Friday, December 26, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW OF JAMES AND BEN LONG'S THE PLOT AGAINST PEPYS

This book is very good narrative history; in parts, it is truly excellent.

The period of English history from the Restoration of the Stuarts in the person of Charles II, 1660, to the Glorious Revolution, the overthrow of James II, younger brother of Charles in 1688, is a fascinating one, and the events of this book take place during a portion of that period.

The immediate background to these events includes the English Civil War and the rise and fall of the Cromwells. It is a time marked by an extreme turmoil over religion, Protestant versus Catholic, in the affairs of state. Ironically, the period covered was also one of considerable and fairly open decadence in English society, showing once again how little religion has to do with morals.

This book has as chief characters Samuel Pepys and one of the lesser-known nasty pieces of work in modern history, John Scott. With a cast like that, you almost cannot miss.

Pepys, famous for a diary, which is a fact-filled look at part of the period's society and a somewhat salacious record of its morals, was an able and conscientious (at least after the Restoration) civil servant who rose to high rank. The important part of his career was associated with the Royal navy, going from Clerk of the Acts to the Navy to Secretary to the Admiralty Board and finally to Secretary for the Affairs of the Admiralty.

Scott was a lifelong fraudster, murderer, and opportunist who rose up and fell down several times in several countries. With "the gift of the gab," a talent for forgery, and great energy in his schemes, Scott was almost certainly a psychopathic personality. He crossed paths - and as it happens, swords - with Pepys virtually by accident. His unquenchable hatred of Pepys apparently was sparked by a random event in which Pepys, just doing his official duty, thwarted one of Scott's high-flown schemes for gaining fame and fortune. His intense hatred was then harnessed by those interested in the overthrow of Charles II, especially Lord Shaftsbury, himself a considerably larger-than-life and rather grotesque figure.

Pepys was charged with being a secret Catholic and being part of a plot to kill the King and see a Catholic Monarchy installed. The main accuser was the psychopathic John Scott. A modern reader might think that this seems such a simple matter to clear up - especially the part about being a Catholic, which Pepys was not - but there was an atmosphere thickly charged with paranoia and suspicion in England at the time, and it was being actively added to by people like Shaftsbury, himself interested in turning over the existing monarchy.

Because this period was also one of a rapidly changing balance of power between Parliament and the Crown, the King and his brother - the future James II - were not in a position to simply lift a loyal public servant from extreme danger. Pepys spent a long and exhausting period fighting charges that already had seen notable prisoners hung, cut down alive, castrated, disemboweled, and drawn-and-quartered - the contemporary penalty for treason, a penalty which itself tells us something of the frenzied paranoia of the time. He was in and out of prison, had many court dates, and spent a small fortune collecting evidence and trying to understand the precise nature of the plot against him, although he had understood immediately that it was part of some unknown larger effort to get at the Stuarts.

Ultimately he was victorious, but only because he was smart, had considerable resources to employ, and enjoyed a few lucky brakes with past associate or victims of Scott's coming forward from various countries, and, most importantly, the King finally felt comfortable enough reaching down with limited but indispensable help.

The first part of this book reads like a rip-roaring crime novel, but it may be enjoyed on several levels. The English paranoia of the time and the dark operations of the courts in matters of treason remind one very much of the insane swirl of events in America following 9/11. Pepys could almost be an American secret prisoner under the deliberately misnamed Patriot Act. The almost unbelievable career of John Scott reminds one of the way career killers and abusers are so rarely caught even today before they have done immense damage to others. The meek definitely do not inherit the earth still.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN STORY: AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT - A CONTEMPORARY CHRISTMAS TALE

AND TO ALL, A GOOD NIGHT
A Contemporary Christmas Tale

John Chuckman

It was only a matter of time before Santa Claus himself came under the Neanderthal-eyed scrutiny of American intelligence. After all, Santa’s citizenship is unknown, and he crosses borders with no passport or other form of identification. No one knows whether he even has a valid pilot’s license.

Although his image is well known, there is no official photograph on file with American border control, and he has never been fingerprinted or body-searched. Most disconcerting of all, he delivers parcels to children all over the world, including the children living in the Axis of Evil. His intentions with this activity are not understood beyond some fuzzy generalization about kindness and generosity to all. Clearly, here was the world’s largest unplugged pipeline to potential terrorists.

It was only after receiving no response to several urgent letters from the State Department requesting an immediate meeting in Washington that a decision was made to approach Santa’s North Pole solitude. As usual in such matters with the people now running America, a wing of America’s most lethal killing machines was employed for the purpose. You never know what you might encounter in such a forbidding place.

As the planes first zoomed over the icy silence of the North Pole workshop, one of the pilots decided to swoop down for a closer look. He was one of those daring fly-boys, and his tail struck the only wire for thousands of miles around, the North Pole Telegraph, sending his plane hurling into the workshop in a ball of flames with tons of ammunition and missiles exploding.

Santa and Mrs. Claus rushed out of their snow-blanketed gingerbread house to see what was happening, trying to calm the terrified reindeer running from their stable at one end of the house. The elves, too, scurried towards the stable, trying to stop the reindeer from running or flying off.

Above, in the dark vault of sky, the other pilots observed the explosion and saw missile trails smoking into the air. They also saw the frantic activity below and quickly concluded their comrade had come under anti-aircraft attack. So they swooped down in attack formation, rapid-fire canon tearing into everything ahead of them.

Most of the reindeer fell in the snow, spurting warm blood across the bluish-white surface. Most of the elves, too, fell gasping for life. Mrs. Claus received a wound in the head and instantly fell limp. Santa tried heroically to reach his wife but realized the situation was hopeless and turned, running into the darkness accompanied by Prancer, the only surviving reindeer.

The only witness to the massacre is one surviving elf now living somewhere in Canada under an assumed identity, fearful for his life. It is only from his testimony that we know anything about Santa’s fate.

Realizing the horrific mistake they had made, the pilots dropped white phosphorus bombs with the intention of incinerating all evidence. The entire North Pole lit up and Santa and Prancer could be seen in the distance on a huge block of ice drifting off into the dark sea, the ice everywhere cracked and weakened by the combined effects of white phosphorus and years of global warming.

Within in a few hours, the beating sound of a black helicopter approached Santa and Prancer. The elf, from his hiding place in a snowdrift, could only make out intermittent sounds across the howling coldness, but it seems armed men emerged from the helicopter, shot Prancer and shackled Santa, shoving him into the dark, beating machine. The elf heard a word that sounded like Guantanamo and Santa has not been heard from since. Reports of his fate reached the International Red Cross and organizations like Amnesty International, leading to inquiries, but these have been met only with silence from American authorities.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN'S MEXICAN SHEPHERDS' PIE

CHUCKMAN’S MEXICAN SHEPHERDS' PIE

2 pounds of Ground Beef

1 Large Sweet Red Pepper – diced

2 Cans Re-fried Beans – Herdez from Mexico is my favorite

A Couple of Handfuls of Frozen Corn

A Couple of Handfuls of Grated Cheddar Cheese

1 Can La Victoria Mexican Enchilada Sauce (Hot variety)

A Couple of Tablespoons of Chipotle Concentrate – available in many supermarkets

1 Package Knorr Au Jus – Prepared according to package


DIRECTIONS

Lightly sauté Beef along with Chipotle concentrate. Place in the bottom of a medium-sized, buttered casserole pan.

