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Chicken Basquaise

French Entree

CHICKEN BASQUAISE

INGREDIENTS

1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 tomatoes
2 pounds chicken pieces, bone in or boneless
1 teaspoon salt or fleur de sel*
¼ cup olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or Bayonne ham*
¾ cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoon Spanish paprika, paprika, or espelette*
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

* = You can find fleur de sel, Bayonne ham, and espelette online, but they can be expensive.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline
8″ * 12″ casserole dish

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Seed bell peppers. Cut bell peppers and onion into ¼” slices with mandoline or knife. Cut slices in half. Dice garlic and thyme. Cut tomatoes into ½” wedges. If you are using chicken breasts, cut them in two. Rub chicken pieces with salt.

Add olive oil and prosciutto to large pan. Sauté for 2 minutes at high heat or until prosciutto becomes crispy. Stir frequently. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add chicken pieces to large pan. Sauté for 10 minutes at medium heat or until chicken turns golden brown. Flip chicken pieces every 2 minutes. Remove chicken and drain on paper towels. Add bell pepper, garlic, and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes at medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Add white wine and bay leaf. Simmer at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

Add contents of pan, thyme, chicken stock, and chicken pieces to casserole dish. Sprinkle chicken pieces with Spanish paprika. Place tomato wedges between chicken pieces. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees or until sauces thickens. While chicken bakes, dice parsley. Remove casserole dish from oven. Remove bay leaf. Place crispy prosciutto slice over chicken. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) It is well known fact that the Basque word for basket is saskia

2) The Franks who overran Gaul, modern day France, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire loved peaches.

3) Indeed, they invaded purposefully to pick prized perfect peaches produced by the innumerable peaches orchards to be found there.

4) At first, frenetic fresh Franks gathered peaches with their hands.

5) But one can only carry off two peaches that way.

6) The ravenous ravagers ranged right to the Rhone valley. The Rhone Valley had for reasons unclear to current culinary historians had a surplus of over a million peach baskets.

7) An advance party of Franks plundered the valley and carried off all the peach baskets. Indeed, everyone of the frightening Franks walked away with maybe twelve baskets; we don’t know the exact number.

8) The First Franks never went anywhere without their baskets. The enraged basketless Second Franks chased them to southwest France.

9) The locals called them Saskia after the First Franks word for basket.

10) In time the Saskia lost their original language. A new language required a new name. The medieval French dubbed these people, Basques.

11) The Basques loved sports. In particular, they loved to play Basquaise Boule. The object of this game was to pass a ball around and try to toss it into a peach basket. Sometimes the players fashioned the ball out of chicken breasts, hence the name Chicken Basquaise. Chef Jean Paul La Grange created this dish to honor the new sport.

12) But wait! There’s more! In 1890, YMCA director James Naismith toured the land of the Basques. His synapses fired and he determined bring this sport back home. It’d be just the thing to tire out restless school kids. The game proved popular, at first, in his town of Springfield. But the kids eventually grew bored of having to climb up a ladder to retrieve the ball from the peach basket. Late one night, a gang of hoodlums calling themselves The Epic of Gilgamesh Haters cut the bottom off all the baskets.

13) But far from ruining the game, this vandalism, made the game much faster. Indeed the tempo of pass, shoot, score, pass, shoot, score now prevailed. The kids loved the game now. So did their parents. A year later, a senior taking Basque studies opined that as we’re living in America, why not call the name something American like basketball.

14) America embraced basketball and soon became a superpower. Now you know how.

 

– 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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Simple Oblea Sandwich

Colombian Desserts

SIMPLE OBLEA SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

2 oblea wafers or other 6″ wafers
3 tablespoons each of one or more of the following fillings:
caramel sauce (If you can get the authentic Colombian caramel sauce, arequipe, go for it.)
condensed milk
chocolate sprinkles
chopped pineapple
cream cheese
grated cheese
grated coconut
jam

Serves 1. Takes 3 minutes.

The top wafer shows the filling in the sandwich.

PREPARATION

Spread 3 tablespoons of fillings over first oblea. Put second oblea on top of fillings..

TIDBITS

1) Obleas is the plural form of oblea. Oblea is a Spanish word.

2) The English language is also rich with plural nouns.

3) Popular plural nouns of the English language include: women, ants, hamburgers, and doors.

4) So you can see that English speakers needn’t feel inferior to their Spanish counterparts on this linguistic matter.

5) According to culinary linguists, the word “oblea” has a rich and fabricated history.

6) For in mid 1968, the BeatlesTM traveled to India seeking enlightenment. They did not find it.

7) Disappointed, The Fab Four traveled to Colombia seeking solace in a simple, yet tasty dessert.

8) They found it in the form of Juan Cabrera’s simple oblea sandwich.

9) Such a fabulous dessert was worthy of a song, and soon the gifted Beatles came up with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

 

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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We’re French and You’re Not – Chapter One – Chardonnay Man – Part 2

From the Private Diary of Robert Le Secraisin.

