recipes

Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Pls don´t miss the link at the bottom of this page for a truly “different” cooking tutorial ……
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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This salad is probably ? the first “Main Course Salad” that ever hit a restaurant table, way back then.
In the meantime, it has been re-invented/improved a million times, with the ingredients changing from year to year, season to season, cook to cook, household to household, country to country, and restaurant to restaurant.
Probably, the only constant were always salad greens, onions, and tuna, otherwise, the imagination for tuna salad knows no bounds 🙂 Other typical ingredients are (among a million others), anchovies, potatoes, eggs, artichokes, herbs, asparagus, etc, etc.
While I have to admit that my desire to create a “new” version of tuna salad has occasionally got the better of me, my favorite version is still this simple one featured here on this page. 🙂
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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mix everything with 1/3 cup herb vinaigrette

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check/adjust seasoning

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Preparation :
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And now, one for the road, not to be missed :
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Paris Hilton cooks Lasagna at her own “Cooking Show”
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I am torn between being sad, amused, disgusted and/or outraged about the fact that some folks (many ? !!!) find this to be an actual tutorial to learn cooking.
It is without a doubt a tutorial for various bad traits – but cooking is definitely not one of them 🙂 😦
This episode is one of the worst examples of how bad “cooking shows” have actually become. Most are shameful, ridiculous, bad, stupid and, flat-out, pure garbage.
My only hope is that this particular one is supposed to be satire and not to be taken seriously, but, judging from the ladies behavior and the general state of mind of the kind of people who watch crap like this, chances are that it is meant to be taken seriously:-(
God help us all !
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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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I believe, nowadays most everybody is familiar with chicken tacos.
These here beauties are essentially the same, except that the chicken has been replaced with the much more succulent and tasty capon.
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What Is a Capon ?
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Excerpt of an article by Danilo Alfaro on “thespruceEats”
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A capon is a special type of chicken created to make the meat more tender and less gamy. It is a rooster that has been castrated before reaching sexual maturity, which improves the quality of the meat; after that, it is fed a rich diet of milk or porridge. The lack of testosterone makes for a more tender, flavorful meat that is a delight compared to regular chicken. Unfortunately, in the United States today, it may be rare to see capon on a dinner menu or in the grocery store.

You can prepare capon like any other poultry dish. Typically, capons are roasted and the procedure for doing so is similar to roasting a chicken; due to its larger size, however, the cooking time will be longer.
Traditionally, roosters are braised. For instance, the classic French dish coq au vin involves braising a rooster in red wine. That is because their meat is tougher than chicken meat and they are usually slaughtered at an older age, which toughens the meat as well. As such, braising is also a good cooking technique for preparing capon.
A capon is more flavorful than a chicken as well as a turkey, with tender and juicy meat that is is void of any gamey taste. It is full-breasted and has a high-fat content, keeping what could become dry white meat nice and moist as it cools.
If you do manage to find capon meat in your local grocery store, you can follow a braised chicken recipe to prepare it. A whole, cut-up capon combines with bacon, leeks, onion, garlic, rosemary, tomato paste, chicken stock, and white wine and cooks slowly until bubbling and cooked through.

