Cayenne pepper

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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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 🙂
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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Preparation :
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Shrimp & Egg Fried Rice

Shrimp & Egg Fried Rice

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This is one of these dishes which, at least in my humble opinion, actually benefits from the usage of smaller shrimp, compared to the larger shrimp we usually prefer for a great dish. While you can make a perfectly wonderful fried rice with large shrimp, the smaller ones can be used in abundance for the same price as a few large ones will cost. The mouth-feel is just better when the ratio of shrimp to rice is 50/50 🙂
In the past, when the only shrimp available to me were large ones, I actually cut them into smaller pieces to get that specific mouth-feel. (For a more impressive presentation, you can always put a few uncut  biggies on the top) 🙂
I enjoyed today’s fried rice as my breakfast, although it is an appropriate meal for any time of the day. I love rice for breakfast, usually in the form of congee with whatever is available, a tasty rice bowl (with whatever is available) or, as today, fried rice (with whatever is available) 🙂
“Whatever is available” can range from meats, seafood, fresh or pickled vegetables, eggs of any type, or – you guessed it – whatever else is in the fridge, freezer or cupboard 🙂
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to serve, sprinkle with more scallion, add fried shallots and pickled mild chillies

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Shrimp & Egg Fried Rice

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Preparation :
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Another Day, Another Wonderful Salad (Plus A Great Grilled Chicken Breast)

Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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In my ongoing (and admittedly, so far not very successful) quest for a more healthful lifestyle, I do eat a lot more vegetables and salads.
Unfortunately, most of the time when I choose a healthy dish for one meal, I offset the good effect with a not so healthy dish for the following meal. But, I keep trying………
Today’s lunch was a rather salubrious choice, grilled lean meat, accompanied by a delicious vegetable salad with olive oil dressing and, for a bit of extra zing, a few pickled chilies and a herb-laden chimichurri.
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Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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Red Beet/Broccoli Salad

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Preparation :
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Salad & Bread

Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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“Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread”
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Once in a while, “just” a salad is all I want for lunch. Today was such a day and this salad satisfied all the needs and wishes I had for such a lunch.
Light, refreshing, pretty and very flavorful, I recommend this for anybody who “just” wants a salad as a wonderful meal 🙂
As an added bonus, the garlic/pita bread was exceptional and I added it to my regular repertoire.
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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Preparation :
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Best ! Ribs ! Ever !

Best ! Ribs ! Ever !

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Here is a rib recipe that will take your Memorial Day BBQ (or any other BBQ day) to the highest level 🙂
While the marinade consists of a whole bunch of ingredients, there is nothing exotic or unusual about them and most of us who like to cook have these sauces/seasonings already in their cupboard. If not, just buy small amounts so you have no waste.
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P.S.
If you like to cook the ribs outside on the grill, follow the same procedure as outlined below, but once they are tender from cooking them sealed in the pan on the grill, remove them from the braising pan and cook them on both sides on a very low-heat grill for another 30 minutes or so, until the ribs have nicely caramelized but are not burned 🙂
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Best ! Ribs ! Ever !

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Best ! Ribs ! Ever !

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Preparation :
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Tacos De Pescado (Grilled Fish Tacos)

Tacos De Pescado (Grilled Fish Tacos)

I just realized that lately, I prepare tacos at least ones a week, sometimes even more often.
Of course, this makes perfect sense, since they are very tasty, easy to prepare and the possible variations are endless. I have them for any meal of the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.
My favorite taco is……..always the one I presently prepare and eat, no matter if they are soft or crisp, contain lots of “stuff” or just a few basic ingredients. They can contain beef, pork, fish, crab, shrimp, chicken, duck, chorizo, egg, guacamole, refried beans, shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, onions, chiles, cheese, salsa Mexicana, salsa verde, black beans and a myriad of other stuff. As long as it is tasty, anything (well, almost anything), goes. 🙂
For today’s tacos, I used fresh cod fillets I got this morning at the “International Market”, a lonely Haas Avocado which was sitting all but forgotten by herself on a shelf in the pantry, and leftover red cabbage slaw, to which I added a bit of kernel corn . The result was, dare I say, as with all my tacos, smashing 🙂

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Tacos De Pescado (Grilled Fish Tacos)

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Tacos De Pescado (Grilled Fish Tacos)

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Tacos De Pescado (Grilled Fish Tacos)

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Preparation :
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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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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 :
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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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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 :
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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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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 :
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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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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 :
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