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Monday, December 10, 2018

Bacalhau à Brás


This is one of the yummiest dishes I have EVER had here in Portugal. This country is well known for its love of Bacalhau, which is what they call salted cod. The whole fish is preserved in salt, has a slightly salty taste, and a smell that will chase you out of the grocery stores. 
I know the idea of all these items combined together seems odd but it has the most amazing effect, making you instantly feel at home. After all, it is fish & chips with a twist =)

Ingredients:

1/2-kilo salted cod, soaked in water at least 24 hours before needed. *If you cannot find the traditional salted cod in your area, any whitefish will work
1/2-kilo potatoes *I actually used the shoestring chips you buy in the store since that is what is used here most often and cost so little to save a lot of time.
zest from 1 lemon
1 bunch parsley, chopped tops, saving the stalks
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin into discs
3 white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
olives, any sort to your taste *I used green with pimentos because that is what my hubby brought home for me =)
1 pinch chili powder
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 eggs
olive oil
vegetable oil for cooking

Instructions:

Fill a pot of water halfway with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the salt cod, parsley stalks, shallots, and lemon peel. Poach for around 20 minutes, or until the cod starts to soften and flake apart.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a wide skillet and add onions when hot enough. Season with black pepper and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and starting to caramelize, stirring regularly.
Tear the olives in half, taking out any stones, and place into a bowl. Add half the chopped parsley, the chili flakes, vinegar and 4 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
Remove the cod and take out any bones then flak into the onion mixture, adding some of the poaching liquid. Cook for another 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

*If you are doing your potatoes from scratch*
Peel the potatoes, then finely slice into matchsticks.
Just under half fill a sturdy pan with the vegetable oil – the oil should be 8cm deep, but never fill your pan more than half full – and place on a medium-high heat.
Use a thermometer to tell when it’s ready (170°C), or add a piece of potato and wait until it turns golden.
Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the matchsticks into the hot oil to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until very lightly golden. Stop at this point for half of the batch, which is what will go into the mixture later. 
Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain and repeat.
Take the other half of batch and cook a couple minutes longer, until golden brown and cooked completely. 
Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain and add sea salt.

*If you bought the shoestring chips*
Return the cod mixture to medium heat, then stir in most of the remaining chopped parsley. 

Beat the eggs, then gently stir them into the pan. 
Fold in half of the potato matchsticks and take the pan off the heat – the eggs will continue to cook in the pan, so make sure you don’t overcook them at this stage.
Transfer the bacalhau to a serving dish and top with the crispy potato fries. Using a slotted spoon, spoon over the marinated olives, then sprinkle the remaining chopped parsley on top. 
Bom Apetite!
(Anyone who has been paying attention will notice the picture does not have any parsley. This is only because I didn't have any on hand when I last made this, and there is a difference in flavor so do not skip adding it if you have it.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sticky Curry Pork Ribs

Even though I used Pork Ribs, you can take advantage of ANY cut of meat.

All of the items listed below, aside from the meat, are part of my staple kitchen. I have them on hand all of the time. 

Inspired by American BBQ and Indian/Portuguese Vindaloo
ACTIVE TIME
 30 min

TOTAL TIME
 4 hours  



Ingredients:

1 kg pork ribs (or other meats just regulate cooking time accordingly)
Curry to coat all meat (either make your own or use pre-made)
1 garlic, whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, from root to start of green leaves, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp hot sauce or ketchup, depending on your "temperature preference"
2 tbsp maple syrup 
spices to taste; include black pepper, turmeric, and oregano

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 175 Celsius, coat the meat completely with the curry (being generous) then wrap in foil. Also, add the garlic in the foil wrap. Place straight in the oven for 2 hours, making sure you have the bones facing upwards.
  2.  Put oil in a pan and then sauté onions and leeks until brown and caramelized. Add lemon juice, hot sauce/ ketchup, maple syrup, and spices. Mix together and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour onion mixture into food processor and purée with only very small chunks left. 
  4. When meat has cooked 2 hours, pull out and transfer to ovenware and add the salsa mixture. Once again, coat the meat with the new mixture and put back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
  5. Take out and serve hot. Enjoy!


Monday, April 23, 2018

The Magical Bean

Over the past couple of months, I have to say money has been tight for my husband and I. Luckily we love beans!   So when I got a bag of garbanzo beans by mistake, I decided it was time to experiment beyond the typical cooking style.
I have discovered that getting bulk uncooked beans is the most amazing deal. I get around 500g bag for around 1 euro but that bag gives me a total of 4 meals when it is the standard Beans & Bacon day. An additional benefit is that I am not eating out of something stored in a can. I know, I know, all the cans are supposed to be safe now but it honestly tastes 10x's better soaking and cooking your own beans. PLUS, I have found the leftover liquid can be used for other things, like a savory soup base or even to make cookies in place of using egg whites.

Indian Inspired Roasted Chickpeas
Indian Inspired Roasted Chickpeas
ACTIVE TIME
 10m
TOTAL TIME
 35m  
Ingredients
    • 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 pinch ground black pepper
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
    2. Stir together the chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, brown sugar, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, garam masala, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl. Spread the chickpea mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
    3. Roast in the preheated oven until the chickpeas are dark brown in spots, crisp, and have shrunk quite a bit, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Cool to room temperature before serving.