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October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE: Little Bites; Appetizers and Condiments; Soups; Sundries

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the October Cookbooks of the Month:

Appetizers and Condiments (The Food of Portugal), pages 81 – 94
Soups (The Food of Portugal), pages 95 – 122

Little Bites (The New Portuguese Table), pages 33-54
Soups (The New Portuguese Table), pages 55-78
Sundries (The New Portuguese Table), pages 231 – 247

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  1. Caldo Verde (New Portuguese Table p. 69)

    We started off Portuguese Month with Portugal's national dish, Caldo Verde. This soup was a huge hit. I used homemade duck stock, which had great body, and linguica sausage. I realized about halfway through the cooking process that I'd goofed at the Portuguese market and bought fresh linguica instead of cured. Oops. So I threw a few long links of the fresh linguica on the grill and sliced it into the soup after it was fully cooked. The kale I'd bought was already mostly chopped, so I did some additional rough chopping instead of doing the careful chiffonading you see in most pictures of caldo verde. DH is dubious about kale, so I used about half as much kale as the recipe directed.

    We loved this. The pureed potato base of the soup tastes familiar and homey, but it then goes off in an unexpected direction with the bitter overtones of the kale, the saltiness of the sausage and the hint of brightness from the cider vinegar (listed as optional, but I used it). Also, this soup gets better as it sits. Just a few hours after dinner, the saltiness and flavor of the sausage had worked through the rest of the soup. Really delicious. I would definitely make this again.

     
    1. Goat Cheese, Walnut, and Honey Triangles, New Portuguese Table, p. 48.

      This recipe produces 24 very nice medium-sized "little bites" for serving as an hors d'oeuvre at a drinks party or buffet. You roll out the two pieces of frozen puff pastry into two 15-by-13-inch rectangles, cut each into twelve 3-1/2 inch squares, and then drop into the center of each a rounded tsp of a mixture including 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 6 ounces fresh goat cheese, 1-3 TBS whole milk, 1 1/2 tsp minced thyme and an equal portion of minced rosemary leaves (fresh herbs are specified) along with 3/4 tsp grated lemon zest, s & p. You've blended all this in a bowl until the mixture is creamy but not runny. (I needed the full 3 TBS of milk to achieve this.)

      Then wet the edges of two adjacent sides of each triangle with an egg and water wash and fold the little squares into triangles. Press down firmly to seal well with fork-tines and let the pastries rest 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Brush the little triangles with more egg-water wash before baking for 15 minutes at 400 F or until golden and well puffed. Cool a bit, then drizzle the tops with a little honey and sprinkle with "flor de sel" (I used fine sea salt.)Serve warm. The honey is slightly, but not overly-sticky--don't douse the pastries.

      The result has an agreeable savory-sweet flavor from the topping, plus a nice herby cheese-chopped walnut texture for the stuffing. Next time I will use a more flavorful goat cheese--I felt my particular log of French goat cheese was too light in flavor. And I will up the herbs and zest a little. But all my guests seemed to enjoy them and they were easy to pick up by hand and eat!

      I made my pastries the night before and let them rest in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, until time to bake. I had baked a few ahead just to see how they worked, and I learned that the edges should be very well sealed before baking or the cheese-walnut mixture might leak out. I also learned that molding the soft unbaked puff-pastry over the stuffing and into triangles resulted in some slightly raggedy-looking shapes BUT they smoothed out and puffed up into attractive little triangles once they baked in the oven.

      1. Green Olive Dip, New Portuguese Table, p. 45.

        Surprise! (At least to me.) This method of making a "milk-mayonnaise" really works. You end up with a very light mayonnaise with no eggs whatsoever, and it's very easy to make. This particular dip is flavored with anchovy fillets, a clove of garlic, and some cilantro, first whirled with 1/3 cup of whole milk together in a mini-blender till minced. Then you slowly pour 3/4 cup of vegetable oil in--my mini-chopper has a little hole in the plastic top that delivers it in a thin stream--and in less than a minute the oil and seasonings have thickened into a delicate mayonnaise with a fresh green flavor. Just before serving, you stir in some chopped green olives and more cilantro and serve.
        A fresh dip/mayo for use as a spread for crackers or bread, to serve with crudites, or as a topping for grilled fish.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Goblin

          This method sounds so interesting, I feel compelled to try it. Thanks for your report, Goblin. How did you serve it?

