Posts Tagged With: Spain

Crabmeat Stuffed Avocados

Chilean Entree

CRABMEAT STUFFED AVOCADOS

INGREDIENTS

2 large avocados
6 ounces crabmeat
2 tablespoons minced bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup mayonnaise
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
4 leaves lettuce
6 olives

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Peel avocados and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove pits. Add crabmeat, bell pepper, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, pepper, salt, and shallot to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until crab mix is well blended. Shred lettuce.

Arrange lettuce evenly over 4 plates. Fill avocado hollows with crab mix. Top avocado halves with neat little mounds of remaining crab mix. Cut olives in half. Garnish each avocado half with 3 olive haves. Place filled-and-topped avocado halves on shredded lettuce.

TIDBITS

1) The early peoples of Central America subsisted on avocados. The tribes living along the Pacific coast of South America lived on potatoes. Naturally, no one likes to eat only potatoes or even just avocados. So, soon a lively avocado-potato trade developed. Then culinary ingenuity propelled these peoples into a golden age with the harnessing of corn into tortillas. Before long a brilliant mind, Chef Ozomatli, constructed the first potato taquito with guacamole sauce.

2) This golden age didn’t last. Robbers ambushed the potato and avocado traders. To meet this threat, the great Aztec empire arose around Mexico. Its armies threw volley after volley of avocado pits at the heads of the robber gangs until the thieves broke and fled. The Incan warrior, however, was invulnerable in his suit of potatoes. These innovations were enough to maintain the great empires until the arrival of the musket carrying, metal-armor wearing Conquistadors.

3) In desperation, local chieftains attempted to attack the Spanish fleets by making canoes out of gigantic avocados. Unfortunately, crabs ate these vessels as soon as they put out to sea. Resistance collapsed. Spain would rule this corner of the world for 300 years. This dish commemorates the destruction of the avocado fleets by the crabs. So some good came out of all this turmoil.

 

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

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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How to Circumnavigate the Earth

Paul De Lancey, circumnavigating

On September 8, 1519, Ferdinand Magellan and 238 seamen of various ranks left Spain to circumnavigate the Earth. It was a long ocean voyage! Just over two years. Only 30 of the 239 returned home. Then out of those 30, twelve had spent some in a Cape Verde prison.

We can draw two conclusion from this.

1) You are more likely to survive sailing around the world if you go to prison en route.

Survival rate, no prison sentence = 7.9% (18 sailors out of 227)

Survival rate, prison sentence = 100% (12 sailors of 12)

Noting this, NASA plans to equip all long-range spaceships with prisons.

2) It takes a lot of time and a lot of people dying just to get back to the spot where you started. I mean, what the heck?  If getting back to the same spot is circumnavigating, then I’m doing it right now. And no one’s dying, either.

You too can go around the world. Just stand still and say, “I’ve gone around the world.”

Congratulations, you world traveler, you.

 

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

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

 

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Fun Festivals – The International Witches Fair

 

Such fun

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? Did you or your mom spend days making a truly scary costume? Do you want another such day? Each and every year?

Then go to the Witchcraft and the Trasmoz’s Curse Fair. Other towns have their own witch fairs. But do not go to them! Do not accept substitutes. The first and still the best such fair is the one in Trasmoz, Spain. This fair is the one that truly deserves to be called, The International Witches Fair.

This fair takes places every first weekend in July and is just the thing for people who prefer to watch movies about witch burning over roasting marshmallow over an open fire.

This fair is such fun. Watch reenactors capture witches and heretics. Watch the lost souls get tried. Be enthralled by their torture. Be entranced by lovingly recreated witches’s covens. Honestly, is anything near your home that can rival this? I think not.

But wait! There’s more. Listen to the excommunication of the entire town. Puts your “Damn you, (your enemy)” to shame doesn’t it?

Watch as Pope Julius II curses the entire village.

But you can’t see the reenactment of the lifting of the excommunication and cursing. They never happened. The town is still excommunicated and cursed. Can New York City, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, or Bora Bora can say that? No they can’t, only Trasmoz, Spain.

Wait! There’s more.

The festival sports an authentic medieval market place and medieval camp. There are parades, magic shows, musical shows, and medieval combat. You’ll want to go year after year just to see everything.

But wait! There’s more.

Learn about medieval plants. Perhaps you’ll want to learn how to poison someone. It’s okay, it’s okay, all medieval poisons were organic. Or maybe you’ll want to heal people with medieval medicinal plants. To each his own.

But wait! There’s still more. Absorb the town’s rather exciting history as you wander around.

The history

During the 1100s, the town of Trasmoz  clashed with the nearby Veruela Monastery over firewood and pastures. Such disputes were normally decided by lawsuits or mediation by a higher lord or church official. Such a process proved unsatisfactory to the Monastery’s abbot. He excommunicated the entire town saying that witches and covens were running amok. Excommunication was an unambiguously horrible thing to happen to you in the Middle Ages. However, while bad for the town, excommunication is now an annual economic boon for Trasmoz, a town vying with other village for the tourist Euro.

In 1511, the lord of the town and Abbot Pedro Ximénez de Urrea quarreled. Perhaps the lord would point at the abbot and say, “Look, there goes urea breath.” Who can say? But we do know that the abbott complained to the higher ups. Eventually Pope Julius II cursed the entire town.

Some think the curse came about due to counterfeiting. Local counterfeiters didn’t want visitors poking their noses into this illegal activity. So the law breakers told the abbot stories of wickedness and the rest is history.

The excommunication and curse have never been lifted. Only the pope can do that. It’s something to think about should you ever ponder settling in Trasmoz.

So enjoy the history, the torture, and the food. Go to the International Witches Fair. Make your bookings now. It’s fun for the entire family.

