texture

Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

Pork knuckles are without a doubt one of the most loved comfort food by those in the know.
No matter if roasted, braised,  soused , served whole or cut-up in stew’s, prepared any which way – pork knuckles rock ! 🙂
The one featured today is probably the most simple, yet also the best version.
Seasoned with only kosher salt, then braised until very tender and finally roast until super crisp, it is a perfect example of how a great ingredient can easily be transformed into a world-class dish with just a little time and a lot of love 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Knusprige Schweinshaxe Mit Rotkrautsalat (Roast Pork Knuckle With Red Cabbage Slaw)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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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 :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit)

“Meatloaf With Sautéed Cabbage, Horseradish Potatoes And Mushroom Cream”
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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There is a little story about the origin of the name Falscher Hase.
(Also: Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten, Heuchelhase)
(It might be funny now, but back then it was not funny at all, since it tried to cover-up the poverty and embarrassment of ordinary folks who were too poor to put a meal  on the table of which they could be proud of)
You see, not too long ago there was a time in Germany, Baden-Wuerttemberg in particular, when ground meat was not considered a proper entrée. It was ok for burgers (buletten), which were mostly consumed as a vesper (snack), served cold with bread and mustard.
But meatloaf was perceived as nothing to be proud of, an inferior dish only served when there was no money for a real cut of protein. Usually, it contained hard-boiled eggs in the center and sometimes blanched carrots, celery and bell peppers, not to make the meatloaf prettier but to further stretch the budget, since eggs and veggies were even cheaper than ground meat.
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So, in order to trick casual visitors or passersby to think there is a more prestigious piece of roast in the oven or on the table, “Hase” (Rabbit) was the usual answer to the question what smells so great at lunch or dinner time. This was a time before A/C and long notices before one went to visit one’s neighbor for a chat. Kitchen windows were always open, especially while cooking, everybody stopped by for a quick chat, either the passerby talking to the person inside or the person inside talking to the passerby. After all, before TV came along, leaning on the window and seeing the world go by was some of the choice entertainment as well as the main local news source – who walks with whom, who has new clothes, whose clothes are not properly ironed, how does this or that look……. 🙂
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Of course, everything has changed considerably since then (at least in our “advanced, modern” part of the world, what with tv, the internet, and so forth, a/c which requires closed windows and therefore less personal contact with our neighbors. etc…….. 😦
However, to get back to the dish at hand, if one is able to prepare a good meatloaf, one can and should be proud if this once “inferior” dish. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a good meatloaf around here, neither in restaurants or in many homes.
Therefore,  I give you this recipe which has been in my repertoire for 50 years. It was one of the very first things I learned to cook as an apprentice when I was 14 years old and I have done it with minor variations ever since. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)

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Falscher Hase. Fake Rabbit. Meatloaf

Falscher Hase (Fake Rabbit) (Meatloaf)


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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.
Each meatloaf serves 10-12.
Potatoes and cabbage – 5 servings each
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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette


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Fresh grilled tuna steak might seem a tad old-fashioned these day’s, but when it is so yummy, who cares ? 🙂
This dish, and the memories it evoked, mentally transported me back to the shores of the Mediterranean, where this would be a traditional, light lunch – a few, simple but fresh and fragrantly seasoned ingredients, enjoyed with good company and a few glasses of wine, then, a short Siesta and on to a wild night about town 🙂
Well, in my case it was iced tea instead of wine, then a walk with Bella instead of a siesta and afterward a good movie instead of a wild night about town. 🙂
But, nevertheless, great food and a wonderfully relaxing evening.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Mediterranean Fish Seasoning:

  • 3tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 12teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients well. This mix seasons 4 to 6 steaks.
Brush tuna with olive oil, season liberally with the spice mix, grill until temperature reaches your preference.
Saute confit and black olives in EVO, add to steak.
Serve with a salad of your choice.
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Click here for  Garlic Confit  on  ChefsOpinion
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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Tuna Steak, Garlic Confit With Black Olives And Greens In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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All chef’s, once in a while :

