flavor

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.

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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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Best Snack – Ever !?

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Pork Rinds, Pork Skins, Pork Scratchings, Pork Crackling, Chicharrones, Scrunchions, Oreilles de Christ, Chicharrón, chicharrón con Gordo, Gratons, Khaep Mu,  Tóp Mỡ, škvarky,  Grieben, Griaba, Torresmos,  Couratos,  Knabbelspek, Flæskesvæ, etc, etc, etc.
Fried pork skin is eaten in most if not all areas around the world where pork is consumed. (Many other animal skins, ears and intestines are also used to make cracklings, but today I just want to talk about pork skins, most widely known as Chicharrones, but also by the many other names listed at the beginning of this post.
I sometimes buy them ready-made in bags and have found a few very good brands in the supermarkets around here, especially in the Latin-Markets. But nothing comes close to the freshly made homemade stuff, still warm and with a texture, flavor and aroma which you just don’t get from a bag. I happened to have some pork skin in the fridge which I removed from a pork butt I cooked yesterday, anticipating the chicharrones I wanted to prepare today. (I usually cook the butt skin-on).
However, pork skin is widely available from butchers and markets so you should have no problem sourcing it.
The process is very simple :
To fry the skins, use duck fat, pork fat or peanut oil. Simmer the skin in salted water until very tender, drain, let dry for a couple of hours. Cut into strips or cubes and fry at low temperature until very crisp. Remove to absorbent paper and season to your liking. Just plain kosher salt will do, but you can experiment with additional seasoning, such as cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder, za-atar, old bay seasoning, or my favorite,  five spice powder, which I have used in today’s dish. I also like to sprinkle finely sliced scallions and chili flakes over the cracklings and use a dipping sauce of chili oil and hoi sin sauce.
WARNING !!!!
I recommend to cook the chicharrones outside in the open air; splattering of fat WILL occur !
In any case, no matter if you cook the chicharrones inside or outside, cover the fryer 3/4 with a lid while frying to minimize the fat going all over the place and possibly ignite on the hot stove.

To sum it up – making chicharrones at home is like making love :
– if you know what you are doing, the rewards can be wonderful 🙂
– if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might get burned 😦
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Allgäuer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Hörnchen  means “Little Horns” in German. They are such a wonderful pastry when properly prepared. Unfortunately, to find good Hörnchen (Croissants, Media Luna’s) is increasingly difficult and in some areas downright impossible.
A good hörnchen is as light as a feather, with dozens of air-seperated layers of buttery pastry. Most of the stuff you can buy these days are mass-produced, previously frozen concoctions which have only a faint visual resemblance to a real hörnchen  and none of the flavor and texture qualities of the genuine article. Some are not even made with puff pastry 😦
However, there is a silver lining –  in my opinion, that stuff is perfectly suitable for a good sandwich or as an accompaniment to a rustic salad.
For today’s lunch I had these babies from a commercial bakery close-by, to share the honors of being my lunch with a “lecker” allgäuer wurstsalat.
Eaten together with the salad, dunked in the rich dressing, they served their purpose as “side bread” well.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Hörnchen

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P.S.
If you don’t have access to Fleischwurst  (German Bologna) and  Allgäuer Bergkäse, you can replace them with  Swiss Cheese and  American style Bologna
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Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Bragging Alert !!! Best Turkey-Leftovers Sandwich – Ever !

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It is my firm believe that leftovers should be as good as the original dish it derived from. Yesterday I prepared this sandwich and I am convinced that not only is it the best left-over turkey sandwich, but also one of the best turkey dishes overall, period 🙂
I usually prepare other dishes from leftover turkey since most turkey sandwiches I ever came across are boring and tasteless at best and at my house during times past the only leftover turkey would be white meat, which I can live without.
So, yesterday I had a nearly insatiable graving for a good sandwich, because on the previous evening I made the mistake of buying two “Vietnamese” sandwiches at a newly opened place, “546 bánh mì café” at 6461 Stirling Road, Davie. I was looking forward to a good sandwich but was bitterly disappointed. I had 3 different sandwiches with different meat fillings, all three were completely tasteless. The clerk asked me if I wanted chillies and of course I said yes. When I got home, I found one !!!  thin slice of chili in one of the three sandwiches. The meat was mostly tasteless and their contribution to Vietnamese food was the addition of a few spritz of maggi seasoning. (Which I am fond of). But the most disappointing thing was the portion size. Although the bread was of a nice size and of great texture, the amount of filling was laughable small. Granted, the sandwiches are very reasonably priced, but I’d rather pay a bit more and have a decent sized sandwich.
Fazit: Once is enough 😦

