Cayenne pepper

Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

Pork knuckles are without a doubt one of the most loved comfort food by those in the know.
No matter if roasted, braised,  soused , served whole or cut-up in stew’s, prepared any which way – pork knuckles rock ! 🙂
The one featured today is probably the most simple, yet also the best version.
Seasoned with only kosher salt, then braised until very tender and finally roast until super crisp, it is a perfect example of how a great ingredient can easily be transformed into a world-class dish with just a little time and a lot of love 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

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Preparing  your own ravioli might be a bit work-intensive, but if one put’s a little effort and love to the process, it’s well worth the trouble. The actual prep is not so bad, what takes the most time is the clean-up (at least for me, since my counter space is tiny and the flour usually goes everywhere where it is not supposed to).
But as I said, the delicious result makes up for the extra bit of time and effort 🙂
Also, if you frequently prep your own ravioli and/or vareniki,  it will be wise to invest a few dollars in a  ravioli mold/press/cutter,  which will cut down considerably on the time and mess it takes to prepare good-looking ravioli or vareniki. I have a bunch of them, and they always come in handy.
As for the filling, a general rule is usually not to combine cheese and seafood, but in this case, the ricotta goes perfectly with the shrimp (that’s why in cooking, the word “usually” is vital). We “usually” do things this way or that way, but………..
For my personal taste, a complicated or dominating sauce would take away from the delicate taste of the ravioli, so the richness of the butter and the crispness of the crumbs is all this dish needs to shine brightly.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pasta Dough :
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Ingredients :
2 1cups A/P flour
3 -4 eggs (depending on size)
Kosher salt to taste
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Method :
Sift the flour onto the work surface, make a well in the center
Add the eggs, one at a time, add the salt.
Mix the eggs, then add a little flour at a time from the well, until all the flour has been used.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding flour if dough is too sticky.
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Filling :
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Ingredients :
1 cup ricotta cheese, softened
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
1 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 whole egg, beaten
fresh-grated nutmeg, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste
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Method :
Coarsely chop the shrimp, add all other ingredients, mix well
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Shrimp Butter :
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Ingredients :
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
4 oz whole butter
1 tblsp chopped Italian parsley
garlic paste to taste
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Method :
Saute shrimp in butter until heated, remove from heat, add parsley, season with garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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While  in most parts of the world and in many languages “Torta” or “Torte” is generally understood to be a sweet concoction, it can also describe a sandwich, made with flatbread or a leavened bread, depending on the country/region of origin.
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Wiki excerpt:
Mexican Sandwich

In Mexico, a torta is a kind of sandwich, served on an oblong 15 cm firm, crusty white sandwich roll. Depending on the region, this is called a bolillo, telera, birote, or pan francés. Tortas can be eaten cold or hot, grilled or toasted in a press in the same manner as a Cuban sandwich.
Garnishes such as avocado, chili pepper (usually poblano or jalapeño), tomato, and onion are common. The dish is popular throughout Mexico, and is also available anywhere with a large number of Mexican immigrants. In Northern Mexico, the torta is very frequently called “lonche by the influence of the English “lunch“, as it may be eaten during lunch break.
The sandwich is normally named according to its main ingredient:

  • Torta de jamón, ham-filled torta
  • Torta de aguacate, avocado-filled torta
  • Torta de adobada, adobo meat-filled torta
  • Torta de huevo, scrambled eggs-filled torta
  • Torta de milanesa, milanesa meat-filled torta
  • Tortope, chicken sope-filled torta

Although the torta ahogada (meaning “drowned” torta) of Guadalajara is so called because it is smothered in a red sauce, different fillings are available and they may be mixed to create an original torta.
Due to the practicality of being hand-carried, tortas are sold at massive events, such as football matches, parades, and outdoor concerts, but they are also available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at dedicated establishments or sold as street food by food carts.
In Mexico, the sweet cake is normally referred to as pastel, which is also used in other parts of Latin America with this meaning.
Origin:
The origin of the torta is unclear, but some claim it sprouted in Puebla due to Spanish-French interaction. Teleras (the bread usually used in tortas) were inspired by French baguettes ”
End of Wiki excerpt.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

 

Scholle Gebraten (Whole Sauteed Flounder)