A roasted capon is a perfect centerpiece for a dinner party or holiday table. Keep it somewhat simple or try something a little more exotic.
Depending on where you live and how specialized your local supermarket is, you may be able to find a capon in the poultry section. Since capon is not an item that is bought often and therefore restocked regularly, it is important to look at the “sell-by” date, as well as the quality of the meat and make sure it’s fresh.
If you don’t see a capon in the poultry case, it is worth asking the butcher if he can get one for you. Otherwise, specialty groceries and online meat purveyors are your best bet.
If you don’t plan to cook the capon immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator for two to three days. To be sure that no liquids escape into your fridge, place the packaged capon in a plastic bag first. For longer storage, you can freeze the capon for three to four months, although it will begin to lose its flavor after two months. If the capon came with giblets, remove them before freezing and store separately.
In a 4-ounce serving of roasted capon (including the skin), there are 259 calories and 13.2 grams of fat, as well as 97 milligrams of cholesterol (which is 32 percent of the daily recommended value). Capon also has 32.7 grams of protein, making it a good source of this nutrient.”
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End of excerpt
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Read here all about   Capon
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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Preparation :
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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When you read the title of this post and then see the final dish, you might wonder – whats easy about this ? 🙂
Let me assure you, everything is ! 🙂
The total preparation time is only about 20 minutes, although the total cooking time is more like 4.5 hours, give or take a few minutes.
How can this be, you ask ?
Well, I prepared this meal on Christmas day just for Bella and myself, so I took some shortcuts which I usually might not have taken, namely using frozen creamed spinach, which I enhanced with some additional heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg. The result was VERY yummy.
I also used frozen pommes croquettes, which turned out surprisingly delicious, especially when paired with the wonderful duck sauce. (I always have demi glace of pork, poultry and veal in my freezer, so it is easy to produce excellent sauce in a relatively short time. 🙂
Actual prep time was approximately :
10 Minutes – unpacking, washing, drying, salting the duck, and, at the end, portioning the duck.
5 Minutes – unpacking the spinach, adding to a small sauteuse, adding cream and nutmeg.
3 Minutes – unpacking the croquettes, placing on the grill in the oven.
The most difficult thing was to wait for all these hours until we could finally dig-in, while the aroma coming from the kitchen made us hungrier by the minute. Of course, I started the duck for dinner right after lunch, so it was bearable for me, while Bella experienced four hours of nearly going nuts in front of the oven 🙂
I, on the other hand, had things to do, so, for me,  the time went by fast.
At the end, this was a superb meal with very little effort. Bella and I loved all of it. I am sure that if we would have had visitors, they would have been impressed by all the skills and effort and hard work I have spend for them with this dish.  🙂 🙂 🙂
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #1 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #2 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Preparation :
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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If you have followed ChefsOpinion for a while, you might be aware of my passion for soups, especially for chicken noodle soup, prepared any-which-way.
Without a doubt, the soup featured on this page is by far the best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted.
The combination and the amount used of the special chicken and all the veggies, as well as the seasoning/aromatics and the six hours of cooking resulted in a heavenly broth, for which only the wide rice noodles and garden-fresh cilantro was needed to transform these simple ingredients into a wonderful, immensely satisfying culinary delight. 🙂
( The plate prepared for the original photo shoot already was all that – but then, the plate I prepared later on with all the “secondary cuts” (neck, wings and dark meat), which was originally not intended to be included in this post, was even better and “hit it out of the park” )  🙂
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P.S.
To prepare the best tasting chicken broth, one must use “Suppen Huhn” (Boiling Fowl, which needs to simmer between three to six hours to be sufficiently tender for the meat to be enjoyed.
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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And later on, the second helping looked like this :
(Originally, these photos were not intended to be published 🙂 

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Preparation :
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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Traditional Tandoor  (This is NOT Hans) 🙂

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Modern Tandoor

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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When I was a chef it was essential for me to teach my cooks, then later my students at Le Cordon Bleu, recipes of dishes which were as authentic to their classic origin as possible.
Especially during my many years as a teacher and program chair at Le Cordon Bleu Miami, I taught meticulously what I had learned many decades ago back in the Black Forest of Germany – Classic French Cuisine.

I also taught classic German Cuisine and many other cuisines from around the world which I had enjoyed, studied and learned during my many years as Executive Chef living and working in dozens of countries. (Cuisines of China, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Fillipines, Italy, Spain, India, Brazil, Sweden,  and many more.
While I am only an expert of French, German and Italian cuisine, I do have good knowledge and personal experience of the cuisines of the aforementioned countries and I was therefore able to teach international cuisine with authority.  Unlike many (most ?) “teachers” and “chefs” nowadays, who will read a recipe, practice (maybe) a bit, then “teach” what they just read on sometimes questionable (at best) sources. Mostly, even the folks who write the syllabus for a class have only the “experience” of reading about things, never having cooked it, eaten it or visited the country of origin of a dish.
While this might work for certain professions, it is certainly a disaster for our beloved trade.
No wonder real food becomes more and more the stuff only wealthy people can enjoy in the few excellent restaurants left in most places, while the rest of us is being served mediocre fare for unreal prices.
However, even at that time, while trying to teach original, and classic recipes and methods from specific cuisines, I tried to teach tips and tricks which might not be original, but are more practical, economical and sometimes even result in better food (Not often, but sometimes) 🙂
But one MUST ALWAYS POINT OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AND THE VARIATION !
In a restaurant, the Guests should also be informed about the difference, which, in my humble opinion, MUST be made clear in the name of the dish on the menu, for example:

Pesto” – basil, olive oil, garlic, PINE NUTS, pecorino, parmigiano reggiano.
Walnut Pesto” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the PINE NUTS with WALNUTS.
or
Wiener Schnitzel” – thin, breaded, VEAL cutlet
Pork Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with PORK.
Turkey Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with TURKEY.

