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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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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”) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Goan Food  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Indian  Food  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Garam Masala Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion

Click here to read all about  Goa

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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Goan Tandoori Pork Ribs With Aloo Palak

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

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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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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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During my shopping trips to Foodtown Supermarket in Davie, about 5 minutes drive from my home, I usually go to their cooked food section, which has a great selection of Chinese roasted meat – Peking duck, cha siu, roast chicken, etc. I usually buy my dinner there, which I did a few days ago. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, resulting in leftover char siu for today. What better way to use leftover cha siu than in steamed buns or soup? Making steamed bun dough was out of the question because of ….. laziness :-),  so soup was the order of today, and here is the result 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Cha Siu ( 叉燒 )
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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper -Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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The success of this dish hinges entirely on the proper preparation of the liver nuggets. They must be crisp on the outside, medium-rare to medium (depending on your preference) on the inside and spicy but not mouthburningly so.
Seem’s easy enough, as long as you know how to handle VERY HOT fat.
If the temperature is not right, the nuggets will get well-done before they are crisp, resulting in a rubbery, dry and even tough protein. But when done right, they are truly wonderful. The result is a great dish that belies its humble ingredients.
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P.S.
If you can procure duck livers to replace the chicken livers, they will lift this dish from merely wonderful to absolute divine 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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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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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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I am a big fan of chocolate mousse, but usually it is served a bit too sweet for my taste. On the other hand, the mousse featured on this page is quicker and easier to make than the more traditional French version, while every bit as delicious – serious lovers of dark chocolate may find themselves liking it even more (I sure do). 🙂
The tart yogurt and total absence of cream and eggs let the fruity side of good dark chocolate really break free, for a bright and tangy mousse that won’t make you want to crawl into bed after a few spoonfuls.
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Greek Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse Recipe :
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Ingredients:
6 oz good-quality dark chocolate with 70% cacao, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tblsp Grand Marnier
cup whole Greek yogurt
2 tblsp orange marmalade
1 tblsp organic honey
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Method:
Place the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until you have a smooth ganache.
In a small bowl, beat the Greek yogurt with a small whisk or a fork until smooth.
Fold the yogurt into the chocolate mixture using a spatula until thoroughly combined, then stir in the honey, Grand Marnier, marmalade and 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds.
Spoon the mousse into four small or three slightly larger serving cups and chill until firm,covered with plastic wrap.
To serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with topping of your choice, such as fresh fruits and/or nuts. Serves 3-4.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

 

 

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While a whole roast chicken is a wonderful thing, my regular grocery store now charges about $ 10.00 for a medium-sized bird (tax included), which makes it just too expensive in my opinion (Not the $10.00 itself, but the fact that a supermarket now can charge $10.00 for a simple, low quality, frozen chicken and get away with it)
Mind you, these are not the never-frozen, super fresh and healthy birds I can get at my Asian grocer, but rather mass-produced, completely tasteless chicken with no texture or taste to write home about. 😦  I guess only us old folks remember how good chicken meat actually tastes 🙂
So, lately I have turned to buy nearly all my chicken (as well as most other meat and seafood) either at my neighborhood Asian/International grocer/butcher, or, for even more bargains, especially beef and chicken, at one of the individually owned latino groceries/butchers, which are in abundance around here, such as Sedanos, Bravo, Presidente, to name a few large chains, as well as the countless Mexican, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Columbian, etc groceries/butchers, which thrive here in South Florida.
A 10 lbs bag of chicken legs, thighs, wings or breasts are usually around $5.00 to $8.00, compared to around $40.00 to $60.00 at my regular store, (or much higher for boneless breasts), with the quality usually notably better at the Latino or Asian/International food stores. The same goes for just about ALL meat, seafood, vegetables and canned food. Which goes to show once again, it helps (big time) to shop around, especially for food, which, like it or not, we use every day of our lives. We all tend to fall into the trap of convenience and shopping at familiar places, while these establishments get ever bigger and more and more expensive, while their quality usually suffers along with their customer service. Some of the huge chains are represented at every corner of town with multi million dollar stores and store managers who make well over $100.000.00 a year. Guess who pays for all that.
While I do enjoy the convenience of a chain store which I have frequented for well over 20 years, nowadays’ I enjoy a bargain even more.
So, while I still purchase certain stuff at my fancy regular place, I also buy most of the expensive items at the “Little Guy’s”.
BTW, I also have started to buy bulk items (canned food/ oils/ paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc, online at Amazon(Prime) and Walmart, which saves me another bundle every month and is even more convenient than my grocer around the corner 🙂
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Bon Appétit !  Life is Good !  (When you can safe a bundle ) 🙂
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing Recipe
Prick 1 lb grape tomatoes with a toothpick all over. For the dressing, mix 1/2 cup greek yogurt with 2 tblsp honey, 3 tblsp fresh lemon juice, 1/3 tsp garlic paste, 2 ea sliced scallion stalks, a pinch of oregano and coriander, and cayenne pepper and kosher salt to taste.
Mix with the tomatoes, cover airtight, marinade overnight in fridge.
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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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

