Posts Tagged With: Spain

Bunny Chow

South African Entree

BUNNY CHOW

INGREDIENTSbunnychow

1 medium onion
3 medium potatoes
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tomatoes
2 pounds chicken breasts or lamb
3 fresh curry leaves
3 tablespoons Durban masala (See recipe)
⅓ cup chicken stock
2 1-lb whole white loaves
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven

PREPARATION

Dice onion. Peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add onion, potato, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, and vegetable oil to Dutch oven. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir constantly. Remove from heat.

Dice tomatoes. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Add Durban masala, Add tomato, chicken, curry leaves, and Durban masala to Dutch oven. Cook using medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add chicken stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until potato is tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove Dutch oven from heat. Discard cinnamon stick.

Slice bread loaf in half along its length. Use sharp knife to cut off most of the soft white bread from each half. Leave ½”-to-1″ of bread crust along the edges and bottoms. (The scooped out bread can be made into bread crumbs.) Ladle potato/tomato/chicken mixture into each hollowed-out loaf half. Garnish with coriander. Repeat for second bread loaf.

TIDBITS

1) Bunnies are naturally fierce fighters. Armies everywhere had them. Napoleon wouldn’t have dreamed of conquering Europe without his corps of bunny irregulars.

2) But you say, “Aha, Napoleon didn’t conquer Europe. See, you’re wrong. Bunnies aren’t so fierce.” Ho, ho, they are. Napoleon won victory after victory up until 1808 with his beserker bunnies.

3) Then, Napoleon invaded Spain. Spain had guerrilla fighters. More importantly, it had battle hardened bunnies. Conquistador bunnies. Bunnies that pushed Moors out of the Iberian positions during the centuries of La Reconquista. Bunnies that had accompanied Cortes to Mexico, Pizarro to Peru, and Albondigas to Greenland. Bunnies that terrified conquered peoples into quiet submission for centuries.

4) The French army never had been on the receiving end of a bunny charge. Never had seen those twitching noses and the unreasoning terror that engendered. Never had to see a sea of bunny tails popping up and down as they stamped toward them . . .

5) where they nibbled your shoes and your shoelaces and so you tripped and your comrades laughed and laughed at you and felt so ashamed that you deserted the army and ran home where you sold sprigs of cilantro which tastes like soap to some people which was okay because all life tasted like soap to you and you spent the rest of your life thinking in run-on sentences.

6) And even if you managed to man up and stand your ground after all that, the bunnies would bite your ankles repeatedly which often hurt, particularly so when their teeth actually broke your skin.

7) Suppose you were a stalwart sort, a man among and you were still fighting bunnies crazed beyond belief by sangria, you’d still have to deal with the bunnies’ powerful rear legs, legs that could kick a potato twenty feet.

8) Imagine. You’ve seen their twitching noses, their bobbing cottontails, had your shoelaces nibbled in two, had your ankles bitten, and now they’re hurting your shins and they won’t stop. And then, and then, they keep your potatoes twenty feet away where they get smooshed in the heat of battle.

9) You have no food. So, you confiscate some local food, some paella perhaps, but your body hasn’t faced Spanish food bacteria. So, now you’re a French soldier in Spain fighting for an emperor who only cares about himself and you have the mother of all stomach aches. You throw thrown your musket and flee.

10) The rest of your comrades see that you, a man among men, are fleeing. They realize the fight is lost. They flee as well. Your army is routed. Bunny-fear demoralizes the other French armies. French forces reel back to France. Allied hordes attack Paris and storm the Montmarte. France capitulates. Your flight from the Spanish battlefield brought all this about.

11) The French Emperor Napoleon gets exiled to Elba. The long-time leader gives a farewell to his Old Guard, “Adieu mes amis, nous sommes battus vaillamment et aurions gagné mais pour ce lecteur de recette et sa peur des lapins.”*

* = “Good buy my friends, we fought valiantly and would have won but for this read reader of recipes and his fear of bunnies. (Sorry, apparently Napoleon’s French is only as good as mine. Weird.)

12) So you’ve changed history. Awesome responsibility, isn’t it?

Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available 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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Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Xin Xim (chicken and shrimp stew)

Brazilian Entree

XIN XIM
(chicken and shrimp stew)

xinximINGREDIENTS

3 garlic cloves
⅓ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil (2 more tablespoons later)
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon palm oil (aka dende), annatto oil, or olive oil (2½ tablespoons more later)
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
3 plum tomatoes
1½ cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried shrimp or ground dried shrimp
1½ ounces gingerroot
¾ cup cashews
⅓ cup peanuts, roasted and unsalted
2½ tablespoons palm oil (aka dende), annatto oil, or olive oil
1¼ cups coconut milk
⅓ cup fresh cilantro
2 fresh malagueta peppers (These are really hot. Serrano and jalapeno peppers are milder and easier to find)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor
Dutch oven
sonic obliterator

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION

Add garlic cloves to food processor. Blend until you get garlic paste. Add garlic paste, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pepper, salt, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and shrimp to large mixing bowl. Turn the chicken and the shrimp until they are well coated. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Remove chicken pieces from marinade and pat dry with paper towel. (Keep marinade.) Add chicken pieces and 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total) or until chicken turns golden brown. Remove and set aside.

Remove shrimp from marinade. Add shrimp and 1 tablespoon palm oil to Dutch oven. Sauté shrimp using high heat for 2 minutes or until shrimp starts to turn pink. Stir frequently. Remove shrimp with its marinade and set aside.

