Korean food is wonderful, and in my opinion, under-appreciated. When I lived in Sao Paulo, I loved a restaurant that specialized in Korean barbecue, a gastronomic experience not to be missed.   Unfortunately, our current location is less blessed with good restaurants, and Korean food is nowhere to be found.  The only way to satisfy my cravings is to cook it at home! I’ve made this dish many times since it was first published in Fine Cooking, and it’s become one of our favorites.

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(adapted from Fine Cooking #78, April 2006)

2 small pork tenderloins (about 1-1/4 lb.)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1/2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
1/2 Tbs.  Asian chile sauce (like Sriracha)
2 to 4 Tbs canola oil

for salad
1 lb. napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1 cup grated carrot
4 scallions (both white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar
Kosher salt

Trim the pork of any silverskin and excess fat, and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick medallions. Pound each slice gently with a meat mallet, protecting it with plastic wrap as you pound it.

In a small measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, 2 Tbs. of the rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. of the brown sugar, the garlic, ginger, 1/2 Tbs. of the sesame oil, and 2 tsp. of the chile sauce. Toss 1/2 cup of this mixture with the pork medallions in a large bowl; reserve the remaining mixture to use as a sauce, if you want.  Let the pork sit at room temperature for 25 minutes or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, toss the cabbage and the carrot with half of the scallions, 1 Tbs. of the canola oil, 1 tsp. salt, and the remaining 2 Tbs. rice vinegar, 1 Tbs. brown sugar, 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. chile sauce. Let sit for 15 minutes, toss again, and transfer to a large serving platter.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the canola oil in a 12-inch, heavy-based skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Remove the pork from the marinade, shaking off the excess, and transfer the pork to a clean plate. Discard the marinade. Add half of the pork medallions to the skillet, spacing them evenly. Cook them without touching until well browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the pork is just cooked through about 2 more minutes. Set the pork on top of the slaw. Pour out the oil and wipe the pan with paper towels (if the drippings on the bottom of the pan look like they may burn, wash the pan). Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. canola oil, and cook the remaining medallions in the same manner. Top the slaw with the remaining pork, and pour the reserved soy-ginger sauce over the medallions. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

to print the recipe, click here

CommentsNapa cabbage is best in this recipe, but I’ve made it with regular green cabbage too.  In that case,  it’s important to slice it thin, otherwise it can be a little too crunchy.   This dish surprised us because it’s tastier than  expected from the ingredients and preparation.  I usually marinate the meat in the morning, and leave it in the fridge the whole day, for a super-easy dinner after work.  Don’t be alarmed by the state of the frying pan when you finish cooking the meat: the high sugar content in the marinade tends to cause it to stick  to the pan, but it rinses off quite easily… no elbow grease needed.  😉

Instead of adding the reserved marinade on top of the meat, I advise you to try a little on your plate – some people might find it too strong.  I often skip the additional sauce, particularly when the meat was marinated for several hours.

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This recipe goes into the category of  “Perfect Saturday Night Dinner.”  From the recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine (number 102), contributed by David Tanis,  it has a  sexy flavor with a North African flair. The many tastes in this meal reminded me of the exotic couscous we used to savor on cold Parisian evenings by the Seine.

(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine # 102)

For the Lamb
3 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and stuck with 1 whole clove
1 three-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

For the stew
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. cumin seed, toasted and ground
2 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
12 pitted prunes, halved
1/2 cup tomato purée
1 lb. medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Season the lamb with 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a large Dutch oven combine the lamb, carrots, onion, cinnamon, bay leaf, and add water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and cook in the oven until the meat is very tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve over a large bowl. Discard the vegetables and spices. Cool the lamb and broth, and refrigerate separately. Skim the fat from the broth before continuing.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add the diced onion, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas, prunes, tomato purée, and a pinch of salt. Add the reserved lamb and 4 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the parsnips and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve sprinkled with cilantro.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments – this is an unusual stew in the sense that the meat wasn’t browned before braising.    If David Tanis wasn’t the man responsible for the recipe, I’d have had second thoughts about trying it, but he is one of the chefs devising the dishes at Chez Panisse,  the famous Berkeley restaurant.   If he skips the browning, I’ll skip it too. 😉   But, after the 2.5 hours of  braising in the oven, I wasn’t too optimistic.  The meat looked pale and bland, like hospital food.  Without much choice (apart from dialing for pizza),  I finished the stew, and it was like a Phoenix born from the ashes…. the dish beautifully came together!   The lamb was super tender, and the spices permeated the meat, perhaps better than when it’s browned in advance.

We enjoyed it with couscous and a little naan bread.

I had visions of a magic carpet ride!  Maybe it will happen to you too…  😉

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This type of bread was a favorite of mine as I grew up,  but  back in Brazil it goes only by “sweet bread”  (pao doce) and is sold as a very small roll.  When I came to the US for the first time, I saw bags of “Hawaiian bread” that looked similar to the “pao doce” from my childhood.   Only a few years later I learned that indeed those are all the same, brought both to Hawaii and New England by Portuguese immigrants.  So, here we have  a bread that ties Portugal (the birth country of my grandparents), Brazil, and the United States (and for sure other countries influenced by the Portuguese culture).  Of course, I was more than excited to make this bread!

I remind my  readers that all recipes for the breads from “The Challenge”, cannot be published, so if you want to make any of these breads, buy Peter’s book.