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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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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Excerpt from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or a frying pan and is usually mixed with other ingredients such as eggsvegetables, seafood, or meat. It is often eaten by itself or as an accompaniment to another dish. Fried rice is a popular component of EastSoutheast and certain South Asian cuisines. As a homemade dish, fried rice is typically made with ingredients left over from other dishes, leading to countless variations. Being an economical hodgepodge, the same approach is often taken with fried noodles or pyttipanna as well. Fried rice first developed during the Sui Dynasty in China and as such all fried rice dishes can trace their origins to Chinese fried rice.

Many popular varieties of fried rice have their own specific list of ingredients. In Greater China, the most famous varieties include Yangzhou fried rice and Hokkien fried rice. Japanese chāhan is considered a Japanese Chinese dish, having derived from Chinese fried rice dishes. Korean bokkeum-bap in general is not, although there is a Korean Chinese variety of bokkeum-bap. In Southeast Asia, similarly constructed Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean nasi goreng and Thai khao phat are popular dishes. In the West, most restaurants catering to vegetarians have invented their own varieties of fried rice, including egg fried rice. Fried rice is also seen on the menus of American restaurants offering cuisines with no native tradition of the dish. Additionally, there are variations of fried rice in Middle and South Americas. Some of these variations include Ecuadorian chaulafan, Peruvian arroz chaufa, Cuban arroz frito, and Puerto Rican arroz mamposteao.

Fried rice is a popular street food in Asia. In some Asian countries, small restaurants, street vendors and traveling hawkers specialize in serving fried rice. In Indonesian cities it is common to find fried rice street hawkers moving through the streets with their food cart and stationing it in busy streets or residential areas. Many Southeast Asian street food stands offer fried rice with a selection of optional garnishes and side dishes”.

P.S.
If you ever wonder why fried rice in some chinese restaurants is so beautifully golden in color, here is the answer: Add a pinch of turmeric 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Rice Dishes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Curried Beef And Mushroom Buddha Bowl

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Curried Beef And Mushroom Buddha Bowl

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Named for its big, round Buddha belly shape, a “Buddha bowl” can mean different things to different people, but here I am talking about the culinary meaning, which is a one-dish meal consisting of rice or pasta, whole grains, veggies, protein (by way of meat or seafood, beans, tofu, lentils) and a dressing or sauce, even hot or cold cereals, savory with meat and veggies, or cold with fruits or jello.
What they all have in common is that since the name contains the word “Bowl”, it usually features uncomplicated, tasty, satisfying comfort food that is eaten unceremoniously, with just a spoon or fork.
Like so many other foods, because of its simplicity, it usually contains quality ingredients and is highly seasoned, anywhere from very mild to fiery hot.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Curried Dishes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Bowls  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Beef  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for a list of  Rice Dishes from around the World
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Click here for a list of  Fried Rice Dishes
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Click here for  a list of  Rice Beverages
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Click here for a list of  Rice Varieties
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Click here for a list of  Pakistani Rice Dishes