Mince onion. Seed and dice green bell pepper and plum tomatoes. Add onion and bell pepper to Dutch oven. Sauté for 5 minutes using medium-high heat or until onion softens. Add tomato, chicken pieces, and chicken stock. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer stew for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While stew simmers, add dried shrimp, gingerroot, cashews, and peanuts to food processor. Grind using low setting until you get little bits. Stop before they become paste. Add bits to Dutch oven. Stir until bits blend into the chicken stock. Simmer stew for 5 minutes on low heat.

While stews simmers, dice cilantro. (If at this time guests ask when will the meal be ready, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that negativity in your kitchen.) Add cilantro, marinated shrimp, 2½ tablespoons palm oil, coconut milk, and malagueta peppers. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes and shrimp are pink and the chicken is tender. Serve with golden farofa (a Brazilian dish made from cassava flour) or rice.

TIDBITS

1) Xin xim is an anagram for Xi minx. My 1941 dictionary says a minx is a hussy or a wanton. Xi is something inconsequential and boring. Qi is a word that no one ever speaks because no one knows what it means. It’s worth a lot in ScrabbleTM, though.

2) However, the anagram for “Chicken and Shrimp Stew” is “Mr. Ken’s pecan witch dish.” Mr. Ken Appleby was an Englishman working in Madrid in 1587 for the Spanish Inquisition. He never learned Spanish. Didn’t make interrogating his prisoners difficult?

3) Yes, it did. While his fellow Spanish-speaking inquisitors we’re putting prisoners on racks and extorting confessions with assembly-line efficiency, Ken lagged behind something considerable. Because he couldn’t understand the anguished admissions of his heretics, he had to resort to charades to communicate.

4) Except a person tied down and stretched out to pro-basketball lengths made a poor charade partner. So, Ken never tied down his prisoners. He fed them his pecan pie. Ken’s pies were delicious. People would confess to anything to eat one and they did. His pies were to die for and they did. Especially witches, who as everyone knows, break out in hives when they eat pecans. Ken was able to find one witch after another. He began a rapid ascent up the inquisitor ladder.

5) Then Spain and England went to war in 1588. A death warrant was put out for Ken. His happy days over, Ken fled to Brazil. However, his fame as with pecan pies preceded him. His life was still in danger. Fortunately an anagramist said his dish was anagram for chicken and shrimp stew. The Brazilians called his new culinary creation, xin xim, because they have words for everything. There.

Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

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

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

Tucuman Empanadas

Argentinian Entree

TUCUMAN EMPANADAS

INGREDIENTS – DOUGHEmpanada-

¾ cup lard or shortening (⅓ cup more later)
5 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
⅔ cup water

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

¾ pound rump or tenderloin steak
⅔ cup chopped green onion
1 medium white onion
⅓ cup lard or shortening
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSIL

8″ x 13″ casserole dish

Makes 4 empanadas. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Melt ¾ cup lard in skillet using low heat. Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend with large spoon. Use spoon to make hole in middle of dough. Slowly pour melted lard into hole. Gradually add water while mixing ingredients together by hand until you get a smooth and pliable dough. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes

PREPARATION – FILLING

While dough sits, cut steak into ½” cubes. Mince green onion and white onion. Melt ⅓ cup lard in large skillet using medium heat. Add white onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until white onion softens. Stir frequently. Add steak cubes, green onion, cumin, paprika, pepper, and salt. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until meat browns. Stir occasionally.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out dough until it is ½” thick. Cut dough into 6″ circles. (You should get about 4 dough circles after you formed the scraps from the initial cutting into more circles.) Add ½ cup filling to the middle of each dough circle. Brush edges of each circle with water. Fold one edge of each circle to the opposite edge. Seal the rounded edges by pressing down on them with a fork.

Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Bake empanadas at 475 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until empanadas turn golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Tucuman empanadas is anagram for the ancient Mayan saying, “Map man, cut a sundae.”

2) Mayan sundaes are delicious. You must have excellent whipping cream to make a wonderful sundae. Most people put cow milk in a bowl to make whipping cream. The olden-day Mayans lifted cows onto their shoulders and hopped from one foot to another until whipped cream came out the cows’ udders.

3) The adventuresome conquistadors, however, were too weak to shake cows. The Spanish warriors needed the strong backs of the Mayan. Which is why they conquered the Mayan peninsula.

4) The conquered natives did not get any of the cow-shaken cream. They did not get the Mayan milk shakes. They did not get enough calories to wage war on their neighbors.

5) The Spanish soldiers, on the other hand, received enough calories to do anything, including growing big bellies. Cortés, physical fitness instructor for Governor Velázquez grimaced every time he saw the paunchy conquistadors wheezing their way back from the many sundae shops.

6) Something had to be done. Señor Cortés knew he had little job security. One word from Velázquez and faster than teenagers eat their family meal he’d be out of a job. And just try to get another physical-fitness job from the other fifteenth-century European monarchs. So Cortés seized power when Governor Velázquez went on a Club MedTM vacation.

7) Cortés ordered the Spanish soldiers to attack the Aztec Empire to the west. They refused.

8) “The Aztecs have chocolate.” The conquistadors sighed. “Ooh, chocolate.” Everyone knew that chocolate sundaes were even tastier than the plain vanilla ones. Cortés brandished his sword above his head. “Their streets are paved in chocolate. Will you follow me?” Well of course they did, I mean chocolate.

