pasta

Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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If you’ve ever lived in Germany or even just visited for a short time, you know that sauerkraut is everywhere, especially as you go further South.
Sauerkraut is surprisingly versatile. At some time not too long ago, before fridges and freezers were found in every household, cabbage was one of the few vegetables which were available abundantly year-round. During the first few months after the fall harvest, there was fresh cabbage available, cheap and healthy. Then, as the months went on, fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut) took its place, also cheap and even more healthy (It helped that every house usually had a big cellar to store all these goodies). Therefore, while sauerkraut in Europe is certainly eaten with foods like sausages and roasted pork, you’ll also find sauerkraut in casseroles, savory pastries, breads, meatballs, pasta, fritters, salads, quiche, sandwiches, pizzas and stews. And of course in soups, such as today’s recipe, “Sauerkraut Soup”.
Sauerkraut soup comes in a myriad of variations, being different from house to house, restaurant to restaurant, region to region and country to country. My favorite is of course the one which reminds me of my Mom’s version, mild, creamy and chock-full of smoked meat. This can be smoked meat from any part of the pig or a combination of different smoked meats.
But, whatever you do, whatever variation you prepare – DO NOT USE INFERIOR QUALITY KRAUT.
If your butcher prepares and sell’s his own sauerkraut, use that. If you can not get fresh from your butcher or, even better, make your own (I do not advise this if you live in a small place without separate storage space – (fermenting cabbage does NOT smell too good in the house), buy the best you can in a can or glass.
For commercial Sauerkraut, I usually choose Kühne, Paulsen or Hengstenberg. There are many more available all over the world, but if you don’t want to gamble, stick with these three.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Excerpt from Wiki :
Cabbage soup may refer to any of the variety of soups based on various cabbages, or on sauerkraut and known under different names in national cuisines. Often it is a vegetable soup. It may be prepared with different ingredients. Vegetarian cabbage soup may use mushroom stock. Another variety is using a fish stock. Traditional cabbage soup is prepared using a pork stock.

Cabbage soup is popular in PolishSlovak and Ukrainian cuisine. It is known as kapuśniak or kwaśnica in Polishkapustnica in Slovak and капусняк (kapusnyak) in Ukrainian. It is also found in Czech (Czechzelňačka or zelná polévka), German (GermanKohlsuppe or Krautsuppe), French (Frenchsoupe aux choux) cuisine, and Swedish (Swedishkålsoppa) cuisine.

The Swedish cabbage soup is usually made from white cabbage, which is browned before being boiled, and seasoned with generous amounts of allspice and sometimes served with boiled meatballs.

A variety of the soup called shchi (Russian: щи) is a national dish of Russia. While commonly is it made of cabbages, dishes of the same name may be based on dockspinach or nettle. The sauerkraut soup is called “sour shchi”, as opposed to “fresh cabbage shchi”.
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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Sauerkraut Soup

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Preparation :
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Black beans, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs and loads of cilantro – what would serve better as proper condiments than salsa verde and salsa Mexicana ? 🙂
Ever since I have discovered authentic tasting salsa verde and salsa Mexicana at my neighborhood international food market, I have them in my larder and fridge at all times, using it to enhance breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes of all types – eggs, seafood, meat, pasta, rice, vegetables, etc, etc. Together with chili paste of all levels of hotness, Maggi seasoning and soy sauce, these are the condiments/seasonings  without almost none of my meals are complete. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Preparation :
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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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While grilled shrimp is a dish that is well known to most of us, pasta cooked in red wine is probably less known/experienced by most folks, even those who are fans of pasta in all shapes and tastes 🙂
I for one have cooked pasta in red wine a few times, many years ago, but had forgotten about it since, until I came across it while browsing through some of my (very) old menus, notes, and pictures.
I have cooked this now twice in the past couple of weeks, and it has become one of my absolute favorite side –  and even main-dish. The secret to preparing this pasta successfully lies in the red wine. Please, don’t even consider to use an inferior bottle of wine. Of course, you also don’t want to break the house, but, as with all very simple dishes, your success lies squarely on the quality of the ingredients. Also, it is my opinion that this pasta works best with butter instead of olive oil, since a really good EVO would, in my humble opinion, overpower the flavor of the wine. Again, this pertains to my very own taste preference and might work differently for yours 🙂
Also, panko in the pangrattato is a better choice  for me  than regular breadcrumbs 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Before somebody gets’ their knickers in a twist about the pangrattato – there is no ONE way of preparing it. Pangrattato simply means “grated bread”.
It can be toasted, cooked in a dry pan until golden, sautéed in butter or olive oil. It can be highly seasoned or just a little, it can contain herbs and/or whatever dry ingredient suit your palette and the dish you prepare. 🙂
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Red Wine-Bucatini