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Curried Beef And Mushroom Buddha Bowl

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Curried Beef And Mushroom Buddha Bowl

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Curried Beef And Mushroom Buddha Bowl

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boneless chicken – 35 cents each

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

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Tomato, Gorgonzola, Anchovies And Onion Salad In White Balsamic Vinaigrette (Ensalada alla Via Candia)

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Tomato, Gorgonzola, Anchovies And Onion Salad In White Balsamic Vinaigrette

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And suddenly,  Ensalada Caprese  has strong competition …….. !!!
(The clear winner in my book :  Ensalada alla Via Candia ) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Gnocchi alla Via Candia  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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White Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe And Serving Suggestion:
Mix 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup EVO, 1/2 tsp grey poupon, 1/4 tsp garlic paste, a dash of Maggi seasoning, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste, whisk until emulsified, check/adjust taste.

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Tomato, Gorgonzola, Anchovies And Onion Salad In White Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Tomato, Gorgonzola, Anchovies And Onion Salad In White Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Preparation :
Please follow the visual instruction.
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures.

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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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Cannellini And Potato Stew With Ham Hocks

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Cannellini And Potato Stew With Ham Hocks
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A Ham Hock / Stelze / Hough / Schweinshaxe /  Golonka / Sauhaxn / Stinco / Wädli / Fläsklägg or / Pork Knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of a pig, where the foot was attached to the hog‘s leg.
It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham-proper nor the ankle or foot (trotter), but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone.

(Or, as I like to think, it’s one of the very best parts of the pig).  🙂

Since they generally consists of much skin, tendons and ligaments, ham hocks requires long cooking through stewing or braising to be made palatable (or long, slow roasting). Hocks can be cooked with greens and other vegetables or in flavorful sauces. They are often added to soups, such as pea and ham soup, with the meat being added to the soup prior to serving. The meat of particularly meaty hocks may be removed and served as is. Ham hocks, like hog jowls (pigs’ cheeks), add a distinctive flavor to various dishes. This is particularly true for collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, green beans and navy beans.

Ham hocks, fresh, brined, or smoked, are an essential ingredients for the distinct flavor in soul food and other forms of American Southern country cooking. In the Mid-Atlantic States, in rural regions settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch, hocks are a commonly used ingredient for making a kind of meat loaf called scrappleEisbein is the name of the joint in north German, and at the same time the name of a dish of roasted ham hock, called Schweinshaxe in BavariaStelze in Austria and Wädli in Switzerland. Golonka is a very popular Polish barbecued dish using this cut. Ham hocks are also popular when boiled with escarole, more commonly called endives, in Italian-American cuisineFläsklägg med rotmos is a Swedish dish consisting of cured ham hocks and a mash of rutabaga and potatoes, served with sweet mustard. In Canada, and particularly Montreal, ham hocks are referred to as “pigs’ knuckles” and are served in bistros and taverns with baked beans. In northern Italy ham hocks are referred to as stinco, and is often served roast whole with sauerkraut.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Stews  on  ChefsOpinion
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Cannellini Beans And Potato Stew

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Cannellini And Potato Stew With Ham Hocks

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Cannellini And Potato Stew With Ham Hocks

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Cannellini And Potato Stew With Ham Hocks

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

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How My Bout With Cancer Made Me Stronger (So Far…..)

