Inspired by the traditional Portuguese Caldo Verde, this richly colored soup is a meal on its own. Chorizo sausages give a spicy addition to the soup.
Roasting asparagus intensifies its flavor so much more than when they are simply steamed. This dish is an elegant choice for a first course or light lunch.
The mustard soup with bacon and leek is one of the classic Dutch recipes. Instead of Dutch mustard, use equal amounts of whole grain and Dijon mustard.
I have never been fond of beets. To me they always came in jars, tasting like earth and vinegar. Nothing to look forward to. I changed my mind! Beetroot soup is not only eye-catching but delicious too. Add a shot of vodka to it, and have a Borscht experience.
Haricots Blancs à la Villagoise is a real soul food dish for the winter season from the Vaucluse region in the Provence. We use Coco Beans (Haricots Coco), which are grown in the area of Mollans sur Ouvèze in les Baronnies, the beautiful, unspoiled, Pre-Alpine area north of Vaison la Romaine.
Coco Beans are fresh, white shell beans, almost round. Their green pods turn yellow or red when mature and are available in the Provençal markets from July to November.
Cassolette d’Escargots aux Champignons, a traditional dish in France, much loved by many gourmets. Escargots have been a prized delicacy for their buttery flavor since Roman times. They are very popular in France, Spain, and Portugal whether as an appetizer of a sophisticated dinner or as a part of a simple farmer’s meal. Contrary to much advice, there is no need to buy fresh ones. The reality is, that many restaurants rely on canned snails.
A refreshing pea soup that requires very little time to prepare. The ideal meal for after you have “switched off” for the day. Cooking peas briefly will retain their bright green color and unadulterated taste.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a popular stew of pork and clams from the south of Portugal, the Algarve and Alentejo regions. A burst of flavors, a true representative of Portuguese cooking. The photo was taken from our holiday apartment on Madeira, where I cooked this dish.
Agnello con Carciofi, a traditional dish, dearly loved in Italy. Braising lamb with artichokes in a rich tomato herb sauce is an elegant way to present it. A winning combination for sure. Creamy polenta or a nice crusty farm bread completes the delight.
The essence of this dish is the combination of sweet and hot elements. Avoid the urge to cook the lamb too quickly. The slow, gentle cooking is the key to a tender and juicy stew with an almost glaze-like sauce.
Serve it with Harissa, the hot chili paste that is a hallmark of North African cooking, available at Whole Foods and most Middle Eastern stores.
Fagioli con Cotechino, a hearty dish from the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. Cotechino, also spelled Cotecchino, is a fresh pork sausage. It’s made from lean pork and cooked pork skins, the “cotene”, which gives it its name. It is spiced with cloves, cinnamon and garlic. You find it also in Bollito Misto, that classic Northern Italian dish of mixed boiled meats.
Indulge in a dish that celebrates the earthy and natural flavor of the mushrooms. Mushroom hunting is a favorite fall activity in many European countries. The best “hunting grounds” are a well kept secret and passed from generation to generation. In the US, a substitute comes to mind: baby Portobello mushrooms, also known as creminis, babybella and chesttnut mushrooms.
Ragoût d’Agneau aux Endives is a favorite from Southern France. The dish gets its special kick from the Endives (aka Chicory or Belgian Endives).
The Sisteron region in the Provence is famous for its production of yearling lamb. The Alpine meadows gives their meat a special taste.
This Meatball Tagine is a classic dish in Morocco, where it is called Kefta Mkaouara or Kefta Mkawra. Well-seasoned meatballs are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. The meatballs can be made from ground lamb or ground beef. Eggs are an optional but classic addition to this dish.
An easy to prepare, light and tasty fish soup from Sanibel Island. Firm fleshed fish, like Grouper or Mahi Mahi can be bought at Sanibel’s Farmers Market. Pollock or Cod are equally suitable.
Minestra di Broccoli alla Romana a tasty soup to brighten up the dullest of the winter days. Simple and heartwarming it is prepared in less than 30 minutes. To make it more substantial, I normally place a toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil on top of it.
The amazing bright color and taste of the carrots sparked up with ginger makes this soup an elegant choice for a dinner party. Serve warm or cold. You decide!
Calamari in Umido is classic of the Sicilian cuisine. Simple and easy to make as long you follow one rule: Either you cook the squid 3 minutes or 30 minutes. All cooking in between will result in a tough and rubbery squid. Serve with a nice crusty bread.
Caldeirada do Mar, a traditional Portuguese fish soup for which there is no strict recipe. Adding a bit Piri-Piri, the hot pepper sauce, gives an extra spark.