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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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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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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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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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Convenient Food (Pansit/Pancit)

 

Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Having visited the  Philippines  in the mid-to late 70’s often, and then lived and worked there for 4 years during the early 80’s, my eating habits have been strongly influenced by its wonderful food, especially the appreciation of fresh, well-seasoned vegetables and a myriad of exotic fruit.
While there are too many favorite dishes to mention, three groups of dishes stand out –
Roasted pork in its many forms,
Vegetable dishes with steamed rice in great variations,
– and, of course,
Pancit, in its countless, tasty incarnations. 🙂  (See a list of many different pancit at the bottom of this page)
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In Filipino cuisine, pancit or pansit are noodles. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí) which literally means “convenient food.” (Wiki excerpt)
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My version today is a typical “homestyle pansit”, in that one uses pansit noodles with some protein (optional) and some vegetables, whatever one finds in the market that day. (When I was living there, regular folks bought all food that was not dried, fresh in the market every day. Few working -class families could afford a fridge, never mind a freezer. By the way, it was the same when I was a small kid back in Germany, my mom got her first fridge when I was about 6 years old. We did, however, have a freezer, albeit only during winter time –  it was the shelf in front of our kitchen window which during the rest of the year held plants and flowers 🙂  
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The great convenience of pancit noodles is that you cook them right in the stock you are using. The noodles will keep their “al dente” texture even if you add a bit too much stock or if you cook them a minute longer as you should. They will soak-up all the stock and its flavor, as long as they have simmered for a few minutes and then rest in the stock until done. Convenience food ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Preparation :
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Wiki excerpt:

  • Buko Pancit (coconut strips are substituted for noodles, a specialty of Quezon province)
  • Pancit Abra (common in Northern Luzon particularly in the province of Abra)
  • Pancit Alanganin
  • Pancit ni Juli
  • Pancit Alahoy
  • Pancit Batchoy
  • Pancit Bato is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur.
  • Pancit Bihon Guisado
  • Pancit Bihongundoy
  • Pancit Cabagan
  • Pancit Canton (Lo mein and chow mein)
  • Pancit Canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit Chami (Lucena City, Quezon)
  • Pancit Estacion (Tanza, Cavite)
  • Pancit Habhab (Lucban, Quezon)
  • Pancit Kilawin (a variety pancit originated from Rosario, Cavite. In lieu of pancit noodles, shredded unripe papaya fruit is used cooked with vinegar and fish. Usually partnered with Dinuguan dish)
  • Pancit Kinalas (Naga City, Camarines Sur)
  • Pancit Lanu (San Vicente Street in San Pedro, Laguna)
  • Pancit Lomi (Batangas)
  • Pancit Lucban
  • Pancit Luglog
  • Pancit Malabon
  • Pancit Mami (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Mayaman (Guinayangan, Quezon)
  • Pancit Miki (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Míki-Bíhon Guisado (round egg noodles + bihon)
  • Pancit Olongapo (Pancit Miki with Sarsa sauce. Miki cooked in tradition added with sarsa a thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened a little with soy sauce of choice)
  • Pancit Molo (wonton soup with wonton wrappers added to the broth, serving as its “noodles”)
  • Pancit Moròng
  • Pancit Palabok
  • Pancit Pula (variation of Pancit Miki from Batangas City)
  • Pancit Pusit
  • Pancit Sotanghon
  • Pansit Sabaw (Pansit Miki with soup)
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong
  • Pansit Sinanta (also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto)

Pancit bihon (bijon)

Pancit bihon (aka bijon) is the type usually associated with the word “pancit“, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone’s personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic ingredients in a pancit bihon.

Pancit palabok and pancit luglug are essentially the same dish, the difference being primarily in the noodles used in the recipe. Luglug uses a thicker noodle than the traditional bihon of a pancit palabok. Both pancit dishes use a round rice noodle (often specifically labeled for pancit luglug or palabok) smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce, and topped with:

  • Shrimp, (the size and shell-on or shell-off depending on preference)
  • Crushed or ground pork rind
  • Hard-boiled egg (sliced into disks or quartered lengthwise or chopped)
  • Tinapa (smoked fish) flakes
  • Freshly minced green onion

Pancit palabok/pancit luglog and pancit canton are communal comfort food, and can be found at nearly all Filipino potluck parties. They are best made and eaten in batches for they are easily consumed.

Pancit sotanghon is a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.

Batil patong is not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and “cara-beef” beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar or calamansi, chili peppers, and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong literally “scrambled and placed on top” is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizos are also added on top.

Pancit Lomi Originally from Batangas, Pancit Lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now you will see different lomihans (eateries with just lomi) whipping up their own pancit lomi, panciterias (eateries specializing in pancit) adding it in their menu, and carinderias (which are usually offering the usual viands and not pancit) starting to offer it alongside its other rice-based meals.

Seaweed pancit

Tiwi, Albay residents created a new pancit made from seaweed, which has health benefits. It is rich in calcium and magnesium and the seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti, or carbonara.

