Shrimp Bisque in Puff Pastry for a Special #SundaySupper

This was no ordinary Sunday Supper.  After all, it was Christmas Day.  I love, love, love planning our Christmas Menu.  Although, I have to admit, there really isn’t much to plan.  We have our traditional meal and very rarely deviate.

Sure we will try a new vegetable dish or add a second dish…but our menu is pretty much set in stone.

Our Crown Pork Roast is always the main dish.  If you haven’t tried making a Crown Pork Roast, you really should.  It is so easy but so amazingly juicy and tender.  It just melts in your mouth.  Mashed Potatoes and Slow Roasted Carrots are a must.

The Port Wine Gravy is the perfect addition to the Crown Pork Roast and Taters.

Just so we didn’t get bored, this year, I added Grouper over thinly sliced Sweet Potatoes. It was amazing and we loved having a little Surf and Turf action!

Our all time favorite, showstopper, the thing we crave all year and makes our mouths water is….

The Shrimp Bisque in Puff Pastry …. I am not kidding… You have not lived until you try this amazing soup.  You don’t just eat it like regular Soup, you have to break up the buttery croissant topping and fold it into the Soup.  When mixed with the chunks of shrimp and the creamy soup….It really is that good!

It is amazing how our Holiday Dinners change as the kids get older.  We enjoyed sitting around the dinner table chatting with them for hours.  My Dad loves to hold court during our meals.  We enjoyed hearing him talk about his days on the vineyards in Portugal,hunting, fishing and sharing his world with us.

 

The memories that were made this year at Christmas will last a lifetime….My children were truly blessed to have spent another Christmas with their Grandparents… This truly is the best Christmas gift of all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHRIMP BISQUE IN PUFF PASTRY

  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1 pound of shrimp, I prefer fresh, not cooked
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 32 oz containers of Chicken Broth, warmed
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine or Sherry
  • 8 oz of tomato sauce*
  • 16 oz container of  Half and Half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste
  • 2 packages of Crescent Rolls
In a large heavy pot heat oil. 
Add Shrimp and Green Onions and Saute lightly.
Remove Shrimp to plate.
Add flour and mix the roux well.
Add warm Chicken Broth and mix constantly until there are no lumps.
Add Sherry or Wine.
Add Tomato Sauce and continue to stir.
Add the Parmesan Cheese and stir until smooth. If consistency is too thin, more parmesan cheese may be added.
Chop the shrimp in 3 and add to soup.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
Simmer on low for 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the crescent rolls and combine 2 triangles to make a rectangle, making sure the seams are sealed.
Ladle the soup into oven proof ramekins and place the Crest Rolls on top making sure it is a tight seal all the way around.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until pastry is puffy and golden brown.
Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 9.5 ~ Even the Adults wanted to rate it ~ Ron 10, Isabel 10, Vovo 10, Vo 10
*This recipe was already amazing and made even better by using Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.


Bolo Rei The King of Christmas Desserts

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Portugal without a Bolo Rei Around the Family Table.  Some will even go as far saying there is no Christmas without Bolo Rei.

Although it is called a cake. Bolo Rei  is more like a sweet bread.  Traditionally there is a broad bean, usually large fava bean, and a coin placed inside the Bolo Rei.

One of the explanations for the tradition comes from a legend regarding the Three Kings as they followed the Star of Bethlehem on their way to greet baby Jesus.  On their travels, they met a baker who gave them a loaf of bread with a broad bean hidden inside it.  He told them that the one who ended up with the slice of bread with the bean should give baby Jesus his present first.

So the tradition continues and it is made clear that whoever ends up with the bean is expected to make the Bolo Rei for the following year.

Whoever wins the coin is said to be blessed with good luck.   Hmmmm….wonder why I always wind up with the bean?

We had so much fun baking Bolo Rei with Vovo.  Although this is a time consuming recipe, it is totally worth it to do once a year.  I love the tradition behind it and love that three generations spend the day baking Around the Family Table.

