Grab Bag

Test – Result

Dear ChefsOpinion Subscribers,
There seems to be a glitch with my wordpress account.
If you received this post in your inbox folder or have received a email notice about this post, please comment “Received” in the comment box.
Thanks a million. 🙂
Hans
.

.

Thanks everybody for your quick responses 🙂
The problem seems to be fixed.
Life is Good !
.
We might not share the largest food blog, but the love is real 🙂
.
friends
.

.

.

Advertisements

“God sends meat and the Devil sends Cooks”

>
0

>
>
Dear Friends,
<
Following find an article written by my friend Randy Burns which I would like to share with you all :
>
>

“I heard this proverb recently and I must admit that the impact of it made me stop and think, it resonated profoundly with me.

Regardless of one’s personal perception/reaction to this sentiment every Cook that I spoke with about this liked and appreciated it, they all felt an affinity with it as I did.

 This simple phrase is a thread that I can grasp and follow 500 years into the past to gain an insight into my predecessors as well as the kitchen mentality in general. This phrase resonates with me as it is just as poignant and applicable today as it was when it was first uttered so long ago. Our history is very long and volumes can be written and discussed, (in my last article I mention that we have been cooking over fire for 1.5 M years!),

But what does it mean? What would have caused someone to formulate a concept such as this? (and why do cooks have such a positive reaction to it). It’s always difficult to second guess someone one else’s meaning and context, especially when it has been removed by 500 years, but I will offer you my interpretation.

Simply put; Life in the Middle Ages was brutal. Working in kitchens was no better and in many ways worse than other professions/trades. Conditions were very unsanitary, smoky/poor air quality, long hours of hard work and HOT Kitchens. (not much different than a Cook’s life today? LMAO!). All cooking was done over an open fire, indoors. There was no refrigeration and “fresh” being a relative term meant that most “creative” cooking was to mask and disguise tainted and even rotten food. Perhaps it is only a servant of the Devil that can survive and excel in this environment? They say that little slices of Heaven can be found in our world; are kitchens a little slice of Hell?

It is high summer here in Northern Alberta, we hit the 36 degrees C outside today and one of the younger Cooks complained about how hot it was in the kitchen. I looked at him and without even thinking about it I said;

“If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen” (LMAO!!!)

I don’t think one has the luxury of that choice in Hell; do you?

Is Thomas Deloney’s proverb a commentary on the heat in a kitchen? It seems to be a constant throughout our history, and NO, not every one can hack it. Only the most ruthless survive as a Cook.

Merchant and Craft Guilds were prevalent throughout Europe at this time which included several Culinary groups. This development was a boon for trades/professions as it began the organization, standardization and structure for all; Cooking was no exception. This is where and when our apprenticeship program began and although the “Guild” system diminished around 1800 the “City & Guilds of London Institute” was resurrected in 1878 to continue the education/certification program. Virtually every Cook/Chef that I’ve worked with from the U.K. has gone through this excellent school.

At it’s peak there were over 100 Guilds, further reading can be seen in the “sources” section at the end of this post, (and it is fascinating reading), but I would like to mention one and offer a brief history.

From Wikipedia;

“The written history of the guild of “Les Oyers” or “Goose Roasters” has been traced back to the year 1248. At that time, King Louis IX assigned Étienne Boileau, the Provost of Paris, with the task of bringing order into the organization of trades and guilds, developing young apprentices and improving the technical knowledge of guild members. He gathered together the charters of more than 100 of these trades, among them the Goose Roasters.

Over the years, the activities and privileges of the Goose Roasters Guild were extended to preparing and selling all kinds of meat, including poultry and venison.

In 1509, during the reign of King Louis XII, some new statutes were introduced, which resulted in the change of the name of the guild to “Rôtisseurs” and the restriction of its activities to poultrygame birdslamb and venison. In 1610, under King Louis XIII, the guild was granted a royal charter and its own coat of arms.

