A Long Overdue Announcement
I have 2 weeks off from college, so I will be doing extensive work on this website and the 3 other websites that I created recently. The new website links can be found on the top right section of this page.
• The Breakfast Recipes, Southwestern & Mexican Cuisine Recipes, Travel Destination and Event Articles are being moved to the new websites.
• All of the fancy High Cuisine recipe articles will be moved to a new website that I will create in a few days.
• This website, JD's Food and Recipe Blog will be retained and the website theme will be International Comfort Food. Comfort Food Recipes have always been the "bread & butter" of this website, so sticking with this theme is a good plan to pursue.
• On a semi-sad note, the Restaurant Articles will be transposed into Travel Destination Articles. The reason is to avoid any possible conflict of interest, because I will be returning to work in the hospitality industry next summer, after completing the Culinary Management BA Degree Program.
The Individual Restaurant Articles, and Restaurant Cuisine Category Articles will be the result of the transposed literary material. The converted article will be posted at the JD's Scenic Southwestern Travel Destination Website. The reason being? When folks travel, they want to know where to find some good grub!
A Newfound Public Interest In Culinary Arts That Really Always Existed
Public interest in culinary arts and food competitions has never been higher. Ever since food television networks entered the mass media arena, the number of viewers that have taken interest in food topic TV programming has grown exponentially.
More consumers are now trying new cooking ideas that they learned while watching cooking shows. The dining public is influenced by cuisine trends that are publicized by the TV food media. Far more high school graduates develop interest in pursuing a culinary arts education, because they are inspired by what they see on TV food networks. Overall, the American television viewing public is now knows more about food and culinary arts than ever before.
For way too many years culinary arts were neglected by the American media. In many countries around the globe, culinary entertainment has always been a prime time media tradition that draws plenty of interest.
Why it took so long for food topic programming to become prime time broadcasting material in America can only be attributed to TV executives understating the real interests of the viewing audience. At some point, TV programmers decided that guns and violence were more important to air than the arts. It is easy to see that this decision was short sighted, because of the number of viewers that watch TV food programs in recent years seems to be greater than those who watch the same old cops & robbers theme shows.
Years ago, there were only token daytime cooking shows that aired during soap opera time slot hours, so the targeted audience was housewives or retirees that sought easy recipes to make. Other than on public sponsored television, very little focus was placed upon restaurants, professional chefs or innovative cuisine trends. Apparently by not accurately reading the interests of the viewing audience, the old school TV networks failed to fully capitalize on the potential of prime time TV food show programming.
Nowadays, food topic TV programming is 24/7 and the peak viewing time window occurs during prime time hours. This is the complete opposite of how things used to be. Describing a highly publicized new food competition, like the World Food Championships, as simply "riding the tide of the general public's newfound interest in culinary arts" is really not an accurate statement of the times. Americans have always been interested in anything that has to do with food, but the general public's interests were ignored by the media. The new wave of major competitive culinary events and the televised prime time coverage, simply fills a void that has existed for many decades.
The 2014 World Food Championships
The World Food Championships definitely helps to fill the prime time food topic programming void that existed for many years. Americans like prime time food topic shows, especially when cooking competitions are in the spotlight. As far as popular cooking competitions go, the World Food Championships takes the cake!
The World Food Championships is a highly publicized competitive event that takes place each year in Las Vegas. Last year, the WFC moved from the Bally's and Caesar's Palace locations on the Las Vegas Strip to downtown Fremont Street. It seems like the Fremont Street Experience organization and the downtown casinos are all pleased with the high number of spectators that the World Food Championships draw, so it it looks like downtown Las Vegas will more than likely host this competitive event in the future.
I have photographed the WFC three years in a row and have written articles about this event that were published in this website. The WFC has evolved from the inaugural 2012 event, that many describe as being roughshod, to becoming a very well organized event that maintains a high level of professionalism.
There was a big organizational improvement between the 2012 WFC and the 2013 WFC events. The competitors that I spoke with really liked the changes. Many of the pro competitors liked how the playing field was evened out, so favoritism or predetermined bias was eliminated. Everybody had a fair chance to win top prize money in every category during the 2013 WFC. There were no comments heard about how the contest was rigged.
Many competitors that participated in the 2012 WFC mentioned that the winning contestant selection process was suspect, because an employee of the casino corporation that hosted the event actually won the top prize money. Honestly, when something like that occurs, the losers do have good reason to complain.
After the WFC event moved to the downtown location, things were obviously fair and square. Every competitor was smiling and I have heard no more suspicious comments at all. The same can be said about this year's WFC event. Even the sore losers had no conspiracies to voice an opinion upon.
I attended the major events that took place on Saturday afternoon at the World Food Championships. I really focused on the Chili Cook Off event and the BBQ Competition, because these cuisine styles are my cup of tea.
Interacting with BBQ and Chili Contest competitors is always a blast, because these folks really know how to have a fun time. Part of the successful BBQ and Chili marketing equation is shock value. The advertisements, banners, competition team attire and lingo spoken is all meant to draw attention to the BBQ and Chili. The wilder and crazier, the better!
I spoke with one Chili Cook Off Competitor after another at the WFC. I also sampled nearly every chili that they cooked. I happen to be a chili eatin' freak, so even after tasting over a dozen small bowls of chili, I was ready for more. Every chili was unique in its own way and every chili had a good flavor.
The chili competitors definitely had what it takes to compete in a world class event. Even better, the competitors really were having a great time in doing so. One word of caution for those who have never talked about chili with a chili cooking pro. One you get a chili competitor talking, you may end up having to stand there and listen for quite a spell. These folks will talk about chili to no end!
