This morning we woke to 40 degree weather with a wind of around 18 mph. A good day for a warm and hearty stew recipe. I had all the ingredients for a wonderful Ratatouille so that is what I have made.
If you like zucchini and eggplant you will love this recipe. The cutting up of the veggies takes the most time, the cooking time is super fast and you end up with a very hearty meal.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Adobo seasoning
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2-3 bay leaves
6 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 large red pepper, sliced
1/2 large green pepper, sliced
1 large eggplant, cut into sticks
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, cut into long sticks
2 stalks of celery chopped including leaves
1/2 lb ground beef (use better quality)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Parsley chopped for garnish
Use part of the olive oil to sauté the beef with the dry herbs. Set meat aside on a plate when almost cooked. In the same pot add the balance of the olive oil and sauté the onions, celery and peppers for 2 minutes, add the balance of the veggies and cook just a few minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point you may need to add 1/4 cup of water but the veggies will release more of their own juices making more sauce. Add the ground beef and stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Check the tenderness of the veggies, they should hold their shape but be tender. This is the time to make adjustments to the seasoning, adding salt or pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a grating of Parmesan cheese. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This tastes even better the next day. You can serve over a baked potato or rice to make a more filling meal.
This recipe is from Sandy Hill who we met in South Miami years ago. We have lost contact over the years but this recipe has lasted the test of time. Of course I have made several additions to make it my own but the basic recipe is the same as when Sandy had Joe and I over for dinner back in the late 70’s.
I decided to make use of the fireplace and make our lunch in it today. I know I am starting to act like Mrs. Ingals on Little House on the Prairie (or Francis Mallmann for you foodies). This house does have two parrillas but I had a perfectly good fire going in the fireplace why would I want to make more work for myself. SO I wrapped a white potato and a boniato sweet potato in tin foil and dropped them under the grate on the hot coals.Then I took a beautiful piece of Rib Eye steak called Ojo de Bife Angus here and set it up next to the wood fire just above the hot embers. Lunch is served! I made a fresh chimichurri sauce to go with the steak as I had just purchased fresh cilantro as well as fresh parsley, added some spices, olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper and fresh lemon juice. YUMMY It looked great. It tasted great and I would make my steak this way again. And hey, potatoes are vegetables. And for dessert we shared an alfajor.
Something new for us are these little green squashes. Here they stuff these zapallitos with all sorts of things and bake. I bought several and used a few in my ratatouille recipe. Had two beauties left so I decided to make my own version of these little baked babies.
Oven Baked Zapallitos
2 nice sized Zapallitos – cut tops off. Remove interior add this to other ingredients
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 red onion cut up in small pieces
1/4 of a large red pepper
3 oz. ground pork
3 oz. ground beef
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
little cubes of cheese 2 oz or so
a few slices of mozzarella cheese for the top
Set the zapalittos aside. Place the olive oil to heat in a frying pan, add the oregano, garlic and sauté for one minute add the chopped meat and cook until the meat is no longer raw. Move to a plate. Add all the veggies and sauté for just a few minutes add the meat back and cook for just a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper and check to see if it needs more.
Add a few small cubes of cheese to the bottom on each squash. Add one large tablespoon of the filling, more cheese, continue filling until the mixture reaches the top of the squash. Press down to use all filling. Place the lid on top and put in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes. The squash shell should keep its shape. Right before serving remove the squash top and add a slice of mozzarella cheese. Put back in the oven and allow to melt.
Serve alone or with rice or mashed potatoes for a great lunch or dinner.
This milanesa is a pounded chicken breast. We have found that every food store, day market called a feria and even small tiendas called almacens have these tasty meats available. In Tienda Inglesia you can find them breaded ready to cook or already cooked and ready to eat. We found these above at our Sunday market all ready to be cooked. The first time we went to this market day so many of the older women were buying up packets of these – must have been for Sunday lunch with family. They looked like pretty experienced cooks so we decided to follow suit and buy a few for our Sunday lunch. Well they were wonderful, flavored bread crumbs or cracker crumbs on a thin piece of chicken breast, heat a bit of oil in a pan and sauté and you are ready to eat.