But back to the sandwich at hand : After I ate my three sandwiches (shared with Bella), I was still hungry and started to fantasize about eating a “real” sandwich the next day. The featured sandwich is what I came up with. I loved it so much that I will add them to my favorite dishes 🙂
Of course, you can substitute the turkey with chicken, beef, shrimp or any other protein you fancy and happen to have at hand, but the turkey leg meat was just perfect. Also, I had a bottle of “salsa de aji amarillo” in my larder which added that special touch of flavor and spiciness.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you don’t have “salsa de aji amarilo”, make a substitute by blending mayo, yellow peppers, salt, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers and turmeric (for the bright yellow color). For hot dishes, replace the mayo with heavy cream. Few folks will be able to tell the difference from the original, especially the bottled stuff.

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Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich - Ever !

Best Turkey Sandwich – Ever !

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Best Turkey Sandwich - Ever !

Best Turkey Sandwich – Ever !

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Preparation :
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To see instructions, hover over picture
To enlarge pictures, click on them


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Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Black Bean Sauce

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This  dish will suit everybody with a taste for Asian flavors but no great desire to spend a lot of time prepping food in the kitchen 🙂
Although this will take about 3 – 4 hours to cook, the actual prep-time is only about 10 minutes, the rest is waiting patiently for the ribs to become tender. You could blanch them in simmering salt water before roasting to save about two hours, but the texture and flavor would be very different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

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Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

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Preparation :
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season ribs with kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic and five spice powder, cook at 230 F on a rack above a wter filled baking pan until very tender, about three to four hours, depending on the size and quality of the ribs

season ribs with kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and five spice powder, cook at 230 F on a rack above a water filled baking pan until very tender, about three to four hours, depending on the size and quality of the ribs

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remove tender ribs from oven, heat oven to 420 F

remove tender ribs from oven, heat oven to 420 F

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meanwhile, make a basting sauce by whisking together fermented bean sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil

meanwhile, make a basting sauce by whisking together fermented bean sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil

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basting sauce

basting sauce

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baste ribs generously with the sauce on all sides, bake until starting to caramelize, baste again, caramelize again

baste ribs generously with the sauce on all sides, bake until starting to caramelize, baste again, caramelize again

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when nicely caramelized, remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds

when nicely caramelized, remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds

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to serve, sprinkle with finely sliced scallins

to serve, sprinkle with finely sliced scallions

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Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

Asian Style Glazed Pork Ribs With Fermented Bean Sauce

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Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

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Pangrattato  you ask ? Don’ t worry, we are just talking about sautéed breadcrumbs here, nothing complicated, but oh so good.
Most cuisines which use pasta also use pangrattato in one form or another : bread crumbs sautéed in butter, in olive oil, in schmalz or just dry toasted, seasoned with anything from salt and pepper to garlic, herbs cheese, nutmeg or whatever else is traditional in your area of the woods or whatever tickles your fancy. The main task for the bread crumbs is to add texture to your pasta. And if you can add flavor on top of that, so much the better.
Sometimes, all I want for a great meal is just perfectly cooked pasta with lot’s of tasty pangrattato and a bit of grated cheese on top. Perfection for pasta lovers, right there. But today, I made a dish with even more pizzazz by adding sautéed shrimp and scallops in herb butter to an already sexy dish. Aaahhhh,  Life is Good 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Long Live Good Food !
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Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

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Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

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Penne Rigate With Pangrattato

Penne Rigate With Pangrattato

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Preparation :
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saute chili flakes in butter

saute chili flakes in butter

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add panko bread crumbs, kosher salt, garlic paste

add panko bread crumbs, kosher salt, garlic paste

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saute until golden, keep warm

saute until golden, keep warm

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melt garlic/herb butter

melt garlic/herb butter

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add scallops and shrimmp, season with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, add white wine and lime juice, check / adjust seasoning

add scallops and shrimmp, season with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, add white wine and lime juice, check / adjust seasoning

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plate freshly cooked, al dente penne rigate

plate freshly cooked, al dente penne rigate

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top pasta with a generous amount of pangrattato

top pasta with a generous amount of pangrattato

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top with seafood, sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley

top with seafood, sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley

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Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

Scallops & Shrimp In Herb and Garlic Butter, With Penne Rigate And Pangrattato

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Hans’ Pork Buns (Not David Chang’s Pork Buns)

