dinner

My Trip To Costa Rica

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Since I traveled the world and worked in many different countries for four decades, I ended up  having friends all over the Globe. Some of them stayed back in the countries where we met, most, like myself, have moved on to new adventures in foreign places. My Friend George originally hails from Egypt, but after decades of moving from continent to continent and from country to country, he seems to have found his forever-home ??? in Costa Rica.
Since he had visited me a few times in Miami, it was now my time to visit him, so I spend the beginning of October with him and his very lovely family at their beautiful home in Playa Herradura.
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Playa Herradura (Herradura Beach) is a coastal town on the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica. It is located about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north of Jacó in the province of Puntarenas. The name Herradura (horseshoe) refers to the bays horseshoe shape. The town has developed into an important tourist destinations in Costa Rica. This has been in part thanks to Los Suenos Resort and Marina. The resort and related amenities, including a full service five-star Marina, have positioned the town as the Fishing Capital of Costa Rica. The Marina is home to the largest fleet of Sports fishing boats in the country. Located right next door to Jaco Beach and 1 hour from Costa Rica’s primary International airport in San Jose, the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Apparently,  Playa Herradura and the Jaco Beach region have become the most popular tourist destination in all of Costa Rica, far surpassing the regions where eco-tourism now plays a second fiddle to wild fun at the beach.
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Before I left for CR, George asked me what I wanted to do during my stay, so he could organize some tours and excursions. Of course, traveling in CR was the last thing I wanted to do, and I let him know that. After all, (Pls forgive the arrogant tone of this – “Been there, done that”. 🙂
My Idea of a great vacation nowadays is lounging under a fan on a terrace, eating great meals cooked by others than myself and mostly, the company and conversations of good friends.
That was what I asked for, and that was what I got.
Thanks again George, Anna, Maria and Stefanie for having me and making my stay a wonderful one. 🙂

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Click here to learn about Costa Rican Food
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Life is Good !
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Here now some Pictures of the Costa Rica I did not see and experience this time :
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And here some pics of the Costa Rica I experienced and truly loved :
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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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Dak Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Chicken)

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A few day’s ago a friend an I went to our favorite korean BBQ restaurant Kabose in Ft Lauderdale. Maria and I used to frequent this place quite often, especially when we had guests from overseas for whom the grilling at the table was usually a new and well-loved experience. This time around, the food and service was still as good as ever, but boy oh boy, the prices have skyrocket 😦
So what’s a poor retiree to do when Korean BBQ calls? – you guess’t it, do it at home. I must say my home version may not be as genuine as the restaurant’s, but it was at least as delicious and definitely a lot prettier to look at, not to mention at a fraction of the cost. Of course, this is usually the case with the food one cooks at home versus the same dishes at a restaurant, but in this case, the difference was tremendous and therefore well worth the extra little effort 🙂 

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Capon
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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

 

 

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While a whole roast chicken is a wonderful thing, my regular grocery store now charges about $ 10.00 for a medium-sized bird (tax included), which makes it just too expensive in my opinion (Not the $10.00 itself, but the fact that a supermarket now can charge $10.00 for a simple, low quality, frozen chicken and get away with it)
Mind you, these are not the never-frozen, super fresh and healthy birds I can get at my Asian grocer, but rather mass-produced, completely tasteless chicken with no texture or taste to write home about. 😦  I guess only us old folks remember how good chicken meat actually tastes 🙂
So, lately I have turned to buy nearly all my chicken (as well as most other meat and seafood) either at my neighborhood Asian/International grocer/butcher, or, for even more bargains, especially beef and chicken, at one of the individually owned latino groceries/butchers, which are in abundance around here, such as Sedanos, Bravo, Presidente, to name a few large chains, as well as the countless Mexican, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Columbian, etc groceries/butchers, which thrive here in South Florida.
A 10 lbs bag of chicken legs, thighs, wings or breasts are usually around $5.00 to $8.00, compared to around $40.00 to $60.00 at my regular store, (or much higher for boneless breasts), with the quality usually notably better at the Latino or Asian/International food stores. The same goes for just about ALL meat, seafood, vegetables and canned food. Which goes to show once again, it helps (big time) to shop around, especially for food, which, like it or not, we use every day of our lives. We all tend to fall into the trap of convenience and shopping at familiar places, while these establishments get ever bigger and more and more expensive, while their quality usually suffers along with their customer service. Some of the huge chains are represented at every corner of town with multi million dollar stores and store managers who make well over $100.000.00 a year. Guess who pays for all that.
While I do enjoy the convenience of a chain store which I have frequented for well over 20 years, nowadays’ I enjoy a bargain even more.
So, while I still purchase certain stuff at my fancy regular place, I also buy most of the expensive items at the “Little Guy’s”.
BTW, I also have started to buy bulk items (canned food/ oils/ paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc, online at Amazon(Prime) and Walmart, which saves me another bundle every month and is even more convenient than my grocer around the corner 🙂
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Bon Appétit !  Life is Good !  (When you can safe a bundle ) 🙂
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing Recipe
Prick 1 lb grape tomatoes with a toothpick all over. For the dressing, mix 1/2 cup greek yogurt with 2 tblsp honey, 3 tblsp fresh lemon juice, 1/3 tsp garlic paste, 2 ea sliced scallion stalks, a pinch of oregano and coriander, and cayenne pepper and kosher salt to taste.
Mix with the tomatoes, cover airtight, marinade overnight in fridge.
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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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Roast Chicken Thighs With Grape Tomatoes In Yogurt Dressing

