restaurants

Breakfast of Champions # 73 – Schwäbisches Bauernfrühstück ( Swabian Farmers Breakfast )

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Farmers Breakfast

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If you wonder what constitutes a “Farmers Breakfast”, the answer is simple – anything that farmers usually, or often, ate for breakfast.
Keep in mind that in times past, this more often than not was food which did not have to be bought in stores (there was little or no cash, people ate what their farm produced or what could be bartered in exchange for the farms products). It also had to be very substantial, because it was the meal that mostly gave you energy during the whole day, especially during harvest season, when the farmers left in the morning to tend the fields and/or the animals. These days mostly stretched from dusk ´til dawn, and the only other meal during that time would be a small vesper of bread, cheese, sausage, water, cider or wine and an apple or a pear.
So, bread or potatoes and some form of protein, such as homemade bacon, ham and/or sausage, eggs, milk, cheese and sometimes coffee was the standard. Also, very often a simple porridge of any grain with bread on the side had to suffice at least a few times a week.

One of the “Bauernfrühstück” which old-fashioned farts like myself still appreciate these days is the dish featured on this page. It can be done with any protein, meat or pickled fish. Fish, of course, would be likely for farmers (or fisherman) living close to the sea, where livestock was not as widespread as on farms which were situated further inland. And in case one is not a fan of “Blutwurst” (Whats wrong with you ??? 🙂 , one can substitute with liverwurst, which is the perfect substitute in my opinion), as well as beef hash, spam, or any other pate/sausage which disintegrates when heated.
This dish is so tasty that it features in many restaurants in Bavaria, Swabia and especially in Austria and Tirol, where its name is “Gröstl” (there, it is usually served with a fried egg on top). I personally prefer the eggs mixed-in, but hey – shoot me. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Breakfast of Champions
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Click here for an entirely different  Bauernfrüstück on ChefsOpinion
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Breakfast of Champions # 75 – Schwäbisches Bauernfrühstück ( Swabian Farmers Breakfast )

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Breakfast of Champions # 75 – Schwäbisches Bauernfrühstück ( Swabian Farmers Breakfast )

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Breakfast of Champions # 75 – Schwäbisches Bauernfrühstück ( Swabian Farmers Breakfast )

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Breakfast of Champions # 75 – Schwäbisches Bauernfrühstück ( Swabian Farmers Breakfast )

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

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Steak Salad # 2153

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Steak Salad # 2153

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While I crave for steak at least once or twice a week, I can´t say the same for salad, although I absolutely love a good salad. However, STEAK SALAD (or SEAFOOD SALAD)  I can happily eat daily.
Of course, the meat/seafood must be combined intelligently with ingredients which enhance the dish, not just be a cheap filler. In the average restaurant these days, too many times the combinations appearing in front of you are less than fortunate, and the concoction of a tiny bit of inferior meat/seafood and a bunch of “rabbit food”  ( mostly the outer leaves of greens) and some crappy bottled “dressing” does nothing to justify the (usually) premium price of most restaurants steak/seafood salad.
So, as usual, if I want the good stuff, I pretty much have to prep it at home.  🙂
Yes I know, there ARE great restaurants out there, but unfortunately, they are harder to find by the day.  😦
The overwhelming reasons are not only the lack of education, talent, pride and practice by the cooks and “chefs”, but the lack of food education and common food-sense by the customers, which makes education, talent, pride and practice to produce decent food for an acceptable price mostly obsolete.  😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Steak Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Seafood Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for some great and some not so great Steak Salads on the Net
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Click here for some great and some not so great Seafood Salads on the Net
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P.S.
Obviously, the quantities for this dish are clearly visible in the pics. This amount makes one generous main course or four appetizers/snacks. However, if you have a beloved dog, you might want to double the amount of meat.  🙂
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Steak Salad # 2153

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Steak Salad # 2153

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Steak Salad # 2153

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Steak Salad # 2153

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

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon-Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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The texture of beef neck is absolutely stunning. I wish I’d be able to buy just a slab of the meat, without the bones. That would make the perfect goulash or braised roast. In the meantime, I’ll just have to make do with the neck bones and the meat on them. They are of course the same wonderful texture and flavor as a large boneless slab would be, but naturally, the presentation suffers a bit.  😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Beef Neck  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
These bread dumplings are a typical example of the fact that most savory recipe measurements are at best guidelines. In this case, there are too many possible variables for the ingredients to use ANY measurements. Rather, the measurements are loose guidelines. For dumplings especially, experience is the key to a successful dumpling. As I mentioned in previous posts, most young (or old) cooks and chefs have never perfected the art/craft of proper dumplings for that particular reasons  – one needs experience and  “feeling” to get the ratios of the ingredients just right. Dumplings of any type (fish, meat, liver, potato, bread, lobster and so forth must be very light without falling apart while cooking. By just following measurements, because of the many and large variables, this is impossible to achieve. One needs practice, practice and practice – THEN one needs feeling, feeling and feeling. I believe the reason why we hardly see dumplings on menus anymore is the same as the reason why most cooks embraced the idiotic habit of eating fish, pork vegetables and other food items “seared on the outside, raw on the inside”, – any moron can achieve that without any skills, knowledge or experience 😦
Anyway, don’t be discouraged if by the first try you don’t succeed, – just put in lots of practice, lots of love and lots of feeling, and soon you too will be able to enjoy homemade dumplings (and properly cooked protein) as often as you crave it 🙂

