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Archive for March, 2008

In one sentence: the food and wine in Portugal are pretty good and cheap, both in stores and restaurants, and portions in the latter are generous.

The discoveries were presunto – a salt cured ham that is quite different from spanish jamon serrano and served cut into quite thick slices), broa – a cornmeal bread made with a combination of corn and wheat flours and is great with some quiejo da serra, a runny mountain cheese. I brought a small wheel of this cheese home – we bought it while driving through Serra da Estrella mountains where it is made.

Restaurants we visited and can recommend: A Cozinha in Coimbra for great consistent portuguese fare – we ate there several times, Pedro dos Leitoes in Mealhada for roasted suckling pig, and Pao de Trigo in Azoia for grilled sardines and other seafood: unexpectedly they also serve pimientos de padron – apparently these peppers belong in both spanish and portuguese cuisines.

Suckling Pig

Other pictures we made are of course flickered: Dining in Portugal.

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Ever since i saw a picture of a clambake by Gabrielle Hamilton served at her Prune i wanted to recreate the dish. Today finally made it, pretty much following a Jasper White’s recipe from his book (a simplified version is available online at Epicurious).

Forgot to buy chorizo and used cockles instead of steamers, and didn’t use lobsters (or eggs).  The clambake came out very nice. And fingerling potato were perfect for this. Some adjustments for the next time: 15 mins was just a bit much for mussels. I went sloppy with herbs (thyme and crushed fennel seeds) and didn’t bother to tie them and they were everywhere almost like a grit. Smoked paprika, bay leaves and lemon peel work nicely. I put everything in two plastic mesh bags (used to sell clams) and they somewhat got torn(melted) in couple of places where they were touching a pan. So probably cheesecloth will work better (intil i invest in a special clambake pan).

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More on my Favorite Dish

Just a short update on that favorite dish of mine. The latest incarnation was made with artichokes, scallops and sliced regular and smoked mozzarella.

Scallops worked perfectly, smoked mozzarella not at all.

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Noguchi Museum

i meant to post about our visit to Noguchi museum for quite a while. We went there couple of weeks ago on a windy and grey saturday.

Honestly i knew Noguchi only as a designer so was completely unprepared for his sculptural works – and the museum setting is magical. Though pieces in the open garden were plywooded (apparently for the season) we had plenty to see – and in fact for some sculptures grey skies and naked birches created a perfect backdrop. Besides we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

the are more pix on my flickr

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Perfecting the Dish

I keep making variations on my favorite Marcella’s recipe for artichokes baked with shrimp and cheese. Yesterday version was made with fingerling potatoes and was so good that i decided to write it down.

served with a nice carrot slaw with sliced kumquats and cayenne.

(more…)

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