The New Portuguese Table

green olive dip and chorizo tortilla

(We’re thrilled that this recipe is being featured at Oprah.com’s roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit Oprah.com today.)

I imagine Portugal is warm most of the year. That’s probably not true, and I’m worse in meteorology than I am in geography, so don’t trust me. That’s only how I imagine it.

I imagine slowly sloping wooden boats docked alongside rocks in tiny towns with sun-washed houses perched on blue water. There are European-looking cathedrals, with worn walls and faded stones. Green fields are dotted with trees that lean toward the ocean. Enormous piazzas stand empty, surrounded by architecture vaguely Spanish, sort of Italian. Craggy cliffs loom, daunting, over sparkling oceans.

Actually, I’m not telling the truth. Before this week, when we cooked out of David Leite’s incredible cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, I never imagined much about Portugal. How often did your fourth-grade teacher bring up Portuguese history? No one ever talked about Portuguese writers in my college classes. And in popular culture? My only references have been Portuguese water dogs, those shaggy dogs with hair over their eyes. And that cheesy late 80s movie, Mystic Pizza, where Julia Roberts had bushy eyebrows and a tangled mop of a mane of hair (hm. kind of like a Portuguese water dog, really). She and her screen sisters were supposed to be Portuguese American, so they talked in brazenly bad accents.

I’m not proud of this.

Thank goodness for David Leite. His cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, has taught me more about Portuguese culture than any news story ever has.

The New Portuguese Table illustrates lavishly just how well the Portuguese must eat. Grilled beef kebabs with Madeira, bay leaf, and garlic. Duck risotto with ham and sausage. Salt cod in potato jackets (and oh, the ooze of milk mayonnaise tumbling from the top of that potato). Sweet lemon and black olive wafers. Everything, and I mean everything, in this book will leave you hungry for days, until you leave the imagining behind and step into the kitchen.

The photographs left me breathless (and a little jealous, if you want to know the truth. Oh that I could ever capture food like Nuno Correia has here). The char on the lemon slice on the front cover made me hungry. The food looks that enticing.

(And it’s the photographs Correia took of the Portuguese countryside, the ones that are splashed throughout the book along with pictures of food, that inspired my writing at the top. Later note: I just discovered that David Leite took all the country photos in the book. David!)

However, I know why the photographs turned out so beautifully, besides the photographer’s skill. David Leite’s meals invite us all to the table. Plates of black-eyed peas with onions and red pepper, casserole dishes filled with braised partridge and roasted root vegetables, grilled chicken with crisp bits of skin, the warm orange of pumpkin soup in a soothing blue bowl — this is family food. These are dishes meant to be shared with a big group of people, elbows on the table, hands waving in the air while stories are told, spoons plunging in, and the only silence the sigh of happiness at the taste of that kale and sausage soup.

If you look through this book, and you aren’t hungry by the end of your perusal, I suggest you have your pulse checked.

That green olive dip on top? The one with anchovies, milk, cilantro, and green olives? I had to restrain myself from eating the entire bowl over the course of the evening I made it. We were having friends over the next day for a Halloween celebration, and I wanted them to taste it. I had to shove it in the back of the refrigerator to make myself forget it. (I couldn’t, though.)

And the chorizo tortilla up there? Danny stood next to me as I tried to snap that shot, late at night, in bad light, and he grew more irritated by the moment that I wasn’t done so we could just eat, already.

Little Bean ate three slices for breakfast the next day.

cheese-stuffed pork loin

David Leite writes recipes impeccably, with meticulous care, without seeming uptight. Some writers craft recipes painfully, like a math problem to be solved, and there are plenty of quadratic equations involved. David is clear in his instructions because he wants you to make these dishes successfully. But there’s personality in there too. “If the potatoes aren’t tender, toss again, bump up the oven to 450°, and finish roasting them.” You feel like David’s standing next to you in the kitchen, not watching over your shoulder to make sure you do it correctly, but leaning back against the counter with a glass of wine in his hand, encouraging you to trust your instincts.

(Maybe I’m partial to this because that’s how we have tried to write the recipes in our cookbook too.)

And so we both felt comfortable playing. When David’s recipe for cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin called for the tenderloin to be slathered with red-pepper paste, and we didn’t have any in the house, we threw in some spices we thought might echo the taste. And when the recipe called for a firm cheese, and we had just run out, we used our new favorite semi-soft cheese, Kurtwood’s Dinah cheese. Okay, so David was right. The hard cheese would have oozed, and this buttery wonder we love melted everywhere. Still, with some roasted parsnips and onions, plus boulangere potatoes just out of the oven? This was our favorite Sunday supper in weeks.

As David writes, “Pork is the undisputed king of meat in Portugal.” He discusses different types of Portuguese bacon, dried beans, various cheeses, cured meats, garlic, olives, and salt cod, among other vital ingredients in an essay called “The Portuguese Pantry.” I appreciated that he lay out the ingredients that mamas know how to pull out of the pantry and make into a familiar spread for the family. More than that, I was surprised to find that the essential ingredients of Portugal, a country I don’t know well at all, are pretty much the ingredients in our pantry. A few new purchases will give us new tastes. But we could cook out of this book without a trip to the city for bags full of ingredients we might not use again.

On top of all this, we found our new favorite Christmas cookie by adapting one from The New Portuguese Table. Need I say more?

We are putting the finishing touches on final edits for our cookbook this week. (I’m glad you can’t see the frazzled mess I am at the moment, as I type this.) Going through this arduous, incredible process has given Danny and me both an enormous respect for anyone who writes a cookbook. And The New Portuguese Table is one of the best I have read in years.

Maybe someday we will see Portugal with our own eyes. But until we reach those shores, I’ll take duck breast in black olive sauce, spicy pumpkin seeds, and eggs simmered in tomato sauce any day.

We think you’d love The New Portuguese Table too. Clarkson Potter sent us a copy of this one, and they have kindly offered to send two copies to readers here. Tell us stories about Portuguese food, if you have them. Or sitting at the table with your family. We’ll take comments until Saturday, November 7th.

spicy molasses cookies


Spicy Molasses Cookies (biscoitos de mel), adapted from
The New Portuguese Table
I knew immediately that I would like these cookies when I saw that David threw in ground fennel. Danny teases me about how much I love fennel, but the curious combination of sweet and savory, slight licorice smell drives me wild in every form. In a molasses cookie? You bet. (In fact, I have bumped up the fennel here, because I couldn’t taste it enough in the first version, which called for a pinch.)

