Judging from the bursts of laughter in the dining room (including the conspiracy of the women at the table to go to Las Vegas for the weekend, and chef’s need to drive a guest home) last night’s Cozinha Portuguesa was a great success. Special thanks to guest GA, who was kind enough to bring both a 1963 and 1958 Sandeman Vintage port for the crowd. It was a fabulous opportunity–and an incredibly gracious offering from our guest.
On the menu for our “pork to port” dinner:
Presunto Iberico de Bellota (technically, from Spain just across the border; I can’t get Portuguese presunto here. But it’s made from the famous black pig and was amazing)
Sardinhas grilhadas (sardines on the grill; marinated in olive oil and lemon first. We removed the head and tail cuz ‘mericans are a little funny about that sometimes; this is one of my favorite dinners when combined with Portuguese corn bread)
Pastel de funcho (caramelized fennel tart; not technically Portuguese but uses a commonly-used ingredient in Portuguese cuisine)
Caldo verde (kale soup made from a particular type of kale from my mom’s–aka sous chef–garden; we used homemade chicken broth; then we grilled housemade linguica and placed a little bit in each bowl)
Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (another ‘national dish’ of Portugal; an acquired taste, this salt cod baked with potatoes and topped with slices of boiled egg and chopped black olives)
Bolinhos de bacalhau (salt cod fritters; I rolled them in panko crumbs before frying; great contrast with the creamy interior)
Lombo de porco com bivalves (common Portuguese combination: clams and pork; we roasted a pork loin and separately made a sauce of mussels and clams)
Pork confitado (pork confit…a little dab’ll do ya)
Cheese course: Serra da Estrela (guests asked for seconds on this amazing creamy cheese from the Northern parts of Portugal); Sao Jorge, a cheddar-like cheese from the Acores. Served along with mom’s marmalada, or quince paste, which is similar to Spain’s membrillo.
Pasteis de nata (homemade puff pastry tart with a lemony custard)
Pudim de ouro (a gorgeous confection made by chef’s mom…called gold pudding, made in a bundt-like mold and gently baked in bain marie for an hour)
Again…things get too hectic for pictures when you have eight guests waiting. 🙁
Maybe next time I’ll hire a photographer…anyone willing to photograph for food? I think bartender/barista/front-of-the-house husband snapped off a few pictures. I’ll check to see what he came up with.
A great MANY thanks to JJ, who flew up from San Diego to help out in the kitchen and, importantly, in the post-mortem clean up. The house is all back to normal like nothing ever happened.
Now, gearing up for another one (this time a “commissioned dinner”–a request by group) on May 8.