Soups / Stews

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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


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

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Blanquette De Veau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Preparation :
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Pork Ribs And Lotus Roots In Tamarind Broth (Sinigang Na Baboy)

Pork Ribs And Lotus Roots In Tamarind Broth (Sinigang Na Baboy)

At least once a month it’s sinigang-time at my house. The protein I use most often is pork, but sometimes I use shrimp (Sinigáng na Hipon), fish (Sinigáng na Isdâ), beef (Sinigang na Baka) or chicken (Sinampalukang Manók). One can use any part of the pig for sinigang, but my personal favorite cuts are the ribs and/or tails. This morning I found fresh ribs at my butcher, which I turned into this not-so-ordinary sinigang (chard and lotus roots are not commonly used in sinigang).
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Pork Ribs And Lotus Roots In Tamarind Broth (Sinigang Na Baboy)

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Pork Ribs And Lotus Roots In Tamarind Broth (Sinigang Na Baboy)

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Preparation :
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Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

Meanwhile, in Florida…….

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Hurricane season has finally arrived in Florida, and boy, has it ARRIVED 😦
While God has spared us a hurricane so far, we had constant rainstorms for the past two weeks, resulting in extensive flooding, turning many streets into rivers and parking lots into lakes.
Hearty food is the partial answer to that misery, making up for the fact that outside grilling and outside cooking in general, is suspended for the moment.
This beef stew with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garbanzos, white beans, red beans and black beans is the perfect food to enjoy while looking out the window, watching the world drowning in rain and misery 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

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Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

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Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

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Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

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Preparation :
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Dinner  tonight was dictated by three factors :
# 1 – I had a big craving for soup.
# 2 – I had a lot of slightly over-ripe, soft tomatoes in my fridge.
# 3 – I was too lazy to prepare anything that kept me in the kitchen more than 15 minutes.
This bisque was the perfect solution. It only took a few minutes to chop the veggies, and once they were on the stove simmering away, all that was left to do until it was time to purée the soup after a couple of hours slowly simmering away, was to cut a few slices of white bread, butter them lightly on both sides, top it with some thin slices of gorgonzola and bake them for a few minutes in a 375F oven until the cheese melted and the underside of the bread was lightly toasted, then remove and let cool to room temperature, sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped Italian parsley. Done !
Total prep time for the soup and croûtons – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Total time from start to finish – about 2,5 hours. (The longer you simmer the soup, the more the tomato-taste intensifies ).
Enough soup for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Good Stuff 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Pork Sinigang (Sinigang na Baboy)

Yesterday  I had a long-standing wish fulfilled 🙂
(Mind you, there are “BIG WISHES” in life and then there are “small wishes” This was a small wish, but nevertheless, I am happy that it finally came through)
For years, I wished there’d be a good Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood, but there is only one that I know of within a few miles around, and frankly, that one sucks!
I don’t want to go into details, but believe me, if it would be halfway decent I would still go there. I have tried it three times, but all three times it was VERY disappointing, so I stopped going there and gave up hope. Whenever I needed a Pinoy food-fix, I had to prepare it myself.
So yesterday I went to do some errands in a close-by shopping center to which I have been going for more than 15 years. Much to my surprise, I saw a “new” restaurant named Manila Grill&BBQ  tucked away in a corner. (I asked an employee how long they’ve been open and he said more than two years)
I had never noticed it before, maybe because what sticks out on the sign is  Grill & BBQ,  so one does not quickly associate this with Pinoy food………..
The place is very clean, simply but nicely appointed and the employees are very friendly, attentive and professional.
The food, THE FOOD 🙂 – it was absolutely delightful, very authentic, nicely presented and wonderfully tasty. The prices are moderate and overall, it was one of the best lunch experiences I had in any restaurant in Miami in years.
You can read more about it here: Manila Grill & BBQ, Pembroke Pines, Florida
So now, back to the dish at hand,  Sinigang Na Baboy
Sinigang is a sour soup native to the Philippines. Beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and even chicken (sinampalukang manok) can be used. The one featured here today uses pork as the main ingredient. One can use boneless pork, though bony parts of the pig known as “buto-buto” are usually preferred. Neck bones, spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork belly all can be used.
The most common vegetables used are egglant, okra, onion, green beans, tomato and taro root.
The most common souring agent is tamarind juice, (sampalog), but if not available, you can use calamansi, lime, lemon,  guava, bilimbi (kamias), green mango, pineapple, and wild mangosteen (santol) To go an even easier route, you can buy instant “Sinigang Mix” ready to add to the stock while cooking. (For my personal taste this is too salty and not sour enough)
Today I went to look-up the sinigang I posted before on ChefsOpinion, but much to my surprise I could not find a single post, although I cook sinigang quite often. I then checked my folder of unpublished posts and low and behold, there was a bunch of pics of a sinigang I cooked about 6 years ago but never published. Looking at the quality of the pics I understand why I hesitated, but what the heck, here it is:
Sinigang na baboy from the distant past 🙂
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Masaya Ang Buhay !   Kainan Na !
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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Preparation :
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Pozole

