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Calamares Al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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This was such a down to earth, yet wonderfully delicious meal. Well-prepared rice and beans are something I enjoy at least twice a week. But not just the simple black beans and white rice common here in the Caribbean, South America and South Florida, but many, many combinations of different rice and different beans (or peas)
Add a simple protein, such as steak, schnitzel, roast pork, braised pork, fish, seafood, sausages, eggs or other veggies and you have a meal fit for a (Latin) king 🙂
As for the rice and beans, there are the same endless possibilities of variations – curry rice and fried chickpeas, white rice and black eye beans, risi e bisi, curried chickpeas with wild rice, succotash and white rice, rice porridge (congee) with beans or peas, sautéed rice patties with hummus, etc, etc. Just make sure you season these dishes to be fragrant with fresh herbs, chilies, cumin, garlic, a bit of soy sauce and/or Maggi seasoning. If left bland, rice and beans are a sorry excuse for a multicultural/multinational staple, but when properly prepared, they will be exciting and satisfying 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Mexican Rice  Recipe
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Click here for  Black Beans  Recipe
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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Arroz Mexicana

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Frijoles Negro

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Preparation :
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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Cod –
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Kabeljau / Dorsch / タラ Tara / Morue / Bacalao / smk alqadi / Treska / Turska / Γάδος Gádos / Kele / Torsk / треска, etc, etc. 🙂
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Until a few short years ago, cod (kabeljau), and especially cod in mustard sauce was a very popular dish in Europe. It was very cheap, tasted great, looked good and was widely available.
It could be found  at least  once a month on Fridays in private homes, in restaurants on “Daily Specials”, as a choice in school- and factory cafeterias and everywhere else where people did not eat meat on a Friday because of religious reasons, or simply because they loved the dish and welcomed it as a change from the usual daily meat or vegetable offerings.
I would love to eat cod at least 3 times a week, breaded, poached, sautéed, grilled, in tacos or sandwiches, plain or with sauce or condiments, and so forth. However, the exuberant pricing of at least $ 10 a pound prevents me from enjoying cod more often. 😦
But once in a while I spoil myself and Bella and go all out, no matter the cost. 🙂


Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Preparation :
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Black beans, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs and loads of cilantro – what would serve better as proper condiments than salsa verde and salsa Mexicana ? 🙂
Ever since I have discovered authentic tasting salsa verde and salsa Mexicana at my neighborhood international food market, I have them in my larder and fridge at all times, using it to enhance breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes of all types – eggs, seafood, meat, pasta, rice, vegetables, etc, etc. Together with chili paste of all levels of hotness, Maggi seasoning and soy sauce, these are the condiments/seasonings  without almost none of my meals are complete. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Preparation :
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Panierte Frikadelle Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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WHY ARE MOST AMERICAN BURGERS CRAP ? “

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Easy boy’s and girls, just trying to get your attention here. 🙂
But………..

For many years the American style burger was a complete mystery to me.
You see, when I came to America for the first time in 1970, my  “burger”
senses were still completely in love with our German version, which go
by the names of:

Frikadellen, Buletten, Hamburger, Fleischpflanzln.

To this day I can not understand how one can forgo the deliciousness
and texture of a “proper” Frikadelle for a limp , skinny, mostly dry and
tasteless meat patty made of  low-grade, unseasoned and uninteresting
ground beef.
( Notice friends, I said “most’ American burgers, not “all” )
Of course, the principle of having a good piece of meat layered with lettuce,
tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise and a variety of other goodies is a wonderful
idea. But, if this is such a standby and tradition for so many folks, why on earth
do most people treat it like crap ? Crappy buns, crappy patties, crappy condiments. No love 😦 .
So here is what I suggest to the American public :
Let’s LOVE and RESPECT our food from here on, even a simple burger !     🙂
I will throw the first coin by giving you all the simplest and best recipe for
a plain, good old frikadelle. There are many variations and once you have
mastered the basics, you should experiment until you find your personal favorite.
A frikadelle is a very versatile dish. It can be served as a snack, cold with mustard
to dip and a slice of sour dough bread on the side. Or as a lunch or dinner dish,
with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce, roast potatoes and fried onions,
french fries (fritten) and salad or any other side dish, condiment and sauce
which would go well with a steak or regular beef burger. Just make sure that if you go the
few extra steps to make a wonderful frikadelle instead of a measly, skinny patty,
don’t destroy the good stuff by adding lesser sides and condiments.
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If you are a burger fanatic, you want to read :  History of the Hamburger

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Ingredients:
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1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 tsp. olive oil
1 day-old roll (about 2 oz.), softened in hot milk and squeezed dry.
1 lb. ground meat (half and half; pork and veal)
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tsp chopped, fresh parsley
1 Tsp chopped, fresh marjoram
1 oz butter

Method:
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Saute 
onions in oil until translucent. Cool slightly.
Cut softened roll into little pieces in a bowl, add meat and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Heat butter and olive oil together in a frying pan.
Shape 4 patties and saute over medium high heat until browned on both sides. Place the patties on a baking sheet and place in a 375°F oven until done.
You may also continue sauteing them in the pan until they are no longer pink inside.