Pour half of La Victoria Sauce over, and pour all of prepared Knorr Au Jus over.

Let cool a bit. Spread Corn and Red Pepper over evenly. Salt lightly.

Using a table knife or spatula, spread Refried Beans evenly over top, just as you would mashed potatoes with traditional Sheppards' Pie.

Spread Grated Cheese evenly over top.

Dribble second half of La Victoria Sauce on top.

Bake about half an hour at 350º.

Serve with plain yogurt. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro if you like.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW OF CURT GENTRY'S J. EDGAR HOOVER

This biography is a study in quiet, creepy state terror, terror as it took hold in a modern democratic state. No black shirts, no armbands, no drums, just quiet, behind-the-scenes abuse of power, blackmail, fraud, spying without warrants, illegal arrests and deportations.

Naive Americans are sometimes heard to ask how could people in other lands allow evil people to take power? Well, this book will show you how it is done and how it was done in their own country.

As someone else has said, it is a book every American should read. Little that the war criminal, George Bush, has inflicted on the American people wasn’t practiced much earlier under Mr. Hoover.

Gentry’s book reads like a good novel with a strong narrative, and it is loaded with interesting anecdotes.

There have been several interesting biographies of Hoover, but this one is the one I most strongly recommend. This focuses on his career and use of power, and it is there that the truly important story is to be found.

Gentry several times hints around Hoover's homosexuality but doesn't dwell on it. We know from Anthony Summers' book that Hoover had a rather bizarre private life as a flamboyant cross-dresser. This wouldn't be of any great significance except that Hoover had no tolerance for homosexuals in government, having been responsible for destroying the careers of a number of them.

Gentry also makes clear that the insane Joseph McCarthy was largely the creature of Hoover. Hooveer fed him tidbits or sometimes worked backward to supply some printed support after McCarthy had gone off half-cocked bragging about things in public he had not one shred of evidence to support. McCarthy was a drunk looking to spark a lackluster career. He was also thought to be a pedophile, but none of these things mattered to Hoover so long as he could use McCarthy to his purpose. Only when McCarthy stopped being useful did Hoover drop him.

Presidents like Johnson and Kennedy and even Roosevelt eagerly ate the political filth he fed them by hand, casting shame on their legacies. Hoover compromised many people who should have been his strongest critics, including, for example, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union.

For all his years of abuse and excess, it is not clear that he ever achieved anything in the way of making America a safer, more secure place from external and internal enemies.

An important chapter of Hoover’s time in power remains inadequately scrutinized: his full role in the investigation of Kennedy’s assassination. As Gentry documents and as others have documented, the FBI was well aware before the assassination of serious threats against Kennedy and yet seems to have taken inadequate action to thwart them.

Hoover’s role in “solving” the crime remains one of the great mysteries of 20th century American history. The Warren Commission had no independent investigative ability. All it did was take Hoover’s rushed, inadequate, and pre-judged investigation and re-package it. And we know now that the so-called Warren Report was riddled with errors and misjudgment and the selective use of facts. It was a piece of Soviet-era state rubbish posing as detailed investigation.

If, as many who have studied the assassination believe, it was the work of the American Mafia, we have an automatic explanation for Hoover’s shoddy work. Hoover claimed he never believed the Mafia existed until he was almost forced to accept it. He chased pathetic “reds” rather than the real criminals who were eating away at the substance of American society. Many have theorized that the Mafia held evidence, perhaps photographs, of Hoover’s homosexuality and cross-dressing, keeping him neutralized for decades in exactly the way Hoover neutralized so many politicians and potential critics.

I like very much the way Gentry briefly followers through the successors of Hoover at the FBI, summarizing their changes and contributions, and it is not an uplifting story.

The very fact that the FBI building in Washington still has Hoover’s name on it in big metal letters tells us a great deal about the nature of power in America.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN’S VERSION OF ALEPPO SOUP (LENTIL SOUP FROM SYRIA)

A simple and tasty soup.


1 Cup of Red Lentils

6 Cups of Chicken Stock (or Water may be used for vegetarian version)

1/4 Cup Chick-Pea Flour (aka, Gram Flour - available in any Indian or Mideast grocery store)

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

3 or 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne

1/2 Teaspoon Coriander

Salt to taste


Simmer Lentils in bulk of Stock for about 5 minutes, reserving a small portion of Stock.

Mix Chick Pea Flour in reserved Stock, making a thickening agent. Add to Lentils.

Add Lemon Juice, Cumin, Coriander, Cayenne, and Salt to Lentils.

Saute crushed Garlic briefly until golden. Add to Lentils.

Simmer for about 20 minutes.


This soup is delicious as made above, but it provides a base for many variations. Bits of roasted Lamb and/or fresh Cilantro are nice additions.

Monday, August 11, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW OF SIMON WINCHESTER'S THE MAN WHO LOVED CHINA

REVIEW OF SIMON WINCHESTER'S THE MAN WHO LOVED CHINA BY JOHN CHUCKMAN

This is a good read. Simon Winchester provides a tight and fairly vigorous story of the remarkable man, Joseph Needham.

Needham was a brilliant man, gifted in science and languages. He was also a genuine non-conformist, both in his personal life and in political affairs, and he had the fabled abilities of a great scholar to sit for all hours of the day, day after day, analyzing ancient texts and writing world-recognized works about what he discovered.

Needham had the good fortune of being appointed by the British government, as a scientist of world reputation, on a mission to unoccupied China during World War II. His task was to contact as many Chinese academics as possible and help them obtain the resources, provided by the British government, they needed to carry on their work. This was both war-time assistance and an investment in future relations.

As in any effort he undertook, Needham quickly went to work with great vigor. He made a couple of epic journeys across large stretches of China and a number of smaller ones. He contacted many people of note, helping scientists and scholars obtain equipment and supplies to keep their efforts going under the great privations of war.

But, at the same time, he also did something else very important. He collected, wherever he found them and could purchase them, ancient Chinese texts which went back to England with him. Very early the idea struck him of writing a scholarly work on the ancient contributions of China to technology and science.

Needham was such an impressive intellect and so clearly in love with China - he typically wore gowns styled after the gowns worn by Chinese scholars and spoke fluent Mandarin and was bursting with enthusiasm about the things he saw and discovered - that a number of Chinese who only met him briefly were motivated to collect, long after he went home to England, and send him great quantities more of truly precious historical materials.

