Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bifes a Minha Maneira

There are so many variations to this recipe, that it's hard to get one that is "restaurant style".  Many homes just wing it, with whatever they have at home, and to be honest, there is no right or wrong way to make this. There is a certain restaurant here in Fall River, that seems to be the "McDonalds" of bifes.  You walk in, order, and in 5 minutes it's at your plate and it's delicious.  Well trying to get that flavor hasn't been easy.  This is REALLY close.  And it's amazing.  You can serve with Rice and Fries like restaurants do, I just did fries because I was too concentrated on getting it right ;)

Bifes a Minha Maneira
Serves two
2 8-ounce strip or rib-eye steaks
2 or more large slices of sweet red pepper pickled
6 cloves of garlic, halved
2 Bay leaves
Red, crushed pepper
1 cup white wine
Olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
2 eggs

Let steak reach room temperature and salt and pepper both sides. 
Let sit a minute or two to tenderize the meat. Rub vinegar on steak and wait another minute.  
Pour olive oil into a skillet and when hot place both steaks in pan. 
Add garlic cloves, being careful not to burn them!
add the red crushed pepper and a bay leaf on each steak.  Take a teaspoon and rub the pepper right onto the steak itself.
Meanwhile, fry eggs in a separate skillet over easy and set aside. 
To steaks, add more olive oil as needed to cook the garlic. Add wine and deglaze the pan once steaks are almost done.
Stir sauce around in pan. Reduce the sauce to the desired consistency, adding more wine if needed. 
The sauce should be bubbling. Serve steak topped with sauce, peppers and fried egg. 

Please let us know how this comes out for you!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pimenta Moida

This is a staple in any Azorean home.  The "pimenta moida" is used more in the Azores and the North eastern part of the United States because the peppers grow here.  Shepherd peppers is what is normally used.  This is a LARGE recipe, because this is how it's made-At the time of harvest, with all the peppers you can.  This will last you all year.  It has pretty much become a staple in Azorean dishes, and is usually the 'base' of a dish.

Making this is usually a family affair.  All armed with gloves and knives, the whole family joins in.

"Shepherd peppers"

Pimenta Moida
10 lbs of shepherd peppers
salt ( You will need 2-3 large containers) 

Clean out seeds and ribs from peppers. Cut into strips and place in food processor until ground finely. Place paste into a large plastic bucket. 
Add salt every few hours until there is no fizzing. Ensure that fermentation has ended.  The amount of salt also varies on your own taste.  Please remember when using Pimenta Moida to TASTE your food for salt before adding any.
Now jar and enjoy!!! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

A mulher do Capote

This cape has always intrigued me.  I never understood it and was dying to know more.  So off to research I went.  Here's what I uncovered.

I'm sure most of you have seen these are your Azorean relatives homes:

The liquor bottles designed to represent the capote e capelo.
I always thought they were so funny looking, but it was a tradition, and I never thought twice about it.  Until now.... (side note: these bottles are selling for HUNDREDS of dollars on Ebay.  Who would have thought?)

"A large cape that covered a woman's figure, allowing only a glimpse of her face, the origin of the “capote-e-capelo” is controversial. Some say that it came from Flanders and others state that it is an adaptation of mantles and cowls that were fashionable in Portugal in the 17th and 18th centuries. Regardless, for centuries the “capote-e-capelo” was a typically Azorean woman's garment used in Faial. Varying from island to island in the cut of the cape and the arrangement of the cowl, Faial had the extravagant shape of a wedge resting on the shoulders and which jutted out in front for over a palm. The common characteristic of the “capote-e-capelo” was that it was made of a strong, heavy electric-blue cloth that lasted for generations and was handed down from mothers to daughters. The women of the Azores stopped wearing the “capote-e-capelo” around the 1930's. "

There is a description of the Azorean capote in chapter V of Mark Twain’s “The innocents Abroad”
"Here and there in the doorways we saw women with fashionable Portuguese hoods on. This hood is of thick blue cloth, attached to a cloak of the same stuff, and is a marvel of ugliness. It stands up high, and spreads abroad, and is unfathomably deep. It fits like a circus tent, and a woman‘s head is hidden away in it like the man’s who prompts the singers from his tin shed in the stage of an opera [….] a woman can’t go within eight points of the wind with one of them on; she has to go before the wind or not at all."

