seafood

Breakfast Of Champions # 62 – Baked Breakfast Wrap

 

Breakfast Of Champions # 62 – Baked Breakfast Wrap

Here we have the perfect breakfast for dog owners (and everybody else who loves a great breakfast and can wait awhile before breakfast is ready,) 🙂
Once the prep has been done (you can do this the previous evening), just put the wrap into the oven (hot or cold), turn to 375F and walk your dog.
Make sure you are back before the hour is over and you will be rewarded with a perfect breakfast). Generally, the egg inside will take about 35 minutes for a “sunny side up” texture, while additional time spent in the heat will obviously take the egg to the next level of doneness. This doneness will depend on various factors, such as the thickness of the wrap, the thickness of the ham and tomato, the amount of cheese and /or other fillings, and so forth.
When I made this dish the first time a few years back, I took it out of the oven WAY too early, not realizing how much time the egg actually takes to cook inside all these layers. However, if you like this dish, take some notes about the time and temperature you use in order to get it right on future occasions.
Also, and this is even more important, chose a wrap which suits this preparation. If you select the wrong one, the shell will become dry and tough after it’s considerable time in the oven. But if you find the right one (see the pic below for an example), the wrap becomes wonderfully flaky, almost like a puff pastry, as is clearly visible in the pics of the cut wrap 🙂 . The reason why I use two wraps per pocket is that the (RIGHT) wraps add a great flakiness one would not get with a single layer (there is a lot of moisture inside).
I also like to emphasize the importance of the grated parmesan cheese between the moist layers to help keep a proper texture, (you don’t want a soggy mess !) and the importance of brushing the wrap generously with whole butter before baking, both for taste and texture.
As for the sauce, I love to serve this with sweet Thai chili sauce or a honey/herb yogurt. Again – serve it with whatever makes YOU happy ! 🙂
Of course, as with most of the food I publish on my blog,  I recommend using this dish as an inspiration for your very own variations of a baked wrap. I have prepared them with seafood, ground meat, chicken, veggies, with or without cheese, with or without eggs, etc. ( one of my favorites is tomato, onion, sauteed spinach, and brie). Also, although I have this usually for breakfast, it makes a great snack or meal any time during the day or evening.

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Breakfast Of Champions # 62 – Baked Breakfast Wrap

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Breakfast Of Champions # 62 – Baked Breakfast Wrap

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Breakfast Of Champions # 62 – Baked Breakfast Wrap

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Preparation :
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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Spinach Tagliatelle With Crayfish In Garlic/Chili Butter

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Preparation :
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato

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Preparing  your own ravioli might be a bit work-intensive, but if one put’s a little effort and love to the process, it’s well worth the trouble. The actual prep is not so bad, what takes the most time is the clean-up (at least for me, since my counter space is tiny and the flour usually goes everywhere where it is not supposed to).
But as I said, the delicious result makes up for the extra bit of time and effort 🙂
Also, if you frequently prep your own ravioli and/or vareniki,  it will be wise to invest a few dollars in a  ravioli mold/press/cutter,  which will cut down considerably on the time and mess it takes to prepare good-looking ravioli or vareniki. I have a bunch of them, and they always come in handy.
As for the filling, a general rule is usually not to combine cheese and seafood, but in this case, the ricotta goes perfectly with the shrimp (that’s why in cooking, the word “usually” is vital). We “usually” do things this way or that way, but………..
For my personal taste, a complicated or dominating sauce would take away from the delicate taste of the ravioli, so the richness of the butter and the crispness of the crumbs is all this dish needs to shine brightly.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pasta Dough :
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Ingredients :
2 1cups A/P flour
3 -4 eggs (depending on size)
Kosher salt to taste
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Method :
Sift the flour onto the work surface, make a well in the center
Add the eggs, one at a time, add the salt.
Mix the eggs, then add a little flour at a time from the well, until all the flour has been used.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding flour if dough is too sticky.
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Filling :
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Ingredients :
1 cup ricotta cheese, softened
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
1 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 whole egg, beaten
fresh-grated nutmeg, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste
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Method :
Coarsely chop the shrimp, add all other ingredients, mix well
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Shrimp Butter :
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Ingredients :
8 oz peeled, tailless cooked small shrimp
4 oz whole butter
1 tblsp chopped Italian parsley
garlic paste to taste
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Method :
Saute shrimp in butter until heated, remove from heat, add parsley, season with garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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Shrimp And Ricotta Ravioli With Pangrattato