Needham's great project, a virtual encyclopedia of the history of Chinese science and technology, was never finished by him, but the volumes he did write were immediately embraced by the academic world as important new contributions to knowledge, and the work remains a classic.

Needham discovered - then unknown outside China - that the Chinese had invented a remarkable number of things before they were discovered in Europe. Moveable type - first in the ninth century as wood, later as bronze - was perhaps the most remarkable of these, but there were literally hundreds of others including an early compass and some very early sophisticated mathematics.

Needham's volumes became an important East Asian collection in the libraries of Cambridge University.

An interesting anecdote in the book, unrelated to the subject, concerns Needham's tours to lecture on his discoveries. One was to Chicago, and author Winchester discovered that Theodore Kaczynski, the gifted mathematician who later sank into deep schizophrenia and became the infamous Unabomber living in the wilderness, attended a lecture.

Winchester speculates whether that lecture, including a discussion of gunpowder as it did, might have influenced Kaczynski later. I did think this speculation a bit naïve and a bit of research would have eliminated it. Kaczynski grew up in Chicago, as I did, and as a teenager he made the newspapers with the sophisticated rockets he was building. His rockets were made of metal and used fuel more sophisticated than gunpowder, becoming a subject of interest because they climbed over a mile in altitude, possibly threatening civilian aviation. It seems pretty clear he did not need Needham's lecture on gunpowder.

My only regret about this book is that it was too brief. Needham and his adventures and work are a large subject.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN: ON THE DEATH OF AN OLD GOOD FRIEND

WRITTEN FOR A NEWSLETTER ADDRESSING THE OLD CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS

My old good friend, Preston E. Uney (Bradwell 1959/ South Shore 1963), died on July 7, 2008. He was an aeronautical engineer living with his wife and children in Colorado.

Preston's dad ran a small toy store on Stony Island in the 1960s until the changing neighborhood destroyed his business. The family lived for many years in a small house on Kingston Ave. just south of 79th.

His older sister, Marie, taught us both to dance, however awkward the results. His father, an immigrant from Russia, used to tell electrifying stories of the Russian Front in WWII.

Preston was an interesting independent-minded kid who must have been the only student carrying a Socialist Labor Party sign around South Shore High in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign. He will be missed.

Monday, March 31, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW: RICHARD DAWKINS' THE GOD DELUSION

There has been a great deal of noise over this book. To my mind, it mostly amounts to the proverbial tempest in a teapot.

First, despite the right of religious liberty people in advanced countries supposedly enjoy, we are regularly immersed, willy-nilly, in religious muck. The last couple of decades in America, the nightly news has featured everything from endless demands for prayer in public institutions and the creation myth being taught in schools to attacks on doctors doing legal abortions and silly fights over displaying the ten commandments in public courts. What’s so terrible about the other side getting a little publicity for a change?

Richard Dawkins is a pleasant and clear writer. The first part of his book is genuinely funny, hilarious in places, as he pokes fun at the absurd stories and rules of the Bible. At his best, he reminds me of Mark Twain in Letters from the Earth.

I think he is much less successful in the middle part of the book in trying to establish a logical framework for thinking about religion. Religion simply is not logical, none of it, ever, and just as the scholastic fathers tried over and over to “prove” the existence of God – Dawkins entertainingly goes through some of this – this effort seems futile.

There is an aspect of religion that I believe Dawkins misses. It is the cultural dimension of much of religion. We know many Jews, as in Israel for example, are quite worldly and not believers, yet something binds them to the heritage of their religion. That something is what Dawkins misses.

Religion works very much like prejudice: there are simply attitudes and perspectives that groups of people share together as a cultural inheritance, and the attitudes are generally detrimental to, and disparaging of, others.

I share the belief that religion has been responsible for many of humanity’s miseries. The record of Christianity has likely been the bloodiest of any religion, despite all the blubbering today about Islam. Christianity has been at the root of crusades, inquisitions, religious wars, mass murders, civil wars, torture, destruction of aboriginal people, slavery, and countless other horrors and abuses.

But I do not believe for an instant that religion and its abuses will stop any time soon, and I certainly do not believe that any words I can say will change the views of the religiously-minded. But Dawkins does appear to believe this, which I think is a little naïve for a man of such exceptional talent.

I believe it quite likely that we inherit our tendency for religion, just as we likely do for our politics. If that is true, we will only see the superstition and prejudice of religion disappear as humans evolve.

Most people who do not take their religion too seriously will enjoy at least a good portion of this provocative book, but the seriously religious would best avoid it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN REVIEW: THOMAS DILORENZO'S THE REAL LINCOLN

Let me say, right off, that this is not a biography of Lincoln. It is not even a character study because most of Lincoln’s character is never touched here. This is a study – I think it fair to call it an attack - of one aspect of Lincoln, his ideological purpose in fighting the Civil War. However, it is a determined, fact-filled attack, worth reading.

I have always believed, on the basis of my own studies, that the American Civil War was unnecessary, but this is a view that arouses hostile feelings in Americans as it runs against the public-school civics course beliefs around that conflict.

There is definitely an American Civic Religion with a set of tenets and sacred writings and a cast of mythically-endowed characters comparable to the chief figures of the Old and New Testaments. Many well-known American historians, some quite eminent, are conscious or unconscious proponents of the Civic Religion, not such a difficult thing as you might first imagine because history, just like good police detective work, involves interpretation, judgment, and instincts. The raw facts, when they are even known, are always susceptible of emphasis and interpretation.

So it was refreshing to find a serious writer who also believes that the war was unnecessary.

However, Dilorenzo’s reason for saying the war was unnecessary is different to my own. The author believes that Lincoln consciously used the war to impose the so-called American System of the Whig Party and Henry Clay, destroying the powers of the individual states and centralizing government in the United States. I believe rather that this was one of the unavoidable effects, wars always and everywhere being far more revolutionary events than people generally recognize.

There can be no doubt that Dilorrenzo marshals a strong case, but I believe that he largely fails to prove his main thesis. Lincoln, although not the sentimental figure of American text books and the Lincoln Memorial, was not America’s Joseph Stalin.

Most of his fact-marshalling is impressive, but when he goes off on a tangent to give a background on the basic political split between Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians, he actually gets it rather wrong. Jefferson was anything but the kind of figure he is in the eyes of libertarian devotees like Dilorenzo. He was hungry for power, hungry for empire, and ruthless to those who opposed him. He bent or broke laws many times and never was bothered about rights of others where they stood in the way of his vision. Jefferson was, in short, everything the author claims Lincoln was.

The tone of this book becomes almost oppressive as the author hammers away with citations and anecdotes tending to support his view – in other words, the author is guilty of overkill.

The sense of oppressiveness is increased by the fact the author writes from an ideological viewpoint, not many pages convincing the reader of the author’s pronounced libertarian attitude. In general, I do not like histories or biographies written with an ideological perspective, but here the fault is compounded by the author’s narrow focus.

