Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Queijo Fresco

Portuguese Homemade White Cheese


  • 12 cups/3 quarts of Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Rennet of 2 tablets
  • Round forms

Fill a 3 quart pot or larger with 12 cups of whole milk. Set flame on low. You do not want this to boil. You only want the milk to get to a lukewarm temperature. The way I was taught to test is old school. Stick your clean fingers in to see if it's getting warm. 

Add 1 teaspoon of rennet or your tablets to your milk before it gets warm and mix slowly once. Also add 1 teaspoon of salt. 

These are the forms we use. Made from pvc pipes w tiny holes drilled into them. They are 4 inches in diameter. I like to use the smaller ones which are 2.5 inches high. It's quicker to drain water from the cheese. 

Once you have tested the milk and it's lukewarm. Take it off the heat!
The milk will begin to solidify and you will start to see water come to sides of pot. 

I make a cross with a knife in the center to let more water come up to surface. 
Let sit for 5 minutes. 

Next bring your pot next to sink and spoon out as much water as possible.

Now with a steel mesh skimmer or large spoon is fine, spoon out cheese over a mesh strainer that's over a large bowl to catch the water. 

Not everyone does this extra step. If you like your cheese more wet, skip this step. It's up to you. 

Now set the forms on a flat dish near the sink. Spoon out cheese from the strainer into the forms. I press a piece of paper towel onto the water coming out the bottom of forms and let it hang over the sink to make a sort of drain. 

Also put a paper towel on top of cheese. 
Water will continue to seep out of holes. From time to time strain the water with a tablespoon. Let sit for at least 12 hours. You should have fresh cheese by the next morning for breakfast. 

Spread on bread and enjoy with café or chá. 

Hope you try to make fresh cheese yourself at home. It's very simple :) 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sopa Do Espirito Santo

I was just going to post this recipe, with no background of exactly why we do it, but then it started to intrigue me of exactly WHY and HOW this came about.  If you've ever been to the Festa Do Espirito Santo, you know it envolves the Holy Ghost, a crown, and a parade, a child being crowned, but why??  Here it is.  At the end you'll find the recipe for the "Sopas" that are served during this time.

(Picture from the Fall River Festa 2012)

Azoreans believe that the Holy Ghost is a separate deity; they consider him to be a powerful and vindictive male with a decidedly human personality and specific likes and dislikes.  A dove with outstretched wings on top of a silver crown and a silver scepter symbolize the Holy Ghost to the people of the Azores.

The legend of the Festa Do Espirito Santo dates back to Queen Isabela of Portugal, who reigned between 1295 and 1322. Queen Isabela was bothered by the many poor and hungry people of her country, and she pleaded with the Holy Ghost to help her starving people.  She promised to sell her jewels and crown if He could help. Within days suddenly two ships appeared in a Portuguese harbor. Neither of the ships had any humans on it. The only contents were cattle on one ship and grain on the other. These ships were thought to be a miracle sent from the Holy Ghost in answer to Queen Isabela’s pleas. With this supply of cattle and grain, a large meal of meat and bread was prepared and a banquet served to the poor. 

From that date forward, an annual banquet for the poor was given in the same manner as the first. Queen Isabela continued to offer this yearly ceremony as a thanksgiving to the Holy Ghost for the peace bestowed within Portugal and for the health of the Portuguese people. The event continues to be observed and celebrated in almost the same fashion today as Queen Isabela celebrated it. Though today the holiday is not widely celebrated in continental Portugal, the festivities have spread to Bermuda, Canada, the United States, and Brazil, and still flourish in the Azores. 

Today, the Feast of the Holy Ghost occurs in the eight weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. The celebration is managed by the Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo, or the Brotherhood, who are responsible for caring for the Holy Ghost House and all the paraphernalia of the ritual during the year as well as sponsoring the festival itself. 

The Holy Ghost House is called the Império. These elaborately painted one-room buildings are divided into three parts by the placement of the door and two windows. Though they are permanent structures, Império’s are opened and used only once a year for the festival celebration. The first part of the festival, função, occurs in the private homes of members of the Brotherhood. The previous year, the names of seven members would have been selected in a lottery. Starting at Easter, each person selected takes the crown and scepter with the dove as well as other ritual goods for one week. A banner of the Holy Ghost with fresh flowers placed in front of the home marks it as a ritual space and signifies that the Holy Ghost is there. The crown is installed on an altar decorated with flowers and candles. 

