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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Zuppa Di Pesce (Fish Soup). It doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But in many parts of Italy, fish soup rules, and rightfully so.
Since Italy is bordered by water on three sides, it’s not surprising that there are thousands of variations of zuppa di pesce throughout the country, especially in the towns that dot the coastline. Families in the same village often have utterly distinct, yet equally delicious, preparations.
In Genoa, fish soup is called burrida, a name residents got from their neighbors in France from the Provencal dialect bourrido (“to boil”). There, it’s a soup made of cuttlefish, angler and anchovies. In Tuscany, it’s called caciucco, and on the opposite side of Italy, along the Adriatic, it’s referred to as brodetto. Many Americans are familiar with the term “cioppino,” which is not an Italian word. It comes from the Ligurian immigrants in San Francisco and is based on their dialects name for the dish, ciuppin.
While this recipe calls for some specific species, feel free to use any firm, light-fleshed fish. There’s a delicate balance to a good zuppa di pesce, so strong-flavored fish like salmon or snapper don’t work. No sole or flounder either–they’re too flaky. Use an ample supply of shellfish, whatever’s freshest is best. Finally, make sure you have a good loaf of bread to serve with the zuppa.
Some traditional preparations from Liguria do not add tomato,, as the original recipe calls for the full flavor of the sea to be maintained in the fish soup.
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Cioppino  is considered San Francisco’s signature dish, and no trip to this West Coast city would be complete without a bowlful of this delicious seafood stew.  Because of the versatility of the ingredients, there are numerous recipes for it.  Cioppino can be prepared with a dozen different kinds of fish and shellfish.  It all depends on the day’s catch and/or your personal choice.
You will not believe how easy it is to make this Cioppino.  The key to this recipe is experimentation.  Be creative with this fish stew: Leave something out, or substitute something new.  Serve cioppino with a glass of your favorite wine and warm sourdough bread.
History of Cioppino:  This fish stew first became popular on the docks of San Francisco (now known as Fisherman’s wharf) in the 1930s.  Cioppino is thought to be the result of Italian immigrant fishermen adding something from the day’s catch to the communal stew kettle on the wharf.
The origin of the word “cioppino” is something of a mystery, but many historians believe that it is Italian-American for “chip in.”  It is also believed that the name comes from a Genoese fish stew called cioppin.

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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Zuppa Di Pesce

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Preparation :
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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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Snails And Gnocchi In White Wine, Pernod & Mustard Cream

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Snails And Gnocchi In White Wine, Pernod & Mustard Cream

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Snails and Gnocchi, what a wonderful combination.
Add Pernod Ricard, wine, and whole grain mustard, and you have a heavenly dish that is super easy to prepare, looks like a million and tastes like 2 million 🙂
I have created this dish decades ago, and have served it in many restaurants around the World since.
Good, simple food never get’s old 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Gnocchi Recipe:
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Ingredients:
1 lb Russet potatoes,   cooked, peeled, mashed
A/P flour,   sifted – as needed
2 Eggs,  whole, whisked
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 0z Butter
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Method:
Add eggs, seasoning and flour to potatoes, mix lightly until smooth.
Shape into gnocchi.
Make light indentations with a fork.
Cook a sample in simmering salted water. If too soft, add flour. If too dense, add egg.
Cook gnocchi in simmering water until gnocchi float. Remove with slotted spoon into a strainer. Saute in melted butter.
Serves four.
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P.S.
If you are squirmish about snails, replace them with large scallops. This will give you a different, but equally wonderful dish 🙂
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Snails And Gnocchi In White Wine, Pernod & Mustard Cream

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Snails And Gnocchi In White Wine, Pernod & Mustard Cream

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Snails And Gnocchi In White Wine, Pernod & Mustard Cream

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Preparation :
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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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There is not much one can say about Plasas – essentially, it is a simple chicken stew. On the other hand, it is without a doubt one of the most delicious chicken dishes anywhere.
Plasas will go well with any starch, but in my opinion, it goes especially well with this version of foo foo, which is my absolute favorite:
Pounded or riced cassava, cayenne, salt, garlic and a sinful amount of butter (no liquid added here)
This fat /calorie bomb is of course not the most healthy dish if consumed in large quantities or if consumed often, but once in a while, a moderate quantity of foo foo will surely make you strong and pretty ………… 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about  Foo Foo
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Click here to read all about  Plasas
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Click here to read all about the many names, cooking methods and recipes for Cassava, also called Yam, Maniok, TarulTapioka, Ube, Chupri Alu, and many others, ( but NOT the American kind called “Yam”, which is a sweet potato, unrelated to Cassava)
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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Foo Foo

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

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Plasas & Foo Foo (West African Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Peanut Stew With Cassava)

 

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Preparation :
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe, Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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When all else fails, this soup will make you feel better………(Just ask Smithy)  🙂
If you prefer, replace the linguini with any type of pasta, potatoes, or rice.
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P.S.
If you don’t like to use chopsticks, break the linguini (or any other type of long pasta) into small pieces before cooking.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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to plate, add 1/2 of ea pasta, spinach and beef to a large soup plate, add beef broth

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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Preparation :
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Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes (Best Potatoes EVER?)

Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Upon first glance, one’s impression would be that the Cornish Hen is the star of this dish.
While this is certainly the case in the looks-department, when it comes to taste, these potatoes do steal the show. (But of course, the Cornish Hen is awesome as well) 🙂
First, the potatoes and onions are coated in duck fat, seasoned with rosemary sprigs, kosher salt, and fresh-cracked black pepper, then slowly roasted until golden brown. Next, duck stock (or chicken stock)  is added,  topped with a whole Cornish Hen and roasted for another 45 minutes, during which time all the rendered fat from the Cornish Hen, together with its richly seasoned juices, oozes into the potatoes and combine to produce the best potatoes you will find this side of culinary heaven 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Best Potatoes EVER?

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Roast Cornish Hen With Caramelized Onions And Potatoes

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Preparation :
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

When contemplating what to prepare for a combined breakfast/lunch today, I found that I had some leftover cooked potatoes, leftover “cebollas en escabeche” (escabeche de cebollas) and a packet of smoked salmon.
Within less than 10 minutes, this gorgeous dish was ready on the table.
Bella and I were happy and content, and cleanup was a snap. Easy peasy 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

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Preparation :
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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Before  anybody get’s their knickers in a twist about “real” Curries, let me explain something.
Many years ago, whenever we used commercially available, pre-mixed curry powder in Europe, more often than not, the name of the dish included the moniker “Madras”. This made it clear to everyone and all that the dish contained stock, curry powder, cream, some fruit, and flour. There were also salads and cold appetizers using curry powder, which mostly also used to end up being called “Madras”.
Almost nobody had ever tasted a real curry, much less cooked one, so the “classique” French way of preparing “curry sauce”, (sauce au curry à l’indienne) was usually utilized.
Hence – “Madras” or Indian Style. 🙂

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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Cauliflower Salad “Madras”

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Preparation :
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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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“Totopos With Shrimp And Avocado Salad”.
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The name  totopo  comes from the Aztec word tlaxcaltotopochtl. It is a combination of the word for a tortilla, tlaxcalli, and the word for thunder.
Combined, it means “tortillas that are noisy to chew”.
Originally, totopos are prepared with corn tortillas. They can be fried, as I have done here, or baked or toasted.
However, I sometimes make totopos with flour tortillas, which makes them lighter and, of course, results in a different, more delicate flavor.
They pair perfectly with this refreshing shrimp and avocado salad and make for a wonderful, tasty snack or appetizer.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Tlaxcaltotopochtl Y Ensalada De Camaron Con Aguacate

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Preparation :
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


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I have to confess – I cheated when I prepared these Vareniki 😦
Instead of preparing the vareniki/pierogi dough fresh and rolling it into thin sheets before cutting, filling, folding and sealing it, I used 1 lb store-bought fresh pasta sheets and my trusted ravioli/pierogi-mold. Not necessarily because I am lazy (well, sometimes I am), but mainly because my counter space is tiny and making fresh pasta dough and stuffed dumpling always results in a huge mess, with flour everywhere, requiring a lot of time to get the kitchen spick and span again.
(However, I do know how to make the dough fresh. 🙂
I have made it a hundred times and I am therefore not embarrassed to admit to the store-bought sheets and the mold) 🙂
The rest of the dish is as easy and quick as 1-2-3. Cook the pasta, saute everything in butter and done !
Here is the recipe for the filling and the final dish :
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Ingredients and method for filling:

Saute onions in butter until translucent.
Stir in the 2 cup mashed potatoes, grated cheese and yogurt, season with salt and cayenne pepper, mix well. Check/adjust seasoning.
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Ingredients and method for the rest of the dish:

Cut the dough sheets into rounds corresponding to the size of your ravioli/pierogi-cutter.
Top each round of dough with 1 tblsp cheese/potato filling, add ea round to the ravioli/pierogi-mold.
Moisten the dough’s edges with water, fold over, and press together to seal.
Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
Cook in boiling salted water until the dough is done, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickest part of the dough.
Remove with a slotted spoon, drain.
Saute 2 oz chopped bacon, 1 tsp garlic paste, julienne of 1/2 onion, 6 oz fresh spinach in 2 oz butter, add 8 oz fresh spinach and 1/3 cup heavy cream, simmer 1 minute, remove from heat, add julienne of one medium size onion, 1 ea seeded and julienned tomato and the freshly cooked vareniki, check/adjust seasoning. to serve, sprinkle with grated pepper-jack.
Serves 4 appetizers or 2 main courses.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Onion soup is a vegetable soup made of sauteed onions and stock. Onion soup was traditionally served in poorer households and lower-class restaurants.
Onion soup is, and was, found in many countries, prepared in many different variations. What all recipes have in common are the onions and stock. From there on, anything goes……….:
Added red or white wine, beer, egg yolk, flour, cream, cheese, herbs, bread, vinegar, sugar, caramelized onions, sauteed but kept-white onions, puréed onions, sliced onion, diced onions, shallots, sausages, sherry, carrots, and probably another thousand different additions, depending on where in the world you encounter your onion soup.
Names/variations include “Pfälzer Zwiebelsuppe”, “Soupe Soubise”, “Schwaebische Zwiebelsuppe”, “Cipollata”,  “Cherbah”, and countless more.
And then, of course, there is the queen of all onion soups! –
Known and loved most everywhere in the world, it is “French Onion Soup” (Soupe à l’oignon / Soupe d’oignons aux Halles/ Soupe à l’oignon gratinée)
What makes this variation so special is the addition of bread and gruyere to the top of the onion soup, then it get’s some time in the oven or under the broiler until the top is a bubbly, fragrant, addictive, gooey mass of melted bread and cheese.
Each heavenly spoonful should contain some of the bread and cheese, some soup, and some onions.
Voilà, now you know why “French Onion Soup” is the best onion soup in the world 🙂
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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)

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

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