After being all ears between getting a few chances to mention my cooking credentials to the chili cooking folks, I was almost happy to see that the WFC BBQ competition teams were right in the middle of plating food for judging. The BBQ cooks were busy and they were being a bit on the secretive side. Not bothering the BBQ competitors with questions was the right thing to do. Observing and taking photos caused less interference.
The smell of choice hardwood charcoal smoke and good BBQ was thick in the air. Even after tasting a bunch of chili, that aroma caused my tummy to growl. Unfortunately, spectators have to wait for the pro competition to be finished, before free tasting samples are unleashed. Competitors that were competing for popular choice awards, were allowed to dish up samples of alternative offerings as they pleased. Everybody likes to taste good chili and BBQ, so it helps to know when the tasting officially commences.
After listening to a few BBQ competitors describe their food creations to judges on stage, I realized that being able to lay the bullshit down in a lengthy thick manner was still part of the BBQ contest game. One simply has to invent brand new descriptive words that are at least ten letters long, while saying amazing things about the plate of BBQ, in order to captivate the judges in a BBQ competition. Those who can rattle off some extreme BBQ lingo jive talkin' do have an advantage when being judged at a food competition event.
At about the time that I was ready to head for home, the Freestyle Food Competition was just starting to make headway. Many of these folks were serious about their food and they barely interacted with spectators. All eyes were on the top prize money, so the focus was on their own competitive cooking.
Most of the competitors had amateur or semi professional status, so this made the event interesting to watch. When the time keeper started the minute by minute countdown to the deadline, the pressure quickly reached the boiling point. Seeing how competitors react when time is running out, always is an entertaining sight to see. Some panic, some have a minor nervous break down and some really keep it together. Keeping one's own composure is important in a freestyle cooking event.
All in all, the Saturday afternoon World Food Championship events were well worth attending. There was plenty of good food, plenty of fun people and plenty of good conversation. I met plenty of new faces and exchanged contact information. Everybody smiled for the camera and every competitor was having a great time. Spectators were drawn to the events in great numbers and it was easy to see why the World Food Championships are good wholesome prime time entertainment.
Those who plan a trip to Vegas in November of next year should keep the WFC event in mind. The WFC events run for an entire week. The field is narrowed down to top competitors in each category toward the weekend. The final table event is comprised of winners in each category and this takes place at the end of the schedule. Many of the competitions require no admission fee, but tickets must be purchased for featured events, like the final table competition for the big jackpot cash prize.
For more information about the 2014 World Food Championships and next year's event schedule, follow this link.
• World Food Championships
Vendor & Sponsor Mentions A list of vendor links follows the vendor descriptions!
I did get a chance to talk to a Tahoe Kitchen Company cutlery vendor that I met at last year's WFC event. Viewers who prefer top notch quality kitchen knives and fancy dining room service steak knives will be interested in Hammer Stahl has to offer. The Tahoe Kitchen Company also offers a high quality line of gourmet olive oil products.
I also spoke with representatives of the Operation BBQ Relief Charity. This charity accepts donations for stockpiling food for disaster relief. When a major disaster occurs, like a tornado, hurricane or earthquake, this charitable organization mobilizes a temporary BBQ kitchen on site and they feed displaced disaster victims. This is a noteworthy charity that provides direct relief with minimal bureaucracy involved.
Potato Goodness Unearthed sponsors the Top Tater program. Top Tater is a unique event that offers prize money for pictures of potato creations and potato recipes. Anybody can enter to win weekly prize money.
Those who are interested in seeing what a chili contest competitor's website is like, the Central Texas Tolbert Chili Group is a good example. This organization offers good Texas Chili information.
• Tahoe Kitchen Company
• Operation BBQ Relief
• Potato Goodness Unearthed - Top Tater
• Central Texas Tolbert Chili Group
Many more vendor, restaurant, catering and competitor website addresses can be seen in the slide show photos. I always try to capture images of links while at food competition events, in case viewers see a food product or kitchen item that catches the eye!
Heavy Rich Food Moderation
Usually when I publish a bread recipe, it is for a reason. I made Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread a few days ago, just to feature a couple of interesting traditional sandwich items.
In this modern age of fast living, it is easy to overlook certain kinds of food, then that food disappears and it becomes a forgotten relic of the past. This is especially true when health cuisine propaganda enters the picture.
Just like chickens with their heads cut off, some people jump on any cuisine trend bandwagon that comes along, then they vilify old traditional food items. Is it okay to eat rich traditional food? Yes it is, as long as moderation and balance is applied.
Those who lead less active lifestyles have to pay more attention to their diet and restraint becomes necessary. Those who work their butt off doing tough physical sweaty jobs can basically eat anything with no ill consequences.
A person that works out at a gym for one hour per day is more active than a desk jockey, but in no way is as active as a construction worker or a high volume pro cook that is on their feet for 8 to 14 hours everyday. Folks that work tough physical jobs can usually dance circles around those who only get physical at a gym for an hour every few days per week. That is just a fact of life.
When I do sous chef work, I am on my feet 14 hours a day. Bags of grain weigh 50 pounds. A case of #10 tomatoes weighs over 25 pounds. A thirty gallon pot full of stock can weigh over 100 pounds. All liquids are in 5 gallon containers. Constantly picking up weights like this on the job, all day long, really builds strength. I can actually pick up a 50 pound bag of flour with one finger and hold my arm straight out at arm's length. This is not bulk muscle strength. It is called tensile strength. Tensile strength basically develops as a result of hard physical endurance and not by pumping weights.
When I worked at a steel mill doing quality control work. I worked with guys that picked up big pieces of steel, as if it weighed as much as a twig. The more that I worked with steel and carted steel samples around, the more I got used to the heavy weight. It is like mind over matter. After a while, a 5 gallon bucket full of steel scrap samples feels as heavy as a cup of water. The mind overcomes the thought of the extreme weight and the body follows suit.