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April 2018:
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The phone is ringing, I pick up, my Otolaryngologist is on the other end.
(A bad sign right there – when does your doctor ever call you personally?)
This was the conversation:

Doctor:                  “Good day, Mr Susser, we received the test results”
Me:                        “God afternoon Doctor. Is it Cancer?”
Doctor:                  “Unfortunately, yes”
Me:                        “That’s what I thought. What’s going to happen now?”
Doctor:                  ”I need you to come to my office.
– Let my assistant give you the time and date;
– Please stay on the line, I’ll connect you”
Me:                         “Thank you doctor for calling me”
Doctor:                  “You are welcome. Good afternoon”

Wow, that was not at all how the movies and our imagination have us believe the doctors will reveal “The Big C” to us, which goes something like this:

You see the doctor in his private, well-appointed office, (all deep dark leather furniture, brass accents and tasteful art on the wall).
The doctor sits on the edge of his desk close to you, talking with a somber, kind and soothing voice :

– “Hans, can I offer you a glass of water” (or an old scotch)
– “Hans, I have not-so good news”.
– “The test revealed that the lump is cancerous”
– “But, Hans, don’t despair and don’t give up hope, we will go through this together”
– “Do you need a minute alone?”
– “Are you ok to drive home alone?”
– “Do you want me to call someone?”
– “Pls call me ANYTIME, here is my cellphone #”
– Go home now and be assured, together we will do everything in our power to solve this”

Nope.  That’s the movies !
While this might still play out for you if you have the same doctor for 30 years and live in perfect Lala Land, the fact is that 1000’s of people are diagnosed with cancer every day, so the real world looks a lot more unsparing and cold then one would hope for in a crappy moment like this.

In my humble opinion, the most important thing when you get hit with the bomb shell, is the following:

If you want to stay sane and live as well as possible after getting the news, don’t think you suffer from something that is uniquely unfair and brutal to you.
Millions of others share the same burden.
Don’t give up on life, don’t think this is the end of it !  (It may be – but most likely it is NOT !”
Rather, be positive, and you’ll probably find out that you can be stronger than you ever thought you could be in such a miserable situation.
Without a doubt, Cancer is a monster punch in the guts, most likely one of the worst in your entire life, but with some luck and all the strength you can muster, you might walk away from it – at least for some extension of  your life, which you can use to learn how to deal with the situation ahead, support your loved ones who will suffer tremendously with this reality they must share, but ultimately, enjoy the bonus time you have been given, by your God, your doctors, your own strength and a bit of luck.

Since so many people suffer from this unfortunate and horrible disease, research and treatment has advanced in huge leaps in the past few years, and chances of recovery have improved accordingly.

As for my own situation, here is what happened so far:

My first break was that the cancer had not yet spread from my tongue and throat to other areas of my body when I got my first  PET Scan, so chances of my healing are promising.
My second break was my strong believe and trust in God. (I do not believe in religion at all, but God is with me every step of my life. I pray daily and I trust God absolutely.
My faith in Him gives me great power and tranquility in difficult situations like the one at hand.
My third break was that I have my beloved Bella on my side, who always keeps me going, no matter how bad things get and no matter what stones lay in our path.
My fourth break was that I live close to what many consider one of the very best cancer clinics in the land, the Memorial West Cancer Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida, where I received all treatment.
My fifth break was the utmost professionalism of the gracious radiation technicians and chemo nurses who made me feel comfortable, relaxed and as if I was singularly very special and not one of the many patients they help every single day.
My sixth break was that I have the best, most capable, utmost professional, friendly, warm sympathetic, caring and all-around great doctors I could have wished for, in both my Medical Oncologist, Dr Gelenis Domingo, who is super friendly, caring and professional, as well as my Radiation Oncologist, Dr Michael Burdick.
Incredibly for me, from the very moment I met both these doctors, I felt a special optimism and trust in them to provide me with the very best care possible.
Both doctors made me feel as if I am their most important patient, always supportive, ready to listen whenever I had a doubt, never making me feel as if we were running out of time during a conversation, and both helped me enormously to stay positive 99.9 % of the time during my treatment.
On top of that, Dr Burdick is also the most down to earth and approachable doctor I have ever  met.
Now guess, do I love my doctors ? 😊

Actually, ALL the people I came in contact with at the clinic –  volunteers, front desk staff, nurses, Oncology Nurses, Radiation Technicians and everybody else at the clinic were wonderful and superbly kind and professional.
Even the Department Director who took the time out of his surely busy day to contact me about a small issue I had, could not have been more caring, courteous and friendly.
My Gratitude and Love to all the Staff, Doctors and Management at  Memorial West Cancer Institute !
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But then,  there were the not so positive sides of the coin.