31 October, 5 p.m.: Jean and I begin planning our route for this year’s Chardonnay race. This year’s contest begins in Monaco and ends in Dover. We both agree that we must win the prize money to continue the lifestyle we deserve.

Jean traveled Tuesday to the Academy of Meteorological Sciences in Paris. He claims that he threw a spectacular two-day party there. I can well believe it, for Jean departed from our vineyard with fifty cases of our finest Bordeaux. He was pleasantly surprised that it took such a short time to win over the scientists. Not only did the happy academy give us the weather forecasts and the best routes, it also promised to provide bad information to our competitors. But no! This is not wrong, after all, we thought of it.

5:05 p.m.: Jean and I finish planning our route. We head to a party in Biarritz to honor the Spanish ambassador, or somebody.

2 November: Jean and I got lost yesterday driving back from the party. We spent the entire day driving in circles. We now commence the serious business of planning our menus.

9 November: Jean and I finish the menus. It means putting in a lot of late hours, but one must do these things right! Sacre bleu!

10 November, 9 a.m.: We start packing the food.

Noon: We start packing the wine.

5 p.m.: We start loading the equipment things that make the balloon go.

5:15 p.m.: We finish loading the equipment things. Next, we put the balloon on our limousine. Afterwards, we attend a party held by the mayor of Bordeaux. The mayor toasts our good luck. We promise to bring honor to the town.

11 November, Early morning!: Jean and I ride in our limousine to Monaco. Jean has hired a driver since we left straight from the party and cannot keep our eyes open.

Noon: We unload our balloon by the Boulevard Albert, which runs alongside the Port of Monaco. The race begins at two, so we have time to eat a four-star meal at the Hôtel de Paris. After lunch, we stagger across the street to the new casino to try our luck at roulette.

We do so-so until the ball lands on “00.” But we have all our money on red. The croupier whisks away our chips. We cannot believe it. What is this double-zero? There is no double-zero in roulette. I inform the croupier of this fact. The croupier deigns to reply that they play the American style of roulette in the new casino. Jean insists that we are not in America. I call the croupier a thief. The croupier shrugs his shoulders. Jean punches the croupier in his big stupid nose.

Just ten minutes later, another employee notices his bloodied, fallen comrade and helps him to his feet. The enraged croupier summons the security guards. But it is already too late. We are leaving, having stopped only to play a few hands on the new electronic blackjack machine. We have the good fortune to find a cab outside and so, we speed away to our balloon.

 

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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Mason Jar Strawberry Ice Cream

American Dessert

MASON JAR STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy whipping cream
5½ tablespoons sugar
2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups whole strawberries, fresh or frozen

Makes 3 cups. Takes 15 minutes to make and 3 hours to firm in freezer.).

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor or blender
3 cup Mason jar or other airtight container

PREPARATION

Puree strawberries. Add all ingredients to Mason jar. Make sure that the lid to Mason jar is screwed on tightly. Shake jar for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens to the consistency of batter. Put jar in freezer. Let sit for 3 hours or until firm.

TIDBITS

1) Mason Jar Strawberry is fantastic. It’s so yummy. Only people who hate: whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and strawberries will dislike this dessert. That means billions and billions of people love it. People have adored this dessert for millennia. Lands without strawberries conquered surrounding peoples in a never ending quest to find wild strawberries. This is how the Roman Empire and the Mongol Empire, among others, grew to be so big.

2) Alas, the Romans and the Mongols despite their mighty armies never did manage to find, much less conquer, a land with strawberries. Their subjects grew sullen and defiant. Finally, their peoples rose up and overthrew their non-strawberry-providing rulers. (Okay, with a little help from invading foreign armies.)

3) Rulers then sent expeditions to find strawberries. This is really how Columbus sold Queen Isabella on finding the Americas. The idea that the Spanish went exploring to find gold was just a cover. The conquistadors wanted the real wealth, strawberries, just to themselves. Seeing the Spaniards’ success, other nations sent our their explorers to find their own La Fresado, The Land of Strawberries. Pretty darn quick, the entire globe got explored. International trade boomed between the old countries and the new strawberry-growing lands. We owe it all to the yummy strawberry.

 

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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Beef With Chestnuts

Croatian Entree

BEEF WITH CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound chestnuts
6 cups water
1 large onion
1½ pounds sirloin, tenderloin, or rump
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut an 1″ wide “x” on both sides of each chestnut. Make the cut deep enough to cut through the shell. (This keeps the chestnut from exploding. This really can happen if you omit this step.) Add chestnuts and 6 cups water to pot. Boil on medium-high heat for 45 minutes or until chestnuts become tender, the chestnut shells start to open and become easy to peel. (This is important. A shell that isn’t easy to peel will take forever.) Remove from heat. Cover with kitchen towel. Let cool for 5 minutes. Peel chestnuts. Discard shells.

