Salad

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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Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Shepherds Pie  is such great comfort food.
Meat sauce, mashed potatoes, and cheese – who could resist ? 🙂
However, there is one flaw in shepherds pie which diminishes its enjoyment a bit for me – it is entirely soft in texture and usually, the sauce is a bit bland and the whole thing, therefore, often resembles baby food 😦
Let me come to the rescue with this new recipe.
Instead of mashing the potatoes to a puree, just break them up a bit into med-sized chunks. Adding the peppers and lots of onions and garlic to the meat sauce will further increase the taste and texture of the filling of the potato shells, which will result in a dish who’s taste still resembles shepherds pie but at the same time is so much more interesting and TASTY !
Overall, this “fully loaded” baked potato is without a doubt one of the tastiest incarnations of the lowly baked potato as well as the ordinary shepherd’s pie.
While I have prepared and created dozens of variations of twice baked potatoes over the years, some more, some less exotic, some over the top and some down to earth,  using all kinds of additions to the stuffing, such as shrimp, smoked salmon, ham, different vegetables, cheese, yogurt, herbs, etc, etc., the ones I prepared today are the very best of the best 🙂
Although very simple and easy to prepare, the texture, taste, and looks are just perfect and go to show that uncomplicated food, if done right, can take the price over complicated and elaborate any time ……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Twice-Baked Potatoes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Preparation :
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And The Oscar Goes To …………This Salad

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Salade Oscar

Salade Oscar

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No – I did not watch the Oscars tonight.
In fact, although I am a huge movie fan who watches at least one movie per day, often two and sometimes three, I stopped watching the once glamorous and exciting Oscars years ago, when it had become a boring, extremely drawn-out and pointless parody of its former glory.
So, in order to have my own little oscar celebration, I created my personal version in form of a great dinner, replacing the little statue with the best dish of the night.
While avocados, nectarines, red onions and pears in a dressing of lemon juice and sweet Thai chili sauce might not seem to be nominees that fit into the same (salad) category, here they share the top honors for my new favorite salad 🙂
For obvious reasons, I’ll call this salad “Salade Oscar”
Best supporting actor – bone-in rib eye steak 🙂
In the end, a great (show) dinner, lots of applause (Bella, for the steak) and I walking away with yet another trophy (salad) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for last years  “Oscar”  on  ChefsOpinion
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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

Salade Oscar . Bone-In Rib Eye Steak

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Preparation :
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Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

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When I got up this morning, I had a big craving for egg salad. During the day, in my head, I kept adding ingredients to the egg salad until finally, when it was time to prepare early dinner, this yummy concoction materialized 🙂
Very simple and straightforward, yet a real delicious and pretty dish that can be enjoyed either as a salad with bread on the side or, as I did, on top of toasted bread as a sandwich that left nothing to be desired for Bella’s and my dinner.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Salads  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Sandwiches  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
Personally, I prefer Florida avocados over Haas avocados. Click here to read about the pros/contras of both 🙂
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Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

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Preparation :
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Szegediner Gulasch (Székelykáposzta / Székelygulyás)

Szegediner Gulasch

Szegediner Gulasch


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Szegediner Gulasch  ( Krautgulasch) is a pork goulash (gulasch) prepared with sauerkraut and sour cream. It probably originated in the Austrian/ Vienna cuisine. (Pork is not typically used for goulash in classic Hungarian cuisine).
The Austrian/German name Szegediner Gulasch is probably misleading since the Hungarian name for the (Austrian) dish does not connect to the city of Szeged, but rather to the Hungarian writer  József Székely, who wrote favorable about this Viennese dish.
In Vienna, Szegediner Gulasch is usually served with serviettenknoedel, potatoes or rustic bread.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Szegediner Gulasch

Szegediner Gulasch

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Szegediner Gulasch

Szegediner Gulasch

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Preparation :
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NOT !!! The Prettiest Dish Of The Day –

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– but  without a doubt one of the tastiest dishes of the day 🙂
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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Today I set out to prepare a pizza for dinner, the way I love it with very little cheese and just a bit of tomato. Then I came across this jamon serrano and brie cheese in my fridge and I thought, maybe a calzone? But I am not really a fan of the texture of a calzone, so I tried something new by mixing all the garnish into the dough before rolling it out. The result was THE BEST ….. whatever it was – Pizza? Bread? Pie? or whatever name one deems most appropriate (bread, probably?) for this sexy little thing.
At first, when I started to fold the garnish into the dough, it did not look and feel as if it would come together and I thought I just screwed it up – I should really have put it between two layers of dough (calzone style).
But after a bit of a push, it worked out just fine and although the final product would not win a beauty contest (this can easily be improved), the texture and taste were absolutely first-rate. Definitely a new standard in my ever-increasing repertoire of quirky dishes 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pizza  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Lahmacun  and  Shrimp & Sardines Pie  on  ChefsOpinion
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Pizza Dough Recipe:

Ingredients :

A/P flour,   2 cups (plus more for kneading)
Water,   3/4 cup, warm
Active dry yeast,   1 envelope
Sugar,   1 teaspoon
Olive oil,   3 table spoon
Kosher salt,

Method :

