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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Onion soup is a vegetable soup made of sauteed onions and stock. Onion soup was traditionally served in poorer households and lower-class restaurants.
Onion soup is, and was, found in many countries, prepared in many different variations. What all recipes have in common are the onions and stock. From there on, anything goes……….:
Added red or white wine, beer, egg yolk, flour, cream, cheese, herbs, bread, vinegar, sugar, caramelized onions, sauteed but kept-white onions, puréed onions, sliced onion, diced onions, shallots, sausages, sherry, carrots, and probably another thousand different additions, depending on where in the world you encounter your onion soup.
Names/variations include “Pfälzer Zwiebelsuppe”, “Soupe Soubise”, “Schwaebische Zwiebelsuppe”, “Cipollata”,  “Cherbah”, and countless more.
And then, of course, there is the queen of all onion soups! –
Known and loved most everywhere in the world, it is “French Onion Soup” (Soupe à l’oignon / Soupe d’oignons aux Halles/ Soupe à l’oignon gratinée)
What makes this variation so special is the addition of bread and gruyere to the top of the onion soup, then it get’s some time in the oven or under the broiler until the top is a bubbly, fragrant, addictive, gooey mass of melted bread and cheese.
Each heavenly spoonful should contain some of the bread and cheese, some soup, and some onions.
Voilà, now you know why “French Onion Soup” is the best onion soup in the world 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds


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One
has to wonder:
Why are sweet or savory crepes not on everybody’s table at least once a week ???
I can’t recall to ever have met anybody who’d claim not to like crepes, either in its sweet or savory form, or both.
Crepes can be prepared easily by anybody, even by a child or somebody with two left hands. Even if one does not like to cook, these babies need all of a few minutes to prepare, are very economical and, have I said this already? – are easy and quick to prepare.
In its sweet, plain variation, just sprinkle some castor sugar on top and maybe a bit of whipped cream, and you have a great dessert or sweet snack.
It’s savory, plain version will make a quick meal by drizzling a bit of butter on top and serving them with a small salad on the side.
And then, you have the more elaborate stuff 🙂
Savory crepes can be filled with creamed or buttered mushrooms, vegetables, seafood, chicken, game meats, spicy sausages and a myriad of other, more or less fancy goodies.
Sweet crepes will be happy to be married to caramelized fruit, creams, chocolate sauce, puddings, cream cheese (blintzes anyone?), nutella, yogurt, nuts, etc, etc, etc.
I myself have prepared just about any combination of crepes and “stuff” under the sun. I don’t really have a favorite per se, I love ’em all 🙂
So here is a version of crepes with caramelized fruits. I have to admit that the blackberries and pomegranate are rather expensive, especially when you cook for a large family. But be assured, caramelized apples, pears, oranges, bananas, strawberries, or any other more economical fruit will be just as wonderful – yummy to taste and pretty to look at 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Steak Salad – Recipe # 1379

Paintings below, including all the paintings displayed in the living room, are by Hans Susser (Soupi)
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Since I got old, occasionally my mind starts wandering aimlessly all over the place, sometimes I’ll get these “WOW” moments, when I realize the obvious………. 🙂 .
Such as this bonbon :
“When I create a dish I have not seen, prepared or eaten previously, it feels nearly the same as when I used to create a beautiful painting”.
I utilized canvas (the serving dish), paints (the ingredients), garnish/final-touch (the varnish) and, most important, a picture of a finished painting in my mind (a picture of a finished dish in my mind).
And there you have it – creativity, skills, and experience, applied to very different mediums 🙂
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(I used to paint in my spare time and was rather successful at selling my art for rather good $$$. Maria used to gold-, silver- and bronze-leaf the raw-wood frames for these paintings, as well as bespoke frames for other artist’s paintings.
For a few years, this provided us with a handsome, additional income, until I started my web business and, later on, this blog). 🙂
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But back to the present time and the dish at hand.
This steak salad recipe makes for a super delicious entrée for lunch or dinner, a light snack or anything else you want it to be (Buffet, anybody?).

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Steak Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
Instead of the more traditional croutons, I used tarallini  (Small  Taralli , (sometimes marketed as “Italian Love Knots”)

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Preparation :
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“Blanquette De Veau” (And Please, Don’t Judge Me By The Color Of My – Pasta!)