We made three different batches of these until we found the version we like best. (oh darn.) The dance of spices with the shuffle of molasses was perfect right away. But our first cookies spread a bit, a little too soft for my liking. I wanted a thick cookie, crisp on the edges and soft in the center. That’s why we settled on a bit of cornstarch. I’m normally not a big fan, but it seemed to tighten the dough the way I wanted.

(If you are allergic to corn, you might try arrowroot powder here.)

Crisp against the teeth on the edges, these slowly become a soft molasses love in the middle. The next day, they lose the crisp and become softer. As our friend Matt wrote to us the day after trying them, “Those cookies were hands down bloody amazing cookies. Seriously some of the best cookies I have eaten, and let me tell you — I have eaten a fair few in my time.”

We’re clearly making these for Christmas this year.

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dark molasses

Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the xanthan and guar gum, the spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk them together. Set aside.

Creaming the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer (if possible), combine the softened butter and sugars. Mix them together well until they have nuzzled together to become one. Do not beat them for longer than 1 minute or so, because over-creaming the butter and sugar can cause gluten-free cookies to spread. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then drizzle in the molasses. When everything is incorporated, stop the mixer.

Finishing the dough. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on low between additions. Resist putting your finger in the dough to take a bite until you have added all the flour mixture.

Waiting, patiently. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before baking. Overnight is best.

Preparing to bake. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Baking the cookies. Roll dough about the size of a tablespoon (if you were measuring fast, then adding more to make sure the cookies are big enough) between your palms and place about 2inches from each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges have browned and the centers are firm but still yield a bit to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to them to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.

Now, dive in.

Makes about 24 cookies.

95 comments on “The New Portuguese Table

  1. Nina

    One of the things I missed out on as a child is my lack of family dinner time. We ate together until my parents got divorced and after that it was pretty much eat as you please. I want to revive that for my own family when I get married. I am currently writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. It begins with a huge table filled with people, stories, love, and food. I can’t wait to see how both my life and the novel play out.

  2. Diana

    I’m portuguese so reading this and seeing Portugal from your perspective was interesting. ;)

    You should definitely come here someday.

  3. Christine

    I keep meaning to pick up a copy, but after reading your review, I might have to move it to the top of my list! I’ve never been to Portugal, but I’ve visited Galicia in Spain several times, and I’ve been told there are a lot of similarities between Galician and Portuguese food. I just made the quintessential Galician dessert –Tarta de Santiago– for the first time last night, and now I’m curious to try David Leite’s Portuguese rendition (Almond Torte) from his website.

  4. Alana

    Can’t say that I know much about Portuguese food, but it looks divine. Sitting down at the table with family, though–that’s another story. I am so thankful to my parents that my family ate a home-cooked meal together almost every night as I was growing up. It definitely influenced how and why I choose to cook and eat now. I try to continue this tradition a bit with my housemates, although it seems that differing schedules get in the way. Our next house “family” dinner is this weekend, and I’m already excited.

  5. leedav

    I’ve been crushing on molasses cookies lately an think fennel would be a nice addition. Maybe anise too…

  6. Adrienne

    This book is alllll over my holiday wishlist this year! My family was adamant about everyone eating together well into high school (Italian, though, not Portugese). I fell out of the habit while living with roommates and ate a lot of meals in front of the tv, but now that I live with my boyfriend it feels like a family event again. I love sitting across the table from each other and talking about or days… and now I’m back to feeling guilty when I eat in front of the tv.

  7. cottagesweet

    Yummy. Just looking at the photos here was enough to make my hungry. I will definitely try the cookies. A few spice cookies sound awful good to me right now.

  8. Marisa

    My dad would always buy those molasses cookies in the red package when I was a kid. I hated them! Maybe it was my instinctual hate for things that made me feel ill (as I discovered after going gf that I hated pancakes, pizza, and all things doughy). I’m hoping to rekindle a like for molasses cookies now.

  9. Aran

    i grew up not far from Portugal and then later in my adult life, I was lucky enough to work outside of Lisbon for an entire summer in professional kitchen. The food is very similar to the food and ingredients I grew up with so it seems a bit like home to me when I read this review. I will have to definitely pick up the book!

  10. Engineer Baker

    This is the sort of book I want to buy and give to everyone for Christmas. What’s better than a cookbook that just *talks* to you? Plus, how can it be bad of it uses lots of chorizo? :) I love tortillas, so any variation on those makes me a happy person.

  11. Palmer Public Library

    Okay, I’ve never had Portugese food, but it looks yummy! :) I did get to study Portugal as a kid as the teacher assigned country studies by the initial of your first name. :)

    We always at dinner as a family. We could always invite friends, but we had to be there. A great tradition.

    Julia ROberts, etc. talk with a bad New England accent in Mystic Pizza, nothing to do with being Portugese-American.

    And finally, I like the new design of your website, except where it says “read more” and takes to back to the beginning of the post so you have to scroll down again to find where you left off.…

  12. TC

    Mmm, I loved reading about this. It brings back memories of holidaying in Portugal. My stand-out memory is eating chargrilled sardines on the harbour front. They couldn’t have been fresher, or more simply prepared, and my mouth is watering just thinking of them!

  13. Amanda

    We went to Portugal when my older son was ten months old, and I have such happy memories of him being welcomed into every restaurant we visited, taken on to the laps of perfect (safe) strangers, and being fed tidbits of all sorts, There were no children’s menus full of over salted, over sugared, over chemicalled food, just child size bites of everything we ate. What a perfect way to treat children and teach them to love food.

  14. Andrew, Erin, and Audrey in Alaska

    I was very fortunate that my parents forced us to eat dinner as a family every night. My sisters and I hated it at the time, but looking back on it, I am so thankful that they did. I look forward to eating dinner with my daughter every night as a family. I can’t wait to try new recipes and old favorites made gluten free.

  15. Shannon

    Yum. I really know nothing of Portuguese food, but I imagine that it would be spicy. I come from the land of the casserole de cream of mushroom soup, and am now spreading my wings so to speak.

  16. Kristin

    I feel very fortunate that my family is able to sit down to dinner together every night. My children are four and 18 months, so I don’t know how long that will last before they get busy social lives of their own, but I’m happy to have this time now, and with luck, always.

  17. Green Key

    I’m sure I’d have a hard time waiting for that chorizo tortilla too! OMG, it’s thing of beauty.
    Family dinner was a strict requirement in my childhood. We ate at 7:00 every night, always in the dining room with candles on the table, even if we were eating hot dogs and beans! There was a lot to love about those family dinners, but the whole scene was a little TOO formal, too tight. Marrying a young man whose parents came from the Italian countryside brought a whole different energy to our family dinners! My daughter was raised in a much more convivial, energetic atmosphere, that was probably much more like a Portuguese meal than the meals of my youth. I feel so sad when I hear about “the demise of the American family dinner” — every kid on a different sports team’s schedule, each family member wandering into the kitchen to microwave a different frozen meal. Good food, cooked together and shared with love is a major part of the glue that holds a family together. I wish everyone could enjoy it! (Oh, and I’d love to have a copy of this book!)