9) The long arduous trek to the Aztec capital burned off many calories. The incessant fighting made them even fitter. The Spanish soldiers developed washboard-flat stomachs and buns of steel. The buff Conquistadors made all the European señoritas swoon with delight.

10) Naturally, the soldiers of France, Spain, Portugal became jealous. They wanted honeys of their own. They pestered their monarchs until they too got sent over to the New World to engage in conquest and other forms of aerobic exercise.

11) Things are not so violent now that we have workout DVDs.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

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

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

Basil Pesto Pizza

Italian Entree

BASIL PESTO PIZZA

INGREDIENTSBasilPestoPizza-

2 cups fresh basil
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons ground walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon flour
no-stick spray
1 pizza crust (bought or from below recipe)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

SPECIAL UTENSIL

pizza pan
pizza cutter

Makes 1 pizza. Takes 30 minutes plus time needed to preheat oven. Allow 2 hours 15 minutes total if you are making your crust.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven heats, make basil pesto by dicing basil, garlic cloves, and walnuts. Add olive oil, basil, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan, and white pepper to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until garlic softens. Stir pesto frequently. Remove from heat.

Dust pizza pan with flour and spray with no-stick spray. Put pizza crust on pizza pan. Spread basil pesto evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over pizza. Put pizza in oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-to-15 minutes or until cheese or crust is golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Culinary historians say young Basil Rathbone was named after the herb, basil. Old Basil Rathbone was still named after the herb. In between, he got teased a lot. He took up acting in desperation, for no one cares if a successful actor acts weird or has a strange name. His brilliant performances in the Sherlock Holmes movies gave him that success. The teasing stopped.

2) But the inner anguish from his teasing did not. Then one day while in Spain filming for the movie, The Name Escapes Me, he met a little boy selling basil pesto pizza. It was excellent. Basil Rathbone spread the delicious recipe everywhere he went.. No longer would the little Basils of the world be teased. The actor was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. And the little boy? Why, he became Juan Carlos I of Spain, the man who ended Generalísimo Franco’s brutal dictatorship.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

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

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

Lamb Stew From Western Sahara

Western Saharan Entree

LAMB STEW
(Mreifisa)

INGREDIENTS – BREADMreifisa-

4 cups flour (1 additional tablespoon later)
1½ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour

INGREDIENTS – STEW

1 pound lamb
2 garlic cloves
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

rolling pin
cookie sheet
Dutch oven

Makes 3 bowls. Takes 55 minutes.

PREPARATION – BREAD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add 4 cups flour, water, and salt to large mixing bowl. Knead with hands for 5 minutes or until ingredients become a well mixed ball of dough . Dust flat surface with 1 tablespoon flour. Add dough to flat surface. Flatten dough with rolling pin until it is ½” thick. Place flattened dough on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bread starts to brown. Set aside.

PREPARATION – STEW

While bread bakes, chop lamb into ½” cubes. Dice garlic cloves and onions. Add garlic, onion, lamb, and olive oil to Dutch oven. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens and lamb cubes brown. Add beef broth, water, and salt to Dutch oven. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until lamb is tender.

Crumble bread and divide equally among bowls. Pour equal amounts of stew into bowls.
TIDBITS

1) Mreifisa is an anagram for “I fire Sam.”

2) Sam is not a common name in Western Sahara.

3) In fact, Sam is a tour guide. He lead a group of foodies to Western Sahara to eat mreifisa, all perfectly normal.

4) But he headed east to rebel-held territory and got captured. Why did Sam take his charges east?

5) Because someone asked Sam, “Would he eat mreifisa on a beast. Would he eat in the east?”

6) “Yes,” said Sam while being held in a snake-filled pit. “I would eat on the sand. I would eat if it’s bland.”

7) “Would you,” said his captors, “eat it in the sky? Would you eat it while you die?”

8) “I would eat it in this life. I would eat it with my wife.”

9) “Would you eat it with a lord? Would you eat it on a sword?”

10) “I would eat it with a whisk. I would eat it with lutefisk.”

11) His blond, blue-eyed captives blanched at that. “You eat lutefisk?”

12) “Yes!” said Sam. “I’d eat lutefisk with a gnu. Do you want some lutefisk, too?”

13) “No, lutefisk does so stink. If we ate lutefisk, we’d need a shrink.”

14) Sam said, “Try it, try it I implore. If you don’t, I’ll bring more.”

15) “No,” said the leader Abu, “A thousand years hence, our tribe left Sweden. No more lutefisk we’d be eatin’.”

16) “Would you eat lutefisk in a tree? Would you eat it with a bee ?”

17) Abu said, “We would not eat it in a car. To not eat it, we’ve traveled far.”

18) Sam brightened when he said, “You’re not giving it a chance, that is plain. I’ll get you lutefisk flown from Spain.”

19) “Oh that lutefisk makes us ill We’ll release you, yes we will.”

20) Even though Sam and his tour group got released from the snake pit, some of the tourists seized on that event to demand their money back. So, I had to fire Sam.

21) Would you, could you fire Sam? Would you, could you eat this stew of lamb?

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperpack
or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available 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

Honduran Nacatamales

Honduran Entree

NACATAMALES

INGREDIENTS – DOUGHNacatamales-

6 cups masa harina or corn flour
1 cup lard, shortening, or butter
1 teaspoon salt (1 more teaspoon later)
3 tablespoons orange juice
5 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups chicken stock

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

⅔ cup rice
2½ pounds pork
3 large potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper
1 large onion
1 sweet green chile pepper
1 medium tomato
3 tablespoons cilantro
1½ tablespoons cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon achiote paste (or ½ teaspoon paprika plus ½ teaspoon vinegar)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Makes 18 nacatamales. Takes at least 3 hours.