I would definitely buy these again. I covered mine in Bolognese sauce and some mozzarella cheese and Joe’s in Caruso sauce which is very popular here. Caruso sauce was first created in the 1950s in Uruguay by Raymundo Monti of the restaurant ‘Mario and Alberto’, located at the intersection of Constituyente and Tacuarembó Streets in Montevideo. Monti wanted to create a new recipe following the current traditions of Italian Cuisine. The dish was named in honor of the famous Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso (1873–1921) who was a popular figure in South America during his tours of the 1910s. It is a rich cream sauce with mushrooms and ham, it became known as Caruso sauce and is sold fresh in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores here.
Way back when we were just kids I had a good friend, Shiela Adelman. We lived in South Florida at the time and Sheila had a exercise studio where I taught aerobics classes. Besides being a great exercise instructor she was also a great cook.
She would use chicken wings for this recipe, I love using skinless chicken legs and other times I would use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Honestly the recipe will work with any cut of chicken.
Her recipe was just the ingredients, no quantities, so you can add additional amounts until you have this Sticky Asian BBQ sauce to your liking. This is how I make it now after years of tweaking it:Shiela’s Chicken Wing Sauce
1/2 C Ketchup
6 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C honey darker in color is more flavorful to me
1/4 C soy sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt (taste before adding salt the ketchup and soy sauce may give it all the salt it needs)
2 small slices of fresh red pepper or a dash of red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients together until the sugar is melted. Put your chicken wings, thighs or legs in the mixture and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Bake at 400 degrees F for 1 hour. The sauce should be thick and the chicken tender. Enjoy! Oh, and be sure to have a few napkins handy!
On Saturday we walked down to the Buceo Port as Joe was asking for fish. We got the salmon again, and just like the first time, it was fabulous.
All the fish looked good and even things like calamari, octopus and the mussels looked fresh and very appealing. Prices are in Uruguay Peso, convert to US Dollars by dividing the number on the card by .28. All of these prices are for a kilo which is a little over 2 pounds.
You can buy a whole fish or you can buy steaks or fillets.
There are two other stores including a store with local trinkets as well as a vegetable and fruit stand that carries spices, herbs, a few live herb plants and has a cooler with drinks.
A new addition from the other times we were there was a van backed up to the sidewalk and the back door opened. As you can see it had a variety of cheese, wine and salami.
Loving what you do, learning something new every day, working to have a good life, it all fits into our way of life. Before retirement we had time for so little, between work, taking care of a house, yard, Jennifer which was the best part…the days fell very short of hours, our lives were a constant rush here, rush there. Looking back I find it amazing that we accomplished as much as we did. So now I have the time to shop for the best quality in meats, vegetables and fruits. Taking my time and most of the time meal planning based on what is available.
We have been blessed to have lived in such abundant countries as the US, Panama, Ecuador and now Uruguay. Uruguay is known around the world for its delicious beef. I picked up a pound of tenderloin and found fresh beets with just perfect greens attached. That became our mid-day meal.
I cut the steaks into about 4 ounce portions, more than enough for Joe and I for our lunch. I brought water to a boil and after cleaning the greens cooked them in salted boiling water for just 2 minutes. When drained I added them to a frying pan that had a good glug of olive oil, chopped garlic, chopped shallots and chopped hot red pepper. Saute it for just a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and it was ready to serve. Dropped the steaks on a roaring hot frying pan and turned them in 3 minutes, cooking on the other side for just 2 minutes more. Set aside, top with a dab of butter, a sprinkling of chopped hot red peppers and we are ready.
Steak was tender, juicy and very flavorful. Loved the beet greens with their similar to mustard greens flavor they were a big hit. So next time when you see the leaves still on the beets, look for the freshest bunch and try this, you will get a nice addition to your next meal.
A quick walk from our apartment we come to the port in Buceo, Montevideo. At the port there are several fishmongers, a small fruit and vegetable stand, a trinket shop as well as El Italian Restaurant. Our first visit I saw the most beautiful salmon filet that looked fresh and I HAD TO HAVE IT.
The small fruit and veggie stand had some very nice green beans so that is what I bought to have with the salmon.
Most things here are sold by the kilo and that was not a problem with me because I was open for fresh fish for a few days in a row.
