Alexander Selkirk Cheese Flambe

Alexander Selkirk Cheese Flambe

Alexander Selkirk, the son of a Largo, Scotland shoemaker, left home in 1695, when he was 19, to become a buccaneer. By the time he was 27, he was the sailing master of a galley in a fleet captained by the famed pirate, William Dampier.

Selkirk was a stubborn, thin-skinned man who always wanted to do things his way. In September 1704 he had an argument with the captain.

“Let me off this ship,” he demanded.

A few days later, he was put ashore on the desolate and uninhabited island of Juan Fernandez, 400 miles west of Chile. Selkirk was allowed to take weapons, tools, tackle, brandy and other supplies.

The first night on shore, Selkirk wondered if he had made a big mistake. He heard strange noises coming out of the jungle. Afraid of being attacked by wild animals, he slept in a tree.

The next day, he used a tarpaulin to make a tent, which he surrounded with a high picket fence made from saplings. He then felt safe.

During the next weeks, he explored the island and found an abundance of game — large birds, goats, rabbits and wild cats. He shot game for food, and soon captured and tamed a few goats. He even found a lemon tree.

From the goats, he was able to get milk. He soon learned how to make butter and cheese. The cheese was similar in texture to mozzarella. He built a small boat that he used to go fishing in a small safe cove.

For the most part, Selkirk enjoyed his isolation. He became a very good cook, and spent much of his time at the stove and oven he had made.

He hesitated to leave the island when the “Duke,” captained by Woods Rogers and piloted by Dampier, showed up five years later.

“Let’s not have any hard feelings,” said Dampier. “C’mon Alex, back to civilization.”

Selkirk finally agreed and was appointed mate to Rogers. The next month he was given command of the “Increase” which had been captured by the privateers.

He returned to England in 1711. His tale of being marooned on an uninhabited island reached Daniel Defoe who used Selkirk’s narrative as the basis of one of the most widely read classics of all times — Robinson Crusoe.

Selkirk returned to Largo where he spent most of his time as a recluse. On the few occasions, he did have visitors, he usually prepared his favorite dish, called “Toad-in-the-Hole” that he served with an ale and, cheese flambé hors d’oeuvre that he concocted on his beloved island. It is still a wonderful appetizer that is very easy to make. You would do well to try it. But be sure to follow with Robinson Crusoe’s “Toad in the Hole.”

Alexander Selkirk’s Cheese Flambé

1 Lb. Mozzarella cheese

3 Tbs. melted butter

1 Lemon

5 Tbs. brandy

Place cheese in ovenproof baking dish. Brush with butter and lemon juice mixture. Place in broiler under high heat about six inches away from heat. Broil about five minutes until cheese browns and bubbles. Meanwhile heat brandy until very warm. Take cheese from broiler, pour brandy over cheese and light immediately. Cut into cubes and serve with small pieces of seeded rye bread or crackers.

Toad-in-the-Hole

2 Cups all purpose flour

3 Eggs

1 ½ Cups milk

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 Lb.(8 links) good quality pork sausage

dash of salt and pepper

Brown the sausages in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook through, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425° F.

Whisk together the flour, eggs and the milk in a medium bowl until you have smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and let stand for half an hour.

Pour the second tablespoon of oil into a baking dish and place sausages into it in a single layer. Pour the batter over the sausages and place in oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until batter has risen and is the color of golden brown. Serve immediately.

Alexander Selkirk Cheese Flambe

Alexander Selkirk Cheese Flambe  Alexander Selkirk, the son of a Largo, Scotland shoemaker, left home in 1695, when he was 19, to become a buccaneer. By the time he was 27, he was

Edmund Halley Rabbit — A Legendary Recipe

Edmund Halley Rabbit -- A Legendary RecipeEdmund Halley Rabbit — Edmund Halley was born in London in 1656. His father had more money than Daddy Warbucks. Young Eddie always had a pocket full of shillings to wine and dine the lassies, but he also spent much of it on telescopes for star-gazing.

Halley was famous as an astronomer by the time he was 19. Even at that age he could immediately detect a misplaced star.