INGREDIENTS – ASSEMBLY

12 10″-x-10″ banana-leaf squares*
A roll of aluminum foil
Multiple big pots (4½ or larger. Extra pots enables you to cook more nacatamales at once.)
Good restorative drink to keep you going.

* = Banana leaves can be found in Mexican or Asian grocery stores. If they can’t be found, just use the tin foil without them. Oh, banana leaves are curved, not square at all. Bastards.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
cooking twine or butcher’s twine

PREPARATION – INITIAL

Soak banana leaves in large pot. You really need to make the banana leaves flexible.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add masa harina, lard, and 1 teaspoon salt to first, large mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater set on low. With electric still set on low, slowly add orange juice, lime juice, and chicken stock. Mix until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Rev up electric beater to high setting or until it starts to become fluffy. Cover dough and let sit for 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – FILLING

While dough is sitting, cook rice according to instructions on package. Cut pork into ½” cubes. Peel potatoes. Slice potatoes into ½” cubes. Dice garlic cloves, green bell pepper, onion, sweet green chile pepper, and tomato. Add pork cubes, cilantro, cumin, pepper, salt, and achiote paste to second, large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until pork cubes are well coated with spices.

Add vegetable oil, coated pork cubes, and potato cubes to pan. Sauté on medium heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes soften. Stir frequently. Add garlic cloves, green bell pepper, onion, sweet green chile pepper, and tomato. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently.

PREPARATION – ASSEMBLY

Remove banana leaves soaking in pot. Heat water on high heat until it is scalding hot. Add banana-leaf square to pot. Keep leaf in pot until it becomes flexible. Remove banana leaf. Place ⅓ cup of dough in the middle of the banana leaf. Smooth dough with wet hands until it is about 2″ from the edges of the banana leaf.

Add equal amounts of pork cubes (about ⅓ cup), over the middle of the dough, followed by cooked rice (about 2 tablespoons) and potato cubes (about 1½ tablespoons). Add another ⅓ cup of dough over potato cubes. Smooth top layer of dough gently with wet hands. Fold bottom edge of banana leaf over filling until it reaches the top half of the leaf Gently fold in edges to make a square. Gently–Don’t break the banana leaf–tie kitchen twine around filled banana-leaf square.

Place the filled banana-leaf square over the center of an aluminum-foil square. (The aluminum-foil square large enough to wrap the banana square. Tightly fold bottom edge of foil over filled banana-leaf square. Tightly fold sides of aluminum foil over banana square, then the top side. Tie the aluminum-foil covered square like a parcel with kitchen twine. Repeat process for each banana leaf. There should be a banana leaf softening in the pot while constructing each nacatamale.

Put metal rack in bottom of each pot. Add water to each pot until level is ½” above the racks. (Aluminum cookie cutters work quite well as a substitute for wire racks.) Bring to boil using high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Add a single layer of nacatamales to rack. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to keep level ½” above the rack. Remove nacatamales from pots. Repeat for each batch of nacatamales. Remove all twine and tin foil and serve to adoring guests.

If your sweetheart makes this for you, propose marriage immediately.
TIDBITS

1) Nacatamales were invented by Señor Naca Tamale, chef to the royal governor in 1689. They were delicious, so much so that Governor Alfonso Bondigas knew he would win a million pieces of gold if he could send just one nacatamale to the Spanish king, Charles II.

2) So, in 1690, Governor Bondigas sent 100 nacatamales with the annual fleet carrying gold to Spain. They got eaten by the crews.

3) In 1691, Governor Bondigas sent 200 nacatamales with the fleet. 100 got eaten by the crews. The rest got eaten by gourmet rats.

4) In 1692, Governor Bondigas sent 400 nacatamales. The sailors devoured 100, the gourmet rats another 100, and the rest spontaneously combusted. No one saw that one coming.

5) Pirates captured the annual Nacatamale fleet in 1693, tamales having by that time become more valuable than gold.

6) In 1694, the Honduran governor sent 1,600 nacatamales with the nacatamale fleet. Unfortunately, First Mate Pedro Migas placed the nacatamales in the same room where he dried the crew’s socks. When half of the socks fled to a parallel dimension–a journey they continue to this day–they took all the nacatamales with them. By the way, culinary quantum physicists say trans-dimensional aliens took a great liking to nacatamales and can often be found at nacatamale stand through out Central America. You have to look closely for them; their disguises are excellent.

7) In 1695, Governor Bondigas tried catapulting the nacatamales to Spain. They only made it two miles out to sea where they utterly destroyed a pirate fleet. Karma, you bet.

8) In 1696, Señor Bondigas noticed a little boy skipping rocks all the way across a small stream. Could this work with nacatamales? No.

9) Spurred by the efforts of 1697, nacatamale skipping became the premier event of the Spanish-American games. All Honduras went sports mad. Every young man in that land spent every spare moment practicing to win the gold medal in nacatamale skipping. This naturally left no nacatamales left to be shipped to Spain.

10) The banana bug wiped out the banana crop in 1698. No banana leaves, no nacatamales.

11) In 1699, banana growers all used their leaves to make beer. Banana-leaf beer was enormously popular that year. You can only find this beer in a few Honduran villages. The brand is El Banano.

