pasta

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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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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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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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 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Traditionally, the bone marrow is incorporated into the sauce.
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P.P.S.
But, also traditionally, the wise cook steals the bone marrow and prepares himself a great snack of “Bone Marrow On Toast” 🙂 .
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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Preparation :
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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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.
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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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.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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Preparation :
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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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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 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Preparation :
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

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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.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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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
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
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Method :
Coarsely chop the shrimp, add all other ingredients, mix well
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Shrimp Butter :
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Ingredients :
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
4 oz whole butter
1 tblsp chopped Italian parsley
garlic paste to taste
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Method :
Saute shrimp in butter until heated, remove from heat, add parsley, season with garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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

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

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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) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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

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

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

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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 ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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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 🙂
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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.
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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

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Preparation :
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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 🙂
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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 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Preparation :
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Convenient Food (Pansit/Pancit)

 

Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Having visited the  Philippines  in the mid-to late 70’s often, and then lived and worked there for 4 years during the early 80’s, my eating habits have been strongly influenced by its wonderful food, especially the appreciation of fresh, well-seasoned vegetables and a myriad of exotic fruit.
While there are too many favorite dishes to mention, three groups of dishes stand out –
Roasted pork in its many forms,
Vegetable dishes with steamed rice in great variations,
– and, of course,
Pancit, in its countless, tasty incarnations. 🙂  (See a list of many different pancit at the bottom of this page)
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In Filipino cuisine, pancit or pansit are noodles. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí) which literally means “convenient food.” (Wiki excerpt)
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My version today is a typical “homestyle pansit”, in that one uses pansit noodles with some protein (optional) and some vegetables, whatever one finds in the market that day. (When I was living there, regular folks bought all food that was not dried, fresh in the market every day. Few working -class families could afford a fridge, never mind a freezer. By the way, it was the same when I was a small kid back in Germany, my mom got her first fridge when I was about 6 years old. We did, however, have a freezer, albeit only during winter time –  it was the shelf in front of our kitchen window which during the rest of the year held plants and flowers 🙂  
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The great convenience of pancit noodles is that you cook them right in the stock you are using. The noodles will keep their “al dente” texture even if you add a bit too much stock or if you cook them a minute longer as you should. They will soak-up all the stock and its flavor, as long as they have simmered for a few minutes and then rest in the stock until done. Convenience food ! 🙂
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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Wiki excerpt:

  • Buko Pancit (coconut strips are substituted for noodles, a specialty of Quezon province)
  • Pancit Abra (common in Northern Luzon particularly in the province of Abra)
  • Pancit Alanganin
  • Pancit ni Juli
  • Pancit Alahoy
  • Pancit Batchoy
  • Pancit Bato is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur.
  • Pancit Bihon Guisado
  • Pancit Bihongundoy
  • Pancit Cabagan
  • Pancit Canton (Lo mein and chow mein)
  • Pancit Canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit Chami (Lucena City, Quezon)
  • Pancit Estacion (Tanza, Cavite)
  • Pancit Habhab (Lucban, Quezon)
  • Pancit Kilawin (a variety pancit originated from Rosario, Cavite. In lieu of pancit noodles, shredded unripe papaya fruit is used cooked with vinegar and fish. Usually partnered with Dinuguan dish)
  • Pancit Kinalas (Naga City, Camarines Sur)
  • Pancit Lanu (San Vicente Street in San Pedro, Laguna)
  • Pancit Lomi (Batangas)
  • Pancit Lucban
  • Pancit Luglog
  • Pancit Malabon
  • Pancit Mami (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Mayaman (Guinayangan, Quezon)
  • Pancit Miki (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Míki-Bíhon Guisado (round egg noodles + bihon)
  • Pancit Olongapo (Pancit Miki with Sarsa sauce. Miki cooked in tradition added with sarsa a thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened a little with soy sauce of choice)
  • Pancit Molo (wonton soup with wonton wrappers added to the broth, serving as its “noodles”)
  • Pancit Moròng
  • Pancit Palabok
  • Pancit Pula (variation of Pancit Miki from Batangas City)
  • Pancit Pusit
  • Pancit Sotanghon
  • Pansit Sabaw (Pansit Miki with soup)
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong
  • Pansit Sinanta (also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto)

Pancit bihon (bijon)

Pancit bihon (aka bijon) is the type usually associated with the word “pancit“, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone’s personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic ingredients in a pancit bihon.

Pancit palabok and pancit luglug are essentially the same dish, the difference being primarily in the noodles used in the recipe. Luglug uses a thicker noodle than the traditional bihon of a pancit palabok. Both pancit dishes use a round rice noodle (often specifically labeled for pancit luglug or palabok) smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce, and topped with:

  • Shrimp, (the size and shell-on or shell-off depending on preference)
  • Crushed or ground pork rind
  • Hard-boiled egg (sliced into disks or quartered lengthwise or chopped)
  • Tinapa (smoked fish) flakes
  • Freshly minced green onion

Pancit palabok/pancit luglog and pancit canton are communal comfort food, and can be found at nearly all Filipino potluck parties. They are best made and eaten in batches for they are easily consumed.

Pancit sotanghon is a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.

Batil patong is not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and “cara-beef” beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar or calamansi, chili peppers, and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong literally “scrambled and placed on top” is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizos are also added on top.

Pancit Lomi Originally from Batangas, Pancit Lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now you will see different lomihans (eateries with just lomi) whipping up their own pancit lomi, panciterias (eateries specializing in pancit) adding it in their menu, and carinderias (which are usually offering the usual viands and not pancit) starting to offer it alongside its other rice-based meals.

Seaweed pancit

Tiwi, Albay residents created a new pancit made from seaweed, which has health benefits. It is rich in calcium and magnesium and the seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti, or carbonara.

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Not Your Typical Poolside Snack

Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Lately, the weather has been perfect for poolside meals – not too hot, not too windy, no rain.
Bella has taken on to take a swim in the pool whenever we are in the back. She used to hate the water, but all of a sudden she has become a big fan. For me, the water is still a bit too cold to enjoy swimming, but I love to cook outside and eating al fresco next to the water. Life is Good 🙂
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Bon Appetit !  Living In Florida Is Great (Mostly)  🙂
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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Preparation :
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