During this time, anyone may enter the house to worship, and each day of the week people gather to recite the rosary. This part of the celebration represents the payment of a personal promise to the Holy Ghost. During this week, the person who was selected to sponsor the crown must offer food and gifts to all those who come to worship. At the end of the week, the ceremony moves on to the next house according to the order which the lottery had dictated. The Crown circulates from house to house until each of the seven people chosen have hosted the Crown for one week and kept their personal promise to the Holy Ghost. For the final week, the festival moves to the Império where the larger public holiday happens. During the week, people bring gifts to put at the altar where the crown has been placed. Traditional gifts of sweet bread, fruit, cakes and live animals are left at the altar as well as a variety of other things. 

The main part of the festival occurs on Trinity Sunday. The morning begins with a formal procession, from the Império to the church to attend Mass. There a child who symbolically crowned as Emperor before they head back to the Império. Then they partake in festa, the ceremonial distribution of meat, wine, and bread to the "poor". The meal is followed by an auction where all the food and gifts donated throughout the week are sold. All the money raised is given to charity and to the poor. After the auction, a lottery is drawn to decide who will host the Crown the following year. 

The ritualistic eight weeks of the holiday involve a tremendous amount of gift giving and food. The celebration, which has survived for many centuries, expresses the people’s desire for charity, devotion, reciprocity, cooperation, and competition.

Sopa Do Espirito Santo

3 beef shanks
3 pork shanks
2 sticks of chourico
1 head of cabbage cut in quarters
6 whole potatoes peeled
Day old bread

Take a large stock pot add meat.  Cover with water and let it boil for an hour, at least.  Then add the potatoes and cabbage.  Cook for about 30 min. or until the potatoes are cooked.  Remove meat, potatoes and cabbage and place on a serving platter on the side.  Then break the bread into chucks into a LARGE serving bowl.  Place mint leaves over the top of the bread.  Then you take the broth and pour over the bread.  Let the bread soak for a minute and it is ready to serve.

Serve the meat and potatoes after the "sopa".

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Why wait till the feast to eat some sardines. Bring the feast to you! Just don't forget to apologize to the neighbors. As soon as these babies start to sizzle on the charcoal grill, you hear windows slam shut. Sorry! Sardines can not be cooked on anything else but a charcoal grill. We buy them at our local Portuguese grocery store in a frozen bag for $5 each. Nine come in a bag. Two bags is plenty for 4 people. Serve with pop secos and a cold drink and you are good to go. While it's on the grill throw some course sea salt on them. If charcoal starts to flame put it out with a little water. We keep a water bottle handy to squirt when we see a flame. You don't want the fire, you want the smokey flavor. They are a little tricky to eat because of the bones, but so worth it. My American husband loves them, so they are not just for Mediterraneans.

We cooked ours in a this fire pit for lunch today :) 

Hope you get to enjoy some sardinhas this summer. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013


This recipe comes from my mother in law. Ilda unexpectedly passed away last year, right before Easter. One of our favorite memories was of her making her sweet bread in the kitchen. We thought the recipe for the world's best sweet bread (no joke!) was gone forever. 
While sifting through her stuff, we found an old address book. We quickly skimmed it and got to the last page of the book, and there it was. The Holy Grail-the recipe. 
With the help of my mother we tackle this now on the anniversary of her passing and on Easter. It's like she's watching and making sure it's coming out currently. We even use her old sweet bread pans. It comes out correct every time. 
Thanks for always looking out Ilda. And now, I'm sharing it with you. 

 Massa da Ilda

5 lbs of flour (if you can get either 5 roses or Santa Isabela, if you can’t find, you can use Pillsbury or King Arthur) 
12 eggs
5 cups of milk 
5 cups of sugar
3 packets of rapid yeast 
2 bars of butter
3 tablespoons of Crisco 
3 lemon rinds 
1 tablespoon of salt 