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

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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Excerpt from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or a frying pan and is usually mixed with other ingredients such as eggsvegetables, seafood, or meat. It is often eaten by itself or as an accompaniment to another dish. Fried rice is a popular component of EastSoutheast and certain South Asian cuisines. As a homemade dish, fried rice is typically made with ingredients left over from other dishes, leading to countless variations. Being an economical hodgepodge, the same approach is often taken with fried noodles or pyttipanna as well. Fried rice first developed during the Sui Dynasty in China and as such all fried rice dishes can trace their origins to Chinese fried rice.

Many popular varieties of fried rice have their own specific list of ingredients. In Greater China, the most famous varieties include Yangzhou fried rice and Hokkien fried rice. Japanese chāhan is considered a Japanese Chinese dish, having derived from Chinese fried rice dishes. Korean bokkeum-bap in general is not, although there is a Korean Chinese variety of bokkeum-bap. In Southeast Asia, similarly constructed Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean nasi goreng and Thai khao phat are popular dishes. In the West, most restaurants catering to vegetarians have invented their own varieties of fried rice, including egg fried rice. Fried rice is also seen on the menus of American restaurants offering cuisines with no native tradition of the dish. Additionally, there are variations of fried rice in Middle and South Americas. Some of these variations include Ecuadorian chaulafan, Peruvian arroz chaufa, Cuban arroz frito, and Puerto Rican arroz mamposteao.

Fried rice is a popular street food in Asia. In some Asian countries, small restaurants, street vendors and traveling hawkers specialize in serving fried rice. In Indonesian cities it is common to find fried rice street hawkers moving through the streets with their food cart and stationing it in busy streets or residential areas. Many Southeast Asian street food stands offer fried rice with a selection of optional garnishes and side dishes”.

P.S.
If you ever wonder why fried rice in some chinese restaurants is so beautifully golden in color, here is the answer: Add a pinch of turmeric 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Rice Dishes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Seafood Fried Rice

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Breakfast Of Champions # 63 – Veal Blade Steak With Poached Eggs, Tzatsiki & Pita

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Breakfast Of Champions # 63 – Veal Blade Steak With Poached Eggs, Tzatsiki & Pita

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The  beautiful 2 lbs veal blade steak on this page cost all of $ 5.00. As soon as I got home, I felt like kicking myself not to have bought a few more to keep in the freezer to serve in the coming few weeks. While not the most tender of steaks, veal blade bursts with flavor and has a wonderful texture (think of strip loin cap).
Anyway, I did not go back to the store since I know that it features this cut as a special often, so there will be no problem to repeat the wonder of this superb breakfast 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Veal  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Breakfast of Champoins  on  ChefsOpinion
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sauteed blade steak

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Breakfast Of Champions # 63 – Veal Blade Steak With Poached Eggs, Tzatsiki & Pita

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Breakfast Of Champions # 63 – Veal Blade Steak With Poached Eggs, Tzatsiki & Pita

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Breakfast Of Champions # 63 – Veal Blade Steak With Poached Eggs, Tzatsiki & Pita

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Vacio (Beef Loin Flap), Sauteed Banana Peppers, Cherrie Peppers Relish and Mashed Avocado With Peruvian Salsa Ají Amarillo

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Vacio (Beef Loin Flap), Sauteed Banana Peppers, Cherrie Peppers Relish and Mashed Avocado With Peruvian Salsa Ají Amarillo

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Vasio. This is yet another cut of beef which is not usually utilized for steaks outside of South America. Yet, if you visited South America and had a chance to sample it, you might agree with me that this is one of the best steaks in regards to texture and flavor.
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Vasio
, (Flap steak, or flap meat) (French-Bavette), comes from a bottom sirloin butt cut of beef, and is generally a very thin steak. Flap steak is sometimes called sirloin tips in New England.
The flap steak is sometimes confused with hanger steak as both are usually cut thin. Skirt steak is a cut of beef steak from the plate. It is long, flat, and prized for its flavor rather than tenderness. It is not to be confused with flank steak, a generally similar adjacent cut nearer the animal’s rear quarter.