One thing that I noticed about steel workers is that they tend to eat big hearty heavy food. Stinky food too! Liverwurst, scrapple, liver & onions, big steaks, tons of bacon and summer sausage were common sights in steelworker lunch boxes.
One guy at the still mill job liked soft Limburger cheese spread on every sandwich. Coworkers use to laugh about the odor of dead worn out socks emanating from his lunchbox.
Fat, protein and carbs really get a worker through a long day of doing hard work in ice cold Lake Michigan steel mill site winter temperatures. Old traditional heavy duty food is popular with folks who do heavy duty big jobs. Do these folks keel over at age 40? No! They live well beyond retirement age, because their body efficiently digests the heavy rich food, due to extreme physical exertion.
A desk jockey cannot eat the same food that a steel worker eats without ending up with cardiovascular problems. This is why a health food nutcase cannot make demands for others to follow. There really is no one size fits all rule, when assessing how healthy a specific food item is. It is all relative to the lifestyle of the person that consumes that food item. Light fat free food is good for some people, but not all. The same goes for heavy rich traditional food. For those in between, moderation is the key to good health.
Liverwurst is a traditional favorite in Eastern Europe, Germany, Scandinavia and all over America. Liverwurst is usually made with a mixture of pig liver, beef liver and ground veal. Liverwurst can be soft and spreadable or it can be firm. In America, Liverwurst is sometimes called "Hillbilly Pâté, Redneck Pâté or Kentucky Pâté." Basically, chefs joke about liverwurst as being a poor folks version of French Pâté and this is okay.
When the hand passed hors d'oeuvres start to run out at an event like a 1,200 head New Years Eve Party at a yacht club, the chef tells the Garde Manger Chef to break out the "Cat & Dog Food!" What this means is that the regular appetizer food is running out and it is time to open up some cans of Goose Liver Pâté, Chicken Liver Spread, Sardines, Deviled Ham Spread and cut open some packaged Liverwurst. These items are quickly used to make more canapés and hors d'oeuvres for the guests at the party.
Us cooks had to resort to whipping up "Cat & Dog Food Hors D'Oeuvres!" a few times back when I worked as a saucier at a yacht club for two years. After rushing the emergency last resort appetizers out to the dining room, the guests naturally dug right in.
The chef and us cooks used stand by the dining room service doors and watch the guests reaction to hors d'oeuvres that were just served. Then the chef always made a comment that went something like, "Them rich folks sure do go for that fancy Cat & Dog Food! Don't they?" All we could do was laugh and agree!
Liverwurst has been the saving grace pâté at many cocktail party events over the years. Liverwurst does taste good and it is very rich. In Europe, liverwurst is usually served as an open face sandwich. Liverwurst sandwiches are usually garnished with zesty spreads, zesty mustard, onion, pickles or relish.
I honestly like snacking on petite open face liverwurst sandwiches, so I made some the other day while doing a long 10 hour college research paper writing session. Rye bread is the first choice for liverwurst, but Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread tastes good with Hillbilly Pâté too.
Amish Country Spreadable Limburger Cheese
Limburger Cheese is the stinky stuff! Amish Country Limburger Cheese is actually a mixture of White Cheddar Cheese and Soft ripe Limburger. In other words, the flavor is diluted and this is for a good reason. Limburger has lost plenty of appeal in the last 50 years and this classic cheese has nearly disappeared from the market altogether.
There is only one Swiss master cheesemaker left in America who makes Limburger Cheese. The flavor of Amish Country Limburger is toned down in order to increase the marketing appeal. Regular full strength Limburger is also available from this cheesemaker in Wisconsin.
Limburger Cheese is still popular in the Netherlands, most of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada and Northern States in America. Oddly enough, while working in yacht clubs, Limburger Cheese was requested by several of the old school big money high rollers.
The Limburger & Onion Sandwich is the all time classic way to serve this cheese. Zesty mustard, like Russian Mustard, is usually served on the side. Limburger & Onion Sandwiches are popular in German American neighborhood taverns, especially in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois. Rye Bread is first choice, but a sweet wheat bread tastes good with Limburger too.
Limburger is made with pasteurized got milk cheese that is bathed in Brevibacterium Linens Bacteria. This is the same bacteria that causes body odor. The cheese is crumbly and mild tasting when fresh, but as Limburgers ages, it becomes softer. Extra aged Limburgers is actually runny. The strong aroma of Limburger also increases with age.
Amish Country Old Fashioned Spreadable Limburger Cheese is very nice tasting. Hints of nuts and natural sweetness combine with rich sharp flavors. This mild Limburger is modestly aromatic. Highly recommended for readers who are fans of fine gourmet cheese!
Beer Pairing For both liverwurst and Limburger Cheese, an aged Lager or Bock Beer is best. For some reason, very few American craft breweries make great lagers. This is because a great lager is aged in wood casks before bottling. Far too many craft breweries take production shortcuts, just to pump out as much beer as possible. Profiteering by shortchanging quality is never a path that a good brewer follows. Many customers may not notice the difference, but some of us do.
A good aged lager has to be well balanced, especially when the aging process does its thing. Depending on how long a lager is aged, it can have light flavor, a rich aged flavor or it can be pleasantly dank, heavy and malty sweet. Lager is a beer art in itself.
One of the few great craft lagers that I have found is made by the Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn, New York, has a long history of great beer production that nearly faded out of existence in the last few decades. The Brooklyn Brewery has revived the Brooklyn beer brewing tradition in a big way.
Brooklyn Brewery Beer is masterfully crafted along traditional lines. The east coast is steeped in tradition, just like Europe. The latest and greatest fads never last. Only trie and true tradition lives on. This means that beer like extra strong hoppy western craft brews do not really cut the mustard, as far as east consumer tastes are concerned. A beer has to have balance and authenticity if it is going to be well liked by east coast folks. The Brooklyn Brewery is capitalizing on this well founded beer brewing philosophy.