Pour water into small bowl, mix into the yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil, knead until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Dust with flour as you work the dough. Transfer to prepared a bowl; turn dough in the bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a moist towel. Let dough rise until doubled in volume.Punch down dough. Pull dough until desired thickness and shape is achieved. If this is too difficult, roll the dough with a rolling-pin. However, in my opinion, the pizza will turn out superior if the dough is pulled.
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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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

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The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella , through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalist’s still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
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The dish below is NOT panzanalla !!!
However, it shares with panzanella the rustic, vinegar and olive oil soaked bread and the fresh vegetables (and a lot of other stuff) 🙂
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Here  now is my (slightly askew and liberal) take on panzanella, sandwich and salad – all three rolled into one wonderful dish.
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Today I did not feel like cooking, so I thought I’ll have a simple “Vesper” (the Swabian word for a snack involving bread, cheese, cold cuts and sometimes onions, pickles and tomatoes)
……then I thought, why not make a nice salad of it………then I thought why not make an enriched variation of panzanella…….. then ………..
Well, here you see the final result of my back and forth considerations.
And what a great result/dish it had become. I am not sure if there was such a thing as a Panzanino in Italy before today, but in my opinion, it certainly should be from now on. Even if there was, if it does not include all the stuff you see here, it certainly would not be as splendid as the great  Hans’ Panzanino  you see here.
This dish absolutely rock’s, and for lack of a better name, I officially name it :
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“””   Hans’ Panzanino   “”””
(As in Panzanella / Panino)
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And there you have it.
A wonderful “Italian” style sandwich – born on 11/17/2016 in, of all places, Miami, Florida 🙂 🙂 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Panzanella  on  ChefsOpinion
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Hans' Panzanino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanella Panino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanella Panino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Preparation :
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Movie Time – Pizza Roll Time

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Yesterday  evening, looking  forward to binge-watch the final four episodes of season one of “The Crown” on  Netflix, I got settled into my favorite chair, with a bucket of peach iced tea on ice next to me and a dish of pizza-rolls in the oven.
Twenty minutes into the first episode, the rolls were ready. Another fifteen minutes of cool-down time and  voilà , a large tray of great snacks, nurturing me for the rest of the evening through episode 10, until the end of season one.
Great evening, happy as a lark, tired, relaxed, full and content.
I probably gained five lbs, but, such is the price of indulgence 🙂
(To be repeated next year for season two of “The Crown”).
2.30 am – time to take Bella for a one-hour walk around the lake………..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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More  Snacks  on  ChefsOpinion
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More  Pizza  on  ChefsOpinion
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Pizza Dough Recipe:

Ingredients :

A/P flour,   2 cups (plus more for kneading)
Water,   3/4 cup, warm
Active dry yeast,   1 envelope
Sugar,   1 teaspoon
Olive oil,   3 table spoon
Kosher salt,

Method :

Pour  water into small bowl, mix in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil, knead until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Dust with flour as you work the dough. Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with moist towel. Let dough rise until doubled in volume.Punch down dough. Pull dough until desired thickness and shape is achieved. If this is too difficult, roll the dough with a rolling-pin. However, in my opinion, the pizza will turn out superior if the dough is pulled.

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

Movie Time/Pizza Roll Time

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Preparation :
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Black Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers…..(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

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These  pretty babies are a happy concoction of some of my beloved food items :
Blutwurst ( black pudding/blood pudding/morcilla), Swabian potato salad (schwäbisher kartoffel salad), röstzwiebeln (smothered or fried onions), good quality mustard, fiery chilies, and thin sheets of dough to wrap it all and bake to crispy goodness. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat (Swabian Potato Salad)
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Click here for a very different kind of  Potato Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
For this dish I have used  Argentinian style morcilla, which is widely available here in South Florida. A better fit would be  Schwäbishe  blutwurst, which melts when heated and spreads out better within the crispy wrap. But taste-wise, the morcilla I used is about the same.
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P.P.S.
I love to serve this with hot chilies to cut through the richness of the filling. If this is too spicy for you, serve the turnovers with a side of green salad.
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Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers.....(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers…..(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

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Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers.....(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers…..(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

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Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers.....(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

Blood Pudding And Potato Salad Turnovers…..(Schwäbishe Teigtaschen Mit Blutwurst, Kartoffelsalat Und Röstzwiebeln)

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Preparation :
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Insalata Di Gorgonzola

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I hope  that you all will recreate this wonderful salad I have prepped today for my dinner and shared with Bella (She loves gorgonzola) 🙂
The key to the success of this dish are, as usual, the best quality ingredients you can find and afford.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Please don’t shy back from the whole garlic cloves confit – they are slowly cooked in duck fat until VERY mild and VERY soft.
While eating, mash them with your fork or knife into the cheese and tomatoes (a bit of interaction there) 🙂
But, if you must, puree them into the dressing 😦
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Click here for more  Salad  on  ChefsOpinion
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Insalata Di Gorgonzola

Insalata Di Gorgonzola

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Insalata Di Gorgonzola

Insalata Di Gorgonzola

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Insalata Di Gorgonzola

Insalata Di Gorgonzola

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Jalapeno & Cheese Sour Dough Bread

Jalapeno & Cheese Sour Dough Bread

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Preparation :
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