For over four centuries, the “Confrérie” or brotherhood of the Roasters cultivated and developed culinary art and high standards of professionalism and quality—standards befitting the splendor of the “Royal Table”—until the guild system was disbanded, together with all others, in 1793 during the French Revolution. The Rôtisseurs were almost forgotten until 1950 when Dr. Auguste BecartJean Valby and “Prince” Curnonsky, and chefs Louis Giraudon and Marcel Dorin resurrected the Society and created La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs”

(Source;https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confr%C3%A9rie_de_la_Cha%C3%AEne_des_R%C3%B4tisseurs )

I mention “The Chaine…” here as I’ve been a very active member, in the past, for well over 20 years. Along with “The Chaine” I’ve also been active with other gourmet groups/societies and Chef’s Associations. Looking at it from the perspective of this article I realize that this could be considered as “Culinary Evangelism”; Yes I’m spreading “The Word”.

One of the most appealing and gratifying aspects, amongst many others, of participating in The Chaine is the education and that feeling of connection with our past, our history and heritage.

Obviously I talk a lot about history, I believe that it’s important, especially in our business.

We need to know where we came from, to know how we got to where we are today; we need to see the bigger picture than just the microcosm that is your personal kitchen; and it is a very big picture indeed! Besides the educational aspects I find the history fascinating and enlightening. For anyone interested in reading more research Auguste Escoffier. For any Cooks out there not familiar with him, and yes there are some, this is mandatory reading;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Escoffier

Although I knew that the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs had, (and still have today), their own coat of arms, (which I always displayed in the dining room of my restaurants), I was not aware that other culinary guilds were awarded them as well.

Note that most Coat of Arms have a “Motto/Battle Cry” along the bottom, generally written in Latin.

See first the Coat of Arms of the Butcher’s Guild

Motto;

“Sub Pedibus Omnia Subiecta Oves et boves”

Translation;

“Under the Feet is Subject to All of the Sheep and the oxen”

Here is the Coat of Arms for Cooks

Motto;

“Vulnerati non Victi”

Translation;

“Wounded not Defeated”

Admittedly my Latin is a little rusty so I researched these translations and used several sites to determine the most accurate. I researched the Butcher’s first, fairly straight forward.

Then I did the Cook’s; I freely confess that I almost had a baby when I saw this translation, this is the “mood” of a Cook; and not in a negative way. It expresses the indomitable spirit that one needs in order to survive in the kitchen; it’s perfect, and it’s been around for over 500 years but it is as poignant and applicable today as it was back then. Could it also be an expression/illustration of the circumstance that the Devil is in? (after all weren’t we sent by him.) Maybe the healing is our redemption but until that day comes we will continue doing what we do, and enjoying every minute of it.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that the Devil was once an Angel and although he’s fallen from grace even he has a chance for redemption, as we ALL do. Perhaps we are his redeemers paying his penance in the daily grind of “Hell’s kitchen”. Perhaps we are all paying our penance in the kitchen for redemption. As I constantly say there is no where else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be doing, nor is there a more worthy or noble cause. How about a little sympathy for the Devil?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btyxW8LRKn0

I talk and write a lot about the “mood”, the psychology/philosophy, the history of kitchens, cooking and Cooks. Obviously it is a life long passion. It is an alternative lifestyle and as a Wise Chef told me a long time ago, “The kitchen is NOT for the faint of heart”. I can absolutely vouch for that. A Cook is many, many things and yes we can be irreverent, rude, crass, explosive along with passionate, dedicated, motivated. One of my favorite “Culinary” authors is Anthony Bourdain, (R.I.P. Tony). His writing “cuts the crap” and shows not just us who we are, but exposes us to the rest of the world; for the better in my opinion. Tony has some great adventure stories of us swashbuckling Cooks!

I believe in “The Yin & Yang” of life and in order to have the divine within us, we must also include the Devil; you can’t have one without the other, embrace them both.

 Reality Check;

OK so maybe I’ve finally lost it; the over 40 years of “baking my noodle” in a sweltering kitchen has finally taken it’s toll and it’s time to put me out to pasture but I feel a real affinity with both Deloney’s quote and with the Cooks “Battle Cry”. They both express, personify, and illustrate a Cook’s mindset and perspective brilliantly. Time to resurrect a little history.