Brooklyn Brewery beer products were recently introduced in Las Vegas. This beer is available in bottles or cans. As long as beer cans are not exposed to heat, the flavor is as good as bottled beer, so I have no qualms about canned craft beer.
Brooklyn Brewery Lager is as good as lager beer gets. This lager has an agreeable moderately aged rich flavor, the malt balance is perfect and the hops flavor is traditional. This lager is simply one of the best! Brooklyn Lager is a lager drinker's first choice. Highly recommended!
For more information about the brewery, follow this link:
• Brooklyn Brewery
Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread:
About 16 thin slices of petite bread loaf will be needed for todays recipe.
Follow this link to the bread recipe in this website:
• Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread
Melba toast is like Rusk. The toast is dry and crisp. Any king of bread that is not too dense can be used to make Melba Toast. Thin sandwich sliced bread or very thin slices of petite bread loaf can be used. For hors d'oeuvres or canapés, very thin sliced petite bread loaves are best. The bread slices are baked in a 300ºF oven till they are lightly toasted, completely dry and crisp. About 10 slices of Melba Toast will be needed for today's recipe
Cilantro Roasted Pepper Spread: This recipe yields about 3/4 cup! Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a food processor.
Add 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard.
Add 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red bell pepper.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro.
Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Pulse the food processor, till the mixture is pureed.
Place the spread in a container.
Chill until the spread becomes a medium thick consistency.
Petite Amish Country Limburger Cheese & Onion Sandwiches:
Cut 16 thin slices from a petite loaf of Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread.
Spread a thin layer of Amish Country Limburger Cheese on each slice of bread.
Place thin sliced yellow onion or sweet onion on 8 of the slices.
Assemble the petite sandwiches.
Liverwurst on Melba Toast with Cilantro Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Neon Relish:
Place a thin layer of the Cilantro Roasted Pepper on 8 slices of Desert Wildflower Honey White Wheat Bread Melba Toast.
Place a thin half moon shaped lice of liverwurst on each Melba Toast.
Place a small dab of Chicago Style Neon Relish on each slice of liverwurst.
Overlap the Petite Amish Country Limburger Cheese & Onion Sandwiches across the center of a serving platter.
Place a row of the Liverwurst on Melba Toast with Cilantro Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Neon Relish on both sides of the petite sandwiches.
Garnish the plate with cilantro sprigs.
Serve with German Mustard or Russian Mustard on the side.
Viola! Petite sandwiches and melba toast canapés that feature classic rich flavors!
Good Voodoo And Bad Voodoo
I have worked with many people in Florida who came from the Caribbean Islands. During the peak influx of Haitian immigration during the years of political turmoil on that island, Florida basically became "Haitian Island #2."
Even though these folks took refuge in Florida, Haiti was still home for most. Some were so fed up with politics and living conditions in Haiti that they vowed to never return. Some became so fed up with Florida politics, that they could not wait to get back to their homeland.
Back in the 1990's, Haitian immigrants were seeking any kind of job they could get in Florida. Because modern Florida is basically nothing more than a big retirement home and a seasonal tourist trap, entry level health service related jobs and hospitality industry jobs that paid substandard wages were fairly easy to land.
Florida is a state that outlaws organized labor. This state has taken the Right To Work Law bias to an extreme, that greatly favors employers. Basically, wager earners in Florida cannot be part of an organized labor union, so there is no bargaining power. Because Florida Right To Work Laws favor employers, wager earners have few employee rights, as far as job security and unemployment compensation are concerned.
The average wage in Florida is far below modern standards and the high cost of living in that state guarantees that wage earners will be subject to an existence of continually fending off debt, while living on one low paycheck to the next. What this all adds up to is a state that depends on cheap labor that cannot organize to gain bargaining power, which is the same thing as white slavery.
Haiti is a nation that was borne from the Spanish, French and British slave trade. Haiti is the first African origin nation in the western world. Anytime that slavery exists, a nation has two cultures. The culture of the ruling party and the hidden culture of those who are subject to the powers that be.
To a degree, the language and tradition of the hidden culture often is secretive, so the ruling power has less information to act upon. Pigeon English and many Slang Tongue languages of the Caribbean developed as a means of communication within the hidden culture of slaves and downtrodden people. These languages were less likely to be interpreted by the ruling powers, so these Slang Tongue languages allowed the subjects to speak freely amongst themselves, without having to worry about retaliatory recourse.
Traditional ancient religious practices also exist in oppressed hidden subcultures that are subject to an absolute power authority. Often the ancient religious practices are pagan in nature, so throughout history these kinds of ancient religions had to fly under the radar of Christianity and Catholicism, in order to avoid persecution. Often the traditional religious practice of an indentured subculture suits the needs of the people who need help the most. Voodoo is a good example.
Voodoo is one of the most misunderstood religious practices that there is. Voodoo does involve spell casting, sacrificed offerings, symbolic tokens and worshipping deities that are gods of certain realms, so by the old school Catholic inquisition definition, Voodoo is a pagan religious practice.
Many people understand the meaning of the old "My Church Is Better Than Your Church" parody novelty song that was aired on local talk show radio stations in the 1980's. When an organized church and state entity seeks absolute power, a cooperative joint venture is the means for accomplishing this goal. The armies conquer and the church unleashes propaganda that is aimed at all other religions.
Throughout the history of the Vatican-Roman Empire cooperative effort, the Catholic religious order used every means possible to propagandize pagan religions, in order to justify the violent acts that were committed upon subjects that practiced pagan religion. This was all part of the Roman Empirical master plan for attaining absolute power over conquered civilizations.
