Spicy Garlicky gizzards

Spicy gizzardsDid I say gizzards?

Yes I did and all I can say is that if you actually try them, you may be surprised that you will like them. This is a traditional Portuguese recipe that I grew up with and totally different from any gizzards I have had here in the States.

The trick is to let them boil in low temperature forever, this way they will be nice and tender. The first time I introduced this here in the States, we were living in Iowa. People’s first reaction was: what is this? Of course typical me I would say just try it. Some shun away from them, but most did try it. Surprisingly enough even though spicy, the children were the ones that liked the most (perhaps because they have no pre-conception of what gizzards actually were) and would end up fighting for the hearts!

If this is the first time ever trying them, try one along with some bread and make sure to add some of the juices/stock with it.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of gizzards (chicken or turkey)
water
coarse sea salt

1tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic finely minced
crushed chili peppers

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the gizzards in cold water and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Place them in a pot filled with water and season with salt.
  3. Let them cook in low for about 2 hours or until very soft to the fork.
  4. Warm the olive oil in a skillet and sautee the garlic and chili peppers.
  5. Strain the gizzards (but keep the broth).
  6. Sautee the gizzards in the skillet at medium to high.
  7. Once they start browning add a little of the broth and serve with toothpicks.

Spicy Wings

spicy wings

Photo taken by Benny Sieu from the Milwaukee Sentinel

Another spicy wing recipe?

Indeed but I must say this is different than the most traditional ones here in the States. This is a recipe everyone usually loves and I guess… I am well known for! You can do this two ways. IF you have some of the Lemon Chutney you can use it for it, or follow the recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds of wings
2 sticks of melted butter
6 cloves of minced garlic
a hand full of minced dried red chilly peppers
3 soup spoons of lemon juice
1 soup spoon of kosher sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash the wings and dry them.
  • In a bowl mix all other ingredients.
  • Spread the wings in an oven-safe dish and brush the sauce over them.
  • Put the tray inside the oven at 375° for about 15 minutes (or you can simply grill them for about 20 minutes while continuously basting them).
  • Put the oven at low broil until wings are nice and golden – this can take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on each person’s oven.

If you are using the Lemon Chutney, you will only need 1 stick of butter and the garlic. Process as per directions

Portuguese style Pig’s Feet

Pig's feet stewla dee la dee la…. I know what some of you are already saying…. gross… But again, try it, you MAY like it. And hate to say it but to all my friends who actually ate at my house, you’ve had it! My trick? Cutting the meats so small you had no idea what part of the piggy you were eating. And you liked it! See?

Now next question is where the heck can I find pig’s feet (as so many of you are eager to try this recipe!). Well, I have lived now in 5 states and have been lucky to find pig’s feet in every state. Often you can find it at your local supermarket, if not try Asian or Hispanic ones.

Believe it or not my daughters LOVE this recipe. My oldest, the Dancer will leave the beans to the side, but will NOT miss a piece of meat though. She will clean the little bones better than any dog would (well the dog would actually eat the bone, right?). The Princess is finally getting the hang of cleaning all those small bones and she devours it all. Next day if there are any leftovers she takes them to daycare (hmmm… I wonder if anyone there ever noticed it was pig’s feet she was eating!)

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs fresh or frozen pig’s feet – not the smoked or jarred type please!
1 lb of bacon cut into pieces
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 diced onions
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cans of beans (I prefer black or red beans, but you can use whatever ones you want)
1 to 2 liters beef stock
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. If you are using dry beans, soak them overnight.
  2. Clean well the pigs feet, I usually rinse them through vinegar and leave them for a few hours with water and salt.
  3. In a large pot add the olive oil and lightly sauté the onions, garlic and bacon.
  4. Add the feet and brown them lightly from all sides.
  5. Add some of the stock and all other ingredients. Stock should cover everything, but if need be add a bit more from time to time.
  6. Cover and let it all simmer for at least 2 hours.
  7. Serve with some white rice and do not forget a nice bottle of red wine or beer!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Cream of Cauliflower SoupMy grandmother was the very best at making soups. She could make delicious soups out of anything. I am fortunate to have her cooking books which slowly but surely I want to try to make every recipe she wrote throughout her live. Some are her own creations, others are family recipes and lastly others are traditional recipes she adjusted to her taste.