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David Chang’s  pork buns have achieved a mythical status only American “foodies “would allow to be bestowed upon a simple steamed bun, smeared with hoisin sauce and topped with salt and sugar seasoned pork belly and pickled cucumbers.
When I had these wonderful little sandwiches a few years back in New York I was truly smitten by their delicious simplicity, but I never understood their immense cult following. My only explanation would be that pork belly, pickled cucumbers and steamed buns are fairly new to most folks who fall all over them self touting these “innovative” ingredients and combinations. (Kind of making fools of them self by flaunting their lack of experience with international cuisine while considering them self “foodies” and “experts”). Steamed pork buns are a traditional staple in many Asian cuisines, especially in China. There are infinite numbers of great variations out there, one better than the next.
Today, I want to introduce you to my own version of the pork bun. For this version, I am using kaiser roll (a very light version) instead of the traditional steamed bun and introduce my pork to a lot more flavor and texture. I consider my pork buns not necessarily to be better but definitely tastier and more textural interesting. You’ll be the judge 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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top pork with cucumber/radish and coarsely chopped cilantro

top pork with cucumber/radish and coarsely chopped cilantro

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Preparation :
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season porkbelly with salt and saute until golden brown

season porkbelly with salt and saute until golden brown

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when brown, remove pork and set aside

when brown, remove pork and set aside

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 saute onions in garlic oil  until lightly caramelized

saute onions in garlic oil until lightly caramelized

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add hoisin sauce, grated ginger, garlic paste

add hoisin sauce, grated ginger and garlic paste

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add oyster sauce

add oyster sauce

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add say sauce

add soy sauce

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add sriracha

add sriracha

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return pork to pan, add water

return pork to pan, add water

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simmer covered until pork is tender but NOT falling apart, remove pork, set aside, reduce sauce until thickened and onions are very soft, check / adjust seasoning

simmer covered until pork is tender but NOT falling apart, remove pork, set aside, reduce sauce until thickened and onions are very soft, check / adjust seasoning

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meanwhile, slice radishes and cucumber into julienne, season with kosher salt, let sit for 20 minutes, squeeze dry, discard juices

meanwhile, slice radishes and cucumber into julienne, season with kosher salt, let sit for 20 minutes, squeeze dry, discard juices add rice wine vinegar and white pepper, check / adjust seasoning

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cut pork into bit sized pieces

cut pork into bite-size pieces

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cut kaiser rolls in half, toast lightly

cut kaiser rolls in half, toast lightly

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top both halves of buns with onion/sauce

top both halves of buns with onion sauce

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add pork to bottom half of bun

add pork to bottom half of bun

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top pork with cucumber/radish and coarsely chopped cilantro

top pork with cucumber/radish and coarsely chopped cilantro

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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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Embarrassing secret revealed below. Continue to scroll if you think you can take it………..
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Hans' Pork Belly Bun The actual dinner portion :-) :-(

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun
The actual dinner portion 🙂 😦

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Hans' Pork Belly Bun

Hans’ Pork Belly Bun

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Cherry Tomato And Cheese “Crumble”

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The  problem with cherry tomatoes is usually that their flavors do not match up with their pretty appearance. So, in order to have a satisfying cherry tomato dish, one must add a lot of flavor and texture. Here now is a recipe which does that and might just become your next tomato go-to recipe. It is easy, economic, looks great and packs a ton of flavor 🙂  It is equally suited as a side dish with a main course, (served here with a small rib eye steak with my home made buffalo sauce),  or as a snack or appetizer, served cold or warm on bread (I used  Wasa Light Rye Crisp Bread,  which is a permanent ingredient in my cupboard)
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Bon Appetit !  Life is Good !
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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Preparation :
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saute onions, scallions, garlic paste (lot's of it)and ham in olive oil (replace the ham with mushrooms for a vegetarian version)

saute onions, scallions, garlic paste (lot’s of it) and ham in olive oil (replace the ham with mushrooms for a vegetarian version)

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add tomatoes,season liberally with kosher salt and cayenne pepper

add tomatoes, season liberally with kosher salt and cayenne pepper

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add half diced swiss cheese and half diced brie cheese

add 50% diced swiss cheese and 50% diced brie cheese

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add diced rustic, dry bread ( I used 50% sour dough bread and 50%  jalapeno/cheese bread)

add diced rustic, dry bread (I used 50% sour dough bread and 50% jalapeno/cheese bread)

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mix all ingredients

mix all ingredients

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sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and grated asiago cheese, bake at 390 F for 45 minutes or until top is golden and crispy

sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, grated asiago cheese and scallions, bake at 390 F for 45 minutes or until top is golden and crispy

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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Cherry Tomato "Crumble"

Cherry Tomato “Crumble”

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