He became the Astronomer Royal succeeding John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal who, along with Sir Isaac Newton, were his closest friends.

When a comet appeared in 1682, it was spotted by Halley, who after checking its orbit, identified it as the comet that had been sighted in 1607 and 1531. The streaking body is famous today as “Halley’s Comet.”

Later, the same year, 1682, Halley, Flamsteed, and Newton were at the Greenwich Observatory when Halley shouted for attention.

“I say!” exclaimed Halley. “It appears to be a cigar.”

This came long before any kind of aircraft was cluttering the skies. The trio jotted notes as they tracked the fascinating object through their telescopes. It had appeared out of no-where and moved steadily across the sky.

It was too slow for a meteor and much too fast to be a cloud. Besides the object was jet black and definitely solid.

The three compared notes and agreed they had seen the same thing. Newton described it as being shaped like a shuttle, and Flamsteed saw it as a spindle.

None of the famous astronomers could identify the object.

“Extraordinary,” they agreed.

And indeed it was. It is possible they reported the first UFO.

Many times Halley prepared a Welsh peasant’s ragout for his two friends at the observatory. One theory holds that the inexpensive dish was served to Welsh kitchen workers while English nobility dined on rabbit and wine. It was called Welsh Rabbit. Here is a popular version of the recipe which we call Halley’s Rabbit.

Halley’s Rabbit

1/4 Cup margarine or butter

Dash of cayenne

1/2 Tsp. dry mustard

1/2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3/4 Cup milk

3/4 Cup ale or stout

1 Lb. shredded Cheddar cheese

8 slices toast

Shred cheese and set aside. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place over very low heat until liquid is hot. Add cheese, stir until melted. Pour over toast. For some modern wrinkles use ginger ale instead of the alcohol drink, and pour the sauce over bagels instead of toast. It’s delicious over French fries and baked potatoes as well.

 

Edmund Halley Rabbit — A Legendary Recipe

Daphne Cudd Curried Chicken

Daphne Cudd Curried ChickenDaphne Cudd Curried Chicken

There was an involuntary shudder and the green eyes suddenly were filled with fear.

Daphne Cudd was a beautiful woman, who had the good sense to be afraid of violent bandits and poisonous snakes. She had recently joined her husband in India.

Victoria was the queen and the sun never set on the British Empire.

Col. Reginald E. Cudd was the commanding officer of the 3732 Royal Fusiliers. He was ruddy faced, wore a handle-bar mustache, and engaged in much throat clearing.

“Harrumph! harrumph!” he said, as he speared a piece of chicken. “Veddy hot, but good, but good.”

Cudd chewed contentedly.

“What do your call this, my dear!” he asked.

Daphne was deep in thoughtful worry. Reggie had been blunt and direct in his warning about the plundering dacoits i.e. robbers and the deadly hooded cobras. The robber bands were active and the rain had brought out the snakes.

She shook her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s an Indian dish. I got the recipe from a native.”

Daphne retired to her bedroom early. She read until overcome by tiredness, then fell into a restless sleep. Sometime past midnight a cobra, in an effort to escape the night’s chill, entered the Cudd residence through a hole where a pipe had once been. The snake made its way to Daphne’s bedroom, crawled into the bed and cuddled up next to the sleeping beauty.

During the early morning hours Daphne felt a cold and clammy weight on her chest. It seemed to get heavier and heavier. It finally woke her. She opened her eyes and found herself staring straight into the gleaming eyes of the snake.

Her sudden movement angered the snake. Its eyes cruelly glittered and its tongue movement increased. It appeared ready to strike. Then as Daphne lay still, paralyzed by fear, the snake became calm and appeared to fall asleep.

Daphne knew, however, that one slight movement on her part would probably mean death. The cobra’s bite was fatal, usually within 10 hours.

The snake’s weight became oppressive, even worse, the reptile had an awful case of halitosis, and its head was only inches from Daphne’s chin.

Daphne then saw a shadowy figure flit toward her dresser.

