ethnic recipes

PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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“Cacio e Pepe” is undoubtedly the most minimalist among Roman pasta.
It´s secret lies in its wonderful creaminess, which is achieved by the perfect balance between its four main ingredients: pasta, water, Pecorino Romano and black pepper. (Because of the saltiness of the Pecorino, no additional salt is needed)
(A similarly simplistic, yet very different flavor and texture are present in “Spaghetti Aglio e Olio”, which, in its most basic form, contains only spaghetti, water, olive oil, garlic, and grated hard cheese. This is usually enriched with pepperoncini and/or arugula).
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When preparing Cacio e Peppe, there are a few RULES one MUST follow to achieve the creamy texture for which Cacio e Peppe is priced, otherwise there will be just “Pasta with Cheese and Pepper”, which is not too bad either, but comes in no way close to the magic of Cacio e Peppe.
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First, – grate the cheese as fine as possible.
Second, – take the pasta straight from the water to the pan with the cheese and pepper.
Third, – quickly and thoroughly lift the pasta with two forks or a tongue from the bottom of the plate to blend and achieve a creamy sauce when the moisture and starch of the pasta and the cheese combine to form a heavenly, creamy, delicious “sauce”.
Fourth, – use warm plates to mix and serve the pasta at once.
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And there you have it !   One of Rome’s and  Italy´s most iconic, simple, delicious and wonderful dishes ! 🙂
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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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PERFECT Cacio e Pepe

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Preparation: 
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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

 

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At a time when “Regional” and “Ethnic” cuisine has spread all over the World and most of them have reached the far corners of our Planet, a large part of restaurant-goers consider themselves experts of some, or even many, different ethnic/regional cuisines.
Sadly (naturally), most experiences of these wannabe-experts come from a few visits of neighborhood “ethnic” restaurants and a subscription to the food channel, or, at best, a few encounters of local cuisine one has mustered on a once in a lifetime vacation to an exotic, foreign country.
Therefore, nowadays, when everyone pretends to be “food-hip“, “in” and “worldly“, everybody and Joe want to open a restaurant that serves food from around the World, with the proprietor and workers usually never having encountered a dish that is even close to its supposed origin.
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However, because of this worldwide spreading of cuisines,  most folks have had the pleasure to taste Scandinavian herring salad in one form or another, either in a restaurant or at home, sourced in a small plastic container at the neighborhood supermarket. These come in many different flavors and colors – with fresh dill, fresh chives, potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, pasta, capers, pickles of any type, apples, oranges, eggs, with matjes herring or salt herring, even with added sausage, etc, etc.
Many of them are surprisingly delicious, though, after all, these ingredients are hard to mess up. However, in my humble opinion, of the commercial type herring salads, most have one fundamental fault – they are diced way too small and evenly (which, admittingly, is the proper restaurant-way).
When one forkful contains five or more ingredients of very finely diced ingredients, the mix becomes one coherent mess in your mouth, which I find rather boring. I much rather have the ingredients diced larger, so that with each bite I have two or maybe three different textures and tastes, which results in the pleasure of each bite surprising me with a new combination of yumminess. 🙂
This salad can be served as an appetizer, first course, snack or main course, accompanied by steamed potatoes, sauteed potatoes, rustic bread, or Gouda crackers (as in these pictures).
Pls note that I did not include measurements – let the ratio be guided by your preferences – more or fewer veggies, herring, yogurt, mayo, and so forth – and eliminate any of the ingredients which you don´t like.  🙂
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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Preparation :
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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Easy Does It ……….. 👍😎😃

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A week ago I bought a large bag of fresh, beautiful peppers at my neighborhood Turkish grocery store. Since then, I have eaten most of them, usually grilled and served as a side dish to meat or seafood, with tzatziki as a dip. Today I needed something to accompany my dumplings, and yet another grilled peppers dish did not sound very enticing.  Also, I did not feel like eating fish or meat and so I choose the bread dumplings to be the main component of the meal. Since dumplings need a good sauce to be properly enjoyed, this tasty cream sauce with pimentóns seemed to be the perfect combination. Low and behold, it turned out to be VERY delicious, and it hit the spot precisely 🙂
So what started out as a way to get rid of some veggies before they turn South, became a much-loved dish which I will prepare again in the near future. 🙂
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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Preparation :
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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Fish & Chips

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While preparing crepes is a snap, both time-wise and on difficulty level, defrosting a large flour tortilla is even easier and faster 🙂
Also, the taste and texture are a bit more rustic, so it fits perfectly with the other ingredients for this dish.
Usually, this is a bit substantial for a dessert, (having stuffed the large tortillas to capacity with Nutella and bananas), so for most folks, it is more suitable as a light (sinful) lunch or a large snack.
Of course,  you can use smaller tortillas and less stuffing if you prefer to serve this as a dessert. Also, use any fruit or fruit combination)
But, whatever size or filling you choose, this is a  wonderfully delicious, economical and easy to prepare dish, which I am sure you will enjoy.  🙂
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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Preparation :
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Escargot Catalan