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In all my years living in the USA, I have never seen this dish on any restaurant menu. Growing up in Germany, it was very common and popular, served in many restaurants and homes. If I had to describe the type of food this is, I would say “sophisticated home cooking”. Full of flavor and texture, it is often served with rice.
I personally prefer it to be served with pasta (apparently, so did Escoffier – there are two recipes in his Le Guide Culinaire – “Blanquette de Veau a l’Ancienne” , as well as “Blanquette of Veal Breast with Celery root and Endive”, both served with pasta. Some folks like to add carrots when serving a blanquette, a practice to which many professionals object in order to keep the whole dish “blanc” (white). Well, usually I am in the “blanc” camp. However, my choice of pasta today has sabotaged that approach by sporting an impossible yellow color 😦 .
When raw, this pasta looked slightly more yellow than usual egg pasta, but I thought it would lose some of its excessive yellowness during the cooking process. Not so. On the contrary, it took on this neon yellow and I was ready to toss it and cook a less color-popping pasta instead. However, when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful texture and taste of this abomination of food coloring. It had one of the best pasta tastes of any dried pasta I ever tasted. So, rather than tossing it, I ate it and enjoyed it very much. (Thank God I threw the packaging in the garbage and have no record of the brand, I also have never seen it before or since in any shop and therefore will not be able to buy it again 🙂
In the end, a delicious, classic, old-fashioned veal stew with a helping of not-so classic pasta 🙂
May the pasta Gods forgive me 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Blanquette De Veau

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Blanquette De Veau

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Preparation :
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Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

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Duck and noodles – what’s not to like about that ? 🙂
Since I prepare roast duck often, duck soup is naturally on the menu just as much. Even just a few bones, skin, scraps, innards and the neck from one duck, added to chicken or vegetable stock and seasoning, is enough to prep a rich, tasty soup. Any veggie, pasta, even rice thrown-in, and you’ll be rewarded with a tasty and economical meal. You can also strain the stock and use it to fix a great congee for breakfast, just add some scallions and fried shallots and voilà, another satisfying quickie. ( Meal, that is ! ) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  ROAST DUCK – PART ONE – “DUCK WITH DIRTY NOODLES”

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Click here for  Congee  on  ChefsOpinion
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Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

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Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

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Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

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Roast Duck – Part Two – “Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”

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Preparation :
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Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Last week I came across a special at my grocery store –   $ 10.50 for a whole duck, compared to the usual price of around $17.00 for the same size bird.
Of course, I bought two, because duck – anytime 🙂
After I defrosted the first one, I realized that it might be a good idea to prepare the duck in a way which will be more suitable to a bird which had probably spend a bit of extra time in the freezer (hence the special 🙂 ) , rather than just plain roasted and eaten without any additional preparation.
(I will post part two, “Roast Duck – Part Two – Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”, within the next few days)
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Dirty Noodles  on  ChefsOpinion
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Roast Duck

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Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Dirty Noodles

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Roast Duck Recipe:
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Ingredients:
1 med size duck
Kosher salt to taste
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Method:
Preheat oven to 400F
Prick skin and fat of duck all over, remove excess fat-flaps
Season duck generously inside and out side with the salt.
Place duck breast-side down on a wire rack which rests on a sheet-pan.
Place into oven, immediately turn temperature down to 300 F
Roast duck for 3 hours and 45 minutes, turning duck every 30 minutes
After 3 hours and 45 minutes, increase heat to 420F, roast duck breast side up until skin is very crisp and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving.
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Preparation :
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Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