12) In 1700, the Nacatamale Fleet finally made it to Spain with fifty million nacatamales. But Charles II had died two weeks before. His successor, Philip of Anjou, grandsom of Louis XIV exported them all to Britain as a good-will gesture. The British loved the nacatamale. Lasting global peace seemed likely. But the British gobbled the nacatamales up in just one week, got sick of them, and in revenge declared war on France. Wars would rage across Europe for another 245 years. The new Spanish King blamed Governor Bondigas who died broken hearted. However, the legacy of the good man lives on in the millions upon millions of postal packages wrapped in the manner of the nacatamale.

– 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, history, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spotlight on Concha Alborg, Author of “Divorce After Death: A Widow’s Memoir”

The Matchmaker. DesencuentrosConchaCover

Let’s face it, we would all like to meet someone cute, someone sitting next to us on a plane or a train like in a movie—think of Before Sunrise. I have my own fantasy; I see a gorgeous, tall man who looks familiar at a writers’ conference and he starts coming toward me saying in a foreign accent “You look familiar, have we met before?” Trite, I know, but oh so perfect! But when all else fails, when we have tried several Internet sites, when we have placed an ad in The New York Review of Books and have answered a few of them as well, when our friends and relatives have introduced us to several suitable acquaintances and we have tried to strike up a conversation in airports, supermarkets, local bookstores and just about everywhere we go, there is always the matchmaker.
Yes, I’m not inventing this, a matchmaker, like in an old-fashioned film, say Fiddler on the Roof or Crossing Delancey. George, from my Pilates class, told me about her. I tried to hush him up, embarrassed to death that our teacher would hear him in the one place where I haven’t made it obvious that I’m on the prowl. He couldn’t say enough good things about Jo. She was lovely, so knowledgeable and courteous. With such a high recommendation, I jotted her number down on my gym membership card. She hadn’t yet given me her charming pink business card with a gold heart in the middle.
I drove to her place in suburban Philadelphia, a few exits off US 95 North from the center of town. Her tiny office walls were covered with pictures of happy, smiling couples just like an OBGYN doctor has hers covered with adorable babies. Jo was so chatty and friendly that I wondered if she had met her husband as a client. She kept saying how nice my skin was and how young I seemed—I shouldn’t tell my age to anyone—that I looked at least ten years younger. How was I not to like her? She wasn’t cheap, but gave me an introductory price of $200.00, perhaps given my lovely skin. That fee was good for two months and guaranteed four matches.
Going to a matchmaker, just like joining a new website, helps one focus. “What exactly do I want in a partner?” Jo asked. First of all, he has to be accomplished, cultured, attractive, energetic, financially conservative and politically liberal. He must want to travel. Of course he will be kind, pleasant, good company and all the usual social requirements. My therapist says that I’m not demanding, but that, since I have lots to offer, I want lots in return. Maybe I’ll have to lower my expectations if I ever want to find a mate.
Since I like to make a research project out of everything, I had some questions of my own for Jo: Who are her typical clients, how does she meet them, are the women happy with her services? Turns out that she has been in business for more than twenty years, and she advertises in the local press and on dating sites, but most of her men and women come referred by someone else. “No, they are not desperate,” Jo assures me, they are all professionals, like me, and they just don’t have time to waste on the Internet.
But, just like in a dating site, there was a protocol to follow. I would get a phone call from the men first. “Don’t expect to talk too long; men hate chatting on the phone,” Jo said. If it goes well, then a short date is set for coffee or an after-work drink. No one wants to spend time and money on dinner if there isn’t chemistry, a word she used often, making her service sound more like science than magic. She expected a call with my first impressions after the initial meeting and then we were on our own.
I’ve done some matchmaking myself, with little success I might add. I have been known to fix my ex-boyfriends with some of my own girlfriends. I think of it as a way to soften the blow, if I was the one who initiated the breakup. But, for some reason, the guys get touchy about this and by the time they make the contact I’m not even sure it was a good idea. Like the time I suggested to a Rutgers University professor, who loved his Maltese puppies, he would like to meet Mary, who was crazy about her Dalmatians. I’m not sure if he didn’t like her or her dogs. I also fixed Mary up with Charlie, a tango instructor, since she loves ballroom dancing. I don’t know what happened, but that was a fiasco, too, and I retired from the business of meddling in my friends’ love lives.
Jo fixed me up right away with three men and, she was right, their phone conversations were indicative of what there was to come. In fact, Jack and I never made it beyond the first phone conversation. Jack admitted that he hadn’t been in Philadelphia since the fifties and didn’t like it anyway. I said that he didn’t even know the city; it has changed so much in the last six decades! No wonder he mentioned Famous Deli as a good place to meet, which is about the oldest, most stuffy place to eat off South Street, while I was thinking of one of the many trendy places I’m familiar with, like Amada or Garces Trading Company.
He also told me he had written a memoir of his Italian family and their move to New York City. The unbelievable part is that, even though it hadn’t been published, it had been picked up by a director and it was being made into a film. Saying that I was envious doesn’t even come close to how I felt. The producers had given him a Lexus (he usually drove a Ford Taurus) and a credit card, so he could go from his Southern Jersey home to the big city to be a consultant. He couldn’t take me out yet, because they were filming in New York, and on the first snowy day he would have to leave immediately to shoot the outdoor scenes. All this conversation took place in what I would call immigrant volume. I remember how my family screamed on the phone when they used to call from Spain before the days of Skype. “Helloooo,” Jack would say and, without meaning to, I would answer “Whaaaat?” in a very loud voice. I never heard from him again.