Acts of genocide and religious cleansing began during the times of the ancient Roman Empire, when the power broker leaders of the empire realized that to completely conquer a barbaric civilization, the religion of that civilization had to be vanquished. During the ancient times of the Roman Empire, through the Middle ages of European history, for an empirical leader to have absolute power, the subjects could only believe in one leader, one religion and one monetary system.
Because the Vatican had so much power in Europe during the age of global exploration, any country that sought world dominance had to create an allegiance with the Catholic organization. When the Spanish set out to conquer the new world, an allegiance with the Vatican was created, so the agendas of both parties could be advanced. Native religions were abolished and propagandized as pagan belief. An all encompassing religion was forced upon all conquered native subjects and those who were enslaved by the conquerors.
Any religion that was viewed as subversive competitor by Vatican order, was quashed by whatever measure was necessary, even if it meant burning thousands of innocent people at the stake. Politically speaking, by barring the religions of conquered people, this ensured that a rebellion could not be organized by the downtrodden subjects. Before the modern times, local native religions served to create unity within a culture and to address social issues. By banishing local religions, a conquered people had less ability to organize or communicate thoughts of revolution.
So, where does Voodoo fit into the picture? Voodoo is a traditional religious practice that has its roots in Nigeria. The hidden cultures of downtrodden African slaves in the Caribbean retained their traditional African religious practices, with secrecy and discretion, while also adopting the Catholic faith of the ruling parties. Voodoo is one of the traditional religious practices that was valued by downtrodden people in the age of the Caribbean slave trade.
Good Voodoo is the most common Voodoo practice. Good Voodoo involves rituals that provide medicinal healing of loved ones, a change of luck and relief from sorcery curses cast by enemies. Voodoo Priests that practice good faith are highly respected. Overall, Good Voodoo is respectful religious practice that has no intention of harm.
Over 99% of all Voodoo religion is a good thing. This is why the Vatican finally officially recognized Voodoo as being a valid beneficial religion a few years ago. Apparently Voodoo is one of the few pagan religions that the "Big Church" tolerates because it is a religion of healing when used for good purposes.
On the flip-side, Bad Voodoo is something altogether different than Good Voodoo. Traditionally, Bad Voodoo is only practiced by Voodoo Priests during times of war. Bad Voodoo can be flat out evil as hell for enemies that this religious practice is directed toward. An enemy that is the target of Bad Voodoo is subject to bad luck, illness, soul possession and even death.
One of the heaviest Bad Voodoo practices during times of war or vengeance, involves using Zombie Dust to turn enemies into mindless zombies, that are controlled by the commands of a Voodoo Priest.
Zombie Dust is made with Pufferfish Toxin, which paralyzes victims for several days. This toxin simulates death, by shutting bodily function systems down to an undetectable level. The body swells up and it smells like rotting flesh, even though the victim is alive. Victims of Voodoo Dust are often mistakenly pronounced as being dead by medical authorities.
The victim of Voodoo Dust is somewhat conscious during the experience. Voodoo Dust victims can even be conscious while going through autopsy procedures by a medical examiner, while being powerless to let the doctor know that they are still alive.
Voodoo Dust victims are usually buried alive in a grave for a few days. This experience causes victims to believe that they are dead and all mental processes shut down. After a few days in the grave, the Voodoo Priest resurrects the victim from the grave and completely takes over the victim's mind.
During times of war, Bad Voodoo is scary stuff that is real and not fantasy. During the Haitian Revolution of 1791 through 1804, Haitian Voodoo Priests that usually practiced Good Voodoo, resorted to the age old ways of casting Bad Voodoo on the enemy. There are many documented historical tales of real horror during the first Haitian Revolution that are attributed to Bad Voodoo.
The French Army felt the long lasting effects of Bad Voodoo curses. The thought of being of healthy body and mind, then suddenly being struck down by terminal illness or being turned into a mindless zombie that is subject to the control of a Haitian Voodoo Priest, weighed heavily on the minds of French Army personnel during that war. Bad Voodoo is the ultimate psychological warfare and Bad Voodoo was a factor in the liberation of Haiti.
Like I mentioned earlier, I worked with many Haitians in Florida restaurants and I hired many Haitians that needed jobs, while the recent liberation of Haiti was going on. Needless to say, I learned a lot about Haitian ways while in Florida.
When somebody makes fun of Voodoo, as if this religious practice was some kind of Hollywood comic book joke, there is one quote from an old Haitian coworker friend that comes to mind ... "Voodoo is nothing to joke about!"
Today's Weird Halloween Recipe "Bad Voodoo has nothing to do with sticking pins in dolls. Or does it? That sudden pain in the neck just happened on its own ... Right?"
There are many evil dubious slave driver chefs, managers and restaurateurs that I worked for, that I would like to dedicate today's Voodoo Doll recipe to, but that would not be Good Voodoo. Misuse of Bad Voodoo does have consequences.
A dubious chef or slave driver manager that sees a cook make today's recipe would surely contemplate firing the cook on the spot.
On the other hand, a dubious chef or manager might deserve some Bad Voodoo. Eating the symbolic Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread might even result in tormenting an evil supervisor to unimaginable hellish limits.
Anyway, retaliatory vengeance is never part of the Voodoo religion for many good reasons, especially during times of peace. However, the thought of such a thing is intimidating.
To create an intimidating looking Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread, one has to think like a pissed-off Voodoo Priest. Forget about going fancy. Go with raw looks!
Many Voodoo Priests use powdered slaked lime or chalk to dust symbolic offerings in rituals. Voodoo Doll Bread that is spattered with powdered sugar achieves this raw symbolic dusting effect and it gives the Voodoo Doll Bread an intimidating look.