I think all of you Cooks out there can relate to this; for all of you non-Cooks out there just ask a cook what they think of Thomas Deloney’s proverb and see what their reaction is to the motto/battle cry on our Coat of Arms, I believe that you’ll get a sparkle in their eye, a big smile, and an emphatic “Hell Yah!”

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Further reading on the Psychology/Philosophy of kitchens;

https://www.linkedin.com/in/randy-burns-476a2214/detail/recent-activity/posts/

Sources;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confr%C3%A9rie_de_la_Cha%C3%AEne_des_R%C3%B4tisseurs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild

http://www.medieval-spell.com/Medieval-Guilds.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motto

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_and_Guilds_of_London_Institute

https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/prayer/arts-and-faith/culinary-arts/the-patron-saints-of-the-culinary-arts “

  .

.

.

Tomato & Parmigiano Reggiano Salad

>

Tomato & Parmigiano Reggiano Salad

>
>
Most probably, I am one of only ten people in the whole wide world who does not love Insalata Caprese .
While I am a big fan of cheese, tomato, and basil, raw mozzarella is just not my cup of tea.
Parmigiano Reggiano on the other hand, is something I could eat (and I do) for breakfast, lunch , dinner and any time in between. (Bella is also a fan).  🙂
This featured salad of Parmigiano Reggiano, tomatoes, basil and onions is something that shows up on our dinner table typically at least once a week. Usually, I make at least two or three portions, because, like so many simple foods, it tastes even better the next day. 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Tomato & Parmigiano Reggiano Salad

>

Tomato & Parmigiano Reggiano Salad

>


>
>
>

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

>
>
>

 

>
>

P.S.
.
This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  – 
MONTH TWO
.
Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

>
>
>
>
>

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

When contemplating what to prepare for a combined breakfast/lunch today, I found that I had some leftover cooked potatoes, leftover “cebollas en escabeche” (escabeche de cebollas) and a packet of smoked salmon.
Within less than 10 minutes, this gorgeous dish was ready on the table.
Bella and I were happy and content, and cleanup was a snap. Easy peasy 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for  Cebollas En Escabeche  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Salmon  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

>

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

>
>
>
>

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

 

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

>

Today, I like to share a dish with you that I have prepared in its basic version hundreds of times over the years. It is a “a la minute” dish, so it requires no prolonged cooking and can be prepared on short notice (a la minute) and in just a few minutes of prepping and cooking.
The ingredients for the sauce are always the same – clarified butter, curry powder, turmeric powder, cumin, garlic paste, grated ginger, kosher salt, chicken, beef or vegetable stock, and heavy cream.
On the other hand, besides the sauce, anything goes. You can replace the potatoes, chick peas and shrimp with anything your heart desires and your belly craves – any poultry, any seafood, beef, veggies-only to make the dish vegetarian, even potatoes and tomatoes only (one of my favorites), and so forth…..
The sauce is what makes this dish so delicious and unique and I usually make more than the dish actually needs, so I can use the leftover sauce to flavor some rice or pasta, usually for a simple breakfast or a tasty midnight snack 🙂
The ratio of the ingredients for the sauce is also flexible and depends on the main ingredient you use.
While the basic sauce for two portions requires 1/2 cup stock, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 pinch of cumin, 1 tblsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp garlic paste, 1/4 tsp grated ginger and kosher salt to taste, I like to use more curry powder for beef and chicken dishes, more  cumin for lamb, more liquid for starchy dishes, less liquid for vegetable variations, etc.
As usual, please let the recipe I give you here serve as a guideline, which you can/should adjust according to your own preferences 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for my opinion on “Authentic Recipes”  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for  “Easy Does It Curry Sauce ” on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

>

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

>

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

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

>
>
>
>

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 57 – Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

