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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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First of all – calm down, don’t be scared, hold your horses, don’t panic !
Despite their vicious name, “cherry bomb peppers” (sometimes just called “cherry peppers”), are not very hot at all, registering at just 2500 to 5000 Scoville heat units (SHU). (Think jalapeno). They can be red, yellow or green and, depending on the pickling marinade, the original heat-level is sometimes brought down to a mild, tasteful flavor which adds a welcome light kick (the kick of a lady, not the kick of a mule) to some otherwise overly sweet and/or mild dishes, without burning your mouth to a crisp.
And of course, as I have mentioned many times, pls adjust the recipe according to the preference of the folks you serve your food to, so if you do not enjoy chilies, just omit them 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Hoisin Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta And Cherry Bomb Peppers

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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There is not much one can say about Plasas – essentially, it is a simple chicken stew. On the other hand, it is without a doubt one of the most delicious chicken dishes anywhere.
Plasas will go well with any starch, but in my opinion, it goes especially well with this version of foo foo, which is my absolute favorite:
Pounded or riced cassava, cayenne, salt, garlic and a sinful amount of butter (no liquid added here)
This fat /calorie bomb is of course not the most healthy dish if consumed in large quantities or if consumed often, but once in a while, a moderate quantity of foo foo will surely make you strong and pretty ………… 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Foo Foo
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Click here to read all about  Plasas
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Click here to read all about the many names, cooking methods and recipes for Cassava, also called Yam, Maniok, TarulTapioka, Ube, Chupri Alu, and many others, ( but NOT the American kind called “Yam”, which is a sweet potato, unrelated to Cassava)
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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Foo Foo

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

 

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet

Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet

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About a week ago I read in a “respected” magazine that one should NEVER eat Sauce Hollandaise or one of its derivatives in a restaurant because hollandaise is NEVER made fresh to order, but rather before the service and then kept warm during the whole service.
What a load of crap !!! 😦
Admittedly, some restaurants may do this, but many restaurants who have one or two dishes with hollandaise on the menu will not waste the ingredients if there is no order for a particular service. It takes a professional cook or chef maybe 1 or 2 minutes to produce 2 portions of fresh hollandaise, so to do it “a la minute” (to order) is no problem at all.
When I was an apprentice and later as a young cook, we ALWAYS made hollandaise a la minute during a la carte service.
– The moral of this? always double-check before you take a story/advise for granted. 🙂
– Also, hollandaise is one of the easiest and quickest sauces to prepare.
– Have I mentioned that Sauce Hollandaise is one of the French mother sauces?
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When I prepare a whole roasted whole chicken for Bella and myself, I usually eat both tights and all the scraps from the bones, including the neck, wings, and back, while Madam enjoys the two breasts (one per day). However, yesterday she kept begging for food while the chicken was still a while before being done, so I gave her a full portion of her own food (usually she gets only half that amount because she’ll eat some of my food later).
After I ate my usual part of the chicken, I removed all the skin and bones from the breasts, submerged it in salted water and kept it in the fridge until today, when I used it to prepare this Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet.
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P.S.
Please note that both mushrooms and sauce hollandaise are optional in this classic dish.
P.P.S.
Nowadays, in most commercial venues, because of safety issues, hollandaise is made from powder or ready-made from a can, which eliminates the danger of eggs served at unsafe temperatures.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet

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Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet

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Vol Au Vent Aux Blancs De Poulet

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Preparation :
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

When contemplating what to prepare for a combined breakfast/lunch today, I found that I had some leftover cooked potatoes, leftover “cebollas en escabeche” (escabeche de cebollas) and a packet of smoked salmon.
Within less than 10 minutes, this gorgeous dish was ready on the table.
Bella and I were happy and content, and cleanup was a snap. Easy peasy 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Cebollas En Escabeche  on  ChefsOpinion
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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In my opinion, pork tenderloin (fillet) is one of the most underrated cuts of meat. And of course, that is wonderful, because once people catch on, it will be priced out of reach of most folks (Lamb chops, anyone ? 😦 )
But since this has not happened yet, I can enjoy pork tenderloin as often as I wish, without going broke 🙂
This preparation looked and tasted particularly yummy. It’s economical and a snap to prepare, so there is no excuse not to indulge in this beauty once in a while.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Portobello, Broccoli And Tomato

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Preparation :
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


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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 :
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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.
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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.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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More  Pierogi on  ChefsOpinion
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More  Stuffed Dumplings  on  ChefsOpinion
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Faux Chicken Biryani


