texture

Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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Pork knuckles have many fans and admirers around the world, yet, despite so many folks loving to eat them in restaurants (especially German restaurants or, if the opportunity presents itself, at the most famous “Knucklefest” of them all, Munich’s Oktoberfest 🙂 , very few people prepare them at home, especially in the US.
I assume the reason for this reservation is the fear of doing something wrong when preparing a rather underused and underappreciated part of the animal with which most cooks have never cooked.
While it can be daunting if one does not know how to do it right and there is a lack of proper guidance and hands-on experience, the following recipe it is nearly impossible to screw it up, therefore I hope it will serve to have more folks preparing this wonderful dish at home.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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Schweinehaxe (Pork Knuckle)

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before roasting……..

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during roasting……..

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after roasting……….

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Preparation :
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Calamares Al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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This was such a down to earth, yet wonderfully delicious meal. Well-prepared rice and beans are something I enjoy at least twice a week. But not just the simple black beans and white rice common here in the Caribbean, South America and South Florida, but many, many combinations of different rice and different beans (or peas)
Add a simple protein, such as steak, schnitzel, roast pork, braised pork, fish, seafood, sausages, eggs or other veggies and you have a meal fit for a (Latin) king 🙂
As for the rice and beans, there are the same endless possibilities of variations – curry rice and fried chickpeas, white rice and black eye beans, risi e bisi, curried chickpeas with wild rice, succotash and white rice, rice porridge (congee) with beans or peas, sautéed rice patties with hummus, etc, etc. Just make sure you season these dishes to be fragrant with fresh herbs, chilies, cumin, garlic, a bit of soy sauce and/or Maggi seasoning. If left bland, rice and beans are a sorry excuse for a multicultural/multinational staple, but when properly prepared, they will be exciting and satisfying 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Mexican Rice  Recipe
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Click here for  Black Beans  Recipe
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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Calamares al Ajillo, Arroz Mexicana Y Frijoles Negro

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Arroz Mexicana

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Frijoles Negro

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Preparation :
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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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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 :
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Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions

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Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions

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When I have leftovers (meat, seafood, pasta, rice, veggies) in the fridge, rather than just reheat it the next day and have the same dish again, I prefer to create a new, different dish with it.
Therefore, the  braised veal breast  from the other day became today’s spectacular, highly satisfying “Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions”.
Although I used the same meat, it was a completely new dish which, taste-wise and in texture, did not at all remind me of the previous meal it provided me with.
This sandwich was so delicious, I almost padded my own proud and happy shoulder when I ate it.  🙂
While I was writing this, it just came to my mind that this sandwich satisfies a wide range of flavors – sour from the onions, spicy from the chilies, salty from radishes and umami from the veal – marvelous ! 🙂

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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Click here for more  Veal  on  ChefsOpinion

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Click here for  Pickled Onions (Cebolla En Escabeche)  on  ChefsOpinion

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Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions

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Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions

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Toasted Focaccia Sandwich With Veal & Pickled Onions

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cut sandwich into pieces, serve with salted radishes

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add a generous amount of pickled onions, chopped cilantro and pickled peppers/chilies of your choice

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Preparation :
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Black beans, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs and loads of cilantro – what would serve better as proper condiments than salsa verde and salsa Mexicana ? 🙂
Ever since I have discovered authentic tasting salsa verde and salsa Mexicana at my neighborhood international food market, I have them in my larder and fridge at all times, using it to enhance breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes of all types – eggs, seafood, meat, pasta, rice, vegetables, etc, etc. Together with chili paste of all levels of hotness, Maggi seasoning and soy sauce, these are the condiments/seasonings  without almost none of my meals are complete. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Frittata (Kind Of………..)

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Preparation :
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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Some of my favorite dishes are the ones that come together without set ingredients, without planning and without recipes.
I just go to the fridge and/or cupboard, look what’s available and what needs to be used, and just throw together what I think will fit and taste delicious. Such was the case with this soup. I had some krakauer sausage, leftover cooked broccoli, leftover cooked cauliflower and leftover fresh leek from previous dishes, and of course there are always onions in the cupboard and at least 2 or 3 types of cheese in the fridge. Throw it all together and in a few short minutes – a dish as good as can be 🙂  Life is Good !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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transfer to soup bowl or soup plate, sprinkle ea bowl with 1/2 tblsp grated asiago and drizzle with 1 tblsp EVO

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Perfection In A Bowl – Leftover Veggies Soup