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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A  dish like this demonstrates to the foam and tweezers-camp cooks why good, old-fashioned, well-established and expertly prepared great food will never die!
Give me this over a plate of  “edible earth, foraged spring moss, chocolate covered ants topped with wheat-grass foam”, anytime ! 🙂
But then again, maybe that’s just me……?
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Caramelized Onion Slice

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Preparation :
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Dinner  tonight was dictated by three factors :
# 1 – I had a big craving for soup.
# 2 – I had a lot of slightly over-ripe, soft tomatoes in my fridge.
# 3 – I was too lazy to prepare anything that kept me in the kitchen more than 15 minutes.
This bisque was the perfect solution. It only took a few minutes to chop the veggies, and once they were on the stove simmering away, all that was left to do until it was time to purée the soup after a couple of hours slowly simmering away, was to cut a few slices of white bread, butter them lightly on both sides, top it with some thin slices of gorgonzola and bake them for a few minutes in a 375F oven until the cheese melted and the underside of the bread was lightly toasted, then remove and let cool to room temperature, sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped Italian parsley. Done !
Total prep time for the soup and croûtons – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Total time from start to finish – about 2,5 hours. (The longer you simmer the soup, the more the tomato-taste intensifies ).
Enough soup for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Good Stuff 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Bella’s Fault ! (“Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold”)

Greek Lamb Sandwich

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So  today, at around noon, I seasoned and seared this wonderful boneless leg of lamb I bought earlier, then put it in the oven to roast it slowly until rare, let it rest a bit, then serve with a nice salad for a great lunch.
Well, THAT did not happen ! 😦
As soon as I’d put the meat in the oven, Bella insisted that we go for a walk. I thought to myself ok, just around the corner, then back to take care of lunch.
But, as soon as we started our walk, she pulled me towards the park by the lake and I forgot all about the lamb in the oven. Needless to say, when we got back 1.5 hours later, the meat was well done. After kicking myself (mentally), I cut the leg into smaller, flat pieces, wrapped them in alu-foil and put it back into the oven at 375F for another 2,5 hours, at which point the meat was very tender and almost falling apart. I let it cool off a bit, then pulled it into fine shreds with two forks, seasoned it with olive oil, kosher salt, cumin, cayenne, oregano and voilà – the perfect topping for a Greek sandwich.
When I was an apprentice, my chef, Herr Mueller, used to say about cooking:
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” Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold. “
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And there you have it ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

JUICY ! grilled pork chop, cooked all the way 🙂

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To  all the wannabe “Chefs” out there who insist that pork, poultry and fish has to be undercooked to be juicy – look at this piece of well-cooked pork, then please go back to school/apprenticeship and let a REAL chef teach you how to cook !!!
As Chef Susser used to say:
Cooking is easy – IF you know how to do it 🙂
(However, if you just happen to like the awful texture of undercooked pork – pls go ahead and enjoy) 😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Grilled Pork Chop, Caramelized Lemon, Baked Potato And Mast-O Klar

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Preparation :
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew


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Chances
 are that if you love seafood and have traveled in Spain, especially in the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona, you have at one point or another had an encounter with the dish featured here. It represents the philosophy of both old and new cooking styles one finds all over this area and in fact, in most parts of the Mediterranean coastline – a few first-class ingredients cooked without fuss and pronto- Life is Good !
A wonderful meal, ideally shared with great company and a glass (or two) of the local wine, and, if on top of that you are lucky enough to sit in a cozy little restaurant by the sea, life is as good as it gets.
Somebody gifted me with a small bag of mussels on Sunday, which by itself would have made a great appetizer. But because I always have shrimp in the freezer (today I had two different types,  small/ peeled,/ tail-off and large/ tail-on), and because I wanted to have something a bit more substantial for dinner, I thought this seafood stew would do the trick. And indeed, it did 🙂
Great taste, easy on the eyes and a snap to prepare, both Bella and I were completely happy with the way this turned out 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Since I don’t drink/use alcohol, I have started to use apple cider as a substitute where wine is called for.
Works out great for most dishes, both in the food and with the food 🙂 Cheers !
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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

Catalan Shrimp & Mussels Stew

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Preparation :
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

Meanwhile - in Florida..........BBQ Floridian Style

Meanwhile – in Florida……….BBQ Floridian Style

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OK,  while you let this sink in, let’s move on to today’s featured dish :
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If  you are not used to VERY hot food, don’t try these noodles !
If you love bland and boring noodle dishes, don’t try these noodles !
If you don’t want to open your mind and taste buds to new sensations, don’t try these noodles !
But, if you love the sensation of flaming hot (spicy) food and the incomparable mouthfeel you get when the pain of the first few spicy bites subside, to be replaced by the warm, slight numbness which can only be achieved by eating large numbers of chilies, then this dish is for you. (Think Szechuan hot pot)
While I don’t eat VERY spicy food as often as I used to, once in a while I need my fix, and today was the time to get it. 🙂
A wonderful dinner, a full belly and clear sinuses – another great and very enjoyable evening !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

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Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccoli And Straw Mushrooms

Flaming Hot Chili Chicken Noodle Bowl With Broccolini And Straw Mushrooms

 

 

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Preparation :
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