Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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If you’ve ever lived in Germany or even just visited for a short time, you know that sauerkraut is everywhere, especially as you go further South.
Sauerkraut is surprisingly versatile. At some time not too long ago, before fridges and freezers were found in every household, cabbage was one of the few vegetables which were available abundantly year-round. During the first few months after the fall harvest, there was fresh cabbage available, cheap and healthy. Then, as the months went on, fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut) took its place, also cheap and even more healthy (It helped that every house usually had a big cellar to store all these goodies). Therefore, while sauerkraut in Europe is certainly eaten with foods like sausages and roasted pork, you’ll also find sauerkraut in casseroles, savory pastries, breads, meatballs, pasta, fritters, salads, quiche, sandwiches, pizzas and stews. And of course in soups, such as today’s recipe, “Sauerkraut Soup”.
Sauerkraut soup comes in a myriad of variations, being different from house to house, restaurant to restaurant, region to region and country to country. My favorite is of course the one which reminds me of my Mom’s version, mild, creamy and chock-full of smoked meat. This can be smoked meat from any part of the pig or a combination of different smoked meats.
But, whatever you do, whatever variation you prepare – DO NOT USE INFERIOR QUALITY KRAUT.
If your butcher prepares and sell’s his own sauerkraut, use that. If you can not get fresh from your butcher or, even better, make your own (I do not advise this if you live in a small place without separate storage space – (fermenting cabbage does NOT smell too good in the house), buy the best you can in a can or glass.
For commercial Sauerkraut, I usually choose Kühne, Paulsen or Hengstenberg. There are many more available all over the world, but if you don’t want to gamble, stick with these three.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Excerpt from Wiki :
Cabbage soup may refer to any of the variety of soups based on various cabbages, or on sauerkraut and known under different names in national cuisines. Often it is a vegetable soup. It may be prepared with different ingredients. Vegetarian cabbage soup may use mushroom stock. Another variety is using a fish stock. Traditional cabbage soup is prepared using a pork stock.

Cabbage soup is popular in PolishSlovak and Ukrainian cuisine. It is known as kapuśniak or kwaśnica in Polishkapustnica in Slovak and капусняк (kapusnyak) in Ukrainian. It is also found in Czech (Czechzelňačka or zelná polévka), German (GermanKohlsuppe or Krautsuppe), French (Frenchsoupe aux choux) cuisine, and Swedish (Swedishkålsoppa) cuisine.

The Swedish cabbage soup is usually made from white cabbage, which is browned before being boiled, and seasoned with generous amounts of allspice and sometimes served with boiled meatballs.

A variety of the soup called shchi (Russian: щи) is a national dish of Russia. While commonly is it made of cabbages, dishes of the same name may be based on dockspinach or nettle. The sauerkraut soup is called “sour shchi”, as opposed to “fresh cabbage shchi”.
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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Preparation :
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Black beans, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs and loads of cilantro – what would serve better as proper condiments than salsa verde and salsa Mexicana ? 🙂
Ever since I have discovered authentic tasting salsa verde and salsa Mexicana at my neighborhood international food market, I have them in my larder and fridge at all times, using it to enhance breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes of all types – eggs, seafood, meat, pasta, rice, vegetables, etc, etc. Together with chili paste of all levels of hotness, Maggi seasoning and soy sauce, these are the condiments/seasonings  without almost none of my meals are complete. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Preparation :
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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Some of my favorite dishes are the ones that come together without set ingredients, without planning and without recipes.
I just go to the fridge and/or cupboard, look what’s available and what needs to be used, and just throw together what I think will fit and taste delicious. Such was the case with this soup. I had some krakauer sausage, leftover cooked broccoli, leftover cooked cauliflower and leftover fresh leek from previous dishes, and of course there are always onions in the cupboard and at least 2 or 3 types of cheese in the fridge. Throw it all together and in a few short minutes – a dish as good as can be 🙂  Life is Good !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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transfer to soup bowl or soup plate, sprinkle ea bowl with 1/2 tblsp grated asiago and drizzle with 1 tblsp EVO

