Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus)

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Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus)

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A Coruña La Coruña ) is a city which I have often visited when I was a young man, about forty years ago.
Sabela, one of my friends from this other life, lived on the outskirts of the city with her parents, who at the time, probably imagined I’d be their future son in law 🙂
However, Sabela’s mom was a wonderful cook, and I remember many great meals in their house. The one dish that to this day still stands out in my mind is “Pulpo a la Gallega”.
This was a dish that I enjoyed in a much simpler version on a daily base, whenever Sabela and I hit the tapas bars, pulpo being one of my all-time favorite tapas. In the bar’s, “Pulpo a la Gallega” was simply octopus cooked until tender, then doused with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and smoked paprika. However, at Sabela’s home, her mother turned this into a full main course, which is the dish I present here. It contains the basic ingredients – pulpo, olive oil, sea salt and smoked paprika, but then, onions, potatoes, garlic, chilies and cilantro are added. And there you have it – pulpo heaven on earth 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Octopus  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Pulpo  on  ChefsOpinion
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Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus)

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Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus)

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Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus)

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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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Stir Fried Beef And Spinach In Cherry-Peppers Sauce

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Stir fried Beef And Spinach In Cherry- Peppers Sauce

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Marinated (pickled) Cherry  Peppers (Cherry Chillies, Cherry Bomb Peppers), both whole and chopped, have become one of my favorite condiments and spices lately. The are both mild and hot, different brands usually have a different heat index. They also taste very fruity, so they make a great ingredient in sauces, as I have done here.
Other times, I like to spread them on sandwiches, steak, fish and seafood, even pasta and potato dishes. Because they are relatively mild, you can add a good amount to get the full flavor without having your mouth burst into flames. Good Stuff 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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Stir fried Beef And Spinach In Cherry- Peppers Sauce

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Stir fried Beef And Spinach In Cherry- Peppers Sauce

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Stir fried Beef And Spinach In Cherry- Peppers Sauce