  18. andrea

    those cookies look so good. the way you describe them reminds me of the irresistable rosemary shortbread I made last Christmas (and will make again– even though I couldn’t stop eating them.) the torta looks good too. and the olive spread. I was in Portugal for a day or two when I was 12, with my grandparents on a packaged tour. I only remember shops with lots and lots of rooster statues.

  19. celia

    My husband and I just moved to Lisbon for a year! But I wasn’t able to bring lovely, big cookbooks across the pond with us. Alas, the weight limit on checked bags is harsh…and I had already packed so many books to read while here.…

    I’ve been even internet-recipe-dependent, and happily found David Leite’s website and already made his orange-olive oil cake. It is wonderful. But I really need to learn how to cook salt cod, because it’s everywhere! Apparently there are 365 recipes for it, and the Portuguese eat it at midnight on Christmas, so I’ve got a deadline.

  20. marianne

    There is a pretty big Portuguese community here in Montreal. There is a bakery/rotisserie on the corner of the block I used to live on, that made the best chicken sandwiches in the city. With drippings and spicy sauce on one of those bland crusty Portuguese buns. The lady who made them always gave my partner extra french fries. I think she was flirting, but hey, fries.

    Also: custard tarts.

  21. Jen

    I’ve had just enough Portuguese food to know I love it! I helped friends make a pot of Calo Verde and loved the complex flavors coming from just a few humble ingredients.

  22. Artemis

    Oh I’ve been to Spain but never Portugal… and haven’t yet tried the food!! But as for eating around the table with family… cooking in the kitchen with my slovak grandmother and two aunts and multitude of cousins to make delicious palachinka for breakfast!!

    The book looks beautiful, would love to see some more recipes :)

  23. Apron Thrift Girl

    I don’t have many Portuguese stories. Well…my best friend is Portuguese so I guess that counts. And of course there is the movie Love Actually with the yummy Colin Firth who learned Portuguese in order to win the heart of a woman who lives there. That was so romantic. Your green dip looks heavenly and I so look forward to making it.

  24. foodie ffanatic

    Family dinners (or brunches) are one of the great joys of my life. My mother was an excellent cook and baker. She handed down her love for all things culinary to me, my daughter, and my granddaughter. My mother’s gone now, but her recipes live on. We all cherish family meals together, and always use at least a couple of Mom’s recipes. It makes me feel like she’s with us, too.

  25. beyond

    a friend of mine was in lisbon a few months ago. she went to to restaurant famous for suckling pig. apparently it was delectable. i have been thinking about it ever since.

  26. Lily

    I don’t have any stories about Portuguese food, but I do have stories about my family. My boyfriend’s family doesn’t know me super-super well yet, and a few months ago his parents were set to take a ferry and come over for dinner. The apartment was a mess (I’d just moved in and my stuff was everywhere) and I was so freaked out I made the most basic thing I knew, that tasted good.

    I love mac and cheese. When I was 14 and got pulled off gluten I thought it was the end, forever. Till I learned about making cheese sauce. So I made home made mac and cheese, with all the ‘weird’ additions I love–mushrooms, a pepper, onions, lots of garlic, more of different kinds of onion, chicken, whatever spices met my fancy. So we sat among the moving boxes and this newly merged life together, eating home made mac and cheese and squeezed into the non-existent seating. And it was good.

    I’d love a copy of the book. It’ll give me something new to cook for his parents.

  27. Quoda

    Portugal is a beautiful place. I lived there for two months and it wasn’t long enough. I’d Skype my mother and tell here I was grading papers while overlooking the city of Lisbon and she’d accuse me of being on vacation… but I was working! I was teaching!

    I would have loved to stay longer. I enjoyed the food. Would love to have more of it. I was a pickier eater back then, so I think I would try even more now than I did then. I had duck for the first time there, with rice, for my birthday. I tried a couple salt cod dishes but didn’t care for it as much. Maybe I just didn’t find the right one. Since I was working with missionaries, I thought it prudent to avoid alcohol (my missionary friends would have been shocked if I imbibed!) but I would have loved to try the wine, too.

    Ah, I miss the place. I walked everywhere, drank lots of coffee, and marveled at the oddest pizza toppings I’d ever seen (tuna and corn!). What a lovely place. I should go back.

  28. Elizabeth

    I am 1/4 Portugese, but my grandfather was determined to be AMERICAN and would not speak of his families food or customs. I look Portuguese and have mystic experiences when I see photographs of Portuguese harbors. I’m ready to learn to cook the ethos of my ancestors.

  29. Me

    3/4 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup tapioca flour
    1/3 cup potato starch
    1/4 cup sweet rice flour
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup sweet rice flour

    You mention 1/4 cup sweet rice flour twice in the ingredients. Is this correct?

    Does this put me in the running for the cookbook?

  30. Quoda

    Oh, and I left out the best part! That’s where I got my sausage roaster! It’s this cute little ceramic dish with rungs on top… you put your sausage on the rungs, pour rubbing alcohol in the bottom, and light it up! It is apparently a quick and easy way to roast sausage when you’re away from home.

    Now I want to go get some chorizo and play with my sausage roaster again. Yum!

  31. Emily

    My mother is Portuguese and some of my favourite comfort food is portuguese, salt cod cakes and chorizo and rice pudding and other things I can’t describe in English, but don’t know how to spell the portuguese. This book sounds incredible, my mum has taught me some things, but it can be hard for me to come up with a starting point for calling up and asking how to cook this or that.

    I recently moved to place with a Brazilian place across the street which has some of the wonderful portuguese things I group with available and it just makes me so happy to see it.

  32. sweetpea

    I am glad to be confident enough in the kitchen to make reasonable adaptations to a recipe. Like Danny, I think you should work through a recipe exactly as written the first time around and go from there. But, when you find yourself missing an essential ingredient I is really nice to be able to figure out a substitution. I love what you did with these recipes, especially the pork. I would have to hide the olive dip as well. This looks like a really fun book to cook through but right now, it is all about The Soul of a New Cuisine. I am so happy to be cooking from such a wonderful perspective.