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Semmelknödel – Bread Dumpling

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

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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“Sausage & Peppers”  seem to be an American/Italian thing that most of us fail to enjoy and/or appreciate.
And of course, there is a good reason…….
Sausage and peppers are usually just an afterthought on Italian/American restaurant menus, often using inferior/leftover/stale ingredients, and therefore being treated as food for the fools 😦 .
While traveling and living in Italy, I never came across anything similar in any restaurant, although in private homes, using leftovers and whatever the fridge and/or cupboard provided, could occasionally provide a similar dish………
When I first encountered this dish here in the US a few decades ago, I ordered it a few times and also saw it on plates my fellow diners ordered.
Frankly, more often than not, it was less than appealing, to say it in a nice way.
So, for many years it never occurred to me to prep this dish at home, until it just so happened that Italian sausage meat and peppers were the only things I found in my fridge before going to stock-up my supplies.
Long story, short solution – just look at the pics in this post to see what you can do with these most basic ingredients if you put a bit of love and feeling in the preparation of this so often abused and massacred dish 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you ever had this dish in a typical Italian/American restaurant, it was probably prepared with sliced Italian sausages, instead of the plain Italian sausage stuffing, shaped into balls, as I did here.
The texture will be very different, but the taste will be the same (Assuming you use “first-class ingredients”) 🙂
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Click here for more  “Easy Does It”  on  ChefsOpinion
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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan –
“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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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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Click here for more  Fish  on  ChefsOpinion
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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 :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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A few  years after I was born, the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (Economic Miracle) was in full swing (I wonder if my existence helped?), and Germany was in need of a new, different kind of army – an army of workers, to fill all the open labor-positions. It was the time (1955) when Germany invited millions of “Gastarbeiter” (Guest Workers) to come and make their luck and life in Germany. Mostly poor, working class people from Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and eventually, in 1968, Yugoslavia, took a chance and started a new life in this new promised land, first alone, working very hard, saving money, learning the language and customs and then, usually a couple of years later, having their family join them and slowly but surely integrating themselves and their families, and most of them eventually becoming Germans. (Passport, language, customs, and all) 🙂
I don’t want to go into the political, economic and social results of this enormous “Völkerwanderung” (Human Migration), but rather talk about the effect it had on the culinary landscape.
Up until then, there were basically three culinary styles in Germany –
“Deutsche Hausmanskost”, which translates into plain home cooking
“Deutsche Koch Kunst”, or German Culinary Arts, meals that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate,  primarily available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
“Traditional French Cuisine”, also mainly available in upper-class restaurants, hotels, and delicatessens.
Of course, this all changed rapidly with the influx of millions of people cooking the traditional food of their countries of origin, and within a few short years one could easily find a Turkish doner shop, Italian pizzeria, Greek taverna, Spanish tapa restaurant, Portuguese cervejaria or Yugoslavian restaurant serving food from all over Europe, first in the big cities, but eventually even in the smallest of villages.
(Incidentally, nowadays you are more likely to find an ethnic restaurant than a typical “German Gasthaus” (German Tavern) in most places 😦
Securely wedged in my memory are the Cevapcici of that time. Up ’til then, we did not know “Burgers”. We had either buletten or meatloaf, typically served hot with mashed potatoes or pasta and mushroom sauce, or served cold with bread and mustard.
So when Cevapcici came along, they were pretty special and exotic to our palette and view.
Spiced with plenty of garlic, oregano and cumin among other seasonings, they tasted and looked very different to anything made with ground lamb (or any other ground meat) we’d seen up to then.
They were usually served with rice and salad or with some type of flatbread and salad, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce and raw onion rings.
Again, at the time, this was pretty new and exotic for most of us 🙂
So when I got this ground lamb yesterday, I was looking forward to preparing and eating, for the first time in many years, this wonderful dish.
I am happy I did because I enjoyed every morsel of it (and so did Bella) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !   (And full of memories) 🙂
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Pls note:
Replace the lamb with beef, or pork or a mixture of both if you prefer.
Cevapcici can be grilled, sauteed, baked (roast) or fried. However, do NOT overcook them or you are left with a dry stick of coal-like substance 😦
See the pic of the close-up of the meat. Well done but VERY juicy and tender 🙂
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Click here for  Potato Salad Recipe   (Add sliced, seeded cucumbers if desired)
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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Ćevapi (Cevapcici)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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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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Click here for more  Seafood  on  ChefsOpinion
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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 :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Pork Sinigang (Sinigang na Baboy)

