Cordon Brie

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I had been thinking of and lusting for chicken cordon bleu the whole day long, so on my way home I stopped at the store to buy the ingredients.
They should have been : Two large, boneless/skinless chicken breasts, a pack of sliced ham and a pack of sliced swiss cheese.
However, when I got home I realized that I had forgotten the swiss cheese. At first I wanted to rush back to the shop to get the swiss cheese, but when I took the eggs for the breading out of the fridge I saw a lovely brie cheese and made an executive decision – “tonight’s chicken cordon bleu shall contain brie instead of swiss”.
During dinner, I decided that from now on, ALL cordon bleu in my house will be made with brie. Brie is so much more tasty and runny than swiss, so it makes the perfect filling.
Long live  ” Cordon Bleu Brie !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you are a light eater, you might want to cut each cordon brie into half  before breading  to yield 4 four portions instead of the two I prepared for Bella and I
– one to be served hot for tonight, the other one to be served cold (room temperature) tomorrow.
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Honey/Yogurt Dressing:
Mix 1/3 cup mayo, 1/3 cup greek yogurt, 1 tblsp honey, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste; whisk until smooth, check/adjust seasoning
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Click here for more  Cordon Bleu  on  ChefsOpinion
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Cordon Brie

Cordon Brie

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Cordon Brie

Cordon Brie

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Cordon Brie

Cordon Brie

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Preparation :
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Black Plum Bread Pudding

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Plums

Plums

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5  Reasons We Love Plums
By Erika Freeman
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1. “Plum” is often used to describe a deep purple hue, but in fact plums come in a wide spectrum of colors, such as black, yellow, red, pink, even green.
2. Dark plums (purple, black) are full of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that give them their color and are associated with helping to keep the heart healthy and the brain sharp.
3. Without the plum, we wouldn’t have prunes! Oh, but excuse us, we call them “dried plums” now. (In 2000, the prune was renamed to make it easier to market—apparently prunes’ reputation as a fruit to keep you regular was no longer a selling point.)
4. They have an au naturel protection; called a “bloom,” it’s a natural wax coating the fruit produces to keep its skin from losing water. Look for the whitish-silvery bloom: it’s also a sign a plum hasn’t been over-handled.
5. This juicy sweet treat has only about 36 calories.
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This plum bread pudding was the glorious end to a great meal I had with my friends Laura, Fernando and André at my house the other day.
It was the first multi- course dinner I hosted at home in four years and it reminded me how much I miss these gatherings with great food, drink and company that were so common and frequent at the homes Maria’s and I shared for so many years in times past. Happy dinner parties were the highlights of our social life when she was still alive and sometimes I miss them, along with so many other things we shared.
Although Maria was not physically present at this dinner, her spirit was with us and so it was only the second social gathering I was happy at since her passing.
(Xmas dinner at Dieters and Chachas house being the only other occasion)🙂
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So, while the seafood salad, tenderloin steak, flat iron steak, teriyaki cauliflower and tomato/garlic pasta were delicious, the highlight was the dessert in the form of this black plum pudding.
Plums are wonderful to prepare cakes and tatin’s with, superb for marmalade and compote and, as you can see below, just perfect for bread pudding.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Bread Pudding  on  ChefsOpinion
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Bread And Black Plum Pudding

Bread And Black Plum Pudding

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Bread And Black Plum Pudding

Bread And Black Plum Pudding

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Bread And Black Plum Pudding

Bread And Black Plum Pudding

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Nasi Goreng

 

Restaurant Version Nasi Goreng

Restaurant Version Nasi Goreng  >

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Nasi Goreng  can be had in one version or another in many Asian countries. Actually, it is the national dish of Indonesia, where it can be eaten at any time of the day from road side hawker carts to 5 star restaurants and in any home.
As with so many Asian dishes I learned about in Germany the 60’s, the”Nasi Goreng” of my youth was usually made with curry powder, which qualified the dish as “exotic”🙂.
In later years, while working and travelling in Asia, I got to know the real stuff, usually seasoned with sambal ulek and kecup manis, garlic, sauteed and fried shallots and soy sauce.
However, even back then when I was a kid and enjoyed the curry powder versions, the standard accompaniments (Garniture) were the same as you’d find in a good restaurant then and now anywhere around the world, where appearance is almost as important as taste : Kroepek (shrimp crackers), sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, fried eggs, fried shallots and satay’s with peanut sauce.
Today, after coming home from work, “Garniture” was not in the forefront of my mind but rather a hearty, spicy, quick to prepare dish which would hit all the buttons of my culinary lust🙂
So here it is : Nasi goreng without the bells & whistles but at it’s tastiest !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
As you can see in the picture, I used fresh-cooked rice. Day old rice is of course preferable for any fried rice, including nasi goreng, but I needed to have my fix NOW.
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Click here for more  Fried Rice  on  ChefsOpinion
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Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

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Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli In Tomato Sauce, Aji Amarillo And Pangrattato

