My Japanese Comfort Food – Chirashizushi (Scattered Sushi) ちらし寿司

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While  sushi is a popular favorite around the world these days, most folks outside of Japan or Korea shy away from making it at home because they think it is too difficult and time-consuming. What’s more, really fresh, high quality seafood  is not widely accessible or affordable for many people, so for the majority of us sushi has been and will remain a “Restaurant Treat”.
Chirashizushi  to the rescue !!! :-)
You will need sushi rice, any raw, cooked or otherwise preserved protein and / or vegetables, maybe some seaweed and sesame seeds thrown-in and you are ready to go. You can prepare the most simple combination as shown here, or the most beautiful, complicated, exquisite concoction you can muster. Your fantasy, skill and wallet are the only limits.
No need to make perfect rolls, or other shapes which are the common restaurant staples. Just rice in a bowl, everything else neatly arranged on top and voilà – sushi heaven without the sweat :-)
The only difficulty one needs to be able to skillfully execute is the preparation of the sushi rice. But, considering the reward of a great sushi rice, learning to prepare it on a decent level is well worth the trouble. And while you might never be a sushi rice master, after a bunch of trials (and errors) you should be fine and able to wow yourself, friends and family with sushi rice that is well on its way to perfection – and probably far better than the crap most cheap eateries pass-on as sushi rice :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Sushi Rice Recipe
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More  Chirashizushi  on ChefsOpinion
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More about  Sushi  and  Chirashizushi
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CHIRASHIZUSHI (SCATTERED SUSHI) (ちらし寿司

CHIRASHIZUSHI (SCATTERED SUSHI) (ちらし寿司

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CHIRASHIZUSHI (SCATTERED SUSHI) (ちらし寿司

CHIRASHIZUSHI (SCATTERED SUSHI) (ちらし寿司

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Coconut  milk is a common ingredient in many tropical cuisines, such as Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Vietnamese, Peranakan and southern Chinese, as well as Brazilian, Caribbean, Polynesian, and Pacific islands cuisines. Even in non-tropical cuisines around the world, thanks to canning, dehydrating and freezing, coconut milk has become a widely used ingredient in a myriad of dishes, both sweet and savory.  I use coconut milk mostly for curries and soups, as well as the occasional dessert. When using it for soups, I usually prepare a Thai or Thai-inspired soup. Today however, I did not make my usual tom-kha-gai (Thai chicken/coconut soup), but rather a simple, tasty beef/coconut soup. No fancy herbs, seasoning or other hard-to find ingredients, just simple items which you’ll regularly find in my cupboard and chiller.
Nevertheless, the strong beef flavor combined beautifully with the coconut milk and made for a great lunch :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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P.S.
Although I usually don’t find it necessary to strain soups through a fine paper or cheese cloth when cooking for one-self at home, I recommend it in this case. If you don’t, the  coagulated impurities from the broth show up clearly as dark spots in the light-colored soup once you have added the coconut milk.
While not a flavor or textural problem, it just looks better when strained :-)
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Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

Beef And Glass Noodles In Coconut Soup

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Click here for more  Noodle Soups on ChefsOpinion
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Pasta Salad With Salmon, Shrimp And Pesto

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This  flavorful seafood pasta salad has been a favorite in my house for many years. It’s great at any time of day, as an appetizer, lunch , dinner or as a snack in between.
(The leftovers from today will probably serve as late breakfast tomorrow morning).
The warm salmon in the salad makes all the difference. If you will serve leftovers of this, make sure you let it reach room temperature before serving, so remove from the fridge at least one hour before service to make sure that the flavors and texture can be fully appreciated.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Whatever you do, don’t overcook the salmon !!! :-(
It should be nicely browned on the outside but still moist and flaky on the inside ! :-)
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Pasta Salad With Salmon, Shrimp And Pesto

Pasta Salad With Salmon, Shrimp And Pesto

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Pasta Salad With Salmon, Shrimp And Pesto