I don’t think anyone with a fairly open mind can study Lincoln and come away with a view like Dilorenzo’s. Lincoln himself was a victim of believing in the American Civic Religion of his day. He genuinely believed in The Union as a semi-mystical concept. Lincoln was a genuine skeptic with regard to conventional religion and the existence of God, and the feelings that might have had an outlet there attached themselves to “The Union.” He was tough and hard-headed in many respects, but he would have been, in this writer’s judgment, temperamentally incapable of launching and continuing a vast war for the purpose of installing Whig policy.

For those interested, the reviewer believes the Civil War was unnecessary because most great wars are unnecessary and rarely solve anything. For example, World War I only created the foundation for World War II. The American Civil War, which was not fought over slavery, solved little about the ugly institution of slavery. The South went on for about a century afterward with a new set of arrangements for its black citizens hardly better than the previous institution.

The Civil War did establish the anti-democratic principle that no state can separate from the United States, hardly an admirable or advanced attitude. The Civil War is also the tipping point in America becoming a world power with fervent imperialistic views (demonstrated earlier in a more provincial theater of operation in many policies such as the Mexican War), again hardly an admirable outcome.

I believe too that the angry, long-unforgiving South actually dragged the United States backward in social progress over the next century. The United States might have become a better, more decent place without the South and its superstitious religion and traditions of personal honor, much resembling the blood-feud attitudes of backward places like Armenia. And slavery itself would have naturally died out even in the South in a few decades as it did in so many places like Brazil.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN'S VERSION OF GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN

I love Chinese food. This recipe is my version of a classic.


CHUCKMAN’S VERSION OF GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

Chicken – Use either traditional cut-up Chicken Breast (about a pound – cut into bite-size pieces) or Drumettes or Drumsticks – drumettes or legs are unconventional but delicious – you need a greater weight to compensate for bones.

Broccoli – One medium head

Canola or Peanut Oil for frying

Dried crushed Chilli Peppers

Garlic – 1 medium-to-large clove, finely chopped

Ginger – a good-sized chunk (about the size of an average thumb), finely chopped – fresh is valuable for this recipe for its aromatic quality, but in a pinch, use bottled

Chicken Broth – 3 Tablespoons

Rice Vinegar – 2 Tablespoons

Hoisin Sauce – 2 Tablespoons (available in any Asian market and many supermarkets)

Sesame Oil – 1 Teaspoon

Sugar or Sugar Substitute – 2 Teaspoons Sugar or equivalent Substitute - the Substitute works nicely in this recipe

Dark Soy Sauce – this is the thicker type that has molasses in it

Cornstarch – a few Tablespoons

Dry Sherry – a good splash


METHOD

Spread Chicken pieces on a plate or platter and sprinkle lightly with cornstarch, a generous splash of Sherry, and a smaller splash of Soy Sauce. Toss lightly together and let stand briefly.

Blanch broccoli in a Covered Saucepan with a small amount of water on bottom. Bring water to a rapid boil, continue a minute or two, remove from the heat, and cool with cold running water. Broccoli will be bright green and par-cooked. Chop into florets and thin stalk slices. Set aside.

The sauce consists of 2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar, 2 teaspoons of sugar or equivalent of sugar-substitute, 2 Tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce, a large clove of Garlic finely chopped, a chunk of fresh Ginger finely chopped, 1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil, 3 Tablespoons of Chicken Broth, and a generous sprinkle of crushed Chili Peppers. Set aside.

Mix about 1 Teaspoon more of Cornstarch and a splash of cold water. This will thicken sauce when cooking. Set aside.

GENERAL NOTE ON STIR-FRYING

This ingenious, fuel-saving method of cooking is done in a hierarchy of cooking times, the ingredient requiring the most time being first – when all ingredients are together, they are cooked with the sauce briefly.

In this case, start with the Chicken. Saute the Chicken pieces lightly (do not overcook or flesh looses its succulence).

If you are using drumettes or legs, you will need a more substantial cooking time, especially legs – they should become golden and no blood should run.

Add blanched Broccoli and stir briefly.

Add Sauce ingredients. Add thickener.

Let simmer together a few minutes.

OPTIONS

Make the flavour very hot with plenty of chili peppers or use a Teaspoon of genuine Chinese Hot Chili Oil (this is very hot stuff, available in any Asian market). Or add Whole Dried Chilis (a dozen or so) to stir-fry after Chicken – this is a traditional ingredient.

Sprinkle servings with finely-sliced green onions and/or crushed peanuts.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN'S QUICK, THIN CHEESE/ BACON/ SPINACH PIZZAS

An absolutely delicious snack or light meal or appetiser

CHUCKMAN’S QUICK, THIN CHEESE/BACON/SPINACH PIZZAS


INGREDIENTS:

Commercial Tortillas or Flat Breads – the very thin kind – whole wheat or white – 7 small ones for the amounts in this recipe

Oil – to lightly coat tortillas

Red Sauce – leftover or a good bottled – you need just enough to coat each tortilla

Cheese – grated – I suggest a mixture of mozzarella, parmesan, and provolone, but use your favourite - have enough to cover each tortilla generously

Spinach – I small box of frozen – thawed and excess water lightly squeezed out

Bacon – thick-sliced kind – cut – through the width - five or six strips, each about half an inch wide – this will yield enough small chunky pieces for 5 or 6 to a tortilla

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400.

Saute Bacon chunks ahead, drain and let cool – do not over-crisp because it will cook additional time in the oven.

Use a cookie sheet for Tortillas, either lightly oiled or, as I prefer, covered with parchment paper (no clean-up with this wonderful stuff).

Lightly oil both surfaces of each Tortilla. Spread a very thin layer of the sauce on one side.

Sprinkle each Tortilla with Spinach.

Sprinkle each Tortilla with 5 or 6 chunks of Bacon, spread fairly evenly.

Sprinkle generously with Grated Cheese so it is almost spilling over.

Bake until all the cheese has melted and turned lightly golden – this should be on the order of 10 minutes, but go by appearance

Serve either whole as light meals or sliced (scissors work best) into wedges as an appetiser.

FURTHER SUGGESTION: Top cheese with thinly sliced brown mushrooms before baking.

Monday, February 04, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN TRANSLATION: A PAKISTANI LANGUAGE

Segalanya Dengan Nama Jesus
Posted on Thursday, May 15 @ 01:03:09 EDT by admin

Assalamualaikum sdr.

Dalam keghairan kita mengharungi dunia hidup yang penuh dengan keindahan ciptaan Allah SWT kita perlu sentiasa berwaspada dengan persekitaraan kita yang penuh dengan ranjau dan onak. Dalam banyak hal orang Islam sentiasa Take for granted terhadap apa yang berlaku di sekeliling kita sehingga dah terantuk baru terngadah.