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Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli In Tomato Sauce, Aji Amarillo And Pangrattato

Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli In Tomato Sauce, Aji Amarillo And Pangrattato

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After  three relaxing days of mostly doing nothing, today I decided to spend a bit of time in the kitchen and treat myself to a wonderful dish I absolutely love, but which, because of the space-constraints in my tiny kitchen, I don’t prepare often enough.
It gives me great pleasure to make fresh pasta, but in a small workspace the flour needed to dust the surface while rolling and kneading the dough can be a bit messy😦
However, today the craving for this dish won against the aversion to mess and I went ahead and prepared what must be one of the best pasta dishes to ever come out of my (tiny) kitchen🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for Pangrattato-Instructions  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for Tomato Sauce Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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Salsa Aji Amarillo:
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Ingredients :
3 oz queso fresco
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp garlic paste
4 ají peppers (seeded and deveined)
1/2 teaspoon huacatay paste
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp raw peanuts
kosher salt, to taste
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Method :
Chop peppers, onion, saute in 2 tblsp olive oil until soft. Put sauteed vegetables and all other ingredients into a blender, process until creamy and smooth. Check/adjust seasoning.
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Pasta Dough :
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Ingredients :
2 1cups A/P flour
3 -4 eggs (depending on size)
Kosher salt to taste
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Method :
Sift the flour onto the work surface, make a well in the center
Add the eggs, one at a time, add the salt.
Mix the eggs, then add a little flour at a time from the well, until all the flour has been used.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding flour if dough is too sticky.
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Filling :
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Ingredients :
1 cup ricotta cheese, softened
2cup pumpkin, peeled, finely diced, cooked tender, drained, cooled
1cup fresh-grated parmesan cheese
1 whole egg, beaten
fresh-grated nutmeg, kosher salt salt and cayenne pepper to taste

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Method :
mash pumpkins and ricotta, add all other ingredients, mix well
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Ravioli :
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Method :
Roll pasta into thin sheets, cut into wide strips, brush edges lightly with water
Add filling at equal distance
Fold over the sheet of pasta, squeeze-out air
Cut out the individual ravioli shapes using pastry cutter or shape cutter, press with a slightly smaller scalloped ring to give a “crimped” appearance
Cook 5-7 minutes in boiling water, depending on the thickness of the dough and filling
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Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli In Tomato Sauce, Aji Amarillo And Pangrattato

Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli In Tomato Sauce, Aji Amarillo And Pangrattato

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Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wrap With Raita

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Curried  garbanzos (chickpeas) are one of my favorite snacks. They are quick and easy to prepare and their heat (add as much chile flakes or cayenne pepper as you can handle) makes for a great snack when boring pretzels just won’t do.
Today I prepared one of the hybrids of curried garbanzos I make on hot days – curried garbanzo salad, this time wrapped in sun dried tomato wraps.
As a general rule, when preparing curried garbanzos to be served hot, I add more ghee, about 4 tblsp for 16 oz of garbanzos. If serving as a cold (room temperature) salad, I reduce the amount of ghee by 3 tblsp and replace with that 2 tblsp mayo and 1 tblsp ketchup.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Garbanzos (Chickpeas)  on  ChefsOpinion
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Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wrap With Raita

Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wrap With Raita

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Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wrap With Raita

Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wrap With Raita

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Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wraps With Raita

Curried Garbanzo And Potato Wraps With Raita

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Not your Ordinary Balls

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Veal Meatballs in Pesto Cream With Garlicky Spaghetti And Concasse

Veal Meatballs in Pesto Cream With Garlicky Spaghetti And Concasse

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These  meatballs resemble “Konigsberger Klopse”  more than “Italian Meatballs”.
Made of veal, simmered, then served in veloute, they look and taste very distinct from the meatballs most folks are familiar with.
I hope that with this post I can convince you that there is more to meatballs than the usual suspects in tomato sauce.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Meatballs  on  ChefsOpinion
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Veal Meatball Recipe:

Ingredients:
20 oz ground veal
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup panko
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp dijon mustard
kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Method:
Mix all ingredients well, shape 6 golf ball sized spheres, simmer in lightly salted water until done, about 15 minutes
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Veal Meatballs in Pesto Cream With Garlicky Spaghetti And Concasse

Veal Meatballs in Pesto Cream With Garlicky Spaghetti And Concasse

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Berries And Cream Pound Cake

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Berries And Cream Pound Cake

Berries And Cream Pound Cake

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So  I woke up early today and the first thing that came to my mind was food – sweet food with lots of fruit, to be precise.
I went to the store to see what’s available and got home with some great raspberries and blueberries. First I was thinking pancakes, but I had those a few times in the past month, so something different was called for. Since I did not feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, pound cake seemed easy and fast enough and it went into the oven in a flash🙂
Two hours (and a good movie) later, the baked, cooled down and halved cake was in front of me. First I drizzled the cake with fresh-squeezed orange juice for flavor and moistness, then covered one-half with nutella, the other half with raspberry jam. Topped that with the washed and dried berries, drizzled the berries with melted apricot jam and finished it all with a sinful amount of whipped cream and castor sugar. As usual I ate too much and I am sure I’ll pay for it with a day of my life.
But, at the time, it seemed well worth it………..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pound Cake Recipe :
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Ingredients:

