bacon

Shrimp & Spinach

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Shrimp & Spinach

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Not too long ago, one esteemed member of our happy ChefsOpinion family mentioned that I prepare shrimp too often. While I understand that not everyone loves shrimp as much as I do (many folks do, though), 99.9 % of my posts show what Bella and I actually prepare and eat at home and is not selected for popularity but for whatever we feel like eating that day. 🙂
If I would write this blog to get “likes”, make money or be universally popular, I would pick the food according to those criteria. ChefsOpinion evolved from my original, for-profit online business “Chefcook.Us” and is now a simple account of food I like and prepare at home for Bella and myself, with the occasional opinion about food in general thrown in.
Remember, ChefsOpinion is about “Real Food & Real Opinions”, not about trends or “in”- food, otherwise I would not feature such delicacies as ham hogs, tripe, liver, heart, gizzards,snails, kidneys and so many other dishes which are definitely not popular or even known to most folks, at least around here in the US. I pride myself to try to also cater to all (including myself) who love food that is not easily available at other places and has disappeared from the mainstream, even if those posts are sometimes only popular with a select few.
Obviously shrimp are not in this category, I just wanted to make this point again, lest my readers forget – “ChefsOpinion – Real Food & Real Opinions”
So then, please forgive me, but here, once again, is another post about Shrimp. 🙂

(To Robert, With Love) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Shrimp  on  ChefsOpinion
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Shrimp & Spinach

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Shrimp & Spinach

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Shrimp & Spinach

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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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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


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I have to confess – I cheated when I prepared these Vareniki 😦
Instead of preparing the vareniki/pierogi dough fresh and rolling it into thin sheets before cutting, filling, folding and sealing it, I used 1 lb store-bought fresh pasta sheets and my trusted ravioli/pierogi-mold. Not necessarily because I am lazy (well, sometimes I am), but mainly because my counter space is tiny and making fresh pasta dough and stuffed dumpling always results in a huge mess, with flour everywhere, requiring a lot of time to get the kitchen spick and span again.
(However, I do know how to make the dough fresh. 🙂
I have made it a hundred times and I am therefore not embarrassed to admit to the store-bought sheets and the mold) 🙂
The rest of the dish is as easy and quick as 1-2-3. Cook the pasta, saute everything in butter and done !
Here is the recipe for the filling and the final dish :
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Ingredients and method for filling:

Saute onions in butter until translucent.
Stir in the 2 cup mashed potatoes, grated cheese and yogurt, season with salt and cayenne pepper, mix well. Check/adjust seasoning.
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Ingredients and method for the rest of the dish:

Cut the dough sheets into rounds corresponding to the size of your ravioli/pierogi-cutter.
Top each round of dough with 1 tblsp cheese/potato filling, add ea round to the ravioli/pierogi-mold.
Moisten the dough’s edges with water, fold over, and press together to seal.
Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
Cook in boiling salted water until the dough is done, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickest part of the dough.
Remove with a slotted spoon, drain.
Saute 2 oz chopped bacon, 1 tsp garlic paste, julienne of 1/2 onion, 6 oz fresh spinach in 2 oz butter, add 8 oz fresh spinach and 1/3 cup heavy cream, simmer 1 minute, remove from heat, add julienne of one medium size onion, 1 ea seeded and julienned tomato and the freshly cooked vareniki, check/adjust seasoning. to serve, sprinkle with grated pepper-jack.
Serves 4 appetizers or 2 main courses.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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More  Pierogi on  ChefsOpinion
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More  Stuffed Dumplings  on  ChefsOpinion
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

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I had  these a couple of days ago and I had waffles again this morning (bacon waffles).
Waffles – my new Addiction 😦 🙂
I have made them with raspberries, bacon, shrimp, crab meat, caramelized apples, shredded chicken and caramelized onions. They are so versatile and never disappoint. Just make sure that when you make a savory version you cut 3/4 of the sugar and add kosher salt to taste.
Good Stuff ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Waffle  recipe
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Click here for more  Waffles  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Pancakes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Vanilla cream/pudding recipe:
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1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, pinch of salt, 2 cups milk, 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten, 2 tablespoons softened butter, a dash of vanilla extract.
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– 1 In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
– 2 Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks, then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.
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Note:
Use this cream while it is still warm as waffle or pancake topping. To enjoy as pudding, pour into molds and refrigerate.
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Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

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Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

Blackberry Waffles With Vanilla Cream

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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EASY DOES IT # 22 – Quiche Lorraine