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Decades  ago, when I was about 19 years old, working as a commis de cuisine on the German Seaboard (Ostsee), in Timmendorfer Strand,  Hotel Seeschlösschen), this dish was one of the all time favorites on restaurant menus, either the whole fish or, for the less adventurous, fillets like I have used here.
Usually served “Meuniere” or “Grenobloise”, accompanied by “Kartoffel Salat” (potato salad) or “Dill Kartoffeln” (dill potatoes), “Scholle” (flounder) was abundant and therefore one of the most economic and popular fresh fish one could order in a restaurant.
How times have changed…………
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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To  prepare a successful raw “Tomato Sauce”, it is essential that the tomatoes are VERY ripe, sweet and soft.
Other than that, there is not much wizardry to be employed, just make sure that the pasta is cooked perfectly, your basil is fresh, young and sweet, the olive oil is of great quality and the cheese you use is the best you can afford. (Any hard, fresh-grated cheese you prefer will do).
The result will proof once again that if prepared with love and gusto, bringing together a few simple, good quality ingredients will add up to a wonderful meal (Even if the sunshine is lacking) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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Preparation :
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To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit)

“Meatloaf With Sautéed Cabbage, Horseradish Potatoes And Mushroom Cream”
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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There is a little story about the origin of the name Falscher Hase.
(Also: Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten, Heuchelhase)
(It might be funny now, but back then it was not funny at all, since it tried to cover-up the poverty and embarrassment of ordinary folks who were too poor to put a meal  on the table of which they could be proud of)
You see, not too long ago there was a time in Germany, Baden-Wuerttemberg in particular, when ground meat was not considered a proper entrée. It was ok for burgers (buletten), which were mostly consumed as a vesper (snack), served cold with bread and mustard.
But meatloaf was perceived as nothing to be proud of, an inferior dish only served when there was no money for a real cut of protein. Usually, it contained hard-boiled eggs in the center and sometimes blanched carrots, celery and bell peppers, not to make the meatloaf prettier but to further stretch the budget, since eggs and veggies were even cheaper than ground meat.
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So, in order to trick casual visitors or passersby to think there is a more prestigious piece of roast in the oven or on the table, “Hase” (Rabbit) was the usual answer to the question what smells so great at lunch or dinner time. This was a time before A/C and long notices before one went to visit one’s neighbor for a chat. Kitchen windows were always open, especially while cooking, everybody stopped by for a quick chat, either the passerby talking to the person inside or the person inside talking to the passerby. After all, before TV came along, leaning on the window and seeing the world go by was some of the choice entertainment as well as the main local news source – who walks with whom, who has new clothes, whose clothes are not properly ironed, how does this or that look……. 🙂
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Of course, everything has changed considerably since then (at least in our “advanced, modern” part of the world, what with tv, the internet, and so forth, a/c which requires closed windows and therefore less personal contact with our neighbors. etc…….. 😦
However, to get back to the dish at hand, if one is able to prepare a good meatloaf, one can and should be proud if this once “inferior” dish. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a good meatloaf around here, neither in restaurants or in many homes.
Therefore,  I give you this recipe which has been in my repertoire for 50 years. It was one of the very first things I learned to cook as an apprentice when I was 14 years old and I have done it with minor variations ever since. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase. Fake Rabbit. Meatloaf

Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)


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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.
Each meatloaf serves 10-12.
Potatoes and cabbage – 5 servings each
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Last night on my way home I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant where I used to eat pho. I stopped eating there because of the tiny portions (see my post about it by clicking this link:  ….Pho….
Knowing that I would be disappointed by the skimpy pho, I placed my hope into an order of summer rolls…….
Well, the same crappy principle as with the pho (a ton of stock, a tiny amount of anything else); only this time, there was a ton of wrapper (2 per roll !) and just a tiny bit of filling. I could have kicked myself for not following my own previous advise to avoid this place.
So, what’s an old cook to do? Well of course, make my own version of rice paper rolls 🙂
Mind you, these are NOT Vietnamese summer rolls! And, because of their plumpness, rather than eating them by hand, I suggest you use a fork in order to have a less messy encounter with these babies. 🙂
However, these rolls consist of the exact amount and ratio of ingredients I craved when I ordered the rolls in the restaurant and was so badly disappointed:
A small amount of wrapper, LOT’S of noodles and shrimp, and NOT drowned in fish sauce and basil. Ahhhh, the good life ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you prefer the more traditional skinny shape, just arrange the filling accordingly.
P.P.S.
I am still hoping to find a decent Vietnamese restaurant around here 🙂
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Hans’ Peanut Sauce

This recipe may not be the most authentic, but it’s really, really good.
Serve it as a dipping sauce, over hot or cold noodles or as a salad dressing.