Pasta Salad With Salmon, Shrimp And Pesto

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

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Yes.  I’ve said it – The Ultimate ! The Best !  # 1 !
Some of you might not agree with me, but I can tell you, chances are that this is the best beef fried rice you will ever come across. Period :-)
It will certainly be different from the fried rice you’ll get at your neighborhood joint and most probably will come close to what you will get in the best of Chinese restaurants or maybe even be better than that. Arrogant I am not :-). But honestly, this was by far the tastiest, best textured fried rice I ever prepared or tasted anywhere, including Asia.
To be real, I know there is better out there, but I myself was not able to find it (Yet).
Maybe the fact that I used leftover sushi rice from yesterday’s chirashi sushi dinner made the big difference. It made it possible to add more moisture to the rice as is normally done while keeping its great texture and not get mushy. Using beef tenderloin was also different, as well as using more than usual egg in the rice. Whatever it was, it worked and made for a simple yet spectacular enjoyable lunch.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Fan Recipe
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Click here for  Sushi Rice Recipe
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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice
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Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

Ultimate Beef Fried Rice

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Sexy Legs – Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

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Yesterday I was at the supermarket at 4.00 pm considering what to buy to prepare dinner when I realized I did not feel like cooking dinner but just have a sandwich or fried chicken from the take-out counter.
As I was standing in line for the chicken, it dawned to me what a fool I was, to consider that sorry-looking fried chicken in front of me for dinner. It obviously had been sitting there for hours, greasy, tasteless and with dried-out meat under the too-thick breading, costing $10.00 bucks for a small cardboard box of legs and breast.
After I came to my senses, I went to the frozen chicken section of the store and bought a pack of 5 ea large, plumb legs for $ 8.00. Waiting at the checkout I felt better already, trying to decide how to prepare the legs and deciding on the most simple but tasty preparation, “Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs”.
I still did not feel like getting a big production going, so I decided to omit any side dish and just make do with the chicken by itself.
When I got home I put the legs in running cold water and went for a walk in the rain with Bella. Upon return, I made a few cuts to the legs,  all the way down to the bone, island style :-).
Then I mixed half a cup sriracha with half a cup of honey, added soy sauce, kosher salt and granulated garlic and brushed that seasoning generously all over the legs and into the cut crevices. Onto a buttered alu-foil they went and into an 385F oven for 50 minutes.
(The cooking time depends on the size of the legs, make sure they are cooked all the way through to the bone on the thickest part and on the joint’s) !
No side dishes diminished my enjoyment of those chicken legs. Four legs for me, one for Bella – just the right size portion for the both of us.
And renewed proof that a fresh-cooked meal is always worth the extra few minutes it takes to prepare it :-)
Actual prep time – less than 5 minutes. Cooking  time – about 50 minutes. Total time – approximately 1 hour !
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Sexy Legs - Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

Sexy Legs – Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

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soy sauce, sriracha, honey, granulated garlic, kosher salt

soy sauce, sriracha, honey, granulated garlic, kosher salt

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score the legs to the bone

score the legs to the bone

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rub with the seasoning

rub with the seasoning

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place on buttered rack, covered with alu-foil, bake at 385F for 50 minutes or until done

place on buttered rack, covered with alu-foil, bake at 385F for 50 minutes or until done

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Sexy Legs - Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

Sexy Legs – Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

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Sexy Legs - Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

Sexy Legs – Glazed Honey/Sriracha Chicken Legs

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Easy does it # 31 – Mushroom & Gorgonzola Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

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And  the award for best twice-baked potatoes goes to…………
No need to explain the virtues of this dish, just look at it and imagine
it would be in front of you right now
(anyone for a steaming, hot beauty ?)……….. :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Mushroom & Gorgonzola Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Mushroom & Gorgonzola Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

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potato, mushrooms, onion, garlic, gorgonzola, asiago

potato, mushrooms, onion, garlic, gorgonzola, asiago

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bake potatoes until soft in center, cut in half, remove flesh, lightly mash with grated asiago and diced gorgonzola

bake potatoes until soft in center, cut in half, remove flesh, lightly mash with grated asiago and diced gorgonzola

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saute mushrooms in a sinful amount of butter, add to the potatoes, season with cayenne pepper and kosher salt, fill into potato shells

saute mushrooms and diced onions in a sinful amount of butter, add to the potatoes, season with cayenne pepper and kosher salt, fill into potato shells

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sprinkle with grated asiago, bake until golden, sprinkle with sliced scallion

sprinkle with grated asiago, bake until golden, sprinkle with sliced scallion and chili flakes

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Mushroom & Gorgonzola Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Mushroom & Gorgonzola Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

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Steak Salad “Saigon”

