Basque-style Cod stew

Cod, symbol of the Sea, and Lamb, symbol of the Earth, are two pillars of traditional Basque cuisine.

Owners of small plots of land in the damp, verdant hills of Euskadi, the Basque people traditionally reared sheep (easier to manage than bigger animals like cows) and used the abundant iron ore and wood in their mountains to build potent ships. First they became seafarers in the Bay of Biscay and then they ventured into the New World, building the whaling stations of Newfoundland. Not only they caught whales for their meat and blubber for oil, but they also fished the then abundant Cod. 

Note. This image of a typical village of the Basque Country was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aiako_kasko_1.jpg

In closely knight communities, they celebrated their blessings with colorful dances and hearty meals.

Note. This image of the Basque dancers was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basque_dancers_01.jpg

On Sunday we prepared  for dinner a dish of Basque-style Cod stew, what we casually refer as Bacalao a la Vízcaina in the Spanish Language. It has been a staple of our fabulous ethnic cooking since our ancestors, sporting their unique slanted eyes and using their enigmatic Esquerra language, emigrated from the Central Asian steppes to the Western foothills of the Pyrénés mountains. Kaizo!!!

We assembled the necessary elements: two pounds of fresh Cod bought at our local Whole Foods, potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions, red peppers, chick peas, sweet peas, canellini beans, and some seasoning: salt, black pepper, garlic, basil and paprika . What is ostensibly missing? The white wine.

When we were growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay, our grandmother Marta Salguero (mother of our father Mario and keeper of the French and Basque traditions of our family) was in charge of preparing this stew for Easter dinner; she bought the salted Norwegian Cod in the quaint grocery of an Orthodox Jewish merchant called Mr. Singer. He had a family business in a cavernous quaint facility in front of the Central Market (Mercado Central) of the city’s port in the Old Section (Ciudad Vieja) We often accompanied her in that errand because as soon as you crossed its threshold, you were literally assaulted by the sweet and sour aromas of a worldly carnival. There were big wooden barrels full of beans, spices, coffees, dates, figs, pastas, cous-cous, kosher food, salted fish, etc.

Those olfactory impressions were so strongly seared in the mucosa of our nostrils that they inspired us to use Mr. Singer’s grocery as the backdrop of the puppy love between Raquel and Didier, two central characters in our novel Madame D.C. – Three Voyages, temporarily in Kindle Store limbo.

Our grandmother never, ever added any wine to her version of this stew. Why? Because she knew that we, children under 12 years old, could not enzymatically process alcohol in our young livers. If we were to have a family feast in safe conditions, the consumption of any alcohol was forbidden. And of course, not a single man seated at that table ever dared to question her culinary choices.

Merci beaucoup chère Mémé!

As you can see in the picture above, you must first put a little olive oil on a big casserole or cooking pan in order to add the tomato sauce, beans and seasoning, before stirring with a wooden scoop.

The potatoes and sweet potatoes must be cut in cubes and boiled separately until they are tender.

In a frying pan, sautée the chopped onions and red peppers with a dash of olive oil and honey.

Once they are ready, put the boiled potatoes and sautée onions and peppers into the large mix.

In a separate utensil, put one cube of vegetable broth to cook the cod pieces, at low temperature.

After 10 minutes of cooking, gently put the cod pieces on top of the mix in your larger preparation.

This is how it should finally look like. You should cover it with a lid and let it stand for at least 1 hour.

You can re-heat it gently for a few minutes and then serve it on a deep plate. The beer is optional.

On egin. Agur!!!

Note. This image of the Ikurrina, the Basque people’s flag, was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boring is Beautiful!

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Yesterday we perused in front of the refrigerator what to take out to fix our dinner. There were many options but we felt the irresistible urge to prepare gnocchi with a tomato sauce, meatballs included. To overcome that impasse, we consulted our son Gian Luca. Guess what he said?

Even though we have prepared it a few times lately, it is still one of our favorite homemade dishes. First of all we had to prepare a tomato sauce from scratch.  Here it is how it turned out to be. Like it?

We let it stand for 1-2 hours while we watched sports, had a little nap, etc. until we boiled the pasta.

Our son told us it was our best version ever of it, but, with a happy tummy, he always says the same.

Definitely, like in many instances of Life like inter-personal relationships, having an excessive number of choices can be detrimental to make a good decision because you feel paralyzed. Overchoice. We discuss this subject, and many others, in our book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague.

Boring is Beautiful.

Buon appetito.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always a good time for pasta and meatballs

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Yesterday we prepared a classic Italian dish that, in spite of its commonality and wide diffusion, remains one of the most appetizing dishes for the family table: pasta with meatballs. We prepared a tomato sauce with pistacchios, walnuts and plenty of oregano, basil and pepper; in the end, we added some of the leftover Salsa Bechamela from the fabulous Cavalieri Templari dish.

Like True Love, you never tire of enjoying its fulfilling and exciting company in your surroundings.

We served a good portion for you. Would you care us to join us for a little bacchanal plus chatting?

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Buona domenica con una gnocchiatta ed tono alla Cavalieri Templari

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good evening and Happy Sunday to you all. Today we decided to prepare a saucy pasta with two superb Yellowfin Tuna steaks that we purchased yesterday in our magnificent Whole Foods store.

When we spotted that offer in the Fresh Fish section, we decided to pair it with a Bechamel sauce with plenty of walnuts, pistacchios and dates. Why? Because, in honor of the great variety and sophistication at reasonable prices of that store, we wanted to give it a signature Byzantine flair. 

Looking at that pair of tuna fillets riding together, an image of the Knights Templars burst forth.

