pasta

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


>
>
I have to confess – I cheated when I prepared these Vareniki 😦
Instead of preparing the vareniki/pierogi dough fresh and rolling it into thin sheets before cutting, filling, folding and sealing it, I used 1 lb store-bought fresh pasta sheets and my trusted ravioli/pierogi-mold. Not necessarily because I am lazy (well, sometimes I am), but mainly because my counter space is tiny and making fresh pasta dough and stuffed dumpling always results in a huge mess, with flour everywhere, requiring a lot of time to get the kitchen spick and span again.
(However, I do know how to make the dough fresh. 🙂
I have made it a hundred times and I am therefore not embarrassed to admit to the store-bought sheets and the mold) 🙂
The rest of the dish is as easy and quick as 1-2-3. Cook the pasta, saute everything in butter and done !
Here is the recipe for the filling and the final dish :
>
Ingredients and method for filling:

Saute onions in butter until translucent.
Stir in the 2 cup mashed potatoes, grated cheese and yogurt, season with salt and cayenne pepper, mix well. Check/adjust seasoning.
.
Ingredients and method for the rest of the dish:

Cut the dough sheets into rounds corresponding to the size of your ravioli/pierogi-cutter.
Top each round of dough with 1 tblsp cheese/potato filling, add ea round to the ravioli/pierogi-mold.
Moisten the dough’s edges with water, fold over, and press together to seal.
Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
Cook in boiling salted water until the dough is done, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickest part of the dough.
Remove with a slotted spoon, drain.
Saute 2 oz chopped bacon, 1 tsp garlic paste, julienne of 1/2 onion, 6 oz fresh spinach in 2 oz butter, add 8 oz fresh spinach and 1/3 cup heavy cream, simmer 1 minute, remove from heat, add julienne of one medium size onion, 1 ea seeded and julienned tomato and the freshly cooked vareniki, check/adjust seasoning. to serve, sprinkle with grated pepper-jack.
Serves 4 appetizers or 2 main courses.
>
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
More  Pierogi on  ChefsOpinion
>
More  Stuffed Dumplings  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>
>
>

>
>
>
>

Advertisements

Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

>

Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

>
>
Visiting my Asian food store is such a great food shopping experience. I usually go to stock up on sauces, Asian noodles, special veggies and the occasional specialty item I can’t find at my regular hunting grounds.
However, as it is usually the case when I go shopping for “just a few things, necessities”, I always end up buying too much stuff I did not set-out to get. That’s how I ended up with 2,5 lbs flash-frozen baby octopus, without a plan (yet) how to prep them. Alas, it really does not matter for me how baby octopus (or any other octopus, for that matter), is prepared, I love them any which way – so, or so, or so 🙂
Lately, I ate grilled steak and sautéed meat cuts with potatoes and rice quite often, so it was time to go back to pasta and lots of good sauce. Here now is how these tiny, frozen, beautiful creatures transformed into a most lovely dish, served over a heavenly  “crisp on the outside, soft on the inside”  egg noodle pillow 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Octopus  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Crispy Noodle Pillows  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
P.S.
I like my noodle pillows “crisp on the outside but soft on the inside”. If you prefer more crispness towards the center, cook the pillow in 3 cups of oil instead of the two tblsp I used here, and raise the temperature of the oil so the noodles are actually frying instead of sauteing, as I did here. (Either way, good stuff)  🙂
>
>
>

Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

>

Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

>

Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

>

plate the crispy noodle pillow, top the pillow with the octopus and sauce, garnish with chives

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

>
>
>
>

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

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

>

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)
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Duck  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Dirty Noodles  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
<

Roast Duck

>

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

>

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

>

Dirty Noodles

>
>
>
Roast Duck Recipe:
>
Ingredients:
1 med size duck
Kosher salt to taste
>
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.
>
>
<
Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
>
>
>

>
>
>
>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>
Shank’s of beef, veal, lamb, or game is perfectly suitable to be braised slowly in wine. The cooking liquid and gentle heat of slowly simmering breaks down the collagen, producing a wonderful texture and great flavor, unlike any other part of the animal. One can use the shank meat for stews, soups, goulash, bulalo, braised whole, or, as shown here, braised sliced/cross-cut. But remember, no matter which dish or cooking method you choose, DO NOT overcook the meat. A big part of the appeal of shank is the superb texture of a tender, but NOT falling apart piece of muscle meat. Therefore, simmer the shank very slowly. It might take a long time, (after all the shank is pure muscle), but you will be rewarded with a spectacular texture and mouthfeel which no other cut of meat possesses 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for  Bulalo  on  ChefsOpinion
<
Click here for more  Shank  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Beef  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
P.S.
Traditionally, the bone marrow is incorporated into the sauce.
>
P.P.S.
But, also traditionally, the wise cook steals the bone marrow and prepares himself a great snack of “Bone Marrow On Toast” 🙂 .
>
>

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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

 

>
>
>
>

Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

>
Ok now, don’t get any ideas about eating these vampire crabs pictured above !
The only reason I feature their pics here is that they are so pretty 🙂
They are actually small pets, just to love, look at and to take good care of, until their natural life cycle comes to an end.
>

Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

>
So, on to these snow crabs.
They are definitely not pets. They are some of my favorite seafood, and if they would not be so darn expensive, they’d be on my table twice a week 🙂
I love them steamed and served with just a squirt of lemon and drawn butter, transformed into crab cakes, soup, salad, fried rice and of course with pasta, as I enjoyed them for today’s lunch.
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
>

Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

>

Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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

