Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

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Ingredients 

Mint Gremolata

  • ¾  cup mint, roughly chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • salt & pepper

Lamb Chops

  • 4-6 lamb chops

  • Salt & pepper

  • oil

Recipe

Mint Gremolata

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, or a food processor, crush  the mint, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and zest. Drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should remain course, so if using a blender, pulse it until the mixture is just combined. Set aside.

Lamb Chops

  1. Heat up your grill pan. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Lightly oil the pan, and place chops on grill pan, cooking 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium rare.

  2. Once they are done, plate the chops and drizzle the gremolata on top.

Beet & Citrus Salad


Ingredients 

  • 2 medium beets mixed variety , sliced (such as red, gold)

  • 4 oranges mixed variety (such as Cara-Cara, blood orange, or navel)

  • 2 radishes, sliced

  • Handful of fresh mint

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons of  red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.

  2. Place the beets in the middle of a large foil. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap up each bundle to seal it. Roast until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the size of the beets). Peel the beets when they are cool enough to handle. Let cool completely.

  3. Using a sharp knife, peel and pith the oranges. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

  4. Slice the radishes.

  5. Once the beets are cooled, slice them into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Set aside.

  6. For the dressing, whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey together. Season to taste.

  7. To assemble, arrange the oranges, beets and radishes on a large platter. Drizzle the vinaigrette and top with the fresh mint leaves.

Pea & Mint Risotto

Going green in celebration of Earth Day!

This fresh and vibrant green Pea and Mint Risotto is luxurious while still being a light dish. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal, as it is very quick to whip up.

When the warm weather arrives, my backyard gets taken over by mint! All Spring and Summer long I have plenty of mint to cook, bake and make tea with. So this recipe helps utilize my garden’s herbs and celebrate this wonderful day! GO GREEN!


Ingredients 

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1-½ cups uncooked Arborio rice

  • 4 sprigs fresh mint

  • 4 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth

  • ⅓ cup white wine

  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Recipe

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the broth and keep warm.

  2. In a large nonstick pot, sauté onion in butter for 2-3 minutes or until tender.

  3. Add the rice, cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed.

  4. Stir in heated broth, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the liquid to absorb between each addition.

  5. Meanwhile, in a blender, add the peas with a splash of water and blend into a puree.

  6. Cook until risotto is creamy and almost tender around 20 minutes. Add the sprigs of mint & the pureed peas. Cook until heated through.

  7. Remove the mint sprigs.  Add Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

    Garnish with pea shoots or asparagus for an added bite.




Passion Fruit & Lemon Tart

Easter is fast approaching, so this week I’ll be posting some of my favorite spring-inspired dishes that are perfect for your Easter table.

Starting with my favorite topic, dessert! During the warmer months, I like to use my oven as less as possible. I love doing desserts that are quick to assemble, bright, and that incorporate fruit! One of my go-to recipe is a citrus tart. You do need to use the oven to bake your crust, but it’s only for 15 minutes, and the rest is done over stove top then chilled in the fridge until it’s all set!

Passion fruit and lemon curd tart will be the star of your table this spring. It’s tart and sweet and a perfect finish for after a heavy Easter meal! Use the leftover egg white to make a meringue to decorate the top of the tart!

 
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Ingredients 

Crust

  • 8 oz  graham crackers

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 6  tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • ½ cup  fresh passionfruit pulp

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks

  • ½ cup of lemon juice

  • Zest of 1 ½ lemons

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Recipe

Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a food processor, pulse grahams until finely ground. Pour sugar and melted butter, pulse until mixture resembles wet sand.

  3. Place mixture into tart pan and press evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Blind bake the crust by placing a piece of parchment paper, or aluminum foil on top of the crust. Pour in pie weights, or dried beans.

  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes

  5. Carefully remove the parchment/aluminum foil and  the weights, or beans, and allow to cool.

Filling

  1. In a medium-size saucepan, place the sugar and eggs, and whisk until light and pale. Whisk in the zest, and juice of the lemons, and the passion fruit pulp.

