home cooking

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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A few  years after I was born, the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (Economic Miracle) was in full swing (I wonder if my existence helped?), and Germany was in need of a new, different kind of army – an army of workers, to fill all the open labor-positions. It was the time (1955) when Germany invited millions of “Gastarbeiter” (Guest Workers) to come and make their luck and life in Germany. Mostly poor, working class people from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and eventually, in 1968, Yugoslavia, took a chance and started a new life in this new promised land, first alone, working very hard, saving money, learning the language and customs and then, usually a couple of years later, having their family join them and slowly but surely integrating themselves and their families, and most of them eventually becoming Germans. (Passport, language, customs, and all) 🙂
I don’t want to go into the political, economic and social results of this enormous “Völkerwanderung” (Human Migration), but rather talk about the effect it had on the culinary landscape.
Up until then, there were basically three culinary styles in Germany –
“Deutsche Hausmanskost”, which translates into plain home cooking
“Deutsche Koch Kunst”, or German Culinary Arts, meals that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,  primarily available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
“Traditional French Cuisine”, also mainly available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
Of course, this all changed rapidly with the influx of millions of people cooking the traditional food of their countries of origin, and within a few short years one could easily find a Turkish doner shop, Italian pizzeria, Greek taverna, Spanish tapa restaurant, Portuguese cervejaria or Yugoslavian restaurant serving food from all over Europe, first in the big cities, but eventually even in the smallest of villages.
(Incidentally, nowadays you are more likely to find an ethnic restaurant than a typical “German Gasthaus” (German Tavern) in most places 😦
Securely wedged in my memory are the Cevapcici of that time. Up ’til then, we did not know “Burgers”. We had either buletten or meatloaf, typically served hot with mashed potatoes or pasta and mushroom sauce, or served cold with bread and mustard.
So when Cevapcici came along, they were pretty special and exotic to our palette and view.
Spiced with plenty of garlic, oregano and cumin among other seasonings, they tasted and looked very different to anything made with ground lamb (or any other ground meat) we’d seen up to then.
They were usually served with rice and salad or with some type of flatbread and salad, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce and raw onion rings.
Again, at the time, this was pretty new and exotic for most of us 🙂
So when I got this ground lamb yesterday, I was looking forward to preparing and eating, for the first time in many years, this wonderful dish.
I am happy I did because I enjoyed every morsel of it (and so did Bella) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !   (And full of memories) 🙂
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Pls note:
Replace the lamb with beef, or pork or a mixture of both if you prefer.
Cevapcici can be grilled, sauteed, baked (roast) or fried. However, do NOT overcook them or you are left with a dry stick of coal-like substance 😦
See the pic of the close-up of the meat. Well done but VERY juicy and tender 🙂
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Click here for  Potato Salad Recipe   (Add sliced, seeded cucumbers if desired)
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Hickory Smoked, Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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Here  we have another dish which exemplifies home cooking at it’s most simple, most tasty, most satisfying goodness.
It goes to show that you don’t have to be rich or a professional chef in order to serve excellent food. Creativity and good, simple  ingredients will get you pretty far.
While I love my lobster, caviar and foie gras, food made with  simple ingredients  should, in my opinion, alternate with the high-end stuff which most of us could not afford on a daily basis anyway. But even back in the day’s when I ran five star operations and could have had “the good stuff” for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I always liked to mix it up with some home style cooked dishes. After all, the beauty of good food lies, among other things,  in variation.
Well, there you have it : Another  ChefsOpinion 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

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Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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Preparation :
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mix 1/3 corn starch, 1/3 ap flour, 1/3 panko bread crumbs, season with cayenne pepper, english mustard powder and granulated garlic

mix 1/3 corn starch, 1/3 ap flour, 1/3 panko bread crumbs, season with cayenne pepper, english mustard powder and granulated garlic

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dip ham steak on both sides into flour mixture, saute in butter until golden, remove ham and set aside, fry sunny side up eggs in same butter, season eggs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

dip ham steak on both sides into flour mixture, saute in butter until golden, remove ham and set aside, fry sunny side up eggs in same butter, season eggs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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almost......

almost……

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saute onions in butter until lightly caramelized, add garlic confit paste

saute onions in butter until lightly caramelized, add garlic confit paste

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add cabbage and peppers, saute until cabbage starts to wilt

add cabbage and peppers, saute until cabbage starts to wilt

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add demi glace and grape tomatoes, season with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, simmer for one minute, check / adjust seasoning

add demi glace and grape tomatoes, season with kosher salt and cayenne pepper, simmer for one minute, check / adjust seasoning

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plate cabbage on serving dish

plate cabbage on serving dish

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top with ham steak

top with ham steak

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top with fried eggs, serve with horseradish mashed potatoes or a good rustic bread to soak up the sauce and juices

top with fried eggs, serve with horseradish mashed potatoes or a good rustic bread to soak up the sauce, egg yolks and juices

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Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

Hickory Smoked Panko Crusted Bone-In Ham Steak

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