olives

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chops

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If  you never tried  Panzanella, chances are that a dish using stale bread is on the bottom of your “must try this” list.
After all, nowadays stale bread is usually used either for bread pudding, bread dumplings, or, most likely of all – thrown into the garbage bin.
Now, I have to admit that most bread you can buy is best thrown away after a few days, since it was nothing special to begin with. But if you are a fan of really good bread, it would pain you to throw away some of it just because it has survived a few more days than usual and has become a bit stale. If this happens in my kitchen, I usually slice the bread thick and grill it, which will revive it beautifully and will give a loaf at least another 4 days of good use.
Or, surprise surprise – I’ll make  Panzanella.
The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalists still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
If I prepare  Panzanella as a main dish, I usually add boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, capers, garlic paste, roasted marinated peppers and lots of chives and fresh basil and oregano. I don’t soak my Panzanella  in water but rather in a generous amount of dressing of good olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before I dig into it, by which time the dressing has been soaked up by the bread. Usually, I over-eat on this stuff because once I start, I can’t stop until it’s all gone 😦 🙂
However, since I had grilled pork chops with this one, I kept it simple and used only bread, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and dressing. What a wonderful meal this was…….
So, I hope that next time you have some good, rustic bread which has seen better days, you will give this delicious dish a try 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

Panzanella & Grilled Pork Chop

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Adana Kebab (Kıyma Kebabı) (Turkish Lamb Skewer)

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In  the early seventies I was lucky enough to be visiting Turkey many times ( Istanbul,  Kusadasi  and  Izmir  among other places). At that time, Turkey  still had an oriental mystique to it which was incredibly fascinating and exiting to a young man like me. The sights, smells and noises were so much different from what I was used to – even after all these years, they still linger vividly in my memory
My girlfriend and I almost got stoned by an angry mob one day at the market in Izmir. (They actually threw stones and small rocks at us). We just came from the Caribbean and my girlfriend Edith was wearing the popular outfit of the day – high heels, hot pants and a thin t-shirt without a bra – not a good idea at the time in a mostly Muslim country. Only the quick help and intervention of our taxi driver who came running to rescue us (carefree idiots) prevented great harm or worse.
But beside that particular episode, I only have great memories of Turkey in the seventies. One of the highlights of our stay’s were always the great meals we had in local restaurants. We tried anything we could, from five-star restaurants in five-star hotels in Istanbul to small dives along the beaches and funky eateries in the sea port’s more seedy areas. The food was always great, fresh, spice-laden and exotic (to me at that time, most anything seemed exotic)
I remember  Adana Kebab  to be widely served and today I finally got around to do my own version which turned out pretty spectacular 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Afiyet Olsun !
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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Turkish Adana Kebab

Turkish Adana Kebab

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Salad Portuguese

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This  beauty of a salad will conclude Week One of “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan. (There will be an initial 4 week plan)
For everybody not yet interested in a bit of a healthier lifestyle, I suggest you try this salad anyway. Healthier and lighter food in my case does certainly not mean tasteless and boring. 🙂  (As is the case with so many other lifestyle food suggestions out there) 😦
Now, I understand that sardines are not everybody’s favorite seafood, but as usual, feel free to replace them with the seafood of your preference, such as shrimp, lobster, sole, salmon, clams, mussels, scallops, crab meat, etc.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
So far I have lost 12 lbs in two weeks of “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan.
I feel much better, sleep much better and on top of all the benefits of living a bit more on the sensible side of life, I eat as much as I want. (Except on the two days of the week which allow me a dinner of anything I crave, although in much smaller portions).
If you want to read more about my new, very much improved lifestyle, click HERE.
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P.P.S.
ChefsOpinion will of course keep its original format, content and attitude 🙂
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Salad Portuguese

Salad Portuguese

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Salad Portuguese

Salad Portuguese

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Preparation :
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To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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