As I am going through them all, I am also creating a document so that all of her great-grandchildren and cousins will be able to cherish for years to come. This one is a favorite of mine, it has a velvety taste and oddly enough it barely tastes like cauliflower.

My daughter’s reactions? The little Princess ONLY had 3 cups of it!! OHHH and as I was preparing the soup, she kept on wanting “little bites” of the soup. So I guess this was a winner for her. My Dancer? Well I first did not tell her it was cauliflower as for whatever reason she says she does not care for it, but ended up eating a FULL bowl of it and this morning asked if she could have some cold for breakfast.

Indeed, this cream is also very good cold. Finally I asked her. By the way… do you like cauliflower? And her nose frowned right away and said noo. Hmmm well you LIKED the soup. As usual I got that look I usually get as if saying… I hate it when you trick me!

INGREDIENTS

1 cauliflower
2 cups of beef stock or vegetable stock
1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream

1 tbsp butter

parsley leaves
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil the cauliflower in water and a pinch of salt until well cooked
  2. Remove the water and pass the cauliflower through a food mill
  3. Place it back in the pot and add the stock and milk
  4. Bring it to a boil for about 6 minutes
  5. Prior to serving add the butter
  6. Serve it garnished with a few parsley leaves

Goat cheese with olives, lemon zest and thyme

Goat cheese with olives, lemon zest and thymeHave you ever learned a new recipe and you like it so very much that you will find every excuse to repeat it over and over again? Meanwhile your family is getting real tired of it, yet you keep on doing it. Well this is it.

This recipe was actually one I decided to test mostly because goat cheese is not my favorite (unless mixed in salad or disguised some other way). Lo and behold… I got hooked, right from the very first bite and could not stope eating it. And since my lack of choice with crackers, the rice ones actually are perfect for such delicacy.

 

Portuguese Meat Croquettes

Portuguese meat croquetsSo you’ve just finished dinner and have some steak leftover, or that huge amount of turkey after the holidays, well… you get the idea. Re-use it! Freeze the leftover meats until you have enough. And make sure to keep all of its juices, gravy or whatever else that was with the meat.

Once you have enough different types of leftover meats, you can finally put them to good use by making these croquettes. As you will see the measurements were from the meats I had in the freezer. The main idea to to create a similar ratio of beef/poultry/pork.

And a big thank you to my Dancer who decorated the plates so beautifully!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of ground presunto / prosciutto or some type of salt cured meat
4 cups beef leftovers
5 cups of smoked turkey leftovers
4 cups of chicken leftovers
6 cups of pork leftovers
2 large onions
8 cloves garlic
For the Béchamel
2 bars of salted butter
4 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour
10 cups of milk
For frying
3 to 5 eggs
fine gluten-free breadcrumbs
oil to fry

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thaw all of the meats them grind them.
  2. Make the Béchamel sauce by first melting the butter in a large pot, then adding the flour and mixing well until attaining a smooth paste. Add the milk a cup at the time so to blend it all nicely, and stir constantly until you create a nice smooth cream.
  3. Add the meats and adjust with seasonings to taste.
  4. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove it from heat, let it cool then place it in the fridge overnight.
  6. Next day in the first bowl beat the eggs, in the second add the breadcrumbs.
  7. Create “tubes” with the meat paste, then pass them through eggs then the breadcrumbs and place them neatly in a tray to freeze them for an hour or so.
  8. Once frozen, you can immediately fry them, or put them in freezer bags to be fried at a later date.