His version of Portuguese sweet bread calls for a sponge made with a large amount of yeast, that ferments for two hours and is then incorporated in the dough.

Even though I work with microorganisms on a daily basis, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they go to work once food is around…  Water, flour, sugar, and yeast, 90 minutes together…



The dough does not rise that much, after 3 hours it had barely doubled in size, but it seemed light and almost airy.  Into the oven it went…



The bread did not have much oven spring, but tasted very good, had a moist, soft crumb, a gentle hint of citrus, not too sweet, just right.


Verdict: a nice, simple bread, not exactly like that of my childhood, but it’s ok, some memories are impossible to match… 😉

Check the Portuguese breads from my fellow bakers:

Txfarmer made a very cute version, shaping them as doves…. click here

Emily from Ready to Wait…. click here

Next on the list: Potato Rosemary Bread……   Stay tuned….


I don’t know Michael Bauer, so I have absolutely no ulterior motives for returning to the recipes of his book ‘Secrets of Success,” except for the fact that many of them result in absolutely delicious dishes 😉

This recipe comes from Fabrice Marcon, who was a sous chef for Paul Bocuse, and then opened his own restaurant in San Francisco, Hyde Street Bistro. His cuisine falls into the category of “French-Californian,” simple words that attract me the way that flowers attract bees. France and California: two places I called home in the past, that always bring a nostalgic smile to my face.

Try this dish, it’s very good.

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(from Michael Bauer, Secrets of Success, original from Fabrice Marcon)

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces firm Roquefort cheese, crumbled
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Anjou pears, diced
1/2 pounds salad greens of your choice
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
hazelnut oil

for vinaigrette

1 T red wine vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 375F, and bake the potatoes until tender (about 1 hour). Let them cool until you can handle them, peel them, and transfer the flesh to a bowl. Mash slightly, add the roquefort and 1 T olive oil. Stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, going light on the salt as roquefort is salty. Form the mixture into 4 equal patties, 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, mustard, and shallots in a small bowl to blend well. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the oven to 350F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the potato patties and brown on both sides until golden brown, 7 minutes total. Transfer them to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Toss the pears with the salad greens and tarragon. Add the vinaigrette and place in a serving bowl, or divide into individual plates. Top the salad with the potato cakes, and drizzle with a little hazelnut oil.

(serves 4 regular guests, or 2 very hungry people… )


to print the recipe, click here

Comments – Great food is all about contrast. A little spice, a little sweetness, something smooth, something crunchy, teasing your palate at every bite. This dish is it. The roquefort cheese (which must not be too soft or the cakes will not stand up to the frying), counteract the sweetness of the pears extremely well, and the hazelnut oil ties it all. Who doesn’t like cheese, fruit and nuts? 😉 The cakes are wonderful by themselves, but please follow Marcon’s take on it, you won’t regret it.

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The pasta of my childhood was all about the sauce, either a heavy red sauce,  or an equally heavy white sauce, often loaded with cheese.  I loved them both, and I still make slightly lighter versions every once in a while.   But, over the past few years my taste buds gravitated more and more towards pasta with veggies.  Now the sauce plays a secondary role, formed in part  by a simple ladle of the pasta cooking water, full of  the starch released during cooking.

The possibilities for this kind of dish are nearly endless.  I’m fond of cutting zucchini to match long stranded pasta, like spaghetti or fettuccine.    This recipe, which I threw together in minutes the other day, is perfect for weeknights: quick, simple to make, not too heavy, but substantial enough to leave you satisfied and happy at the end of a busy day.



(serves two, amounts are pretty flexible)

dried spaghetti, fettuccine or any long strand pasta
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 medium size zucchini
1 shallot, finely diced
1 T olive oil
1/2 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
lemon zest
salt and pepper

Place a large pot with water to boil.

Prepare the zucchini by cutting off both ends and using a mandolin or food processor to cut it lengthwise  into fine strands. Ideally, you want the dimensions of the zucchini to match the pasta, but don’t worry too much about it, just make sure to have long, even-sized strands.

When the water boils, add the pasta:   while it cooks, heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan, add the diced shallot, season lightly with salt, and cook for a couple of minutes in medium heat.  Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until opaque, do not overcook.  Remove the shrimp to a plate and add the zucchini to the pan, increasing the heat to high.  Season with a little salt and pepper, and when the zucchini cooks down return the shrimp to the pan.  Cook it together with the zucchini for a minute.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, remove 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside;  drain the pasta and add it to the zucchini/shrimp mixture.  Add some of the pasta water to get the consistency you like, immediately sprinkle the goat cheese and mix everything gently to allow the cheese to slowly melt and incorporate into the dish.  Right before serving sprinkle lemon zest on top of the pasta, and adjust seasoning if necessary.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Zucchini strands or ribbons are a busy cook’s best friends!  If you have a food processor, it takes just seconds to cut, but if you prefer not to deal with washing the processor, a mandolin or a box grater, which is what I used, works well too.


The amounts are flexible:  the higher the proportion of zucchini, the lighter the dish will be.  It’s is a wonderful way of “stretching” the pasta, by shaving off some calories without compromising flavor.

I like the combination of goat cheese with zucchini and shrimp.   Some people find that seafood and cheese don’t go well together, but in this case I beg to differ.

You can make many variations on this basic dish – omit the shrimp, add black olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as oregano, mint, or basil.  Zucchini is very “social”, enjoys playing with all sorts of flavors, so let’s profit from it  😉

para receita em portugues, siga ate’ a proxima pagina….

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