Saturday, December 13, 2014

'Till We Meet Again

My Mother-in-Law passed away a few days ago.  She had cancer, but had been doing really well, and it still took us all by surprise.  I feel for my husband, his Dad, and his other family.  We'll miss her positive outlook, her infectious happiness, and the way she tried to make everyone feel good about themselves.  I once witnessed her meet a perfect stranger in the laundromat- a woman who was obviously having a really bad day and having a hard time physically and emotionally- and after talking to her just a few minutes, the woman was reduced to happy tears and they parted with big hugs.   She was so good with my kids, too; they loved spending time with her and looked forward to it.  She just tried to make everyone feel special and always seemed so happy, even going through cancer treatments.  Today is her funeral, and I can't be there, unfortunately.  We will all miss her, and look forward to seeing her again someday.

**This post and photos are property of **

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Massa Sovada (Portuguese Sweet Bread)

A while ago, I was missing the Azores and some of the food, so I made this homemade Massa Sovada Bread and Canja.  The kids were very excited to come home and find the dough in the kitchen.  In fact, they got into the action of punching it down.  They LOVED doing that, lol.  
You need to plan ahead for this quite a bit, as it takes all day long to rise.  Then, quite a long time to bake, since the loaves are so big. This wasn't quite like the Massa Sovada I had back in the Azores so often, but it was almost as good.  It might have been my fault; maybe I added too much flour or something.  But it was still very, very good.  (My homemade bread is never as light and fluffy as store-bought stuff.)  I've made this once before, but wanted to try another recipe this time.  

Massa Sovada (Portuguese Sweet Bread)
adapted from Azores Gal
I cut recipe in half- makes two round loaves
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
4 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 pounds flour
6 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze, optional

1.  In a saucepan combine the milk, salt, and lard and bring to a boil. Set aside.  In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 cup of the flour, and 1/2 cup warm water and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, with a whisk, combine the eggs, and sugar, and mix thoroughly. Add the milk mixture, yeast mixture, and remaining flour and thoroughly combine. (I kneaded here.) Set aside to rise, kneading 6 times every half hour. The bread will take 6 hours to rise.

3.  Prepare 2 round loaf pans with butter or lard. Divide the batter among the pans (pans should be half full). Press the dough evenly in the pan and let it rise again until it reaches the top of the pan.

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Brush with beaten egg and bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown. (I usually skip egg wash).

Yield: 2 loaves

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pics From Venice

We went to Venice recently (twice, actually!).  I've been wanting to go for a while, and we finally had a sunny Saturday.  It was great!  Venice is beautiful, of course.  We walked around, window shopped, and got pizza and gelato.  The first time we went, the gelato we got was pretty crappy.  I can get better gelato in my town at about 10 different shops, lol.  We did get some good stuff the second time around, though.  Anyway, here's a bunch of pictures... no more words.  :)

**This post and photos are property of **

Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala II

I liked this easy recipe that I made it twice in two weeks.  Most of my kids loved it too, especially my 8-year old, who kept going back for more.  I've made Indian food (even Tikka Masala) in the slow cooker before, and it was wonderful, but this is a super, super easy, dump and go type of recipe that still has great flavor. At the end, you stir in either heavy cream or coconut milk, and we really prefer the coconut milk. (We tried it both ways.)  The recipe calls for cutting up the chicken before adding it, but I skipped that and just pulled it apart with two forks after it was done cooking.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from the Kitchn

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts/tenders
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Plain Greek yogurt
2 cups cooked rice, to serve

1.  Place the chicken in your slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and  salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.

2.  Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, pull the chicken apart with two forks and stir in the heavy cream or coconut milk. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. (This really does work to thicken it!  I tried it with another recipe and it also worked.) Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.

3.  Serve over rice with Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

**This post and photos are property of **

Friday, November 21, 2014

Canja de Galinha (Portuguese Chicken & Rice Soup)

I have made Canja once before, when I first moved to the Azores.  I just used a regular Portuguese cookbook, though, not an Azorean one, and the recipes are quite different.  The one I made before was really simple and had mint.  This one is still simple, but more hearty.  This is the closest to the Canja from my fave Pastelaria there.  (I love that place, but they wouldn't give me their Canja recipe. Sheesh.)  I made homemade Massa Sovada- Portuguese Sweet Bread- to go with it.  I'll share that recipe later.  It's from the same blog.    I think the Pastelaria sometimes added chopped hard-boiled eggs to theirs, but I don't remember anymore.  :(
Canja de Galinha (Portuguese Chicken & Rice Soup)
adapted from Azores Gal

3 bay leaves
10 whole allspice
1 clove of garlic cut small/minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 of a chicken ( or whole if you wish)
1-2 teaspoons of sea salt ( salt and taste the water to your liking)
12 cups of water ( + 5 more cups, if needed to add during cooking the chicken)
½ cup of white rice (can use up to 1 cup) 
lemons, optional

1.  Put 12 cups of water, bay leaves, allspice, salt, garlic, onion, and chicken in a pot, cover with the lid. Bring to the boil. Let boil until chicken is cooked, about an hour. During cooking time, check to see if you need to add some water, as it will reduce as it boils. Remove the chicken when it's cooked, and shred or cut into bite-size pieces and set aside. 

2.  Taste the broth, and adjust the salt to your liking. To the broth now add in the rice, and let it cook for about 20 minutes, simmer on low heat. Do not cover with the lid, as this sometimes, will make it boil over. After the 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes, the rice will finish cooking. At this time add in the shredded chicken. It´s now ready to serve! You can squeeze some lemon juice in your bowl (this is the best!) or add a splash of vinegar.

**This post and photos are property of **

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

The other day I needed to use up some leftover baby spinach, and we hadn't had salad in a while, so I looked for an easy vinaigrette I could make to go with it.  I found this recipe for a whole salad and it Iwas delicious!!  I didn't mix the dressing with the salad, but let everyone add it at the table.  It would be good either way, though.  The apples, onions and bacon were wonderful flavors with the vinaigrette in this.
Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
adapted from My Recipes

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons minced shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard or spicy brown
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped Braeburn apple
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add  remaining ingredients; toss well to coat.  (Or can prepare vinaigrette in separate small bowl; salad in a bigger one; pass vinaigrette at the table for individual salads.)
**This post and photos are property of **

Monday, November 17, 2014

Japanese Dry Curry

My friend and I were chatting online a few weeks ago and she mentioned she was making "Dry Curry" for dinner.  I had no idea what that was, so I asked.  She is Japanese, and I have so many good recipes from her.  Yakisoba, Croquettes, Sushi, and she also taught me how to make Lumpia.  I'm missing her today, so I thought I'd post this recipe.  This is called a "dry" curry in that it's not saucy like a regular curry.  It's simple to make and a good weeknight dinner.
Japanese Dry Curry
adapted from Japanese Cooking 101 and my friend H.S.

1 tsp oil
1 lb (450g) ground beef
1 1/2 cup onion (minced)
1 cup green bell peppers (minced)
1 cup carrot (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced) (Can mince all veggies together in food processor- easy and saves time.)
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz = 800g)
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup raisin
Steamed Rice
4 hard boiled eggs (peeled & chopped)

1.  Heat oil in a pot and brown ground beef.  Add minced vegetables and saute for 5 minutes. Add curry powder and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except rice and eggs) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2.  Serve it over rice and top with chopped hard boiled eggs.
**This post and photos are property of **