For lunch that day I made it with this outrageous Asian sauce. It had soy sauce, fresh grated ginger, garlic, a few slices of hot red pepper for a nice punch, honey (sorry I miss Eva Honey, Eva is our neighbor in San Clemente and that is the most flavorful honey I have ever had) a grind of salt and a bit of pepper. Heat that in a small sauce pan and top your sautéed salmon with it. YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY
So we had two nice pieces for our next lunch, yes I can eat fish every day of the week.
I served the same sauce but a bit more ja ja as I love the sauce as much as the fish. And I served it with a fresh salad and even added peach slices to the salad and made a yogurt dressing with a bit of honey and herbs and spice.
Well the salmon was a huge success and we will have it again very soon. One problem we really need to try more of the local fish as well. So we will see what I pick next.
PS I know this is farm raised in Chile. I know all about the antibiotics but honestly we just had to have it. We will not be eating it every day so once in awhile I will take the plunge and have salmon….
Last night before bed I was thinking what wonderfulness can I make tomorrow morning.
I have decided that we can eat “good for you” food every weekday but the weekends are special and we should have something even better. So Sundays I make something wonderful like Lobster Rolls or a Pork Tenderloin Roast with Homemade Sauerkraut and Root Veggies or a Moroccan Roast Chicken with Guava Paste. But Saturday morning should be special also. So I remembered making scones once before. The recipe was from a Rachael Ray cookbook and honestly it did not do it for me. So I got on the computer and found a recipe from All Recipes.
I of course made some changes and this is what I came up with:
Cranberry Walnut Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped nuts I used walnuts
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen or pretty hard
1/2 cup sour cream (fresh heavy cream with 1 teaspoon vinegar added)
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried cranberries (soaked in warm water for a few minutes and drained and patted dry)
1 tablespoon regular white sugar
Heat the oven to 400 F. In a medium-sized bowl mix the top 5 ingredients. Grate the butter into the flour mixture and with a pastry blender or two knives cut the butter into the flour mixture. Do not use your hands as it will melt the butter. Add the walnuts and mix well, place in the fridge until ready to add the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl add the sour cream or the cream and vinegar mixture and set aside. Add egg to cream and mix well.
Add your egg/cream mixture to your dry ingredients. With just a few strokes incorporate it – it will have dry ingredients that have not mixed well. No problem just turn out onto a work area (I use a large plastic place mat). With your hands knead gently until you have a soft dough. Do not overwork, you do not want to melt the butter pieces. Just a few strokes with your hands should incorporate it into a nice dough. Shape into a disk about 1/2 inch thick and approximately 7 inch diameter. Sprinkle top evenly with cranberries and pat into the dough. Sprinkle with the white sugar. Cut like a pie into 8 pieces.
Place on a baking sheet with parchment or another non-stick mat. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Watch that the bottom does not burn.
Serve hot with honey butter mixture or my favorite cream and honey.
Cream or Butter Sauce:
2 tablespoon butter or heavy cream
1 tablespoon light honey
Mix together and serve on the side with the hot scones.
Great with a good cup of coffee sitting on your porch watching the street come to life.
One day last week Gonzalo came by with a few orange sweet potatoes. I went pretty crazy as we seldom see orange sweets here. So I begged for him to find me more and yesterday he gave me a bag full of these orange beauties. I love the purple ones, don’t get me wrong, they are delicious and super sweet. But when making a sweet potato souffle where I add eggs and brown sugar the resulting color is really off-putting. The combination of the yellow egg yolks, brown sugar and purple potatoes turns almost black. Again not very appetizing.
I can remember our first Thanksgiving here, we were living in Salinas and were invited to Will’s Coco Bar for a traditional US style Thanksgiving. I decided to make my sweet potato souffle which is usually well received and finished off. It did not go over well. Honestly it tasted very similar to the ones I had made in the states but the color, it was scary. I ended up bringing home half a dish full and chucking it in the trash.
Today I have enough to make sweet potato fries. We will see how Joe likes them.
Joe loved them and they vanished.
I guess making friends with your vegetable vendor, the meat guy and the rest of the folks who come by on the street does make a big difference. Thanks Gonzalo, you are the best for finding these for me.