1960’s Portuguese Pork

Portuguese pork roast

My gift of hospitality was birthed during my youth in the mid-twentieth century, for then I watched my mother host elaborate dinner parties.  As an excellent cook, she prepared glorious feasts, often with international themes; this 1960’s recipe for Portuguese pork blessed guests repeatedly.  While in college, I meticulously copied her treasured receipts and began my own journey, fostering nourishment of body and soul.

In 1982 God converted this inherent gift into my lifetime work; then, I began catering meals and teaching a profusion of cooking classes, utilizing researched historical recipes.  One of these classes was on my mother’s Portuguese foods, on which I expanded, incorporating the salad Ensalada Iberica and dessert Figos Recheados, my next weeks’ posts.

Slowing down, smelling the roses, feeding ourselves and others are important traits. In doing such, let us choose pleasure in even the simplest of foods, especially when someone else prepares them; thus, their charity reaches our hearts regardless of what is served.  Macaroni and cheese can thrill us, when made with love by a friend.

There is an element of courage, which results in unexpected joy, when we graciously receive ailments we aren’t sure of.  While living in Billings, Montana, a friend invited me to celebrate Easter with her.  Upon arrival I discovered we were partaking of rabbit; I was challenged in eating this, especially on this holiday!  Expressing gratitude, I bravely proceeded and found it palatable, as long as I didn’t concentrate on it being Easter.  Though I have never again experienced this meat, fond memories flood my mind whenever it is mentioned.

Let us be strong in both giving and receiving benevolent fellowship; use my series of proven receipts to host this cultural affair for your loved ones, or better yet invite someone newly acquainted.

In Culinary Artistry, Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page note strong compliments to pork; among the most vibrant are vinegar, garlic, black pepper, oranges and onions-all of which are present in this detailed dinner.1   Enjoy my creative repast!

  1. Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, Culinary Artistry (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996), p. 159.

chopping jalapeno peppers

Portuguese Pork  Yields: 8-10 servings.  Total prep time: 1 day plus 4 hours/  inactive prep time-for marinating: 1 day/  active prep time: 30 min/  cooking time: 3 1/2 hr.

4 lb pork loin roast

1 1/3 cups water

1 cup cider vinegar  (Trader Joe’s carries an inexpensive raw version, which has great health benefits.)

5 medium/large cloves of garlic, minced

3 tepino peppers  (If desired use jalapeno peppers, which are milder.)

Salt and pepper  (Real Salt is important for optimum health; available in the health section of local supermarket.)

1 cup sliced green olives  (May serve additional in a bowl at table.)

Baked yams  (Yams and sweet potatoes are different varieties of the same vegetable, they are interchangeable.)

  1. Place water and vinegar in a 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 3 pan (3 quart baking dish).
  2. Mince garlic, add to vinegar mixture.
  3. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon, chop fine, and add to vinegar mixture (see photo).  Note: be sure to wash hands thoroughly, as burning will result from touching eyes if you don’t.
  4. Place pork in marinade and marinate in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, turning roast halfway through, at about 12 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Before placing in oven, turn roast again, salting and peppering the top well.  Bake for 1 3/4 hours; then, turn roast for the last time; once more, salt and pepper the top well.  Bake for another 1 3/4 hours.  Proceed immediately to next step.
  6. Wash yams and pierce several times with a fork.  Cover with foil; place top of foil on potato, where sealed, face-up in the oven while baking; this keeps juices from leaking.  Start baking these at the same time you begin roasting the meat; bake for about 3 hours, as the oven is only set at 300 degrees.
  7. When cooking is complete, remove roast from oven, cool for 15 minutes.  Toward the end of this time, take yams out of oven and place on plates; next, cut pork in thick slices and arrange on dishes; top with sliced olives.  (It is good to serve additional olives in a small bowl at table.)
  8. This pork is superb with the Portuguese salad Ensalada Iberica and dessert Figos Recheados, my next weeks’ posts.

1950’s Banana Cake

1950's banana cake

1950’s banana cake

My mother let each child choose his own birthday cake while we were growing up.  My little heart worked overtime each year to decide between banana cake and fresh pear pie.  Both are awe-inspiring!

I spell out the wonders of my mother’s banana cake here. The delectable pie will follow this fall, in a series of recipes extolling my family’s favorite meal since the 1950’s.  You will be pleased until then with this memorable confection.

I grew up in the small tourist village of East Glacier Park, Montana.  It is the east entrance to the spectacular display of Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park.  I have seen mountain ranges all over the world; none compare with that of my home.

There my young mother was mentored by several “older” women as I was maturing; one was Leone Brown.  She was all of 50 at the time, but she seemed very old to me.  This knowledgeable woman taught Mom much about cooking; she created many beautiful crafts for her as well.  My 93 year old mother still has her handmade Easter eggs, made out of delicate egg shells.

This beloved cake is a fruit of Leone’s bountiful wisdom; I have made it with joy since the early ’70’s.  Believe me: it will knock your socks off!

Banana Cake  Yields: 2-9 inch layer or 2-9 x 5 inch loaf pans.  Total prep time: 2 hr & 20 min/  active prep time: 50 min/  baking time: 30 min/  inactive prep time-for freezing cakes to facilitate easy frosting: 1 hr or longer.