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Preparation :
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To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms, & Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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When I was a child, (many decades ago  🙂 , I, like most kids, hated nearly all vegetables with a passion. Later, grown up and being a professional cook, I realized early on that this was no fault of the poor veggies, but entirely the fault of our mothers, who usually cooked the crap out of vegetables, did not season them properly and mostly looked at them as a sideshow who did not deserve the respect the protein served in a meal deserved.
I was lucky to visit, live and work in Asia, South East Asia, India and the Orient early in my professional life, at which point my negative attitude towards vegetables was changed to an attitude of love, respect and admiration.
Meanwhile, in Europe, with the advent of novelle cuisine in the 70’s, the approach to vegetables had changed and we are now lucky to see, eat and enjoy vegetables in a completely new light. Compared to before,  this changed to include vegetables in prettier, lighter, tastier and healthier food preparations, either on their own or as part of a meal.
Since then, while the average home cook (mostly) still does not understand the beauty of fresh vegetables and herbs, at least many professional chefs have seen the light and pay the simple veggie the respect, attention and love they deserve.
Nowadays, everybody and their sister touts the health benefits of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. Unfortunately, most home cooks and professional cooks do not pay enough respect to cook them properly, so that they are not only healthy, but also delicious and beautiful to look at.
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Today’s featured dish is a typical example how ordinary vegetables and fungi can easily and without much culinary finesse be transformed into a wonderful, beautiful and delicious dish fit for a king/queen.  🙂

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P.S.
Chinese black mushrooms  (shiitake), Chinese seafood mushrooms  (enokitake), Bok Choy  (bak choy, bakchoi), etc, etc…….. 🙂 

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P.P.S.
The only rice I had in my cupboard was Arborio. If you look closely at the cooked rice, you will see the difference of the short grain used here and the long grain typically used in Chinese restaurants.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Chinese Steamed Rice Recipe  (Fan)  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here to find out about Which Type Of Rice Is Used In Chinese Cooking   

(Hint – short-, medium-, and long-grain is used)
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Click here for  Rice Varieties From Around The World
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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Black Mushrooms, Seafood Mushrooms And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce

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Preparation :
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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Not much more can be said about a well-prepared chicken and potato dish that I haven’t said before on these pages (follow the 2 links below), except that, as usual, the method of infusing the potatoes with the juices and fat from the chicken while they cook on top of each other ( I just realize that this almost sounds dirty) 🙂 makes for a wonderful, delicious dish. (or a happy couple) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Chicken & Potatoes – Boss Level

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Preparation :
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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Of all fruit cakes my Mom used to bake, Plum cake was the one she baked most often. We owned some land with plum trees and apple trees on them, so these two fruits, and dishes made of them, (and liquor, “Apfel Schnaps” and “Zwetschken Geist”) were the most common in our home when I grew up. While as a kid I did not appreciate them as much, now I am a big fan, especially of plums. The one issue with fruit cakes I always have is that there is never enough fruit to the amount of cake. Here I solved the problem and even made the whole dish far better by adding plum compote to the cake, to be spooned over the cake while eating. Good Stuff !
Of course, the compote is equally delicious by itself, or served with ice cream, crepes, pancakes or with cereals. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Plum Recipes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Cake Recipes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Black Plum Torte With Caramelized Black Plum-Compote (Schwarze-Pflaumen Kuchen Mit Karamelisiertem Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott)

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Karamelisierte Schwarze Pflaumen-Kompott

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Preparation :
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Cancer Free !!! (For Now)

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Got the good news this afternoon – for now, C-free 🙂
However, this needs to be checked every three months for 5 years, only then will I be declared 100% cured. But, I’ll take this for now 🙂
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On my way home from the Cancer clinic, I bought a bottle of wine to celebrate.
However, it’s not fun to drink alone, so I prepared and enjoyed this soup with Bella instead.
The wine will be used to prepare sauerbraten next week    
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Life is Good !

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Pork Dumplings, Ramen Noodles And Nappa Cabbage in Garlicky Pork Broth

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My Trip To Costa Rica

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Since I traveled the world and worked in many different countries for four decades, I ended up  having friends all over the Globe. Some of them stayed back in the countries where we met, most, like myself, have moved on to new adventures in foreign places. My Friend George originally hails from Egypt, but after decades of moving from continent to continent and from country to country, he seems to have found his forever-home ??? in Costa Rica.
Since he had visited me a few times in Miami, it was now my time to visit him, so I spend the beginning of October with him and his very lovely family at their beautiful home in Playa Herradura.
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Playa Herradura (Herradura Beach) is a coastal town on the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica. It is located about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of Jacó in the province of Puntarenas. The name Herradura (horseshoe) refers to the bays horseshoe shape. The town has developed into an important tourist destinations in Costa Rica. This has been in part thanks to Los Suenos Resort and Marina. The resort and related amenities, including a full service five-star Marina, have positioned the town as the Fishing Capital of Costa Rica. The Marina is home to the largest fleet of Sports fishing boats in the country. Located right next door to Jaco Beach and 1 hour from Costa Rica’s primary International airport in San Jose, the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Apparently,  Playa Herradura and the Jaco Beach region have become the most popular tourist destination in all of Costa Rica, far surpassing the regions where eco-tourism now plays a second fiddle to wild fun at the beach.
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Before I left for CR, George asked me what I wanted to do during my stay, so he could organize some tours and excursions. Of course, traveling in CR was the last thing I wanted to do, and I let him know that. After all, (Pls forgive the arrogant tone of this – “Been there, done that”. 🙂
My Idea of a great vacation nowadays is lounging under a fan on a terrace, eating great meals cooked by others than myself and mostly, the company and conversations of good friends.
That was what I asked for, and that was what I got.
Thanks again George, Anna, Maria and Stefanie for having me and making my stay a wonderful one. 🙂

