Caldo Verde


Today is a day that I really need some comfort food. Whenever it’s cloudy, rainy or cold I think of my mom’s soups. My mom has so many soups that I am learning to make, one of them is Caldo Verde, but the chorizo is optional. I like making the vegetarian version as well.  Here’s the recipe, and enjoy !

Extra equipment: a hand blender.

Ingredients: (Yields 5 – 6 persons)
1 1/2 cups of thin shredded Collards or Kale
1/2 medium onion
1 tablespoon of light olive oil
2 Litre pot and fill 3/4 of the pot with water
1 1/2 cubes of chicken  or vegetable bullion
1 tbsp. of parsley
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of pepper
Chorizo sliced (optional, vegetarian style without the meat)
3 large-sized white potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/8 sized pieces.
1 tsp of Garlic powder to taste. & or pimento red pepper paste (1 tsp)

The Method:

1) I fill 3/4 of  the pot to about with water, add my potatoes and 1/2 onion cut in a few pieces, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let it boil at medium heat.

2) About 20 min. later add your bullion and let it dissolve, add your salt, pepper.

3) Turn the stove off. Let it cool about 5 minutes or so.

4)Then with your handblender, blend the potatoes with the broth, until you have a cream of potato consistency, it will be a smooth-thickness consistency.

5)At this point add your thick sliced collard or kale, and some parsley, and a few pieces of sliced fried Chorizo, begin cooking again on low heat for additional 10 to 12 minutes.

6)When the collard have  softened turn the oven element off. Take a taste test after the soup has simmered down, and add your garlic powder or additional black pepper  or pimento paste to taste.   

Really simple soup dish and so healthy for you.  I eat it with a piece of baguette bread or any good European style bread, with a side of sliced tomatoes  for afterwards. For me, it’s a meal in itself.

Let me know what you think and drop me a comment, thanks.

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Sliced Tomato plate


Here a simple vegetable side dish you can serve on the table with your main meal or even on its own with some fresh popsecos (Portuguese buns).

Fresh beef steak or any type of tomato, I prefer straight from my garden.

Dressing:

1/4 cup of fresh virgin olive oil
1 tsp. bits of fresh dried Rosemary
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. of  white or red vinegar
1  pinch of cumin
1 tbsp. of cut up parsley
1 lemon wedge
1 tsp of red pimento sauce
pinch of sugar (optional)

Add all the dressing ingredients and stir it with a fork.

Pour over your sliced tomatoes. You can also add sliced cucumbers, and I also add fennel and celery as well.

Great sides are the perfect accessories to the picture perfect meal. Enjoy !

Mannie Dasilva

http://www.portuguesecook.com

Octopus Stew


Hello again, 

Here’s the Portuguese Octopus Stew recipe illustrated on the Portuguese Cook’s Octopus Stew part 1. It’s a 2 part short video clips on this wonderful traditional recipe illustrating the use of white and red wine. Normally I like to link my recipes with a preliminary story, but the video below says it all for now.  So without further ado, here’s the recipe: 

INGREDIENTS: (Yields 3- 4 persons) 
Cooking time 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 
1 med. Octopus (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs)
3 – 4 tbsp. Olive Oil 
1/2 of medium onion, diced. 
2 – 3 Cloves of Garlic 
1 tbsp. of tomato paste (diluted with some water)
1 tbsp. of Red pepper paste 
1 tbsp. of red Pimento sauce (sweet) 
1 full wine glass or 3/4 cups of red wine or white wine (darker stew is with red wine)
1 sm. pinch of parsley (optional) towards the end.
1 bay leaf 
1 tsp of Cumin 
pinch of salt, and sm. pinch of black pepper 
1 1/2 cups of water ( and additional 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water during cooking process) 
( 2 to 3 potatoes. cut in quarters) 
The method : 