  33. Erin

    You have brought back such warm memories of Portugal. Blue skies against freshly painted white-washed houses. Massive cliffs too overlooking the ocean.We lived in Spain for 3 years and visited Portugal 9 times while there because we loved it so much. The waiters are professionals and can speak up to 6 languages. They make a game of guessing what nationality you are. We had delightful meals, especially when they serve family style, bringing out bowls of rice and vegetables. We loved the flavorful churri-churri sauce which I wish I could replicate at home. The Portuguese inspired us to eat healthy — they seemed to always choose fresh fruit to eat after their meals than a rich dessert. I hope you get to visit sometime and enjoy their hospitality.

  34. Alix

    Every Friday night my partner and I have started a “Friday Night Dinner” tradition with our friends. He and I make the food (he cooks, I make dessert) and our friends bring wine and beer and wonderful topics of dicussion. It’s the part of my week I look forward to most, when my favorite people commune at my table. This book sounds like it would be a great source of Friday night meals. Great review!

  35. Fiacha

    I had the opportunity to visit Portugal when I was studying in Spain and it was probably my favorite place I visited. It was so beautiful and people were so friendly even when my friends and I foolishly thought being able to speak Spanish would make it easier to understand Portuguese. SO DIFFERENT. The fish there was amazing. Mmm the Bacalao, salt cod. To die for. And even just going to a corner market, the variety of food they had was so amazing. I remember buying bread, honey, and goat cheese and picnicking in our hostel the night we arrived.

  36. molly

    I have no justification, really — I read Leite’s Culinaria for YEARS, then somewhere, between babe 2 and babe 3, it fell off my map. Dang it! Actually, hooray! Now I have lots of fabulous archives to sift through.

    Thanks for bringing me back to David’s fabulous script, and reminding me of this book. I don’t have an ounce of Portugese blood, but I DID make homemade korean short ribs tonight, and Indian Keema and ginger-garlic greens a few days prior, and would drop everything to make David’s potato and kale soup the moment it arrived. (Did I mention an unholy passion for chorizo in tortillas? My version is Basque, with smoked paprika. I would SO run a tortilla taste-test.) And anchovies. Love those salty, snarky little flavor bombs.

    So glad you brought this one to my attention. Happy eating!

    Molly

  37. suz

    My girlfriend is of Portuguese descent and had never visited the country. This past spring we had the opportunity to go. We sat in cafes and watched old women walk by as she talked about her grandma. We listened to Fado and ate and drank wine — one of older women who cooked came out and sang a song! We stood on the SE tip of Portugal, the end of the world in Columbus’ time and dreamt about the future. And she ran up to me in a gas station with a giant glass jar in her hand yelling “Yellow Beans! Yellow Beans!” while she told me about her mom making these beans (lupine beans I have since found out — if you ever get a chance to try them you should, they taste a bit like cheese curds to me) every easter.

    It’s amazing what food can do, even when it’s 3 generations away and passed down.

    Thanks for writing the review. If I don’t win the book (fingers crossed!) I’ll definitely be buying it as a Christmas present!

  38. sonya

    I was lucky enough to book passage on a small freighter years ago between New Bedford, Ma. and Lisbon. It was a childhood dream to cross the Atlantic, and I’m glad I was able to finagle it before that form of travel became completely obsolete. The trip was 2 weeks (including a few days stopover in the Azores), during which time the chef dove into his large stock of bacalao (which was stored in a huge pile outside, on the stern of the boat — that stuff is hardy!) for just about every meal except breakfast.

    But my main food memory of Portugal is of a meal that probably ranks as my all-time favorite: a simple plate of grilled cuttlefish that was so sweet, so succulent, so delicious, so perfect, that it is impossible to describe with accuracy.

    I’d love to add this cookbook to my library, it sounds wonderful!

  39. neen

    I am ignorant of all things Portuguese in the kitchen, but the things you mentioned all sounded really really good. I have to check this guy out.
    As for family meals? They were pretty much required by my 5 foot nuthin’ Grandma who had a cane to back up her orders! :)
    My older brothers never said a word and were always there on time. She’s also who taught me how to cook, so every time I find something new and tasty that I know she would have loved, I hate it that I can’t share it with her any more.

  40. Jenn Sutherland

    Oh my. Those cookies look amazing — molasses cookies have always been my favorite. In fact, molasses cookies, rolled into balls and then rolled in sugar are the very first cookies I remember learning to make with my mom. By age 10, I had that recipe memorized, and didn’t need to reference the tattered Betty cookbook to know what to do.

    We did always sit down to dinner together every night. And once a month, my brother and I each got to decide what the dinner plan was — we felt so special! And those dinners were far from fancy — french toast or pancakes for dinner, mac & cheese from the blue box with kielbasa, chipped beef on toast…but I have such fond memories of those “unhealthy” meals that we got to choose for ourselves. And now as an adult, I long for my mom’s beef stew or meltingly tender roast pork, which were never at the top of my list as a kid.

  41. katygirl

    Not that you have much time to read, I’m sure, but your mention of under-read Portuguese writers made me have to share. Jose Saramago is an incredible, unique, brilliant author who also happens to be Portuguese. can’t imagine anyone ever reading his book Blindness and afterwards being quite the same.

    Just had to put that out into the universe, just in case anyone’s looking for something to read…

  42. Tiffany

    One of my best friends is Portuguese. I remember watching his Mom in the kitchen for hours and bringing endless plates of food to the table. I never actually got a chance to try any of it though. I would love to surprise him with a Portuguese meal that we could both eat the next time I visit with him.

  43. Anna (londonfoodieny)

    One of my earliest food memories was age 4 on a family holiday in Portugal. We had fresh sardines on a restaurant on the beach,straight from the grill– i remember we just kept ordering them and mum was so amazed that my siblings and I were eating fish so she just kept ordering and removing bones for us! Years later we went back and we were all trying to remember where that amazing place was that we’d had the sardines. This sounds like an amazing book– i love a good thorough review before I buy!

  44. Shirin

    First of all I have to say that I first visited your site when a friend was diagnosed with celiac to learn more and to figure out how to still have dinner parties with tasty food that would not make her sick—thank you!

    I’ve never been to Portugal but family dinner I know a lot about. As children, no matter where we were, we all came home for dinner, and our dinner table was always open to our friends. Often times we had to pull up chairs to the dinner table to accomodate everyone and sometimes some eggs were fried up to supplement the dinner. Sometimes dinner would stretch into hours and along the way plates were cleared and fruit was brought out. I am so lucky to have such generous and kind parents and hope that I can continue the same traditions at my own table. I miss those days now that I live away from my family and look forward to sitting around the Thanksgiving table in a few weeks.

  45. Kate

    In this year of recession cooking I’m relying on cookbooks like this to take me places my wallet can’t. Mediterranean cooking in any form — Israeli, Turkish, Arab, Italian, Greek — has always been my favorite, but I admit to being woefully ignorant of Portuguese and Spanish cookery. And as a (recently) former vegetarian, I’m looking forward to trying out some pork dishes from the Iberian Peninsula.