  2. Place the saucepan over low-medium heat and constantly whisk until mixture has  thickened. Do not boil.

  3. Remove the saucepan from the stove, and whisk in room temperature butter.

  4. Pass the curd through a sieve, making sure  you have a smooth curd. Let cool.

  5. Once the crust and mixture is cooled, about 30 minutes. Pour the curd into the crust and refrigerate until set.

  6. Decorate with prepared meringue. Best served  cool.

Spring Salmon Pesto Pasta

I love pasta but eating it every day isn’t recommended (apparently). So my new favorite substitute is legume-based pasta, which includes lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. This past year, legume-based pasta have been having a real moment. It first began with a few new brands, but now popular brand pastas have also launched a legume-based line.

The benefits of switching include fewer carbs, more fiber and more protein than regular pasta. They are also gluten-free and contain iron.

While you may not be sold yet, the flavor and texture of the pasta are not that much different than any old regular boxed pasta. What I have noticed is that most legume-based pasta is very toothsome. Other than that, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of flavor.

GIve the delicious recipe a try and enjoy a new alternative to a week night classic!

MY Portuguese Mother // Salmon Pesto Pasta
MY Portuguese Mother // Salmon Pesto Pasta
MY Portuguese Mother // Salmon Pesto Pasta
 

Ingredients 

Pesto :

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or for raw walnuts)

  • 1 medium lemon, juiced & zested

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, more for serving

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  • Salt and pepper

Pasta :

  • 12 oz. red lentil pasta (or substitute for whole-grain)

  • Pesto

  • 1 lb. cooked salmon, roughly flaked (great for using leftover grilled or poached salmon)

Recipe

Pesto

  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse basil leaves, mint leaves, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese together. Slowly add the olive oil until pesto is smooth. Set aside.

Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Once boiling, add pasta of choice and cook according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, and drain pasta. Set aside in a large bowl.

  2. Add the pesto to the pasta and toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water if needed to loosen pesto pasta. Toss in the flaked salmon. Finish with lemon zest and mint leaves. Serve immediately.

 
 

Butternut Squash Citrus Salad

New Jersey seems to be the only place where it can be 60 degrees one day and 30 the next!

This past weekend was a real tease! I am so ready for the warmer weather, flowers blooming, and more importantly, spring produce!

For me, once the warmer weather begins I automatically feel like I want to eat healthier foods that are light, bright and packed with nutrients! Salads are one of my go-to everyday foods. For warmer weather days, I love to add refreshing raw ingredients like shaved carrots, and fresh fruit. But for days like today, it’s hard to crave a cold salad when it’s 30 degrees outside. So what I like to do is incorporate warm ingredients into my salad instead. Some of my favorite ingredients are roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I usually roast a big batch, so I always have them available to toss into my salad or use them as a side. The roasted squash really helps fill you up while still keeping your salad healthy and vibrant! Paired with a citrus vinaigrette, this salad will have you fall in love with salads even during the colder months!

Warm weather will be here shortly but until then, warm up with this butternut squash salad!

My Portuguese Mother // Butternut Squash Citrus Salad
My Portuguese Mother // Butternut Squash Citrus Salad

Ingredients 

  • 5 cups arugula or baby kale, loosely packed

  • 2 cara-cara oranges, segmented

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts  

  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash, cubed

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 3/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • Salt and pepper

Recipe

  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette, adjust salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

  2. Arrange the greens in a large bow. Add the roasted butternut squash, segmented oranges, and chopped walnuts. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately

 

Strawberry Mint Scones

We are a week into Spring and although the weather may have not gotten the memo yet, my kitchen sure has! Spring cooking makes me happy!

The slightly warmer weather and sunshine gives me so much inspiration and motivation to bake with light and bright ingredients.

My favorite ingredients around this time are fruit! From citrus fruit to berries, I love to incorporate them in any way I can. And for my first bake of Spring 2019, I chose scones! To tell you the truth, scones always looked very heavy and dense and I have never had the desire to eat one, not until I tried this recipe. With one bite, I was hooked! From the light and buttery dough to the strawberry and mint filling, they scream spring!

This recipe was taken and adapted from one of my absolute favorite magazines, Bake from Scratch where they use basil instead of mint. What's great about this recipe is how versatile it is, so if mint or basil aren't your favorite herbs, you can easily substitute with thyme, or rosemary, or leave it out entirely.