WTF did I come in here for ??? 🙂


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Once in a while, I come across an unbelievable food bargain that I just MUST buy; these ribs are a typical example.
I had to go downtown Miami this morning, so on the way back home, I stopped at my Argentinian butcher in Hialeah to get some empanadas for lunch. There I saw these beautiful beef ribs for $ 3.95, which is less than a pack of chicken wings of equal weight will cost me at my neighborhood grocery store – go figure 😦
So, I had the empanadas for lunch, then started the ribs for a full-fledged, big and yummy dinner 🙂
(My butcher’s empanadas are as close to Argentinian empanadas as can be, nothing like the crappy ones one can usually get around here. After all, he is Argentinian)
But now let’s talk a bit about today’s beef rib dinner.
If you look at the pics of the preparation below, you might notice that the ratio of onions to meat is very high, about 2 to 1 in quantity. The reason is that since I usually don’t use red wine (or any other alcohol) in my cooking anymore, I like to add additional flavor and color by increasing the amount of caramelized onions and add some apple cider. It does not replace the red wine taste, but rather substitute one great flavor with another one. Also, instead of using flour to thicken the sauce, once the meat is tender, I remove it and set it aside, then push the onions through a fine mesh sieve and simmer the sauce another few minutes to thicken it.
And there you have it – another day, another wonderful meal 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Beef Ribs  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Pork Ribs  on  ChefsOpinion
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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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Braised Beef Back Ribs With Glazed Baby Rainbow Carrots

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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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Convenient Food (Pansit/Pancit)

 

Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Having visited the  Philippines  in the mid-to late 70’s often, and then lived and worked there for 4 years during the early 80’s, my eating habits have been strongly influenced by its wonderful food, especially the appreciation of fresh, well-seasoned vegetables and a myriad of exotic fruit.
While there are too many favorite dishes to mention, three groups of dishes stand out –
Roasted pork in its many forms,
Vegetable dishes with steamed rice in great variations,
– and, of course,
Pancit, in its countless, tasty incarnations. 🙂  (See a list of many different pancit at the bottom of this page)
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In Filipino cuisine, pancit or pansit are noodles. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. The term pancit is derived from the Hokkien pian i sit (Chinese: 便ê食; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: piān-ê-si̍t or Chinese: 便食; pinyin: biàn shí) which literally means “convenient food.” (Wiki excerpt)
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My version today is a typical “homestyle pansit”, in that one uses pansit noodles with some protein (optional) and some vegetables, whatever one finds in the market that day. (When I was living there, regular folks bought all food that was not dried, fresh in the market every day. Few working -class families could afford a fridge, never mind a freezer. By the way, it was the same when I was a small kid back in Germany, my mom got her first fridge when I was about 6 years old. We did, however, have a freezer, albeit only during winter time –  it was the shelf in front of our kitchen window which during the rest of the year held plants and flowers 🙂  
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The great convenience of pancit noodles is that you cook them right in the stock you are using. The noodles will keep their “al dente” texture even if you add a bit too much stock or if you cook them a minute longer as you should. They will soak-up all the stock and its flavor, as long as they have simmered for a few minutes and then rest in the stock until done. Convenience food ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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Convenient Food (Pansit / Pancit)

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

  • Buko Pancit (coconut strips are substituted for noodles, a specialty of Quezon province)
  • Pancit Abra (common in Northern Luzon particularly in the province of Abra)
  • Pancit Alanganin
  • Pancit ni Juli
  • Pancit Alahoy
  • Pancit Batchoy
  • Pancit Bato is local to the Bicol Region; especially the town of Bato in Camarines Sur.
  • Pancit Bihon Guisado
  • Pancit Bihongundoy
  • Pancit Cabagan
  • Pancit Canton (Lo mein and chow mein)
  • Pancit Canton Ilonggo
  • Pancit Chami (Lucena City, Quezon)
  • Pancit Estacion (Tanza, Cavite)
  • Pancit Habhab (Lucban, Quezon)
  • Pancit Kilawin (a variety pancit originated from Rosario, Cavite. In lieu of pancit noodles, shredded unripe papaya fruit is used cooked with vinegar and fish. Usually partnered with Dinuguan dish)
  • Pancit Kinalas (Naga City, Camarines Sur)
  • Pancit Lanu (San Vicente Street in San Pedro, Laguna)
  • Pancit Lomi (Batangas)
  • Pancit Lucban
  • Pancit Luglog
  • Pancit Malabon
  • Pancit Mami (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Mayaman (Guinayangan, Quezon)
  • Pancit Miki (round egg noodles)
  • Pancit Míki-Bíhon Guisado (round egg noodles + bihon)
  • Pancit Olongapo (Pancit Miki with Sarsa sauce. Miki cooked in tradition added with sarsa a thickened chicken and pork broth, darkened a little with soy sauce of choice)
  • Pancit Molo (wonton soup with wonton wrappers added to the broth, serving as its “noodles”)
  • Pancit Moròng
  • Pancit Palabok
  • Pancit Pula (variation of Pancit Miki from Batangas City)
  • Pancit Pusit
  • Pancit Sotanghon
  • Pansit Sabaw (Pansit Miki with soup)
  • Pansit Tuguegarao or Batil Patong
  • Pansit Sinanta (also from Tuguegarao, consists of flat egg noodles, bihon, clams and chicken, with broth colored with annatto)

Pancit bihon (bijon)

Pancit bihon (aka bijon) is the type usually associated with the word “pancit“, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The exact bihon composition depends on someone’s personal recipe but usually, Chinese sausage and cabbage are the basic ingredients in a pancit bihon.

