Black Pepper

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


>
>
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 :
>
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.
.
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.
>
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
More  Pierogi on  ChefsOpinion
>
More  Stuffed Dumplings  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>

Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

>
>
>

>
>
>
>

Advertisements

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

>

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

>

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 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Onion Soup  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Soup  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

>

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

>

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

>

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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

>
>
>

 

>
>
>
>

Steak Salad – Recipe # 1379

Paintings below, including all the paintings displayed in the living room, are by Hans Susser (Soupi)
>

 

 

>
>
>

Since I got old, occasionally my mind starts wandering aimlessly all over the place, sometimes I’ll get these “WOW” moments, when I realize the obvious………. 🙂 .
Such as this bonbon :
“When I create a dish I have not seen, prepared or eaten previously, it feels nearly the same as when I used to create a beautiful painting”.
I utilized canvas (the serving dish), paints (the ingredients), garnish/final-touch (the varnish) and, most important, a picture of a finished painting in my mind (a picture of a finished dish in my mind).
And there you have it – creativity, skills, and experience, applied to very different mediums 🙂
.
(I used to paint in my spare time and was rather successful at selling my art for rather good $$$. Maria used to gold-, silver- and bronze-leaf the raw-wood frames for these paintings, as well as bespoke frames for other artist’s paintings.
For a few years, this provided us with a handsome, additional income, until I started my web business and, later on, this blog). 🙂
.
But back to the present time and the dish at hand.
This steak salad recipe makes for a super delicious entrée for lunch or dinner, a light snack or anything else you want it to be (Buffet, anybody?).

>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Steak Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
>

P.S.
Instead of the more traditional croutons, I used tarallini  (Small  Taralli , (sometimes marketed as “Italian Love Knots”)

>
>

>

>

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

>
>
>

 

 

>
>
>
>

Confession Of An PT Addict

>
I confess !
I am a lifelong PT addict, ever since I was a child and my mother fed me my first dose of PT ………
I will eat PT (pig’s tails) with gusto, in whatever guise you set them before me – braised in soy sauce, salted, fried, in stews, souse, soups, or just by themselves with bread and condiments, as shown here.
For today’s lunch, one bucket of 5 lbs was the exact right amount for Bella and me to pig out (pun intended). Of course, there are a lot of bones, so the actual amount of meat is not really that excessive (well, maybe a little……).
One might call this a case of “PT Overdose” 🙂
>
>
Excerpt from an article by  Chichi Wang  on  Serious Eats :
” I want to make the case that pigs’ tails contain everything desirable in the pig, and in exactly the right proportions. Unlike ox tail, the tails of pigs come with the skin intact so that each segment is a perfect cross-section of skin, fat, tendon, and meat.
Fried or roasted, the skin of the tail is chewy and crisp, with a gelatinous layer underneath. Tail flesh is fork-tender like that of the neck bones, but meatier than trotters. There’s a modest amount of tendon around each bony hub–just enough to make the gnawing enjoyable, but not so much as to distract from the whole. All in all, a Pigs tail is a little porky universe unto itself. 
>
– Looks like I am not the only “PT Addict” 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  PT  on  ChefsOpinion
>

>

Confession Of An PT Addict

>

Confession Of An PT Addict

>

serve with fresh pretzel bread (laugenstangen), hot and mild chilies and mustard (or fresh horseradish if available)

>

Confession Of An PT Addict

a bucket of heaven……

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

>
>
>
>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>
Shank’s of beef, veal, lamb, or game is perfectly suitable to be braised slowly in wine. The cooking liquid and gentle heat of slowly simmering breaks down the collagen, producing a wonderful texture and great flavor, unlike any other part of the animal. One can use the shank meat for stews, soups, goulash, bulalo, braised whole, or, as shown here, braised sliced/cross-cut. But remember, no matter which dish or cooking method you choose, DO NOT overcook the meat. A big part of the appeal of shank is the superb texture of a tender, but NOT falling apart piece of muscle meat. Therefore, simmer the shank very slowly. It might take a long time, (after all the shank is pure muscle), but you will be rewarded with a spectacular texture and mouthfeel which no other cut of meat possesses 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for  Bulalo  on  ChefsOpinion
<
Click here for more  Shank  on  ChefsOpinion
>
Click here for more  Beef  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
P.S.
Traditionally, the bone marrow is incorporated into the sauce.
>
P.P.S.
But, also traditionally, the wise cook steals the bone marrow and prepares himself a great snack of “Bone Marrow On Toast” 🙂 .
>
>

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

>

>

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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

 

>
>
>
>

Grilled Veal Breast, Sauteed Potatoes, Chimichurri

Grilled Veal Breast, Sautéed Potatoes And Chimichurri

>

Sliced veal breast is a cut I use often at home, mainly for these three reasons:
1.- It’s cheap. 1 lb costs around $2.50.
2.- It tastes great.
3.- I love the texture.
Since veal breast is not a very tender part of an animal to begin with, most folks would braise it for a couple of hours to reach the tenderness they are accustomed to. While this will produce a great dish if properly done, it will lose most of that special veal flavor that some of us cherish. But if you prefer to grill or saute the veal breast, you must make sure that you do it right, otherwise, it will end up being dry and tough.
However, if you sear the meat at high heat, then cook it VERY ! slowly for the rest of the cooking process, you will be rewarded with a very fine piece of veal, full of flavor, juicy and tender. The veal breast slices I used for this dish cooked on each side for about 35 minutes until they were medium-well, then I let them rest another 10 minutes before cutting into them. They were perfect and an absolute delight 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Veal Breast  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Grilled Veal Breast, Sautéed Potatoes, And Chimichurri