“My lord,” she thought. “Now I have a bandit to contend with also.”

She heard the dacoit open her jewelry box, and remove its contents. The shadow then approached Daphne’s bed. If she uttered a warning, the snake would wake up and strike her. She could only stare wide-eyed as the bandit reached for her.

The snake suddenly heard the movement and saw the bandit’s hand come toward it. The snake hissed and struck the prowler full in the face.

The dacoit slashed with his dagger and cut off the snake’s head. He knew he could not be saved, so he simply sat down to await his fate.

Daphne’s scream brought Reggie into the bedroom.

“Harumph! Jolly rich eh, what? A watchsnake. Too bad the rogue had to kill it,” Reggie said. Then he laughed uproariously.

At that moment, Daphne thought seriously about substituting arsenic for the curry in her Indian chicken recipe.

Of course, she did not. She had a deep love for Reggie, even though he was a blowhard. She continued to prepare his favorite dish. The recipe follows:

Daphne Cudd’s Curried Chicken

3 Lb. chicken parts

2 Tbs. water

1 Tsp. salt

3/4 Cup finely chopped onion

3 Tbs/ vegetable oil

1 Cup sour cream

2 Tsp. curry powder

1 1/2 Tsp. ginger

1/4 Tsp. ground cumin

2 chili peppers

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven. Cook chicken in the oil over medium heat until brown on all sides, which should take about 15 minutes. Drain fat from skillet. Sprinkle salt, onion, chili peppers and water on chicken. Cover and simmer until thickest pieces of chicken are done, which should take between 30 and 40 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and pour liquid from skillet into a bowl. Skim fat from top and return a quarter of the liquid to the skillet. Stir in sour cream and the spices. Stir until hot taking care the sour cream doesn’t curdle. Pour sauce over the chicken.

 

Daphne Cudd Curried Chicken

Studenina Palinko Style, A Legendary Recipe

Studenina Palinko Style, A Legendary Recipe
Ready to eat

Studenina Palinko Style, A Legendary Recipe — Timmy Palinko was known all over the Pocono Mountains for his magnificent homemade whiskey. Timmy operated a butcher shop in Freeland, and while his meat was the finest quality, it was the top-of-the-line whiskey he manufactured that made him a rich man.

He had runners in every coal patch in Luzerne County. Of course federal agents were always after them. One day in Freeland,  a well-dressed agent approached Baron Lutz, one of Timmy’s runners.

The dapper detective told Baron he would give him $10 for a quart of good whiskey.

“Can’t do it for $10,” said Baron. “It will cost you $40.

The agent agreed, and handed over the $40.

“Hold this shoebox,” Baron said. “I’ll be back.”

After a while, the agent began to get suspicious. He opened the shoebox and found a quart of Timmy’s best whiskey, so he got what he paid for. It was hard for the feds to put one over on the natives.Timmy’s liquor still was hidden in the desolate strippings behind Eckley, and there was no agent alive who was ever going to find it.

Timmy, during certain holidays, would give out a bonus pint of his finest cornbrew to the best customers at the butcher shop.

One Easter there was an unbelievable run on the pork sausage.Timmy was making it as fast as he could and just barely keeping up with the demand. He finally ran out of pork.

“Keep everything under control,” he told an assistant. “I’ll be right back.”

He hopped into his pickup truck and took a ride into the countryside where he knew there were always pigs along the road. He spotted one, and simply ran over it. He tossed it into the front seat where it would not be seen, and headed back home.

He was in such a hurry, he ran a stoplight, and was pulled over by a state policeman new to the area.

“I’m sorry officer, I’m in a big hurry,” Timmy said, pointing to the pig. “That’s my sick brother, and I’m rushing him to the doctor.”

The cop took one look and waved Timmy on.

“I’ve seen a lot of ugly people in my time, but your brother has got to be the ugliest in the entire world,” the cop said.

Timmy smiled. “I’ll tell him what you said. He’ll be might proud,” Timmy said. A few minutes later he was back in his shop butchering the hog. The bulk of which was used in the making of his sausage.