Pozole

Pozole

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Partial  excerpts from Wikipedia:
“Pozole. Variants: pozolé, pozolli, pasole), which means “hominy”, is a traditional soup or stew from Mexico, which once had ritual significance. It is made from hominy, with meat (typically pork), and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa and/or limes.
It is a typical dish in various states such as Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Morelos, State of Mexico and Distrito Federal. Pozole is served in Mexican restaurants worldwide.
Pozole is frequently served as a celebratory dish throughout Mexico and by Mexican communities outside Mexico. Common occasions include Mexico Independence Day, quince años, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and New Year’s Day.
Pozole can be prepared in many ways. All variations include a base of cooked hominy in broth. Typically pork, or sometimes chicken, is included in the base. Vegetarian recipes substitute beans for the meat.
Dried hominy can be used for pozole, but it must be soaked and cooked
The three main types of pozole are blanco/white, verde/green and rojo/red.
White Pozole is the preparation without any additional green or red sauce. Green Pozole adds a rich sauce based on green ingredients, possibly including tomatillos, epazote, cilantro, jalapeños, and/or pepitas. Red Pozole is made without the green sauce, instead adding a red sauce made from one or more chiles, such as guajillo, piquin, or ancho.
When pozole is served, it is accompanied by a wide variety of condiments, potentially including chopped onion, shredded lettuce, sliced radish, cabbage, avocado, limes, oregano, tostadas, chicharrónes, and/or chiles.
Pozole was mentioned in Fray Bernardino de Sahagún‘s General History of the Things of New Spain (c. 1500). Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars, because the ancient Americans(which?) believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough).”
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According to research by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History) and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize, and the resulting meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it “tasted very similar” [to human flesh], according to a Spanish priest.

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Pozole

Pozole

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Pozole

Pozole

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Preparation :
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Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

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The  style of this curry soup has it’s origins in Europe. As I mentioned in previous posts, many decades ago, when I was an apprentice in Europe, “curries” were prepared the European way, nothing at all like “real curries” as they exist in far-away land’s 🙂
Madras curry powder, ground cumin, cream or milk, onion and banana and chicken stock were the main ingredients in our “curries”. They usually contained chicken or shrimp and were thickened with flour, or in the case of soups, with rice or potatoes. Although not in any way “authentic”, they were nevertheless (and still are!) very delicious in their own way.
During the years Maria and I gave regular dinner parties,  we served this soup often and it was always a hit as part of a multi-course meal.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

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Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

Curried Pumpkin, Potato And Coconut Soup

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Preparation :
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Balls Galore

Balls Galore........

Balls Galore……..


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“Chicken Soup With Matzo Balls And Chicken Dumplings” 

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If  you love balls (pun intended?), this soup will make you happy. In my own opinion, these chicken balls (ok then, dumplings ! 🙂 ) and these Matzo Ba… Dumplings 🙂  are some of the best dumplings  you can find .
I have previously published quite a few dishes with matzo balls, but this is the first time I combine them with chicken dumplings.
One would think that chicken dumplings are nothing special, but these certainly are an exception to the sea of mediocre or even outright nasty stuff usually being served as chicken dumplings these days.
Very light and full of flavor, they are a far cry from the stuff which many “cooks” will serve you. How do I know that? Because I have been served so much crap labeled as chicken dumplings that I usually don’t order them in restaurants anymore. Mostly they contain less than fresh meat, lots of fillers and they look and taste as if somebody want’s to punish you by making you eat them.
Not these here baby’s !
Prepared from fresh chicken meat with no fillers, tasty and pretty to look at, accompanied by another gift to comfort food in the form of fluffy matzo balls and served in a strong, delicious chicken broth, this is comfort food as wonderful as it can get 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pls note that this chicken soup recipe is just one version of many 🙂
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Balls Galore

Balls Galore

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Balls Galore

Balls Galore

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Balls Galore

notice how juicy the chicken dumplings are………..

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Preparation :
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