Olive oil

Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

A great sandwich can be a wonderful dish. Put a few good ingredients together, add some love and voilà, a quick and most satisfying meal can be on the table in minutes, without breaking the bank.
And yet, so many folks at home and in restaurants manage to screw up this simple task.
Substandard ingredients, lack of imagination and the absence of love for what you are doing will all prevent a good sandwich, but rather transform bread and stuff into bahhh……….
Not so this here baby !
While the choice of bread is purely a personal preference, I make most of my sandwiches with toasted sourdough bread or other rustic bread. I just love the texture and taste, but of course, you should use whatever bread rings your bells. The chicken can be grilled or fried, the cheese can be the one you love the most, and the veggies – well, you get the point 🙂
Just make sure you prepare it all with love and gusto, don’t skimp on the good stuff and prepare it with the respect a great sandwich (as well as any other good food) deserves 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
The chicken, while it has the taste and texture of fried chicken, is actually sauteed.
Classic French Cuisine defines sauteed :  “Cooked in fat, not covered by fat”
Classic French Cuisine defines fried :        “Cooked in fat, covered by fat”
In most restaurant settings, one would just fry the chicken in the fryer.
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Fried Chicken&Boursin Sandwich

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Preparation :
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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Shank’s of beef, veal, lamb, or game is perfectly suitable to be braised slowly in wine. The cooking liquid and gentle heat of slowly simmering breaks down the collagen, producing a wonderful texture and great flavor, unlike any other part of the animal. One can use the shank meat for stews, soups, goulash, bulalo, braised whole, or, as shown here, braised sliced/cross-cut. But remember, no matter which dish or cooking method you choose, DO NOT overcook the meat. A big part of the appeal of shank is the superb texture of a tender, but NOT falling apart piece of muscle meat. Therefore, simmer the shank very slowly. It might take a long time, (after all the shank is pure muscle), but you will be rewarded with a spectacular texture and mouthfeel which no other cut of meat possesses 🙂
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P.S.
Traditionally, the bone marrow is incorporated into the sauce.
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P.P.S.
But, also traditionally, the wise cook steals the bone marrow and prepares himself a great snack of “Bone Marrow On Toast” 🙂 .
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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Sliced Beef Shanks Braised In Merlot

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Preparation :
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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil


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friend Peter came over for lunch today. Usually, he is a big fan of down to earth home cooking, never getting enough meatloaf, pasta, potatoes, stews, pigs feet, tripe, and other offal.
However, right now he is on a strict diet, so he asked me to prepare something gluten-free, starch-free and sugar-free. This tuna steak with salad was the result of his request, which made him happy and content (or so he said).
I, on the other hand, feasted on some left-over pork belly with potatoes, which made me happy and content 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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1 cup EVO, 2 ea garlic confit, 2 ea scallion, kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

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5 ea grape tomatoes, 1 ea quintisho chile, 3 slices lemon; simmer slowly on low heat while basting with the oil until tuna is cooked to your preferred temperature; serve with a salad of your choice

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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

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Tuna Steak Poached In Olive Oil

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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For a long time, nobody around here would touch Pork belly with a ten-foot pole.
Pork belly was deemed to be inferior, unhealthy and fattening. However, during the past couple of years, secondary meat cuts (as well as offal) have become “IN”, so all of a sudden pork belly, almost always “Asian Glazed”, has popped up on every menu in town. While this could be a good development, the sad fact is that a tiny portion of pork belly now costs as much as a steak and most preparations leave a lot to be desired.
The smart solution? Cook it at home, naturally 🙂
I grew up with pork belly and most other secondary cuts, as well as offal, so I have been eating this stuff all my life and have a number of recipes for all of them.
Yesterday I prepared pork belly in one of the most simple yet also most delicious way:
Braised in red wine and veggies, served with mashed potatoes.
When I was a kid, my Mom used to mix the mashed potatoes with fresh cabbage to make a very hearty and tasty dish. Although I don’t remember the name of this dish, it stayed in my memory because my brother and I loved it, but my Dad hated it because in his opinion it was not traditional and therefore should not be served for a proper meal. This dish approximates the Italian “Lesso di Patate e Cavolo Verza” and the Irish “Colcannon”. Apparently, my Mom was right-on with her creation 🙂
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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Malbec-Braised Pork Belly With Napa Potatoes

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Preparation :
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Another Day, Another Wonderful Salad (Plus A Great Grilled Chicken Breast)

Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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In my ongoing (and admittedly, so far not very successful) quest for a more healthful lifestyle, I do eat a lot more vegetables and salads.
Unfortunately, most of the time when I choose a healthy dish for one meal, I offset the good effect with a not so healthy dish for the following meal. But, I keep trying………
Today’s lunch was a rather salubrious choice, grilled lean meat, accompanied by a delicious vegetable salad with olive oil dressing and, for a bit of extra zing, a few pickled chilies and a herb-laden chimichurri.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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Grilled Chicken Breast With Red Beet/Broccoli Salad And Chimichurri

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Red Beet/Broccoli Salad

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Preparation :
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Salad & Bread

Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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“Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread”
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Once in a while, “just” a salad is all I want for lunch. Today was such a day and this salad satisfied all the needs and wishes I had for such a lunch.
Light, refreshing, pretty and very flavorful, I recommend this for anybody who “just” wants a salad as a wonderful meal 🙂
As an added bonus, the garlic/pita bread was exceptional and I added it to my regular repertoire.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Spinach Salad with Grapefruit Filets, Shrimp, Avocado and Grape Tomatoes, dressed with Honey/Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by Garlic/Chili Pita Bread

