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Sunday, July 24, 2011

“Old-Fashioned Home Cooking, Pt. III: Shepherd’s Lamb Stew—a Classic Basque Dish with which you will fall in Love”

Big Brother and the Holding Company’s eighth album, “Hold Me-Live in Germany,” came out in 2006 and saw the band continuing to play their brand of music.  We always enjoy seeing the bands of the past who have either managed to stay together and persevere or who have reformed and come back and have continued to play the music they love.  Big Brother is continuing to do just that!  We wish them well and think that you will enjoy this CD so please rush over to Amazon.com and buy it by using the handy link! Thanks, the Elemental News of the Day.


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 516 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus

END Commentary 07-25-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,786.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, July 25, 2011 by Chef Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus


 Old-Fashioned Home Cooking, Pt. III: Shepherd’s Lamb Stew—a Classic Basque Dish with which you will fall in Love

Bakersfield, CA, 07-25-2011 M:  This is the first installment of this series since Stinkbug did it last December so I feel rather proud to present it: Old-Fashioned Home Cooking featuring a Basque-styled lamb stew!  Many people have no idea outside of Kern County, California just who the heck a “Basque” is; well, let me tell you, they come from the land between Spain and France—Andorra—and are either French or Spanish citizens as they don’t have an independent nation of their own yet.  They came to California by the thousands and settled in the outlying districts where they raised sheep and grew wine grapes.  They have many restaurants in Bakersfield that are famous—Woolgrower’s, the Chalet Basque, and Maitia’s. Their food is simple food, the food of the working man, things such as shish kebabs, lamb chops, pork chops, lamb stew, beef Bourguignonne, and baked chicken.  They accompany each meal with a tasty salad of tossed greens, vegetable soup, pickled beef’s tongue, Basque French fries, and homemade French bread.  The food is inexpensive, the red wine, the tastiest around, and the ambience and the décor homey and just right for talking amongst friends.  Most of my friends in school were Basque kids, the sons and daughters of sheepherders who learned the family’s business by working on the ranches.  They learned how to actually make mountain oysters—the original way—by taking a hold of the scrotum of the calf and biting it the connecting tissue between it and the rest of the animal.  I thought this was an old wife’s tale but was repeatedly assured that this was how it was done as it both minimized the cut and facilitated the healing process to the animal.  The Basque kids acted like it was nothing but not being Basque, I was somewhat sickened. But that is how it’s done, my friends that is how it’s done.

Lamb stew is an easy dish to make, all you need to do is to trim your own lamb and use leftovers.  Dishes like stews are basically made because of this reason: when you cut your own meats, you are invariably left with trim: leftovers, pieces to be used as beef brochettes or shish kebabs, stews, tips and rice, or in stir-fry dishes.  The bigger pieces make it into the kebabs and stews container while the smaller pieces end up in the stir fries.  The very small pieces end up being used for chili meat or are ground into hamburger.  But nothing, dear readers, is ever thrown away!  It’s all about saving and making money when you own a restaurant and if you do the same thing at home, you definitely want to extend your food-buying dollar. Make this stew from leftovers or pieces that might end up in the trash and you will have yourself a “free meal night.” That’s always good.


1. 6-8 Servings:

Boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1” x 1” cubes
Seasoned flour

Vegetable oil

Minced garlic

Kosher salt

White pepper

Whole marjoram

Bay leaf

Summer savory

Whole rosemary

Diced tomatoes

Tomato juice

Chicken or lamb broth
Parboiled medium-sized carrot cubes
Pearl onions

Peeled and diced turnips
Whole potatoes, canned

Green peas, blanched
Freshly minced parsley


1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready to work with.  That means, blanch each of the vegetables in simmering salted water until al dente, in separate pots.  Drain and discard the cooking liquid and plunge the veggies into ice water to retard further cooking.  Drain when cold and set aside.

2.      Dust the lamb cubes in the seasoned flour and then place in a fine-meshed sieve and shake, gently, to shake the excess flour off. Set aside.

3.      Heat a large saucepot over a medium-low flame and add the oil. Add the lamb and seasonings and cook, turning over occasionally with a wooden spatula or spoon.  Be gentle, take care to not bust up the meat as it will and then you’ll be left with mush—NOT stew. Add the tomatoes and juice and the simmering chicken or lamb broth. 

4.      Raise heat to a medium-simmer and cook, slowly, until the sauce has thickened up somewhat.  It will do this because of the flour and the oil.  When you have a nice sauce, add the vegetables and you’re ready to serve.

This was a classic dish from the old days of country club cooking.  Lamb stew is a by-product of trimming meat and whenever you cut your own, you inevitably end up with leftover bits and pieces, scraps that you need to do something with if you’re smart and you want to make money for your establishment.  In the old days, this was a given—virtually everything was used in order to make money for one’s house and if you threw stuff out without transforming it into something else—like lamb stew—you’d end up getting fired and looking for a new job.

Like my friend, Vladimir Gdansk yesterday, I, too, have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came. Anyhow, have a great day and we’ll meet again. Take care.  

Thank you!


Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus

This is me as a young chef at an awards dinner at the Bon Adventure hotel in the 1980's when I was working there as the Night Sous Chef's Assistant. I began cooking in the 1960's in my native Greece before moving to Los Angeles, California, in the early 1970's. I apprenticed under an ACF Master Chef shortly thereafter and now here I am. I still am involved in professional foodservice as an instructor.


END Commentary for Monday, July 25, 2011 by Chef Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus

Recipes created by Chef Tiresias Helenus Grinikeodopuloposlus on July 13, 1985 in Wasco, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!



          LE NAUGHTY ONE

This is #1323, an 8” x 10" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Bird’s Bouquet." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures I

This is Brian Carrick on 09-29-1979 after returning home from the gig at South High School sitting in with the Plynth with Chuck Swartz to finish a contractual obligation.  This is back home at Shamrock in Bakersfield, CA.
This is a shot of Brian Carrick with the Magnolia Hilltop Brewers at Lake Isabella, CA, on 10-06-1978. This was one of the best and one of the last gigs with the band.

This is the regular Plynth drummer, Craig Jackson, at the Funworld gig of 10-31-1980 in Bakersfield, CA. Craig was a great drummer and friend.

   This is a crazy shot of the Plynth at the Funworld gig of 10-31-1980. To the left is Jim Traynor, middle is Chuck Swartz, and drumming is Craig Jackson.

This is MHB's bassist Victor Gaona's longtime girlfriend, Martha Hernandez at Lake Isabella, CA, on 10-06-1978. She was also one of our principal photographers.

This is a shot of MHB bassist, Victor Gaona, on 09-15-1978 at Taft, California, one of our favorite places to perform.  Here, he's in a reflective mood.

   This is a shot of MHB rhythm guitarist and vocalist Vernon McMahon at Tehachapi, California, on 07-07-1978.

This is a shot of proofing loaves of Hausmannsbroth on 10-12-1987 at the Stockdale Country Club as fashioned by master baker, Brian Carrick.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 07-24-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Chief Editor: Stinkbug.

Assistant Editor: Moses Scharbug III

Proofreader: Amos Mosby Caruthers.

Beer: Smokehouse.




Tiresias, Old-Fashioned Home Cooking, Basque Foods, Gourmet Cooking, Fine Dining, Classic Cuisine, Lamb, Delicious Dishes, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Stews, Good Food,



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