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Nicaragua – A Tooth Story

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Dear Friends,
This post is not about food or restaurants or other culinary related Items you’d usually expect to find on ChefsOpinion.
(It might inspire you to save big bucks next time you need extensive dental work (cosmetic) which the insurance does not cover).
Rather, it is about my one week trip to Managua / Nicaragua and the reason I undertook that trip, which was entirely Dental-related.
First of all, let me explain why I chose Nicaragua of all places to have extensive dental work done.
My best friend Dieters wife , Chacha, was born and partially raised in Nicaragua. About two years ago Dieter had an accident which knocked out some of his teeth, requiring implants to replace them. Chacha’s family, which in part still resides in Nicaragua has this great dentist to which they entrust all their dental requirements, so Dieter decided to check it out. After all was said and done, Dieter was extremely happy with the results and recommended I should go there if ever I needed major dental work. It is now nearly two and a half years later, and still dieter is totally satisfied, his Miami dentist even complimented on the work done 🙂 .
(When I talked to the doc, I found out that most of he’s patients are actually flying-in from the USA and Canada). The clinic is very well-appointed, super clean, super modern and very comfortable, with another onside dentist, numerous staff and an assortment of treatment rooms.)
Low and behold, two years after Dieter had his teeth fixed, I needed similar work done as he had, so I started inquiring about quality and cost in Miami, Germany and Hungary. I needed three implants, 5 crowns, deep cleaning and whitening. (I had the necessary bone graft done 6 months earlier in Miami)
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Total estimate by my Miami dentist:  $ 18,000.00
Total estimate by various German dentists:  $ 18,000.00
Total estimate by some Hungarian dentists:  $ 9,000.00
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Total cost by my Nicaraguan  dentist:  $ 3,200.00
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Add to this the price of the airline ticket $ 350.00, as well as one week in a great Bed & Breakfast, including chauffeur for the week which all amounted to $ 300.00, and the total cost was just under $ 4,000.00 compared to at least $ 18,000.00 to 20,000.00 in Miami.
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So then, on to the trip.
Because of the short duration of the flight between Ft Lauderdale and Managua, which takes a little more than two hours, I chose Spirit Airline, because before you can get uncomfortable, you will have arrived already. Plus, I splurged, as I usually do, on extra-large seats and leg room. On this flight it was only additional $ 40.00 each way, so no big deal.
To my surprise, on spirit and on this plane, the extra space are the first two rows at the front entrance. These were actually the original first class seats (Just four of them), so this was the best bargain I ever scored on any flight in my forty-five years of air travel.
We departed Ft Lauderdale at 1:30 am for our short hop to Nicaragua
Upon arrival in Managua International Airport, Maria, the owner of the B&B I was staying at, and her two son’s picked me up. I finally got to sleep at around 5:00 am local time, just a few hour before my first appointment at 9:00 am. The Doc worked on me that morning (Friday) for about three hours (Deep cleaning and drilling the holes into the jaw for the implants), 3 hours on Saturday (upper row, two crowns and first half of the bleaching)  and 3 hours on Monday (lower row, second half of bleaching and setting three crowns.
And that was it – all done ! 🙂
My flight home was Thursday night around midnight.
When I planned the trip, I assumed that the dentist would check what needed to be done on Friday, then I would have had Saturday and Sunday to explore the culinary riches of Nicaragua.
Well, that did not happen. Here is my menu for the week (All white food and drink because of the bleaching, and soft because of the implants and stitches in the gums:
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Friday – Great breakfast before the first dentist appointment,
– afterwards, milk water, potato soup
Saturday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants
Sunday – milk, water, chicken broth with soft small pasta
Monday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants
Tuesday – milk, water, poached fish, mashed cauliflower, rice
Wednesday – milk, water, chicken broth with soft small pasta
Thursday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants and plain bread
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Back in Miami, another week with only white food and drinks, then slowly back to normal 🙂
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My impressions of Nicaragua were 100 % positive. A wonderful country with wonderful people,  clean, friendly and organized, with a population of mostly well-mannered, friendly, clean and organized people. However, the day I left we passed by a street demonstration, which at the time seemed nothing to worry about.
Next day at home I saw in the news what happened and I felt sad and disappointed that, as usual and in so many countries, a few bad apples can upset the freedom and well-being of its people in an otherwise wonderful country such as Nicaragua 😦
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I hope things will settle down quickly and I can return to see more of this beautiful country and have the opportunity to get to know its cuisine 🙂
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Before and after :
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Ma Man, with his Assistant :
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Maria, her Son’s, her B&B and her “Taxi” :
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On Tuesday, I cooked a meal for us ;
Sautéed snapper fillet, cauliflower salad and rice 😦 . See above)
However, for myself,  (white food only)  I prepped the fish poached and the cauliflower mashed 😦 . See below)
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And here is my main nutrition for the duration of my trip 😦  :
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Some random impressions of Managua, Granada and Masaya;
(There is not much tourism, so these are not some show-off places and locations, but rather this is how the country, its cities and attraction for its own folks look like 🙂 :
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Aaaand, back to Miami.
I hope I’ll be back soon to explore all I have missed in this great place this time 🙂
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Grilled Salmon With Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Salmon With Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Usually, if you’d be so inclined and check my fridge, you would find at least one or two pickled/marinaded vegetables in there. Mostly cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, red beets and red or white cabbage, but sometimes artichokes, green or white asparagus, mushrooms, grilled carrots, or whatever else I took my fancy that week.
I love pickled vegetables at any time of the day, by themselves or to accompany a main course, or just simply with a slice of bread. Here I paired artichokes with a great grilled salmon – no starch, just the fish (admittedly, a large portion) and the veggies. A quick meal, (the veggies where already done and ready to be served)  that took just a few minutes to prepare and tasted like a million bucks 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Salmon  on  ChefsOpinion
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season 10 ea artichoke hearts, 1/2 med size red onion, and 6 oz peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes in 1/3 cup raspberry vinaigrette overnight

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Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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season salmon fillets with kosher salt, cayenne pepper and lime juice to taste, brush with olive oil

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grill together with halved limes until limes are caramelized and salmon is cooked to your liking

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Grilled Salmon With Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Salmon With Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Salmon With Artichokes, Red Onions & Tomatoes Marinated In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Bone-In Ham Steak With Onion And Tomato

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Sauteed Bone-In Ham Steak With Onion And Tomato

