Cayenne pepper

Not Your Typical Poolside Snack

Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Lately, the weather has been perfect for poolside meals – not too hot, not too windy, no rain.
Bella has taken on to take a swim in the pool whenever we are in the back. She used to hate the water, but all of a sudden she has become a big fan. For me, the water is still a bit too cold to enjoy swimming, but I love to cook outside and eating al fresco next to the water. Life is Good 🙂
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Bon Appetit !  Living In Florida Is Great (Mostly)  🙂
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Click here for more  Shrimp  on  ChefsOpinion
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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Stir Fried Rice Flakes With Shrimp And Spicy Sausage

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

JUICY ! grilled pork chop, cooked all the way 🙂

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To  all the wannabe “Chefs” out there who insist that pork, poultry and fish has to be undercooked to be juicy – look at this piece of well-cooked pork, then please go back to school/apprenticeship and let a REAL chef teach you how to cook !!!
As Chef Susser used to say:
Cooking is easy – IF you know how to do it 🙂
(However, if you just happen to like the awful texture of undercooked pork – pls go ahead and enjoy) 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pork  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Preparation :
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew


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Chances
 are that if you love seafood and have traveled in Spain, especially in the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona, you have at one point or another had an encounter with the dish featured here. It represents the philosophy of both old and new cooking styles one finds all over this area and in fact, in most parts of the Mediterranean coastline – a few first-class ingredients cooked without fuss and pronto- Life is Good !
A wonderful meal, ideally shared with great company and a glass (or two) of the local wine, and, if on top of that you are lucky enough to sit in a cozy little restaurant by the sea, life is as good as it gets.
Somebody gifted me with a small bag of mussels on Sunday, which by itself would have made a great appetizer. But because I always have shrimp in the freezer (today I had two different types,  small/ peeled,/ tail-off and large/ tail-on), and because I wanted to have something a bit more substantial for dinner, I thought this seafood stew would do the trick. And indeed, it did 🙂
Great taste, easy on the eyes and a snap to prepare, both Bella and I were completely happy with the way this turned out 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Since I don’t drink/use alcohol, I have started to use apple cider as a substitute where wine is called for.
Works out great for most dishes, both in the food and with the food 🙂 Cheers !
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Click here for more  Seafood  on  ChefsOpinion
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Preparation :
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

Meanwhile - in Florida..........BBQ Floridian Style

Meanwhile – in Florida……….BBQ Floridian Style

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OK,  while you let this sink in, let’s move on to today’s featured dish :
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If  you are not used to VERY hot food, don’t try these noodles !
If you love bland and boring noodle dishes, don’t try these noodles !
If you don’t want to open your mind and taste buds to new sensations, don’t try these noodles !
But, if you love the sensation of flaming hot (spicy) food and the incomparable mouthfeel you get when the pain of the first few spicy bites subside, to be replaced by the warm, slight numbness which can only be achieved by eating large numbers of chilies, then this dish is for you. (Think Szechuan hot pot)
While I don’t eat VERY spicy food as often as I used to, once in a while I need my fix, and today was the time to get it. 🙂
A wonderful dinner, a full belly and clear sinuses – another great and very enjoyable evening !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

 

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Preparation :
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Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Shepherds Pie  is such great comfort food.
Meat sauce, mashed potatoes, and cheese – who could resist ? 🙂
However, there is one flaw in shepherds pie which diminishes its enjoyment a bit for me – it is entirely soft in texture and usually, the sauce is a bit bland and the whole thing, therefore, often resembles baby food 😦
Let me come to the rescue with this new recipe.
Instead of mashing the potatoes to a puree, just break them up a bit into med-sized chunks. Adding the peppers and lots of onions and garlic to the meat sauce will further increase the taste and texture of the filling of the potato shells, which will result in a dish who’s taste still resembles shepherds pie but at the same time is so much more interesting and TASTY !
Overall, this “fully loaded” baked potato is without a doubt one of the tastiest incarnations of the lowly baked potato as well as the ordinary shepherd’s pie.
While I have prepared and created dozens of variations of twice baked potatoes over the years, some more, some less exotic, some over the top and some down to earth,  using all kinds of additions to the stuffing, such as shrimp, smoked salmon, ham, different vegetables, cheese, yogurt, herbs, etc, etc., the ones I prepared today are the very best of the best 🙂
Although very simple and easy to prepare, the texture, taste, and looks are just perfect and go to show that uncomplicated food, if done right, can take the price over complicated and elaborate any time ……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Twice-Baked Potatoes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Preparation :
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And The Oscar Goes To …………This Salad

