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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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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 :
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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen (Swabian Onion Tart/Pie/Cake)

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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen is usually eaten in late Summer and early Fall, typically served with new wine, but fans (there are legions of them, including myself), will eat it year-round. As with any “traditional/classic” dish which is mostly prepared at home, there are many variations, most of them excellent. After all, it is pretty hard to screw up a simple dish like this, consisting of just a few basic ingredients –
Yeast Dough, (or shortcrust)
Creme Fraiche, (or, in a pinch, sour cream, which makes it slightly more tart)
Onions, sautéed, diced, (or sliced), anywhere from just transparent to caramelized
Bacon, (or not)
Chives (or not)
Caraway Seeds, (or not)
Eggs,
Salt & Pepper,
Round Pie Pan (or square or rectangular)
Deep Dish Springform (or large flat sheet pan) – because of the different heights, the ratio of onions to cream mixture also varies greatly.

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I grew up eating Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen all the time, but even in the area where I lived, cooks (mostly housewives), were very flexible which the variation they would use.
The only exception was the Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen from the time I was but a small child until I was about 7 years old, after which time the village communal oven was not used anymore. Up ’til I was about 7 years old, we still had a communal oven in the village bakery, everybody followed the same regional, well-established recipe. During that time, most farmers wife’s baked huge sheet pan’s of Zwiebelkuchen in the communal oven (as well as the bread for the following week).
Because there where no refrigerators in farmers homes at that time, a good part of the Zwiebelkuchen was shared with friends and neighbors, so that nothing was wasted. This is how I got my first taste of Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen, since my Mom was a city girl and was not fond of cooking, baking or any other domestic chores. when I was about five, my family moved from a large City (Stuttgart) to the small Village of Gechingen, where my father inherited his childhood home from my grandparents, who, like their parents and their parents and their parents……… were farmers. Growing up in a rural environment was in part very great, and in another part very bad for a city boy. I never got used to some of the customs, way’s and restrictions the small-village life provided us with. (One of the biggest reasons why I left home to start an apprenticeship as cook before I was 14 years old)
But, all the food from this time, including Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen, became highly regarded favorites as I got older. To this day, I seek those dishes wherever I go. Sadly, most everywhere, many of these items are not valued anymore and have gone the way of so many old-fashioned things – they have just disappeared. Good food, dood customs, good manners and so many other good things we used to respect, love nurture and appreciate in the past are just gone. Those of us who still (or just newly, in some cases) are fond of the time-proven pillars of “the good old times”, can only hope that “old is new again” will one day soon again apply to most of the beloved standards of our past 🙂
Until then, when I crave Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen, I have to prepare it myself.
And now, don’t get me going about old-fashioned manners, customs, and decent behavior…….
Bit of a nostalgic, old farts rant there, but I feel better now 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Zwiebelkuchen Dough:
Use your favorite shortcrust dough or yeast dough.
Substitute with pre-made shortcrust dough, pizza dough, pre-baked Quiche crust or pre-baked pizza crust. I suggest you experiment until you find your favorite. It’s well worth the extra effort 🙂
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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen (Swabian Onion Tart/Pie/Cake)

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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen (Swabian Onion Tart/Pie/Cake)

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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen (Swabian Onion Tart/Pie/Cake)

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Schwäbischer Zwiebelkuchen (Swabian Onion Tart/Pie/Cake)

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Preparation :
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe, Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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When all else fails, this soup will make you feel better………(Just ask Smithy)  🙂
If you prefer, replace the linguini with any type of pasta, potatoes, or rice.
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P.S.
If you don’t like to use chopsticks, break the linguini (or any other type of long pasta) into small pieces before cooking.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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to plate, add 1/2 of ea pasta, spinach and beef to a large soup plate, add beef broth

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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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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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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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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After a recent bout of gluttony during my month in Europe, I have to lose at least the 15 lbs I gained, and if I continue on my present path of eating and drinking sensibly, maybe even shedding at least 20 lbs in the first month, and another 15 during the second month.
So far I have lost 13 lbs since my arrival 15 day’s ago. 🙂
I am not on a diet, just eating less in general, smaller portions and instead of 2 or 3 large meals a day, only one, with lot’s of fruit and tiny snacks in between. Other than that, I basically eat what I feel like. Pasta (tiny portions), rice (tiny portions), potatoes (tiny portions). Meat and seafood (large portions), fruit (large portions) and huge amounts of salad of any kind, form, and shape, mostly greens with some kind of protein, such as the seafood salad featured here. I have the occasional glass of wine, lots of iced tea and water and a large pot of coffee daily. Breakfast usually consists of a large bowl of starch-free vegetable soup and peppermint tea, alternating on other days with apples and power bars.
So far since I started this, I have not felt hungry and have a lot more energy than when I started this 2 weeks ago.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you’d like to lose weight while eating and drinking well, you might want to check this out:
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD ON CHEFSOPINION”

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Preparation :
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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Before  anybody get’s their knickers in a twist about “real” Curries, let me explain something.
Many years ago, whenever we used commercially available, pre-mixed curry powder in Europe, more often than not, the name of the dish included the moniker “Madras”. This made it clear to everyone and all that the dish contained stock, curry powder, cream, some fruit, and flour. There were also salads and cold appetizers using curry powder, which mostly also used to end up being called “Madras”.
Almost nobody had ever tasted a real curry, much less cooked one, so the “classique” French way of preparing “curry sauce”, (sauce au curry à l’indienne) was usually utilized.
Hence – “Madras” or Indian Style. 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Preparation :
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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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“Totopos With Shrimp And Avocado Salad”.
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The name  totopo  comes from the Aztec word tlaxcaltotopochtl. It is a combination of the word for a tortilla, tlaxcalli, and the word for thunder.
Combined, it means “tortillas that are noisy to chew”.
Originally, totopos are prepared with corn tortillas. They can be fried, as I have done here, or baked or toasted.
However, I sometimes make totopos with flour tortillas, which makes them lighter and, of course, results in a different, more delicate flavor.
They pair perfectly with this refreshing shrimp and avocado salad and make for a wonderful, tasty snack or appetizer.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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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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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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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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