Note. This image was taken from Wikimedia Commons. By JoJan – Own work – own photo, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10992800

It is not in the official History books but it t was popular knowledge at the time that when these defenders of the Christian faith roamed in the Holy Land, oftentimes two chevaliers sat together, one behind the other one, so the one in the back could use the bow and arrows, something the Huns invented a few centuries before. Why has it been camouflaged? Surely because the Roman Curia and the Pope frowned on that skill learned from the barbarians that almost conquered Europe.

This is how the tuna steaks turned out to look like , after 10 minutes of grilling in our air fryer.

Now it is time to prepare the Salsa Bechamela with all the added ingredients: nutmeg, pistacchios, walnuts, dates and some parmesan cheese to solidify the flavor with a pinch of saltiness. 

Now we prepare the gnocchi separately and, once they had boiled we gently dump them in La Bestia, together with the Yellowfin Tuna steaks and the Bechamela sauce. Voilà!

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

Auguri con la pastaciutta ed polpete di manzo

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. To celebrate that our book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague was duly published on August 16, we decided to prepare a nice dish to commemorate its First Week of Life. What better way than to recreate the pasta with meatballs that we prepared in the waiting time? Instead of the gnocchi, we chose some superb Giovanni Rana tortelloni with four cheeses. Voilà!

We prepared a Salsa Dotta with ground beef, meatballs and walnuts. Would you care for a serving?

Buon appetito!

Auguri!

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Auguri con la pastaciutta ed una cattiva salsa di Polpete di Manzo

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Yesterday we prepared a hearty pasta dish of tagliarini multicolori (red , white and green, the color of the Italian flag) to celebrate the joy of being alive, happy and healthy. Enough? Our son Gian Luca loves the tomato sauce with meat, especially if it also has succulent meatballs.

The freshly made sauce has San Marzano tomatoes, onions, red peppers, walnuts and ground beef. We cooked the meatballs separately in our Nuwave air frier and then we mixed it all in La Bestia.

La cena è servita!

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Gnocchiatta Italia Campione Euro Cup 2021

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Yesterday we had the unexpected happiness of seeing the Italian Football team conquer the 2021 Edition of the Euro Cup in the mythical Wembley Stadium in London, England. Even though England started as the candidate for the cup, the Italian team ,under the guidance of Mancini, showed that it was a competitive and enthusiastic squad, erasing years of frustrations. With our son Gian Luca, we enjoyed the victory of Argentina in the Copa América on Saturday and the victory of Italia in the 2021 Euro Cup last night. A raddoppio for proud Italian-Americans like us.

In order to properly celebrate we prepared a Gnocciatta with a sauce of San Marzano tomatoes, ground beef and walnuts, which was topped by a ball of burrata cheese to melt at the last moment.

Once the sauce was ready, Gian Luca cut the burrata cheese ball so the cream would burst out.

Once the burrata cheese melts, it is time to mix all the ingredients with a slow burning fire.

This is how the dish should look like. Do not overcook the pasta. Turn the heat off and let it stand.

This serving was especially dedicated to our distinguished readers. Please join us in the celebration.

Buon appetito!

Complimenti a la squadra Azzurra per vincere il campionato d’Europa 2021. Forza Italia !!! 

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Facciamo un Bellissimo Maiale al Spiedo

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. Today we decided to prepare a seasoned pork tenderloin in our Nuwave Air Fryer that we will accompany with sautée potatoes and sweet potatoes, sprinkled with a headstrong lager.

First we have to set the tenderloin in the special device to use the rotisserie mode of the air fryer.

We had to make one and a half rounds of grilling, totaling twenty minutes, always keeping an eye.

The final result looks like this: crusty outside but still juicy inside. What do you think, dear friends?

With some olive oil, we sautéed the potatoes and sweet potatoes in our loyal but jealous La Bestia.

Did you notice the latest addition of some grilled kielbasa around the pork cuts? We have to confess that while we were cooking, a sudden rush of melancholy overcame us when we remembered a cherished Polish girlfriend that used to prepare it for our breakfast ( we had to recoup energies after making maddening love all night long) Sadly, she dumped us and married another man…Sniff...Sniff.

An old Castilian proverb says: “De ilusiones también se vive.” (You can also live from illusions)

Let us enjoy this meal in the exhilarating company of our son, dreaming about that long lost love.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

A Father’s work is never done

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Last night we did not feel like uploading the pictures of the Pantagruelian dinner that we had with our son Gian Luca . Even though he insisted on ordering some food delivered, we preferred to treat him with a dinner of New York grilled steaks and sautée potatoes and veggies.

We peeled plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and red peppers to slowly sautée them. Then we drained all the mixture in a colander (to get rid of all the unwanted oil residues) before putting them back. We separately prepared a Béchamel sauce with walnuts, whose recipe is in this article. Finally we heated all the mixture in La Bestia (nickname of our super-jealous chef’s pan, a she)

What do you think? Did we have a good time? You betcha. Nothing beats cooking right at home.

Bon apétit!

As you can see, a father’s (and especially a mother’s) work is never completely done. C’est la vie!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please ell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Morfando los ñoquis del 29

Queridos lectore(a)s y colegas blogero(a)s:

Buenos dias .Hoy dia 29 del mes, seguimos la milenaria tradicion de nuestra querida familia Italiana , y morfamos los ñoquis del 29 con una salsita de tomates, nueces y queso burrata. Como quedó?

De donde sacamos esa tradición en el Río de La Plata? Si quieren saber, por favor lean este artículo.

Estan todos cordialmente invitados a compartir este humilde plato y mucha, mucha conversación.

Todos a la mesa! Buen provecho!

Que les parece? Dígannos vuestra opinión.

No me dejen solo.