  46. La Niña

    Not being Portuguese, or having traveled there, I don’t have authentic experience… but I did spend a crazy summer as a waitress in Martha’s Vineyard in a now non-existent place that was called “The Brass Bass.” Our chef, Larry Linquata, and sous-chef, Fella were Portuguese by way of Massachusetts. They loved to tease me, and my friend and fellow waitress, Janet to no end.

    Sadly, Janet, who looked like she could be my twin, died of cancer at around age 40. Instead of family memories, I have fond memories of the night that Janet and I made a lobster dinner for her visiting mother, and we spiked the butter sauce. I won’t say what with, but Janet’s mom talked long into the night.

    I think Fella is still cooking on the Vineyard-doing New England clam bakes. It’s so wonderful how food brings back great, or weird memories.

    A shout out to that other “Nina”- as I am a Nina, too, and have been for 47 years now ;-) I’m also doing NaNoWriMo. Best of luck to you!

    and thanks, as always Shauna… see you soon , I hope– love to you all.

  47. Ryann

    I come from a Portuguese family (on both sides), and nearly all of my favourite childhood memories have to do with making Portuguese food with my (very!) Portuguese maternal grandmother. Every easter we’d spend days labouring in the kitchen making sweet bread (with hard boiled eggs in each one!). At Christmas we’d buy several crabs and shrimp to make spicey Portuguese shrimp. And then there’s the bbq’d sardines at every birthday party — a taste you’ll never forget.

    My grandmother passed away in May 2008, but we’d lost her to Alzheimers years ago. I have a lot of regret that I didn’t spend time with her documenting her recipes before she passed. I’m sad that the wonderful Portuguese food of my childhood died with my grandma. So I’m curious to check out the cookbook you’ve recommended, to see if it can measure up to grandma’s cooking. I’ll let you know! :)

  48. Ann

    My sweetie is Portuguese-Irish, by way of Rhode Island. When he came to live here in Washington with me, I was perplexed to hear him talk about linguisa rolls. Sausage chunks in bread? Apparently it was something he grew up with, courtesy of his Portuguese heritage. Of the “port-a-gee” (how his family pronounces it) foods he grew up with, this seems to be the one he didn’t want to do without. So I learned to do it, first with gluten, before I was diagnosed, and now I do it based on my Brazilian cheese bread recipe! Tell me that doesn’t have a certain serendipity. Anyhow, they’re divine, but they’re just one way to bring him a taste of home. Having grown up with kielbasa and potatoes, with a Pollock-German mother, his childhood food is a stretch for me. But there’s just nothing like feeding him a memory.

  49. Banannas

    My love for Portuguese food is tied to an old friend and his family. While those savory dishes at their dinner table were all delicious, my favorite part was dessert, especially when there was pastéis de nata. It was the only silent part of the meal, all of us sitting there, bellies full, munching our little sweets and sipping at fresh espresso. Snippet of heaven!

  50. emily

    Portuguese food is one type of food I haven’t had the fortune of exploring. I adore all types of food, and knowing that I like classic Spanish along with all the other types of “Latino” foods out there makes the Portuguese foods even more intriguing.

  51. Christina

    I’ve never had Portuguese food before, but I’d love to try. I think my kids would too. Every year we pick one type of food to really focus on and learn how to cook well. I figure if I do this by the time they leave the house, they’ll have a pretty good idea how to cook. The year they picked Mexican food we made some wonderful corn tortillas and now we never buy them. This year they picked French. After learning that my daughter is gluten sensitive, we didn’t make the croissants, but there were some other wonderful recipes to try. I imagine if I bought this cookbook, they might pick Portuguese food next!

  52. Sarah

    Oh, *swoon*! I have a soft spot in my heart for Portugal and the Portuguese people. My husband and I spent our honeymoon driving from the north to Lisboa and eating up the beautiful scenery, food and hospitality. We especially loved the north and feel hard for a local wine, vinho verde. My favorite memory was being invited to a very small village party and having all the locals try to guess whose extended family we belonged (as it was inconceivable we were basically strangers.) They served fresh sardines crusted with large granules of sea salt right off the grill and finished the night with a cauldron of caldo verde, someone’s famous kale and chorizo soup. I would love to learn how to make some Portuguese recipes to revive that wonderful week for my husband and I. Thanks for the amazing post and giveaway.

    As a side note: I would love to make these fennel cookies, so I was wondering if you could tell me the quantity of (I’m guessing all-purpose) flour the original recipe called for. It would be much appreciated!

  53. Anonymous

    ooh, that book is def going on my wish list. thanks for the rec! Love love love Portuguese food — especially caldo verde and pasteis de natas. Actually any P sweets :)

  54. roberta pellizzoli

    My sweetest memory of a Portuguese table is a Mozambican one: Christmas 2007 in Maputo, I was taking a break from my fieldwork and was invited by friends to have dinner on a big terrace at the 12th floor of an old damaged building. Among the many servings, there was bacalhao with chickpeas, potatoes, onions and black olives — I can still savour it. I have been to Portugal a few times after that, but the Portuguese table, for me, is a Mozambican one — of friends and food and dances in a warm Christmas night.

  55. Jun

    My favorite memory of Portuguese food happened not in Portugal, but in Macau! We has just spent the whole day wandering around and getting spectacularly lost, and decided to end our day with dinner at A Lorcha. Goodness, their clams with fresh bread to soak up any left over sauce were amazing :) I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.

  56. suzy

    I was in Portugal a number of years ago (to celebrate finishing a ph.d. program) and remember the grilled sardines, the very fresh seafood at little restaurants on the beach outside of Lisbon, sparkly vinho verde, delicious port. I want to go again. Now.

  57. The Golden Papaya

    I’ve mostly experienced Portuguese food secondhand, in the two former Portuguese colonies where I’ve lived (Cape Verde, and Brazil, where I live now). Choriço–yum! I’d love to find out more about the culinary heritage of these places, though.

  58. Gluten free Kay

    Now I am interested in visiting Portugal, too!

    The Portugese island of Medeira has topped my list of ultimate destinations for many, many years. I haven’t arranged my trip yet because I really want to stay a whole year. I’d just have to experience the waxing and waning of the growing seasons and the fishing seasons.

    They grow EVERYTHING on the island! In one photo of a small garden there were reeds they use to weave baskets, a coffee tree, colorful lettuces, early beets and carrots. I won over instantly.

    And, of course, there’s Medeira wine, fortified to last the long ship ride to the motherland.