Mac & Cheese #1

Mac & cheeseBack home in Europe we do not eat mac & cheese. I was first introduced to it from the box and I must say it was never up there in my list of yummy food. It tasted plasticky and not much flavor. Since, and thanks to becoming a recipe tester for Leite’s Culinaria, I was introduced to what REAL mac & cheese is about. I still had a few boxes at home, mostly for the kids, but from the moment I tried what Mac & Cheese is to taste like, I filled a bag with those boxes along with other canned and boxed items and brought it to the local food pantry (I know… if I would not eat it why bring it to the food pantry? well unfortunately they cannot accept home made goods, if not, trust me… I would be there EVERYDAY sharing our cookings with them!)

So here is one of the recipes I tried and since have made it many times. This is an awesome and easy recipe to make for a weeknight. Everyone absolutely loved it and the best part is that you can use this as a base then add whatever pleases your heart.

But no worries, this is not the only one. Hence the reason I call it #1 as there will be more!

Bacon Jam from Leite’s Culinaria

Bacon JamI made this recipe yesterday to find out how it would come out by cooking it in the crockpot. I used a 16oz. crockpot. I must say… it was torture to deal with the smell coming out from the kitchen while we were waiting for it to be made!

As you can see this recipe is extremely easy to make and follow. Much as suggested, I believe to just go ahead and double the recipe right away as you will not be disappointed, and well you can give some as gifts and will forever have a troupe of friends drooling over this jam!

To eat this jam for the first time I decided to make crepes and add a thin layer of the jam, them fold them into triangles and coat them with powdered sugar. Smart move if I may say myself. Even Izzy, the dog loved it as Princess would drop a few pieces onto the floor. I tell you though, three crepes with the jam and you will be filled for quite a few hours!

Crepes with Bacon Jam
Prince eating crepes with bacon jam

Thai Hot and Sour Soup

Thai Hot & Sour SoupWe all love Thai food. Last year we hosted a Thai student, therefore I ventured into cooking more Thai at home.

This was a recipe I tried from Leite’s Culinaria site. Everyone absolutely loved it, though I decided to remove some of its broth aside and add the spiciness onto it, then only my husband, the Thai student and I added it back to the soup. This way the soup for the dancer and the princess was not as spicy. The Thai student felt it was not as authentic as back home,yet she still loved it and made her miss home a little less.

Lettuce Soup

Lettuce SoupThis is one of my GrandMother’s favorite soups. So simple yet the taste is amazing and very delicate and just as good hot as cold for a warm summer day. If we ever have leftovers, the Dancer will go to the fridge first thing in the morning, grab  and drink it cold for breakfast!

INGREDIENTS

1 large iceberg lettuce head or 2 small ones (if you are to use other ones adjust their taste with a little extra sugar)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp of butter
1.5 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you are vegetarian)
1 cup of milk
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp of heavy cream OR Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1tsp of sugar
salt , pepper
1 cup of croutons (if desired)
a small bunch of parsley to decorate (if desired)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill a medium pan with water and salt, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Wash the lettuce leaves, slice them up into strips and put them for about 5 minutes in the boiling water.
  3. Remove them from the water and pass them through cold water.
  4. Mince the onions.
  5. In a medium size pan melt the butter add the onions and stir until they are translucent.
  6. Add 3/4 of the lettuce strips and add the stock and let it simmer in medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  7. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and the sugar.
  8. Stir for about 2 to 3 minutes then remove from heat.
  9. Put it in a blender to create a nice smooth cream.
  10. Add the milk then bring it back to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
  11. In a bowl beat the egg yolks and heavy cream, then slowly add a few spoons of the soup while mixing well.
  12. Add the whole thing to the soup and stir continuously until the the soup thickness up.
  13. Prior to serving add the leftover lettuce strips.
SUGGESTIONS
You can also add a few croutons, parsley leaves and a touch of heavy cream prior to serving.