The first man I met through Jo was Pietro, also an Italian, this one from South Philly. He was as good-looking as she mentioned, dressed all in black, with a tight muscle shirt to show off his physique. He smelled good, too. Come to think of it, all of Jo’s men smelled delicious. His best feature was his silver hair, sleeked back with lots of product, framing his handsome face and his eyebrows, which were shaped like upside down Vs. Think of Rocky Balboa without the broken nose. Unfortunately he was covered with gold jewelry: a big watch, a thick chain bracelet and most prominently, an elaborate crucifix, hanging from a gold chain, in the middle of his powerful chest. There was no doubt that Pietro was more handsome than I’m pretty, and I’m no wall flower. He spoke with a South Philly accent, which is funny if you hear it on a TV or radio ad, but is very embarrassing if you are in a sophisticated Society Hill bar and one of your neighbors is right behind him. Luckily, my neighbor was not with his wife, so he also pretended not to see me.
This Italian jock had never been out of the country; the only time he had been on a plane, he went to Florida. He admitted that he would need to be sedated to get airborne again. As I’ve said before, I won’t go to bed with Republicans, but this guy probably didn’t even vote. He was incensed when he heard that I had been to Cuba with my students and had loved my recent trip to China. “What are you, a Communist?” he said gesturing with his hand under the chin. No, he didn’t go to movies. No, he didn’t know Italian, although he spoke with his hands and showed me some not so nice gestures. How’s that for a match?
We spoke about our children. His daughter was a waitress and his son already had his own heating and air-conditioning business. And there I was telling him that not everyone needs to go to college. If either one of my daughters could hear me now! At that point he told me how perceptive he was and how no one could BS him. What a good time we were having and how much he wanted to see me again! He couldn’t wait to make some of his mother’s spaghetti with traditional gravy for me—that’s the word for sauce in South Philly. What was I to do? I told Jo the truth: that physically Pietro was very attractive, but that he wasn’t my type and that I could never take him home to meet my children.
Steven, a retired corporate man, also dressed in black, was my next match. His hair was perfect as well. I started to wonder if Jo had a dress code for her male clients. I made the mistake of dressing conservatively with a matching outfit that made me look like an Iberian Airlines flight attendant, without the white gloves and the box hat, because despite his business career Steven was a biker now and there were his helmet and leather jacket to prove it. That would teach me to dress to please my date.
Our conversation started well enough. At least he had made money from his real estate investments and I love talking about the ups and downs in the real estate market. But then, I don’t know how, The Bible made an unscheduled appearance and he was telling me that marriage was supposed to be between a man and a woman only, period. Appearances can be so deceiving; despite being Jewish, Jo attracted conservative Catholic men and, despite my goody-two-shoe clothes, I was a Communist and a radical.
Again, I called Jo immediately and told her that Steven and I weren’t a good match, only to find out that he had already called her and told her that there was no chemistry between us. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Concha. And here I had painted my nails a provocative deep red—something I hadn’t done in decades, certainly not for a date, maybe for a fund-raiser gala someplace.
James, however, took the cake. He was one of the most unpleasant dating experiences I have ever had. He was talkative on the phone, although there were plenty of red flags: this country is toxic, his sister is also toxic, his brother’s children are toxic. He described himself as a European because he had lived in Paris for a period of time (not). He did have an interesting career. He was a physician with his own practice that specializes in curing cancer with intravenous doses of vitamin C, although I had never heard of that kind of experimental treatment.
Setting up a date with James was a complicated affair. He was a vegetarian, so we couldn’t meet at a Jewish deli I suggested (as if they didn’t serve salads there). We met at a Starbucks at 12:30 PM, which I thought meant lunch. But when he arrived a few minutes late, I might add, he didn’t want anything, because he had already drank a protein smoothie somewhere and I had to buy my own sandwich and drink. No problem. From the very beginning, the conversation was strained and his toxicity list had grown to include some of his patients and friends. I changed the subject to traveling, mentioning some of the study tours I had taken with my students to South America, Cuba and South Africa…
“Oh, paid vacations,” he said. I thought he was kidding, so I laughed, but he was serious. When I mentioned that perhaps he said that because he never had children; traveling with fifteen or twenty teenagers is never a vacation, he said that he was offended, got up and left. I sat there eating my sandwich alone, shaking in my seat. Being left in a coffee shop, that was a first. This time, I told Jo that I was taking a leave of absence and that I wanted to take a break from dating. I didn’t mention to her how I missed using Google to find out information about perspective dates and how much better it is to communicate on e-mail for a while before having to pay for one’s lunch.
Several months later, out of the blue, Jo called me up with another possible match. I think she felt badly about my last one and I was again between boyfriends, so I agreed to try one more time. Dating is like childbirth; you forget how painful it is and you end up trying again. Clark worked around the corner from my home, so we could meet very easily. He was younger than me, but as young as I looked Jo was sure it didn’t matter. This time a happy hour meeting at a trendy new place, The Red Owl Tavern, was set effortlessly. Clark was not Superman, but he was also attractive, blond and dressed casually with a Hawaiian shirt and khakis. He had never been married, lived on the same street where he grew up in suburban Philadelphia. No, he didn’t come to the city on weekends, since he was there every weekday for work. No, he didn’t see foreign movies. No, he didn’t care for the opera, the orchestra or the ballet. His favorite activity was playing Trivial Pursuit on weekends with a so-called “meet-up” group (I made a mental note not to ever try that possibility).
This time I felt guilty calling Jo with the bad news; Clark was such a nice guy. I kept thinking of a Spanish word I haven’t been able to translate into English, desencuentro. The trusty Google dictionary says that it is a “disagreement,” a “misunderstanding,” a “failure to meet up,” a “mix-up,” and “unmeeting,” (is there such a word?). But none of these do justice to this Spanish concept. Literally it means an “un-encounter.” Let me illustrate it. A desencuentro is when two people would have never met had it not been for an introduction by a well-meaning matchmaker. A desencuentro is when two people would be on a different time zone even if they live in the same city, like Clark and I. Not surprisingly, when Clark called Jo with his report, he told her that I was delightful, but I seemed “a little long in the tooth.” How’s that for an apt American expression?

