~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Outer Reaches of Burma - Part 2

As promised, I have once again summarized my notes of my trip to the Irrawaddy River in my attempt to seek out new and unique recipes.

Click below to hear some jungle sounds I was able to capture on by battery powered AEG "K-1" tape recorder

As I mention on my previous post, I am now continuing on to headhunter country!

I came across wonderful huge butterflies...their wingspan must have been 12 inches, but the boat skipper though it was closer to 1 foot...I can't even see their feet!

Up ahead we came to famous "Schweitzer Falls", named after the famous explorer Dr. Albert Falls.

Shhh!...Deep into headhunter country now...this is the area we need to be careful and keep our heads in the game. This is art...skull-pture is proof they are serious...that's Art on top. 

The skipper said not be worried about this guy, who they call Trader Sam. He had dinner with Sam the other night...unfortunately he arrived late and all he gave him was the cold shoulder. Must because his business has been shrinking lately.

We came across a pool of hippos. Not to worry, nothing to be alarmed at folks...only if you see them open their mouths and wiggle their ears like the skipper has, every 12 minutes...routinely...all day long...day after day after day...


Before I left, I made some inquiries at the National Museum at Marshall College. I wanted to see if I could liaison with any research party which by chance may be this same area at the same time.

As luck would have it, I was successful! A Dr. Jones will in fact be near a tributary of the Irrawaddy River. This is the communique' I received before I left on my trip:

Hours later I reached a camp which I understood to be that of this Dr. Jones. No sight of anyone around...

How in the world he got this here, I have no idea

I called about...heard some noises coming from a sort of ruin...I wasn't sure if I should enter...if the temple was forbidden, I...

...decided to enter...kinda creepy...

...I made it a point to not stay in this area long...

...this guy sure brings a lot of stuff with him....

...I finally found and met up with Dr. Jones..."what took ya so long kid?", he says. "Heard you might be by...well, you must be hungry...come around back, I've got some wild boar on the spit."

Hmmm...not sure about this guys version of a barbecue...it was tasty (and a bit spicy!) though. 

Here's how he made this "Banyan" style meat:

1 cup soy sauce
1-1/2 cups water
1 tbl black pepper
3 tbl sesame oil
1 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh minced garlic

Bring all this to a boil. In a separate small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon cold water and 1 tablespoon corn starch and whisk into simmering sauce to thicken.

Brush thickened sauce over cooked, grilled meat and serve immediately.

And now for the most dangerous part of my journey...returning to civilization!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

From the Outer Reaches of Burma...


In my ever continuing search for unique and interesting foods to bring to you, I spare no effort. My next posts will include my notes and photos from recent exploratory trips to the far corners of the world...to seek new and interesting recipes.

For your reading enjoyment, please play my radio for background music.

First up is the Lost Delta Region...the Irrawaddy River! 

These sorts of trips require a certain about of pre-planning and careful packing. I need to travel light yet ensure I possess all the necessaries and criticals.

I located a catalog which contained adventure ready articles of clothing and the like. I perused the pages for the right mix of essentials.

A few books for those long spans of slow river travel, one by a new author, Ernie something-or-other...probably won't amount to much...and a handbook of sorts in case I run into situations I have not encountered on previous trips.


It was an arduous trip just finding and getting to the river safari company...but because of the signage I was able to translate, I knew I was getting close.

I had some extra time so I grabbed a bite to eat at a local establishment...

 ...which also had a floor show by the local natives. (side note: when I returned from my trip I discovered this place has since closed. I understand some Arabian fellow runs the joint now, but strangely he doesn't offer food, he just stands there and tourists take photos of him)


I picked up a few last minute provisions from a trader.

(Photo by Michaela Hansen; www.toursdepartingdaily.com)

I secured travel aboard a tramp steamer at the River Expedition Company, I relaxed in the line queue,... er....waiting area. A sign was overhead which stated they do not allow cutting in line here..anyone caught with a pair of scissors will be asked to leave.

(Photo by Matthew Hansen; www.toursdepartingdaily.com)
I was asked not to take pictures while you are in the waiting area; They are nailed to the walls for a reason.