Oleh itu Paksu akan cuba mengupas beberapa isu yang sentiasa dekat dengan kita sebagai Muslim yang beramal (practicing Muslim) agar Paksu sendiri dan anak buah Paksu dapat sama-sama menghayati Islam sepenuhnya.

Kali ini Paksu tertarik untuk mengulas satu penomena yang serius yang menghentam Islam tetapi kita samada sedari atau tidak tak ambil pusing. Macam juga isu COCACOLA yang banyak dibincang di situs ini sebenarnya kita dilanyak dari kiri-kanan atas bawah luar dalam namun kita masih leka. Nama ancaman ini yang Paksu sebut sebagai Dengan Nama Jesus. Dengan Nama Jesuslah maka bumi kita dijajah, malah seluruh dunia. Orang Kristian akan membuat segala sesuatu untuk mematikan Islam. Kini mereka seolah-olah mempunyai justifikasi melalui peperangan melawan keganasan yang = Islam.

Sedarlah segala-galanya adalah Dengan Nama Jesus. Sebuah tabloid melaporkan melalui tulisan oleh John Chuckman bahawa Presiden AS mempunyai penasihat agamanya bernama Franklin Graham anak Billy Graham yang memainkan peranan yang sama kepada Nixon. Franklin Graham adalah di antara mubaligh Kristian gaya motivator yang menjadi kegilaan (craze) masyarakat AS. Orang seperti ini selalu berceramah di TV (yang sedihnya perkara seperti ini pun sudah menjadi perkara biasa di TV Indon….dan awas apa yang menghalang daripada ianya berlaku di negara Islam Malaysia…kan Injil terjemahan yang menggunakan Allah sebagai Tuhan Kristian pun sudah dihalalkan oleh negara Islam Malaysia) dan seminar besar-besaran (Macam forum Perdana). Billy Graham Organization adalah sebuah organisasi yang besar dan kaya yang berjaya “menyelamatkan” orang Kristian dan konvert. Apa yang menjadi isunya ialah Graham melalui organisasinya, Samaritan`s Purse mengajak pengikutnya kepada satu fahaman Kristian yang sempit yang orang Kristian arus perdana sendiri merasa jijik. Dinominasi(mazhab) Kristian yang dibawanya adalah The Southern Baptists yang terkenal dengan kepercayaan ekstrim yang pada awalnya menyingkir kaum Negro daripada gereja kemudian menetang usaha kemanusiaan yang dibawa oleh Dr King. Kini Franklin (yang gemar bermain dan mengumpul senjata otomatik) yang menjadi kawan rapat Rumah Putih dengan organisasi-organisasi licik mereka sedang memasuki Iraq dalam usaha untuk mempengaruhi orang Iraq melalui bantuan dan dakwah/dakyah mereka. Sebelum perang Iraq Franklin Graham telah memberi ceramah(surmons) hari good Friday di Pentagon (Kementerian Pertahanan AS). Di antara kata-katanya; “Kita bukan menyerang Islam tetapi Islam telah menyerang kita. Tuhan Islam bukanlah Tuhan yang sama. Dia bukan anak Tuhan kepercayaan Kristian dan Judeo-Kristian. Ia adalah Tuhan yang berbeza, dan saya yakin ia adalah ugama yang cukup jahat dan keji”

The Southern Baptists akan juga turut memberi bantuan kepada Iraq. Dan bayangkan apa yang mereka akan buat kerana bekas presiden Southern Baptists Mission Board, Jerry Vines pernah berkata bahawa Nabi Muhammad SAW adalah “seorang perogol kanak-kanak yang dirasuk syaitan”…astagfirullah ! ! (Teringat apa kata Farish Noor, seorang Melayu Islam terhadap Rasullallah… lebih teruk lagi daripada itu yang ditulis dalam surat kabar milik kerajaan tak lama dahulu dan dia masih bebas malah menjadi perantara forum di TV kerajaan). Jadi jangan hairan apabila Bush kata `kita akan perang salib(crusade)` apabila menara WTCnya runtuh. Ini selaras dengan pandangan sempit Kristian yang dianutinya iaitu Islam mesti diperangi dengan apa cara sekali pun.

Penulis John Chuckman merumuskan bahawa adalah jelas dan nyata tindakan Pentagon memerangi pengganas adalah pembunuhan professional diatas nama Jesus untuk negara.
Jadi Paksu berseru kepada semua termasuk pemegang kuasa memerintah dan diri Paksu sendiri supaya mengatur langkah dengan berhati-hati jangan tersangkut reba lalu rebah dan terpijak jerangkap samar lalu musnah.

WallAllahu`alam
PAKSU
Alorsetar 150503

JOHN CHUCKMAN TRANSLATION: IN GREEK

Το πράγμα χωρίς τον εγκέφαλο

Από John Chuckman < chuckman@YellowTimes.org >
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/thingwithnobrain06may04.shtml
6 Μαϊ'ου, 2004

(YellowTimes.org) -- είχα μια δυσάρεστη στιγμή στο θάμνο ημέρας που αποφασίστηκε για να εξετάσει "τον αραβικό κόσμο." Είναι άτομο που μπορώ να σταθώ, έτσι όταν έρχεται η φωνή του στο ραδιόφωνο, το μεταστρέφω πάντα μακριά. Καλά, αυτή τη φορά επίσης μακριά μακριά και απαραιτήτως ακούστηκα μερικές προτάσεις, αυτές αρχίζοντας από "τους ανθρώπους στο Ιράκ πρέπει να καταλάβουν και πρέπει να καταλάβουν .."

Πρέπει; Η άλαλη υπεροψία των λέξεών του ζάλιζε. Πάνω από το κακώς-επιλεγμένο λεξιλόγιό του, το άτομο δεν ζήτησε συγγνώμη ποτέ όπως έμαθα αργότερα από το Διαδίκτυο. Εδώ ήταν ένας διοικητής που μιλά για την inexcusable βιαιότητα ενάντια στους ανίσχυρους φυλακισμένους που λένεων στα εκατομμύρια των ν ανθρώπων που πρέπει να καταλάβουν. Εδώ ήταν ένα παθητικά-ανεπαρκές άτομο που προσπεράστηκε έτσι από τα γεγονότα ότι αισθάνθηκε την ανάγκη να εξετάσει "τον αραβικό κόσμο," και τους έλεγε τι πρέπει να καταλάβουν.

Φυσικά, η απέραντη, ανεγκέφαλος υπεροψία του διαβιβάστηκε σε άλλους τρόπους. Εξέτασε το "αραβικό κόσμο" χωρίς τη χρησιμοποίηση των δικτύων ότι πολλοί ακούνε. Θέλησε μια ασφαλή έξοδο - χρηματοκιβώτιο, δηλαδή για τον και τη γνωστή ανικανότητά του να χειριστεί οποιαδήποτε ερώτηση πιό σύνθετη από "πώς Mom;" Απέφυγε σκόπιμα το Al Jazeerah, ένα δίκτυο που ρωτά τις σκληρές ερωτήσεις και στους του οποίου υπαλλήλους οι στρατιώτες του έχουν στοχεύσει σκόπιμα και έχουν σκοτώσει.