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Salade Oscar

Salade Oscar

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No – I did not watch the Oscars tonight.
In fact, although I am a huge movie fan who watches at least one movie per day, often two and sometimes three, I stopped watching the once glamorous and exciting Oscars years ago, when it had become a boring, extremely drawn-out and pointless parody of its former glory.
So, in order to have my own little oscar celebration, I created my personal version in form of a great dinner, replacing the little statue with the best dish of the night.
While avocados, nectarines, red onions and pears in a dressing of lemon juice and sweet Thai chili sauce might not seem to be nominees that fit into the same (salad) category, here they share the top honors for my new favorite salad 🙂
For obvious reasons, I’ll call this salad “Salade Oscar”
Best supporting actor – bone-in rib eye steak 🙂
In the end, a great (show) dinner, lots of applause (Bella, for the steak) and I walking away with yet another trophy (salad) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for last years  “Oscar”  on  ChefsOpinion
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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Preparation :
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Gnocchi With Creamed Leeks And Grape Tomatoes

Gnocchi With Creamed Leeks And Grape Tomatoes

Gnocchi With Creamed Leeks And Grape Tomatoes

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I always  wondered why leeks are such an underrated vegetable ?
Leeks look good, taste good, are healthy, available year-round and very cheap economical 🙂
When I was a kid, braised leeks were a common side dish on most restaurant menus. I have NOT seen leeks on any menu for years 😦
So as usual, if I have a specific food craving, I have to take care of it myself. To up the ante, instead of just featuring leeks as a side dish, I made it an equal partner to the gnocchi in this dish.
And what a great dish it is !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Gnocchi  on  ChefsOpinion
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Gnocchi Recipe:
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Ingredients:
1 lb Russet potatoes,   cooked, peeled, mashed
A/P flour,   sifted – as needed
2 Eggs,  whole, whisked
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 0z Butter
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Method :
Add eggs, seasoning and flour to potatoes, mix lightly until smooth.
Shape into gnocchi.
Make light indentations with a fork.
Cook a sample in simmering salted water. If too soft, add flour. If too dense, add egg.
Cook gnocchi in simmering water until gnocchi float. Remove with slotted spoon into a strainer. Saute in melted butter.
Serves four.
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Gnocchi With Creamed Leeks And Grape Tomatoes

Gnocchi With Creamed Leeks And Grape Tomatoes

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Preparation :
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Fajas De Res

patty
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To  prepare a great meal is no problem for most of us –
as long as there is plenty of time, money and somebody who cleans up the mess afterward.
But what if there isn’t ??  Well, how about this easy solution: Fajas De Res (Beef Fajitas)
– Cut and marinate the beef and onions: 3 minutes
– Saute the beef: 2 minutes
– Prepare the guacamole: 3 minutes
– Reheat pre-made tortillas: 2 minutes
– prepare salsa Mexicana: 4 minutes
– All in all, no more than 15 minutes for a smashing dinner. Life is Good 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Viva Mexico !
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Click here for  Salsa Mexicana Recipe  and  Guacamole Recipe  on  Chefsopinion
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For the fajas, cut beef flank into slices or batons, season with kosher salt, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic to taste, saute with sunflower oil in a VERY hot pan or comal until rare, add chopped onions, saute another minute. Serve with salsa Mexicana, guacamole, sour cream, and chilies.
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Today I Ate An Convertible………

Smoked Salmon, Avocado, And Pickled Onions Hoagie
( Convertible With Top Up / Convertible With Top Down )

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Hero,  sub, foot long, hoagie, garibaldi, spuckie, blimpie, torpedo, zeppelin, bomber, poor boy, wedge, or just plain old sandwich –
whatever you call a sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats/cheese/seafood/tomato/onion/lettuce/condiments and/or anything else from the kitchen sink, this here beauty surely ranks among the best you can find and/or imagine anywhere.
As for naming it “Convertible”  –
Obviously, it’s as good open, with the top down and eaten with a knife and fork; or closed, with the top up, eaten with both hands firmly locked around it  🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Sandwiches  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Pickled Onions Recipe (Escabeche De Cebolla)

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Click here for  Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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"The Convertible" Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions  And Avocado

“The Convertible” Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions And Avocado

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"The Convertible" Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions And Avocado Hoagie

“The Convertible” Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions And Avocado Hoagie

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"The Convertible" Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions  And Avocado

“The Convertible” Smoked Salmon, Pickled Onions And Avocado

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

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So this is what happened last night –
I was working on this post for ChefsOpinion.
While processing the pics from the day’s dinner, I came across this sign of love (I did NOT arrange this before I took the pics).
Not only does it look like a heart, it also resembles two stylized swans heads and necks, an image we use often in food decoration.
What are the odds ?????
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Bon Appétit !   Love is Good !
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P.S.
It would have been even more awesome if it would have happened on the 14th (Valentines Day),
but then certainly nobody would have believed that it happened by happy chance 🙂 
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Click here for more  Pasta  on  Chefsopinion
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Spaghetti With Cabbage, Peppers And Gorgonzola

Spaghetti With Cabbage, Peppers, And Gorgonzola

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Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

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Preparation :
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