later, the British Admiralty began issuing daily rations of lemon juice. Scurvy disappeared! The navy could indefinitely blockade Napoleon’s ships and keep him from invading England. It was all so neat. Unfortunately, the Admiralty’s lemon mowers cut so much lemon grass that ground lemons were on the brink of extinction. Botanists stepped in and grafted lemons onto trees. This process worked well that the lemons developed seeds that would sprout into full-blown lemon bearing trees. History is such fun.

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.

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Key-Lime Pie

American Dessert

KEY LIME PIE

INGREDIENTSKeyLimePie-

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
4 egg yolks
1 8″ graham-cracker crust.
1 can whipped cream

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric blender

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add condensed milk, key lime juice, and egg yolks to mixing bowl. Blend with electric blender set to “whip” or “cream” until well blended. Pour mixture into graham-cracker crust. Bake pie in oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the pie’s center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.  Note, key lime pies made with real key lime juice are not green. Add whipped cream if desired. Or even lots and lots of whipped cream.

TIDBITS

1) Contrary to what I would have wished the Key Lime did not come from Key West nor even Key Largo. I researched this by going to Key West and by watching the 1948 movie, Key Largo. Key Largo starred Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Edward G. Robinson. None of these actors ate even a single Key Lime during the entire movie. After the movie? No one knows.

2) Key Limes were first grown in Southern Asia. Historians will tell you that Key Limes made their way to Spain, presumably by hitchhiking as these fruits don’t have legs. Actually, I doubt the whole hitchhiking theory as Key Limes do not have thumbs. You can tell they don’t just by looking at the tiny yellowish-green thingies.

3) Ship crews liked the take Key Limes as the fruit was high in vitamin C and prevented scurvy. Christopher Columbus took Key Limes on his voyages of discovery to the Americas. Indeed, culinary historians praise Spain for the bringing health-enhancing Key Lime to the New World.

4) Do other historians laud the European discoverers? Not so much, pointing to endless wars of conquest by the Spanish conquistadors, Old World diseases that decimated indigenous populations, and wholesale enslavement of the local tribes. Indeed, Europe didn’t balance things with the natives until they brought the hamburger to America in the 19th century. Kinda like a do-over.

– Chef Paul

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com4novels

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Chicken Cordon Bleu

French Entree

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

INGREDIENTS

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices cooked ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon Poultry MagicTM poultry spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup sour cream
1 10.5 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon lime juice

UTENSILS

meat mallet
toothpicks
kitchen scissors

PREPARATION OF CHICKEN ROLLS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (191 degrees Celsius, 464 Kelvin.) Use this time to attack the chicken breasts. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise.

(This is an easy task if you have kitchen scissors. They sound just like scissors do when you cut hair. Indeed, given the nature of your cutting, you might find yourself thinking of yourself as Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber. I’d recommend, however, keeping such thoughts to yourself, particularly when dining with your boss or a financee.)

Now you must flatten those chicken halves. Put each half under a plastic sheet and pound. Flatten the chicken breast halves until they are 1/8-inch thick. Use gusto. This job is immeasurably easier with a meat mallet. I heartily recommend buying just for this dish.

(If however, you wish to be contrary, there are few alternatives: the hammer, the brick, and a big can of beans. BUT it will take longer and cause any in the room to doubt your sanity for all time.)

Meanwhile back at the kitchen, cut the Swiss cheese slices in two, lengthwise. Put them on the chicken breasts. Put a ham slice, which should be no larger than the breast half, on top of that. Roll up each chicken breast from the bottom and fasten with toothpicks.

(Fret not if you don’t have toothpicks. Simply, while no one else is looking, snip off the flammable tips of the longest matchsticks you can find. Dispose carefully of the flammable and keep quiet about the whole affair. Remember, your guests have already seen you with a mallet, a hammer, and kitchen scissors. Oh and it should go without saying, never serve this to a vegetarian.)

Put rolled up chicken in a baking dish. Melt butter in pan on medium high heat. Pour butter over rolled up chicken. Sprinkle poultry spice, nutmeg, pepper, and thyme over chicken.

Put in oven for about 40 minutes or chicken is golden brown and juices on pan are clear.

PREPARATION OF SAUCE

Combine in saucepan condensed chicken soup, sour cream, and lime juice. (If a French tut tuts over you using condensed soup, look him in the eye and say, “But of course, it is gourmet condensed chicken soup. Sacré bleu.”) Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot chicken rolls.

This dish is so wonderful. Be sure to give lots of credit and thanks to anyone who helps clean up.

TIDBITS

1) Between 1796 and 1815, British seamen drank 1.6 million gallons of lime juice to combat scurvy.

2) They were fighting my great, great, great grandfather Napoleon.

3) While I deplore Napoleon’s twenty years of nearly continuous warfare, I do applaud how he revolutionized humanity’s view of the healing properties of citrus.

4) The Spanish conquerors brought death by the hundreds of thousands through war and disease to the New World.

5) However, they also brought the lime with them as well. And the lime is indeed high in vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes health.

6) So the next time you’re tempted to put down some bloodthirsty conqueror, pause a bit and inquire if he didn’t perchance also bring something healthful to the conquered regions.

7) I mean we all have our bad points and good points, don’t we?

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Pineapple Pie

Fijian Dessert

PINEAPPLE PIE

INGREDIENTS

2 egg whites (2 entire eggs used later.)
3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups minced pineapple (no juice)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
juice from three limes
2 eggs
1 pie crust

PREPARATION

Combine 2 egg whites (The yolks from these eggs are not used here.) and 3 tablespoons sugar in bowl. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Set aside. Squeeze juice out of three limes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat crushed pineapple and pineapple juice on medium heat. Mix in 4 tablespoons flour, sugar, salt, lime juice, and two entire eggs. Heat and stir constantly until eggs are cooked and the mixture thickens. (The phrase “the plot thickens” is of culinary origin. Well, quite possibly.)

Pour pineapple mixture into pie crust. Make sure surface is smooth. Spread egg white mixture evenly over top. Put pie in oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Take pie out to cool. If the hungry horde will let you, put the cooled pie in the fridge to chill. It’s okay if they don’t. It also tastes great warm.

TIDBITS

1) Jim Carrey’s character in the movie, The Truman Show, dreamed of going to Fiji. I have the identical map that adorns his wall in one scene.

2) Why is “fridge” spelled with a “d,” but “refrigerator” spelled without it?

3) Why is a bicycle feminine in French, but a bike is masculine?

4) The idea behind the FrisbeeTM came from pie tins.

5) “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” – Mary Poppins

6) At one time British sailors were called “limeys” because they ate limes at sea. This was done to prevent scurvy.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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