But the feet were set aside to use in making studenina, a Slovak delicacy of which one never tires once one gets the courage to try.

Timmy enjoyed his whiskey, studennia and sausage.

After Prohibition, Timmy went into the legitimate whiskey making business, and until he died on April 27, 1947 put out what might have been be the best sipping whiskey in the world. His studennia weren’t bad either.

Timmy Palinko’s studennia recipe follows:

4 trotters (pig’s feet either split or not)
2 garlic cloves or 1 Tbl of garlic powder
6 peppercorns
3 Tbl black pepper
3 bay leaves
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl paprika

Studenina Palinko Style, A Legendary Recipe
After filling the bowls put them in a cool place overnight.

Place the trotters in a large pot and add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, skimming if necessary, for a half-hour. Remove them and discard the water. Rinse them and the pot. Place the trotters along with the rest of the ingredients back in the pot. Cover again with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about three or four hours until meat is falling off the bone. Place the trotters in large bowls—Corningware works great. Pour the liquid over the trotters and let stand overnight in a cold place.

 

Studenina Palinko Style, A Legendary Recipe

Charlie Talltale Flapjacks

Charlie Talltale FlapjacksCharlie Talltale Flapjacks

By William Lawrence Sr.

Nobody knew Charlie’s real name, not even his closest friends. He was the biggest liar in California and probably the smelliest person in Sacramento.

He was known throughout the gold territory as “Charlie Talltale,” and the only reason his friends came within listening distance was to hear his outrageous lies and to eat his flapjacks.

Charlie credited the miraculous flavor of his pancakes to his magic frying pan. He bought it in a second-hand store in Sacramento and swore that it was human.

“It’s a female,” he should whisper. “It grows four or five feet at night and dances. Sings too. Sweetest voice this side of Helena, Montana.”

His audience would laugh and jeer.

“Does it have arms too, Charlie? Does it have hot lips, Charlie? Did you ever kiss your frying pan, Charlie?”

California’s biggest liar would lean back and smile knowingly. His friendly blue eyes twinkled like the night’s brightest star. “I’m telling you the truth,” he said.

One night a few of the old prospectors were sitting around a campfire laughing at Charlie’s preposterous claims.

Old Dutch Martin, who had been sipping homemade whiskey, suddenly got an idea. He would take Charlie’s magic pan and hide it. He got up and, without letting his cronies in on his plan, stumbled towards Charlie’s camp.

Charlie, after making flapjacks that day, had rinsed the pan in the nearby stream, and without realizing it, placed it over the nest of a family of pocket mice.

Just about the time Dutch Martin arrived, the pocket mice decided to leave their burrow. The effort of moving the pan caused the mice to grunt and squeak. To Dutch, standing there boggle-eyed, they sounded like a dance-hall soprano. Then the pan started to move. It appeared to grow feet and dance.

“Whoops,” shouted Dutch. “Charlie was telling the truth.”

Dutch ran back to the campfire to tell the boys what he saw. All the boys were pretty well soused, but since Dutch was known as a straight shooter, decided to investigate his story.

They made enough noise to awaken Charlie from a sound sleep. He listened as Dutch pointed to the pan and described what happened.

Charlie grinned, “Ah, the pan must really like you Dutch, she don’t dance and sing for just anybody.”

Charlie invited the boys to stop around the next morning for the most delicious pancakes in the west. Here is his recipe:

Charlie Talltale’s Flapjacks

1 Cup flour

1/2 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tsp. baking powder

3 Tbl. sugar

2 Eggs

1 Cup milk

2 Tbs. melted bacon fat or butter

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat eggs until light in a separate bowl. Stir in milk and bacon fat or butter. Then, using a few strokes as needed (over-beating results in tough flapjacks) blend the egg mixture into the dry.  Pour about quarter-cup of batter per flapjack on a hot greased pan. The flapjacks are done when both sides are nicely browned. Serve with butter and syrup. Charlie’s flapjacks always came with bacon.

Charlie, whenever, possible added fresh picked huckleberries to his flapjacks always measuring by a generous eye. Arguably, that’s what really made them a legend.