Αναρωτιέμαι πόσων ο νέος τρομοκρατών θάμνος έχει δημιουργήσει σε όλη τη Μέση Ανατολή; Φανταστείτε την οργή των νέων αραβικών ατόμων που βλέπουν τις εικόνες άλλων νέων αραβικών ατόμων με τα ύψη πίεσης τους στις τσάντες που χρησιμοποιούνται όπως το απόρριμμα μιας χυδαίας υπόγειας πορνογραφικής ταινίας; Μερικές από τις πιό φοβερές σκηνές δεν έχουν αναμφισβήτητα καμία φωτογραφία επειδή οι δράστες σχεδόν βεβαίως δολοφονήθηκαν. Ακόμα και οι χαμογελώντας κρετίνοι από τον bayous και backwoods της Αμερικής που φαίνεται στις δημοσιευμένες εικόνες ξέρουν καλύτερα από για να φωτογραφιστούν δεσμεύοντας τη δολοφονία.

Ως επί το πλείστον, οι ένοπλες δυνάμεις των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών δεν μισθώνουν το είδος καθαρός-αποκοπής, Sir-rj'hnontas τα πρόσωπα αμετάβλητα χρησιμοποιώ ως εκπρόσωποι δημόσιος-σχέσεών τους. Χρειάζονται τους ανθρώπους που θα εκπαιδευθούν για να σκοτώσουν και να υπακούσουν τις κατατάξεις, και οι περισσότερες από τη δολοφονία πρόκειται να γίνουν στις φτωχές, απόμακρες θέσεις όπου οι φωνές των θυμάτων δεν ακούγονται ποτέ στην Αμερική.

Στρατιωτικοί recruiters γεμίζουν ένα καλό μέρος των ποσοστώσεών τους από τα πολλές μελαγχολικές τέλματα και τις τρώγλες της δημοκρατίας. Τους γεμίζουν με το είδος ανθρώπων που ειδάλλως να μην απασχοληθούν σε όλοι. Παίρνουν αναμφισβήτητα ένα δυσανάλογο μερίδιο των ανθρώπων που απολαμβάνουν και τον πόνο, το είδος ανθρώπων που βρίσκεται σε κάθε κοινωνία στη γη.

Δεν παίρνει μια μεγάλη προσπάθεια της φαντασίας να προσδοκηθεί τι θα συμβεί πότε δίνετε σε τέτοιους ανθρώπους μερικές εβδομάδες εκπαιδευτικός στα φονικά και λάμποντας παπούτσια και τις στέλνετε μακριά σε ένα απομακρυσμένο έδαφος όπως το Ιράκ, μια θέση τους της οποίας ανθρώπους μπορούν να καταλάβουν, και για τις οποίες ξέρουν μόνο τον ανενημέρωτο, προκαλώντας τα συνθήματα του Προέδρου τους.
Όταν ένα αξιοκαταφρόνητο ήθος poy όπως το θάμνο κάθεται άνετα στην καρέκλα δέρματός του και υπογράφει μια κατάταξη να εισβληθεί ένα απόμακρο έδαφος, είναι ακριβώς οι φρίκες της φυλακής Abu Ghraib αυτός απαραιτήτως εκδόσεις.

Θυμηθείτε τον υπολοχαγό Calley και τα αγόρια του που δολοφονούν ένα ολόκληρο χωριό στο Βιετνάμ; Εκείνο το καλό παλαιό αγόρι δεν δοκίμασε ποτέ τη σημαντική δικαιοσύνη μιας στιγμής. Υπήρξε πραγματικά μια βιαστική επιχείρηση για μια στιγμή στα αναμνηστικά Calley υπολοχαγών, ειδικά στο νότο.

Υπήρξαν διάφορες τέτοιες σφαγές που ανακαλύφθηκαν στο Βιετνάμ, και ένα μπορεί να αμφιβάλει ότι άλλες πήγαν άγνωστες. Ακόμα ήταν η σχισμή περίπου είκοσι-χιλίων λαιμών, συνήθως του χωριού ανώτεροι υπάλληλοι, από τα γενναία άτομα των ειδικών δυνάμεων. Αλλά ακόμη και τους ναζιστικός-όπως τη σφαγή δεν θα μπορούσε να συγκρίνει με την εργασία των ατόμων που πετούν τα αεριωθούμενα αεροπλάνα, αποκαλούμενοι πολεμικοί ήρωες ατόμων ακόμα στην Αμερική, άτομα που βομβάρδισαν συστηματικά και τις αμέτρητες πόλεις, χωριά, και αγροκτήματα, παράγοντας αρκετά θύματα για να θάψουν την πόλη της Ουάσιγκτον κάτω από ένα βουνό της μμένων σάρκας και του αδραχτιού, σχεδόν όλα τους πολίτες.

Κατά τη διάρκεια εκείνου του πολέμου, το ι μίλησε μιά φορά σε έναν αμερικανικό παλαίμαχο του παγκόσμιου πολέμου ΙΙ για τη φρίκη αυτό που πήγαινε επάνω. Μου είπε μια ιστορία. Ήταν σε ένα τραίνο με δύο άλλους Αμερικανούς και έναν γερμανικό αιχμάλωτο πολέμου. Ένας από τους Αμερικανούς έβαλε ξαφνικά το αυτόματο πιστόλι του στο ύψος πίεσης του Γερμανού και φύσηξε τους εγκεφάλους του έξω. Δεν είχε κανέναν λόγο και γέλασε ακριβώς μετά από να κάνει το.

Όπως έχω γράψει πριν, δεν μπορώ ποτέ να ξεχάσω κάποιο που ήξερα στο γυμνάσιο λέγοντας με για το πώς αυτός και οι φίλοι του θα συσσώρευαν σε ένα αυτοκίνητο και θα οδηγούσαν κάτω στο γκέτο μερικές νύχτες, δοκιμάζοντας τα "μειωμένα niggers" για την εύθυμη ψυχαγωγία της θέας τους που έτρεξαν για τις ζωές τους. Έχω συνδέσει πάντα εκείνη την επίπονη μνήμη με τα άτομα που βίασαν αργότερα και δολοφόνησαν τον τρόπο τους σε ολόκληρο το Βιετνάμ.