Badly burned skin around the area of the radiation, resulting in strong pain.
Badly burned throat, resulting in tremendous pain and making it impossible for months to eat solid food, or drinking anything else than plain, lukewarm water. Thank you dear morphine, to help me be able to get through this without going bonkers !
General loss of muscle mass, resulting in (so far) permanent fatigue and weakness.
Horrible skin problems, which have started to heal slowly (Imagine having the worst possible sunburn on a large percentage of your body, not just at the area that has been burned by the radiation, but all over the body. At first, it was just bright red, then itching so bad I had to take strong medicine to handle it and get a bit of sleep at night. Then, the skin peeling off in hand-sized patches, leaving small parts of exposed flesh, which sting like bees when I take a shower.
Permanent hair loss on most of the area where I proudly sported a beard for 40 years. (Still vain after all these years). 😊
However, thankfully, these and a few other small things were the only negative symptoms so far.
Knowing how much more many other cancer patients suffer, not only from cancer itself, but also (mostly?) from radiation and chemo, I consider myself very lucky to have suffered relatively little so far.
Yes, I do consider myself lucky !
After all, I was 65 years old when this started and have lived a blessed, eventful, interesting, exiting and mostly wonderful life.
Some people get hit by this when much younger, some even when still in their childhood. So who am I to complain about my misfortune ? !

But, I also must pat my own back, for being strong and positive during this (ongoing) ordeal, which at times was not an easy task to accomplish.

As my friends know, I live alone with my dog Bella.
When you love somebody, be it a person or an animal, you make sure that you do everything in your power to ensure the well-being of that person or animal, even if you are nearly too weak or in too much pain to even move.
In Bella’s case, she needs to be fed once a day, get a snack 4 times a day, she needs to go for a long walk (30/45 minutes minimum) at least twice a day and for a few more short walks at least three times a day.

And then, there is taking care of myself.

– During treatment, just getting up in the morning was often the first high hurdle.
– Taking a shower can be tricky when you tend to lose your balance due to all the med’s.
– Then on to make the bed daily and changing the linens often.
– Preparing meals from scratch almost daily, usually a pureed vegetable soup or fruit soup, once a day to last for a few small meals during the whole day.
– Driving and shopping for necessities.
– Driving to and from treatment.
– Cleaning the apartment between the cleaning ladies’ visits.  (Those of you who know me, my place is always spick and span, even when sick as a dog,)
There are of course many more chores one must complete daily. Under normal circumstances, we do these chores almost automatically and with none or minimum effort. However, while being in treatment and for a certain time afterwards (usually a few months), these chores can become hard to navigate obstacles, which require a strong will, digging very deep into one’s own motivation and the will to survive, requiring a constant effort to overcome the adversaries of daily life.

Of course, I do have friends and neighbors who offered help (most of them obviously hoping that I will decline), but I am grateful that I also have a few genuine and generous friends, whose offers of help were frequent, heartfelt and real.
(Thank you, Dieter and Chacha, Curtis and Ana, Gaby and Ralf, Peter and the entire Ayala Family).
Actually, one friend flew-in all the way from Germany for a few days, just to make sure I can cope.
(Thanks again, Heiner)

Despite all the offers, I mostly declined any help from everybody, for two reasons:
– First – that’s just the way I am. I prefer to give, rather than to take, unless there is no other option.
– Second – I pride myself to have enormous self-discipline in most tough situations, and therefore be able to pull myself out of trouble, most of the time.
(However, I am a mushy softie when it comes to people who do me wrong and whom I will forgive anyway – I do need to improve my self-discipline a bit in that area).

