food & wine

recipe: codfish cakes

At the risk of adding yet another cod recipe to this blog, I couldn’t let Holy Week pass without presenting another of my favorites from Portugal: bolinhos de bacalhau. This traditional petisco (snack or appetizer) is great with beer when you’re feeling peckish, at the beginning of a meal to ease an eager appetite, or several accompanied by a salad makes a meal. While traditionally fried, my version is baked but just as tasty… maybe that means you can indulge in an extra!

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recipe: lentejas

recipe, Spain, lentejas

A big bowl of lentil stew makes any winter day warm & cozy… delicious even while temps in Sevilla reach 23ºC in mid-February! Every Spaniard grows up with their family’s version of this classic dish, & Rafa finally let me have a go at making this crowdpleaser. Lots of spices along with onions, carrots & potatoes give fantastic flavor to a basic kitchen staple: the lentil. One taste & this may become your favorite stew regardless of the season.

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recipe: bacalhau espiritual

recipe, Portugal, cod, bacalhau espiritual

Surprisingly versatile, bacalhau deserves its spotlight in Portuguese cuisine… although I’ve grown tired of the cliché that there are 365 salt cod recipes, one for each day of the year. Why be so trite about such an amazing & versatile ingredient? This cod recipe has a more dignified beginning than most: a royal crowdpleaser based on the French brandade de morue spread. A rich, creamy bechamel combined with the sweetness of onions & carrots tastes divine, so the dish lives up to its heavenly name.

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recipe: sopa de ajo

recipe, sopa de ajo

One of the joys of traditional Spanish cooking is that nothing goes to waste. Soups, in particular, take basic leftovers & spruce them up with fresh ingredients. Gazpacho is the perfect summer example while sopa de ajo (garlic soup) adds warmth to the first cool days of autumn. Tasty & hearty, this filling soup is a perfect way to use extra bread & jamón we often have on hand at home.

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recipe: gazpacho

recipe, gazpacho, Spain

After spending so much time cooking during quarantine, I’ve decided to post more recipes. Usually I’m on the road so I post about those experiences but this year has been, well, different. And every attempt to reproduce Spanish & Portuguese recipes gives me that much more insight into Iberian culture. Note: Every recipe I post works. I often try a few times to get flavors exactly how I like them. So consider these posts as a base to start exploring Iberian cooking… then you do you.

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recipe: bacalhau à bras

Portugal, recipe, receita, bacalhau à bras, cod, bacalao

Classic recipes from any country have at least two things in common: an intensely debated origin & of course, several variations… everyone’s grandmother obviously makes the best! Since my grandmother was not Portuguese, I draw on 20 years of travel to & eating in Portugal to make their classic comfort food at home. I promise this won’t turn into a food blog, but I love to eat & cook so I wanted to share some of the dishes we regularly make.

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recipe: sopa hervia

recipe, receta, sopa hervida, sopa hervía

My first recipe! Don’t worry, there’s no danger of this becoming a food blog. Although I love to cook & eat, I can’t seem to focus on one particular topic… or even a single country 😉 Sopa hervida (pronounced in andalú without the “d”) translates literally as “boiled soup”, but in reality it is more like what we would call a stuffing in the USA. Spain has invented a number of ways to use leftover bread, & these “soups” are some of the most traditional recipes in every family.

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usa: cedar rapids

USA, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, houses

Pretty much everything about this year has been unexpected, including major health problems for both my aunt & uncle… at the same time. We’re a family of three people only, so I went in February to Cedar Rapids to help however I could. Almost 25 years had passed since I’d last visited! Normally I would have looked forward to the trip, but I was in crisis mode with very few days available. Plus a wind chill of -25°F prevented me from exploring more. About the only memories that come to mind are yummy smells from the Quaker Oats factory plus a couple of beautiful, cold weather sunsets.

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portugal: how to eat sardinhas

Portugal, sardinhas assadas, grelhadas, before, after, antes, depois

For years I joked about making a video on how to eat grilled sardines… now that I’m guiding groups for Rick Steves in Portugal on a regular basis, I’ve been convinced to do one. Sardinhas assadas or grelhadas are a Portuguese staple, in season from the end of May to the end of October. Make no mistake; these are fresh, not canned. And because their season coincides with summer as well as Lisboa’s biggest party —the feast day of Santo António— just the smell of these yummy fish on the grill conjures up all kinds of great memories.

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