Δεν είναι ότι Αμερικανοί είναι χειρότεροι από άλλους ανθρώπους, είναι ότι είναι οι ίδιοι. Ακόμα ενθαρρύνονται συνεχώς για να σκεφτούν ότι είναι καλύτεροι - πιό προηγμένος, εκπαιδευμένος, περισσότερο αφιερωμένος στις δημοκρατικές και ανθρώπινες τιμές. Στις λέξεις του Προέδρου, "η Αμερική ξέρω τις προσοχές για κάθε ndividual." Καλά, εκτός από το γεγονός ότι εκείνες οι περιγραφές εγκαθιστούν στην καλύτερη περίπτωση μια μειονότητα Αμερικανών, που σκέφτονται ότι είστε καλύτεροι από οι λιγότερο τυχεροί άνθρωποι είναι μια εγγυημένη μέθοδος για την αδικία και τη φρίκη.
Σημειώνω ότι σε αυτήν την ημέρα ακόμη και οι περισσότερες φοβερές εικόνες των ιρακινών παιδιών που παραμορφώνονται και που σκοτώνονται με τον αμερικανικό βομβαρδισμό δεν δημοσιεύονται από το βασικό Τύπο του νομού. Πολλοί Αμερικανοί είναι συναισθηματικοί, και οι εικόνες των καταπληκτικών και παραμορφωμένων παιδιών να παραγάγουν τα αποτελέσματα που δεν επιδιώχτηκαν από εκείνους που τρέχουν τη χώρα, αλλά οι εικόνες φυλακών μπορούν να χαρακτηριστούν ως εξαίρεση, ως βλάβη μερικών κακών ανθρώπων που σπάζουν τους κανόνες.

Καλά, ποια κοινωνία δεν έχει τέτοιους κανόνες; Εκεί τίποτα ειδικό για την Αμερική επίσημα να αντιτάξει τα βασανιστήρια, την ταπείνωση, και τη δολοφονία. Ακόμα και οι δικτατορίες θέτουν δημόσια τέτοιους κανόνες, αλλά ποια κοινωνία όχι να παραβιάσουν τους κανόνες μόλις βυθίζει στη σαπρή επιχείρηση του πολέμου;
Ένας γαλλικός τηλεοπτικός σταθμός έχει λάβει μια τρεις-και-α-μισή μαγνητοταινία λεπτού από ένα αμερικανικό ελικόπτερο που λαμβάνεται τον περασμένο Δεκέμβριο. Υπάρχουν ένα πειραματικό και στρατιωτικό γκάγκστερ εν πλω, και συζητήσεις ανώτερων υπαλλήλων διαταγής τους σε τους σε ένα ραδιόφωνο. Ο αμερικανικός στρατιώτης πυροβολεί τρεις άοπλους Ιρακινούς, ένας-ένας, δεδομένου ότι ο διοικητής αποφλοιώνει τις κατευθύνσεις του σε τον. Το τρίτο άτομο προσπαθεί να κρύψει, και προσπαθεί έπειτα να σέρθεί μακριά, σαφώς πληγωμένος. Ο ανώτερος υπάλληλος τον διατάζει που σκοτώνεται, και είναι γρήγορα.

Θυμηθείτε τις συνομιλίες ραδιοφωνικής μετάδοσης των αμερικανικών πιλότων κατά τη διάρκεια της πρώτης σύγκρουσης κόλπων δεδομένου ότι και βομβάρδισαν τα μίλια των ιρακινών στρατιωτών που πιάστηκαν σε μια μαρμελάδα κυκλοφορίας ενώ υποχωρώντας από την πόλη του Κουβέιτ; Ακούσαμε τις λέξεις, σαφώς προφορικές με την ίδια αίσθηση της διασκέδασης που άκουσα δεδομένου ότι ένα νέο άτομο στο Σικάγο, "αυτό είναι όπως το shootin" ψάρια σε μια κάννη!" ραδιοφωνική μετάδοση στην τηλεόραση χωρίς οποιαδήποτε σχόλιο ή κριτική από τους εκφωνητές ή τους πολιτικούς.

Σε αυτήν την ημέρα, δεν υπάρχει καμία εξέταση στην εξαφάνιση περίπου τρεις χιλιάες φυλακισμένων στο Αφγανιστάν. Μια ευρωπαϊκή αποδεικτική ταινία προτείνει έντονα την αμερικανική συνενοχή στη μαζική δολοφονία τους έξω στο επιδόρπιο από μερικούς από τους πιό τραγελαφικούς πολεμάρχους με τους οποίους οι ΗΠΑ συνδέθηκαν. Οι φυλακισμένοι σύμφωνα με τις υπάρχουσες πληροφορίες οδηγήθηκαν, εργάζονται μετά από τη batch, που γεμίστηκε στα φορτηγά, μέσω μιας ήλιος-ψημένης αγριότητας, που ασφυκτιά στην θερμότητα ενώ αμερικανικά στρατεύματα που πρόσεξαν αδρανώς.
Μην ξεχάστε τις λέξεις του Donald Rumsfeld σχετικά με τους φυλακισμένους στο Αφγανιστάν. Είπε δημόσια ότι όλοι οι ξένοι μαχητές που συλλαμβάνονται πρέπει να σκοτωθούν ή να περιτοιχιστούν μόνιμα μακριά. Σκέφτεστε ότι το είδος ηγεσίας να επηρεάσει τις τοποθετήσεις σέρνεται οι διάδρομοι των στρατιωτικών φυλακών με τους ανθρώπους στο έλεός τους;
Οι πόλεμοι είναι μια εντελώς ακάθαρτη επιχείρηση, και, εκτός αν είστε διαφθαρμένοι, δεν τους αρχίζετε. Ο θάμνος είναι αρμόδιος για αυτό που έχει συμβεί στο Ιράκ και το Αφγανιστάν τόσο σίγουρα όσο και οι γερμανικοί ηγέτες ήταν αρμόδιοι για τις πράξεις των στρατιωτών τους κατά τη διάρκεια του παγκόσμιου πολέμου ΙΙ.

Θ*Ιοχν Chuckman

[ Θ*Ιοχν Chuckman είναι προηγούμενος κύριος οικονομολόγος για μια μεγάλη καναδική επιχείρηση πετρελαίου. Έχει πολλά ενδιαφέροντα και είναι ισόβιος σπουδαστής της ιστορίας. Γράφει με μια εμπαθή επιθυμία για την τιμιότητα, τον κανόνα του λόγου, και την ανησυχία για την ανθρώπινη ευπρέπεια. Είναι μέλος κανενός πολιτικού συμβαλλόμενου μέρους και παίρνει την εξαίρεση σε αυτό που έχει κληθεί πολιτισμό της Αμερικής το "της καταγγελίασ" με τη συνήθειά του μείωσης κάθε σημαντικού ζητήματος σε ένα μη παραγωγικό όρισμα μεταξύ δύο simplistically καθορισμένων ομάδων. Θ*Ιοχν άφησε τις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες ως φτωχό νέο άτομο από τη νότια πλευρά του Σικάγου όταν επιβιβάστηκε η κυβέρνηση στη δολοφονία των εκατομμυρίων Βιετναμέζος στο έδαφός τους επειδή συνέβησαν να αγκαλιάσουν τις λανθασμένες οικονομικές πίστεις. Ζει στον Καναδά, ο οποίος είναι τρυφερός της κλήσης "του peaceable βασίλειου." ]

Θ*Ιοχν Chuckman ενθαρρύνει τα σχόλιά σας: chuckman@YellowTimes.org

Το YellowTimes.org είναι διεθνείς ειδήσεις και δημοσίευση άποψης. Το YellowTimes.org ενθαρρύνει το υλικό του για να αναπαραχθεί, ανατυπωμένος, ή η ραδιοφωνική μετάδοση υπό τον όρο ότι οποιαδήποτε τέτοιαδήποτε αναπαραγωγή προσδιορίζει την αρχική πηγή, συνδέσεις Ιστού http://www.YellowTimes.org. Διαδίκτυο σε http://www.YellowTimes.org εκτιμάται.