All of Vovo’s recipes are in Portuguese, so the first thing we had to do is figure out the conversions.  Thank good Alexandra and Vo are so smart and figured it all out!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Port wine is a big part of any dessert in Portugal.  Bolo Rei is no different.  We soaked our dates, candied fruit and nuts in it for this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riley helps us get started by measuring the flour and sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it’s time to get serious. The kneading of the dough is no easy task and we all have to take turns. Vovo goes first.  After a while she is exhausted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it’s Reis’s turn. What a workout!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Vovo and Reis are completely exhausted, Vo comes to the rescue! Truly a team effort by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dough must be left to rise over night.  We couldn’t believe how much it had grown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we shaped the dough  into a ring and it is so much fun to decorate.  We used candied fruit and Natural Delights Medjool Dates added the perfect touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we couldn’t just make one.  One for our home, one for Vovo and Vo’s home and one to share with friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Bolo Rei is ready for the oven.  We can’t wait to try it.  The best part is that after a couple of days, you can toast it and add a butter and it is perfect with a cup of coffee or afternoon tea.

BOLO REI

1/2 Cup candied citrus fruit 3 T. raisins  1/2 Cup Pine Nuts and Walnuts

1/3 Cup plus 2 Teaspoons Port Wine

2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast 

1/3 Cup plus 2 teaspoons milk

3 1/2 Cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

7 Teaspoon unsalted butter, softened 

1/3 Cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar 

Grated zest of 2 oranges

3 eggs, beaten 

1 dried fava bean and Large Coin 

Topping:

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water 

10 candied cherries 

1 package of Natural Delights Medjool Dates 

Powdered sugar for garnish 

To prepare bread: 
Soak candied fruit, raisins and pine nuts in Port Wine overnight or until plump. Sprinkle yeast into milk in bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in center and pour in dissolved yeast. Use wooden spoon to draw enough flour into dissolved yeast to form soft paste. Cover bowl with dish towel and let stand until “sponge” is frothy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes.

In separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and lemon and orange zests until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add mixture to flour mixture and mix in flour from sides to until dough is soft. 

 Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until soft, smooth, silky and elastic, about 10 minutes. Knead in dried fruit and pine nuts until evenly distributed.


Place dough into clean bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size. We usually let it sit overnight, but as little as 2 hours is usually ok. Punch down, then let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into ring and place on buttered baking sheet. Wrap dried fava bean or trinket separately in wax paper. Insert tiny package into bottom of shaped dough. Cover with dish towel and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To prepare topping:
Brush dough with egg glaze and decorate with candied fruit and powdered sugar. Bake at 350°F. 45 minutes until golden.  Cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 Loaf


Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 9, Reis 9.5, Riley 8.5

Do you love to bake or cook? Inspired by @hersheyskisses #cookiehq I baked Cookies for Santa

They say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
In my case, it really did!  My Mom loves to bake.  She is an amazing baker and you can see her recipes under VoVo’s Cozinha.  Me, not so much. While I love to cook and create recipes, I am not so enthused about baking.

I really think whether you are a baker or a cook says so much about your personality. Rarely does someone really enjoy doing both.

Most people that are good at baking have a personality that is very patient and precise.  Most of us that love to cook and create recipes, our personality tends to be more creative and perhaps “fly by the seed of your pants.”

I was honored and excited when I was contacted by Hershey’s to interview two of their Baking Experts from their Cookie Headquarter. I so want to create the Tradition of Baking with my kids Around the Family Table during the Holidays and I hoped that they would give me the inspiration that I needed.

The Baking Experts, Linda Stahl and Kristen Olson, were fabulous!  I loved chatting with them and boy did they inspire me to not only bake but host a cookie exchange.  I love that they suggested a cookie exchange with meaning…where we donate the cookies to a good cause.

I was nervous about the interview but The Baking Experts made it a piece of cake…
http://kef-media.com/imt/cookies/cookies_foodie.swf

I was so inspired that Reis and decided  we needed to bake some cookies. In this case, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Reis wanted to come up with his own Cookie Reisipe. I explained to him what The Baking Experts had explained to me. As long as you use a basic recipe that works, you can adjust it a little.