In a nutshell, my reason to decline help during this ordeal was that if I would give in easily and get soft on myself when things get tough, I would start to depend on others. As a result, I’d become weak and suffer even more, all else being equal.

As for my relationships with people, most “Friends” and even some family with whom I had steady contact for 20, 30 or even 40 years, did not make the tiny effort to contact me and try to lift-up my state of mind a bit by just periodically having a chat.
Mind you, I am not sad, upset or disappointed about this, after all, I am old enough to realize that most folks are too consumed with their own life to give a hood about others. I learned that early on in life, being generous and getting very little or nothing in return (physically, materialistically and mentally).
In the past, I nearly always was the one who toke the first step and kept relationships alive, by calling, skype, writing or visiting. (Of course there were a few exceptions of the norm).

When my beloved wife Maria was still alive and we lived in the big house by the lake, when we threw huge parties with life bands and disc jockeys at least once a month and sometimes twice, when there was an abundance of food and drinks (and some of the good stuff to smoke) for all to indulge-in freely, when we opened our house for whole families to spend their vacations (some even brought friends along), of course THEN people were eager to show up at the door, there was a never-ending supply of “friends” and the phone would not stop ringing.
But once that ended and especially now after cancer knocked…….. deafening silence.
Whereas before I would forgive and forget and say I love you anyway, in the future I refuse to waste my time with “friends” who are just drinking and eating buddies, ready to have a freebie but otherwise just occupy space in my head, my heart and in my wallet.
Of course I realized most of this in the past, and Maria and some of my real friends pointed that out to me often, but I was too forgiving and let them take advantage of our generosity.
Well then, good riddance to those “friends. (I needed a bit of venting here, sorry.…..) 😊

But there is a silver lining after all !
Instead being influenced negatively by all of this, I welcome the experience and its lesson, because even this has made me tougher now, when I need it most.

By now you probably ask yourself – what the heck has all that to do with cancer ???

Well, let me explain. When you sit at home alone for months and don’t know if this is the end of your life, you tend to think about these otherwise unimportant things, trying to figure out how much of your life you wasted – wasted with what, wasted with whom, and how to proceed if cancer does not win this battle.
Once I realized that I will not waste my time and my energy with fake friends and their lack of compassion anymore,  my mind was freed from lots of useless baggage.
This influenced my positive outlook and made me a stronger person, realizing that life is too short to spend wasting on petty people and trivial stuff, but that from here on I must concentrate more on the folks and things that really matter in my life.
The realization of all this helped me gain much focus and mental strength, to fight cancer with all the energy I can muster.
For myself, every bit helps, both physically and mentally.
While I have seen many people break psychologically from cancer, so far it has made me mentally stronger, which is all that counts right now.
I will do my best to get even stronger as time goes by, both mentally and physically.

                                                                                Life is Good !
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August 2018:
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While my chemo and radiation have run their course for now, it will take another two months until I find out if the treatment was successful and if I am cancer free.
(My next PET Scan is scheduled for the middle of October)
But, even if declared cancer free then, the cancer can return any time and regular check-ups will be necessary every three months, for the duration of five years.
Only then will the cancer be declared completely defeated.
In the meantime, and no matter what the outcome may be, I intend to enjoy life with all I’ve got.

 

 

                                                                             As for my future ,
                                                                     I’ll See, I Hope, and I Pray!

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P.S.
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Friends, please know that I don’t feel sorry for myself, on the contrary, I feel blessed.
The reason I want to share my story is to give people in the same or similar situation hope and motivation, to be strong and get themselfes and their loved ones out of a depression and hoplessness from which they might suffer.
As I said above, I believe every bit helps.
I hope that folks who read it pass it on through their own social network, instead of thinking:
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“If it does not touch me, it does not concern me”
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Below are a few pic’s to illustrate my journey so far:

 

 

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A short Time before it all started

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Bella
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Bella

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Daily Treatment                                                Daily Treatment
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My new look. I kind of like my goatee 😊

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And there you have it!

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