Θα συμπαθούσατε να λάβετε τα επίλεκτα άρθρα YellowTimes.org μέσω του ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου;
Σε αυτή την περίπτωση, θα λάβετε μια Δευτέρα, την Τετάρτη και την Παρασκευή ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου από YellowTimes.org. Αυτό το ηλεκτρονικό ταχυδρομείο περιέχει το ένα άρθρο χαρακτηριστικών γνωρισμάτων που περιλαμβάνεται στο σώμα του ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου. Θα σας παρασχεθούν έπειτα οι περιγραφές και οι συνδέσεις άλλων άρθρων που δημοσιεύονται σε YellowTimes.org από την τελευταία αναπροσαρμογή ειδήσεων.

Σημάδι επάνω κατωτέρω!

Monday, January 28, 2008

JOHN CHUCKMAN ORIGINAL RECIPE: PIZZA - CRUST AND SEVERAL SPECIAL TOPPING COMBINATIONS

I have been a serious cook for decades, this being one of the reasons I was able to serve as restaurant reviewer for a metropolitan newspaper. When I say "a serious cook," I mean someone who goes beyond using the recipes of others and creates his or her own. From time to time I will post some of mine.


CHUCKMAN’S PIZZA MEDITERRANEAN

If you follow the directions, you will enjoy one of the best pizzas you've ever eaten.


Whole wheat or white crust – recipe below
Thin layer tomato sauce – recipe reference below
Oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
Crumbled (pre-cooked) Italian sweet sausage
Thinly-sliced canned artichokes
Thinly-sliced onion, salted and soaked ahead
Thin-sliced red pepper, salted and soaked ahead
Fresh mushrooms, thinly-sliced
Kalamata olives
Mozzarella cheese - grated
Fontina cheese - grated
Olive oil


PIZZA CRUST – USE ALSO FOR A NICE FOCCACIO

Whole Wheat Flour and All Purpose Unbleached Flour mixed dry – up to 60% Whole Wheat - 3 Cups Total (Note: pour about 3 ½ cups – saving a bit for dusting later – also amount of Flour absorbed by water varies with climate and weather).

Note: If you do not want Whole Wheat crust, use only All Purpose White.

Lukewarm Water - 1 Cup
Regular dry yeast – 1 Teaspoon
Salt – about 1 Teaspoon
Oil – to use as required
Sugar – pinch or two (not required but helps yeast rise faster)

________________________________
NOTE: NEW APPROACH ON PIZZA CRUST

I've learned and tested an interesting new approach to this crust. It yields a crust that is nicely honeycombed with air pockets, resembling an artisan bread. Simply use more water, about 1 1/2 to 1 2/3 Cups, leaving everything else the same. You will get a very wet dough which you can almost pour onto baking sheet; it is easily spread with hands kept wet by rinsing in water.
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Place yeast (and sugar if using) into container with warm water. In about 5 minutes, providing room is warm, this is ready to mix with flour. Pour about half of flour mix into large bowl with yeasty water; stir until incorporated; add a splash or two of oil; add more flour and stir more; continue until you have desired consistency which is not too sticky.

Leave dough to rise – Suggestion: cover bowl with plastic wrap and then a tea towel –place bowl over sauce pan full of hot tap water – this will assure good rising even when room is not hot. Depending on conditions, rising will take 1 or 2 hours.

Dust risen dough for rolling out – Oil large cookie sheet and roll dough with rolling pin, or you can use hands pounding and stretching. Once sheet is covered, lightly oil top of dough. Cover rolled dough with plastic wrap loosely and place cookie sheet over pan of hot tap water for
second rising.

When dough has risen, remove plastic and bake briefly in preheated at 450 . About 3 to 4 minutes should do to par-cook crust – this gives better crust results than putting toppings on raw dough. Remove par-cooked dough from oven and allow to briefly cool.

Dress the Crust with desired toppings – recommended order: sauce, cheese, chunky toppings. Bake again in 450 oven for between 5 and 10 minutes. You must watch because different thicknesses of topping will need more or less time. You can check edge of crust after first 5 minutes.

Corn Meal Option:

Sprinkle bottom of oiled cookie sheet with golden corn meal before rolling out dough. Adds a pleasant crispness and taste.

Note for variations in crust:

If you use about 1/2 to 2/3 more water, you will get a very sticky dough which cannot be rolled and must be spread out by hand. Doing this will yield a chewier crust filled with the air pockets characteristic of gourmet breads.

Another variation is to use Pastry Flour instead of All-purpose Flour and to incorpoate an egg white in the dough. Some gourmet pizzerias use a crust like this produces. It is good, but not my favorite.

Note for Foccacio: Dough is baked only once – 5 to 8 minutes at 450. Watch it for perfect light gold color. It is first brushed with oil and lightly sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

You may also very lightly sprinkle with parmesan grated. Try light lightly sprinkling with Rosemary. If you want garlic twist, crush a few cloves with salt in a mortar and pestle, then add to oil.


GENERAL TOPPING NOTES

Use my general red sauce from Eggplant parmesan (below). You may leave out pepper flakes or increase them as per your taste. In a pinch, use a good bottled sauce.

Toppings like Italian sausage or bacon should be lightly pan-cooked before putting on pizza. Cooking time for crust is not adequate for such raw ingredients to fully cook unless they are used in tiny slices.

Classic cheese topping is Mozzarella, but Mozzarella and Parmesan (or Asiago) or Fontina and Provolone (my favorite for a cheese pizza) are excellent. Grating the cheese works best for even melting.


A CLASSIC COMBINATION

Chunks of Sweet Italian Sausage and Onions (treated as above). Serve with simple green salad with red vinegar and oil dressing.


MY NICOISE PIZZA

Use chunks of canned tuna; Kalamata or Nicoise olives; thin slices of Fennel; Small par-boiled chunks of potato; small slices of par-boiled greenbeans; a few capers; anchovies; crumbled hard-boiled egg; ultra-thin tomato slices on bottom.