This morning Stanley and I dragged ourselves out the door early and went for a walk on Sullivans Island - strong rip currents had been predicted and an astronomical high tide was in the making. It's been interesting for a few years to watch this barrier island change - move as they are known to do - with a sandbar that used to be one that you would swim out to at low tide now proving to be a tiny strip of land in it's own right. This morning Stanley and I got caught in the middle of it - with the higher than usual tides rushing across the lower areas as I waded through a foot and a half of seawater while Stanley tried to jump over the ribbons of approaching foam. The wind was cool but the water still felt surprisingly warm. The island was quieter than normal - it was a beautiful morning.
But it's a day to remind myself that I need to finish packing up this house (and soon) - now, a few hours later - the wine glasses and margarita glasses and martini glasses are packed away and in storage - as is a rather large lamp and all of the miscellaneous glass carboys that I've collected over the years for God-only-knows-what-reason. Blankets that won't make it into the Airstream have been placed in airtight bags. I took a full car load to my storage unit - and returned to a place that is looking less lived-in each day. My kitchen is down to three wine glasses, one drinking glass - and just the pots and pans that have made the cut into the Airstream. Oh, yeah, I still have the KitchenAid mixer - I'm not ready to part with it yet (although I'm not sure that why - since I haven't been using it much - but I did think that today might be a nice day to make bread - for the Caldeirada below).
So - it's a cloudy day and there's a cool breeze and it's a day to have something going in the kitchen, something to smell, and something to warm you. Below is a recipe that a graduate student in the lab, Ben, passed on to me awhile back. It is how Margarita, his former Dutch boss' Portuguese wife in Holland, fixed Caldeirada and taught him the recipe (except there were no quantities). The present state of the recipe is how it evolved in Ben's kitchen over the last several years. You can find plenty of other variations on the dish on-line - it's often referred to as Portugeuse fish stew I think. This dish is traditionally something made along the coast to cook with whatever is caught that day - Stanley and I didn't catch anything on or walk (nor did we try to) - although we did manage to swing by the grocery store afterwards and pick up a nice piece of halibut. The bay leaves came from the bay tree out in the garden - and I also added a bright red hot pepper from the garden. It's cooking now, and the house smells like sweet peppers.
0.5 cup EVOO
0.5 cup white wine (dry chardonnay or pinot grigio)
lotsa garlic (~tablespoon of minced but the more the
1 medium/large onion (white, yellow, or vidalia work)
tomato (normally one but you can take out or add more based on desired final
3 bell peppers (I do 2 orange and 1 yellow but you can vary this as well)
bay leaves (equal to # of fish or chicken breast)
~1 lb meat (normally fish but can be chicken also)
smidgin of curry (or more than a smidgin)
salt and pepper
potato (yukon golds are good, sweet potatoes work well too)
In a decent size pot (like you would cook chili in) add EVOO, wine (these two should cover the bottom nicely), garlic, onion (cut in half and slice), tomato (wedges), sliced bell peppers, bay leaves and curry. Mix. Salt and pepper this mixture to taste (if using chicken, salt more). Add fish or chicken cut in small (1 inch) cubes and stir. Thinly slice potato (the thickness will determine cooking time) and lay in a single layer on top of mixture. Bring to boil on medium heat then cover and heat at medium to medium low for 20 min. Check potato layer doneness, if not done, check meat. if meat is done and potatoes aren't, stir potatoes under and continue to cook. Normally I just stir under after 20 min and then cook for 10 more minutes. Serve in bowl. Will make enough for 3-4.
Additional comments: If using fish, smaller pieces may be more prone to disintegrating when boiled so take into consideration - I tend to add the fish after the potatoes are almost done. Also, if you want to increase recipe, just increase all accordingly, don't worry about having relatively less potatoes. You might have to cook longer as it takes longer to get to temperature.