The placement of the skewers is another factor of Voodoo intimidation. Placing the Jamaican Jerk Beef Skewers in the most painful parts of the Voodoo Doll Bread body, really sends a message to Halloween dinner guests!
"This skewer goes in the neck! Mwahahaha! ... This skewer is for all the broken hearts! Mwahahaha! ... and ... This skewer goes right in the man part yin yang! Mwahahaha!"
As one can see, a cook can have fun when putting the Voodoo Doll Bread presentation together, as long as ill will is not involved and the spooky nature of Halloween is light heartedly represented. Good dedicated chefs or home cooks would never serve an ill fated food presentation to dinner guests that are writhing in pain, from a symbolic Voodoo Doll Bread Jerk Beef Skewer Halloween Food Presentation. ... Or would they? "Mwahahaha!"
Its the Halloween season, so I have been pairing beers that have evil looking artwork on the label this month. Weird evil looking beer names are good Halloween party conversation starters.
Hell On High Quad Bock Beer is as evil as a strong beer gets! This Belgian Style Quad Bock contains 14% alcohol, yet the taste of the alcohol is barely noticeable. This extra strong Quad Bock sneaks up like a demon on a dark night with no moonlight and thoroughly consumes the soul.
Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje is a brewery in Lithuania that produces some of the greatest craft beer in the world. Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje values old world beer brewing tradition over modern trends that are short lived. This Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje Baltic Region beer brewing philosophy is reflected upon in their Belgian style Hell On High Quad Bock.
The Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje Brewery only uses pure water and natural grains to brew their beer. No cereal grains are added. Just like Russia, inorganic GMO grain is not allowed. Even the yeast has to be traditional and specific to the beer brewing style.
For a Belgian style beer, the yeast has to be a local airborne strain that is native to Belgium, like the infamous Belgian Satan Yeast Strain. The brewing style has to be the same as what the Trappist Monks first started in Belgium many centuries ago. The hops selection has to be traditional too and the hops flavor cannot be overwhelming. These high standards of tradition and excellence are what sets the Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje craft brewery products apart from the rest.
Bock Beer is a traditional German Lager brewing style. All lagers are aged in wooden casks. Bock Beer is usually designed to be aged for an extended time and shelf life of the bottled bock beer also extends for a longer time than a standard lager.
Traditional Bock Lagers are brewed strong, so they last through the entire winter season. A regular Bock Beer is often call Maibock, because any extra leftover winter stock of this beer is consumed in the month of May, when the spring planting season begins.
An extra strong Bock Beer is called a Doppelbock or Double Bock. A super strong Bock Beer is called a Quad Bock. Hell On High is definitely in the Quad Bock category.
Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje Hell On High Quad Bock has an easy to like caramelized malt flavor that bock beer fans like. This quad bock is well balanced. The clarity is excellent.
Overall, Hell On High Quad Bock Beer is masterfully crafted and it is very easy to recommend, especially for a Halloween party! Hell On High is a seriously strong beer, so moderation must be exerted when this beer is consumed.
As far as a Halloween ghost story conversation starters goes, Hell On High will certainly loosen the tongue and spooky stories will flow freely. Hell On High is a very strong beer that tastes awesome!
Fore More information about the brewery, follow this link:
• Rinkuškiai Alaus Darykloje
Jamaican Jerk Marinated Beef Skewers Preparation: This recipe yields 1 portion of five petite skewers!
Mix these ingredients together in a mixing bowl:
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 2 ounces of amber rum
- 1 thin sliced lime
- 1 ounce of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 minced green onions
- 2 tablespoons of Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
- 1 teaspoon of crushed dried red pepper (crushed dried red chile caribe)
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- 1/2 tablespoon of thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
- 1/4 teaspoon of powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
Stir the ingredients together.
Place the marinade in a shallow container.
Select a piece of top sirloin steak that is about 3/8" thick.
Cut 5 strips that are about 5" to 6" in length.
Weave the steak strips on thin metal skewers that are about 6" in length.
Place the skewers in the marinade.
Seal the container.
Chill for 24 hours in a refrigerator. Toss the Jerk Marinade over the beef occasionally.
Brown Sugar Newspice Buckwheat Bread: This small batch recipe yields enough dough to make 1 large single portion Voodoo Doll and one standard 14" baguette. This bread is designed to be heavy and dense. Newspice is an old Caribbean word that means Allspice. Buckwheat actually is not in the wheat grass family of plants. It is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is a top choice grain in Ukraine, Russia and American Southern States. Buckwheat has a strong flavor and it is highly nutritious seed flour. For bread making, mixing buckwheat with white whole wheat flour ensures that their will be enough gluten content to create a nice texture. Baking powder is also added. Cocoa Powder gives the bread a nice brown color. This recipe is written for a mixer with a dough hook.
Place 1 cup of water in a sauce pot.
Add 1 cup of milk.
Add 1/4 cup of light brown sugar.
Gently heat the liquid to 112º.
Place the liquid in a mixer bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast.
Place the mixing bowl in a lukewarm place like on a towel on top of a warm oven.
Wait for the yeast to activate.
Add 1 1/4 cups of buckwheat flour.
Add 1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour.
Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Add 1 teaspoon of allspice.
Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
Add 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter.
Place the mixer bowl on the mixer and attach a dough hook.
At low speed, mix till a very loose wet dough is formed.
Start adding a little bit of wheat flour at a time, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (Add just enough flour, so the dough starts to look like it can gather on the dough hook. About 1/2 cup to 1 cup. The amount depends on atmospheric conditions.)
Allow the dough to mix and knead at a low speed for about 5 minutes. By now the dough should be gathering on the hook.
Remove the mixer bowl from the mixer and remove the dough hook.
Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel.
Set the bowl on top of a warm oven, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat.