          1. re: greeneggsnham

            Hi Greeneggs--
            I served this on flatbread and also on some slices of sturdy Pugliese bread. It makes a nice spread and might be good as a spread in a sandwich--sliced tomatoes maybe? I haven't actually tried it with crudités. The flavor would be nice but the texture is really more like a mayonnaise and might fall off the pieces of veggies on their way to one's mouth! But I haven't experimented with this, so it might be fine.
            I was just so surprised to find that the method actually works with just milk and oil. I used my mini-chopper (Kitchen-Aid) which is probably one of the most appreciated electric devices in my kitchen. The recipe says that a handheld blender also works. In any case, you want something with a small capacity.

          2. re: Goblin

            Maionese de Leite (Milk Mayonnaise), NPT

            Recipe here: http://leitesculinaria.com/32983/writ...

            I too made this condiment over this weekend. I dislike commercial mayonnaise, and while I like homemade mayonnaise, I rarely make it because it's hard for me to finish a batch before the raw egg goes off. So I was very drawn to this recipe, which contains no egg and thus lasts longer in the fridge. Plus, I thought this would be a good opportunity to use up that bottle of walnut oil that's been parked in my fridge for a good while now.... So milk mayonnaise it was, made with 1/2 cup walnut oil and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. I made it with an immersion blender in a 2-cup measuring cup as directed, and all came together as promised. The resulting mayonnaise is very tasty. The walnut flavor came through very well, and I flavored the mayo with sea salt and a bit of aleppo pepper along with some extra lemon juice. I used it as a frite sauce for some oven fries, which were served alongside bluefish fillets that I roasted with sage and green olives (a melissa clark recipe). The mayo was great with the fries and the fish. My only little issue was the texture -- it is quite a bit runnier than egg-based mayos I have made before. Did you encounter that too, Goblin? I wondered whether I needed to mix in a bit more oil to thicken it further (but I didn't want to) or whether I went too slowly and over-emulsified the sauce, or perhaps I started with a bit too much milk (I was in a rush and I'm not sure I measured properly).

            1. re: Westminstress

              I made a batch of this a while back (before the book was in COTM contention), using an immersion blender, although like Goblin my usual gadget for egg mayo is an MFP, and the results were very good, but definitely a tad looser than a traditional mayo. We were using it as a dip for salt-cod cakes so the texture wasn't an issue.

              If I recall correctly, though, the extra that I stuck in ajar in the fridge firmed up quite a bit. And I know I ended up using the left-overs on sandwiches. Although I kept thinking it would make a great base for the dressing on a cabbage salad.

              1. re: Westminstress

                Hi Westministress,

                I see that Qianning has helpfully replied to you just as I was going back to my green-olive milk-mayo to check on its texture after several days in the refrigerator!

                As Qianning says, there's no denying that this is a lighter take on mayo. In fact Leite refers to it it a "soft mayonnaise." My sauce hadn't separated under refrigeration, but neither had it firmed up much. It definitely has a softer texture than an egg-based mayonnaise, but I wouldn't call it exactly runny, at least not when I made it (followed the proportions given as exactly as I could, including using very cold milk.) The chopped green olives did give it some extra body and substance, sort of like a remoulade sauce.

                I think the idea of using milk-mayo as a base dressing on cabbage or perhaps beet salad makes sense too. BTW, my green-olive milk-mayo sauce had blended and mellowed in the fridge and was delicious on some toasted slices of baguettes.

                1. re: Westminstress

                  Westminstress, it is looser than jarred Hellman's mayo, for sure. What I do is either a.) add a tad more oil or b.) add a few drops of lemon juice. But if I'm not mistaken walnut oil has a thinner viscosity than olive oil, so that might have something to do with it. If you use more oil be careful, because there comes a point when too much oil will break the emotion.

                  1. re: David Leite

                    Thanks for the tip. I think you might be onto something with the walnut oil, as I have noticed it is thinner than my olive oil, for example. I don't have any neutral oils in stock at the moment so I had to get creative. I haven't minded the texture and we have been happily using up leftovers on sandwiches, in egg salad, and thinned with additional lemon juice to make a creamy salad dressing.

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      Oh I Like that add lemon idea, just curious how much lemon juice did you add? Back when I made it I really wanted to try adding more acid to make a salad dressing, but thought it might curdle. I take it that wasn't a problem?

                      1. re: qianning

                        You know, I don't know how much it was - and even if i could make a good guess, im also not sure how much mayo or salad I combined it with! But I had no issues with curdling. I just kind of combined it all to taste until the salad was pretty zippy. I wasn't sure if it would work but luckily it did.