Huge score for Reis…these cookies were amazing! Really light and crispy and then the soft frosting….mmmmmmm!

Christmas Cookies by Reis

1 Stick Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/4 cup Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

Cream butter, sugar and Cocoa.  Add flour, baking soda and salt. Place on baking sheet and insert in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.

Frosting

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Milk

1 stick of Butter

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

Simple. Just combine everything and frost cookies while still warm.

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 10….even Mom and Dad gave this a 10!

Reis is one Smart Cookie and our house is now ready for Santa!

Santa Claus is always in Vovô’s Kitchen

My Mom is a true baker.  She is passionate about her desserts.  You will never stop by her house without having some type of homemade delicacy waiting for you.  I literally mean, never! My Dad has such a sweet tooth, it is unbelievable.

My kids will tell you that stopping by Vovô’s and Vô’s house is like visiting Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They are always jolly, full of love and there are always treats waiting for them.  It is such a pleasure to gather Around the Family Table at their home.

I spent the day yesterday cooking in Vovô’s Cozinha. What a great day we had cooking  traditional Portuguese Christmas Desserts. The kids were all in school so it was just the three of us.  It was so wonderful to hear them talking about their childhood and  the tradition behind each recipe.  Both in their 70’s and coming to the US from Portugal, their life truly has been a journey.  They love to talk about it and I love to listen.

It’s hard to believe that their Mother’s didn’t own electric mixers.  They would mix the batters by hand. Their ovens were brick ovens built into the wall. I can still remember watching my Grandmother bake bread and I couldn’t wait for it to come out of the great big wood burning oven.  It was hard and crusty on the outside and soft and light on the inside.  Add a tad of butter….mmmm… to this day, it is still one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten.

I love traditions and there is nothing more valuable than spending time doing what you love with your Family.

Filhozes are a traditional Christmas Dessert in Portugal.  It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without having them on your dessert table. They are made with Flour, Eggs, Orange Zest and Pumpkin.  They are just amazing!

This recipe has been in my Mom’s family for generations and will continue to be passed down.

FILHOZES

4 Cups of Flour

2 Cups of cooked Pumpkin pureed or 1 16 oz can of Pumpkin

Juice of 2 Oranges and zest of the outside of one

3 Eggs

1 package of Active Dry Yeast 

1/4 Cup of Port Wine or Brandy

1/4 Cup of Reserved Pumpkin water or plain water

Oil for frying

Cinnamon and powdered Sugar 

  • Cook Pumpkin and puree with food processor (if using fresh pumpkin.) Reserve water.
  • Mix Pumpkin, Orange Juice, Orange Zest, Eggs
  • Shift Flour and Yeast and add to the pumpkin mixture, one spoon at a time
  • Mix flour and all ingredients are mixed well
  • Set aside for at least one hour to rise
  • Heat oil in fryer or frying pan
  • Dip mixture into the oil by the tablespoon
  • Fry until golden brown
  • Drain on paper towels 
  • Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Sugar while warm

Aren’t they amazing?  Who would think that the combination of Flour, Pumpkin and Orange could be this delish!

Kids Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 9, Reis 10, Riley 9.5

Reinventing Thanksgiving Leftovers into a Casserole #SundaySupper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was truly a Special Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that Alexandra came home from College, we spent the day with amazing friends, my parents are both still here to share Holidays with us…. and my kids begged me to go shopping with them on Black Friday.

We got up at 3:30 am, hit the first store by 4:00 and were sitting down at our favorite Diner having breakfast by 7:30 am.  We had an absolute blast and I felt so blessed to have such an awesome morning with my kids.

Our Thanksgiving Table was filled with amazing food!  There was no way we could eat it all.  Although we have picked at our leftovers all weekend, we still have a ton.  We have a tradition that we reinvent our Thanksgiving leftovers into a casserole every year.  I don’t know what my kids like more, the Thanksgiving Meal or the Reinvented Leftovers! It is delish, lots of fun, and so easy! You must try it!