Author’s Bio

Concha Alborg was born in Spain during the difficult years after the Spanish Civil War and went to school in Madrid until she emigrated with her parents to the United States, ConchaAutwhere she finished high school. More than any other event in her life, this move defines who she is, an immigrant living between two cultures. She may seem Americanized to her Spanish relatives, but she is from another country as far as her daughters are concerned. Although Concha fits well enough in both cultures, a tell-tale Spanish accent marks her speech as well as her writing.
Concha Alborg earned an MA from Emory University and a PhD in Spanish Literature from Temple University. In addition to numerous academic publications on contemporary women writers, she has been actively writing fiction and creative non-fiction. Recently, she left Saint Joseph’s University, where she was a professor for over twenty years, to write full time. She has published two collections of short stories: Una noche en casa (Madrid, 1995) and Beyond Jet-Lag (New Jersey, 2000) and a novel, American in Translation: A Novel in Three Novellas (Indiana, 2011).
Concha Alborg didn’t think that anything could hurt her more than the death of her husband from cancer, but hours after his death she learned how wrong she was. Within days of being made a widow, she discovered that her marriage and her husband were not what she had envisioned. In Divorce After Death. A Widow’s Memoir, with a unique point of view, due to her bi-cultural background, and a self-deprecating humor, she takes us on a personal journey. Her strength and determination to build a new life led her down a path that allowed her to reject the veil of widowhood and instead embrace a life of happiness, love and acceptance.
Concha Alborg lives and writes in Philadelphia. See more information about the author at www.conchaalborg.com. Her Humor Outcasts’ author page link is http://hopress-shorehousebooks.com/concha-alborg/.

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

Spicy Spanish Potatoes – Patatas Bravas

Spanish Entree

PATATAS BRAVAS

(spicy potatoes)

INGREDIENTSPatatasBravas-

3 garlic cloves
½ onion
2 Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup water
5 medium russet potatoes
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil (½ cup more later)
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika (or paprika)
¼ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup olive oil
½ tablespoon parsley

PREPARATION

Mince garlic cloves, onion, and tomatoes. Add flour to ½ cup water. Stir until flour dissolves. Put potatoes in large pot and cover them with water. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Carefully remove potatoes and let them cool. Cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add potato cubes, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Turn potato cubes until they are coated with pepper and salt.

Add 2½ tablespoons olive oil and garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens and garlic browns. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low. Add tomato, paprika, thyme, sugar, and dissolved flour. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While tomato/garlic/onion/spice mix simmers, add ½ cup olive oil and potato cubes to second pan. Sauté on high heat for 5-to-10 minutes or until potatoes turn golden brown. Stir constantly Remove potato cubes and place them on paper towels to remove excess oil. Put potatoes in bowls and top with tomato sauce. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) Gerona, Spain’s has a dating agency for pets. Happy Animals caters to lovelorn dogs, cats and birds. The mind boggles.

2) You are more likely to be robbed in Spain than anywhere else.

3) Sure, with all those cash-strapped Spaniards needing to pony up big Euros for their animals’ social lives.

4) However, Spain started paying women around a thousand dollars for each baby they have. If they want, the señoras can spend their money at Happy Animals. Maybe with all that extra cash, the robbery rate will fall.

5) If robbery rates fall, people can spend the money they would have spent on alarm systems for their homes on romantic dinners.

6) If Spanish couples have enough romantic dinners, they will have more babies.

7) It costs money to raise babies. A lot more than $1,000. The money to pay for these kids will have to come from somewhere.

9) From cutting out Doggy Dating Centers or taking up robbery. Tough choice.

10) Most Spanish women will curtail their dogs’ love lives.

11) But not all. Home burglaries will soar. Spanish families will have to spend more money on home security. Where will they get the money for all these alarms?

16) From robbing people’s homes. Spaniards will spend ever more money protecting their abode.

17) This will spiral out of control. Lawlessness will stalk the land.

18) The Spanish government will have to step in. The army will have to patrol every home on every street to keep order.

19) But not for long. Spanish families will have no money to pay their taxes. They will have spent it all on burglar alarms. The Spanish government won’t be able to pay its army. Mutinies will break out among the soldiers. This will occur in small units at first. Nothing will coordinated. But the trend will be unmistakable.

20) Where will the authorities get the money to pay its fighting men?

21) From saffron. Saffron costs seven dollars a gram. It’s far more expensive than oil.

22) How will the Spanish get enough saffron to pay its army?