1) Wash the Octopus and cut in bit size pieces, set to the side. 
2) Saute the diced onions and sliced garlic cloves with the olive oil in a deep medium pot. 
3) Add your Octopus pieces. 
4) Add your 1 1/2 cups of water, glass of red wine, tomato paste, red pepper paste, red 
Pimento paste (sweet), the Bay leaf, 1 tsp. of cumin, pinch of black pepper. 
5)Put it at medium low heat for the first hour of cooking. (Check on the cooking process to see that it’s slowly boiling, not too feverishly) 
6)Second half of the cooking, add more water, about another 3/4 to 1 cup water. 
7)Add your 2 or 3 white potatoes cut in quarters and some diced parsley (about a hand full) ( Let it cook at medium heat for about 1/2 hr to 45 min. more ) 
8)Lower the heat to med. low, until the water lowers down to a runny gravy like texture. 

Great sides are Portuguese white or yellow corn flour bread.

Enjoy and Cheers !!! 

Portuguese Style Corn Bread


Portuguese seafood, meat and soup dishes tastes so much better with a good piece of bread. My favourite one is Portuguese Style  corn bread, the perfect complement. Although this bread is made in various European households, I grew up with this bread in my household all the time, but it was made at home, not bought at the bakery. 

When I was a little girl of about 5 or 6, I remember watching my Dad in the kitchen,  rolling the dough into the size of a  cantaloupe. He would be so involved in the process, unaware of his surroundings as if he was pouring his soul into the bread. It is really remarkable to watch someone really enjoy making bread. He must have been thinking about his life back home in Portugal or  the  anticipation of eating his creation;  perhaps reminiscing about his mom making the same bread and watching in the same appreciation as I did. 

Nobody can make this simple, tasty bread better than my dad….until now. Time to hand over the tradition Pai,  (Dad in Portuguese), your daughter will carry it  to the next generation.   The only downfall is that this bread doesn’t keep long,  2 days max, and for a somewhat  frugal cook,   I’ve got to love it to go the extra mile and make it. Yet it is so  easy to make, for busy people it’s definitely a weekend baking treat.

It is a staple in my home now, even though my kids eat bits at a time. Given the right dish,  like shrimp in a wine sauce (one of my  future posts)  they would dip the plates clean.  

May you enjoy this favourite of mine. Cheers ! 

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups corn flour + 1 tbsp. extra for dusting baking pan
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1  to 1 1/2 tablespoons of  sea  salt  or  (if you want to cut down of salt do 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2  cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup of white flour or hand full of white wheat flour
  • optional tiny bits of dried Rosemary herbs

 

The Method:

1) Pour 2 cups of corn flour,  pepper and salt, dash of garlic powder, sugar (and 1 tsp. of  dried Rosemary herb optional)  in large mixing bowl.  Add 1  1/2 cup  of hot boiling water and stir with wood spoon until thick and well mixed. Consistency should be thick with minimal lumps.   Let the dough cool about 20 minutes at room temperature; or outside with a towel covering it; or in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.

2) In the mean time, prepare the baking surface with the extra flour dust on a rectangular or round baking pan. Preheat the oven to the highest heat, mine goes to about 550 degrees farenheit, and that’s where I set it.

3)  Now roll your sleeves on this part and of course clean hands.  Take bowl out of fridge and add the  1/2 cup of white bread flour into dough and blend with your hands. It will be sticky, but the goal is to   knead on a floured surface, and not make it sticky. Roll  into a nice ball like the shape of a cantaloupe. Then Flatten the dough to the shape of a medium oval pizza shape, with the thickness to be about an inch to inch and 1/2 .

4) If you have a large flat spatula,  carefully slide it under to scoop the rolled out dough on the flour dusted  baking pan and place it on the baking pan carefully.   

5) Bake until bread is deep golden  brown on top, usually about 1/2 hour to 40 min., but have the light open in the oven so you can spot check after 20 minutes to see how it’s doing. Once its a nice light golden brown, remove from oven. Wait about a minute or two and wrap with a clean tea towel so that it keeps it’s moisture and won’t go dry on you.

6) Serve it warm or at room temperature, it can be baked 1 day ahead, although I find it best the same day that you cook your main dish. (Keeps for about 1 or 2 days in a sealed bag)

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