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Preparation :
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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Seafood , wine, olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, beans and potatoes give this dish that familiar taste and appearance you’ll find when ordering seafood stew along the coast of Portugal and it’s islands.
Maria and I have had this particular stew (sometimes with, sometimes without the beans) a couple of times in the home of one of our friends in Funchal, Madeira, while living there, ca 17 years ago.
Served with rustic bread and LOTS of red Douro (Portuguese wine from vineyards along the Douro river) and Madeira (fortified wine from the islands of Madeira), seafood cooked in wine has since become one of my favorite meals to share with friends, and it has been one of the foods I remember most of that happy time, that beautiful country and its wonderful people.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

Shrimp And Octopus Stewed In Red Wine

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Preparation :
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Tostadas Al Pescado (Fish Tostadas)

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When  you decide to make tostadas, the biggest decision will be if you want to prepare  your own tortillas and fry them to a flat crisp or buy packaged tostada shells, which you can buy in any supermarket nowadays’, most of excellent quality. After that, the most sensible thing is to put the tostadas on a platter in the center of the table, arrange all the toppings in bowls around them and let everybody assemble their own favorite. Traditionally, refried beans, cotija cheese, a simple salsa and sometimes seafood are the main ingredients/toppings.
But, as you can imagine, tostadas, like most other dishes with a long culinary history, have evolved and advanced to be more adventurous and varied. Anything you fancy is allowed to grace your tostada, as long as it is delicious and makes you smile 🙂
Refried beans, shredded lettuce, sour cream, any cheese, any seafood, sausage, meat, grilled vegetables, any salsa, guacamole, etc, etc.
I happened to have some fresh Swai fillets at hand as well as white cabbage for a tasty cabbage slaw.  Added some guacamole, salsa Mexicana and a bit of sour cream and BINGO ! – exiting lunch served in a snap 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Salsa Mexicana Recipe:
2 medium tomatoes- diced; 1 med white onion- diced, 3 jalapeños- chopped, 1/3 cup cilantro- chopped; lime juice and kosher salt- to taste; combine, check/adjust seasoning.
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Tostadas Al Pescado (Fish Tostadas)

Tostadas Al Pescado (Fish Tostadas)

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Tostadas Al Pescado (Fish Tostadas)

Tostadas Al Pescado (Fish Tostadas)

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Preparation :
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Stir Fried Squid, Udon Noodles And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce ( Yakiudon)

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There are few dishes more comforting and satisfying than a bowl of noodles with a rich sauce or in a tasty soup – either by itself or with other “stuff” thrown in, such as any kind of vegetables, mushrooms, eggs and any protein such as pork, chicken, duck or seafood. While for me, any noodle is a good noodle, udon noodles rank on top of my favorite list – the plumper the better.
Lately, I’ve been buying the vacuum packaged “fresh” udon noodles from my neighborhood Asian market, but I also have had good experiences with the frozen type more readily available around here. As for the sauce, I like to prep it as simple as possible – soy sauce, oyster sauce or hoi sin sauce, chili paste, honey or sugar, ginger and garlic, sesame oil, chicken-, vegetable- or pork-stock. For a bit of variation in the sauce, I sometimes add a bit of peanut butter or fermented bean sauce, but that’s it – simple comfort food quickly and easily prepared and always just hitting the right spot 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce  (Yaki Udon)

Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce (Yaki Udon)


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Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce (Yaki Udon)

Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce (Yaki Udon)

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Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce  (Yaki Udon)

Stir Fried Squid, Udon And Bok Choy In Oyster Sauce (Yaki Udon)

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Preparation :
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Steak Salad “Saigon”