Bake up a batch and enjoy them with a lovely cup of coffee or tea.

my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
My Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter, grated

  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 2 large eggs, divided

  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

  • Garnish: sanding sugar

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter, tossing to coat. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes. Stir in strawberries and mint.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and 1 egg. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring and folding just until moistened. Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface. Using well-floured hands, knead dough 5 to 10 times, about 1 minute. Roll dough to ¾- to 1-inch thickness. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into triangles or use 2¾-inch round cutter, cut dough, rerolling scraps only once. Place on prepared pan.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and remaining 1 egg. Brush egg wash onto scones. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.

  5. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

  6. Let cool slightly; serve warm.

    Recipe by Bake from Scratch


Chicken Tinga Tinga Tacos


If there is one cuisine I can have over and over again, it would be Mexican. I love the combination of flavors , from the salt to the sweet and heat, everything comes together in a perfect harmony. These Chicken Tinga Tinga tacos are the perfect example! 

I dare you to eat just one! From the spicy sauce to the layer of toppings, this is the taco recipe you didn't know you needed! 

The sauce is made with adobo peppers, and fire roasted tomatoes that gives a kick and a layer a sweetness to the sauce. Top a nice bowl of rice, or drizzle some on your morning eggs! Delicious!!

MY Portuguese Mother // Chicken Tinga Tinga Tacos
 
My Portuguese Mother // Chicken Tinga Tinga Tacos
 
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Ingredients 

Tacos :

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup sweet onion roughly chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1–2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 3/4 cup canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken shredded

For serving :

  • Corn tortillas

  • 2 ripe avocados, sliced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo

  • crumbled cotija

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Recipe

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once warm, add the oil and onion. Sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in the chipotles, oregano, and cumin, and toast for 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes, stock, and salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 7 minutes.

  2. Place the tomato mixture in a high-powered or regular blender, and blend until smooth.

  3. Return the blended sauce to the pan over low heat. Add the shredded chicken, and cook for 5 minutes and season to taste.

  4. Prepare the garnishes. Warm your tortillas over an open flame on your stove top. Smash your avocados in a bowl, and squeeze lime and season with salt.

  5. Assemble your tacos, add the avocado, chicken, then top off with pico de gallo, cheese and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge.

    Recipe from Pinch of Yum

 
 

Bacalhau à Brás (Cod fish with potatoes and eggs)

Tomorrow is Father’s Day in Portugal! In honor of my Dad, I have made his favorite recipe - Bacalhau à Brás, and one that he cooked often when I was growing up. Every bite brings me back to when I was a kid, seating at the dinner table and telling him that I hated olives! But now this is one of my favorites!

It’s such an easy recipe to do, cod mixed with onions, fries, and eggs. If there is a recipe to make someone fall in love with cod, it has to be this one! 

My Portuguese Mother // Bacalhau à Brás
My Portuguese Mother // Bacalhau à Brás
My Portuguese Mother // Bacalhau à Brás
My Portuguese Mother // Bacalhau à Brás
My Portuguese Mother // Bacalhau à Brás

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound dried salt cod

  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips (about 6 cups)

  • Enough oil to fry potatoes

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 8 large eggs

  • Salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided

  • 18 black or green olives

Recipe

  1. Soak the salted cod in water for 24/36 hours, changing the water 3 or 4 times – depending on the thickness of the cod

  2. Heat oil in deep heavy bottom pot

  3. When hot, add potatoes and fry until golden – you want the potatoes light golden not to crispy

  4. Dry on paper towel to get rid of excess oil

  5. Add the cod to a pot of water, bring to a boil.

  6. Lower the temperature and simmer the cod for about 10 minutes.

  7. Remove the cod pieces with a skimmer and onto a plate.

  8. Remove the skin from the cod and shred it, making sure to discard all the bones

  9. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes while stirring.

  10. Add the cod, mix and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

  11. Add half of the matchstick chips and mix.

  12. In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.

  13. Add the eggs to the cod mixture and stir until the eggs are half-cooked.

  14. Add half of the matchstick chips, half of parsley and stir one last time.

  15. Remove immediately from heat to avoid overcooking the eggs

  16. Arrange in a dish.

  17. Garnish with leftover parsley and black olives.

Fennel Citrus Salad

I am a HUGE salad fan. I eat salad every single day! Boring, I know. But to make it exciting and delicious, I use a variety of different ingredients. One of my favorite ways is to add fruit to my salads. I like having a nice crushing bite of an apple or a refreshing orange, and it completely elevates the entire dish.

