chili flakes

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Dinner  tonight was dictated by three factors :
# 1 – I had a big craving for soup.
# 2 – I had a lot of slightly over-ripe, soft tomatoes in my fridge.
# 3 – I was too lazy to prepare anything that kept me in the kitchen more than 15 minutes.
This bisque was the perfect solution. It only took a few minutes to chop the veggies, and once they were on the stove simmering away, all that was left to do until it was time to purée the soup after a couple of hours slowly simmering away, was to cut a few slices of white bread, butter them lightly on both sides, top it with some thin slices of gorgonzola and bake them for a few minutes in a 375F oven until the cheese melted and the underside of the bread was lightly toasted, then remove and let cool to room temperature, sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped Italian parsley. Done !
Total prep time for the soup and croûtons – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Total time from start to finish – about 2,5 hours. (The longer you simmer the soup, the more the tomato-taste intensifies ).
Enough soup for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Good Stuff 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for Tomato Bisque Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Soup  on  ChefsOpinion
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Spinach, Potato & Garlic Cream Soup

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Here  now is a top-candidate for easiest to prepare comfort food of the month 🙂
– Actual prep time – less than 5 minutes.
– Total time from start to finish – 25 minutes max.
– Gratification – immense 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Spinach, Potato & Garlic Cream Soup

Spinach, Potato & Garlic Cream Soup

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Spinach, Potato & Garlic Cream Soup

Spinach, Potato & Garlic Cream Soup

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

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Lahmacun,  (Armenian: լահմաջու lahmaǰu or լահմաջո lahmaǰo; Turkish: Lahmacun, Arabic: لحم عجين‎, laḥm ʿajīnلحم بعجين‎, laḥm biʿajīn,  “meat with dough”
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Pizza …………
Is there anybody who does not like pizza ? I am sure there are a few people who don’t, but then, you can’t please everybody . 😦
I love pizza a lot, but I love pizza the way I remember having it when I was very young and I ate a slice or two almost daily. You see, when I was working in Munich for the first time, during the 1972 Olympic Games, money was tight, so cheap street food at night was the usual dinner. The new and very “IN” thing at the time and place was the new craze of pizza by the slice, sold for 1.00 DM through reach-through windows at pizzerias in  Schwabing, which was the “It” place in Munich and probably the hippest place in all of Germany during the 70’s. One slice was big enough to satisfy the hunger of a normal person, two slices if you had the munchies, which was a normal thing to have at 2.00 am after a night of dancing, drinking and a few puffs of the good stuff 🙂
Anyway, what was so great about this pizza was its absolute simplicity. Great, thin and crispy crust, a bit of cheese and a bit of tomato sauce, and if you wanted to splurge, a few slices of salami. Heaven, right there !
Not at all like the over-sauced, cheese-laden, multi-topping loaded “pies” you get served in most places nowadays.
To this day, if I order a pizza in a restaurant, I always ask for “easy on the cheese and sauce”.
When I make pizza at home, I usually prepare the “pizza” which hails from middle eastern countries as well as some countries which are situated in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. I was first introduced to these meat pies while travelling in Russia, Turkey and Israel, back in the 70’s when traveling meant an introduction to local, ethnic food on an almost daily basis, because at that time the McDonald’s and the KFC’s and such had not yet permeated every street corner around the globe and if you wanted to have reasonable priced nourishment, you had to eat what the locals ate. Good stuff, good times !
Most of these pies were made with a variation of a simple yeast dough, usually very thin, spread with meat paste, baked until crisp, topped with some kind of salad leaves and raw onions, cut into wedges and drizzled with lemon juice. The meat was usually lamb, but sometimes beef (and some mystery meats we don’t want to get into here). The only major variation I encountered was in Turkey, where sometimes the dough was much thicker and not crispy and the pie was rolled into a döner kebap-like concoction, (Döner kebap / Gyro / Shawarma) when it is served as street food and therefore rolled into a tight roll so it can be eaten without utensils.
When I prepare these “pies”, I usually don’t go to the length of making my own dough. I either buy ready made fresh pizza dough and roll it myself, or I buy pre-baked thin crust pizza. Sometimes I also use lavash, flour tortillas or naan. In my experience, all of these work fine and I love them all. Remember, the main ingredient is the meat paste, not the dough. Below, you can see three different dough’s I used. All of them are great and non of them are inferior to the others, just different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good ! 
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Lahmacun (sun dried tomato wrap-base)

Lahmacun (sun-dried tomato tortilla-base)

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Lahmacun (naan base)

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Lahmacun (pre-baked thin pizza dough-base)

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For the meat paste, use either ground lamb or ground beef. Add diced peppers, onions, tomatoes with its pulp, and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Then season with garlic paste, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, kosher salt, paprika powder and a dash of olive oil.
The paste should be fairly moist – if too dry, add more chopped tomatoes. Mix all ingredients without overworking the paste.
Spread meat paste thinly on the dough, bake at 400F until meat is cooked and dough is crisp.