>

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

>

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

Chicken, Spinach And Potato Frittata

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


>
>
>
>

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

>
>
English – Rice Porridge;  Japanese – Okayu;  Korean – Jukin;  Thai – Jok;  Tagalog – Lugao, Burmese – Hsan Pyok.
plain congee/law fu kee
>
In  my own experience, there’s no food more simple and more comforting than a bowl of congee, which is basically just rice cooked with a lot of liquid until it forms a soft porridge.
Congee can be enjoyed any time of the day (or night 🙂 and there are as many recipes and methods for making congee as there are restaurants, homes, mothers and grandmothers to prepare them. However, the basics are just water and rice, cooked until thickened to the texture you prefer, anywhere from very liquid to quite thick.
In this basic form, congee has provided a full belly as well as help against minor ailments since ancient times.
Additional ingredients and condiments for congee are limited only to ones fantasy, taste and wallet. (Lobster anyone?)
For some of the more adventurous variations of congee click HERE
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
>
Click here for more info on  Congee
>
Click here for more  Congee  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

>

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

>

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

>

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

Spicy Sausage And Spinach Congee

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

>
>
>
>

Ox Tripe Two Way’s

>
>


>
>
>
Even  though ox tripe is not everybody’s cup of tea, I myself am an incurable fan of it.
Originally classified as “Poor Man’s Food”, it has lately become more widely used, especially since the “Head To Tail” movement has become popular and it is now  “in”  to classify former “Poor Man’s Food” as “Comfort Food 🙂 .
Well, I grew up loving this type of food, so for today’s lunch, I made two versions, one for lunch and one to be re-heated at dinner.
Of course, there are a million recipes for ox tripe from around the world and I love most of them. But these two versions of (almost) the same recipe are without a doubt on the very top of my list. Great looks, super taste and outstanding texture lift them to the level of excellence the humble ox tripe deserves.
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Oxtripe  recipes on  ChefsOpinion   ( Mondongo/ Beef Tripe/ Kutteln/ 牛百叶/ 牛百葉/ Goto/ Tripa/ требухаأمعاء, شىء تافه )
>
>
>

Clear Ox Tripe Stew

Clear Ox Tripe Stew

>

Creamy Ox Tripe Stew

Creamy Ox Tripe Stew

>

Creamy Ox Tripe Stew

Creamy Ox Tripe Stew

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

>
>
>
>

“WhatAPig” – Pork & Peppers On Baguette

>
>
Every  so often, a quick sandwich is all I need to satisfy my culinary cravings.
The range of sandwiches I enjoy is wide and spans from a simple ham & cheese sandwich to the most elaborate lobster roll, foie gras on toast and anything in-between.
Today I feasted on such a typical “in-between” sandwich : The “WhatAPig”.
Although quick and easy to prepare, it does not lack in substance, taste and appearance and is a great meal for any occasion when sophistication is not required to impress 🙂
>
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Sandwiches  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>

WhatAPig - Pork & Peppers On Baguette

“WhatAPig” – Pork & Peppers On Baguette

>

WhatAPig - Pork & Peppers On Baguette

“WhatAPig” – Pork & Peppers On Baguette

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


>
>
>
>

Stir Fried Flower Mushrooms, Bok Choy And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

>
>
This  is my all-time favorite meatless entrée. I used to special-order this in Chinese restaurants which Maria and I frequented, but now I hardly go out anymore, so special orders are not something I want to bother the chefs with in places where I only show up once in a blue moon.
So, I prepare it for myself at home and usually it is at least as good as I could hope for in a restaurant 🙂
I don’t normally plan this in advance, but when I am at my neighborhood Asian market and see fresh Shiitake , also called Chinese mushroom or black mushroom, this dish is on the table the next day. (Especially if the “Flower Mushroom”, xiang-gu or huāgū (花菇) is available).
Today I had vegetable stock at hand from vegetables I prepped, blanched and froze in the morning for the coming week, so I used that instead of the chicken stock I usually use, which actually made it suitable for vegetarians to enjoy.
So, if you are looking for a great meat-less or vegetarian dish, this delicious beauty will serve you well 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
>

Stir Fried Flower Mushroomes, Bok Choi And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

Stir Fried Flower Mushrooms, Bok Choy And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

>

Stir Fried Flower Mushroomes, Bok Choi And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

Stir Fried Flower Mushrooms, Bok Choy And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

>

Stir Fried Flower Mushroomes, Bok Choi And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

Stir Fried Flower Mushrooms, Bok Choy And Carrots In Hoi Sin Sauce

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


>
>
>
>