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This  dish will make you the hero at the next pot luck party, office party or any other gathering where the usual (tired) contribution is chicken salad, spinach dip or potato salad (nothing wrong with those – but………..)
A properly prepared Quiche is elegant, beautiful and delicious, done with a minimum of effort, cooking skills, time and $.
It will be a guaranteed success for any occasion, because it’s easy to make, has no boundaries for your creativity and can be served cold (room temperature), warm or hot. So at a fancy or basic cocktail party, in the office, at the beach or when you bring a snack to my house – go ahead, make my day 🙂
As for creativity, step up a basic Quiche lorraine (bacon, Swiss cheese and onions) by adding / replacing the standard ingredients with the following goodies:
Roasted, small diced vegetables or potatoes, seafood (no cheese in this one please), pickled onions and feta cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, sautéed ham, small diced corned beef, lots of  fresh herbs, etc, etc.
The constant in any Quiche should be a great pie crust and a mixture of 3/4 whisked whole eggs / 1/4 half & half, seasoned with salt, pepper and a small amount of nutmeg, everything else is up to your fancy and willingness to experiment 🙂
As for myself, I love a warm Quiche with lots of bacon, onions and cheese when sitting in front of the TV and watching a great movie, always pairing the Quiche with a salad of simple greens and usually washing it all  down with a torrent of iced peach tea.

Blind-bake the pie crust until golden.
Add dry ingredients, add egg mixture, bake until a toothpick inserted in the filling comes out clean. DONE !

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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more “Easy Does It”
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Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

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Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Easy Does it # 8 – Sauteed Spinach With Garlic, Bacon, Onion And Parmesan

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Dear  Friend’s,
Although most of my followers are culinary professionals, there is also a large segment of followers who are just starting to enjoy cooking on a slightly higher than basic level. I have therefore decided to publish, under the moniker “Easy Does It“,  from time to time some very basic recipe variations of dishes which otherwise might seem complicated to some folks. I will break them down to the easiest, most simple instructions, so that those of you who are intimidated by elaborate recipes will be able to prepare these dishes properly, adjusted to your taste and liking, right from the get-go.
Enjoy :-)
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While  I am a big fan of creamed spinach, sauted spinach is one of my other favorite vegetables. Usually when I buy spinach, I buy a big bag which is about enough for a family of four. Since I live alone with Bella, I blanch the spinach and freeze what I don’t use emidiately. So, for this recipe you can either use fresh or blanched spinach, the result is the same. Also, I cut the onions and bacon in a rustic fashion fitting for this dish. If you prefer, dice the onions fine and slice the bacon fine.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Sauteed Spinach With Garlic, Bacon, Onion And Parmesan

Sauteed Spinach With Garlic, Bacon, Onion And Parmesan



Preparation :


blanch spinach in salted boiling water

blanch spinach in salted boiling water



shock in ice water, drain, squeeze dry

shock in ice water, drain, squeeze dry



saute bacon until fat is rendered and bacon crispy

saute bacon until fat is rendered and bacon crispy



remove, reserve

remove, reserve bacon



saute onions and garlic paste in bacon fat

saute onions and garlic paste in bacon fat



add spinach, heat trough, season with kosher salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper

add spinach, heat trough, season with kosher salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper



return bacon, mix

return bacon, mix



put into oven proof dish

put spinach into oven proof dish



sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, gratinate until golden

sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, gratinate until golden



Sauteed Spinach With Garlic, Bacon, Onion And Parmesan

Sauteed Spinach With Garlic, Bacon, Onion And Parmesan







heart attack grill






Jamaican Black Bean Soup & Flour Dumpling’s ( A “Light” Saturday Lunch )


When  I encountered  Jamaican  dumplings   for the first time in the early seventies,  I would never have imagined that I will ever like them, having been raised with southern german-style dumplings, which are very light and airy (if done correctly).
So when I saw these tough little dumplings, (resembling in shape Schwaebische Bubespitzle), I was skeptical, to say the least. But, while living in Jamaica in the eighties, I have come to love these  Jamaican dumplings, but again – in order to be appreciated, they must be properly prepared, simmering for a long time in a flavorful stock, stew or soup .
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Irie, Mon 🙂
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Jamaican Black Bean Soup & Dumplings

Jamaican Black Bean Soup & Dumplings



Ingredients :

Stock of your preference, veal, chicken, beef, pork, vegetable
Black beans,   soaked overnight
Onions,   diced
Celery,    diced
Bacon,   diced  (substitute with salt pork if preferred)
Garlic,   paste
Spicy sausage,   pork, veal or beef
Assorted chilis,   select according to your preferred heat level
Tomatoes,  diced
Cumin,
Kosher salt,
Black pepper,   freshly ground
Cilantro,   coarsely chopped
Goose fat,    rendered  (use your favorite fat, canola oil, olive oil, butter, duck fat, goose fat, etc)

Method :

Saute bacon in fat until rendered, add onions, garlic, celery, chilis and sausage and saute until fragrant, add tomatoes, stock and beans. Season lightly with cumin, salt and pepper and simmer until the beans are “waxy”. Adjust seasoning if necessary. To serve, place soup into serving bowl, top with dumplings and sprinkle generously with cilantro .

Dumplings :

Mix flour, water and salt into a smooth dough, roll small pieces into finger shaped noodles and simmer in stock until cooked through. ( Usually like o cook them straight in the soup, but for a nicer presentation I cooked them separate this time for better pictures 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Irie !