Leftovers needed:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Turkey, shredded
  • Gravy
  • Corn or Broccoli (I usually make one of each)
  • Stuffing

In a 9 x 11 casserole dish, layer each ingredient.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins. or until Stuffing is crispy (the best part.)

It doesn’t get any easier than this!

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 9, Ronnie 9.5, Reis 10, Riley 10 (corn only)

 

Flan and Candied Raspberries Holiday Dessert

At our home. It’s not a Holiday unless we have Flan Pudding.  This is a very traditional recipe that Vo-Vo loves to makes.  She is so good at it…that honestly no one can make it quite as good as her.

If you have never had Flan, you have no idea what you are missing.  It is so creamy and smooth and delish….oh, and carmel sauce that goes on top…You just have to try it!

Our Holidays wouldn’t be complete without it.  I have a feeling when you try it…it will be a Holiday Favorite in your Home too!

VO-VO’S FLAN PUDDING

  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 14 oz can Condensed Milk
  • 2 Cups of Milk (2% or whole milk) Or if you do like Vo-Vo, just fill 2 cans full
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
Optional: 6 oz Raspberries & 1/2 Cup of granulated sugar

Mix Eggs, both milks and vanilla on low until well blended.

Pour sugar and water in the bottom of a bundt pan.  Place pan on the stove and wait for sugar to bubble and turn a golden brown.

Swirl the liquid sugar around the sides of the pan until all sides are covered.

Let sugar cool for 5 minutes.  Add the Egg mixture to the Bundt Pan.

Place a large shallow pot filled half way with water on the stove and bring water to a boil.

Lower heat to medium-low  and place bundt pan in the pot and cover.

Let Flan cook on stove for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let cool completely and invert into a serving dish with a lip.

If adding Raspberries, lightly dampen with water and roll in the sugar.  Place on a baking rack and broil for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on top of the Flan.

I love my Eat Smart Precision pro Kitchen Scale it is the only way I can translate Portuguese measurements. Can’t live without it!

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 8, Riley 9

Italian Wedding Soup #SundaySupper

I love this time of year. Football season is wrapping up.  Luckily both Reis and Riley’s teams are going to play-offs.  It’s getting chilly out.  And we are all starting to think about the Holidays.

This time of year always reminds me of the Traditions we have nurtured in our homes. Those traditions become such a big part of our families.  After a busy Saturday of Football, I asked the boys what they would like for this weeks Sunday Supper.  I was so surprised by Ronnie’s answer.  He told me he was craving Italian Wedding Soup.  The reason I was so surprised is that this is a dish that I normally only cook as a starter to a Holiday Meal. My family loves it but it never occurred to me to make it for Sunday Supper.  After thinking about it.  Italian Wedding Soup really is a meal in itself.  Pasta, eggs, spinach and meatballs… pretty hearty.  I made a simple garden salad to go along and warm crusty bread and boy was it good!

Since it is Football Season, our Sunday Supper Around the Family Table quickly turned to all the great plays, missed catches and great calls in this weeks football games. Reis’s team is 10-0. What a huge accomplishment!

Alexandra called home from College and when she heard what I was making, said “What! that should be illegal for you to make Italian Wedding Soup when I am not home!”

 

ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

Follow Recipe for Family Foodie Meatballs. Make half of the recipe and roll them into tiny meatballs. Click below.

Family Foodie Meatballs 

 

 

3 Eggs

1 10 oz package of Chopped Spinach

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

3 32 oz packages of Chicken Broth

8 oz Orzo Pasta

  • Make meatballs and set aside.
  • Mix Spinach Eggs and Parmesan Cheese well
  • Bring Chicken Broth to a boil
  • Drop the Spinach mixture into the boiling water by the spoonful
  • Reduce heat to a simmer
  • Add Meatballs and Orzo pasta and simmer on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally
Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 9
This Sunday, I made the full version of my Meatball Recipe and made a quick marinara sauce. Now I am all set for dinner options for the week.