Variation 1: You may want to roll your patties in dried, seasoned bread crumbs before sautéing for a really nice, crispy exterior.
Variation 2: If you have German relatives, they might tell you to add some Maggi Seasoning.  In my house we use Maggi as a table side condiment.
Variation 3: Meat Patties with caraway. Substitute 1 teaspoon caraway and 2 teaspoons prepared mustard for the parsley and marjoram.
Variation 4: Add 4 ounces of finely chopped bacon to the meat .

Find your own best burger or fricadelle recipe by experimenting and giving them the love they deserve  !   🙂 

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Patties  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here to read all about
Frikadellen, Buletten, Fleischplanzerl, Fleischküchle, Faschierte Laibchen, Fasírt,  Faširanci, Perkedel, etc…….


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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Panierte Frikadellen Mit Schweizer Käse (Breaded Meat Patties With Swiss Cheese)

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Preparation :
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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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During my shopping trips to Foodtown Supermarket in Davie, about 5 minutes drive from my home, I usually go to their cooked food section, which has a great selection of Chinese roasted meat – Peking duck, cha siu, roast chicken, etc. I usually buy my dinner there, which I did a few days ago. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, resulting in leftover char siu for today. What better way to use leftover cha siu than in steamed buns or soup? Making steamed bun dough was out of the question because of ….. laziness :-),  so soup was the order of today, and here is the result 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Cha Siu ( 叉燒 )
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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Cha Siu, Cabbage And Noodle Soup

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Preparation :
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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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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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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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“Congee With Mushrooms, Carrots & Egg (Chinese Rice porridge)
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Excerpt from a previous post of  Congee  on ChefsOpinion :
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” Rice Porridge –
The first thing that comes to mind is probably baby food or hospital gruff.
Most folks would never think of ordering it from a menu in a restaurant, much less wake up and crave it for breakfast, if they hadn’t tasted or at least seen it before.

Now, let’s try again :
Congee. Lúgaw. Chok. Xifan. Juk. Okayu.
OK now, that’s better  🙂

Sounds more interesting and exotic? These are just a few names given to rice porridge around the world. If there is a country or region which traditionally eats rice, then there is some form of rice porridge eaten.
Congee can be enjoyed as breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner. Congee most often contains rice, but other grains can be used.
Ideally, it is made with strong, tasty stock that infuses great taste and debt into the dish. But from there on, let your fantasy run wild. Congee can be made with seafood, meat, vegetables or a combination thereof.
Then there are the toppings – Pickled vegetables, fried shallots, sliced scallions, any mushroom, crisp fried garlic, dried shrimps, 100-year eggs, cilantro, etc, etc.
If you like it, put it on.
Below is a version I made on Sunday for breakfast. The texture is more like a Filipino Lugaw, with the rice VERY soft but still keeping its shape. .
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Preparation :
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Sautéed Hake, Shrimp & Potato

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Sautéed Hake, Shrimp & Potato

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Comfort Food ! 🙂
We usually associate this moniker with hearty, deft, heavy home-cooking, and rightfully so, because that’s what’s comes to mind most often – long-simmering meat stews, vegetable-studded chicken soup, pasta with rich sauces, hearty sausages, crusty bread, long basted poultry, slowly roasted mountains of beef, pork, lamb, game, etc, etc.
This featured dish is much different, but in its final stage, it represents comfort food just as well as the aforementioned dishes. Although its main ingredients consist of delicate fish filet and juicy shrimp, the generous use of butter and the comforting method of sauteeing all to a golden crisp will make this without a doubt a worthy contender of comfort food at it’s finest 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sautéed Hake, Shrimp & Potato

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Sautéed Hake, Shrimp & Potato

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Sautéed Hake, Shrimp & Potato

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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 :
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Stir Fried Chicken And Vegetables

Stir Fried Chicken And Vegetables

Does stir fried chicken ever get old? Not in my book, for sure 🙂
Its beauty lays in large part in its versatility.
Not only can it be served with or without sauce, but there is no limit to the number of variations with which you can prepare the sauce. If you choose to prep it with sauce, you can include hoisin sauce, soy sauce, fermented bean sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, yuzu-soy sauce, kecap manis, etc, etc. You can serve it over stir fried noodles, fried noodles, steamed rice, fried rice, steamed buns; with a myriad of different vegetables, mushrooms and even potatoes (in some part of China potatoes are rather common).
When I cook stir fried chicken at home (or most other stir fries, for that matter), it rarely has the same ingredients twice – if ever.
But, all stir fries (and any other dish) I prepare at my home have one thing in common – I put a lot of love in them, therefore they all are delicious 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Stirfry  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Chicken  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Chinese Steamed Rice (Fan)   on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Kecap Manis (Ketjup Manis)  on  ChefsOpinion
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Stir Fried Chicken And Vegetables

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Stir Fried Chicken And Vegetables

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