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons chili paste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Whisk again before serving.
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili 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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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

This wonderful dish is comfort food at its finest. (Obviously, pork chop is alway’s a hit with most folks, and so is pasta, so there is probably no argument here).
However, this dish up’s the ante another step by prepping the chop “à la parisienne”, as well as transforming the simple orzo into a flavorful and beautiful pasta dish, which I would be happy to eat all by itself without the chop or any other embellishment 🙂
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Please note:
#1:
  Eating the orzo with a spoon rather than with a fork will double the pleasure of eating it) 🙂
#2:  Eating the orzo with a spoon rather than with a fork will most likely double the size of your belly 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Pork Chop “Parisienne” With Orzo Al Pomodoro

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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All chef’s, once in a while :

WTF did I come in here for ??? 🙂


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Once in a while, I come across an unbelievable food bargain that I just MUST buy; these ribs are a typical example.
I had to go downtown Miami this morning, so on the way back home, I stopped at my Argentinian butcher in Hialeah to get some empanadas for lunch. There I saw these beautiful beef ribs for $ 3.95, which is less than a pack of chicken wings of equal weight will cost me at my neighborhood grocery store – go figure 😦
So, I had the empanadas for lunch, then started the ribs for a full-fledged, big and yummy dinner 🙂
(My butcher’s empanadas are as close to Argentinian empanadas as can be, nothing like the crappy ones one can usually get around here. After all, he is Argentinian)
But now let’s talk a bit about today’s beef rib dinner.
If you look at the pics of the preparation below, you might notice that the ratio of onions to meat is very high, about 2 to 1 in quantity. The reason is that since I usually don’t use red wine (or any other alcohol) in my cooking anymore, I like to add additional flavor and color by increasing the amount of caramelized onions and add some apple cider. It does not replace the red wine taste, but rather substitute one great flavor with another one. Also, instead of using flour to thicken the sauce, once the meat is tender, I remove it and set it aside, then push the onions through a fine mesh sieve and simmer the sauce another few minutes to thicken it.
And there you have it – another day, another wonderful meal 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow 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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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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A few  years after I was born, the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (Economic Miracle) was in full swing (I wonder if my existence helped?), and Germany was in need of a new, different kind of army – an army of workers, to fill all the open labor-positions. It was the time (1955) when Germany invited millions of “Gastarbeiter” (Guest Workers) to come and make their luck and life in Germany. Mostly poor, working class people from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and eventually, in 1968, Yugoslavia, took a chance and started a new life in this new promised land, first alone, working very hard, saving money, learning the language and customs and then, usually a couple of years later, having their family join them and slowly but surely integrating themselves and their families, and most of them eventually becoming Germans. (Passport, language, customs, and all) 🙂
I don’t want to go into the political, economic and social results of this enormous “Völkerwanderung” (Human Migration), but rather talk about the effect it had on the culinary landscape.
Up until then, there were basically three culinary styles in Germany –
“Deutsche Hausmanskost”, which translates into plain home cooking
“Deutsche Koch Kunst”, or German Culinary Arts, meals that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,  primarily available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
“Traditional French Cuisine”, also mainly available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
Of course, this all changed rapidly with the influx of millions of people cooking the traditional food of their countries of origin, and within a few short years one could easily find a Turkish doner shop, Italian pizzeria, Greek taverna, Spanish tapa restaurant, Portuguese cervejaria or Yugoslavian restaurant serving food from all over Europe, first in the big cities, but eventually even in the smallest of villages.
(Incidentally, nowadays you are more likely to find an ethnic restaurant than a typical “German Gasthaus” (German Tavern) in most places 😦
Securely wedged in my memory are the Cevapcici of that time. Up ’til then, we did not know “Burgers”. We had either buletten or meatloaf, typically served hot with mashed potatoes or pasta and mushroom sauce, or served cold with bread and mustard.
So when Cevapcici came along, they were pretty special and exotic to our palette and view.
Spiced with plenty of garlic, oregano and cumin among other seasonings, they tasted and looked very different to anything made with ground lamb (or any other ground meat) we’d seen up to then.
They were usually served with rice and salad or with some type of flatbread and salad, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce and raw onion rings.
Again, at the time, this was pretty new and exotic for most of us 🙂
So when I got this ground lamb yesterday, I was looking forward to preparing and eating, for the first time in many years, this wonderful dish.
I am happy I did because I enjoyed every morsel of it (and so did Bella) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !   (And full of memories) 🙂
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Pls note:
Replace the lamb with beef, or pork or a mixture of both if you prefer.
Cevapcici can be grilled, sauteed, baked (roast) or fried. However, do NOT overcook them or you are left with a dry stick of coal-like substance 😦
See the pic of the close-up of the meat. Well done but VERY juicy and tender 🙂
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Click here for  Potato Salad Recipe   (Add sliced, seeded cucumbers if desired)
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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