Soul Food

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Fall and winter remind me of my Grandmother’s cooking; the food I grew up on. Soul food.

I grew up in a Portuguese-Canadian household and the kitchen — like many homes — was the axis on which our household turned.

These seasons brought all sorts of fare to our table: wild game like turkey, rabbit, pheasant and moose; off cuts like pig tails and ears, cows tripe; salt cod in many forms; collard green and potato soup (called Caldo Verde, in Portuguese); fried pumpkin cake (pictured above).

Making something delicious when you have nothing is a common theme across all of the worlds great cuisines. Indeed, many great dishes come from peasant roots.

I believe human beings are hard-wired to have an emotional connection to food. The world over, food is a celebration of mankind overcoming adversity. Even in the first world, where many of us are fortunate enough to be far removed from the struggle to find enough to eat, we have in us the DNA of our ancestors who scratched and clawed their way to their next meal.

What I remember most about the earliest meals of my life is that they were made by people who loved me, there was hard work and long hours in the kitchen to make them and, of course, that they were delicious. During my apprenticeship at Eigensinn Farm, I rediscovered the correlation between effort and taste of a dish. Food just tastes better when it’s grown and prepared made by the hands of someone who cares.

If you’re like me, you’ll be spending much of your free time over the holiday season at the grocery store, market, in the field hunting and foraging and, of course, in the kitchen. Remember, all those hours of effort mean something to the quality of your dishes. More importantly, they mean something to the people who eat them.

 

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Recipe: BBQ Shrimp (Portuguese Style)

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There’s nothing more delicious — and simple! — than shrimp on the BBQ. Traditional Portuguese-style calls for shrimp with the heads on. While it might be intimidating, the heads preserve a fantastic amount of flavor and add to the presentation of the dish.

  • 13/15 shrimp, shell on, preferably with the heads on.
  • Portuguese Malagueta (pimento paste)
  • Sambal Oelek (Indonesian hot sauce)
  • Olive oil
  • White wine
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Combine Malagueta, Sambal Oelek, olive oil and white wine in a stainless steel bowl. Reserve half the sauce to the side.
  2. Toss the thawed shrimp with the other half of the sauce and allow to sit for a 10 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Bring grill to med-high heat and throw shrimp onto the grill. In case of flame-ups, keep an open beer handy!
  4. Seafood cooks very quickly on the grill. You’ll only need a couple minutes per side. Once the shell changes color and the tails start to burn, pull the shrimp off into a clean bowl
  5. Toss with the remaining sauce
  6. Finish with the chopped cilantro or parsely
  7. Crack open a crisp lager and mangia!

Beer Pairing: Singha Lager or GLB’s Blonde Lager