To serve, top with salad and onions, drizzle with lemon juice, cut into wedges or roll into sandwich

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Brush the pie base with a good extra virgin olive oil
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For the salad topping, drizzle fresh leaves and onions with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and kosher salt
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Pre-baked pizza dough – Base
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Naan – Base  (cut into wedges or roll tight after baking for a one-handed sandwich)
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Sun-dried tomato tortilla – Base
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Breakfast Of Champions # 50 – Salmon Rillette And Fried Eggs

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This morning I finished-off the last of the salmon rillette I prepared last week. (The next rillette will be pork, can’t wait for it to munch on) 🙂
This dish is VERY rich, so you might want to restrict yourself to enjoying it about once a month, otherwise you might soon need to buy bigger clothes and increase the frequency of your cardiologist visits 😦
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Salmon Rillette
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Click here for more  Breakfast of Champions
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Breakfast Of Champions # 50 - Salmon Rilette And Fried Eggs

Breakfast Of Champions # 50 – Salmon Rillette And Fried Eggs

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Breakfast Of Champions # 50 - Salmon Rilette And Fried Eggs

Breakfast Of Champions # 50 – Salmon Rillette And Fried Eggs

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Steak And Pasta Salad With Pickled Onions

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Some  of us “Tough Guy’s” might feel a bit dainty when out with our buddies and would like to actually have “just a salad, please” 😦
Well, boys and girls, not with this baby, I’ll guarantee ! Here we have  “just  a salad” for every real man and every real woman, anytime and anyplace. Buhaaa ! Enjoy ! 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life (and salad) is Good !
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Steak & Pasta Salad

Steak And Pasta Salad With Pickled Onions

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Steak & Pasta Salad

Steak And Pasta Salad With Pickled Onions

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Adana Kebab (Kıyma Kebabı) (Turkish Lamb Skewer)

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In  the early seventies I was lucky enough to be visiting Turkey many times ( Istanbul,  Kusadasi  and  Izmir  among other places). At that time, Turkey  still had an oriental mystique to it which was incredibly fascinating and exiting to a young man like me. The sights, smells and noises were so much different from what I was used to – even after all these years, they still linger vividly in my memory
My girlfriend and I almost got stoned by an angry mob one day at the market in Izmir. (They actually threw stones and small rocks at us). We just came from the Caribbean and my girlfriend Edith was wearing the popular outfit of the day – high heels, hot pants and a thin t-shirt without a bra – not a good idea at the time in a mostly Muslim country. Only the quick help and intervention of our taxi driver who came running to rescue us (carefree idiots) prevented great harm or worse.
But beside that particular episode, I only have great memories of Turkey in the seventies. One of the highlights of our stay’s were always the great meals we had in local restaurants. We tried anything we could, from five-star restaurants in five-star hotels in Istanbul to small dives along the beaches and funky eateries in the sea port’s more seedy areas. The food was always great, fresh, spice-laden and exotic (to me at that time, most anything seemed exotic)
I remember  Adana Kebab  to be widely served and today I finally got around to do my own version which turned out pretty spectacular 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Afiyet Olsun !
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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Roast Fresh Ham With Caraway Jus (Gebratene Schweinekeule Mit Kümmelsoße)