Put your yeast in a bowl with a tablespoon of sugar and 2/3 a cup of warm water. Mix until dissolved and set aside. 
While you wait for the yeast to rise beat the eggs with the sugar. 
Boil your milk with your lemon rinds, butter and crisco. When the milk boils take off the heat and put it in a ice bath (the pot) until it’s cooled enough to work with but not cold. 
Put your flour in a LARGE (and I mean it) bowl start mixing the milk mixture, sugar mixture and yeast a little at a time. Slowly incorporating it all together. 
Keep kneading. Knead until everything is well mixed. Fold your dough from top to bottom, then left to right, and right to left, then bottom to top…creating a square. Then do it again from the corners you have created. Put some flour on top (just a little) and dish towel on top of it. Place in a warm location and cover with a thick blanket. 
After one hour, take it out and do the folding technique again. Let sit until it doubles in size. Will rise from the top of the bowl, that is totally normal. Once completely down in the large bowl put it in smaller pans that you will be cooking them in. SPRAY THE SIDE OR IT WILL STICK!

 Once you have separated the dough out, cover again, and let them double in size, or fill the pans, again. Once done. Create a slit on the top and egg wash as you put them in the oven. Cook at 300 degrees for 40 min and check it. If it need more time, that’s fine. All ovens are different.

Please enjoy, and say a prayer from Senhora Ilda before you start, it's the extra love that you need :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Peixe Caldeirada

TGIF Amigos!
In the Azorean culture we eat lots of seafood. Think of all the fresh fish that was accessible to them living on the islands. Mediterranean diets are full of heart healthy fats. Growing up we ate all kinds of fish, cooked all kinds of ways. When I ask my mother what she put in a certain dish it's typically always the same ingredients: cebola, alho, azeite e vinho. The only question I need to ask next time is "how" did you cook it?

The dish I'm sharing with you tonight is called Peixe Caldeirada. Same ingredients as piexe assada no forno, but with different cooking methods the flavors come out so different. It's kinda dangerous how good it is. You can eat up 3 pop secos soaking up the juice and not even know it. Here's my families Peixe Caldeirada recipe. Your family might cut the potatoes different, but this is how we do ours :)

Peixe Caldeirada 

2 medium onions sliced thin 
8 garlic cloves chopped or grated 
8 medium potatoes sliced thin 
1 bunch salsa chopped (that's parsley not what you dip chips in) 
1 bay leaf 
1/4 cup white wine (will make potatoes hard if you add in the beginning. wait till half way in cooking process) 1/2 cup good olive oil
Fish - We like to use tile, mackerel or red snapper. Use Whole fish or very thick steaks
8 tomatoes sliced thick half teaspoon paprika salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel potatoes and slice thin, layering them on bottom of large dutch oven or pot. 
2. Slice tomatoes thick and layer over potatoes. 
3. Slice onions thin and layer over the tomatoes into rings. Important to have onions and tomatoes on top of potatoes so the juices can run down and cook potatoes thoroughly.
4. Go ahead and add a quarter of your grated garlic over the onions.
5. Season cavity of fish with s+p, fresh grated garlic and parsley. 
6. Place the fish on top of your potato, tomato and onion layer.
7. Continue making another layer on top of fish with potato, tomato,and onion the same way.
8. Sprinkle parsley over.
9. Add bay leaf inside so you can't see it.
10. sprinkle paprika over . 
11. Drizzle good olive oil all over 
12. Cover and cook on low for 45 minutes to an hour. You want to cook this low and slow so all the flavors are absorbed well into the fish.
13. Half way through taste to see if it needs more salt. Add your white wine now as well. 
14. Sprinkle rest of parsley before serving.  
Please serve with Portuguese rolls to soak up all that juice.

first layer of potatoes 

next layer onions

then layer tomatoes

Next Fish and parsley 

Add your top layer of potatoes, tomatoes and onions and drizzle olive oil

Cover and simmer low for 45 minutes to an hour

Hope you enjoy it!  Please share if you do, we would love to see your stories and pictures!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Patty's Favorite

It's hard to just pick one favorite recipe, but I guess if I had to pick one that is an actual meal, it would be Galinha A Moçambique. Mozambique is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest,Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. The capital city is Maputo. The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal from 1505. Mozambique became independent in 1975, and became the People's Republic of Mozambique shortly thereafter. The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese. Portuguese food was influenced by their culture and vice versa, hence where this recipe meets in the middle. A spicy little meal that will leave you full and reaching for your water! This is also made quite often with shrimp instead of chicken. (Although if you make it with shrimp instead, I suggest using wine-Casal Garcia-in place of the beer)