Yesterday  I had a long-standing wish fulfilled 🙂
(Mind you, there are “BIG WISHES” in life and then there are “small wishes” This was a small wish, but nevertheless, I am happy that it finally came through)
For years, I wished there’d be a good Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood, but there is only one that I know of within a few miles around, and frankly, that one sucks!
I don’t want to go into details, but believe me, if it would be halfway decent I would still go there. I have tried it three times, but all three times it was VERY disappointing, so I stopped going there and gave up hope. Whenever I needed a Pinoy food-fix, I had to prepare it myself.
So yesterday I went to do some errands in a close-by shopping center to which I have been going for more than 15 years. Much to my surprise, I saw a “new” restaurant named Manila Grill&BBQ  tucked away in a corner. (I asked an employee how long they’ve been open and he said more than two years)
I had never noticed it before, maybe because what sticks out on the sign is  Grill & BBQ,  so one does not quickly associate this with Pinoy food………..
The place is very clean, simply but nicely appointed and the employees are very friendly, attentive and professional.
The food, THE FOOD 🙂 – it was absolutely delightful, very authentic, nicely presented and wonderfully tasty. The prices are moderate and overall, it was one of the best lunch experiences I had in any restaurant in Miami in years.
You can read more about it here: Manila Grill & BBQ, Pembroke Pines, Florida
So now, back to the dish at hand,  Sinigang Na Baboy
Sinigang is a sour soup native to the Philippines. Beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and even chicken (sinampalukang manok) can be used. The one featured here today uses pork as the main ingredient. One can use boneless pork, though bony parts of the pig known as “buto-buto” are usually preferred. Neck bones, spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork belly all can be used.
The most common vegetables used are egglant, okra, onion, green beans, tomato and taro root.
The most common souring agent is tamarind juice, (sampalog), but if not available, you can use calamansi, lime, lemon,  guava, bilimbi (kamias), green mango, pineapple, and wild mangosteen (santol) To go an even easier route, you can buy instant “Sinigang Mix” ready to add to the stock while cooking. (For my personal taste this is too salty and not sour enough)
Today I went to look-up the sinigang I posted before on ChefsOpinion, but much to my surprise I could not find a single post, although I cook sinigang quite often. I then checked my folder of unpublished posts and low and behold, there was a bunch of pics of a sinigang I cooked about 6 years ago but never published. Looking at the quality of the pics I understand why I hesitated, but what the heck, here it is:
Sinigang na baboy from the distant past 🙂
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Masaya Ang Buhay !   Kainan Na !
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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

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So this is what happened last night –
I was working on this post for ChefsOpinion.
While processing the pics from the day’s dinner, I came across this sign of love (I did NOT arrange this before I took the pics).
Not only does it look like a heart, it also resembles two stylized swans heads and necks, an image we use often in food decoration.
What are the odds ?????
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Bon Appétit !   Love is Good !
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P.S.
It would have been even more awesome if it would have happened on the 14th (Valentines Day),
but then certainly nobody would have believed that it happened by happy chance 🙂 
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Click here for more  Pasta  on  Chefsopinion
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Spaghetti With Cabbage, Peppers And Gorgonzola

Spaghetti With Cabbage, Peppers, And Gorgonzola

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Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

Pasta & Love / Love & Pasta

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Piri Piri Chicken With Portuguese Fried Rice

 

Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Here  we have two beloved Portuguese dishes which are not typically recognized as Portuguese staples (rice) and chicken (piri piri chicken).
Piri piri chicken is a favorite way of preparing chicken/poultry in most parts of Portugal, especially in Lisbon. I remember eating grilled chicken brushed with a spicy sauce in Lisbon way back in the seventies and then twenty five years later again, when I lived on Madeira with Maria, although I did not recall the “piri piri” part until I came across this video on my Portuguese friend’s Peter a few weeks ago (see link below) .
As for “Portuguese fried rice”, any cuisine in which rice features as a staple also has at least a few fried rice recipes, since everybody is used to reheat the leftover rice in a pan and adding “stuff” to it, usually in the form of other leftovers and/or veggies, seasoning, eggs, protein etc.
Grilling over an open fire is, of course, one of the best ways to cook chicken (or most other protein, no matter the country, style of cuisine or occasion. Brushing the meat when it almost ready to be served with a savory, spicy sauce and a squirt of fresh lemon or lime is all one needs to lift said protein (or vegetables) one more step up to reach culinary heaven 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more info about  Piri Piri Sauce
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Click here for a short video about  Piri Piri Chicken
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Click here for more info about  Food , Dining & Drinks In Portugal
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Pls note :
Piri piri sauce is prepared in a myriad of different ways, depending on the country, region, family preference, etc. The one essential common ingredient is the use of piri piri peppers. Also, the amount of piri piri you brush onto your food depends on your own preference. As you can see in the picture, I love to be generous with my thicker than usual  piri piri 🙂
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Hans’ Piri Piri Sauce Recipe :
4 tablespoons lemon juice, 5 tablespoons olive oil1cup vinegar, 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (optional), 1 tablespoon garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon piri piri peppers ;
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

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Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

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Portuguese Fried Rice

Portuguese Fried Rice

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Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

Piri Piri Chicken And Portuguese Fried Rice

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Being a Chef.......
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