Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Community garden!

It's been a while since I wrote my last post...... there is no excuse but I really have been very busy! Between two jobs and a family to take care of it's not really easy to find time to do everything we want in life.

I think I haven't told you yet about my community garden and I am very sad because I haven't been able to participate as often as I would like to.

I am lucky to have met this amazing group that is part of a community garden in my neighborhood and decided to join them this year in the beginning of spring. The whole idea is excellent, you pay a very low fee for the entire 6 - 7 months and attend the meetings and work in the garden twice a week. The group is incredibly nice and the space is fantastic as well.

Not only do I get to be close to nature and take advantage of this therapeutic manual work but also I get to harvest and eat purely organic veggies and herbs that we planted ourselves. Honestly there is no other greater pleasure in life than eating what you have produced, watered and watched grow. If you have the chance to join one, don't think twice.

Everything looks so amazing and tastes so pure and alive! I feel full of energy when I finish a meal or a juice made with these completely organic local grown veggies. Frankly it's the best I've ever had!

Yesterday we harvested so much and everything was so intensively filled with good vibrations that my dinner was absolutely superb.

Have a look at some of the pictures of the garden from beginning to now and see it for yourself. We planted from fine herbs, to edible flowers and it's full of colors and good smells. It is very hard work but it pays off!




These beets were AMAZING!

Sorry about the pictures layout but Blogger won't let me fix them, move them around or delete them....

 Made a delicious salad with the first harvest!

I have made a few things with the veggies that are definitely worth sharing, starting with the eggplant parmigiana that I fried in olive oil without the bread crumbs egg mix so it got lighter helping me keep my diet healthier and my heart beating.

If you want to try this: Just slice an eggplant and fry the slices in olive oil with some salt an pepper, both sides until soft.
Arrange the slices in a pan with a little tomato sauce at the bottom and cover them completely with the rest of tomato sauce.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake until all cheese is melted.

Also made a delicious tomato sauce with minced garlic, olive oil and fresh basil. If you want to make your own tomato sauce: Just chopp some tomatoes and fry them with garlic in olive oil. Add some water and let them cook in low heat for about 1 hour or until it thickens up. Add fresh basil and serve with pasta, bocconcini (fresh mozzarella) and parmigiano. Accompanied by a nice glass of wine and garlic bread - yum!

So, you see, it does make your life more meaningful when you cook with real ingredients and enjoy the fruits of your own labor.... unfortunately it's just for a few months of the year.
Sorry again for the crazy layout with the pics.... the most important is that I made you feel like participating in something like that, that's my goal here!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Seafood fest!

In my last trip to Brazil I posted a few everyday dishes that are truly yummy and talked a little about Catupiry. If you are new to the blog, just refer to the previous posts to understand what catupiry is and to know how requeijão is made.

I brought back with me 4 boxes of Catupiry. Yesterday was my day off and it's summer so I couldn't resist not making my mom's incredible shrimp with catupiry dish. I made a few changes to the original recipe by adding scallops and scampi to it as well as a little white wine to the sauce.

This recipe will have you craving for seconds and be a part of your recipe book for sure if you can find Catupiry. If not, you can substitute catupiry for the requeijão recipe I posted earlier on the blog. Although it's definitely not the same thing it will be delicious too. This is a must try.

Ok, for this recipe (for 2 people) you will need:

Seafood fest recipe


Prawns (about 8 of them)
Scampi (about 10 of them)
Scallops (about 15 of them)
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
lemon juice (half a lemon)
1/2 cup of white wine (table wine)
1 bottle of tomato sauce
1 box of Catupiry


It's ok to use frozen seafood as long as it's good quality and not previously cooked. Clean and devein the prawns and scampi as shown on pictures below.
Place them all together in a bowl and add the lemon juice.
Chop garlic and fry it in olive oil until translucent.
Add seafood and white wine to the pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until it changes color.
Add tomato sauce and mix well. Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat.
Spread 1/2 a box of catupiry at the bottom of a big glass pan (the same one you use for lasagna).
Add the tomato sauce with the seafood and cover it with the other half of catupiry (use a big spoon and just add a few dollops to the top).
Bake it in a 370F oven until it boils (about 15 minutes) and serve it with potatoes, rice and a nice glass of white wine.
Follow all the steps on the pictures below.

Wash them in cold water.

Remove the shell.

Run a knife through the vein and remove it.


Add seafood to pan with garlic.

Add white wine and cook for 3 minutes or until they change color.

Add tomato sauce.

Spread catupiry at the bottom of the pan.

Add seafood with tomato sauce.

Add dollops of catupiry to the top.

Bake at 370 F.

Serve with potatoes and rice.

For the potato side dish:
Simply wash them and cut them in half. Drizzle olive oil all over. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a few herbs. I used fresh sage and homemade dried oregano.
Bake them at 385F for about 1 hour, mixing them 2 times during baking to make sure they are all well coated in olive oil. They will be crusty and soft in the middle.
Add finely chopped chives when they are out of the oven and serve.

I hope you enjoy this family dish as much as I do!