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Preparation :
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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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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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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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“Blanquette De Veau” (And Please, Don’t Judge Me By The Color Of My – Pasta!)


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In all my years living in the USA, I have never seen this dish on any restaurant menu. Growing up in Germany, it was very common and popular, served in many restaurants and homes. If I had to describe the type of food this is, I would say “sophisticated home cooking”. Full of flavor and texture, it is often served with rice.
I personally prefer it to be served with pasta (apparently, so did Escoffier – there are two recipes in his Le Guide Culinaire – “Blanquette de Veau a l’Ancienne” , as well as “Blanquette of Veal Breast with Celery root and Endive”, both served with pasta. Some folks like to add carrots when serving a blanquette, a practice to which many professionals object in order to keep the whole dish “blanc” (white). Well, usually I am in the “blanc” camp. However, my choice of pasta today has sabotaged that approach by sporting an impossible yellow color 😦 .
When raw, this pasta looked slightly more yellow than usual egg pasta, but I thought it would lose some of its excessive yellowness during the cooking process. Not so. On the contrary, it took on this neon yellow and I was ready to toss it and cook a less color-popping pasta instead. However, when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful texture and taste of this abomination of food coloring. It had one of the best pasta tastes of any dried pasta I ever tasted. So, rather than tossing it, I ate it and enjoyed it very much. (Thank God I threw the packaging in the garbage and have no record of the brand, I also have never seen it before or since in any shop and therefore will not be able to buy it again 🙂
In the end, a delicious, classic, old-fashioned veal stew with a helping of not-so classic pasta 🙂
May the pasta Gods forgive me 🙂
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Blanquette De Veau

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Blanquette De Veau

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Preparation :
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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Ok now, don’t get any ideas about eating these vampire crabs pictured above !
The only reason I feature their pics here is that they are so pretty 🙂
They are actually small pets, just to love, look at and to take good care of, until their natural life cycle comes to an end.
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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So, on to these snow crabs.
They are definitely not pets. They are some of my favorite seafood, and if they would not be so darn expensive, they’d be on my table twice a week 🙂
I love them steamed and served with just a squirt of lemon and drawn butter, transformed into crab cakes, soup, salad, fried rice and of course with pasta, as I enjoyed them for today’s lunch.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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Snow Crab And Fusilli Lunghi In Anchovy Butter

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Preparation :
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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Crayfish must be one of the most under-appreciated seafood on the market. I assume it has to do with the fact that it takes a while and a bit of practice to peel them efficiently. There is also the misconception that they are expensive, which, in my opinion, they are not. One pound costs about $ 5.00 and is enough for a generous portion).
Another sad fact is that outside of their harvesting areas and outside of harvesting season, it is not easy to come by great quality crayfish. The reason for this is mostly bad handling, so in order to ensure good quality, make sure the fishmonger lets you stick your nose into (or at least close to) 🙂 the ice box in which they are kept, and always ask to give you the bottom layer, closest to the ice.
This, of course, is an important step in buying any seafood, including frozen or “previously frozen”! Please remember – expertly flash-frozen seafood can be as good as fresh seafood, provided it is handled, stored and defrosted properly.
Much seafood which is labeled fresh or never frozen is, in fact, inferior to properly preserved seafood, due to the length of transport, lack of proper or inconsistent cooling and general lack of proper handling.
But as I wrote earlier, the smell test will easily reveal if you should buy or forget 🙂
Needless to say, the little beauties I used for this meal were fresh, yummy and pretty, so this dish was an all around success 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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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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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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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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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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