Salad

Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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While  in most parts of the world and in many languages “Torta” or “Torte” is generally understood to be a sweet concoction, it can also describe a sandwich, made with flatbread or a leavened bread, depending on the country/region of origin.
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Wiki excerpt:
Mexican Sandwich

In Mexico, a torta is a kind of sandwich, served on an oblong 15 cm firm, crusty white sandwich roll. Depending on the region, this is called a bolillo, telera, birote, or pan francés. Tortas can be eaten cold or hot, grilled or toasted in a press in the same manner as a Cuban sandwich.
Garnishes such as avocado, chili pepper (usually poblano or jalapeño), tomato, and onion are common. The dish is popular throughout Mexico, and is also available anywhere with a large number of Mexican immigrants. In Northern Mexico, the torta is very frequently called “lonche by the influence of the English “lunch“, as it may be eaten during lunch break.
The sandwich is normally named according to its main ingredient:

  • Torta de jamón, ham-filled torta
  • Torta de aguacate, avocado-filled torta
  • Torta de adobada, adobo meat-filled torta
  • Torta de huevo, scrambled eggs-filled torta
  • Torta de milanesa, milanesa meat-filled torta
  • Tortope, chicken sope-filled torta

Although the torta ahogada (meaning “drowned” torta) of Guadalajara is so called because it is smothered in a red sauce, different fillings are available and they may be mixed to create an original torta.
Due to the practicality of being hand-carried, tortas are sold at massive events, such as football matches, parades, and outdoor concerts, but they are also available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at dedicated establishments or sold as street food by food carts.
In Mexico, the sweet cake is normally referred to as pastel, which is also used in other parts of Latin America with this meaning.
Origin:
The origin of the torta is unclear, but some claim it sprouted in Puebla due to Spanish-French interaction. Teleras (the bread usually used in tortas) were inspired by French baguettes ”
End of Wiki excerpt.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Torta De Camarones (Lonche) (Mexican Shrimp Sandwich)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

 

Scholle Gebraten (Whole Sauteed Flounder)

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Decades  ago, when I was about 19 years old, working as a commis de cuisine on the German Seaboard (Ostsee), in Timmendorfer Strand,  Hotel Seeschlösschen), this dish was one of the all time favorites on restaurant menus, either the whole fish or, for the less adventurous, fillets like I have used here.
Usually served “Meuniere” or “Grenobloise”, accompanied by “Kartoffel Salat” (potato salad) or “Dill Kartoffeln” (dill potatoes), “Scholle” (flounder) was abundant and therefore one of the most economic and popular fresh fish one could order in a restaurant.
How times have changed…………
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Sauteed Flounder Fillet “Grenobloise”

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Preparation :
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Spinach Wrap With Smoked Spicy Sausage, Coleslaw And Black Beans

Before  I started this post today, I googled “Wrap”, to see some comparison to what I had prepared for dinner.
To tell you the truth, almost all of them, especially the ones from food chains, look absolutely gorgeous – well balanced with equal amounts of protein, lettuce and other “Stuff” 🙂
The problem???
Almost all these wraps are very different from the real thing you can purchase in restaurants and deli’s. While there are a few exceptions, most commercial places serve you these monster wraps, huge and beautiful to look at. But upon closer inspection, one finds mostly shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes, sprinkled sparsely with the other ingredients listed on the menu. Even when there seems to be a lot of the goodies, the maker of the wrap usually places most of the goodies in the very center of the wrap, so when it is cut for presentation, it shows an abundance of it at the displayed center cut, while the rest of the roll contains mostly the cheap shredded lettuce. This would not be such a problem if the prices would not be so outrageous for what is actually being served (mostly lettuce) 😦
Good restaurants are usually an altogether different animal, although many serve you the same “lettuce wrap with a bit of other stuff”.
By now you will know what’s the solution – yep, make your own and pack it with the good stuff ! 🙂
Here we go:
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Wraps  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Sausage  on  ChefsOpinion
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Spinach Wrap With Smoked Spicy Sausage, Coleslaw And Black Beans

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Spinach Wrap With Smoked Spicy Sausage, Coleslaw And Black Beans

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Spinach Wrap With Smoked Spicy Sausage, Coleslaw And Black Beans

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Preparation :
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Last night on my way home I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant where I used to eat pho. I stopped eating there because of the tiny portions (see my post about it by clicking this link:  ….Pho….
Knowing that I would be disappointed by the skimpy pho, I placed my hope into an order of summer rolls…….
Well, the same crappy principle as with the pho (a ton of stock, a tiny amount of anything else); only this time, there was a ton of wrapper (2 per roll !) and just a tiny bit of filling. I could have kicked myself for not following my own previous advise to avoid this place.
So, what’s an old cook to do? Well of course, make my own version of rice paper rolls 🙂
Mind you, these are NOT Vietnamese summer rolls! And, because of their plumpness, rather than eating them by hand, I suggest you use a fork in order to have a less messy encounter with these babies. 🙂
However, these rolls consist of the exact amount and ratio of ingredients I craved when I ordered the rolls in the restaurant and was so badly disappointed:
A small amount of wrapper, LOT’S of noodles and shrimp, and NOT drowned in fish sauce and basil. Ahhhh, the good life ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you prefer the more traditional skinny shape, just arrange the filling accordingly.
P.P.S.
I am still hoping to find a decent Vietnamese restaurant around here 🙂
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Hans’ Peanut Sauce

This recipe may not be the most authentic, but it’s really, really good.
Serve it as a dipping sauce, over hot or cold noodles or as a salad dressing.

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons chili paste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Whisk again before serving.
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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Shrimp And Rice Stick Pillows With Peanut Sauce And Sweet Chili Sauce

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Preparation :
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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
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Shrimp And Black Beans Taco Bowl

Shrimp And Black Beans Taco Bowl

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I do realize that taco bowls are sooo 80’s, but I feel they still look great today, and this piece of once “in” popular food culture deserves a place within the classics we should re-visit once in a while so as not to forget them 🙂
In order to be a bit more colorful, instead of the usual flour tortilla, I have used a brightly colored spinach wrap here. Wraps come in all kinds of colors, so this opens up the visual spectrum to be a bit more varied.
As far as the filling is concerned, today I felt like bean salad, avocado, greens, and shrimp, but of course, the sky is the limit, as long as it is not liquid and you serve it right after preparation in order to avoid the shells to become soft.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Shrimp  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Salsa Mexicana Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion

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Shrimp And Black Beans Taco Bowl

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ready to go……………serves 2

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

Greek Lamb Sandwich

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

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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Preparation :
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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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