Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm really torn: should we embrace spring or have one more go with the winter menu before things really start to warm up? Produce is so-so at the market, it could go either way. Sometimes when I feel this way, I compromise: something hearty balanced with something light, especially if the hearty bit is small! On the other hand, there are so many great spring dishes out there, grilled fish, butterflied open, served with a tangy brown butter fish and some sautéed greens!

First the heaver hitters. Next post the lighter side.

There's a braised pork belly dish I've been dying to try:

Braised Pork Belly (T. Colicchio):

-Salt and pepper the pork, and add it, fat side down, to the skillet. Cook until the skin is browned, about 15 minutes.

- Add the onion, carrots, celery, leek, and garlic to the skillet. Cook the vegetables about 20 minutes.

-Return the pork belly to the skillet, fat side up, and add stock (it should surround but not cover the meat). Bring the stock to a simmer, then transfer the skillet to the oven (350°F). Gently simmer the pork, uncovered, for 1 hour, then add another cup of stock. Continue cooking until the pork is fork tender --about 1 hour longer.

- Allow the pork to cool in the braising liquid. Remove the pork from the liquid and discard skin. Score the fat and then cut the pork into 4 equal pieces.

- Turn up the oven to 400°F. Strain the braising liquid. Return the liquid to the skillet, bring it to a simmer, and skim off the fat. Return pork, fat side up, to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook, without basting, until the pork is heated through and the fat nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

A recipe I dreamed up for another dinner party that never happened:\

Uova da Raviolo (M. Leaveck):

- Roll out pasta into sheets

- Add a dollop of butternut squash, roasted, mashed and mixed with pancetta and aromatics (shallots, garlic, thyme, s/p)

- Depress a well into the filling and place the yolk of a quail egg into each.

- Cover with second sheet of pasta and cut ravioli and seal edges well

- Boil, then serve in a rich broth like sauce, like veal broth or similar.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm thinking of getting one of these....

What do you think? Anyone? I know some people who spent a whole month's salary to get one of these. I made fun of them. Now I want one. Being an avid cook I'm kinda reluctant to go ahead and order it. It's pricey (off-course I spend 4 times as much in shoes and clothes annually) but apparently it is worth the investment..... Do I really need it? No! will it save me time in the kitchen? YEAH for sure, and it will also allow me to juice my own vegetables, make my own ice cream and yogurt and pizza and pannacota and curry chicken and tomato soup, and bake my own cakes..... People claim the only think this does not do it your laundry, the dishes and give you a food massage.

Here is what people are saying:

At Home in Rome

Bimby's Australian official site

Super Kitchen Machine

Real Chefs also love Bimby

I need to make a decision soon so i'd appreciate any feedback.



Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring everyone!

Spring is a time of transition. Transition from winter to summer. It is also a time of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. Time to shed our winter clothes as well as any extra weight piled up during winter holiday and cold day eating. Spring is the perfect time to start anew, to reinvent yourself and the way you eat!

If been feeling fatigued and beat lately, and i have been thinking about the changes i've made in my life that have trickled this low energy effect downward spiral in my life. One of the things i noticed was the increase the consumption of carbohydrates. Everyone's body is different but something to with with carbs and my DNA does not go together.

So this will be my challenge for this spring! To cut on the processed Carb consumption and to discover healthier substitutions. As well as increasing the intake of raw foods (great if you are trying to cleanse and detox)

This salad will be my first experiment :

Wilted Kale Salad with a creamy Chipotle Dressing

a James Russel recipe from the Raw Chef Blog

Serves 4-6

For the wilted kale

4 heads kale (this will seem like a lot but will wilt down when the salt is added)
2T salt
2c baby tomatoes, sliced
1c hulled hemp seeds

For the dressing

3 avocados
2 chipotle peppers*
½c olive oil
2T agave
¼c lemon juice

*If not using chipotle peppers, substitute with onion powder, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and tamari/nama shoyu
  • Remove the stems and then wash and cut the kale into small pieces. Place into a bowl, add salt and start to massage the kale until it wilts and takes on a ‘cooked’ texture.
  • Add the tomatoes and hemp seeds to the bowl and mix in by hand.
Blend all remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy and mix into kale by hand.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Post was deleted by mistake :(
Apologies, I'll re-post it ASAP

Mustard Greens

Today I would also like to share this recipe emailed to us by a reader as a veggie alternative to the Red Chard dish posted a couple days ago.

So here is Alan's email:

"Since you have red chard, let me add another - mustard greens. You will often see containers of these at Asian markets.
In Japanese cuisine, the most varied dishes are vegetable condiments. Go to the basements of large department stores today and be amazed. Historically a poor country with little meat, rice was often the pay of the Samuri. To keep rice interesting, strong tasting goodies were invented to go along: fermented soy beans, sweet pickled eggplant, sour plums, spicey radishes, etc.
The following could not be simpler. Slice mustard greens about an eighth of inch, perpendicular to the length of the stalk. Include the unleafy stalk. Put contents in a large bowl and soak in salted water.
After a couple hours, drain, lightly rinse, and press out the water. Store in container and refrigerate. Keeps for months. Eat with hot rice. Small amount of soy sauce can be added at the last minute as an option. Easy."

Thank you so much ALAN for your suggestion and for the historical insight. You really are a walking encyclopedia. I'll make sure I'll cook it and a picture of the dish will be posted :)

How about you? would you like to contribute with any recipes or advice?

