With cancelled travel plans and stay-at-home mandates, I found myself trying to find a project to keep me busy these past three months; there is so much house cleaning one can do. While digging for a recipe I hadn’t cooked in awhile, inspiration came to me: how about writing a cookbook! Of course, I’m not a writer, so there was that. Right after dinner, I went online and googled “make your own cookbook”. This search returned million of results. Many good ideas and opportunities. In the end, photo sites like shutterfly and snapfish ended up being the most economical and easy for a novice like me; plus I’m familiar with both of these sites. The idea of a cookbook, with all our favorite recipes in one place started taking shape; this was a project that I could tackle. I could do this. I had handwritten notes, clippings of old recipes, new recipes, notes from family members, all in binders, some scanned and saved online, while others were paper clipped between pages of some of the cookbooks in my collection. I had plenty of material to get me started. Having it all in one 57-page book of family recipes was something I had never thought of, but now believe it will be great way to preserve and share some of those older and favorite recipes. Merged two of my great loves; books and food!
The book is a compilation of my Portuguese family recipes and our current favorites.
The recipes are broken into several sections: starters, entree, salads and soups, drinks and desserts. Included throughout, are stories behind the recipes, photos of family, friends, and photos of my small town in the Algarve.
Cannot wait to share the final product with my family and friends, and hear their thoughts.
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”James Beard
Here is one of my favorite recipes of cataplana, included in the book. This is a simple and delicious seafood starter, or add some pasta and you have dinner! Enjoy.
CATAPLANA is the most recognized dish in the Algarve, the most southern region in Portugal. It gets its name from the copper pot which is used to cook the dish in.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz linguica sausage or chorizo, sliced
1 shallot, sliced or small onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 lb fresh manila clams or mussels (or both)
1/2 lb large shrimp
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
Smoked paprika & bay leaf
Salt and pepper
chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
COOKING THE CATAPLANA:
- In a cataplana pan or shallow pot with cover, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook until softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add the clams, shrimp, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf and some paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and steam gently over medium to medium-low heat just until the clams open and the shrimp are pink, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with the remaining oil, chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
Serve directly out of the cataplana with baguette or similar bread.
Note: I normally enjoy this dish with a Vinho Verde, well chilled.