For a modern twist, use blueberries in lieu of huckleberries, mix a very ripe banana into the batter and add a dollop of vanilla.

 

Charlie Talltale Flapjacks

Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken

Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled ChickenDan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken 

By William Lawrence Sr.

Dan Colt sat in the parlor car quietly sipping bourbon and listening to two big drunks argue. He was going home in style, using his mustering-out pay to travel first class from California to New York.

In a few days, the sharply pressed uniform and highly polished boots would be replaced by a charcoal grey suit and cordovan brogans.

Colt was 21 – young to be a U.S. Army Ranger captain. He received a battlefield commission and Silver Star during a fight for a piece of Korean real estate.

The drunks got louder and suddenly started throwing punches. In a few seconds, Colt had them separated and even laughing. He was of medium height and build, not a big man, But he appeared bigger.

When he sat back down in the stuffed chair, the handsome silver-haired man sitting next to him addressed him.

“You know how to handle yourself.” It was a statement of fact.

Colt’s traveling companion turned out to be Thomas Meridian, the owner of Meridian Industries. Before the train reached New York, Colt was hired as Meridian’s bodyguard and aide.

Meridian’s home and company headquarters were outside of Ithaca, N.Y. Colt moved into his home, and soon became as close as a son to the Meridians who had no children.

He bought a toy poodle that he trained to bark at strangers, and enrolled as a business major at Cornell University. He spent a great deal of time in the Meridian kitchen.

In his travels, he had learned to cook and especially loved grilling. His favorite was a rosemary crusted chicken which he always served with a side of grilled veggies.

The Meridians insisted that he make it for all their special barbeques.

Colt had been at the Meridian estate for about a year when, late one evening, the dog jumped on his bed and barked. An armed burglar was in the Meridian’s bedroom. Colt moved fast. The burglar did not see or hear him coming, before it was too late. He broke the intruder’s arm.

He did not call the police. Instead, he took the whimpering burglar outside. “I’ll break both of your legs if you ever come back,” he told him. The burglar knew he meant it.

Within three years, Colt had his business degree. Three years later, he had a law degree. Meanwhile, he moved up in the company, and was eventually named president. It was understood he would become chairman when Meridian finally retired.

Colt eventually married a beautiful brunette named Kelly Barranger but remained close to his surrogate parents. The couple often went to visit them on summer weekends. Colt always manned the grill.

Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken

Make a rub of salt, rosemary, garlic powder and pepper. Dan’s proportion is  3 salt, 2 rosemary, 1 garlic and 1 pepper. How much you make depends on how much chicken you plan to cook. For a couple of drumsticks, a tablespoon of salt, two teaspoons of rosemary and a teaspoon each of garlic and pepper would work for most people. With regard to the rosemary, fresh is best but dried is fine and don’t worry about mixing them. With regard to the chicken, thighs and drumsticks are what Dan preferred.

Pat the chicken dry, coat it with the rub and let sit while you prepare the veggies. Cut an onion in rings, a bell pepper in strips and slice three carrots lengthwise then halve them. Coat the veggies in olive oil and smother to taste with garlic powder and salt. Remember, Dan was a guy who liked to live.

Heat up a side of the grill as hot as you can get it. Set the chicken down for about three minutes per side, then put the pieces on a spot away from the flames where they can roast at about 400 degrees. This means lid down. In five to 10 minutes set upon the grill a piece of aluminum foil with the sides turn up and spread the veggies atop it.  In about five minutes the chicken should be done. Check with a meat thermometer which should read at least 165 degree.

Take the chicken out to rest. In about five minutes the veggies should be done. Place them over the chicken and serve.

 

Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken

 

 

 

John Cruaxe Simple Shrimp N Grits

John Cruaxe Shrimp N Grits — John Cruaxe had just received disturbing news. Cruaxe was the fatherly founder of a small, but highly respected and profitable, Silicon Valley computer company.