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Click here to learn about Costa Rican Food
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Life is Good !
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Here now some Pictures of the Costa Rica I did not see and experience this time :
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And here some pics of the Costa Rica I experienced and truly loved :
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Panierte Frikadelle Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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WHY ARE MOST AMERICAN BURGERS CRAP ? “

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Easy boy’s and girls, just trying to get your attention here. 🙂
But………..

For many years the American style burger was a complete mystery to me.
You see, when I came to America for the first time in 1970, my  “burger”
senses were still completely in love with our German version, which go
by the names of:

Frikadellen, Buletten, Hamburger, Fleischpflanzln.

To this day I can not understand how one can forgo the deliciousness
and texture of a “proper” Frikadelle for a limp , skinny, mostly dry and
tasteless meat patty made of  low-grade, unseasoned and uninteresting
ground beef.
( Notice friends, I said “most’ American burgers, not “all” )
Of course, the principle of having a good piece of meat layered with lettuce,
tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise and a variety of other goodies is a wonderful
idea. But, if this is such a standby and tradition for so many folks, why on earth
do most people treat it like crap ? Crappy buns, crappy patties, crappy condiments. No love 😦 .
So here is what I suggest to the American public :
Let’s LOVE and RESPECT our food from here on, even a simple burger !     🙂
I will throw the first coin by giving you all the simplest and best recipe for
a plain, good old frikadelle. There are many variations and once you have
mastered the basics, you should experiment until you find your personal favorite.
A frikadelle is a very versatile dish. It can be served as a snack, cold with mustard
to dip and a slice of sour dough bread on the side. Or as a lunch or dinner dish,
with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce, roast potatoes and fried onions,
french fries (fritten) and salad or any other side dish, condiment and sauce
which would go well with a steak or regular beef burger. Just make sure that if you go the
few extra steps to make a wonderful frikadelle instead of a measly, skinny patty,
don’t destroy the good stuff by adding lesser sides and condiments.
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If you are a burger fanatic, you want to read :  History of the Hamburger

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Ingredients:
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1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 tsp. olive oil
1 day-old roll (about 2 oz.), softened in hot milk and squeezed dry.
1 lb. ground meat (half and half; pork and veal)
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tsp chopped, fresh parsley
1 Tsp chopped, fresh marjoram
1 oz butter

Method:
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Saute 
onions in oil until translucent. Cool slightly.
Cut softened roll into little pieces in a bowl, add meat and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Heat butter and olive oil together in a frying pan.
Shape 4 patties and saute over medium high heat until browned on both sides. Place the patties on a baking sheet and place in a 375°F oven until done.
You may also continue sauteing them in the pan until they are no longer pink inside.

Variation 1: You may want to roll your patties in dried, seasoned bread crumbs before sautéing for a really nice, crispy exterior.
Variation 2: If you have German relatives, they might tell you to add some Maggi Seasoning.  In my house we use Maggi as a table side condiment.
Variation 3: Meat Patties with caraway. Substitute 1 teaspoon caraway and 2 teaspoons prepared mustard for the parsley and marjoram.
Variation 4: Add 4 ounces of finely chopped bacon to the meat .

Find your own best burger or fricadelle recipe by experimenting and giving them the love they deserve  !   🙂 

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Patties  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here to read all about
Frikadellen, Buletten, Fleischplanzerl, Fleischküchle, Faschierte Laibchen, Fasírt,  Faširanci, Perkedel, etc…….


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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Preparation :
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To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures>
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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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A few day’s ago a friend an I went to our favorite korean BBQ restaurant Kabose in Ft Lauderdale. Maria and I used to frequent this place quite often, especially when we had guests from overseas for whom the grilling at the table was usually a new and well-loved experience. This time around, the food and service was still as good as ever, but boy oh boy, the prices have skyrocket 😦
So what’s a poor retiree to do when Korean BBQ calls? – you guess’t it, do it at home. I must say my home version may not be as genuine as the restaurant’s, but it was at least as delicious and definitely a lot prettier to look at, not to mention at a fraction of the cost. Of course, this is usually the case with the food one cooks at home versus the same dishes at a restaurant, but in this case, the difference was tremendous and therefore well worth the extra little effort 🙂 

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Capon
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Preparation :
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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