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Preparation :
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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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While  in most parts of the world and in many languages “Torta” or “Torte” is generally understood to be a sweet concoction, it can also describe a sandwich, made with flatbread or a leavened bread, depending on the country/region of origin.
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Wiki excerpt:
Mexican Sandwich

In Mexico, a torta is a kind of sandwich, served on an oblong 15 cm firm, crusty white sandwich roll. Depending on the region, this is called a bolillo, telera, birote, or pan francés. Tortas can be eaten cold or hot, grilled or toasted in a press in the same manner as a Cuban sandwich.
Garnishes such as avocado, chili pepper (usually poblano or jalapeño), tomato, and onion are common. The dish is popular throughout Mexico, and is also available anywhere with a large number of Mexican immigrants. In Northern Mexico, the torta is very frequently called “lonche by the influence of the English “lunch“, as it may be eaten during lunch break.
The sandwich is normally named according to its main ingredient:

  • Torta de jamón, ham-filled torta
  • Torta de aguacate, avocado-filled torta
  • Torta de adobada, adobo meat-filled torta
  • Torta de huevo, scrambled eggs-filled torta
  • Torta de milanesa, milanesa meat-filled torta
  • Tortope, chicken sope-filled torta

Although the torta ahogada (meaning “drowned” torta) of Guadalajara is so called because it is smothered in a red sauce, different fillings are available and they may be mixed to create an original torta.
Due to the practicality of being hand-carried, tortas are sold at massive events, such as football matches, parades, and outdoor concerts, but they are also available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at dedicated establishments or sold as street food by food carts.
In Mexico, the sweet cake is normally referred to as pastel, which is also used in other parts of Latin America with this meaning.
Origin:
The origin of the torta is unclear, but some claim it sprouted in Puebla due to Spanish-French interaction. Teleras (the bread usually used in tortas) were inspired by French baguettes ”
End of Wiki excerpt.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Preparation :
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

 

Scholle Gebraten (Whole Sauteed Flounder)

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Decades  ago, when I was about 19 years old, working as a commis de cuisine on the German Seaboard (Ostsee), in Timmendorfer Strand,  Hotel Seeschlösschen), this dish was one of the all time favorites on restaurant menus, either the whole fish or, for the less adventurous, fillets like I have used here.
Usually served “Meuniere” or “Grenobloise”, accompanied by “Kartoffel Salat” (potato salad) or “Dill Kartoffeln” (dill potatoes), “Scholle” (flounder) was abundant and therefore one of the most economic and popular fresh fish one could order in a restaurant.
How times have changed…………
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Preparation :
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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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To  prepare a successful raw “Tomato Sauce”, it is essential that the tomatoes are VERY ripe, sweet and soft.
Other than that, there is not much wizardry to be employed, just make sure that the pasta is cooked perfectly, your basil is fresh, young and sweet, the olive oil is of great quality and the cheese you use is the best you can afford. (Any hard, fresh-grated cheese you prefer will do).
The result will proof once again that if prepared with love and gusto, bringing together a few simple, good quality ingredients will add up to a wonderful meal (Even if the sunshine is lacking) 🙂
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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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Sunshine On A Plate – Penne With Raw Tomato And Basil Sauce

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Preparation :
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit)

“Meatloaf With Sautéed Cabbage, Horseradish Potatoes And Mushroom Cream”
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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There is a little story about the origin of the name Falscher Hase.
(Also: Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten, Heuchelhase)
(It might be funny now, but back then it was not funny at all, since it tried to cover-up the poverty and embarrassment of ordinary folks who were too poor to put a meal  on the table of which they could be proud of)
You see, not too long ago there was a time in Germany, Baden-Wuerttemberg in particular, when ground meat was not considered a proper entrée. It was ok for burgers (buletten), which were mostly consumed as a vesper (snack), served cold with bread and mustard.
But meatloaf was perceived as nothing to be proud of, an inferior dish only served when there was no money for a real cut of protein. Usually, it contained hard-boiled eggs in the center and sometimes blanched carrots, celery and bell peppers, not to make the meatloaf prettier but to further stretch the budget, since eggs and veggies were even cheaper than ground meat.
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So, in order to trick casual visitors or passersby to think there is a more prestigious piece of roast in the oven or on the table, “Hase” (Rabbit) was the usual answer to the question what smells so great at lunch or dinner time. This was a time before A/C and long notices before one went to visit one’s neighbor for a chat. Kitchen windows were always open, especially while cooking, everybody stopped by for a quick chat, either the passerby talking to the person inside or the person inside talking to the passerby. After all, before TV came along, leaning on the window and seeing the world go by was some of the choice entertainment as well as the main local news source – who walks with whom, who has new clothes, whose clothes are not properly ironed, how does this or that look……. 🙂
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Of course, everything has changed considerably since then (at least in our “advanced, modern” part of the world, what with tv, the internet, and so forth, a/c which requires closed windows and therefore less personal contact with our neighbors. etc…….. 😦
However, to get back to the dish at hand, if one is able to prepare a good meatloaf, one can and should be proud if this once “inferior” dish. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a good meatloaf around here, neither in restaurants or in many homes.
Therefore,  I give you this recipe which has been in my repertoire for 50 years. It was one of the very first things I learned to cook as an apprentice when I was 14 years old and I have done it with minor variations ever since. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase. Fake Rabbit. Meatloaf

Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)


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Preparation :
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P.S.
Each meatloaf serves 10-12.
Potatoes and cabbage – 5 servings each
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