Galinha A Moçambique

24 ounces of chicken 
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbs. garlic chopped 
4 Tbs. butter, no substitutions 
2 packages Sazò n Goya-Con Azafrá (found in the international section of local supermarkets, it's the one with the fish on it) 
16 ounce beer (DUH!  Use Sagres!)
3 ounces hot sauce (I suggest Goncalves brand)
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish 

In a medium-sized pan, sauté chicken in two tablespoons of butter until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. 
Sauté onions and garlic with remaining two tablespoons of butter. Be careful not to allow the garlic to burn, as it will become very bitter.
Deglaze the pan with the beer, and return the chicken to the pan. Add hot sauce and simmer for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add remaining ingredients, and simmer an additional minute. Serve over rice, pasta, or anything you like. We like ours with french fries and rice. Garnish with parsley and lemon if desired.

Let us know if you try it out and how you enjoyed it :)

Steph's Favorite

Hello my foodie friends :) 

I have so many favorite Azorean dishes, but if I had to pick one. It would be my family staple Sopa de Feijão com Couves. Translated it's Bean Soup with Greens. Soup was always an option. Traditionally that's how Azoreans ate most of their vegetables. At moms If there isn't soup on the stove, it's in the fridge. At my house I try to make soup at least twice a week. You feel better after having a bowl, even if you were feeling fine :P  It's comfort food at it's best. Here is the recipe. 

Sopa de Feijão com Couves

1 bunch 1½ lb fresh collard greens (washed, trimmed of center rib and torn into 1-2 inch pieces)
1 small onion finely chopped
3 potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
¼ cup of pasta such as elbow macaroni
1 half link of Portuguese chourico and piece of pork fat for flavor
8 cups of water
¼ cup of olive oil
3 gloves of garlic, (peeled and crushed)
2 cans Red or White Kidney beans (IMPORTANT STEP - mash 1 can of beans for thicker broth. I use immersion blender)

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Place large pot over medium heat. Add whole or sliced Chourico, pork, onion with olive oil and sauté for 10 minutes. Add garlic last, you don’t want it to burn. Meat doesn’t need to cook, just release flavors. Then add just enough water to cover Chourico and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes to bring out flavors into the water to make a flavorful broth.
Prepare the greens by washing them thoroughly and tearing the leafy portions from the steams. Tear into bite size pieces into a colander to rinse. Discard stems.
Add the rest of the 8 cups of water to pot.
Add the collard greens. Cook on Medium heat for 30 minutes.
Now add diced potatoes. Continue to cook on same heat for another 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes test the collards. They shouldn't have a bite to them. They should be soft.
Add beans (half smashed) and pasta.  Mix thoroughly. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked making sure they don’t over cook as they will soften in the hot soup.

Serve with pop seco (Portuguese rolls)

In my home we omit the meat and pasta. Still tastey! Try and it out and let me know what you think


Welcome to our new blog!

We decided to document recipes from our parents' homeland because we found a real lacking market for these.  Nothing they did was ever written so we are struggling with our immigrant parents to 'start measuring' so that we can pass the recipes down to our own families some day.  By putting this blog together, it also helps us get the recipes to other Azorean families who struggle with the same dilemma If you ask an Azorean how to make anything, usually the answer is "a little of this" "some of this, but you can use this, this, or this" or you just get the end of the recipe and they forgot to tell you to add in onions!  It's always been a struggle to get the recipe right, so we decided it was time to finally get it down somewhere.

Our names are Patty and Steph, Patty's dad and Steph's mom are siblings.  We both grew up with nothing but "Portuguese Cooking".  We put it in quotes, because it wasn't until later in life when we both were out on our own that we realized, it's not Portuguese, it's AZOREAN!  The styles, while very similar, are also quite different.  We both have ordered countless Portuguese cookbooks, and they were all still wrong.  It wasn't the same food, the same taste, the same anything at all!  We were both on a mission to make Azorean cooking a staple with our own families, but struggled with getting it "just like mom" because how can you, when you don't know how much garlic is "um pouco" or how much wine is "bastante".

We invite you on our journey that I'm sure will be a struggle, but I'm also sure it will be hilarious. We'll give tips from our moms, (who are both named Fatima, just make it a little more confusing for you), try new recipes, share our favorites, and more!

Adeus queridas caras!