Smoked Ham Broiled Open Sandwich

Sometimes you just need a good sandwich that will hit the spot.

Smoked Ham Broiled Sandwich

Smoked Ham Broiled Sandwich

Feel free to modify/adjust as you like… Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of a good multi-grain bread
  • 1 Slice (1/8″ thick or a bit more) smoked ham (the size of the bread slice you’ll use)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch habanero or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • A pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 Lime
  • 2-4 grape tomatoes slice in half lengthwise, mixed with a bit of slat and black pepper
  • Spicy paste of your choice (I used Green Thai Pepper paste I made) or Tabasco/Cholula etc hot sauce
  • Some coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
  1. In a small bowl mix oil, sugar and all spices.
  2. Cover the both sides of the ham with it
  3. Either sear or pan fry until browned/crisped, just a minute of two.
  4. Lightly toast the bread.
  5. Spread the spicy paste on a few drops of the hot sauce on it.
  6. Spread the avocado on it, squeeze some lime juice on it, a bit salt and a bit of the cilantro.
  7. Place ham on top of the avocado-ed bread and then the tomatoes and cilantro on top of the ham.
  8. Spread some mozzarella over everything, and place in a toaster oven set on broil for a couple of minutes until the cheese starts to brown.

And then just enjoy…. A side of some more cut grape tomatoes with salt, black pepper, lime and olive oil works perfect with it. Oh, I’m getting hungry.

Turkish Salad (Israeli Style) Recipe

Turkish salad (Hebrew: סלט טורקי) is a common condiment in Israeli restaurants. Served side by side with Humus and  Tahini, this is one of my favorite salads.

It seems that there are as many versions of Turkish Salad in Israel as there are people who make them. Never the less, my sister and I always agreed on that one Tel Aviv restaurant that had the best one, we were so disappointed when we found out it was closed.

So what can one do? Make his own!

Turkish Salad

Turkish Salad

This makes a nice amount that will make you smile.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, chopped to 1/4″ pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped to 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • A pinch habanero or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp harisa or 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped

 

  1. Heat oil on medium flame, add onion and garlic (and red bell pepper if used), saute until onion start to become translucent, 4-5 minutes
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, harisa if used and all spices. Saute while mixing from time to time for 5 minutes
  3. Add parsley and cilantro, turn off the flame, mix and let cool down
  4. Enjoy

Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe

To my firstborn, a future restaurateur and chef:

Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe

Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe

Serves 4

  • 1.5-2 lb beef 1″ cubes
  • 15 baby carrots or two big carrots pealed and cut
  • 1 large onion wedged 1″ pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, pealed, 1″ cubes.
  • 1 celery stock, chopped 1/4″ pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 hot peppers finely chopped (Jalapeno, Thai green or any other to your likings and taste)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flower
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Optional 1 cup red wine (Port or any other).
  • Optional two strips of bacon cut to 1/2″ chunks and fried for one minute between step 2 and 3.

 

  1. In a ziplock or any strong bag place flower, salt, black pepper, paprika and sugar, shake, add meat, shake well to evenly cover meat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a big enough pot over high flame.
  3. Add hot pepper and garlic, stir for one minute.
  4. Add meat (keep the leftover flower and spices mix for later). Stir a few times a minute until meat start getting brown and crisp on the outside.
  5. Add potatoes, stir for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add onion, celery and carrots, stir for 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the flower and spices mix that was left.
  8. Add the wine and add water to cover, then add two more cups water. Gently stir.
  9. Bring to a boil, lower flame to medium-low, cover, cook for 1-2 hours.

If the sauce doesn’t look thick enough after an hour or so, continue cooking uncover for half an hour.

* Can be garnished with chopped parsley.

Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Onions side dish Recipe

Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Is cauliflower a real flower? Are Brussels sprouts from Brussels? Do onions also make you sad? They make me happy.
Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts and Onion

Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts and Onion

This doesn’t look the most elegant, but it does taste most excellent. Easy recipe to make.
Serves 4 as a side dish
  • 1/2 cauliflower, broken to gulf ball size pieces
  • 8 Brussels sprouts cut to halves
  • 1 large onion cut to half rings 1/4″ thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 5 oregano leaves
  1. Place oil, spices and sugar in a large bowl, mix
  2. Add the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and toss to cover evenly.
  3. Place in a deep oven pan and bake at 400 deg f for 45 minutes
  4. Mix a bit and place the sage and oregano at the bottom under the cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
  5. Spread the onions on top.
  6.  Bake for additional 30 minutes.
  7. Discard of the sage and oregano, serve.
Can be garnished with chives.

Forgive me consumer for I have sinned

The story is simple. We were in NYC, and needed a restroom stop. Starbucks was just in front of us (try to find a place in the US that you don’t have one in front of you), so we stepped in.

I was waiting and was thirsty, plus I felt that I need to buy something as we were after all using “the facilities”.

I’m not a big fan of Starbucks coffee, to phrase it gently, so I was looking at the cold drinks and saw the Cool Lime Refresher. Sounded good, and I was thirsty, so I ordered the large one, which had an outrageous price tag of $4.45, but I figured that for a good refreshing drink and a brief use of the plumbing I’ll for once bite the bullet and pay the price. Plus tax. And waiting in line.

While waiting between a Grande Latte suit and a Tall Mocha Light Frappuccino brunette I watched the dedicated employee making my Cool Lime Refresher, not expecting a gilded rim and a carbon nanotube straw but at least a drink made of something that looks like it’s worth the money.

Ha. This is what happened next: Into the not-that-huge cup the young-and-restless loyal Starbuckhipster  poured a concentrated liquid out of a carton, added some ice cubes, topped it with, no, not freshly spring water from the melting snow of the Upper Peninsula but with NYC’s own tap water, stirred a bit, threw in a slice of lime to make it look au natural and placed a good plastic lid over it.

I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe some fresh lime juice? Something that looks like an effort to make a real drink for $4.45? Like a virgin cocktail? I guess I’m naive.

But I paid.  So why do I say  forgive me consumer for I have sinned? Because by the act of  me buying that drink for that price I legitimize the price point, so I need to apologize to my fellow consumers for buying a (maybe) $1 drink for $4.45. So I said a few Hail Marys (being an atheist that was born Jewish it might seem a bit strange though) and I promise I’ll never buy it again.

Though we did use the facilities.

MoreBucks

MoreBucks

Patisserie Florentine

Patisserie FlorentinePatisserie Florentine
10 South Dean Street
Englewood, New Jersey 07631

Map     Patisserie Florentine       Facebook      Yelp

It makes me happy to find a place that I enjoy going to, gladly recommend and eager to schlep with me to anyone I can, anytime I can.

My first bite at this place was at a croissant. That by itself is enough to get one addicted to this place. But by far it wasn’t my last bite, nor it is the only thing that will keep you coming.

The baked goods and the food – I get an uncontrollable grin on my face when I’m there. Chef Tomer provides us with a mix of french, Israeli and originality that hits the senses in a perfect way – and makes me smile with joy. There are really so many good things there, and I’m yet to try something that wasn’t excellent. Here’s a sample:

The croissant – so perfect, baked in a few batches during the day to assure freshness (really!) and on such a different class than these industrial crescents you get around here pretending to be a croissant and leaving that terrible margarine feel on your tongue. This one is a perfect  croissant au beurre and has nothing ordinaire ’bout it. You’ll fall in love.

Lava cake. Well, just try it. ‘nough said.

Omelet – choose your two fillings, and enjoy a great omelet with generous surroundings –  an excellent bun, Israeli salad, herbal butter, jam, feta – a beautiful tasty dish.

Almond croissant – covered with almond, filled with the real thing, rich in almonds, butter and sugar (not the almond extract flavored gunk you get in other places), as perfect as you can get.

Waffles – well, actually to be accurate it is  ”Liège Style Waffle” – my daughter couldn’t stop smiling while “working” on these. I risked my life and asked for a bite, and I got the same smile she had. So good. No really. So good!

Coffee. In a word, excellent.