                  2. re: Westminstress

                    Milk "Mayonnaise" (Maionese de Leite) - New Portuguese Table, p. 237

                    I made a batch of this last night as a component of the recipe for salt cod in a potato jacket. Although I've had this book since it was first released, I've never made this recipe, because I rarely have milk around. I decided to take a small risk, and see if the recipe would work with the raw light cream I get from a local farm. Oh, boy, did it work!

                    I made this with an immersion blender, in the tall plastic cup that comes with the blender. I used 1/2 cup safflower oil, and finished by drizzling in olive oil from the bottle (I didn't measure, but I'd say I used a bit less than 1/4 cup. I just went by feel. It could be that with the higher fat content of the cream, you don't need so much oil). Seasonings were as specified in the base recipe, just garlic, lemon, white pepper and salt.

                    I am so glad this worked with my raw cream! I've been looking for ways to use it up since I have to buy a half-gallon at a time, and I just added another way to my repertoire. The texture of my maionese was hard to compare to an egg-based version. Maybe somewhere between whipped cream and regular mayo would be the closest I can come to describing it. It continued to firm up after sitting at room temperature for about an hour. It was far too thick to be pourable, but still much lighter in texture than regular mayo. With only one clove of garlic, the garlic flavor was quite pronounced, almost too strong for my taste. I may prefer the less garlicky variations in the future.

                    I love to improvise dips, usually with a base of mayo and yoghurt or sour cream. This stuff will make a great base for dips on its own. There are the variations in the book, and then there is wherever my imagination takes me. I'm going to be having a lot of fun with this.

                  3. re: Goblin

                    Goblin, glad you liked the dip. It's one of my favorite recipes in the book. And...it really does work! Once you get the milk "mayo" part down, you can add just about anything to it. I never cease to amaze myself with what it can carry.

                  4. Green Soup (Caldo Verde) p. 97 from The Food of Portugal

                    This dish combines humble ingredients that are combines to create a hearty soup that provides sustenance and comfort.

                    This version consists of sautéed onions and garlic, sliced potatoes, water (not broth), rendered chorizo (Spanish for me), and kale. I made this the day before and the day of rest did wonders to deepen the flavors of the soup. We ate this with broa (a very dense corn bread) and this made for a very filling and satisfying meal.

                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BigSal

                      Caldo Verde, The Food of Portugal

                      This is a recipe that definitely grew on me. As BigSal describes, this is clearly a soup of humble origins with only onion, garlic, potato, water, greens and sausage. I used collards as my greens and Spanish chorizo as my sausage. When it was first done, I actually wasn't that impressed. It seems like the separate parts had not come together at all. My husband joked that I must be putting him on a diet, given the large proportion of greens. We ate it for dinner, but felt we were being virtuous more than being delighted.

                      But after a rest overnight in the fridge, the leftovers were much more compelling. The flavors came together much better. The greens mellowed a bit and the broth had taken on more of the flavors of the sausage. It no longer tasted so lean. Very nice as leftovers. Now I'm contemplating making another batch since its all gone. I would definitely recommend doing as BigSal did and planning to serve this the day after making.

                    2. Wow, David Leite is reading our recipe reviews and making helpful suggestions! I am psyched!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Goblin

                        Goblin. why of course! I want you to have the best experience you can, and I want to learn from every review!

                      2. Azorean Kale, Sausage and Bean Soup, the New Portuguese Table, pg. 71.

                        Usually I find the concept of Caldo Verde more appealing than the product (although reading Aravisea's review above, I may have to test that theory by trying Leite's version). Anyway, skimming through the book this Azorean version of a Kale soup with beans caught my eye. Glad it did, this made for a very homey tasty meal. Just right for that grey in the fall when the idea of central heat starts to call.

                        So, I made a half batch, subbing fresh shell beans for the dried kidney beans, and otherwise sticking to things pretty straight on. Leite points out that he likes the ration of chourico, which certainly adds flavor and heft, but what we really liked about the soup were the beef broth/bean/kale combination, they really balance out the chourico/garlic flavors and make for a delightful warming stew.

                         
                        1 Reply
                        1. re: qianning

                          qianning, so glad you like it. I'll tell Momma Leite.

                        2. Tuna Spread, Pg. 42, The New Portuguese Table
                          Pasta de Atum
                          http://www.wtnh.com/ct-style/in-the-k...