Pancit palabok and pancit luglug are essentially the same dish, the difference being primarily in the noodles used in the recipe. Luglug uses a thicker noodle than the traditional bihon of a pancit palabok. Both pancit dishes use a round rice noodle (often specifically labeled for pancit luglug or palabok) smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce, and topped with:

  • Shrimp, (the size and shell-on or shell-off depending on preference)
  • Crushed or ground pork rind
  • Hard-boiled egg (sliced into disks or quartered lengthwise or chopped)
  • Tinapa (smoked fish) flakes
  • Freshly minced green onion

Pancit palabok/pancit luglog and pancit canton are communal comfort food, and can be found at nearly all Filipino potluck parties. They are best made and eaten in batches for they are easily consumed.

Pancit sotanghon is a cellophane noodle soup with a chicken broth base. It may include some kind of meat and vegetable. A typical sotanghon is made with calamansi, sliced straw mushrooms, slivered dark-meat chicken and green onion.

Batil patong is not commonly known outside of Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan in Northern Luzon, Philippines. It is an unusual noodle dish with a sauce based on soy and “cara-beef” beef broth. It is served with two piquant side dishes: a cup of egg-drop soup made with the same cara-beef broth; and a dish of chopped onions, vinegar or calamansi, chili peppers, and soy sauce. The noodles are usually wheat-based and are topped with ground cara-beef, pork liver, mung bean sprouts, and poached egg from whence the name batil patong literally “scrambled and placed on top” is thought to be derived. Sometimes, other vegetables, crushed pork-rind cracklings or chorizos are also added on top.

Pancit Lomi Originally from Batangas, Pancit Lomi is usually sold in eateries across the province. With the mobility of the Filipinos; however, other people got wind of pancit lomi and now you will see different lomihans (eateries with just lomi) whipping up their own pancit lomi, panciterias (eateries specializing in pancit) adding it in their menu, and carinderias (which are usually offering the usual viands and not pancit) starting to offer it alongside its other rice-based meals.

Seaweed pancit

Tiwi, Albay residents created a new pancit made from seaweed, which has health benefits. It is rich in calcium and magnesium and the seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti, or carbonara.

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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A  dish like this demonstrates to the foam and tweezers-camp cooks why good, old-fashioned, well-established and expertly prepared great food will never die!
Give me this over a plate of  “edible earth, foraged spring moss, chocolate covered ants topped with wheat-grass foam”, anytime ! 🙂
But then again, maybe that’s just me……?
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Caramelized Onion Slice

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Bone-In Rib Eye With Sautéed Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Dinner  tonight was dictated by three factors :
# 1 – I had a big craving for soup.
# 2 – I had a lot of slightly over-ripe, soft tomatoes in my fridge.
# 3 – I was too lazy to prepare anything that kept me in the kitchen more than 15 minutes.
This bisque was the perfect solution. It only took a few minutes to chop the veggies, and once they were on the stove simmering away, all that was left to do until it was time to purée the soup after a couple of hours slowly simmering away, was to cut a few slices of white bread, butter them lightly on both sides, top it with some thin slices of gorgonzola and bake them for a few minutes in a 375F oven until the cheese melted and the underside of the bread was lightly toasted, then remove and let cool to room temperature, sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped Italian parsley. Done !
Total prep time for the soup and croûtons – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Total time from start to finish – about 2,5 hours. (The longer you simmer the soup, the more the tomato-taste intensifies ).
Enough soup for today’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Good Stuff 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for Tomato Bisque Recipe  on  ChefsOpinion
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Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

Tomato Bisque with Gorgonzola Croûton

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Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie


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As  I have mentioned before, I love to prepare my own pizza dough, pie dough, tortillas, fresh pasta, and a myriad of other things which are usually better (although not always) when home made.
On the other hand, sometimes this is just not very practical or sensible, for example at times when there is simply no time or space to do so.
Also, I have cooked just about anything one can cook, mostly? with good results, so I am not embarrassed to sometimes use  good- quality  convenience products, such as the crust I used for this pie. I actually bought it without a plan, just because it looked so delicious and I wanted to find out if it tastes as good and has the great texture it promised when I looked at it on the shelf in my neighborhood grocery store. Well – it did, even much better than I had expected 🙂
I absolutely love it and have used it already twice since I made this pie, once for an onion pie and once as a base for sandwiches.
It is supposed to be used for pizza, but for that, I will stick with my homemade dough for now.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie

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Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie

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