The aggressive little firm managed to remain a step ahead of the industry giants in many important computer developments. Much of the credit was awarded to Phil Dillon, a brilliant young scientist who was forever “pulling money-making rabbits out of a hat.”

Dillon, who had a beautiful wife and pretty daughter, had in the past a ready smile for everyone, despite the seriousness of his work.

But lately, the smile had been replaced by a worried frown.

Cruaxe now apparently knew why. The company’s general manager had turned in a report that revealed that Dillon had met with representatives of a Japanese competitor on several occasions. The report, prepared by Cruaxe’s security personnel, also showed that Dillon was a heavy gambler and was in debt to the tune of over $100,000.

The general manager insisted that Dillon be fired immediately.

Cruaxe, in a quiet voice, said, “Let’s find out a bit more, before we do anything. I look upon this company as I do my own body. If something ailed my arm, I would try to heal it, before I cut it off.”

Cruaxe called the young computer scientist into his office and confronted him with the evidence gathered by the security department.

Dillon broke down. Between sobs, he explained how the Reno gambling tables drew him as a magnet would a piece of iron. How he began placing larger bets in an attempt to recoup his losses. How he began arguing with his wife. He was very unhappy. He swore, however, that although tempted, he never betrayed Cruaxe or the company.

Cruaxe smiled. He wrote out a check to cover the gambling losses. He then gave Dillon a large raise that would be taken out of his pay each week to repay the gambling loan. He then promised Dillon a five percent ownership in the company if he would join Gamblers Anonymous to cure the destructive malady.

Within a few weeks, Dillon was smiling and again pulling money-making rabbits out of his hat. One idea alone was worth over $500,000.

To celebrate, Cruaxe, a native-born South Carolinian, held a weekend barbecue for the entire staff. Spareribs, steak and chicken were served but the real hit of the event was the very simple shrimp and grits recipe passed onto him by his father.

John made this without meat although adding bacon is always good.

Take the amount of shrimp you want, lightly pepper them and smother them in garlic powder.

Then cook the grits according to the directions on the box except substitute chicken broth for water.

When the broth is absorbed mix in cheese — cheddar is best and the amount is your call —  and cook until  incorporated stirring frequently. 

 While you are incorporating the cheese, heat butter (or oil) in a very hot pan and put in the shrimp. Cook them for a minute or two on each side. Plate the grits — or put them in a large bucket for a barbecue — and add the shrimp.

John Cruaxe Simple Shrimp N Grits

John Cruaxe Simple Shrimp N Grits

 

 

Daedalus Crete Chicken, A Legendary Recipe

Daedalus Crete Chicken, A Legendary Recipe

Daedalus Crete Chicken, A Legendary Recipe
Ready for the oven. The little piece of ham is an experiment.

By William Lawrence Sr.

An extremely skilled worker named Daedalus many years ago, lived on the island of Crete. King Minos, who placed Daedalus in charge of building the island’s famed labyrinth, recognized his talents.

Soon after the labyrinth was completed, however, King Minos became very angry with Daedalus and ordered him sent to prison. Daedalus escaped from the prison, found his young son, Icarus, and took him to hide out in a cave. They could not leave the island because Minos put a watch on every ship.

One day, while lying on the beach, Daedalus became interested in the flight of a bird. He decided to build wings for Icarus and himself and fly from the island.

He carefully inspected the feathers of many birds and fowl, including those of the chickens he used to prepare a delicious meal.

He tied the larger feathers with thread onto a wooden frame. He used wax to bind the smaller feathers. Finally he finished. He fastened the wings to his arms, and copied the movements of the birds. Soon, he was soaring above the earth.

He then gave Icarus flying lessons. The boy was a fast, but impatient, learner. His father warned him not fly too low for the damp air would cause the feathers to stick together. And to be especially careful of flying too high. If he got near the sun, the heat would melt the wax.

The sight of Daedalus and Icarus flying over them boggled the shepherds and farmers. They winged over Samos and Delos. Icarus, in a burst of enthusiasm, forgot his father’s warning.

He soared higher and higher until the sun caused the wax to melt. Like a crippled bird, he fell and crashed into the Aegean Sea, near an island that today is called Icaria.