While chestnuts cook, dice onion. Cut sirloin into 1″ cubes. Add onion and oil to 2ndt pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add sirloin cubes, paprika, pepper, and salt. Sauté for 5 minutes or until sirloin cubes brown on all sides. Stir frequently. Add 1 cup water. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until sirloin cubes become tender. Use slotted spoon to add chestnuts to pot with sirloin cubes. Add enough water to cover. Simmer at medium heat for 15 minutes or until chestnuts soften. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) Beef and chestnuts can only be placed next to each after both get cooked, because they tend to fight each other when they are alive. This hostility stems from the one and only beef/chestnut drive. It started in 1898 in Bend, Oregon and was to have ended in the port of New Orleans. Beef and chestnuts were ferociously desired by American troops fighting the Spanish in Cuba. But from the start, the beeves taunted the chestnut trees for their extreme slowness. This was harsh as chestnuts trees were the fasted trees around, due to their tiny feet.

2) Anyway, the chestnut trees took offense at this verbal onslaught and proclaimed they’d go no further. To show their resolve, they evolved their feet to become roots. Nowadays, you need to look for chestnuts in the stationary-nut-tree section of your supermarket. Oh, and there are no more chestnut drives. The days of the chestnutboys are long gone except in movies.

 

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

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

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spanish Almond Sherry Soup – New Tidbits

Spanish Soup

ALMOND SHERRY SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 onion
2½ tablespoons butter
15 saffron threads
¼ pound blanched or slivered 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 teaspoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

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 slivered almonds and parsley.

TIDBITS

1) There have been documented instances of  the heavens raining fish. This sounds pretty exciting, especially if I needed an expensive fish for a gourmet meal and the nearest supermarket that carries it is an hour away. I would like it even better if the clouds rained Almond Sherry Soup. Well, why not? I’d be out their with buckets, I can tell you. Wear a raincoat.

 

– 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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I Am a Fashion Model – Spring Sock Wear

 

The very latest fashions from France! Socks are in for men. Socks are chic. Socks are now. And what socks are the stylish man man wearing? Food themed socks. Men are wearing socks that shout, “I will seduce you with my food.”  Mais oui, buns of steel are out, buns on socks are in.

Above, we see sexy socks from straight from the prestigious La Maison de la Nourriture. Your sweetheart will want to eat you up after feasting her eyes on this handsome hosiery

Why not make yourself a six-course dinner for your lovely lady with socks affirming: fantastic fresh fish, lively lobster, stunning shrimp, tasty tacos, spectacular SPAM(tm), and beautiful breakfasts? Certainement, turn yourself into a meal that your date will always remember with inspiring food socks from La Maison de la Nourriture. Bon appétit.

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

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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I Am a Fashion Model – Spring Wear

 

The very latest fashions from France!

On the left, we have trend-setting dinner pajamas. This delightful, matching ensemble comes from Chez Ours and sports bear silhouettes on an avant-garde white background. Your date won’t be able to take her eyes off you whether you’re stepping out at an after-Oscars(tm) party or planning a candlelit conquest at home. Ooh, la, la.

What will you be wearing to celebrate Cinco  de Mayo? Why the bold affirmation of Mexican cuisine seen on the right. It’s straight from the renowned designers at La Maison de Taco. This bright-yellow shirt shouts, “Look at me! Look at me!”  People will indeed see you, whether you’re crossing an unlit street at night or simply acting as a part-time strobe light at a Tex-Mex disco. And you won’t even need to know Spanish when dining in Mexico. When the waiter comes by to take your order, simply point to the desired food on your shirt. Olé.

 

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

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: fashion model | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Shrimp in Chocolate Sauce

Spanish Entree

SHRIMP IN CHOCOLATE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup beef, fish or vegetable stock
1 pound jumbo shrimp (16 count), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine
½ teaspoon (2 squares) bittersweet chocolate
⅛ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt

Serves 2. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic and onion. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, and onion to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. While onion sautées, add beef stock to pot. Cook stock on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add stock to sautéed onion. Heat sautéed onion/stock at medium heat for 5 minutes or until liquid reduces by half. Reduce heat to lowest level and simmer.

Add enough water to cover shrimp to pot. Boil water at high heat. Add shrimp. Boil for 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon. While shrimp boils, add sherry and chocolate to tiny pot. Simmer on low-medium heat for 3 minutes or until chocolate melts. Stir frequently.

Add shrimp to plate. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Ladle sautéed onion/beef stock over shrimp. Ladle chocolate sauce over all.

TIDBITS

1) Some dishes evolve over time. Pies are an example of this, Their ingredients change over time. Spelt flour would become wheat before finally settling on the often used white flour.

2) Other culinary creations, such as this one, are born in an instant. Culinary historians note that a food fight broke out at the main cafeteria at Revelle College, UCSD, on April 1, 1977. Tired of an never ending succession of shrimp dishes, the students took to tossing the crustaceans. Shrimp went everywhere. Some landed in the chocolate sauce.

3) Shrimp in chocolate sauce tasted great. Pedro Martinez, a bystander, tasted the chocolate coated shrimp. He brought the idea back with him to Spain and opened a restaurant, El Camaron Loco. Just recently, it obtained its third MichelinTM star. Now, Spanish cuisine is the envy of the world.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

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

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