  1. – 8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  2. – 2 cups cake flour, plus extra to dust the pan
  3. – 2 cups granulated sugar
  4. – 2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  5. – 1 tsp kosher salt
  6. – 4 whole, large eggs
  7. – ½ cup soft cream cheese
Method:
  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment, butter again, and dust with flour.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Add the flour and mix just until combined (do not overmix). Transfer the batter to the pan, smooth the top, bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

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Topping:
Juice of 1 orange, 2 pint raspberries, 2 pint blueberries, 1/2 cup nutella,
1/2 cup melted apricot jam,  1/4 cup raspberry jam, 1 cup whipped heavy cream, castor sugar.
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P.S.
Serve one piece each of raspberry jam covered cake and one each piece of nutella covered cake per portion.
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Berries And Cream Pound Cake

Berries And Cream Pound Cake

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Berries And Cream Pound Cake

Berries And Cream Pound Cake

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Berries And Cream Pound Cake

Berries And Cream Pound Cake

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Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

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Some  say the king of  cold soups is gazpacho and I, (for once) don’t argue🙂
Sadly, these days the traditional custom of having a soup before a main course as part of a menu has mostly disappeared, especially here in North America. Even for special, celebratory dinners, soup is usually an afterthought, and chilled soup is nearly non-existent.
However, there is a myriad of wonderful cold/chilled soups out there, mostly ignored and even forgotten in these times of ever-increasing food-sensationalism😦
Back in the day when I was a soup cook on Royal Viking Sky (1974), we served 8 different soups daily.
Consommé or beef tea between 10.00 am and 11.00 am.
For lunch it was a chilled soup, a consommé, and a vegetable cream soup.
For dinner,  a chilled soup, a consommé, a vegetable cream soup and a silky seafood soup or a hearty meat-based soup.
Besides the beef tea, none of the soups were allowed to repeat itself for the duration of a voyage that lasted less than a month, so we had quite a repertoire of soups.
While cruising in the hot parts of the world, chilled soups for lunch were extremely popular, especially the berry and stone fruit varieties.
In colder parts of the world and during dinner, classics like red or white gazpacho, vichyssoise and creamed vegetable soups led the parade of favorite chilled soups.
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Today’s soup is especially refreshing and therefore perfectly suitable for the scorching heat that has “blessed” us in Florida lately. As you can see from the size of the serving in the photos below, I actually had the soup as a small lunch. (Two helpings, to be truthful :-)
A word of advise:
Check/adjust the seasoning of the soup AFTER chilling it and just before serving, since a chilled soup looses much of its flavor when chilled. Nothing worse than a bland chilled soup😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

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Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

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Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

Chilled Spicy Cucumber And Avocado Bisque

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Goan Chicken Curry

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This  is the very best chicken curry – at least for me and my own, personal taste.
While it is neither typical Indian, nor Indonesian or Malay, it is a bit in the style of Goa. Goan food is much influenced by the Portuguese, so the ingredients and seasoning often differ a bit from the usual Indian suspects. In the 70’s I spend a few months in Goa, living in cheap housing right on the beach. If one was able to forgo typical western luxuries such as A/C, running water and fork and knife, living on $ 3.00 a day was possible most of the time.
Those were the days of free love, cheap booze and even cheaper “tobacco”, so life was a constant,carefree blast. And to top it all off, the food, even as it was dirt-cheap, was always great, tasty, in abundance and available around the clock. (Important because of the “tobacco”)🙂
Although I don’t have any recipes from that time and place of food I actually ate then and there, I am always reminded of my time in Goa when I prep and eat the curry featured here.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Curry  on  ChefsOpinion
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Goan Chicken Curry

Goan Chicken Curry

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Goan Chicken Curry

Goan Chicken Curry

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Goan Chicken Curry

Goan Chicken Curry

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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 # 57 – Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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A bowl  of granola for breakfast is a wonderful thing for a lot of folks – but for me, it is NOT.
If I want my day to start on a happy note, I need food that say’s HAPPY to me.
A bowl of granola or such just says BAHH to me and is, in my humble opinion, but a sorry excuse for a satisfying breakfast😦 .
On the other hand, a delicious frittata – now we are talking !🙂
Throw in a couple of gherkins, a few green leaves and grape tomatoes in yogurt/honey dressing and Voilà ! – bring it on, tough day !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Breakfast of Champions  on  ChefsOpinion
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Yogurt/Honey Dressing :
Whisk together 2 tblsp greek yogurt, 1 tsp organic honey, 1 tsp rice vinegar, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste
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Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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