    Mmmmm. I can almost feel the salt breeze on my face …

  59. Jessie

    Here in DC, there’s a chicken restaurant that serves South African food from Portuguese origins, and it’s delicious! I’d love to learn more about the original Portuguese dishes.

  60. S

    My husband and I visited Portugal for the first time this summer. We especially loved the wonderful, wonderful pastries that you could find everywhere. Can’t wait to take a look at this book!

  61. belle_n_pete

    I did not go to Portugal; I was pulled there for love of the Lusitano horse. One touch, and my hands were permanently tangled in their water-soft manes. One look, and my questing spirit recognized its friend and partner in their shining, depthless hearts. One eager trill of hooves on causeway planking, and my feet were lifted, moved to sailing, soaring, flying, inspired and powered by legs as delicate as sea foam, yet as enduring as the sea.

    We crossed America undaunted. We crossed the Atlantic unaided. We leapt the gold-washed beaches of the Algarve, and I wondered if we would gallop on forever, as swift and delighting as a following breeze. But then my wild hosts careened into a valley, calmed, and subsided in a crumbling stone courtyard headed with a single blue-painted stable door. I followed them inside, and for a too-short, endless summer, I swam in the ocean soul of Portugal, let its brilliant, mighty buoyancy carry me to lands too new and too beautiful for me to have dared to dream, and slept in perfect peace in a thousand castles of sun and stars, watched over by eyes too kind and hearts too great for any words I know to shape their names.

    Ask me what I ate, and I’ll tell you what sustained me: sliced eggs, unpeeled carrots, and the occasional handful of spilled oats, shared with my best, beloved four-legged friends. I don’t believe that a better meal exists, even in glittering, wonder-swept Portugal. Still, I would love to take a leisurely, long canter through a copy of The Portuguese Table and – perhaps – be proven wrong. :)

  62. Ellemay

    One of my good friends comes from a Portuguese family. She was kind enough to share some of her family recipes with me one day.
    This was after she sat her mum down and squeezed the family recipes out of her. Apparently they measure everything using soup spoons.

    Anyway, the food was awesome and I have yet to find a good portuguese cookbook to add to my collection

  63. babyjenks

    my parents still talk about their honeymoon that took them through portugal. i haven’t made it there yet, but i’d like to even more now that i’ve read your review of this book! the cookies are now at the top of my winter baking list, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  64. celia

    PS. Here’s our blog of our year in Lisbon!

    alfacinhas.wordpress.com

    We just got married a few months ago, and so this year is the best honeymoon ever.

  65. Mama JJ

    I don’t know much about Portuguese food, but I’d like to! We sit around the table morning, noon and night. I make most meals from scratch and I’m always trying something new (occasionally to the frustration of the rest of the family).

  66. Ana

    So far the only portuguese food I’ve had is at a local portuguese restaurant, I’d love to see what OTHER foods are there than the paella we love!! This book is going on my amazon wishlist…

  67. jbeach

    Mmmm mmm mmm. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I heard David talk about some of the recipes on a podcast — either Good Food or The Splendid Table, I can’t recall. [I think it was The Splendid Table.] That roasted red pepper spread sounds like I something I need to have on hand at all times.
    Your pictures and descriptions of the green olive dip and chorizo tortilla make my tastebuds tingle!!

    I have very little experience with eating or preparing Portuguese food, but am hoping to flip that script with this book…thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    As Thanksgiving approaches, I fondly recall my multi-ethnic meals shared with my Korean mother, American father, and their friends. We’d feast on turkey with my dad’s mom’s famous hamburger stuffing with Bell’s seasoning alongside steaming bowls of dwenjang soup [bean curd paste soup with white radish and greens]. Can’t wait to recreate those meals with my own family someday.

  68. Lyndie

    My family is from the Azores, and where we grew up in Northern California, there is a heavy Portuguese population and culture. My favorite time of year is Festa time. The Festa is a one day event where the men cook the meat (Sopish) for days and then on feast day everyone comes from miles around to enjoy the sopish, drink, and company. Everything is completely free and there is a huge sense of community and joy!

  69. Rachel

    My grandmother lived with us when I was young, so despite having parents who both worked, there was always a (lovingly) home-cooked meal. every night of the week. I still find it amazing how intimate sharing a meal can be.
    Now that I’m newly married, I’d like to re-kindle that tradition of coming to the table each evening. (Perhaps I ought to put an ottoman in the dining room, so DH and i can prop our feet up as we eat!)

  70. Shuku

    The Portugese were an integral part of my country’s history; as children, our school books always referenced Spain, England, the Dutch, and the Portugese. We thought the faraway places and names completely exotic in every wrong sense of the word, but we didn’t think any of it was –that– important. We were, after all, children and we had every child’s dislike of memorizing dates and events.

    What we didn’t realise of course was that each culture affected ours in ways that we didn’t even realise. There is a Portugese settlement in Malacca still, and some of my friends are Portugese-Chinese descendents from those mixed marriages so long ago. I grew up eating a great deal of Portugese-influenced local cuisine; I didn’t tumble to this until years later when I started reading up on local dishes.

    My favourite Portugese food? It’s difficult to say — so much of my food memories are composites of culturally-influenced cuisines during my childhood. But if I had to name one, without hesitation it would be Pao Doce, a sweet Portugese bread. It was one of the first breads I baked when I was in university, before I was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. I can still remember the soft crumb and delicate sweetness from that first mouthful, and the wonderful feeling of contented achievement.

    I would love to have a copy of the book, so I can continue learning more about one of the cuisines I unwittingly grew up with.

  71. Clumbsy Cookie

    I’m Portuguese and so proud of our food! I’m glad you enjoyed it, it’s nice to see it here featured in your blog :)

  72. Christine

    Wow that book sounds amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to go to Portugal so much in my life!

    As for Portuguese food, my mother cooked most of our meals from scratch growing up. But the occasional and my favorite take-out food came from a Portuguese restaurant that my father would pass on his way home: Salt cod w/ potatoes, gorgeous roast chicken and maybe the most delicious rice I’ve ever had in my life. I would LOVE to get the chance to recreate some, any of those recipes.

    Thanks Shauna, and I think a trip to the bookstore is in order, win or lose.

  73. momma rae

    i love eating meals together as a family! i know nothing except what i have read here about portugese food…but you have me salivating!! thanks for the opportunity!! :)

  74. miranda c

    My family was a tv and dinner family. :( not so much talk and enjoyment. Now I can tell you My father was a this and that cook and as soon as I could manage I cooked with him. I became enamored with cooking when I was very young. The smells, tastes, textures and the warm kitchen were what life was all about. They still are. These days I am married, we have our first home and our friends and family know my kitchen is my sanctuary. I am so happy for these things in my life. If not for my family, my dad teaching me and my love of cooking, my gluten free diet would be a nightmare. Thanks to these things I see it as learning new recipes. Which excites me. Still I miss baking bread with my dad in the toasty warm kitchen with its lovely smells.