Wow, this became a long entry to what I want to clarify here – ChefsOpinion is a blog that celebrates real food that tastes good, looks good and is simple enough that the average beginner of home-cooking, as well as a top professional and everybody in between can find inspiration, tips and other useful information to be able to prepare wonderful food at home, be it a simple soup or salad, an elaborate roast or stew, or whatever I feel like cooking at the moment and share with you, be it classic/original or not.
At this stage of my life, I don´t find it necessary to prove that I can cook, that I was a decent professional or that I have mastered “original and /or classical dishes from around the World in my more than 50 years of being a cook.
My goal at this time is to remind old chefs from around the Globe about the food we once studied, cooked, taught and enjoyed, and to help the “youngens” to be able to enjoy the same food even now, when some of it is not “IN” anymore and one has a hard time to find well-loved, classic dishes in restaurants, where one now finds mostly second-class food, tasteless and pointless, but dressed to the hilt to impress the folks who don´t know better.
To this end, I try to simplify many dishes while keeping the original flavor and texture as close to the real thing as possible, simply to give everybody the chance to prepare certain dishes at home, which they otherwise would find too difficult, expensive, complicated and daunting to try.
A typical example of this philosophy is the dish on this page. Just google the word TANDOORI, or CURRY, or GOULASH and you will know what I mean. Or choose the word of a dish and add the word ORIGINAL or CLASSIC before it.
The result are usually thousands of recipes, seldom the actual CLASSIC recipe (The definition of ORIGINAL or CLASSIC is a whole different chapter) 🙂 , while most others range from slightly off to downright nasty and ridiculous. 😦
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How to make Tandoori chicken without a Tandoor

Tandoori Chicken is one of the most popular dishes from northern India. It is grilled chicken rubbed with a blended spice marinade, identifiable by its red coloring. Tandoori is Indian style of BBQ. The marinade has garlic, salt, coriander, tamarind, cumin, ginger, lentils, and oil.
Tandoor is an Indian style oven, which one cannot buy in an appliance store like you can with a traditional grill or oven. Basically, the tandoor is made entirely of clay and is 3-4 feet tall. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the tandoor and allowed to burn for several hours. Then the meat is placed on long skewers and cooked inside till roasted. Tandoor is also used to make, among other dishes, naan, kebabs, and tandoori rotis.
It is not practical to build your own tandoor. In fact, most homes in India do not have one. Indian restaurants generally special order tandoors (from restaurant equipment sellers) which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars
So, if you want to enjoy tandoori chicken at home, what do you do?
Here is a very simple tandoori chicken recipe that does not require any special equipment. The chicken retains its juices and is fully cooked while keeping a nice crispy bite on the outside. It has only 2 ingredients, but the cooking technique is very important. Once you follow this recipe, you will realize how simple and delicious this recipe is!

Tandoori Chicken Recipe
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Prep Time: 5 mins (24 hours); Cook Time: 45 mins

(Serves 4 )
4 ea skin less chicken legs,
8 tablespoons tandoori paste   (see picture below for brand example)
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Thoroughly rub the tandoori paste into the chicken.
Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 24 hours
When ready to cook, preheat broiler on low. Once the temperature is attained, place the chicken pieces on a rack with a drip pan under it. 
Broil on low for 30 minutes, turning the chicken once. Then turn the broiler to high and cook for another 15 minutes, turning once so that the chicken is crisp on both sides. You will see that the marinade will start to dry up and the chicken will start getting a crust.
Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. Serve immediately with naan, sliced onions, quartered lemons, chopped cilantro and mint chutney or condiments of your choice (or follow the suggestion on this page)

Click here for  Indian Tomato Chutney Recipe


Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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steamed rice, tomato chutney, curried chickpeas, spicy cucumber salad – this alone would be a great meal