Note:  1 1/2 recipes will be needed for 3-8 inch layers; may make two loaf cakes and freeze them separately on paper plates; after freezing frosted cakes, seal them in gallon size freezer bags, for cutting off frozen slices as needed; dessert is always on hand for unexpected guests!

¼ cup milk  (Soured with few drops of lemon juice from a squeeze ball.)

¾ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar  (I prefer coconut sugar or sucanat, evaporated cane juice.)

2 large eggs

2 ½ cups flour  (Bob’s Red Mill unbleached flour is best, or 1  2/3 cups organic, soft white winter wheat berries freshly ground to make 2 ½ cups flour.)

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt  (Real Salt is best, available in the health section of local supermarket.)

3 ripe medium bananas  (About 1 ½ cups, mashed.)

1 tsp vanilla

Spray oil  (PAM coconut spray oil is best.)

Flour for dusting the sprayed pans

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sour milk in a medium/large bowl with a few drops of lemon juice.  Set aside.
  3. Cream butter in a large bowl, add sugar, beat until light.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with each addition.  Set aside.
  4. Shake together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a sealed gallon-size storage bag, or stir all together in a large bowl with a fork.
  5. Add bananas and vanilla to sour milk, mash bananas with a fork, and blend well.  Set aside.
  6. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well; then, add ½ the banana mixture to this, beating well.  Repeat steps, using remaining flour and bananas.  Beat extra well.
  7. Spray cake pans; dust with flour.
  8. Pour batter in prepared pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cake lightly springs bake when you press with finger.  You may also test with a toothpick, if it has wet dough on it, the cake is not done.  Do not over bake!
  9. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Slide a knife around the edges, gently remove cakes, and cool thoroughly on a wire rack, or better yet freeze these for at least 1 hour to facilitate frosting (this inhibits the crumbling of cake as you frost).

Cream Nut Frosting  (Note: make 1 ½ recipes for a three layer cake.)

2 ½ tbsp flour

½ cup cream  (May use milk, but whipping cream is better.)

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar  (Preferably organic cane sugar, available at Costco, or in a 2 pound bag at Trader Joe’s.)

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar (Trader’s has organic powdered cane sugar.)

1 cup pecan pieces (Cheapest when bought in bulk at local supermarket.)

  1. Blend flour and cream in a small saucepan with a wire whisk.  Cook over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste is formed.  Set aside, cool to room temperature.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in salt and vanilla.
  4. Add cooled cream paste, beat well.
  5. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating thoroughly.  Add more powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating with each addition until all is incorporated.
  6. Frost the frozen layer or loaf cakes.  Cover top and sides with pecans.  (If freezing cakes for future use, be sure to freeze frosting on cakes before sealing in gallon size freezer bags.)

1960s French Dinner

1960’s French Dinner

 

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

I have a repertoire of what I call my childhood recipes, of which the following is one of my favorites. It stretches my imagination every time I eat it:  I can hardly believe that food tastes this good!

 

My mother taught me so much about cooking. She was excellent at this endeavor in her day.  My “mentor” exercised her expertise in hospitality in our home, not in the restaurant.  She inspired me to follow in her footsteps with her extensive gourmet preparations.

 

The passing on of tradition from generation to generation is so important. I’ve never married (Jesus is my husband,) but I have a vast quiver full of spiritual children-more than I can count!  My desire is to give to them what was so freely given to me: wisdom.

 

I gaze at this precise diamond through the perspective of food, with all its joys and health-providing benefits. I am so grateful to God, my parents, and my entire family for this knowledge that was birthed in me.

 

We all identify with “comfort foods”, especially those from our youth. I will offer numerous ones with which my mother nurtured my family’s souls.  “Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde” is my first choice in this marvelous journey into the past.

 

Time-Life Books put out a series of cook books showcasing the cuisines of numerous countries in the 1960s. Mom subscribed to these sequels of superb work.  My family and our guests experienced incredible pleasure as a result.  I grew to appreciate the world through its food, in the confines of my home, at a very young age.  This instilled an appetite in me, in my twenties and thirties, to go to the nations to study their eating habits.

 

I have greatly simplified this recipe for pork loin chops from its original complex detail. My version is uncomplicated and literally explodes with unforgettable flavor!

Enjoy!

Cotes de Porc Braisees a la Moutarde  This recipe is adapted from The Cooking of Provincial France, M.F.K. Fisher and the Editors of Time-Life Books, 1968, Time-Life Books, New York.

It is delicious and extremely easy to make. (Yields: 4 servings.)

 

4 center cut, boneless pork loin chops (about 1 ¼ inches thick)

salt (Real Salt is best) and fresh ground pepper

flour for dusting meat

2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp oil (coconut or avocado oil is best)

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)

3 tbsp wine vinegar

¾ cup heavy cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp lemon juice

Serve with brown rice (my favorite is brown basmati rice).

 

  1. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet, over medium heat. Wash and lightly pat dry pork chops. Salt and pepper generously. Dredge in flour, shaking off all excess. Sautee in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Remove from pan. Set aside.
  2. Add onions to pan. Stir well. Sweat onions (cook until translucent.) Add vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of moisture is gone.
  3. Add cream. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place pork chops in onion mixture, coating well with onions/sauce. Cook until pork chops are hot. Do not overcook. Adjust seasonings while pork is heating.
  4. Take off heat. Stir in mustard and lemon juice, mixing into the onions by moving around the chops with a spatula or spoon.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed rice.