Related image
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Cherrie Peppers Relish is my new go-to condiment/sandwich spread.
You can prepare it yourself, but it is widely available in stores and online in good quality and various spice-levels, from mild to burning hot 🙂
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Click here to see another South American favorite of mine, the  Picanha
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Click here for an extensive list of  Beef Cuts from around the World
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Click here for  Salsa Aji Amarillo Recipe  on  Chefsopinion
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Mashed Avocado with Salsa Aji Amarillo Recipe :
Mash the flesh of one ripe avocado with 1 tblsp chopped cilantro, 1/4 tsp garlic paste and kosher salt and salsa aji amarillo to taste
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Vacio (Beef Loin Flap), Sauteed Banana Peppers, Cherrie Peppers Relish and Mashed Avocado With Peruvian Salsa Ají Amarillo

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Vacio (Beef Loin Flap), Sauteed Banana Peppers, Cherrie Peppers Relish and Mashed Avocado With Peruvian Salsa Ají Amarillo

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Vacio (Beef Loin Flap), Sauteed Banana Peppers, Cherrie Peppers Relish and Mashed Avocado With Peruvian Salsa Ají Amarillo

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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There  are three pasta dishes I absolutely love for their simplicity and, if prepared with love and care, for their impeccable pure taste of just a few simple ingredients:
“PASTA CACIO E PEPE””SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO“, and today’s feature, “PASTA AL CAVIALE”.
As always, use the best ingredients you can afford to achieve the best result. Also, although many Italian recipes call for olive oil to toss the pasta with, as a caviar lover, I believe butter is the more appropriate ingredient to use for this dish.
And there you have it, all you need for this culinary wonder is good quality spaghetti, good quality butter, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and caviar of your choice.

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good

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Click here for more  Caviar  on  ChefsOpinionThere

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Click here for more  Pasta  on  ChefsOpinion

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Click here for more  Spaghetti  on  ChefsOpinion

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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If you think one more post about chicken wings is redundant, I do understand you 🙂
Just move on, don’t get upset, bored or annoyed. I will see you at my next post…….
However, realize this: You’ll miss a chance to look at one of the prettiest, tastiest, no-fuss to prepare chicken wings you will ever come across 🙂
So, if you decided to read on and look on – enjoy, take the time to replicate these babes and be the master of your own future-favorite chicken wings 🙂  Cheers !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Chicken Wings  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
If you can not obtain anatto powder (Annatto/Achiote/Roucou ), you can substitute red food coloring (In my humble opinion, this is more of a “pride-issue”, rather than a quality-issue) 🙂
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P.P.S.
I did no include measurements in this recipe because I believe they are not necessary.
If you want to add any more or any less of any seasoning, just do so according to your own taste.
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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for 
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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While grilled shrimp is a dish that is well known to most of us, pasta cooked in red wine is probably less known/experienced by most folks, even those who are fans of pasta in all shapes and tastes 🙂
I for one have cooked pasta in red wine a few times, many years ago, but had forgotten about it since, until I came across it while browsing through some of my (very) old menus, notes, and pictures.
I have cooked this now twice in the past couple of weeks, and it has become one of my absolute favorite side –  and even main-dish. The secret to preparing this pasta successfully lies in the red wine. Please, don’t even consider to use an inferior bottle of wine. Of course, you also don’t want to break the house, but, as with all very simple dishes, your success lies squarely on the quality of the ingredients. Also, it is my opinion that this pasta works best with butter instead of olive oil, since a really good EVO would, in my humble opinion, overpower the flavor of the wine. Again, this pertains to my very own taste preference and might work differently for yours 🙂
Also, panko in the pangrattato is a better choice  for me  than regular breadcrumbs 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Before somebody gets’ their knickers in a twist about the pangrattato – there is no ONE way of preparing it. Pangrattato simply means “grated bread”.
It can be toasted, cooked in a dry pan until golden, sautéed in butter or olive oil. It can be highly seasoned or just a little, it can contain herbs and/or whatever dry ingredient suit your palette and the dish you prepare. 🙂
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Click here for more  Pangrattato  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Bucatini  on  ChefsOpinion
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Red Wine-Bucatini

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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I prepared this soup on February 16th, the day of the Chinese new year and the beginning of the year of the dog.
I had planned to prepare and publish this post well before the 16th, in order to give my readers a chance to bring this wonderful, traditional dish to the table as part of the new year’s dinner celebration. Alas, some unforeseen events kept me from doing so. Now then, here it is, “Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup, two weeks late for the New Year celebration, but NOT TOO late, since these wonderful dumplings can, of course, be enjoyed anytime during the year. 🙂
Chinese egg dumplings, also known as dan jiao, are also often served in hot pots, in other soups or just as is, with a tasty dipping sauce.
These dumplings may look a lot more complicated and difficult to prepare as they actually are, so there is no reason not to enjoy them often. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
These dumplings cook in a very short time when simmered in soup, so you should add them towards the very end of the cooking time !
They can also be prepared ahead and frozen, then easily reheated in simmering soup.
However, if you serve the dumplings without soup, bake them or steam them for a short time, since the original short cooking time in the omelet is not enough to cook the meat through !
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P.P.S.
This soup is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year because of its long noodles (longevity),
and the color of the dumplings, which resembles the color of gold coins ( prosperity)
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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