I've gathered some photos of some of them for you to see the various shape and sizes.

This photo shows Faial on the left and Sao Miguel on the right.  Notice how different there are.  From all the research I've done, it does seem that Faial had the biggest Capote out of everyone.
If you would like to see more of these old photos, and some from a museum housing some of these, click here.  Mulher Do Capote

If you happen to come across anymore photos or history, let us know!  We would love to add them to this.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Carne de Porco à Alentejana

This is one of the most known and common Portuguese dishes.  Served in restaurants all over the region, it comes from the area of Alentejo, which is in the south central region of Portugal. 
Even if clams aren't your sort of thing, you need to make this, just don't eat them! :)  The meal itself is so flavorful you'll be happy with or without eating them. (But you have to have some to make this recipe, it does change the taste to not have them.  Add at least 6 of them for flavor)

Carne de Porco à Alentejana

2 lb pork loin (cut into 2 in cubes, you can use tenderloin or reg pork loin)
1 small onion chopped
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 clove chopped garlic (I always add one more than what the recipe states, because, well, I love garlic!)
1 tsp Pimenta Moida
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 cup vinho verde
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp piri-piri (really this is to taste, as everyone like their heat a little different.  I usually do the 2 tsp. exactly and it's perfect.)
4 large raw potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb small fresh little neck clams (or more if you know people love them!)
Parsley & black olives for garnish
oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine salt, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, cumin, red pepper, and 1 cup of the wine.

Add in the pork chunks stir well and let marinate for at least 3 hours or leave it overnight.

Before you start the pork, fry potatoes in hot oil until golden, and set aside.

Place clams in a bowl with cold water and 1 tsp salt. Let them sit for about 1/2 -1 hour in fridge to let the sand out.

Preheat large dutch oven on high heat with 1/4 cup olive oil and add onions. Cook until onions are almost cooked,  then add the pork, save the liquid, it's gold! Let meat brown on all sides and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Rinse and dry clams and add to the pork with 1 cup of wine and the leftover marinade. Cover and cook on medium heat until the clams open. Taste the pork and add more salt or Tabasco sauce if desired. 

Once the calms open add the potatoes into the pork and stir. Let it cook for a minute or two to let the potatoes soak up the juices. Transfer to your serving bowl and add chopped parsley  and black olives for garnish.

Let us know if you make it and how it came out for you! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dried Fava Bean Snack

Dried Fava Beans

Salty, crunchy and tasty! Go figure we eat beans as a snack too. You can find these at your local Portuguese market, but they are also easy to make. So give it a try. Here's how you make them.
  • In a large bowl soak 1 bag of dried fava beans over night in water. Enough water to cover the beans by more than half inch. 
  • The next morning you can see that the beans have split apart. If some have not done so, go ahead and pull them apart yourself. 
  • Now rinse them and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry. 

  • Heat 2/3 of a cup of vegetable oil or olive oil in a large pan.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the halved beans at a time to the oil. 
  • When favas begin to brown, remove with slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to catch the excess oil.
  • Repeat with 1/2 cup.
  • When all the fava beans have been cooked, lightly sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper or your fav seasoning. 
  • They will become crispy when you let them cool off. ENJOY!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bolo Levedos

Whats better than a nice toasted English muffin for breakfast?  I'll tell you what is....a Portuguese Muffin!  These slightly sweet little griddle cakes are heaven.  Certain restaurants even use these as their buns for burgers and sandwiches...and if you haven't tried that, you haven't lived.  I am lucky enough to live in what we call "Little Portugal".  Fall River is almost 80% Portuguese, so there are many tiny little shops and markets that I am able to snag all the delicious goodies that I enjoy when I'm in the Azores.  For those of you  who can't do that, here is a recipe for those Portuguese muffins :)

Bolo Levedos
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
6 cups all-purpose flour-You may need more depending on the humdity that day and how your yeast rises.
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1  cup milk
**My secret ingredient-Vanilla extract.  Leave this out if you want to use these for sandwiches, it will make them a little too sweet**

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with a pinch of the sugar. Set aside to ferment, about 10 minutes.