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The  foundation of this steak salad is a refreshing rice stick salad, which I usually make at least twice a month. I normally make about four to six portions and eat it as part of a meal, as breakfast or as a late night snack. The noodles keep their texture for a few days without getting mushy, so this is ideal to prep in advance and then serve it when a quick bite is needed, especially on a workday as breakfast or as a snack late at night when I get home and just want to rest and more cooking is as far from my mind as possible. If I have it as part of a meal, I usually combine it with seafood, such as teriyaki- glazed salmon or sautéed shrimp. For breakfast, I usually add a couple of hard-boiled eggs and for a midnight snack some canned seafood. When Maria was still with me, she liked to serve it at bbq -parties, when it was a welcome alternative to the usual suspects of coleslaw and potato salad.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Steak Salad "Saigon"

Steak Salad “Saigon”

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Preparation :
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Shrimp Lo Mein ( 撈麵 )

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Of  all the Chinese, Asian and Chinese/Asian-inspired dishes I prepare at home, the fast and easy to prepare Lo Mein is the one I cook most often. I usually vary the main ingredients according to what’s in my fridge and/or cupboard, but the basis are always Chinese wheat noodles, seasoned with oyster sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, grated ginger, garlic paste and chili paste. Sometimes I augment the seasoning with hoi sin sauce. As for the other main ingredients, I use vegetables, pork, beef, seafood, poultry or mushrooms, sometimes just one of them, sometimes more than one and sometimes all of them together. In all the years I prepared this dish, I never had one I did not love and I never get tired of it, no matter how often it flies in through my kitchen window 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Preparation :
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Fritto Misto

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It  is time for me to confess:  I am a food-shopping maniac. My kitchen usually contains enough fresh, dried, frozen and pickled food to feed a family of four for a few weeks. So, every couple of months I give myself the daunting task to empty my cup board, fridge and freezer completely in order to be able to start replenishing all over again.  So today, after two weeks of feeding myself and Bella with all the goodies already in the house, I finally achieved my goal: (my iron-will was victorious) – all food is gone and tomorrow morning I will start a new crusade to the butcher, grocery store and farmers-markets to make sure I have again enough food in the house, just in case………. ???? – well, something, you never know.

(My friends who live in the neighborhood will remember that after the last major hurricane left our area for nearly three weeks without electricity, Maria and I hosted daily free lunches in our garden for 20 to 30 people, sometimes a lot more. Tasty food from the grill and fire pit and plenty of beer and even more wine, all nicely cooled in the lake. What a blessing our full freezer and pantry proved to be then ) 🙂

But, let’s get back to the topic at hand.
The remaining few things I had left in the freezer were some squid, a few small shrimp, a piece of cod filet and in the fridge a bit of greens, lemon, scallions, an onion and some grape tomatoes . Perfect !
Some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for the salad, the seafood marinated with cayenne pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic and dusted in rice flour, two chilies and the scallions thrown into the mix, then quickly deep-fried and Voilà – Fritto Misto !   Life is Good !
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Buen Apetito !   Viva Italia !
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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Preparation :
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Short Ribs, Bok Choy, Shiitake And Noodles In Spicy Ginger/Garlic Broth

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Soup!  – God’s gift to comfort food 🙂
I wonder how many different soups I have eaten in my life and how many different noodle soups in particular. And still, I never get tired of preparing and eating yet another version of this wonderful food category. Soup, to me,  never get’s old. To the contrary, I can never get enough of it, be it cream soup, purred soup, clear soup, soup made of meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit or any combination thereof, hot or cold. So without further ado, here is my latest concoction:
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Bon Appetit !   Life is good !
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Short Ribs, Bok Choy, Shiitake And Noodles In Ginger/Garlic Broth

Short Ribs, Bok Choy, Shiitake And Noodles In Ginger/Garlic Broth

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Short Ribs, Bok Choy, Shiitake And Noodles In Ginger/Garlic Broth

Short Ribs, Bok Choy, Shiitake And Noodles In Ginger/Garlic Broth

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Preparation :
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