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While “Escargots à la Bourguignonne” (Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter) is my favorite snail-dish, “Escargot Catalan” is a close second. (As long as there is enough garlic, herbs and a proper red wine in the sauce).
This dish not only serves as a perfect appetizer or snack, but it can also stand on its own feet as a main course, accompanied by sauteed potatoes, rice, or hearty, crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce. 🙂
It also serves perfectly as a family/friends meal, in a large bowl in the center of the table, from where everybody can help themselves to seconds (or thirds), the wonderful meal enriched with good wine and lively conversation. 🙂
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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Preparation :
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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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If you think that the salted cucumber addition for this soup are just a fru-fru gimmick to add some green color to the picture, think again 🙂
These pickled cucumbers truly add an surprising element of sophistication to an otherwise simple, everyday soup.
BTW, I also like to eat pickled cucumbers as a snack, either plain-salted, as shown here, or prepared a bit more elaborate,
such as in my “Chinese pickled cucumbers recipe”   (涼拌黃瓜   liáng bàn huáng guā recipe)

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Preparation :
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Pls don´t miss the link at the bottom of this page for a truly “different” cooking tutorial ……
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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This salad is probably ? the first “Main Course Salad” that ever hit a restaurant table, way back then.
In the meantime, it has been re-invented/improved a million times, with the ingredients changing from year to year, season to season, cook to cook, household to household, country to country, and restaurant to restaurant.
Probably, the only constant were always salad greens, onions, and tuna, otherwise, the imagination for tuna salad knows no bounds 🙂 Other typical ingredients are (among a million others), anchovies, potatoes, eggs, artichokes, herbs, asparagus, etc, etc.
While I have to admit that my desire to create a “new” version of tuna salad has occasionally got the better of me, my favorite version is still this simple one featured here on this page. 🙂
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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mix everything with 1/3 cup herb vinaigrette

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check/adjust seasoning

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Preparation :
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And now, one for the road, not to be missed :
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Paris Hilton cooks Lasagna at her own “Cooking Show”
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I am torn between being sad, amused, disgusted and/or outraged about the fact that some folks (many ? !!!) find this to be an actual tutorial to learn cooking.
It is without a doubt a tutorial for various bad traits – but cooking is definitely not one of them 🙂 😦
This episode is one of the worst examples of how bad “cooking shows” have actually become. Most are shameful, ridiculous, bad, stupid and, flat-out, pure garbage.
My only hope is that this particular one is supposed to be satire and not to be taken seriously, but, judging from the ladies behavior and the general state of mind of the kind of people who watch crap like this, chances are that it is meant to be taken seriously:-(
God help us all !
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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When you read the title of this post and then see the final dish, you might wonder – whats easy about this ? 🙂
Let me assure you, everything is ! 🙂
The total preparation time is only about 20 minutes, although the total cooking time is more like 4.5 hours, give or take a few minutes.
How can this be, you ask ?
Well, I prepared this meal on Christmas day just for Bella and myself, so I took some shortcuts which I usually might not have taken, namely using frozen creamed spinach, which I enhanced with some additional heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg. The result was VERY yummy.
I also used frozen pommes croquettes, which turned out surprisingly delicious, especially when paired with the wonderful duck sauce. (I always have demi glace of pork, poultry and veal in my freezer, so it is easy to produce excellent sauce in a relatively short time. 🙂
Actual prep time was approximately :
10 Minutes – unpacking, washing, drying, salting the duck, and, at the end, portioning the duck.
5 Minutes – unpacking the spinach, adding to a small sauteuse, adding cream and nutmeg.
3 Minutes – unpacking the croquettes, placing on the grill in the oven.
The most difficult thing was to wait for all these hours until we could finally dig-in, while the aroma coming from the kitchen made us hungrier by the minute. Of course, I started the duck for dinner right after lunch, so it was bearable for me, while Bella experienced four hours of nearly going nuts in front of the oven 🙂
I, on the other hand, had things to do, so, for me,  the time went by fast.
At the end, this was a superb meal with very little effort. Bella and I loved all of it. I am sure that if we would have had visitors, they would have been impressed by all the skills and effort and hard work I have spend for them with this dish.  🙂 🙂 🙂
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Click here for Pommes Croquettes Recipe
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #1 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #2 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Preparation :
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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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A stew is one of these typical, beloved, easy to prepare dishes that have almost disappeared from fine restaurant menus and, sadly, from most household dining tables (or kitchen tables).
Many home cooks shy away from it because of the extended cooking time. But, once you realize that the actual prep time is usually short and easy, things look a lot more simple. After all, as long as you are at home, you can do whatever you want/need to do around the house as long as you check on your stew once in a while. The reward is a meal chock-full of flavor and debt, hardly achieved with any other cooking method (this one being Braising.” )
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While this one looks like a typical goulash, the seasoning changes it into a very different animal.
In my own opinion, not better or worse, just different. I eat stews and goulash regularly, so I love to change the ingredients/seasoning often, to avoid monotony in my nutrition.
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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Preparation :
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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If you have followed ChefsOpinion for a while, you might be aware of my passion for soups, especially for chicken noodle soup, prepared any-which-way.
Without a doubt, the soup featured on this page is by far the best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted.
The combination and the amount used of the special chicken and all the veggies, as well as the seasoning/aromatics and the six hours of cooking resulted in a heavenly broth, for which only the wide rice noodles and garden-fresh cilantro was needed to transform these simple ingredients into a wonderful, immensely satisfying culinary delight. 🙂
( The plate prepared for the original photo shoot already was all that – but then, the plate I prepared later on with all the “secondary cuts” (neck, wings and dark meat), which was originally not intended to be included in this post, was even better and “hit it out of the park” )  🙂
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P.S.
To prepare the best tasting chicken broth, one must use “Suppen Huhn” (Boiling Fowl, which needs to simmer between three to six hours to be sufficiently tender for the meat to be enjoyed.
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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And later on, the second helping looked like this :
(Originally, these photos were not intended to be published 🙂 

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Preparation :
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