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Preparation :
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Salad Of Cracked Pepper -Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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The success of this dish hinges entirely on the proper preparation of the liver nuggets. They must be crisp on the outside, medium-rare to medium (depending on your preference) on the inside and spicy but not mouthburningly so.
Seem’s easy enough, as long as you know how to handle VERY HOT fat.
If the temperature is not right, the nuggets will get well-done before they are crisp, resulting in a rubbery, dry and even tough protein. But when done right, they are truly wonderful. The result is a great dish that belies its humble ingredients.
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P.S.
If you can procure duck livers to replace the chicken livers, they will lift this dish from merely wonderful to absolute divine 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Salad Of Cracked Pepper-Dusted Chicken Liver Nuggets, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, Romaine, Mild Chillies And Red Onions

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Preparation :
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“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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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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I am a big fan of chocolate mousse, but usually it is served a bit too sweet for my taste. On the other hand, the mousse featured on this page is quicker and easier to make than the more traditional French version, while every bit as delicious – serious lovers of dark chocolate may find themselves liking it even more (I sure do). 🙂
The tart yogurt and total absence of cream and eggs let the fruity side of good dark chocolate really break free, for a bright and tangy mousse that won’t make you want to crawl into bed after a few spoonfuls.
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Greek Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse Recipe :
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Ingredients:
6 oz good-quality dark chocolate with 70% cacao, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tblsp Grand Marnier
cup whole Greek yogurt
2 tblsp orange marmalade
1 tblsp organic honey
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Method:
Place the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until you have a smooth ganache.
In a small bowl, beat the Greek yogurt with a small whisk or a fork until smooth.
Fold the yogurt into the chocolate mixture using a spatula until thoroughly combined, then stir in the honey, Grand Marnier, marmalade and 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds.
Spoon the mousse into four small or three slightly larger serving cups and chill until firm,covered with plastic wrap.
To serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with topping of your choice, such as fresh fruits and/or nuts. Serves 3-4.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Yogurt/Chocolate Mousse

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Easy Does It # 36 – Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Dear  Friend’s,
Although most of the followers of ChefsOpinion are culinary professionals who visit here and are subscribed via LinkedIn, there is also a large segment of direct subscribers via wordpress who are just starting to enjoy cooking on a basic or slightly higher than basic level.
I have therefore decided to publish, under the moniker “Easy Does It“,  from time to time some very basic recipe variations of dishes (and even partially pre-cooked dishes) which otherwise might seem too complicated to some beginners.
I will break them down to the easiest, most simple instructions, so that those of you who are intimidated by elaborate recipes will be able to prepare these dishes properly, adjusted to your taste and liking, right from the get-go.
After all, just because you are not (yet ?) a professional chef should not prevent you from enjoying great food at home. 🙂
Enjoy !

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The header of this post could also be  “One For The Kid’s” – Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries,  because most kid’s with a knack to help in the kitchen could do this delicious pie all by themself, especially with a pre-baked orio crust as I have used here (or with any pre-baked pie crust for that matter).  🙂
Although as simple and easy to prepare as can be, the flavor of this pie is exquisite, not too sweet and a bit tart at the same time, and the yogurt filling is as light, smooth and creamy as no other.
Very special indeed.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
See the full recipe at the bottom of this page…..
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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries

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Preparation :
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Oreo And Yogurt Pie With Honey & Fresh Berries Recipe :
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Crust
Store-bought orio crust
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Filling
3 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2cups full fat Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk, whisked with a tiny pinch of salt
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Garnish
Honey, to taste
Whipped cream
Berries or other fruit of your choice
Chocolate powder to dust
Castor sugar to dust
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Prep
First – whisk the eggs and vanilla.
Then – whisk in the yogurt.
Brush the bottom of the crust thinly with a beaten egg yolk (moisture-proofing)
Bake the crust 3 minutes ( setting the egg for moisture proofing)
Add the filling to the crust
Place the pie into a pre-heated 375F oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges, but, when the pan is nudged, still quivers like soft Jell-O in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.
Check often in the last few minutes, as over-baking will destroy the silky-smooth texture of the filling.
Cool the tart on a rack.
Garnish as pictured or use your own imagination and/or personal preference 😊

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Cork Screw Pasta With Chicken And Vegetables In Curried Coconut Cream

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Leftover pasta. What to do with it ?
Usually, most folks just pop it in the microwave with a bit of sauce (or ketchup?? ) 🙂
Or maybe cook it up in a pan with some eggs ?
How about doing this easy, sexy beauty next time !
I had some left over pasta and roast chicken in the fridge from the previous day, and of course there is always some type of veggie in the fridge and coconut cream in the larder, so this wonderful tasty and pretty dish basically crawled together by itself 🙂
It took a mere few minutes to prepare and was truly delicious and satisfying. Definitely better than “microwaved leftover pasta with ketchup” ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Cork Screw Pasta With Chicken And Vegetables In Curried Coconut Cream

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

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