 

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

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Fun Festivals – Tossing Tomatoes at La Tomatina

The world’s best tomato festival, La Tomatina, is held in Buñol, Spain. The festival starts with the eating of many different tomato-based dishes. Yum! However, dining on the tomato is not the reason for La Tomatina’s extraordinary popularity. The festival hosts the world’s biggest tomato fight. Yippee.

Strangely enough this fun festival grew out of parade where musicians and people dressed up as giants and big heads. The local youth, decided to join the parade, as who would not? I mean giants and big heads. The teens got rambunctious. One of the marchers lost his fake head in the commotion. He became angry and started hitting all the young folks that came near him.

The teens took offense at this battery. As fate would have it, the young ones were next to a vegetable cart. The local youth grabbed tomatoes and other veggies and threw them at the battering marcher. Well, the aim of most people is rather poor and most of the hurled tomatoes missed their target. The people hit by these errant missiles got angry. So, they hurled tomatoes back. And missed. Hitting still others. Soon, the tomato tossing became general, just like all those bar fights in Western movies.

The following year, Buñol’s youth commemorated the event by staging a fake argument that deteriorated into a tomato-throwing free for all. The authorities, not foreseeing the tourist draw this tomato hurling would become, broke up the fight. But the tomato-hurling came back the next year. Now la Tomatina happens every year. Why? Because it’s such great fun. Locals hose down the participants. Authorities hose down the streets. So much citric acid, from the tomatoes, gets everywhere that the washed streets will sparkle.

I want to go to La Tomatina. So let’s go there some time. We’ll arrange a meeting. Stay tuned.

Authorities banned this tomato tossing once. Possibly to honor my birth. Possibly because police traditionally look askance at anything resembling a riot. Anyway, devotees of the festival protested this by carrying a huge tomato in a coffin through the center of town. Buñol’s authorities relented and from then on allowed the La Tomatina Festival to continue. Really! Is that all it takes to make the authorities relent? Just carry a tomato-laden coffin through town. (Writes this down for future reference.)

La Tomatina increases in popularity every year and occurs on the last Wednesday in August. Up to 100,000 people attend. It’s so popular that you must buy tickets to attend. Now, the world has finally taken notice. Similar events take place in Colorado, Nevada, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, and India. La Tomatina has made its way in to movies around the world and even into a Mickey Mouse(tm) episode.

Unfortunately, the festival was not held in 2020 and will not be held this year, because of the Covid pandemic. Let us strongly hope that we can soon, and safely, engage in boisterous fun once again.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., travel adviser

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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Syrian Meatloaf

Syrian Entree

SYRIAN MEATLOAF
(lahme bil sanieh)

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 large onion
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or black pepper
2½ teaspoons pomegranate syrup*
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Roma tomatoes

* = Found in Middle Easter or World supermarkets

SPECIAL UTENSILS

8″ casserole dish
mandoline (optional)

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat casserole dish with butter. Dice onion. Add beef, onion, Aleppo pepper, pomegranate syrup, and salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Add beef/onion mix from bowl to casserole dish. Smooth surface with spatula. Gently poke about 30 shallow holes in meat. Drizzle vegetable oil over meat. (The shallow holes you made let the oil get into meat.) Slice tomatoes ¼” thick with mandoline or knife. Arrange tomato slices over meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

TIDBITS

1) 1,000,000 B.C. – 1519: Nothing happens in history on in cooking.
1519 – Conquistador Cortez brings tomatoes back to Spain. People don’t eat the pretty plants.
1595 – Europeans note that tomatoes are part of the poisonous nightshade family. The French also believe that tomatoes, pommes d’amour, have aphrodisiacal properties. Tomatoes still aren’t eaten.
1872: Tomatoes first appear in an ingredient in a American recipe for tomato chowder.
1870s: The modern American meatloaf appears on the scene.
1894: Joseph Campbell cans condensed tomato soup. This proves wildly successful.
1929-1939: The Great American Depression forces starving family to extend precious protein to great lengths. Making meatloaf ensures that everyone gets some beef. All Americans eat meatloaf.
1949: LegoTM starts producing Legos. Legos look like squares with four raised dots.
1962: Syria gains its independence. Syria starts making meatloaf. Its meatloaf squares have four raised tomatoes slices. Was this meatloaf inspired by Legos? I like to think so.

 

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

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Almond Sherry Soup from Spain

Spanish Soup

ALMOND SHERRY SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 onion
2½ tablespoons butter
15 saffron threads
¼ pound blanched almonds
2 eggs yolks
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons sherry
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Spanish paprika or paprika
½ cup cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 teaspoons slivered almonds

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder or food processor

Serves 5. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince onion. Melt butter in pan using low-medium heat. Add onion. Simmer at low-medium heat for 8 minutes or until onion softens and turns yellow. Stir frequently. Add saffron. Simmer at low-medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add blanched almonds to pan. Toast by using medium-high heat until almonds start to brown. Grind toasted almonds until they become a paste. Add almond paste, egg yolks, and minced onion to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until you a well blended almond/egg/onion paste.

Add chicken stock, sherry, nutmeg, pepper, salt, and Spanish paprika to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low-medium and add cream. Gradually add almond/egg/onion paste. Stir until well blended. Simmer at low-medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. While soup simmers, mince parsley. Garnish soup with parsley and slivered almonds.

TIDBITS

1) Last year, culinary archeologists found this painting in the Rohoño cave near Valencia, Spain. They believe it depicts a caveman giving thanks to the gods for raining down tasty almond sherry soup. (See the soup bowls at the bottom.) Conventional archeologists disagree. Prehistorians are a fractious lot. But you know, this soup is from Spain. So maybe.

 

– 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, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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?

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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.

– 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

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.

– 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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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.

– 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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