>
>
>
>

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

>
Crayfish must be one of the most under-appreciated seafood on the market. I assume it has to do with the fact that it takes a while and a bit of practice to peel them efficiently. There is also the misconception that they are expensive, which, in my opinion, they are not. One pound costs about $ 5.00 and is enough for a generous portion).
Another sad fact is that outside of their harvesting areas and outside of harvesting season, it is not easy to come by great quality crayfish. The reason for this is mostly bad handling, so in order to ensure good quality, make sure the fishmonger lets you stick your nose into (or at least close to) 🙂 the ice box in which they are kept, and always ask to give you the bottom layer, closest to the ice.
This, of course, is an important step in buying any seafood, including frozen or “previously frozen”! Please remember – expertly flash-frozen seafood can be as good as fresh seafood, provided it is handled, stored and defrosted properly.
Much seafood which is labeled fresh or never frozen is, in fact, inferior to properly preserved seafood, due to the length of transport, lack of proper or inconsistent cooling and general lack of proper handling.
But as I wrote earlier, the smell test will easily reveal if you should buy or forget 🙂
Needless to say, the little beauties I used for this meal were fresh, yummy and pretty, so this dish was an all around success 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Seafood  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

>

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

>

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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

>
>
>
>

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

>
>

Preparing  your own ravioli might be a bit work-intensive, but if one put’s a little effort and love to the process, it’s well worth the trouble. The actual prep is not so bad, what takes the most time is the clean-up (at least for me, since my counter space is tiny and the flour usually goes everywhere where it is not supposed to).
But as I said, the delicious result makes up for the extra bit of time and effort 🙂
Also, if you frequently prep your own ravioli and/or vareniki,  it will be wise to invest a few dollars in a  ravioli mold/press/cutter,  which will cut down considerably on the time and mess it takes to prepare good-looking ravioli or vareniki. I have a bunch of them, and they always come in handy.
As for the filling, a general rule is usually not to combine cheese and seafood, but in this case, the ricotta goes perfectly with the shrimp (that’s why in cooking, the word “usually” is vital). We “usually” do things this way or that way, but………..
For my personal taste, a complicated or dominating sauce would take away from the delicate taste of the ravioli, so the richness of the butter and the crispness of the crumbs is all this dish needs to shine brightly.
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Ravioli  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Pierogi/Vareniki  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
Pasta Dough :
>
Ingredients :
2 1cups A/P flour
3 -4 eggs (depending on size)
Kosher salt to taste
>
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.
>
Filling :
>
Ingredients :
1 cup ricotta cheese, softened
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
1 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 whole egg, beaten
fresh-grated nutmeg, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste
>
Method :
Coarsely chop the shrimp, add all other ingredients, mix well
>
Shrimp Butter :
>
Ingredients :
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
4 oz whole butter
1 tblsp chopped Italian parsley
garlic paste to taste
>
Method :
Saute shrimp in butter until heated, remove from heat, add parsley, season with garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
>
>
>

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


>

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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

>
>
>
>

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

>
>
To  prepare a successful raw “Tomato Sauce”, it is essential that the tomatoes are VERY ripe, sweet and soft.
Other than that, there is not much wizardry to be employed, just make sure that the pasta is cooked perfectly, your basil is fresh, young and sweet, the olive oil is of great quality and the cheese you use is the best you can afford. (Any hard, fresh-grated cheese you prefer will do).
The result will proof once again that if prepared with love and gusto, bringing together a few simple, good quality ingredients will add up to a wonderful meal (Even if the sunshine is lacking) 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Pasta  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>

>

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

>

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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

>
>
>

>

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

>

Last night on my way home I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant where I used to eat pho. I stopped eating there because of the tiny portions (see my post about it by clicking this link:  ….Pho….
Knowing that I would be disappointed by the skimpy pho, I placed my hope into an order of summer rolls…….
Well, the same crappy principle as with the pho (a ton of stock, a tiny amount of anything else); only this time, there was a ton of wrapper (2 per roll !) and just a tiny bit of filling. I could have kicked myself for not following my own previous advise to avoid this place.
So, what’s an old cook to do? Well of course, make my own version of rice paper rolls 🙂
Mind you, these are NOT Vietnamese summer rolls! And, because of their plumpness, rather than eating them by hand, I suggest you use a fork in order to have a less messy encounter with these babies. 🙂
However, these rolls consist of the exact amount and ratio of ingredients I craved when I ordered the rolls in the restaurant and was so badly disappointed:
A small amount of wrapper, LOT’S of noodles and shrimp, and NOT drowned in fish sauce and basil. Ahhhh, the good life ! 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
P.S.
If you prefer the more traditional skinny shape, just arrange the filling accordingly.
P.P.S.
I am still hoping to find a decent Vietnamese restaurant around here 🙂
>

Hans’ Peanut Sauce

This recipe may not be the most authentic, but it’s really, really good.
Serve it as a dipping sauce, over hot or cold noodles or as a salad dressing.

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons chili paste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Whisk again before serving.
>
>
<

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

>

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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

>


>
>
>
>

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

This wonderful dish is comfort food at its finest. (Obviously, pork chop is alway’s a hit with most folks, and so is pasta, so there is probably no argument here).
However, this dish up’s the ante another step by prepping the chop “à la parisienne”, as well as transforming the simple orzo into a flavorful and beautiful pasta dish, which I would be happy to eat all by itself without the chop or any other embellishment 🙂
.
Please note:
#1:
  Eating the orzo with a spoon rather than with a fork will double the pleasure of eating it) 🙂
#2:  Eating the orzo with a spoon rather than with a fork will most likely double the size of your belly 😦
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Pork  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Pasta  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

>

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

>

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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


>
>
>
>