In honor of citrus season, I decided to highlight the citrus and add ingredients that would compliment them. Fennel is a great ingredient that I feel is not used enough! The licorice flavor is definitely not for everyone, but when paired well, it helps pull the entire dish together.

I used a mandolin to slice the fennel, as it is very fibrous, so slicing them very thin is the best way to eat it. In addition, the salad is topped with chopped pistachios, fennel fronds and drizzled with a light vinaigrette!

This dish is perfect for serving alongside a steak or a frittata for breakfast!

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Ingredients 

  • 1 cara- cara oranges, peeled & sliced

  • 1 grapefruit, peeled & sliced

  • 2 blood orange, peeled & sliced

  • 1 large fennel bulb, peeled & sliced

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • ¼ cup. crushed pistachios

  • 2 tbsp fennel fronds

  • Sea salt

Recipe

  1. Halve and core the fennel bulb. Chop the fronds and set aside. Using a mandoline, carefully slice the fennel into thin slices. Set aside.

  2. Using a paring knife, remove peel and white pith from citrus, being careful not to remove too much of the flesh. Slice citrus into ½"-thick rounds.

  3. For the vinaigrette, using a small bowl, whisk the olive oil,  lemon juice, and honey together.

  4. To assemble, plate the citrus and fennel on a platter. Scatter the chopped pistachios and fronds over the salad. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Overnight Chia Pudding

This 3-ingredient Chia Pudding is the easiest breakfast you will ever make! 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day but mornings, during the week, are usually quite hectic in my house. So, for me, having a breakfast made and ready to go is the truly a time saver.

These tiny little seeds are a great protein source and are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, omega -3 fatty acids, iron and calcium which makes them one of the most nutritious foods on earth!

Topped with my Raspberry Chia Jam, this overnight pudding will hit all your taste buds and will become your favorite go to breakfast!  

 
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Chia Pudding
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Chia Pudding
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Chia Pudding
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Chia Pudding

Ingredients 

Raspberry Chia Jam

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries

  • Zest & juice of ½ lemon

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey, agave, maple syrup, or sugar

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Chia Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

  • 1-2 tablespoons of agave or maple syrup, to taste

Recipe

Raspberry Chia Jam

  1. Add the raspberries, honey (maple syrup or agave), lemon juice, and  zest to a small saucepan and allow it to cook, over medium heat, until the fruit is thawed and the sauce is brought to a boil.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chia seeds. Bring the pan back to the heat for 2-3 minutes until the jam has thickened.

  3. Store in an airtight jar mason jar for about 1 week.

Chia Pudding

  1. In a bowl, add milk, chia seeds, and agave. Whisk to combine.

  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 3-4 hours. The chia pudding should be thick. If it has not thickened, add more chia seeds, stir and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

  3. To assemble it:  layer the Raspberry Chia Jam, followed by the Chia Pudding and top it with the jam again.

 

Mickey Mouse Vanilla Cupcakes

I made these adorable cupcakes for my friend nephew’s birthday! 

 From the fluffy texture of the cupcake to the cute decorations, this cupcake was a hit! And because the cupcake is not to sweet, this fluffy vanilla frosting is the perfect pairing!

 Vanilla mix, especially boxed ones, are usually overly sweet and full of artificial flavors. I'm not completely against boxed mixes; however, when it comes to baking for someone you love, I think it is essential to go that extra mile and make it from scratch. Not only they will taste good but your loved one will taste the love and care you have put into them.

 To make these Mickey Mouse themed cupcakes, I topped the frosting with two mini Oreos. And to complete Mickey’s outfit, I took a step further and added little yellow buttons (tiny pieces of paper) to the red cupcake liners.

For any other occasion, leave the Oreos out, and you will have the perfect Vanilla frosted cupcake!

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My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE
My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE
My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcake

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsps of baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 to 4 tbsp heavy cream

  • Mini Oreos

Recipe

Vanilla Cupcake

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.

  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in oil and vanilla. Turning the mixer on low, beat in the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, and beat again until the mixture is just combined.

  4. Using a small ice cream scoop, fill the liners half full.

  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool  in the pans on a wire rack.

Vanilla Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream, mix until light and fluffy.