23) By invading Iran. Iran is a huge producer of saffron. Won’t Iran fight back? Yes, it will.

24) And that’s bad. Iran could very well develop nuclear weapons in the near future. Iran also has lots of enemies who will inevitably be drawn into the Spanish-Iranian War. The war will spread until it becomes global. We will have Armageddon.

25) That’s bad. So, let your pets find their own soul mates. It’ll be character building experience for them and save the world as well. Remember, the culinary arts will the first to go after the apocalypse.

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

Paella

Spanish Entree

PAELLA

INGREDIENTSpaella-

l pound large shrimp
4 chicken breasts
½ pound chorizo sausage links
5 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
4 Roma tomatoes
½ teaspoon paprika
2 ½ tablespoons parsley
½ teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon lemon juice (additional 1/4 cup later)
1 tablespoon olive oil (additional 1 tablespoon later)

1 cup water
7 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lemon
2 ½ cups short rice

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven
sonic obliterator

PREPARATION

Peel shrimp, leaving tails. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Cut chorizo sausage links into 1″ slices. Devein shrimp. Mince garlic cloves. Dice onion, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. Make spice blend by adding garlic, paprika, parsley, thyme, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to mixing bowl. Blend with whisk. (There is a lot of prep work here. Be sure to strike a heroic pose while mentioning this to guests.)

Add water, chicken stock, and saffron threads to large Dutch oven. Blend with whisk. Bring to boil on high heat. Add rice. Stir occasionally. Cook on low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent rice on bottom from burning. Be sure to keep Dutch oven covered when not stirring. This helps cook the rice on top.

While rice cooks, add onion, bell pepper, chicken and second tablespoon of olive oil to large skillet. Sauté onion, bell pepper, and chicken for 2 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken and set aside. Add chorizo to skillet. Sauté chorizo for 2 minutes or until chorizo browns. Remove chorizo and set aside.

When rice is done, add chicken, chorizo, sautéed onion, bell pepper, tomato, and spice blend from mixing bowl to Dutch oven. Reduce temperature to low and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While chicken/chorizo/rice mix simmers, add shrimp to skillet. Sauté shrimp to 2 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add shrimp tail-side up to Dutch oven. Simmer on low for 2 minutes or until shrimp has turned orange and is no longer translucent. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Garnish with lemon wedges.

This is an expensive dish. Use sonic obliterator on anyone who doesn’t appreciate it.

TIDBITS

1) “Paella” is the Spanish word for “paella.”

2) More Spanish people live in Spain than in any other country. A good way to become Spanish is to have Spanish parents give birth to you there.

3) Sevenish means around seven o’clock. However, Spanish does not mean around Span o’ clock.

4) Rabbits like to frolic at seven o’clock. Indeed, the word Spain came from the word Ispania, which means the Land of the Rabbits.

5) Someone in Spain invented the mop. You will lose a tooth if an angry rabbit hits you with a mop. Be sure to put that tooth under your pillow at night, so Ratoncito Perez, the tooth mouse, will see it and give you money.

6) Mice do not play tennis, not even in Spain, but the Spaniard Rafael Nidal does. He has an asteroid belt named after him.

7) Spain is the only European country to produce bananas. It also has bullfighting. Coincidence? It would seem so as Iceland grows bananas but has no bullfighting.

8) In Barcelona, on St George’s Day , 23 April, sweethearts take a break from going to bullfights and exchange books and roses with each other instead.

9) On May 15th all the senoritas in Madrid head to the chapel called Ermita de San Isidro to prick their fingers with pins. They put the pin in a vessel. This will get them a husband. And if the husband misbehaves they can point to the bloody pin as a warning.

10) If pricking your finger is not your thing, consider going to the town of Buñol for La Tomatina. It’s the best food festival in the world and is held every last Wednesday in August. People descend on this Spanish village to eat tomatoes and throw them at each other. What more could you want?

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

Almond Pork Stir Fry

Chinese Entree

ALMOND PORK STIR FRY

INGREDIENTSAlmondChicken-

1 pound pork loins
½ red onion
2 scallions
½ cup blanched, silvered almonds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound bean sprouts
1 teaspoon Chinese five spices
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

PREPARATION

Cut pork into ½” cubes. Dice red onion and scallions. Rinse bean sprouts. Add almond, red onion, scallion, and soy sauce to wok or pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently.

Add pork, chicken stock, sherry, sugar, bean sprouts, Chinese five spices, and ginger to pan. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink inside. (X-ray vision would be useful here. If you aren’t a super hero, it’s okay to slice open a pork cube and look.)

TIDBITS

1) In 1764, Spain worried about Russian encroachment on the west coast of America planted almond trees along El Camino Real (The Royal Road) from San Diego to San Francisco.

2) These trees did not significantly deter the Russian military which was generally equipped with ships, horses, cannon, and muskets.

3) The Spanish then tried planting all manner of cacti in Arizona. This failed as well. The Russians weren’t interested in Arizona and the cacti proved remarkably vulnerable to flanking maneuvers.

4) In 1769, the governor of California, Don Antonio Pico de Gallo, came up with the happy idea of building missions along El Camino and staffing them with priests and soldiers. The Russians saw that the price of conquering the Golden State would be too high and left.

5) President Clinton ate almonds at both his inaugurations. Some say he did this to send a message to the Russians, but it is more likely he just like to eat them.

6) Eat the almonds, not the Russians, for goodness sake.

– Chef Paul

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 Nook4novels

 

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

 

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

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