Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Amigo" Post!

We toyed with this idea for a while, and finally decided to pull the trigger.
Here is our first submission from a fan.  We asked those interested to write out the recipe, take photos, and write a little something about it.
Here is Liz's recipe, story and photos!
Thanks again Amiga!!

"I didn't grow up in a neighborhood with other Portuguese families, but I was surrounded by my family, our language, our traditions and beliefs, and of course...the food!  While all the other kids on the block were eating Kraft dinner, Chef Boyardee and Zoodles, I was eating my mom's pasta sauce...fresh and homemade, just like she does everything.
The smell of onions frying in her small penela would send me on the hunt for the tell tale pasta.  Once I spotted it, I would await in delicious anticipation of the thick red gravy laden with onions that I would dig to the bottom of the pot for.  No matter what my mom served her pasta with - the pasta was always the highlight and I always saved it for last.
As it happens with little Portuguese girls, I grew up and soon became a wife and mother.  I've always loved to cook, but always seemed to go home to moms or Vavos if I wanted some home cooking.  Tasked with the job of meal planning along with running a house, I would find myself cycling through the same meals....over and over and over.  I do believe I had myself convinced I couldn't cook like my mom until one day I was craving my grandmothers soupa and I called her for her recipe and well, well, well, turns out I can cook as good as my elders ;).
When it's cold out, that's when I crave this meal, it's my ultimate comfort food that takes me back to our duplex on Culver Street where I had the best of both worlds - mom and dad on the main floor AND my grandparents upstairs.  I always hear my grandfather's laugh when I'm eating this, I think it makes it taste even better!!!
I usually don't have any calde de pimenta on hand, so I just make my own.  I realize there is a specific type of pepper used for this, but my mom also taught me to use what I have on hand in a pinch.  So I take a seeded and chopped red pepper, strain the majority of the juice off and add salt and olive oil to taste name is Liz and I'm an onion-a-holic!!!  Seriously!!!  My mom says to take one onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic and fry in a good quality olive oil, but I always double up on the onion.  I have also found that her original instruction are just barely enough for me and my husband.  We love to have it two days in a row, and on day two, I do believe it tastes better, so I double her recipe for good measure.

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are cooked but still maintain a crunch if that is to your taste.  If you prefer them carmelized...that works too!!! Add salt and pepper to taste along with the calde de pimenta and cinnamon and fry on medium low, always stirring, stirring, stirring.  This is about how I like my onions done, about 8-10 minutes

Smelling like my moms kitchen now.  I can still see her burgundy pot set that cooked thousands of delectable meals for us.  Cinnamon is one of my moms (and now my) favorite spices to use.  We add just a hint to hamburger dishes to give it that eu nao sei flare that gets people thinking while they're eating - "O!!!  That's a lovely hint of...hmmm....what is that???"  Ancient Portuguese recipe ;)


Stir until heated through and aromatic.  Now add the ketchup...when my mom first told me she laughed at the look on my face.  Ketchup???  Really???  Who would've thunk???  I have made homemade ketchup in the past and it was spectacular!!!  I think I will grow some extra romas this year and reserve some Kischook Ketchup especially for this recipe.  My mom advises that you can also use tomato paste interchangeably for the ketchup.  Personally, I think the ketchup has more flavor from the spices added to's all up to your own taste.  I do think that tomato paste would be better as a diabetic option if you're loved ones have this ailment as ketchup is unfortunately loaded with sugars. 

Add the paprika and allow to heat through.  My mom says it's extremely important to ensure to cook this on low heat as the sugars in the ketchup and the paprika itself will burn very easily. While I love any and all things caramelized, I don't think paprika would top the!

Keep mixing all the goodness together until it bubbles just a little, you can add a touch of water if you don't prefer your sauce thick.  I've never had a problem with thick sauce, however, it will make the sauce cover more pasta, if you really want to add a layer of flavor, try a little chicken or beef stock instead of water.  I keep homemade stock by freezing it in an ice cube tray then transferring it to a Ziploc bag.  The small quantity of the cube gives me more control over the amount I add to my recipes and sometimes...I use those stock cubes for cooling off soup without watering it down like normal ice cubes would.  I do believe my husband and I may try to thin this with a bit of wine and cook it off to see how it affects the flavor profile.  An old friend did tell me many times that a recipe is just a guideline....

This night....served up with meatballs mmmmmmm...ENJOY!!!

Here's the full recipe and directions...
1 - 2  tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 medium onions, chopped (I always use be the judge)
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp calde de pimenta
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 - 1 cup ketchup (I always use one cup as I like my pasta saucy)
1 tsp paprika
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil to desired doneness.  On medium low add calde de pimenta, salt, pepper and cinnamon for a few minutes to allow to heat through.  Turn heat to low, add ketchup and paprika, again allow to heat through.  Mix into hot oiled pasta or serve hot on top of pasta.  Bom appetite!!!!"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Crockpot Tomato Soup

1/4 cup of olive oil 
1/4 cup Portuguese red wine or a dry red
1 onion chopped
1 pound tomatoes chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup stelline pasta (small stars)
s+p to taste

  1. When crockpot has been heated to high add oil, onions and s+p. Let the onions soften.
  2. Now add tomatoes, red wine and bay leaf.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let cook for 5-6 hours on low. If it thickens too much add water. 
  5. Discard the bay leaf and blend with an immersion blender or pour into blender if you don't have one. 
  6. Process until smooth.
  7. Add your small pasta stars and let the soup continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. 
  8. Lastly stir the milk in until combined.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Pour into bowls, garnish with the parsley, serve and enjoy!