2. Transfer the yeast mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the sugar, eggs, salt, flour, and milk until the dough comes together. Stir in the melted butter, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. You can also use your mixer or bread machine to do the kneading for you!

3. Cover dough with a cloth and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or longer.  The weather really plays with you on the rising!

4. Divide dough into about 15 to 20 pieces, and shape them into flat round cakes about 1/2 inch thick. Place a cloth on the table and dust it with flour. Arrange the cakes on the cloth, allowing space for rising. Allow them to set for 1 1/2 hours or longer.  Once you see they are the right size and have gotten bigger they are ready.  Once again, that weather!

5. Place the cakes in a heavy ungreased skillet, and cook over low heat. Fry the cakes on each side until golden.

6.  If the cakes start to burn but are still a little too undercooked for your liking, throw them onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy these with butter, jam or my favorite-cream cheese ( I know that sounds weird, but don't knock it until you try it)

Added recipe card for easy printing for your at home cooking needs :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



There is debate over how this dish started and where it started. Feijoada is not only a popular dish in Portugal and the Azores Islands, but also in Brasil, Angola, Macau, Goa and Mozambique. Each having their own style to this dish. Growing up in my family we always used red kidney beans to make feijoada. Here's how I make it. I hope you try it out yourself. 


 1 lb dried beans (of your choice)
1 lb of chourico (you can do half pork half chourico)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 plum tomato, finely chopped. 
1/4 cup of red wine
s+p to taste

First step is to soak your beans in a large bowl with cold water over night. 

  1. Rinse beans well once soaked overnight. 
  2. Put beans in large pot and cover with water over one inch of beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 50 minutes to an hour 
  3. While the beans are cooking. In another pot drizzle in olive oil  and saute onions until golden brown. 
  4. Add chopped tomato and saute until very softened. 
  5. Add Salt and Pepper
  6. Once tomato has cooked down, add the garlic, chourico, paprika and bay leaf. Brown chourico on each side.
  7. Pour the wine in and scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Let it reduce for 5 minutes. 
  8. Now add the beans with some of the liquid they were cooking in so it can cover the beans. 
  9. Simmer low with lid on for 20 minutes
  10. Let the feijoada settle in pot for another 20 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


There are a ton of recipes for Biscoitos out there, and some vary just a bit, but that little bit can change the taste quite a bit.  This is my mom's recipe.  She's tried several different ones over the years, but this is still the best one.  These are great to make on a rainy day, since rolling the biscoitos can take a while. It's also pretty fun to get the kids involved.

7 cups of flour
7 large eggs
2 sticks of butter, at room temp.
5 tablespoons of crisco
2 tablespoons of baking powder
2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla
2 eggs beaten for the egg wash at the end 

Add your butter to your mixer

Crack eggs separately, so you don't get shells in your mixer

Add your eggs to the butter

add your sugar and beat all together.

add in your crisco in tablespoon increments 

Once mixed, add in your baking powder

Slowly add in your floor.  You will now need to change to your dough mixer attachement

keep mixing!

Once it looks like a cookie dough, you're ready to roll

Floor your surface

and start rolling your dough.

Try to make them all the same thickness, so that they cook evenly

brush them with your egg wash, I added a little vanilla to my egg wash for an extra boost of flavor

350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Just keep checking them.  Everyone's oven is different.  These are perfect with coffe or tea.  And yes that is Cha Gorreana from Sao Miguel!