A great sandwich can be a wonderful dish. Put a few good ingredients together, add some love and voilà, a quick and most satisfying meal can be on the table in minutes, without breaking the bank.
And yet, so many folks at home and in restaurants manage to screw up this simple task.
Substandard ingredients, lack of imagination and the absence of love for what you are doing will all prevent a good sandwich, but rather transform bread and stuff into bahhh……….
Not so this here baby !
While the choice of bread is purely a personal preference, I make most of my sandwiches with toasted sourdough bread or other rustic bread. I just love the texture and taste, but of course, you should use whatever bread rings your bells. The chicken can be grilled or fried, the cheese can be the one you love the most, and the veggies – well, you get the point 🙂
Just make sure you prepare it all with love and gusto, don’t skimp on the good stuff and prepare it with the respect a great sandwich (as well as any other good food) deserves 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
The chicken, while it has the taste and texture of fried chicken, is actually sauteed.
Classic French Cuisine defines sauteed :  “Cooked in fat, not covered by fat”
Classic French Cuisine defines fried :        “Cooked in fat, covered by fat”
In most restaurant settings, one would just fry the chicken in the fryer.
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Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Summer has hit our little part of paradise, Florida, over the head with a vengeance.
While the first three weeks of official summer were pure liquid sunshine, with all the flooding and whatever else goes with torrential rain, now the real sunshine has finally arrived.
Alas, as usual, we all complain that it is too hot. When it rains we complain that it is too wet. Outside of summer, we complain it is too cold, and all year-long we complain about the traffic, the tourists and our mothers in law 🙂
One just can’t make us Floridians unconditionally happy, no matter what.
But the one thing that will make us feel good, at least for a while, is a BBQ by the pool.
Good, simple food, a few cold brewskies and good company and the world is fine for a few hours.
As for me, I do have good company in Bella, my brew is iced tea and Madam and I enjoy our time alone by the pool, (of course, the damn water in the pool is too warm this time of the year) 😦
But, the tranquility and peace, some great music from the boom box and wonderful food are all we need for now 🙂 .
How times have changed……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits

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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Confession Of An PT Addict

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I confess !
I am a lifelong PT addict, ever since I was a child and my mother fed me my first dose of PT ………
I will eat PT (pig’s tails) with gusto, in whatever guise you set them before me – braised in soy sauce, salted, fried, in stews, souse, soups, or just by themselves with bread and condiments, as shown here.
For today’s lunch, one bucket of 5 lbs was the exact right amount for Bella and me to pig out (pun intended). Of course, there are a lot of bones, so the actual amount of meat is not really that excessive (well, maybe a little……).
One might call this a case of “PT Overdose” 🙂
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Excerpt from an article by  Chichi Wang  on  Serious Eats :
” I want to make the case that pigs’ tails contain everything desirable in the pig, and in exactly the right proportions. Unlike ox tail, the tails of pigs come with the skin intact so that each segment is a perfect cross-section of skin, fat, tendon, and meat.
Fried or roasted, the skin of the tail is chewy and crisp, with a gelatinous layer underneath. Tail flesh is fork-tender like that of the neck bones, but meatier than trotters. There’s a modest amount of tendon around each bony hub–just enough to make the gnawing enjoyable, but not so much as to distract from the whole. All in all, a Pigs tail is a little porky universe unto itself. 
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– Looks like I am not the only “PT Addict” 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Confession Of An PT Addict

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Confession Of An PT Addict

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serve with fresh pretzel bread (laugenstangen), hot and mild chilies and mustard (or fresh horseradish if available)

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Confession Of An PT Addict

a bucket of heaven……

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Preparation :
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Rösti-Waffles, Gravlax And Poached Egg

Rösti-Waffles, Gravlax And Poached Egg

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I usually don’t participate in spreading nonsense like “Rösti-Waffles”, but this is different. When I saw this the first time, I thought – why?! – this got to be just another silly way of trying to be “inventive” and/or “different”, or “cutting edge”, or whatever.
But, I tried it nevertheless. Instantly, I became a big fan! 🙂
I am probably the biggest non-Swiss fan of rösti, however, these rösti-waffles are a completely different potato dish.
Using a non-stick waffle iron, one needs to use only a thin film of clarified butter or duck fat. Then, to keep the potatoes light and crisp, loosely fill in just a small amount of shredded, seasoned potato (compared to the amount one would use for the same size “real” rösti in a pan), cook on low heat until the resulting dish resembles a thinly spun web of tender yet crispy potatoes.
Very different from rösti in texture, but at least as delicious 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Gravlax Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
This dish can, of course, be enjoyed any time of day. I had it for breakfast, so I omitted the onion rings I’d usually serve with this 🙂
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Rösti-Waffles, Gravlax And Poached Egg

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Rösti-Waffles, Gravlax And Poached Egg

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Rösti-Waffles, Gravlax And Poached Egg with capers and finely sliced chives

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rösti-waffle should be very crisp on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside; this recipe makes 8 ea rösti-waffles


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Preparation :
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