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Like  last year, this year again I celebrated Christmas eve with my dear friends Dieter and Chacha, who were gracious enough to invite me to their family celebration. As usual, the food was out of this world. This years star of the dinner was a wonderful, tasty and succulent  standing rib roast  with all the trimmings and for dessert we all enjoyed Dieters traditional, perfect  soufflé.
After everybody ate, there was one leftover soufflé, which I bravely volunteered to put out of it’s lonely misery.
(All this great food plus two soufflé’s  on one evening – no wonder my belly looks so muscular). 😦
Earlier, just before I left my home to go to dinner, my  friend Curtis showed up with Christmas gifts. Among the goodies was a fresh ham of generous size, about enough to feed 7 people with a healthy appetite. In other words, enough for Bella and I to pig-out for two days 🙂 So, before I took off to Chacha’s and Dieter’s dinner, I scored the skin of the ham, salted it very generously with kosher salt and put it in the fridge to be cooked the next day. (This helps to draw the moisture from the skin and gives you a superior crackling). The next day, Thursday, I cooked the ham by starting it off at 420F for 20 minutes, then turning down the temperature to 325F for 4 hours and finishing the last twenty minutes at 420F again to crisp up the cracklings.
On this occasion I have forgone more traditional sidings such as vegetables, beans, rice, pasta or potatoes in favor of a simple guacamole, seeded rye bread, the pork jus, the onions which cooked together with the ham, grey poupon mustard and horseradish.
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Bon Appetit !   Life Is Good !
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Click here for  Guacamole Recipe
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P.S.
I will post a follow-up on the dishes I prepared with the leftovers.
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P.P.S.
I believe it is time to live a bit more “light” for at least the next few months, so starting January, I will change my food  (and therefore my post’s) to a bit of a lighter fare 5 days a week, while the weekend will feature the same type of food as usual, just smaller portions – and, sad to say, a drastic cutback on sweets.
Look for   ” Hans’ Lighter Comfort Food “  in upcoming post’s. See you there 🙂

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Roast Fresh Ham

Roast Fresh Ham

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Roast Fresh Ham

Roast Fresh Ham

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Preparation :
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To read instructions, hover over picture
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 39 – Steak & Eggs #2

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After  a work week (getting up at 4.00 am daily) of two bananas and a glass of iced tea for breakfast, I always welcome the time and leisure the weekend affords me to have a more elaborate but nevertheless easy and fast to prepare meal to start off the day. So here is what I had for breakfast today 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Steak & Eggs

Steak & Eggs



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Steak & Eggs

Steak & Eggs

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Preparation :
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season rib eye with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, brush with garlic oil and grill to your desired doneness, set aside

season rib eye with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, brush with garlic oil and grill to your desired doneness, set aside

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season blanched green asparagus with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, coat in garlic oil, grill until heated through

season blanched green asparagus with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, coat in garlic oil, grill until heated through

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plate asparagus

plate asparagus

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top with rib eye

top with rib eye

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top with hard boiled eggs and herb butter

top with hard boiled (waxy) eggs and herb butter, sprinkle eggs with salt and chili flakes

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Steak & Eggs

Steak & Eggs

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Steak & Eggs

Steak & Eggs

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Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas



While  a genuine Thai, Indonesian, Indian or any other “genuine” coconut soup can be wonderful if properly prepared, sometimes it is impractical to go to the full length of dozens of ingredients just to have a quick, flavorful and economic soup. If you find yourself in such a situation, you might want to try this simple preparation, which can be enjoyed after no more than fifteen minutes from start to finish. Of course, I am all for authentic recipes and I believe we must make an effort to make sure that under normal circumstances and whenever practical, we don’t make unnecessary short cuts because we are lazy.  But sometimes, if you want something tasty and can’t do the big production for whatever reason ………., well, I am sure you’ve got the point 🙂



Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !


Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas



Preparation :

marinade diced chicken breast in soy sauce, lime juice, kosher salt, five spice powder, grated ginger and garlic paste, add corn starch, mix well

marinade diced chicken breast in soy sauce, lime juice, kosher salt, five spice powder, grated ginger and garlic paste, add corn starch, mix well

cook pasta of your choice, drain, blanch snow peas, shock in icewater, drain,  heat chicken stock seasoned with kosher salt, cayenne, garlic paste, grated ginger

cook pasta of your choice, drain, blanch snow peas, shock in ice water, drain, heat chicken stock seasoned with kosher salt, cayenne, garlic paste, grated ginger

add coconut milk, simmer for three minutes

add coconut milk, simmer for three minutes

after simmering snpw peas one minute, schock in ice water

after simmering snow peas one minute, shock in ice water

add fresh shiitake mushrooms and chicken to simmering stock, simmer for three more minutes

add fresh shiitake mushrooms and chicken to simmering stock, simmer for three more minutes

add pasta and snow peas to serving bowl

add drained pasta and snow peas to serving bowl

ladle soup with chicken and shiitake on top of pasta and snow peas

ladle soup with chicken and shiitake on top of pasta and snow peas

sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped cilantro

sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped cilantro

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas

Coconut Soup With Silkened Chicken & Snow Peas



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Toast “Soupi”

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Simple  dinner today after too much food during the past few day’s.
The inspiration to this came from the classic “Toast Hawaii”.
I just thought I’ll  kick it up a notch 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Toast

Toast “Soupi”

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