Spinach, Potato, Sausage & Cheese Casserole

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This  is such a versatile dish. Every ingredient can be replaced with a substitute without losing any of the complexity of texture and taste.

Spinach : Asparagus, cabbage, corn, broccoli, carrots, beets, etc.
Potato : Sweet potato, mashed potato, pasta, rice, etc.
Asiago : Gorgonzola, parmesan, cheddar, brie, pepper jack, stilton, etc.
Sausage : Bacon, chicken, seafood, beef, lamb, game, etc.

Saute onion, garlic and sausage in butter, add spinach, wilt. Add blanched potatoes, cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let set for 30 minute before serving.
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Spinach, Potato, Sausage & Cheese Casserole

Spinach, Potato, Sausage & Cheese Casserole

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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Rinds Rouladen & Semmelknoedel ( Beef Roulade & Bread Dumplings )

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This  goes to John and Elli Vicente in Texas,
who have requested this a couple of month’s ago.
Hope you guy’s find it like it was imprinted in Ellis’
memory back in Germany   🙂

Guten Appetit ! Das Leben Ist Schoen !
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Rouladen –

Ingredient’s

Beef,  round,  cut into long slices, pounded very thin
Smoked bacon,  sliced
Onions,  julienned
Dijon mustard,
Carrots,  quartered lengthwise
Kosher pickles,
Mirepoix,
Tomato, chopped
Bay leaves,
Kosher salt,
Black pepper,  freshly ground
Flour,  to dust rouladen
Stock,  preferably beef, substitute chicken, pork, vegetable
Oil,  to saute
Kitchen twine,

Method :

Season both sides of beef with salt and pepper. Spread out on work surface, then top with ingredients as shown in photos. Roll up tightly and tie with kitchen twine. Saute in oil until nicely browned on all sides, remove and reserve. Saute mirepoix until caramelized, add tomatoes. Deglaze with a good amount of red wine, add stock, bay leaves and seasoning (Easy at this point, the sauce will reduce) Return the beef to the sauce and very slowly simmer until the meat is tender but not falling apart when handling. When meat is tender, carefully remove from sauce and cut off the twine. Remove bay leaves from sauce and with a stick blender puree the vegetables until sauce is nice and smooth. Adjust thickness by adding a bit more stock, or, if too thin, reduce until the desired texture is achieved. Adjust seasoning if required. Return rouladen to the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Dumplings –

Ingredient’s

Dense bread, such as sourdough or focaccia, day old, diced
Onions,  diced,
Bacon,  diced
Eggs,  whole
Milk,  whole
Chives,  finely sliced
Kosher salt,
Cayenne pepper,
Nutmeg,


Method :

Heat milk to a simmer, drizzle over bread until damp. Render bacon until crisp, add onions and further saute until translucent. To the bread add eggs, bacon & onion mixture, chives and seasoning and carefully mix all ingredients without mashing them. ( Stick your hands with fingers spread open along the wall of the bowl and lift the ingredients up, allowing them to fall back down without being mashed ). Repeat until evenly mixed. I suggest that at this point you should make a small sample to see how the texture of the cooked dumpling will be. Shape a small ball and cook it in simmering water for a few minutes. Remove from water and check. If the texture is too soft, you can add a bit of bread crumbs. If it is too dense, add another egg or two. Make another sample if necessary. If you are happy with the sample, shape into tennis ball sized spheres. Immerse in boiling salted water, bring back to a boil. Turn down heat to a very low simmer and let the dumplings cook for about 40 minutes. To make sure the dumplings are cooked through, remove one and cut in half. After they are done, serve at once.
Note : Leftover dumplings cannot successfully be re-heated in dumpling form, they will get very dense. I will post a recipe for a great dish  ( Geroestete Semmelknoedel mit Ei)  made with leftover bread dumplings within the next few days  🙂
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Cheers

” Potato, Cheddar & Bacon Soup ”

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This soup hit all the right buttons when I was craving
a simple, quick, delicious meal on labor day evening.
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Ingredient’s:

Potatoes,                                 diced, blanched
Sharp cheddar cheese,         shredded
Bacon,                                      julienned
Onion,                                     diced
Garlic,                                      paste
Green peas,                             blanched
Heavy cream,
Chicken stock,
AP Flour,
Butter,
Salt,
Cayenne pepper

Method :

Sautee bacon, rendering fat, until crisp. Remove onto absorbent paper, reserve.
Add butter to bacon fat, add onion, garlic and flour. Saute until onion and garlic
are translucent without darkening flour. Add stock, whisk to avoid lumps and
bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in cheese
and craem until texture is smooth. Add potatoes, green peas, salt and pepper
and, while carefully stirring,  reheat until hot.
( You don’t want to mash up the potatoes and peas)

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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” Butterflied Breaded Pork Chop “

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Sometimes a very simple dish does very satisfying things to you.

Last night that’s exactly what happened to me when I had this dish of simple comfort food :
Instant happyness and warmt in the belly that said :  Life is Good !
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Butterflied Breaded Pork Chop with Lettuce and crispy bacon in Dijon vinaigrette.
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