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It looks like biryani.
It tastes like biryani.
It smells like biryani.
Alas, it’s not biryani.
As usual when I cook for Bella and myself, a few days ago I cooked too much jasmin rice. The next day, my usual train of thought at first led me to either one of two leftover dishes – fried rice or congee. But I did not really feel like either one of those, so my next choice was this very easy to prepare “faux biryani”.
While a “real biryani is easy enough to prepare, this one was even easier and of course, with the pre-cooked rice at hand, this was the perfect way to utilize the rice and at the same time get a dish that is wonderful, flavorful and beautiful. Naturally, the texture of the rice was different from the real deal, (not inferior, just different), but nevertheless, the dish was a great success, fully enjoyed by Bella and myself 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Faux Dishes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Chicken  on ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
Usually, one would steep the saffron in ghee, but because of the relatively high-fat content of the chicken skin which will render into the dish, I replaced the ghee with milk.
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Faux Chicken Biryani

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Faux Chicken Biryani

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Faux Chicken Biryani

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Faux Chicken Biryani

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Preparation :
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Steak Salad – Recipe # 1379

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

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Steak Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
Instead of the more traditional croutons, I used tarallini  (Small  Taralli , (sometimes marketed as “Italian Love Knots”)

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

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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Summer has hit our little part of paradise, Florida, over the head with a vengeance.
While the first three weeks of official summer were pure liquid sunshine, with all the flooding and whatever else goes with torrential rain, now the real sunshine has finally arrived.
Alas, as usual, we all complain that it is too hot. When it rains we complain that it is too wet. Outside of summer, we complain it is too cold, and all year-long we complain about the traffic, the tourists and our mothers in law 🙂
One just can’t make us Floridians unconditionally happy, no matter what.
But the one thing that will make us feel good, at least for a while, is a BBQ by the pool.
Good, simple food, a few cold brewskies and good company and the world is fine for a few hours.
As for me, I do have good company in Bella, my brew is iced tea and Madam and I enjoy our time alone by the pool, (of course, the damn water in the pool is too warm this time of the year) 😦
But, the tranquility and peace, some great music from the boom box and wonderful food are all we need for now 🙂 .
How times have changed……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits

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Life is Good ! – Sunday Lunch By The Pool – “Grilled Shrimp Brochettes On Honey/Rum-Macerated Fruits”

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Preparation :
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Enjoy A Super-Delicious Dish For $ 1.00 !

Chicken Liver Mousse

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No, this was not at a hawker cart in Singapore, nor was it on the side of the road in Manila, it was not in the bush in Zanzibar and certainly not on the beach in Goa. This was in Miami, at “Chez Bella”.
All the ingredients for 4 portions came to about $ 4.00, which, yes, I carefully and meticulously calculated it, comes to about a buck a portion. 🙂
In all my years living in America,  I have realized that the majority of Americans say they don’t like liver or any other dish prepared with offal. However, serve them a slice of “Foie Gras” in a fancy restaurant where they are too shy to ask what they are being served, and all of a sudden you get all ahhh’s and ohhh’s. And it’s usually the same with chicken liver mousse, terrine or pate. Serve it on little canapes, put a cherry or grape on top and all of a sudden it becomes great.
Speaking of chicken liver mousse and parfait. Sadly, most of what’s being served in restaurants these days can at best be described as utter garbage. I know, because I love chicken liver mousse and have tried it a hundred times, in fact, I almost always order it if I come across it on a menu. Low-quality liver, too many distracting ingredients, overseasoned, underseasoned, grainy, broken, too long in the fridge, off-putting color, you name it.
So then, for those of my readers who share the love with me, I give you a recipe which is pretty much foolproof, as long as you use top quality liver.
Of course, you can use this recipe to make any other liver mousse. Pork liver, veal liver, duck liver, game liver. You can also, if you must, add a few additional flavors, as long as you take it easy and don’t overpower the fine taste of the liver. Armaniac, calvados, grand marnier, cognac, diced apples, garlic, herbs, sauteed shallots, orange essence, etc. You can even call it a parfait if you want to, since this recipe provides a mousse so fine, it appears to have been strained through a fine hair sieve.
All in all, a spectacular tasty dish, easy to prepare, cheap economical, and definitely better than most of the stuff you can buy ready-made or in most restaurants.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
This amount of mousse serves 4 main courses or 8-12 snacks/appetizers
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Chicken Liver Mousse

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Chicken Liver Mousse

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Chicken Liver Mousse

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