ethnic recipes

One For The Kid’s # 6 – Banana/Walnut Cake With Figs, Raspberry Jam & Nutella

One For The Kid’s # 6 – Banana/Walnut Cake With Figs, Raspberry Jam & Nutella

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“ONE FOR THE KIDS”  is a series of Goodies which are wonderful treats for kids of all ages . They are super easy to prepare so you can ask your little ones to give you a helping hand in the production, which will make them proud and add even more happiness to a wonderful treat 🙂
(Here I used a store-bought banana walnut cake, because you don’t want to have the little ones to labor over the elaborate cake preparations).
In my area, there are many grocery chains and bakeries who sell great banana walnut cake. However, if you prefer to make your own, below is a link to a super easy recipe I’ve used in the past and which I found to give excellent results.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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One For The Kid’s # 6 – Banana/Walnut Cake With Figs, Raspberry Jam & Nutella

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One For The Kid’s # 6 – Banana/Walnut Cake With Figs, Raspberry Jam & Nutella

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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 :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

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Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

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Visiting my Asian food store is such a great food shopping experience. I usually go to stock up on sauces, Asian noodles, special veggies and the occasional specialty item I can’t find at my regular hunting grounds.
However, as it is usually the case when I go shopping for “just a few things, necessities”, I always end up buying too much stuff I did not set-out to get. That’s how I ended up with 2,5 lbs flash-frozen baby octopus, without a plan (yet) how to prep them. Alas, it really does not matter for me how baby octopus (or any other octopus, for that matter), is prepared, I love them any which way – so, or so, or so 🙂
Lately, I ate grilled steak and sautéed meat cuts with potatoes and rice quite often, so it was time to go back to pasta and lots of good sauce. Here now is how these tiny, frozen, beautiful creatures transformed into a most lovely dish, served over a heavenly  “crisp on the outside, soft on the inside”  egg noodle pillow 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
I like my noodle pillows “crisp on the outside but soft on the inside”. If you prefer more crispness towards the center, cook the pillow in 3 cups of oil instead of the two tblsp I used here, and raise the temperature of the oil so the noodles are actually frying instead of sauteing, as I did here. (Either way, good stuff)  🙂
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Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

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Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

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Baby Octopus In Black Bean/Oyster Sauce On A Crisp Egg Noodle Pillow

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plate the crispy noodle pillow, top the pillow with the octopus and sauce, garnish with chives

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Preparation :
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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Onion soup is a vegetable soup made of sauteed onions and stock. Onion soup was traditionally served in poorer households and lower-class restaurants.
Onion soup is, and was, found in many countries, prepared in many different variations. What all recipes have in common are the onions and stock. From there on, anything goes……….:
Added red or white wine, beer, egg yolk, flour, cream, cheese, herbs, bread, vinegar, sugar, caramelized onions, sauteed but kept-white onions, puréed onions, sliced onion, diced onions, shallots, sausages, sherry, carrots, and probably another thousand different additions, depending on where in the world you encounter your onion soup.
Names/variations include “Pfälzer Zwiebelsuppe”, “Soupe Soubise”, “Schwaebische Zwiebelsuppe”, “Cipollata”,  “Cherbah”, and countless more.
And then, of course, there is the queen of all onion soups! –
Known and loved most everywhere in the world, it is “French Onion Soup” (Soupe à l’oignon / Soupe d’oignons aux Halles/ Soupe à l’oignon gratinée)
What makes this variation so special is the addition of bread and gruyere to the top of the onion soup, then it get’s some time in the oven or under the broiler until the top is a bubbly, fragrant, addictive, gooey mass of melted bread and cheese.
Each heavenly spoonful should contain some of the bread and cheese, some soup, and some onions.
Voilà, now you know why “French Onion Soup” is the best onion soup in the world 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion 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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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds


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One
has to wonder:
Why are sweet or savory crepes not on everybody’s table at least once a week ???
I can’t recall to ever have met anybody who’d claim not to like crepes, either in its sweet or savory form, or both.
Crepes can be prepared easily by anybody, even by a child or somebody with two left hands. Even if one does not like to cook, these babies need all of a few minutes to prepare, are very economical and, have I said this already? – are easy and quick to prepare.
In its sweet, plain variation, just sprinkle some castor sugar on top and maybe a bit of whipped cream, and you have a great dessert or sweet snack.
It’s savory, plain version will make a quick meal by drizzling a bit of butter on top and serving them with a small salad on the side.
And then, you have the more elaborate stuff 🙂
Savory crepes can be filled with creamed or buttered mushrooms, vegetables, seafood, chicken, game meats, spicy sausages and a myriad of other, more or less fancy goodies.
Sweet crepes will be happy to be married to caramelized fruit, creams, chocolate sauce, puddings, cream cheese (blintzes anyone?), nutella, yogurt, nuts, etc, etc, etc.
I myself have prepared just about any combination of crepes and “stuff” under the sun. I don’t really have a favorite per se, I love ’em all 🙂
So here is a version of crepes with caramelized fruits. I have to admit that the blackberries and pomegranate are rather expensive, especially when you cook for a large family. But be assured, caramelized apples, pears, oranges, bananas, strawberries, or any other more economical fruit will be just as wonderful – yummy to taste and pretty to look at 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Vanilla Crepes With Caramelized Blackberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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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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P.S.
Instead of the more traditional croutons, I used tarallini  (Small  Taralli , (sometimes marketed as “Italian Love Knots”)

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Preparation :
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Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

 

Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

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Today, I like to share a dish with you that I have prepared in its basic version hundreds of times over the years. It is a “a la minute” dish, so it requires no prolonged cooking and can be prepared on short notice (a la minute) and in just a few minutes of prepping and cooking.
The ingredients for the sauce are always the same – clarified butter, curry powder, turmeric powder, cumin, garlic paste, grated ginger, kosher salt, chicken, beef or vegetable stock, and heavy cream.
On the other hand, besides the sauce, anything goes. You can replace the potatoes, chick peas and shrimp with anything your heart desires and your belly craves – any poultry, any seafood, beef, veggies-only to make the dish vegetarian, even potatoes and tomatoes only (one of my favorites), and so forth…..
The sauce is what makes this dish so delicious and unique and I usually make more than the dish actually needs, so I can use the leftover sauce to flavor some rice or pasta, usually for a simple breakfast or a tasty midnight snack 🙂
The ratio of the ingredients for the sauce is also flexible and depends on the main ingredient you use.
While the basic sauce for two portions requires 1/2 cup stock, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 pinch of cumin, 1 tblsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp garlic paste, 1/4 tsp grated ginger and kosher salt to taste, I like to use more curry powder for beef and chicken dishes, more  cumin for lamb, more liquid for starchy dishes, less liquid for vegetable variations, etc.
As usual, please let the recipe I give you here serve as a guideline, which you can/should adjust according to your own preferences 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

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Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

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Curried Shrimp With Potatoes & Garbanzos

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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 Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Last week I came across a special at my grocery store –   $ 10.50 for a whole duck, compared to the usual price of around $17.00 for the same size bird.
Of course, I bought two, because duck – anytime 🙂
After I defrosted the first one, I realized that it might be a good idea to prepare the duck in a way which will be more suitable to a bird which had probably spend a bit of extra time in the freezer (hence the special 🙂 ) , rather than just plain roasted and eaten without any additional preparation.
(I will post part two, “Roast Duck – Part Two – Duck Soup With Rice Sticks And Baby Bok Choy”, within the next few days)
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Roast Duck

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Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Roast Duck – Part One – “Duck With Dirty Noodles”

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Dirty Noodles

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Roast Duck Recipe:
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Ingredients:
1 med size duck
Kosher salt to taste
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Method:
Preheat oven to 400F
Prick skin and fat of duck all over, remove excess fat-flaps
Season duck generously inside and out side with the salt.
Place duck breast-side down on a wire rack which rests on a sheet-pan.
Place into oven, immediately turn temperature down to 300 F
Roast duck for 3 hours and 45 minutes, turning duck every 30 minutes
After 3 hours and 45 minutes, increase heat to 420F, roast duck breast side up until skin is very crisp and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving.
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Preparation :
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