  2. Frost the cupcakes. Using Mini Oreos, place two on the frosting, side by side, to make it look like Mickey Mouse ears.


Buttermilk Pancakes

Happy National Pancake Day! Whether it is a Sunday or a Tuesday morning, pancakes are always the star on the breakfast table.

This year, National Pancake Day happens to fall on Fat Tuesday, so what better way to celebrate than to engorge on a delicious stack of pancakes!

Thick and fluffy, these Buttermilk Pancakes are quick to make and super delicious! They are also easy to freeze and thaw for those mornings you just don't have time to cook!

Whip up a patch this morning or enjoy them for dinner!

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My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles
My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles
My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½  tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp. sugar

  • 2  tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ¼  tsp. salt

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for serving

  • Maple syrup for serving

Recipe

  1. In a medium bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the large bowl and whisk until just combined, do not over mix.

  3. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop ⅓ cup of the mix onto the pan. Cook until bubbles begin to form at the surface, flip and cook until the second side in slightly browned.

  4. Serve with a knob of butter, and maple syrup.

    *If not eaten right away, preheat your oven to 200 degree F. Set a rack in the oven, and place the pancakes there to keep warm.

    *Pancakes can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely, then transfer them to airtight plastic bag and place them in freezer.  To thaw, preheat a toaster oven, or a traditional oven and heat them until warm.

Ginger Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Being raised with my grandmother, one of the things I remember most is how much soup she would make and how much soup I was forced to eat!!

We ate a variety of vegetable soups from carrots and potatoes to spinach soup. Finishing the bowl before being able to go outside and play was a daily struggle.

As I’ve gotten older I’m happy to have been raised that way, I think it helped my palette, and I love a nice warm bowl of vegetable soup!

One of the top three favorite soups is this Ginger Carrot and Sweet Potato soup. Its velvety, and full of flavor. The ginger gives it an extra zing, alongside some fantastic health benefits.

This soup is a time saver! The vegetables are all dumped in a pot cooked until tender, blended and served. Topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some seeds to for added texture, this soup is perfect for all.

My Portuguese Mother // Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
My Portuguese Mother // Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
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My Portuguese Mother // Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
 

Ingredients 

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, chopped

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1 tbsp thyme

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 5 cups of water

Recipe

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the chopped onions, garlic, sweet potato, carrot and ginger, season with salt, pepper and thyme.

  2. With a wooden spoon, stir to mix the ingredients.

  3. Pour the 5 cups of water into the pot. Cover and allow it to come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender when pierced.

  4. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.

  5. Transfer back to pot, heat and serve. Dress the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and pumpkin seeds.

Raspberry Macarons

Pucker up, its Valentines day and these Raspberry Macarons are both tart and sweet!

Macarons are a classic French pastry, they are made from almond flour, confectioner sugar, and egg whites.

They are such a treat but usually difficult to make.

However, this recipe is foolproof!

I've made this recipe several times, and each one comes out perfect!

One of the things that I love most about Macarons is how versatile they are.

Because today is Valentines Day, I made a Pink macaron with a delicious cream cheese raspberry filing!

My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Macarons
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Macarons
My Portuguese Mother // Raspberry Macarons



Ingredients 

 Macarons

  • 3/4 cup almond flour

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • Red food coloring

 Raspberry Filling

  • 1 stick butter, softened

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar

  • ½ fresh raspberries

Recipe

  Macarons

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 F.

  2. Combine almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Pass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on clumps.

  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using a hand-mixer or stand-mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high for 2 more minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form.

  4. Add red food coloring and beat on high for another 30 seconds.

  5. Gently fold in dry ingredients and repeat until the batter falls into ribbons when spatula is lifted.

  6. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip.

  7. Pipe batter into 3/4-inch round circles, 1 inch apart.

  8. Tap the baking sheet firmly against the counter to release any air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until they form a skin.

  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until cookies have risen and just set. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

Raspberry Filling

  1. Puree the 1/2 cup raspberries in a food process, or blender. If you don't want seeds in your frosting, press the puree through a strainer. ( I left the seeds in)

  2. In an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese until all combined. Turning mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

  3. Add in the pureed raspberries and beat until all combined and smooth.

  4. Transfer the filling into a piping bag with a stared tip.

  5. Pipe a swirl on one half the macarons and sandwich them together.

 

Lemon Pea Risotto

This luxurious risotto is bright and creamy and perfect for when you need a delicious and easy dinner!