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Ham steaks are a great ingredient which allows a great variety of recipes.
I personally like most, grilled, sautéed or braised, ideally served with mashed potatoes or hash browns, but I stop when ham steaks are slathered with sugar/ or maple syrup, pineapples or other very sweet glazes/condiments. ( Most folks here in America and Canada love the stuff, but for my taste, IF there has to be fruit, it should be apples or other slightly sweet/tart fruit) 🙂
I also find ham steaks agree with red wine sauce, onion marmalade, Thai sweet chili sauce, creamed horseradish or sauce Bernaise.
Today’s featured steak was big enough for Bella and me to forego any side dish besides the tomato/onion topping; in fact, it was a perfect size portion for the two of us 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sautéed Bone-In Ham Steak With Onion And Tomato

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Sautéed Bone-In Ham Steak With Onion And Tomato

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Sautéed Bone-In Ham Steak With Onion And Tomato

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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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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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This beautiful, tasty salad proofs once again that healthy food does not have to be ugly, tasteless or boring !
On the contrary, when looking at this lovely salad, who would not love to have a portion (or two) of this beauty right now ? 🙂
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P.S.

As usual, use the best crabmeat you can afford.
Or, in a pinch, use kani kama, or substitute the crabmeat with shrimp, lobster or even diced roast- or sauteed chicken.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe :
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1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup EVO
1/4 cup organic honey
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste
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Whisk all ingredients until emulsified.

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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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Crabmeat, Baby Arugula, Avocado, Egg And Grape Tomato Salad In Honey/Mustard Vinaigrette

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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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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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There  are three pasta dishes I absolutely love for their simplicity and, if prepared with love and care, for their impeccable pure taste of just a few simple ingredients:
“PASTA CACIO E PEPE””SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO“, and today’s feature, “PASTA AL CAVIALE”.
As always, use the best ingredients you can afford to achieve the best result. Also, although many Italian recipes call for olive oil to toss the pasta with, as a caviar lover, I believe butter is the more appropriate ingredient to use for this dish.
And there you have it, all you need for this culinary wonder is good quality spaghetti, good quality butter, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and caviar of your choice.

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good

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Click here for more  Caviar  on  ChefsOpinionThere

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Click here for more  Pasta  on  ChefsOpinion

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Click here for more  Spaghetti  on  ChefsOpinion

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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All Good things Will Come To An End (Eventually……….)

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Linus: Nothing goes on forever. All good things must come to an end.
Charlie: When do the good things start ?