  75. Mair

    I live in New Jersey. Newark has so many portuguese restaurants you can’t shake a stick without hitting one. I dated someone who was going to college there, so we sampled many. The best were the ones nestled in neighborhoods, off the main roads. Paella, garlic shrimp, strong delicious sangria, and the tortillas. Oh my. If you come to the New York area for business, try to get over to Newark and try one of the restaurants. So good.

  76. theater simpleton

    Ohhh… I love Portuguese food! I think it is genetic, since my Dad was “Black Irish”, a term frequently given to the decendents of the shipwrecked sailors on Irish shores..
    For one of my Mom and Dad’s last rips, they went with their gourmet group of 20+ years to Spain and Portugal, 3 weeks in Spain, one week in Portugal, and my dad on returning, said he would totally have taken 4 weeks in Portugal and missed Spain entirely because of the amazing food and community. Even my mother, language-challenged as she is (‘cafe con leche’ was the extent of her Spanish — and it frequently sounded like “coffee can litchi”) loooooved the country.

    I had seen the pic of the tortilla, and I was afire with envy, since it looked SO DELICIOUS. Oh, I hope I am the lucky drawn name, so I can make some tastes and flavors that had made my mom and dad so happy!
    (since I can’t afford a trip to Portugal just now. LOL)
    Hmmm

  77. Laura

    portugal is one of the friendliest places i have ever been lucky enough to visit. whether in the picturesque town of porto, filled to the brim with amazing port lodges; or the twisty, windy streets of the party district (bairro alto) in downtown lisbon, i have felt welcomed with open arms by the locals. we have loved the food too — it’s simple and generous, filled with big flavors that invite you to wash the mouthfuls down with copious amounts of red table wine and beg to be followed with some of that delicious tawny port. thank you for writing about this book! i’d love to check it out.

  78. Becca

    I have to say, I know little to nothing about Portugal and Portuguese food. I didn’t even remember that the family in Mystic Pizza were supposed to be Portuguese American. But your description of this cookbook makes me want to learn more.
    I do, however, know about family dinners. I am so grateful that my family ate all our dinners together while I was growing up. I know that I was blessed to have such an upbringing. Now that I live on the opposite side of the country from my family I still try to bring the family dinner feel to my home. No matter how our schedules conflict, my roommate and I always manage to have a meal together to wrap up our days. It helps make this isolated place a little more like home.
    Please enter me into the draw for David Leite’s cookbook. I’d love to try it out at one of my new family dinners.

  79. sachita

    Oh, everything there looks so good! I’m in Portland, OR now, but grew up in Fall River, MA — where there is a very large Portugese population. Though I am french and polish, and have plenty of recipes from those heritages, Portugese food seemed to find it’s way into everybody’s traditions. We use chorizo or linguica in my family’s clam bake, the local greek pizzaria had pizzas topped with the same. I bring some back from Amarals everytime I go home for a visit. My favorite dish was one a co-workers husband would make and she would bring in for lunch to share — chicken, chorizo, potatoes and green beans in a tomato broth, such good comfort food and the potatoes soaked up all the flavors, yum!

  80. Glenn+Jenn+Owen+Ian

    Would love to serve up some of this yummy goodness at my own table…and remember memories of my own trip to Lisbon and smaller cities, almond trees blooming, the shining sea…beautiful. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jennmckim at hotmail dot com

  81. Sharon

    The first Friday of each month, a few of us “singles” have a shared supper. Yesterday evening, my friend Pat and I were the only two who showed up, along with her grandson, a kindergartener. We had a small meal and enjoyed visiting and spending the evening together. I brought a rotisserie chicken and red grapes and Pat brought a beef roast she had cooked in a crockpot while she was at work, which was delicious. We also had warm peppermint tea. Her grandson is a delight. [He was with her because his parents were on a date.]
    We finished the evening chatting with our hostess who finally got home from work (Pat has a key and had let us into the home) and watching the sweet boy jump on the hostess’s mini-trampoline in the middle of the living room. It was a sweet time, a shared supper, and a respite at the end of a challenging week.

    Thanks for all you share with us.
    Sharon

  82. Mrs. Ordinary

    My husband and I lived in Portugal for a spell and I’m always looking for ways to get back. To sit down and eat a home-cooked meal of bacalhau com natas or a perfectly grilled redfish. Even presunto with melon as an appetizer. You have me checking ticket prices already!

  83. CKN

    In my 20s, I cycled thorough France and the Iberian Peninsula. My favourite place by far was Portugal. The people were warm and friendly, the landscape and vistas beautiful. The language is not for the faint of heart. It is a country with a long history that has been influenced by many events and cultures.

    During our travels we stayed in “campings” – the European word for a park or campsite. In the camping outside of Lisbon, our neighbours invited my husband and I to dine with them one evening. They made a simple green salad and they grilled fresh sardinas (sardines) on their barbeque. The preparation of the sardines seemed unremarkable. The fish were gutted, salted and simply grilled whole. But I have never tasted anything so wonderful.

    I live in Toronto, Canada. There are 3 million people in this city all from varied cultures and countries. We have the restaurants to match. I’ve searched for Portuguese grilled sardines here but I always seem to come up disappointed. Perhaps there is no substitute and I have no option but to return to Portugal to relive this culinary memory.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  84. amy

    My boyfriend’s parents come from the Azores – the Portuguese islands 1/3 of the way from Lisbon to New York. Growing up on isolated islands & having strong, deeply rooted food traditions has made them, well, what’s a nice way to say closed minded about other types of cuisine? Very good cooks when it comes to Portuguese food. Very, very good cooks. They now live in the US, but their kitchen is a factory of mouthwatering Portuguese dishes.

    Going to their house is a delicious experience — a lesson in indulgence & stomach expansion. There is always a bounty of food, & everything is made from scratch (even the chorizo!): Carne Asada (the Azorean version is a rich stew with beef, chorizo, potatoes, carrots, garlic, wine & pimente muida (red pepper paste)), caldo verde (potato soup with greens & chorizo), Chicken with pimente muida, assorted Azorean cheeses, & unbelievable baked goods for intermittent snacking & desserts. For breakfast, always a bosh leves (imagine a bigger, sweeter & fluffier version of an English muffin), top it with butter or cheese — delicious!