The lemon brightens this dish, and the peas add a bite and beautiful color to the risotto. Served as a side or main, this recipe is perfect to show off your skills without much work!

My Portuguese Mother // Lemon Risotto
My Portuguese Mother // Lemon Risotto

Ingredients 

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 1-2  tbsp butter

  • 1-½ cups uncooked arborio rice

  • ½ tsp dried thyme

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • 4 - 4 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth

  • ⅓ cup white white

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 -½ tsp grated lemon peel

Recipe

  1. In a  small saucepan, heat the broth and keep warm. In a large nonstick pot, sauté shallots in butter for 2-3 minutes or until tender.

  2. Add the rice, thyme and pepper; cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine and lemon juice. Cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed.

  3. Stir in heated broth, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Allow liquid to absorb between each addition.

  4. Cook until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender, around 20 minutes. Add the peas, cheese and lemon peel. Cook until heated through. Serve immediately.

Citrus and Avocado Salad

I live in an area where I am lucky to have four seasons. My least favorite of all of them  has to be winter, from the cold to the mountains of snowfall each year, there is nothing I like about winter, except for citrus season.

Interestingly enough, citrus is at its sweetest during the winter. As it may be obvious, these citrus fruits are grown in temperate regions, such as California, Florida and Texas. Luckily for us, we can pick them up at our grocery store and celebrate the citrus season as if they were grown in our own backyards!

The best way to use citrus fruits in your meals during this season is to make them the star of the show. So, for this recipe, I wanted to keep it simple and compliment the balance of the sweetness of the fruit by adding  salted pistachios and  making a vinaigrette with avocado oil and lime. 

 This salad is a perfect pairing with fish, such as a grilled salmon or a great side to brighten up a steak dinner.

My Portuguese Mother // Citrus and Avocado Salad
My Portuguese Mother :: Citrus and Avocado Salad.JPG
My Portuguese Mother // Citrus and Avocado Salad
 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cara- cara oranges, peeled & sliced

  • 1 grapefruit, peeled & sliced

  • 1 blood orange, peeled & sliced

  • 1 avocado, peeled & sliced

  • ¼ cup avocado oil

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

  • 1 tbsp. honey

  • 2 tbsp. crushed pistachios

Recipe

  1. Using a paring knife, remove peel and white pith from citrus, being careful not to remove too much of the flesh. Slice citrus into ½"-thick rounds. Cut the avocado into slices. Transfer to a medium serving platter.

  2. For the vinaigrette, using a small bowl, whisk avocado oil,  lime juice, and honey together. Drizzle over the salad.

  3. Scatter pistachios over the salad, finish with sea salt and ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Brownie Hearts

Who doesn't love a fudgy brownie!?

These fudgy brownies are so quick to make and come out perfect each and every time! Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen is my ultimate favorite brownie recipe!

 Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I decided to use a heart cut out for these brownies and packaged them up in a sweet festive box to gift to my loved one(s).

I used a 1 ½-inch heart shaped cutter, but you may use any size you want or just cut them into squares, if you wish.

There is nothing quite like receiving a homemade gift, so whip these up, give them away or keep them for yourself!! Indulge! 

My Portuguese Mother // Brownie Hearts
My Portuguese Mother // Brownie Hearts
My Portuguese Mother // Brownie Hearts
My Portuguese Mother // Brownie Hearts
 

Ingredients 

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 2 ⅔  cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt

  • 1 ⅓  cup all-purpose flour

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9 X 13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang.

  2. In a medium heatproof bowl, melt chocolate and butter together in 30-second intervals in the microwave until the butter and chocolate are completely melted. Stir until smooth.

  3. Stir in sugar, then the eggs. Add the vanilla and salt.

  4. Pour batter into the greased pan, spread into an even layer.

  5. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.

  6. Allow to cool.  Using the parchment paper overhang, remove the brownies out of the pan. Cut out the brownies with 1- 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter or whatever sized heart cookie cutter you have.

    Recipe by Smitten Kitchen

 

Mini Cheesecake

I LOVE CHEESECAKE!

If I had to choose one dessert to only eat for the rest of my life, cheesecake would be it!

