Garlic Shrimp

My annual Portuguese summer vacation is coming up, and I can hardly wait to dig into all the delicious food! The one type of food I look forward to the most is seafood! From the fresh fish to the shellfish, the seafood tastes incredible. 

Luckily where I live, we get the fresh seafood that helps me kill my cravings throughout the year. One of my favorite dishes to eat in Portugal is Camarões com Alho (Shrimp with Garlic). The shrimp are cooked in olive oil and lots of garlic! The shrimp comes to your table with their legs and tails attached and served with a side of toasty bread to dip in those juices. It’s a simple and insanely delicious dish to cook for a weeknight meal or a crowd!

My Portuguese Mother - Garlic Shrimp
My Portuguese Mother - Garlic Shrimp
My Portuguese Mother - Garlic Shrimp
My Portuguese Mother - Garlic Shrimp
My Portuguese Mother - Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients 

  • 16 extra-large shrimp

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

  • 2 teaspoons of piri-piri oil

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

  • ½ cup of butter

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 2 bay leaves

  • ½ cup chopped parsley

  • Salt

Recipe

  1. Devein the shrimp, but keep head intact, season well with salt. Reserve.

  2. In a frying pan – I like to use a heavy well-seasoned cast iron pan, place olive oil and butter plenty of garlic crushed with the peel and some chopped. Sauté a little. 

  3. Add the prawns and fry. Season with Piri-Piri oil.  Add the bay leaves, the white wine, a bit at a time and squeeze the lemon to keep the sauce going. It will take no more than 3 to 4 minutes on each side. 

  4. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and parsley and serve immediately.

  5. Serve with toasted bread.

Fava Bean Salad

Beans, Beans... Fava, black, white, red, or soy beans, they are all good for you!

They provide minerals, soluble fiber, protein, and no saturated fat.

Pretty much every culture has their own bean dish.

From black beans served with meat and rice in South America, red baked beans on toast in the UK, to the famous French dish, Cassoulet made with pork, and white beans, every country has their bean signature dish.

Portugal is no exception. We eat a lot of beans, in stews, soups and as a side, we too are crazy for beans.

When I was growing up, I had the typical dishes like feijoada, with white or red beans, or vegetable soups made with kidney beans, but what I loved the most was when my mom made simple salads with beans.

The bite from a bean in a salad creates a different texture from what I was used in stews and soups.

In the warmer months, especially, my favorite thing to do is to add beans to my salad, not only do they add a great bite, but they help you feel fuller for longer.

My Fava Bean Salad is made with blanched fava beans, shaved asparagus, and drizzled with a light lemon & honey dressing. This bright and super easy salad is great for a quick side, appetizer, or meal!

Fava Bean Salad
Fava Beans
Fava Beans

Ingredients 

  • 3 lbs. fresh fava beans in pod

  • ½ cup thinly shaved cooked asparagus

  • A handful of small arugula

  • 1 small shallot, minced

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest

  • Sea salt & ground pepper

Recipe

  1. Remove the beans from their pods.

  2. Bring a large saucepan with water to boil. Add the beans to the boiling water, cook for about 2-3 minutes, just to really blanch them. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water.

  3. Drain the beans, and add them to the ice water to stop cooking, then remove the skin layer from fava beans by carefully piercing the bean and squeezing it out of its skin. Discard the skins.

  4. Shave the asparagus lengthwise with a peeler.

  5. In a small bowl, add the minced shallot, lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until all combined.

  6. Assemble the salad, add the arugula first, then add the fava beans, shaved asparagus.

  7. Finish with the dressing and lemon zest. Season to taste.

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.




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.

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.

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.

Caldo Verde

 

Caldo Verde is one of the most well known and delicious traditional portuguese dishes.

I ate a lot of soup growing up, and one of my absolute favorites was Caldo Verde. Best served with a side of bread and extra chorizo, this savory soup will warm up any day – or night!!

This real Caldo Verde soup is made with Portuguese kale ,but it can also be made with regular collard greens. Topped with chorizo, this flavorful and easy to make soup is perfect for those cold winter nights or a quick weeknight meal! 

 
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CALDO VERDE.JPG
 
 

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and sliced (4 medium potatoes)

  • 1 lb. Portuguese kale, rinsed and julienned

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 small chorizo, sliced

  • 8 cups water

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • salt & pepper

 

Recipe

  1. Add water, sliced potatoes, chopped onion and garlic to a large saucepan. Boil all the ingredients together with ¼  cup of olive oil for 20 minutes, until they are soft. The longer you cook them the thicker your soup will be. Season with salt & pepper

  2.  Blend it until smooth - if using a blender, always remember to allow the soup to cool a little before blending it.  It is also ok to use an immersion blender.

  3. Add the julienned kale and sliced chorizo. Simmer for 10 minutes, until kale is cooked. (You can add some slices of chorizo to the serving bowl right before eating instead of cooking it with the vegetables)

  4. Serve hot, drizzle with some olive oil

    Best eaten with a nice slice of country bread or corn bread on the side