Thursday, February 17, 2011

Portuguese? yes please!

This week was Jeff’s turn to host soup night. His menu was inspired by his recent trip to California. Jeff was “stuck” in San Diego when Chicago got hit with a blizzard. After eating out for 8 days straight, a good friend of the Schneider’s, Skippy, invited him to a dinner party with his friend Carlos. Carlos made an authentic Portuguese Kale Soup. This week Jeff tried to recreate this soup from memory, and he didn’t stop there. He made several other Portuguese dishes to accompany it. Enjoy!

Garlic Dip
Roasted Tomato, Pepper and Cucumber Salad
Kale Soup
Zucchini, Ham, Basil and Ricotta Fritters
Apple Fritters

Garlic Dip

8oz cream cheese
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves mashed
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

Mix and serve with chips.

Roasted Tomato, Pepper and Cucumber Salad
Serves 4
*adapted from Serious Eats
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
3 plum tomatoes
1/4 olive oil
1 cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili paste
Salt and pepper

Turn the broiler on, and set the red and green bell peppers underneath. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly blackened on all sides. When done, place in a small plastic bag and let steam for a few minutes. Repeat with the tomatoes, but first lightly coat in olive oil. They will cook much quicker. Remove when lightly blackened all over and let cool on a tray. 

While the bell peppers and tomatoes cool, slice the cucumber into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set on a rack or on a paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes or so until they release some water. Dry with paper towels. 

Remove the bell peppers from the plastic bags when cooled. Peel off the skin, remove the stems, and chop into 1-inch squares. Repeat this process with the tomatoes, discarding most of the pulp. 

Toss the chopped bell peppers, tomato, and cucumbers in a large bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chili paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Eat right away, or let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavors to really marry.

Kale Soup
*adapted from Carlos
6 garlic cloves, mashed
4 tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 lbs precooked cubed yokon gold potatoes
1.5 liters vegetable broth
1 bushel of kale, chopped
1 16 oz. can kidney beans
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

chorizo, browned
chopped onions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, cook until they begin to brown. Add potatoes and vegetable broth.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and immersion blend. 

Add kale, cook for 2 minutes. Immersion blend. Add kidney beans, and cook until warm. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Garnish with chorizo and raw onion. Serve with crusty bread.

Zucchini, Ham, Basil and Ricotta Fritters

*adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup self-rising flour, sifted

2 eggs

1 1/2 tbs butter, melted 
1/3 cup milk

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1/4 cup torn basil leaves

2 2/3 oz. ham, cubed
1 zucchini, cut into long, thin strips

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

Place the flour eggs, butter, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Fold through the ricotta, basil, ham and zucchini. Place two tablespoon of the oil in a small frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add half of the mixture to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until bubbles appear on the surface. Set aside.

Add another two tablespoons of the oil and repeat with the remaining batter. Cut into wedges to serve.

Apple Fritters
*adapted from Cuisine

3 apples
3 tbsp castor sugar
60ml Anise del Mono or Sambuca
2 eggs
½ cup castor sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ cups plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
vegetable oil for frying

Peel, core and thinly slice apples in rounds of about 3mm. Sprinkle with sugar and pour over the anise liqueur. Toss and allow to stand for 1 hour.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, milk, olive oil and cinnamon. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. The mixture should then be a thick batter - if too thick adjust with a little more milk.

In a frying pan, heat enough oil to shallow-fry the apples. When the oil is very hot, dip the apple slices, one at a time, into the batter, remove and gently slide into the hot oil. Cook a few at a time, until puffed and golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels and dust with powder sugar. Serve with ice cream.

Beer and Wine Served

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