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The  foundation of this steak salad is a refreshing rice stick salad, which I usually make at least twice a month. I normally make about four to six portions and eat it as part of a meal, as breakfast or as a late night snack. The noodles keep their texture for a few days without getting mushy, so this is ideal to prep in advance and then serve it when a quick bite is needed, especially on a workday as breakfast or as a snack late at night when I get home and just want to rest and more cooking is as far from my mind as possible. If I have it as part of a meal, I usually combine it with seafood, such as teriyaki- glazed salmon or sautéed shrimp. For breakfast, I usually add a couple of hard-boiled eggs and for a midnight snack some canned seafood. When Maria was still with me, she liked to serve it at bbq -parties, when it was a welcome alternative to the usual suspects of coleslaw and potato salad.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pasta Salad
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Click here for more  Steak Salad
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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yogurt

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Getting  out of bed in the morning sucks !  :-(
Getting out of bet in the morning to this sweet beauty sucks less :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Have A Wonderful Day :-)
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More  “Breakfast Of Champions”
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More  “Pancakes”
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Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yoghurt

Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yogurt

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Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yoghurt

Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yogurt

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Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yoghurt

Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yogurt

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Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yoghurt

Breakfast Of Champions # 51 – Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake With Fresh Pomegranate Yogurt

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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When Life Gives You Avocados……..

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Somebody : “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”
Hans : “When life gives you avocados, make avocado spread” :-)
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So, I had this huge Florida avocado sitting there for a few days and today I felt like having a quick and tasty snack…………..
Coarsely mash avocado, add grape tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, chili paste, kosher salt, garlic paste, a few drops of  maggi seasoning  and chopped cilantro, mix and serve on/with whatever tickles your fancy :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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Avocado Spread

Avocado Spread

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Avocado Spread

Avocado Spread

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Avocado Spread

Avocado Spread

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Avocado Spread

Avocado Spread

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My ChefsOpinion About New York Times Food Critic Pete Wells Recently Published Devastating Review Of Thomas Keller’s Manhattan Restaurant Per Se

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A dish served in an egg shell at Thomas Keller's Per Se. Credit Rob Kim Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest

A dish served in an egg shell at Thomas Keller’s Per Se.
Credit Rob Kim Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest

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New York Times  food critic Pete Wells recently published a devastating review of Thomas Keller’s Manhattan restaurant Per Se.
While I personally respect professionals like Thomas Keller for their skills, media savvy and good luck, NOBODY is infallible.
And please,  never forget the other thousands of equally great chefs around the world who serve equally great food (at least) on a daily basis without being recognized on the monumental scale that some (very few) other chefs have had the good fortune to receive. Not for nothing, the saying goes – “The higher they fly, the deeper they fall”
Remember, there are only a handful of artists in any medium whose work will command millions, while an ocean of others will produce innumerable masterpieces which will wither unrecognized and are never seen by more than a handful of lucky patrons. The same goes for food, service and other masterpieces of our hospitality industry.
Those of us who don’t make it big will just have to suck it up and take the reward to which we are accustomed best – a decent salary (mostly) and the happy faces of our guest’s on their way out :-)
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And yes, sometimes, even the best of us screw up and we need to be told about it in order to be able to make corrections !
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Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/chefs-restaurants/american-fine-dining-isnt-for-you-per-se-20160115#ixzz3xj4XDwH7

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I have just posted a review of this article on my FB site, which resulted in the following comment :
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Larry Campbell :
“Haters… I believe this is an art and some of us are better then others. Don’t hate respect.”
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To which I replied :
“To be a great chef means you are a top craftsman, not an artist.
Our professional label is “COOK”. Chef is a title.
While it is nice to be admired in ones profession, one should not lose sight of reality. Fine dining, at any level is just food, service and environment elevated to the next level. Not magic – just professionals doing their job. The point is that so few folks nowadays have any idea what good food, great service and sublime dining-environment is and are therefore fascinated with the new element of their dining experience and thereby mistake that for extraordinary quality :-(
Food like this has been served in restaurants around the world for ages. Most Americans have never been exposed to any high quality dining experience and are therefore smitten with old hats.
This is not to take away from Per Se and especially not from Thomas Keller, but great dining has been around forever and will continue in thousands of restaurants around the word.
Ballyhoo and/or crappy reviews will not change that.
Gourmets, Bon Vivants and Hospitality-Professionals will make sure that superb dining experiences will live-on, no matter if they are the “In” thing of the moment or not ……..”
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Comments Welcome :-)
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