                          Well, this was nothing like what I expected. This is a creamy spreadable delight, full of flavor with caramelized diced onions, port, imported tuna in olive oil, lemon juice, hot sauce, kosher salt, and white pepper. Oh and did I mention 1 whole stick of unsalted butter? Add that in also. All the ingredients are blitzed in a food processor, put into a serving bowl, garnished with some minced parsley, then enjoyed with anything you want: toast points, crudites, crackers - anything anyway.

                          Because we were watching the Patriots game then segued to the Red Sox game we wanted something that wouldn't take too much prep and we could eat out of hand. I chose to make sandwiches using short light crust country rolls that I smeared on one cut side with a hefty helping of the pate, added a few lettuce leaves, threw in a couple of carrot shavings, then smooshed a couple of tomato slices on the other cut side. Washed down with Sam Adams Larger. Perfect. Especially since both teams won!

                          My notes: I made a few minor adjustments, namely the entire stick of butter minus two tablespoons, my guilt got the better of me so I held back; Tabasco instead of Piri Piri; I forgot to use white pepper and used freshly grated Tellycherry pepper; finally, used ruby port not tawny. Nevertheless the spread was delectable. After finishing two magnificent sandwiches my husband scooped the spread into lettuce cups, onto carrot sticks, then simply finished it all off with a spoon. Mr. Leite predicted this would happen. Now, of course, I must make it again using the proper ingredients... there's nothing else to do.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            Sounds wonderful; I'm definitely going to try this!

                            1. re: Gio

                              If you like the Tuna Spread, you might also love Batali's Smoked Trout Mousse. Also made in a food processor, just mix the first two ingredients until chunky. Then add the rest and process until smooth. Add a touch more lemon if needed. This must be the easiest and most delicious quick "nibble" you could ever make.

                              12 ounces smoked trout fillet
                              6 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
                              1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and roughly sliced
                              1/2 small red onion, peeled and roughly sliced
                              the zest of 1 lemon
                              2 tablespoons freshly sqeezed lemon juice
                              2 tablespoons brandy or Cognac
                              freshly cracked pepper to taste

                              1. re: smtucker

                                That does sound delicious, SMT. Many thanks for the recipe!

                              2. re: Gio

                                Sounds delightful! It reminds me of a Penelope Casas recipe from Tapas, but hers is much lighter on the butter. Now, I just need an excuse to indulge. Great idea to make it into a sandwich. Thanks for sharing.

                              3. Tonight will be lemon-mint chicken soup from The New Portuguese Table, page 66. Not yet completed. But I made the stock this morning and wanted to comment on that. I rarely make my own stock as I just don't have the storage space in my freezer, and the stock made as instructed on pg. 243 of the book is wonderfully rich. I two-thirded the recipe as we're only 2 people tonight (leftovers). But what flavor! I have a feeling this soup is going to be a huge winner :)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: alliegator

                                  The finished product did not disappoint. It was definitely rich with chicken flavor, but the brightness of the mint and lemon really stood out. This is the perfect soup for my fall days here in Arizona. A soup will sound good, but it still seems too warm out for a thick stew.
                                  Sadly I'm not the best photographer in the world, and my pic does not do this dish much justice. Sigh.

                                   
                                  1. re: alliegator

                                    Your picture is beautiful! I will have to make point of preparing the stock and this soup, as I have been quite happy with all the recipes from the book so far.

                                2. Roasted Garlic Butter with Madeira, The New Portuguese Table; p.241

                                  I made this to spread on my Madeiran Griddle Bread (p.190, TNPT) and it was a delicious change from the herb butter I've made in the past. I did add an extra clove of minced, raw garlic to the ingredients (olive oil, reduced Madeira, parsley, lemon zest, S&P and butter), and my Madeira was not a "driest" variety (Bual), but I really enjoyed the flavors and especially loved how the lemon gave it a wonderful brightness.

                                  I did need to take the ingredients out of the food processor and mix them by hand (the blades just "whirred" it all out to the sides of the bowl); maybe a mini-processor would have worked better. But, just a minor stumbling block. It was lovely on the griddle bread, but it would really be wonderful on any type of bread, or steamed vegetables, or even grilled meats.

                                  1. Piri-Piri Sauce - The New Portuguese Table, p. 233

                                    I'm sure some others must have made this, since it's a component of the popular shrimp recipe, but I don't see a write-up on the sauce itself. OK, there isn't a whole lot to write. You take some red chiles, white wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and salt, and you blend it up. The recipe calls for this to be done in a food processor, but I used an immersion blender. I did not strain the sauce. It's very simple, but had a bit of magic to it. I used this as a marinade for the shrimp recipe, which was excellent. I still have some left, so I'll report back on other uses later.