The staff – young, pleasant, smiling and attending staff, including the chef’s wife Amy, all making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

The place and décor – pretty small, cute European style cafe’ setup, perfect for what it is, with a baker’s prep table at the far end where some of the baked goods are being worked on.

To sum up, as you can understand, I’m sold. The place opened just a couple of months ago, but the chefs and staff are providing a place that serves baked goods that will proudly compete with any top notch bakery not only in the US, but pretty much anywhere include France. Excellent food, welcoming staff and in a pleasant environment.

My predication? They’ll need a bigger place soon.

Opine Away rating of Patisserie Florentine:

Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother. “-“ – irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$ (* changed from 5 $ range to match Yelp.)

Style of visit Food Décor Atmosphere Price
Family 8 - 8 $$
Friends 10 10 10 $$
Out of towners 10 10 10 $$
Unmarried 10 10 10 $$
In and out - - - -

The reason for the lower family rating – the staff is extremely friendly to kids, but I do not believe it is great for the average family with young kids (i.e. they will not serve chicken fingers with ketchup).

L.

NeObama

Regardless of political views.

Regardless of political views. NeObama . www.OpineAway.com

Regardless of political views. NeObama . www.OpineAway.com

For more “fun” read:

www.opineaway.com/2008/11/democracy/

www.opineaway.com/2012/11/the-fall-of-the-nation/

www.opineaway.com/2012/12/small-businesses/

www.opineaway.com/category/us/

 

Red Wine and Sage marinated Pork Chops

Half an hour marinating, with onions to grill with the pork.

Serves 4
Port Wine and Sage Marinated Pork Chops

Port Wine and Sage Marinated Pork Chops With Mashed Peas

  • 4 boneless pork chops
Marinade:
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut to thick rings
  • 6-8 big sage leaves, crushed
  • 2-3 oregano leaves, crushed (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sugar in the raw
  • 1/4 tsp mustered powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a 1 gallon ziplock and mix
  2. Add the pork chops, remove air as much as possible and seal ziplock
  3. Let marinate for half an hour, working the chops inside the ziplock every few minutes
  4. Remove onion rings and chops from the bad and discard marinade.
  5. Grill chops and onions on medium-high heat. Chops need about 3 minutes on each side.
Great with mashed potatoes, mashed peas, fries or any side you like.

Mashed Peas De la Broth

I love Irish mashed peas. This recipe is very untraditional but hold its own. Great as a side to pork or meat.

Serves 4
Mashed Peas De la Broth with pomegranate reduction.

Mashed Peas De la Broth accented with pomegranate reduction.

  • 1 16oz pack of frozen peas
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar in the raw
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • A pinch of white pepper
  • A pinch of smoked habanero or Cayenne pepper.
  1. Place all ingredients but the peas in a medium pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  3. Add peas to pot, bring back to a boil and simmer covered for 5 minutes.
  4. take off the stove, let cool for a couple of minutes.
  5. Use a hand blander to mash everything together to a smooth but not pasty consistency.
  6. Simmer covered on the lowest flame settings possible for 5 minutes.

Quick Maple Syrup Marinated Grilled Boneless Short Ribs Strips

 

Excellent with a side or in a salad. Minimal effort and great results.

 

Serves 2

Maple Marinated Grilled Short Ribs

Maple Marinated Grilled Short Ribs

  • 2 Short Ribs Strips 2″  wide (8″-10″ long, 1″-1.5″ thick)
Marinade:
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Lime’s juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar in the raw
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a gallon size ziplock bag and mix.
  2. Place the meat in the ziplock bag, take out as much air as possible and seal it.
  3. Let marinate for 10 minutes while working the meat inside the bag every couple of minutes to “encourage” the marinade to get inside the meat.
  4. Heat the grill to highest setting.
  5. Grill the meat on high for 3-4 minute each side. Discard the ziplock with marinade.
  6. Let the meat stand off the grill for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Slice the meat to 1/4″ thick slices.
  8. Enjoy.
When serving, pour the juice that came out from the meat when cutting it over the sliced pieces and/or mashed if served together.