>

Grilled Veal Breast, Sautéed Potatoes, And Chimichurri

>

Grilled Veal Breast, Sautéed Potatoes, And Chimichurri

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

>
>
>
>

Gravlax

Gravlax

I have prepared gravlax a thousand times over the years, starting at the beginning of the 70’s when I worked in  Torekov/Sweden  for the first time, and usually, it comes out perfect, or at least close to perfect. It is one of those dishes which actually require an effort to mess it up. So every time I prepare it, I am sure that the outcome Is a predictable “10” on a scale from 0 to 10. But then came this baby !!!
I had to increase the scale by another point to accommodate its level of excellence. It was so off the chart, in taste, texture, and color. Just a perfect “11” 🙂
It was probably a combination of the quality of the fish, the freshness, the amount and quality of the dill, the ratio of the ingredients of the brine and finally, the time I left the salmon in the brine to cure. Whatever it was, this gravlax is the one all future gravlax will be judged by.
But, I can not give you the EXACT amount of time or ingredients, only approximates. Like with most savory cooking, recipe-measurements and times can only serve as guidelines. Usually, there are too many variables to cook EXACTLY by a recipe. (I am sure you have often heard folks say “I followed the recipe to the dot, but it did not turn out to be like in the picture or in the book or the video?- well, that’s the reason why – too many variables. It is also the reason why a professional chef “interprets” a recipe because, with his/her experience over many years, he/she has learned to factor-in these variables and make the necessary adjustments accordingly.
To quote myself – “Cooking is easy – if you know how to do it !” 🙂
So here now is the recipe I used for this specific gravlax. Again, there are a million and one recipes out there. Every Scandinavian cook, housewife and home cook guards at least one gravlax recipe they swear by, and most of them are pretty awesome, just slightly different from each other.
>
2 lbs raw salmon, skin on
2 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 jigger vodka
1/2 cup sliced dill leaves plus 1/4 cup
1/2 cup red beet juice
2 tblsp dijon mustard
1 tblsp fresh-cracked>
black pepper
>
Dill/Mustard Sauce
(Traditional condiment for gravlax)
Good quality mustard, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, neutral tasting oil, sugar, fresh dill leaves, pepper(optional), mix all ingredients well.
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Gravlax  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Gravlax

>

Gravlax

>

Gravlax

>

add the salmon and onions (for a prettier presentation / restaurant presentation) put the egg and capers together with the onions on top of the salmon, however, the way I did it here will keep the capers and egg from rolling off when you eat the sandwich)

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

 

>
>
>
>

Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

Meanwhile, in Florida…….

>
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 😦
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Stew  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

>

Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

>

Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

>

Crappy Weather Food – Beef, Beans And Other Stuff

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

 

>
>
>
>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil


My
 
friend Peter came over for lunch today. Usually, he is a big fan of down to earth home cooking, never getting enough meatloaf, pasta, potatoes, stews, pigs feet, tripe, and other offal.
However, right now he is on a strict diet, so he asked me to prepare something gluten-free, starch-free and sugar-free. This tuna steak with salad was the result of his request, which made him happy and content (or so he said).
I, on the other hand, feasted on some left-over pork belly with potatoes, which made me happy and content 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
>

1 cup EVO, 2 ea garlic confit, 2 ea scallion, kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

>

5 ea grape tomatoes, 1 ea quintisho chile, 3 slices lemon; simmer slowly on low heat while basting with the oil until tuna is cooked to your preferred temperature; serve with a salad of your choice

>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

>

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

>
>
>
>

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

.
For a long time, nobody around here would touch Pork belly with a ten-foot pole.
Pork belly was deemed to be inferior, unhealthy and fattening. However, during the past couple of years, secondary meat cuts (as well as offal) have become “IN”, so all of a sudden pork belly, almost always “Asian Glazed”, has popped up on every menu in town. While this could be a good development, the sad fact is that a tiny portion of pork belly now costs as much as a steak and most preparations leave a lot to be desired.
The smart solution? Cook it at home, naturally 🙂
I grew up with pork belly and most other secondary cuts, as well as offal, so I have been eating this stuff all my life and have a number of recipes for all of them.
Yesterday I prepared pork belly in one of the most simple yet also most delicious way:
Braised in red wine and veggies, served with mashed potatoes.
When I was a kid, my Mom used to mix the mashed potatoes with fresh cabbage to make a very hearty and tasty dish. Although I don’t remember the name of this dish, it stayed in my memory because my brother and I loved it, but my Dad hated it because in his opinion it was not traditional and therefore should not be served for a proper meal. This dish approximates the Italian “Lesso di Patate e Cavolo Verza” and the Irish “Colcannon”. Apparently, my Mom was right-on with her creation 🙂
>
Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
>
>
Click here for more  Pork Belly  on  ChefsOpinion
>
>
>

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

>

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

>

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

>

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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

>
>
>
>