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Dear Friends of ChefsOpinion,
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After Posting 1245 posts on ChefsOpinion, I have decided that it is finally time to slowly but surely hang up my apron and put away my pen.
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Just before I fully retired last year (I partially retired a couple of years earlier and only worked a few days a week during the last two years of my professional life), my health has deteriorated to the point where producing this blog has become a chore instead of the pure joy it was for many years.
Also, when I started doing this  (before I started ChefsOpinion, I owned and ran a culinary/hospitality website together with my wife Maria before she passed away), there was much greater interest in culinary sites/blogs than there is now, and if you have been following different blogs and sites, you’ll know that a great many have given up long ago, as public interest has shifted from real food to more sensationalistic and bombastic topics within the food world, rather than embracing beautiful, rich tasting food in general. At the same time, in a world where there are more and more Chicken Wing Festivals, Burger Festivals and other such “Food Festivals” glorifying fast food of often questionable quality, real food, real cooking, love for proper food and the joy of lovingly preparing a wonderful meal from scratch has mostly disappeared in many homes, blogs like ChefsOpinion have mostly given way to commercial websites. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles and bloggers like me will have to accept the fact that nothing goes on forever, especially not blogs about “Real Food”  🙂
At the hight of ChefsOpinion’s popularity, there were usually between 500 and 1000 clicks a day from direct subscribers alone, and about another 200 to 500 from other links, such as Foodspotting, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc. This has shifted to a point were ChefsOpinion directly now gets about 100 to 300 clicks a day, while LinkedIn accounts to anywhere from 400 to 2000 clicks and other links about another 100 to 200 per day for ChefsOpinion.
While any clicks are satisfying, the only ones that are counted for (a tiny) monetary reward are the ones from direct ChefOpinion subscribers “IF” they click on an advertisement, which means although ChefsOpinion still gets a total of about 20000 to 30000 visits a month, the financial reward has dwindled to a point where ChefsOpinion is barely financially self-sustaining.
From the very beginning, I did not run ChefsOpinion for monetary gain but welcomed the fact that the single advertisement I allowed on my blog was covering at least the cost of running it. To run ChefsOpinion costs about $500.00 per month. Lately, I have to finance this more and more from my own pocket. This was fine as long as I enjoyed doing the work involved, which amounts to at least about 3-4 hours a day.
But when I realized that while most folks enjoy the pics and recipes, the inspiration and the stories, I also realized that most folks, after a while, don’t appreciate stuff they can get for free, so even a split-second effort to click the “like” button is too much of an effort for most readers to reward the work and money spent for ChefsOpinion. (Of course, there are exceptions – you know who you are 🙂 .
So, I have decided to let ChefsOpinion come to a slow but steady end. At this point, I have about 100 Posts on standby, with the photos all done but awaiting the writing of the recipes. I will do this in the weeks and months to come, at a leisurely pace and with no false sense of urgency. I might even add a few new pics and recipes, mainly for my own pleasure and the pleasure of a few diehard fans of ChefsOpinion.
I want to thank all the folks who have stayed with ChefsOpinion over the years and want you all to know how much I enjoyed being part of your culinary life.
ChefsOpinion will stay online for the time being, so if anyone is still looking for inspiration from “Real Food and Real Opinions”, there will still be posts of the past to draw from.
For now, this is not yet a goodbye, but rather notice that ChefsOpinion will not be updated as frequently as it has in the past and eventually, in the near future, will cease to exist.
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Life is Good !
Hans 🙂
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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Thanks to its ease of preparation and its wonderful taste and texture, chicken noodle soup in its never-ending varieties is one of the dishes I prepare at least once every week.  🙂
I remember the noodle soups from my youth, which had the same flaw as all other pasta dishes at the time in the “old country” – the pasta was nearly always overcooked. Not just in the home I grew up in, but in all homes and restaurants.
To cook pasta al dente became only common after the influx of Italian Immigrants and the explosion of Italian restaurants in Germany in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Unfortunately, nowadays, the original Italian patrons of these restaurants have mostly retired. Their (German-educated) kid’s, and more often than not, new immigrants from countries such as Turkey, Albania, Rumania, etc have taken over these restaurants and unfortunately, the cuisine has been watered down to an unfortunate mix of second-class Italian and third-class German cooking style, including in many cases, overcooked pasta. Sadly, when I visited Germany last September, it was nearly impossible for me to find decent pasta, pizza, and other traditional Italian food of good quality ( see also “My trip to Germany and Spain“)

However, let’s get back to the “Chicken Noodle Soup” at hand.
No danger of overcooked pasta to be found here, although, there is the (slight?) possibility to overcook the carrot noodles and/or the beans, so if you decide to prep this dish, please keep the veggies bright in color and of proper texture. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Soup  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Chicken Soup  on  ChefsOpinion
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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Bella’s Chicken Noodle Soup (She still ate half my wings and carrots) 🙂

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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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Arugula & Crab Salad In Yogurt Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Lately, I eat a lot of salad as a main course, any time of the day, even for breakfast if I have leftovers from the previous day.
The key to a great leftover salad to enjoy the following day is to look at the total quantity of all ingredients BEFORE you add the green leaves and dressing, then set them aside separately, cover airtight and store in the fridge overnight, so that the leaves will not wilt and the salad does not get soggy. Only mix and add the finishing touches to the salad you can actually eat for the one meal you’re about to have.
Seems logical enough, but sometimes when everything looks so tempting and delicious, the eyes are bigger than the stomach and we are stuck with a beautiful salad that will turn messy in just a short while 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Use any type of crabmeat that suits your taste buds and wallet, or substitute crabmeat with lobster, crayfish, shrimp or scallops.
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Click here for more  Crab  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Yogurt Dressing Recipe :

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup EVO
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped oregano (or 1 pinch dried oregano)

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Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk ’til smooth.

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard 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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