Fricassee de Poulet (Chicken Fricassee)

As promised here is the recipe for the Chicken Fricassee I cooked last Monday.

Some of you may be wondering what in the world does the word Fricassee stand for, besides sounding like a very expensive time consuming gourmet meal at a fancy French restaurant. Well FYI, "Fricassee" is basically a stew. It can be of meat, poultry, fish or vegetarian. Its a white sauce stew, white sauce meaning nothing but a sauce made with butter, lots of butter, and cream or milk and white wine. Truth is..... the names just seems complicated, but this is truly a dish that can be easily prepared in 1 hour.

Again.... having no pictured of the end result, I had to steal this one from the internet so you can have a better idea of how it should look like.

(note to self: keep a camera in the kitchen counter top)


Ingredients (for 6 people)

1 Chicken (3lbs)
1 Onion
1 Tbs of Butter
2 Tbs of flour
3 Cups of Chicken Stock
1 cup of dry white wine
½ lbs mushrooms
2 egg yolks
½ cup of crème fraîche
Lemon juice
Salt and black pepper

In a casserole cook the chopped onion and carrots in butter for about 5 min in medium heat. Cut the chicken in about 1 dozen pieces, season it with salt and pepper, add it to the casserole. Turn the Chicken every min for about 4 min, till the chicken is lightly golden.
Lower the heat, cover the casserole and let it slow cook for a while, turning the chicken every couple min.
Add black pepper and sprinkle flour on both sides of the chicken. Cover and cook it for another 4-5 min (turn the chicken once)
Bring chicken stock to a boil and add it to the chicken. Add the wine and parsley.. make sure there is enough stock to cover the chicken. Bring it to a boil, check seasoning and let it slow cook for about 30 minutes.
Sautee mushrooms with the butter and a few drops of lemon juice.
Remove mushrooms and chicken from its respective cooking juices. Add the mushrooms juice to the casserole and let it simmer for 3 min. Remove fat from the sauce, increase the heat and let it boil. Stiring till the sauce is reduced to about 16oz.
In a contained mix the egg yolks with the crème fraîche, beat it till its completely diluted. Add the mix to the sauce very gently stiring it constantly. Allowing it to come to a boil and cook it for 1 min. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Serve with rice and salad.

This recipe is a direct translation from a french recipe minus the carrots. It came out great! Super rich sauce, great taste and the mushrooms add some extra flavor than brings out even more the chicken.

However this is not exactly how I remember it from my childhood. I grew up on the traditional Portuguese FRANGO DE FRICASSE, a lighter version of the French version..... instead of butter we use olive oil, we use garlic and bay leaves while sauteing the chicken, no mushroom or crème fraîche are added to the sauce.

If you ask me which one I like best, I would have to say that though the french version is pretty good the portuguese recipe tastes like "Home".

You be the judge! try it and let us know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Food + Wine.

Sitting around complaining about a supper club that didn't quite make it off the ground, we decided to try our hand at our own version. Here goes! So far we seem to have the right number of people...anymore, I think we'd have a hard time fitting anywhere. Lets see if its a critical mass.

First some ground rules, then the recipes.
1.First Sunday of every month. 6pm-ish
2.All homemade, no store bought anything
3.Lets try to actually cook the dish together if we can --that means, depending on the recipe, we will meet quite a bit earlier
4. Let's pick a theme and design a menu around it as a group! Blog your ideas!

Last time:
Lets begin with the dinner that (re)started the idea: Bacalhau!

Natasha and Ricardo brought us two Bacalhau Dishes; Portuguese fare that is the stuff of holiday dinners all through their childhood. Think of it as the ultimate Portuguese comfort food.

Bacalhau Espiritual


  • 1lb of Salt Cod (Bacalhau)
  • ½ lb carrots
  • ½ lb onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lb leeks
  • Potato chips or fries (thinly cut)
  • Salt & pepper

Bechamel sauce

  • 2Tsp of butter
  • 2Tsp of flour
  • 16oz milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Soak cod fish overnight.

In a pan, cook fish in unsalted water for about 15min (be careful not to overcook it). Let it seat for a few min, de-bone and flake fish. Set it aside.

Shred the carrots, and cut the onions and leeks in thin slices

In an iron cast add EVOO, garlic, onions, leeks and carrots. Cook it in low heat till golden. Add the cod let it cook for a little longer. Check salt and pepper and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Prepare the béchamel sauce, and add it to the COD mix. Finally, add the potatoes. Bake it for 30min @ 350F in a casserole dish.

Bacalhau a Ze do Pipo


1 lb. of salt cod
5 to 6 large potatoes
2 large onions, sliced
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
4 cloves of garlic
black olives, those sliced ones are real good
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped fine if fresh
1 tablespoon of vinegar or the juice of one lemon

Soak cod fish overnight. Boil the cod fish the next day in unsalted water for 15 min. Flake fish and set aside. Boil potatoes, slice and set aside. Slice onion, crush garlic and sauté in olive oil. In large casserole add a layer as follows, potatoes, then fish, sliced hard-eggs, onion, peppers, garlic. Sprinkle olives and parsley. Pour olive oil over the entire casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for a 1/2 hour in a casserole dish.

Next Up was a Ratatouille by Gabi. Gabi, post the recipe! There was a smokiness to the dish that was outstanding.

Scott brought a really great tapanade: tons of olives, garlic, and my favorite: anchovies. Scott: Post it!

To round it out, (and becuase Ricardo said there wasn't going to be enough food) I cooked a bone in pork loin.