Daedalus mourned the loss of his son. He remembered the good days when Icarus reaped the wild oregano to be used in the wonderful chicken recipe which is below and obviously moderinzed.

Daedalus’ Crete Chicken

3 Lbs. chicken pieces

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

1/4 Cup lemon juice

2-1/2 Tsp. dried oregano

3/4 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tsp. pepper

1/2 Tsp. garlic powder

Place chicken in baking dish. Pour mixed ingredients over chicken. Bake uncovered in 375° F oven for an hour, occasionally spooning sauce over chicken and turning once. Garnish with citrus fruit slices — lime or orange — are nice and serve.

 

Daedalus Crete Chicken, A Legendary Recipe

Louis Bleriot’s Fish And Chips — A Legendary Recipe

Louis Bleriot’s Fish And Chips -- A Legendary Recipe
Louis Bleriot’s Fish And Chips frying on the grill. The fish part anyway.

Louis Bleriot’s Fish And Chips

The July sun warmed the cockpit of the little monoplane as Louis Bleriot banked for a landing in a pasture outside Orleans.

The pilot was ecstatic. It had taken him just 45 minutes to fly the 33 miles from Etampes. The 25 horsepower engine purred all the way.

Bleriot’s mechanic, Marcel Donnet, was waiting in the pasture as the plane came in for a perfect landing. Donnet grasped the pilot and kissed him on the cheeks.

Squirming away, Bleriot announced that he had made a decision.

The London Daily Mail had upped its offer from 500 to 1,000 British pounds to the first pilot to fly across the English Channel.

“I am going to do it,” said Bleriot.

“No, my friend,” gasped Donnet, “it’s too dangerous.”

“Eh,” said Bleriot, “I have just flown 33 miles without mishap. It is only 20 miles from Calais to Dover.”

“But,” argued the mechanic, “the currents and water are treacherous. If you should crash, you will die.”

“I will not crash,” said Bleriot.

“You are sick in the head,” said Donnet.

On July 25, 1909, a Sunday that the weatherman promised would be completely clear, Bleriot took off from Baraques and headed for England.

As he climbed into the air, his mouth fell open and butterflies filled his stomach. There ahead were thick, black clouds.

“Mon dieu,” he whispered. But he never thought of turning back. His only navigational aid was a compass similar to that carried by the Boy Scouts.

He plunged into the clouds, and after what seemed to be much longer than the actual few minutes, broke into the clear. Then he spotted more thick clouds ahead. But they were clustered above the altitude at which he was flying. He continued to fly west. He had been flying for about 20 minutes. Another 15 minutes and he would be able to see England.

Suddenly there was another black cloud ahead. The choppy waters below were frightening. Bleriot flew into the black cloud. When he made it through, he checked his compass. He was heading due south. He turned west again, but now he was off course. He could not make a correction to take him to Dover where friends were waiting. It did not matter. All he had to do to win the 1,000 pounds was land in England.

Then he saw the coastline. He did not see Dover, but he saw a nice field on which to land. He set down exactly 40 minutes after leaving France.

An English policeman came running across the field as Bleriot climbed out.

Bleriot smiled at the constable and said, “Allo, I am Louis Bleriot. I am French.”

The constable introduced himself as George Sanford and offered to guard the plane while Bleriot sent telegrams to his friends in Dover.

He was picked up shortly thereafter and taken to an English pub, where Chip Parker, the cook, fed him a meal of fish and chips.

Bleriot, enthusiastically praised the seafood treat and returned the favor by giving Parker the recipe for his mother’s onion soup. The grateful cook responded by giving Louis Bleriot the fish and chips recipe.

Parker’s Fish and Chips

1 1/2 Lbs. fresh thick cod fillets

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 Tbs. baking powder

1/8 Tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 Cup water

1 large egg

Vegetable oil, for frying

Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Cut the fillets in 1 1/2 by 3-inch pieces.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, 1 Tsp. salt, and 1/2 Tsp. pepper. Whisk in 1/2 Cup of water and then the egg.

Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan and heat it to about 360 degrees F.

Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pieces. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the “chips.”

Recipe for Baked “Chips”

2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled

2 Tbs. good olive oil

3/4 Tsp. kosher salt

1/3 Tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 Tsp. minced fresh garlic (or 1 Tb garlic powder if you ar lazy and like garlic)

1/2 Tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes and cut them in coins. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together, making sure the potatoes are covered with oil. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut side down.

Bake the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside, and tender inside. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Louis Bleriot’s Fish And Chips — A Legendary Recipe

Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete

Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete

By William Lawrence Sr.

Edith Cavell watched silently as the August sun beat down on the green-gray lines of German troops marching into Brussels.

She had arrived from her native England seven years before to organize and direct L’Ecole Belge pour les Infirmieres Diplomees, Belgium’s first nursing school, which almost immediately became known simply as the Clinique.

She had already made a dent in the country’s nursing profession. Before her arrival, doctors had treated nurses as servants. She told her students to demand they be addressed as “Nurse.”

When they expressed doubt, Miss Cavell insisted that “even doctors can learn to be courteous.”

By 1914, the nursing profession had been uplifted to a point where the school was not longer having a problem attracting excellent students.

Then the Germans came. Miss Cavell ordered her charges to treat all soldiers equally without regard to nationality. There were many allied soldiers still wandering around Belgium. Many were sick or wounded.

Miss Cavell welcomed them to the Clinique, then went a step further and helped to smuggle them through German lines to France or Holland.

The quiet spoken nurse was always small and slender. The night journeys caused her to lose even more weight and become haggard.

The Belgians soon knew the Clinique was a haven for Allied soldiers. There, unfortunately were a few pro-German Belgians, who alerted the Germans.

They planted a couple of men who posed as French soldiers, and about a year after Miss Cavell had started smuggling operation she was arrested.

She had probably never told a lie in her life, and she refused to lie at her trial.

Asked if she had helped 20 soldiers to escape, she softly replied, “It was more like 200.”

She was found guilty by the German military tribunal. A judge read the verdict: “Edith Cavell – todesstrafe – death!”

During the following weeks she wrote to all those dear to her never once expressing fear. To her nurses, she wrote “If there is one among you whom I have wronged, I beg you to forgive me. I have been perhaps too severe sometimes but never voluntarily unjust. And I have loved you all much more than you thought.”

When the guards arrived at 6 a.m. on the day of her execution, she had just finished jotting a note in her prayer book. It read: “Died at 7 a.m. on Oct. 12th, 1915. With love to my mother. E. Cavell.”

She was taken to a rose garden to face the firing squad. A German officer shouted a command. There was a burst of gunfire. Edith Cavell was dead.

But she is still remembered. The Clinique is now called: “Ecole Edith Cavell.”

A beautiful statue of Edith Cavell in her nurse’s cloak stands majestically in London’s Trafalgar Square. There is a sculpture of her in Paris’ Tuileries Garden. There is Mt. Cavell in Canada and Cavell Glacier in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. Her portrait hangs in her childhood home in Swardeston, England and over the altar of the church of which her father served as pastor is a stained glass window dedicated to her memory.

Edith Cavell’s favorite meal, as with many Brits, was breakfast. She especially enjoyed a simple but delicious Belgian cheese omelet similar to the one that follows.

Edith Cavell’s Belgian Cheese Omelet

6 eggs

2/3 Cup chopped or shredded Swiss or gruyere cheese

2 Tbs. of butter

Salt

Pepper

Thyme (what makes it special)

Mix eggs in bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with healthy sprinkle of thyme. Melt butter in 12-inch frying pan. Pour eggs in pan. Tilt pan so eggs cover bottom of pan. Let stand over heat a few seconds. Loosen edge of omelet all around with spatula. Sprinkle with cheese. Tilt pan, using spatula carefully roll up omelet or fold in half.

Hold skillet so that bottom rests on edge of platter, slowly roll omelet onto plate.

 

Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete

Edith Cavell Belgian Cheese Omelete