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Preparation :
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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Traditionally, in Southern Germany (Swabia and Bavaria), we serve our classic Ravioli (Maultaschen) in beef broth, with potato salad on the side. Then, if there are leftovers, we saute them the next day in butter with onions and eggs, accompanied by leaf salad.
Since I moved back to Germany, I have Maultaschen three to four times a month. They are easy to prepare at home and even available frozen in most supermarkets, nowadays the majority of brands a VERY good quality. ( I usually make my own, since I love a bit of veal liver in my stuffing – the ones on these pages are homemade). Alas, I buy them just as often ready made.  🙂
This time, when I was ready to reheat or saute the leftover Maultaschen from the previous day, I did not feel to go with the usual suspect of a recipe, so I came up with this wonderful variation. It is so good and delicious that it is now one of my standard recipe for leftover Maultaschen (and other types of ravioli)
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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Preparation :
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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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While Bella and I eat pork shank/knuckle/trotter quite often, veal shank, because of it´s price, is more of a “once in a while” treat.
As I mentioned before one these pages, veal named “Milk Veal” in Germany can only be from an up to 6 months old calf, therefore it carries a hefty price tag.
Nevertheless, at my age, there are not that many treats left to enjoy or afford, so this one seemed well worth the price. (Bella agrees fully.) 🙂
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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Preparation :
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Cheese & Tomato Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Gouda, Radish, Onion, Basil And Scallion In Herb Vinaigrette

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Cheese & Tomato Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Gouda, Radish, Onion, Basil And Scallion In Herb Vinaigrette

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Originally, I named this salad “Summer Salad” when I prepared it in August. But now, summer has passed around here and we are in deep autumn. Most tree leaves have changed from bright green to a golden brown, and the temperatures at night have dropped to a chilly 5 °C .
However. I just skyped with my friends Carlos and Gladis in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the temperature was a toasty 32 °C, the perfect temperature to enjoy this summer salad on the terrace overlooking the pool and garden. 🙂  To see more about Carlos’ and Gladis’ beautiful place, click here “My Trip To Argentina”
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In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful salad anywhere, anytime, and in any weather 🙂
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Cheese & Tomato Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Gouda, Radish, Onion, Basil And Scallion In Herb Vinaigrette

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Cheese & Tomato Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Gouda, Radish, Onion, Basil And Scallion In Herb Vinaigrette

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Cheese & Tomato Salad – Heirloom Tomatoes, Gouda, Radish, Onion, Basil And Scallion In Herb Vinaigrette

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Cheese , Scallion, Radish & Onion in Herb Vinaigrette

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Preparation :
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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)


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Pig’s feet  are not everybody’s cup of tea, but for those of us who love them, they are a special treat.
I prepare them quite often, in stews, steamed, braised, Asian style, Latin style, German style; any which way is fine with me 🙂
The following dish is Caribbean Style Souse, as I enjoyed it many moon’s ago a couple of times in Trinidad, at the home of my friend Lyron’s mother.
Very spicy and lightly acidic, with lots of vegetables, it was the perfect food on a hot day by the beach, spend in wonderful company and washed down with a few bottles of Carib Beer – nothing else was needed in those moments to feel happy and content 🙂
These meals (and times) are now in the distant past; all that’s left are the happy memories, vividly recalled by preparing the meals we enjoyed together then – Lyron and his wife Dorsey, my wife Maria, myself and Lyron’s mother, whose name eludes me after all these years but whom I always remember when preparing this particular souse………….
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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Caribbean Souse

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Preparation :
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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Now that I am back in Germany, seafood is much harder to come by for me than back in Miami, and the variety does not even come close. At least, some of the folks who complained in the past about too much seafood on  ChefsOpinion  can now be more entertained with a wider variety of meat dishes, since the variety of dishes prepared with meat is so much larger here than there 🙂
However, just like I lusted over the past few Decades for familiar meat dishes from my original home, I now miss the seafood that was so readily available to me on my travels through the Caribbean, South East Asia, South America, the Orient, Alaska, Florida and so many other places along or close to the coasts´ of the World, especially at my other home Florida, where one can always count on ones friendly ?? neighborhood Asian market with their endless fresh/ live seafood selections.
So now, every so often, I will still splurge on a big portion of good-quality seafood for Bella and me, to make sure we don´t lose our touch with that part of happy eating.  🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Tzatziki Recipe
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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Tzatziki

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Bellas Portion
Initial portion I should say, of course she got more of my tigers  (and lettuce with tzatziki, which she loves)   🙂
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Preparation :
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