(Photo by Michaela Hansen; www.toursdepartingdaily.com)
I didn't take any pictures, however I did snap a few photos...here, my gear is standing at the ready.


I set up a chess board in case I found a willing competitor.

(Photo by Michaela Hansen; www.toursdepartingdaily.com)
In order to reach our first destination...base camp...we headed out in the evening. The "Irriwaddy Woman" was loaded and we were on our way. The skipper explained those of you sitting in the back are going to get a charge out of this trip as they were sitting on the battery. Some people find that revolting, but I think that there is a positive and negative side to everything. Shocking, isn't it.

Morning found us deep in the jungle, past ruins, temples and statues. Crocodiles are numerous in this region The skipper said the crocs are always looking for a hand out. He said he once had an English teacher on board and she didn’t listen to him and now she’s teaching shorthand.

(Photo by Michaela Hansen; www.toursdepartingdaily.com)

This photo shows concrete evidence that large primates are in these parts.


When we arrived at base camp we discovered others have taken over our spot and were monkeying around with everything. I have heard the local natives were having double starting that jeep...seems these guys were able to get it turned over. We had no choice but to continue on...


Here, we came up on natives...I was able to translate their song...

"First you put your right foot in...then you put your right foot out"

Our skipper recommended staying the night here. 

The chief was gracious enough to offer dinner for us...some sort of fowl cooked on a stick which he called "Chieftain Skewer" (imagine that!). I was able to decipher how it was made:

Local bird meat (at home you can substitute meat from a local bird), cut into strips.
4 Whole Cloves
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar
1 c. Ketchup
½ c. Crushed Pineapple
½ c. Pineapple Juice
½ c. Brown Sugar
½ c. Soy Sauce
¼ c. Orange Juice Concentrate
3 T. Water

Simmer cloves in vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Discard cloves and add other ingredients. Marinate fowl overnight in sauce.

Remove fowl from sauce and thread fowl onto a skewer (if you soak the skewer for a few hours in water, it will keep it from burning). Save sauce. Grill on your BBQ or bake in the oven until done. 

Bring reserved sauce to a boil and brush sauce onto cooked meat and serve. Garnish with green onion.

Tune in soon for another post as tomorrow we will entering the most dangerous part of our journey, head hunter country!...it's a bad place to...be-headed.

Photos from davelandweb.com/junglecruise/ and toursdepartingdaily.com/ and disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/jungle-cruise/

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Don't Need Anything!...Except These Hot Wings and Nothing Else!...and These Ribs!...These Ribs and These Hot Wings...

Get it?

Here's a quick post about some ribs and to go along with them I whipped up some wings...two kinds, one a traditional style with Frank's Wing Sauce (no big deal there) and a jerk style wing. 

Mrs. Blogger Man and I honeymooned in the Caribbean which included a stop over in Jamaica. On a walk we came across a street vendor selling jerk chicken. "When in Rome...", so we each got a plate and a beer and sat down at a picnic table for our outdoor lunch. Let me say something about that chicken...IT WAS THE HOTTEST DAMN THING I EVER ATE!!!

We must have been a sight for that vendor, coughing, sweating. Maybe she sets the extra hot pieces aside for the tourists and her entertainment. But I do have to say, besides the heat it was very moist and intensely flavorful.

I have found that the Walkerswood brand of jerk marinade really good and the more you add...well, the closer you get to Jamaica.

So for the jerk wings, I slathered them well with the jerk seasoning to marinate for a while...

...and for the traditional style, I just hit it with some salt and pepper.

I won't go through the ribs much as I have posted that previously, but these are St. Louis cut ready for the Traeger, gettin' happy with the dry rub...

...I find these simple tools essential for ribs, long tongs, a spray bottle (here with apple juice to spritz on every so often to ensure the ribs stay moist) you exclusively only use for food and a shaker for your dry rub mix.

I par-baked the wings in the oven then finished them off on the smoker

The ribs, both wings and some slaw...gotta have slaw with BBQ. Can't go wrong with that, cuz that's all I need...

I'm gonna go then...