Cheesecake usually takes a long time to make, from the baking to cooling; it can sometimes be a 24-hour process before you can even take your first bite. So, with that in mind, I wanted to make a quick cheesecake that I can enjoy on the same day and in under two hours!! These mini cheesecakes are the perfect little bite for parties, last minute dessert options, or if you're like me, a quick sweet tooth fix! 

My Portuguese Mother // MINI CHEESECAKE
mini cheesecake6EA86BA7-5FA5-4029-978B-6C1A1F72975B.JPG

Ingredients

  •  1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)

  • 1/3 cup of sugar

  • 1 egg, room temperature

  • 1 tsp. of almond extract

  • 3-4 large strawberries

  • Small bunch of mint leaves

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line 12 muffin cup pan.

  2. In a food processor, mix graham crackers (about 1 sleeve) into crumbs. Or in a zip-topped bag, smash the graham crackers until fine crumbs.

  3. Transfer crumbs into a bowl, pour melted butter and stir to combine.

  4. With a spoon, scoop the graham crackers into the buttered lined cups.

  5. Use a flat rounded surface like a shot glass, gently press the graham crackers into an even layer.

  6. In another bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar and almond extract. Then add the egg, and beat until the mixture is smooth.

  7. Pour mixture into muffin cup pan.

  8. Bake for 15 mins or until they are set.

  9. Allow to cool. Transfer each cup to a wire rack to allow them to come to room temperature before placing them in the fridge.

  10. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  11. In the meantime, cut a few strawberries into small pieces and tear up a few leaves of mint.

  12. Combine both in a small bowl and allow them to set , so the strawberries macerate with the mint.

  13. Top the cheesecakes with this sauce and enjoy!

Piri - Piri Chicken & Crispy Potato Chips

One of the most classic Portuguese dishes is Frango Assado [Roasted Chicken].

Served with a side of rice, or crispy potato chips, this signature meal is found on every menu in Portugal. What makes it so famous is the way it is prepared, with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and the secret ingredient, Piri-Piri.

Piri-Piri peppers made their way to Portugal by ships from Mozambique and Angola, former colonies of Portugal. These hot peppers soon become a staple in many Portuguese dishes such as this one.

The peppers add a fiery note to this chicken that you’ll be wondering why you haven’t tried them out before.

They are also known as birds eye chili and are easily found in Portuguese specialty stores, but if you can't find them, substitute them for regular chilies, or cayenne pepper.

My Portuguese Mother // Piri - Piri Chicken
My Portuguese Mother // Piri - Piri Chicken
My Portuguese Mother // Piri - Piri Chicken
My Portuguese Mother // Potato Chips
 

Ingredients 

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchocked

Piri- Piri Sauce

  • 10 Piri-Piri Peppers (red eye or any other red chili peppers)

  • 100 ml olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tsp. paprika

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Large bunch of parsley, plus more for serving

Crispy Potato Chips

  • 1½ pounds russet

  • Ice water

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • Salt and pepper

Recipe

Piri- Piri Sauce & Chicken

  1. Mix the chilies, olive oil, garlic, paprika, parsley, and salt and pepper, until it is all combined. Using a blender, blend half the mixture for the marinade, and preserve the half unblended mixture for basting.

  2. Place the chicken breast side down. Using kitchen scissors, cut the right side of the backbone, and repeat along the left side. ( you may save the backbone for future chicken stock or discard). Open the chicken, and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.

  3. Place the chicken in a plastic bag or in a  large tray, pour half of the sauce over the chicken and allow it to marinade for an hour.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  5. Place the chicken on a baking tray. Tuck the wings under the body of the chicken.

  6. Roast the chicken for a 1-1 ½ hour. For the last few minutes, turn on the broiler to crisp the skin of the chicken. Keep a close eye so the skin does not burn.

  7. Remove from the oven, baste with the remaining sauce.

  8. Garnish with leftover parsley, serve alongside, crispy fries, salad or rice.

 Crispy Potato Chips

  1. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, carefully slice potatoes about ⅛” thick. Place them in a large bowl of ice water. Allow the potatoes to sit for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes are done, drain, and pat dry.

  2. Heat up a heavy pot with a thermometer; pour in oil. Heat over medium-high until thermometer reaches 300°F.

  3. Working in batches, fry until golden brown and crisp, turning occasionally for an even cook, about 5-7 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined wire rack. Season with salt and pepper.