When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles.
Place the dough on a lightly floured counter top.
Roll the dough into a large ball.
Cut 1 portion of dough that is large enough to make a Voodoo Doll Figure Shape that is 9" to 10" tall.
Shape a Voodoo Doll Bread Shape and place it on a parchment paper lined baking pan. (Lightly brush the parchment paper with vegetable oil.)
Roll and tuck the remaining dough portion with your hands to make 1 baguette shaped loaf that can be served with another meal.
Brush each dough shape with melted unsalted butter.
Place the pans and dough in a warm area.
Allow the dough to rise to rise for only about 4 minutes, so the texture will be dense.
Bake in a 425ºF oven, till the bread becomes a brown color and the center temperature reaches 190ºF.
Place the pan on a cooling rack.
Decorating The Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread: • Sprinkle pinches of powdered sugar over the head, hands and feet of the bread doll.
• I used a leftover tube of Black Gelatin Cake Decorating Icing from a product review article that was published last week. Any black tinted simple icing can be used to paint the face on the doll. A classic look is X's for eyes and a frowning mouth.
Jamaican Jerk Beef Skewers & Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread: Decorate a plate, so the plate looks like a sun and grassy green ground theme, like the one in the photos or create your own decorative theme. Cilantro leaves, small diced mini sweet bell peppers and a paprika garnished slice of lemon was used to decorate the plate in the photos.
Place a small wedge of the extra bread on the center of the plate, so it will prop the Voodoo Bread Doll up.
Lean the Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread on the bread wedge.
Heat a ribbed cast iron griddle or char grill over medium heat.
Grill the Jamaican Jerk Beef skewers, till they are fully cooked, but not dried out.
Pin the Jerk Beef Skewers into painful locations on the Brown Sugar Buckwheat Voodoo Doll Bread. (Try not to think of Bad Voodoo! Only Good Voodoo is acceptable in this modern age!)
Use a tube of Red Gelatin Cake Decorating Icing or a thickened red tinted simple syrup to paint blood drops where each skewer is stuck in the Voodoo Bread Doll.
Voila! This is a tasty Halloween creation that will certainly draw laughter from guests. Yum!
Hubby:"What's for Halloween dinner? I hope its a macabre favorite of mine!" Wifey: "I made a new zombie chef surprise, Dearest!" Hubby: "Wow! ... Well, what in the hell is it???" Wifey: "Its a fresh made Zombie Brain Headcheese !!!" Hubby: "... mmmm !!! I'm the luckiest zombie in the whole wide world !!!" Tis The Season ...
According to statistics behind the scenes at this website, Halloween Cuisine seems to be more popular than Autumn Season Food or Oktoberfest Food. In fact, there really is no comparison. There are plenty of recipes for all three of these cuisine styles in this food website, yet the amount of Halloween Food viewed each week this month is the winner by a wide margin. This gives me the inspiration to whip up a few more macabre creations, before the October 31st deadline nears!
A few more Halloween recipes and fun cocktail creations will be published this month. Most will be posted this week.
Yesterday, I did an "easy to make candy product" testing evaluation. The product actually is user friendly. The finished product will please guests. The product is relatively safe for children to use, as long as an adult does the solitary cooking step in the recipe. Making fresh candy for Halloween is a cinch with this product, so viewers that are pressed for time, just might be interested. This product review will be published this week too.
• Headcheese is made with the meat scraping from a pig's head. Brains or organ meat are not used to make head cheese. The meat is usually scraped off of the pig head after the pig head is boiled.
• Whole pig heads are rarely sold at grocery stores or specialty food markets. A whole pig head can be ordered at a butcher shop, but delivery takes time.
• Head cheese gelatin is usually made from slowly simmered pig feet that are cooked for a lengthy time. The gelatinous substance in the pig feet transfers to the simmering liquid. After clarifying or filtering the liquid, the liquid is simmered and reduced, till gelatinous substance is condensed. When cooled, the gelatin will have a firm rubbery texture.
• Souse is headcheese that is made with pickled pig head scrapings or pickled pork meat trimmings. It takes 2 to 3 days for pork meat to pickle in a curing salt brine, if the pieces are cut into a small bite size shape. The bigger the pork pieces, the more time it takes to pickle the meat.
• Pork meat becomes a bright pink color when it is pickled. The pickled pork meat does have to be boiled, before it is added to the head cheese gelatin.
Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine:
Zombies and Headcheese are definitely scary horror movie topics. Anybody that has seen "The Night Of The Living Dead" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II" will know exactly why!
Making headcheese from scratch is a project that many home cooks will avoid at all cost. There are alternatives!
A Headcheese Style Terrine is a good choice for a Zombie Brain presentation. A terrine can be made that resembles headcheese. It will not be a true authentic headcheese, but it is acceptable for a Halloween Zombie Brain food presentation.
A Zombie Brain Gelatin Mold like the one in the photos above can be found at the Amazon internet shopping website or at seasonal Halloween Costume Stores.
These two methods can be used to make a Zombie Brain Headcheese Terrine ... Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine Method #1:
• Purchase a piece of headcheese or souse at delicatessen, that is the same volume as the Zombie Brain Mold.
• Place the headcheese in a pot over medium low heat.
• Add about 1/3 cup of water. (To compensate for evaporation.)
• Gently simmer till the headcheese gelatin liquifies.
• Remove the pot from the heat and allow the contents to cool to almost room temperature.
• Place the headcheese meat and its gelatin in a Zombie Brain Mold.
• Refrigerate overnight, so the gelatin becomes a firm texture.
• Dip the outside of the Zombie Brain Mold in hot water to loosen the gelatin.
• Invert the Zombie Brain Mold onto a serving platter and remove the mold.
Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine Method #2: This entire recipe yields enough Pickled Pork Aspic Terrine mixture for a 4 1/2 cup capacity Zombie Brain Mold! The entire mold does not need to be completely filled. The Zombie Brain in the photos above is a little less than 4 cups in volume.
Cut 3 1/2 cups of raw pork trimmings or pork shoulder meat into small to medium bite size pieces. Trim off all of the fat.
Place the pork in a 2 quart capacity plastic container and cill till later in the recipe.
Place 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add 1 teaspoon of Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt.
Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Add 1/4 cup of cider vinegar.
Add 2 laurel leaves.
Add 6 whole dried allspice berries.
Add 1 teaspoon of whole fennel seed.
Add 1 tablespoon of whole mustard seed.
Add 2 tablespoons of Brazilian peppercorns.
Add 6 cloves.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Turn off the heat and allow the pickling liquid to cool to room temperature.
Add the pickling liquid to the chilled pork in the plastic container.
Chill at less than 40ºF for two to three days.
Place the pickling brine and pork in a pot over medium high heat.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer till the pickled pork is fully cooked. (This only takes a few minutes! Try not to overcook the pork or it will become tough. The pork pieces will shrink in size and this is okay. The total volume of cooked pork will end up being about 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups.)
Pour the pork and brine into a colander strainer and discard the liquid.
Rinse the spices off of the pork under cold running water and place the pickled pork in a container.
Chill the pickled pork in a refrigerator.
Aspic For The Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine: This recipe yields 3 1/2 cups of firm aspic! This is a little bit more than what is needed for the terrine project. It is better to have too much aspic, than not enough! Any extra aspic can be diluted, chilled and served with salad. There are three types of gelatin that can be purchased in grocery stores or from restaurant food purveyors. Vegetable based gelatin, animal based gelatin and seaweed agar. Standard powdered gelatin and standard sheet gelatin are both animal based gelatins. Animal based gelatin is made from pig feet and cattle hooves, just like headcheese gelatin. Standard powdered gelatin is used to make today's Zombie Brain Headcheese Terrine. Aspic is a flavored gelatin. Consommé or bouillon is used to flavor the gelatin in this recipe. As a convenience, canned Consommé or dried bouillon is fine for this recipe. Ham Bouillon Cubes are the best choice. Pork Bouillon Cubes are the second best option. A 50/50 mixture of Chicken Consommé and Beef Consommé is also a good choice for flavoring the gelatin. If dried bouillon is used, follow the directions on the package for making 3 1/2 cups. Bring the bouillon to a boil, then cool the bouillon to room temperature. The aspic has to have a fairly firm texture, or the Headcheese Terrine will fall apart when sliced. Place 3 1/2 cups of a consommé or a bouillon flavor of of your choice in a stainless steel sauce pot. The liquid should be at room temperature.
Rain 26 grams of powdered standard gelatin over the liquid in the pot.
Allow the gelatin to bloom.
Place the pot over low heat.
Gently simmer till the gelatin dissolves. Stir occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Allow the liquid to cool to almost room temperature.
Headcheese Style Zombie Brain Terrine:
Select a Zombie Brain Mold that has a 4 cup to 4 1/2 cup capacity.
Place the mold on a curled up kitchen towel in a roasting pan, so it sits evenly. Place the towel around the base of the mold to prevent it from tipping over.
Pour enough of the aspic into the Zombie Brain Mold to make a layer that is about 1/2" deep.
Chill the aspic in a refrigerator till it becomes firm. (About 20 minutes)
Place the chilled pickled pork pieces in the Zombie Brain Mold.
Add enough of the aspic to cover the pork with an extra 1/4" of liquid.
Cover the mold with plastic wrap.
Chill the aspic overnight, so the aspic completely gels.
Herb Focaccia: This recipe yields enough dough for two medium size flat round shaped loaves! Any herb mixture can be used to make this bread. I used a generous amount of Herbs de Provence to make the bread in the Photos above. Follow this link to the recipe in this website: • Seasonal Herb Focaccia
Russian Godzilla Spread: This recipe yields about 3/4 cup! The word "Godzilla" refers to the Wasabi and the green color. Potent strong Russian Mustard is used to make this extra zesty tasting sandwich spread. Russian Mustard can be found at Eastern European food markets. Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of Russian Mustard. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Wasabi Powder. (Asian food markets stock Wasabi Powder.) Add 1 or 2 drops of green food color, to give the sauce a creepy green look. Mix the ingredients together. Place the Russian Godzilla Spread in a large ramekin. Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed. Zombie Brain Headcheese Platter:
Dip the outside of the Zombie Brain Mold in pot of tepid hot water to loosen the gelatin.
Invert the Zombie Brain Mold onto a Halloween Theme Serving Platter and remove the mold. (Dollar Stores stock nifty looking Halloween platters!)
Cut a Spanish Onion in half from from top to bottom. Cut several thin demi-lune onion slices. (half moon slices)
Overlap the demi-lune onion slices on the platter around the Zombie Brain Head Cheese.
Evenly space several thin heirloom tomato wedges around the Zombie Brain on the onions.
Place an Italian parsley sprig on each tomato slice.
Herb Focaccia, Neon Relish and Russian Godzilla Spread Platter:
Cut a loaf of Herb Focaccia into sandwich slices and overlap the slices on a large serving platter.
Place the ramekin of Russian Godzilla Spread on the platter.
Garnish the Godzilla Spread with a swirl of organic ketchup. Drag a chopstick through the ketchup to create an artistic effect.
Place a ramekin of Chicago Neon Relish on the platter. (Neon Relish is available at Amazon or a Chicago Hot Dog Stand.)
Three Halloween Zombie Brains are better than one! This is the third Zombie Brain that I have created for this website. "There is always room for more brains!" ... mmmmm!