    When extended family is around, everyone is working towards preparing the meal, but my boyfriend’s dad is really the King. The kitchen is his domain & everyone knows it. He is physically a very large man, but his presence is even larger. In fact, he is the man in charge of the kitchen every year at an Azorean religious festival held near where they live – he makes the tasty food that about 1,000 festival participants enjoy for free. I had the pleasure of assisting in the festival’s kitchen one year.

    With his proven track record in making delicious food, his never-questioned dominance of the kitchen & his narrow food tastes, he is mystified at the overflowing spice rack my boyfriend & I have in our kitchen. Nevermind that Indian curries we’ve made with these spices have been as complex & delightful as his wine & garlic roasting juices; or that Asian meat marinades we’ve created have been just as delicious as his pimente muida. If he has never heard of it, the spice is not only useless, but is undoubtedly ruining the food we make. The spice rack gets him every time & we have to endure (uninterruptable) lecture after repeated lecture about how those spices are unnecessary & that the only spices needed are onion, garlic, peppers & salt. And Italian spices. Oh, & half a bay leaf (but never more!). OK & sometimes saffron …this goes on until he’s come up with a good list of spices & we point out that his food is not as simple & barebones as he claims.

    Seems to be too long for blogger, see part 2 in next post.…

  85. amy

    Part 2…

    Put this man in an apron in our tiny kitchen, haul in all the meats & veggies he’s brought with him & watch him go to work (he will never let us do the cooking if he’s around). Just as he has nothing but confusion for our vast & varied spice rack, he has no conception for how to cook in a tiny kitchen. He is used to being bigger than life, cooking for 1,000 people & having a ridiculous amount of pots & pans at his disposal & doing things his way. When he’s there, sauces are stirred & splashed everywhere (we’re not always successful, but we try to keep the stovetop relatively clean), marinades with raw meat already in them are tested with fingers (wow!), rolls of paper towels are gone through with impunity (concerned about waste, my boyfriend & I don’t even buy paper towels for ourselves, but my boyfriend gets pressured into buying them for his dad). Watching him, my eyes get big, I am astonished & a more than a little overwhelmed. I don’t feel like I need to always have control over my kitchen, but he takes giving in to an entirely new level.

    In the end, when we sit down to the table crowded with dishes & with our wine glasses full, the rich flavors take over & everything is delicious. He always knows how to cook everything just perfectly, & in seemingly half the time that my boyfriend & I take. It would be too happy of an ending to say that his wonderful food transcends the mess in our tiny kitchen, the overflowing garbage can of paper towels or the never ending spice rack debate, but it sure does help.

  86. Anne

    It was lovely to check in with you and see your comments on Portuguese food. I am lucky enough to live in the Algarve which is the southernmost part of Portugal.

    The Portuguse are passionate about food, but not in a ‘foodie’ kind of way, they take two hours for lunch and usually have a hot meal. Everywhere shuts apart from the banks and restaurants. Coming from the UK, I’d never seen anything like it, but the Portuguese believe that a good lunch is important and they make sure they have time for it.

    Living so close to the Atlantic Ocean, there is a lot of fish and seafood available here, but the Portuguese like to mix things up and produce dishes like Porco Alentejana which is Pork and Clams with square fried potatoes.

    I find really interesting to talk to my Portuguese colleagues about food — they talk about their Mum’s cooking and are very knowledgeable about ingedients. After football, food is the most talked about subject!

    The Portuguese are very attuned to the seasons and most families eat home cooked meals — ready meals really haven’t made a big impact here. They are also very fussy about the quality of the food, my colleague Luis tells me that when shopping at the fresh meat and fish counters, you should ask if the meat or fish is suitable for a baby so that you can get the freshest, best quality produce!

    I have a Portuguese cookbook called ‘Piri Piri Starfish’ by Tessa Kiros which has some inspiring recipes accompianied by wonderful photos, but I’m going to add your recommended book to my Christmas Wish List!

  87. Dana

    My husband just left for Portugal (business trip) so the timing of this post is terrific. It is a place I have always wanted to visit. I read a book in high school about a couple who biked around the world. Their least favorite place was Iowa and their favorite was Portugal. Nice people, gorgeous, incredible food, affordable. I still dream of going.

  88. Teresa

    Great cookie recipe!! I swapped out equal amounts of coconut oil for butter to fit my GFDF diet. Came out awesome!! My husband loves them too. I made half the batch this evening and am saving the rest for tomorrow to see how the flavor develops. Anyway, thanks for the recipe as well as many of the other wonderful recipes I have had an opportunity to experiment with — Danny’s carnitas are an absolute hit.
    With respect to Portugal, I absolutely loved it. I spent a month bicycling through Portugal and Spain as a poor college student many years ago. I basically lived off cans of beans and corn since I did not have the budget for fancier fare. But I do remember fondly the wonderful loaves of bread in southern Portugal — dense, wonderfully soft treats fresh from the oven. It is all a distant memory now but one I think back on fondly. Even I can’t have the bread, I’d go back in a heartbeat for the absolute beauty of the countryside. Thanks again for the post and all the wonderful recipes!!!

  89. jenA

    heh. I have no stories of portuguese food, only Brazilian food. Feijoada, of course, with linguica, but simple daily lunches of pan seared chicken, beans and rice, and salad — leaves of lettuce laid under sliced tomatoes with vinaigrette.
    Wood fired pizza with whole, unpitted black olives and buffalo mozzarella. Churrascaria meats on a sword. Pao de queijo (num nums).
    Frankly, if this book is as much about fire-in-the-belly food as you say, it would be perfect to cook from for my picky husband, who currently only eats five different dishes-none of them pork.

  90. REA

    I married into a Portuguese family and I didn’t know anything about excellent savory home cooked food until I ate at my Mother in law’s house.. I thanked her every day for her patience and kindness in teaching an amateur to cook. I need this book…

  91. Larissa

    Portugal was the second place I “had” to travel to on business this year after celiac came into my life. I was worried, I contacted the conference I was attending and explained. They said to not worry. I worried. I got to portugal, and lo and behold, it is a very easy place to eat gluten free! And its beautiful. I will be putting this book on my holiday list.

  92. caitlin boyce

    I am doing holiday baking and would love to include these using the all-purpose mix that you had listed under your holiday cookies recipes. I went to the store and mixed it all up! Any chance you could suggest the measurements?
    Thanks!

  93. chrissy

    I have some fresh fennel to use… do you think it’ll work? should I use 1:1 dry/fresh? By the way if you ever get a chance to visit Portugal — go! It’s absolutely beautiful.. especially Sintra! Some of the best food I ever ate was in Portugal — until I get to visit my other half’s relatives in Brazil I’m sure :)