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Mushroom and Zucchini Lasagna

I like family reunions. Having the whole family around the table. Eating, drinking and fraternizing with those who are close to me. I’m very attached to my family, my friends, my roots. And that, that family confraternization, is one of the cultural heritages that I appreciate the most among the southern europeans.
When I was a kid, something that used to bother me a little, was people trying to introduce non-portuguese dishes in the Christmas meals. I used to (and I do) love traditions, specially those around the food. Christmas for me was caldo verde, boiled salted codfish with chickpeas, catshark and beans stew, bolo-rei and trutas filled with pumpkin or sweet potato pure. I could never understand why would my aunt make lasagna for Christmas, though lots of people in my family loved it.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s easy for you to presume that gastronomical tradition, specially on Christmas, doesn’t mean sh*t to me anymore.
If lasagna, for you, has to be filled with minced meat and and cheese, well, bad luck for you. I’m calling this lasagna, you could call it what ever you may like.

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falafel 5

Falafel

I already mentioned my great fascination for the word tzatziki. Today I bring you me great fascination for the word falafel. If tzatziki sounds like a legendary sword from the Otoman Empire, falafel was, certainly, the name of some pharaoh from ancient Egypt.
“Falafel III, The Shining One, son of Mehotep, inherited the throne at the age of seven, succeeding to his brother Takelot IV.”
Notice that these are also spectacular names for football players.

I recall my first time eating falafel like if it was yesterday – it was in Joshua’s in the Forum Algarve when I was about 15 or 16 years old, right before heading to a tuning meeting.
I actually had no ideia what I was ordering. I just did it because it had a stupid name. In fact, almost every dish in Joshua’s has a spectacular name. But 15 years ago, in the Algarve, all that was quite new and unknown for me. I ended up eating a baguette from Pans & Company. The falafel tasted like pigeon poop.

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Tzatziki 6

Tzatziki

Tzatziki. A spectacular name for shredded cocumber with yogurt. It even sounds that you really know how to cook when you present such food – “Do you wanna come over for dinner? I’ll make my tzatziki, it will blow your mind!”. Yes. Except, that it’s just shredded cucumber with yogurt.
Man, tzatziki even sounds like some sort of legendary sword from the Ottoman Empire. Something like – “Bahadir, son of Behram, raising the mythical blade, Tzatziki, made all the caliphate tremble.”. Except, that it’s just shredded cucumber with yogurt.
Jokes apart, I actually like tzatziki, a lot. It goes along very well with many recipes and it is a great dip for bread.
Cucumber it’s kind of a boring ingredient for most people. And I must agree. I’m also not a big fan of cucumber in it’s purest form, but it is a very versatile ingredient. It is quite tasty in oriental stir-fries or pickled, for example. And, besides that, it is the star of our recipe, today. And it’s not everyday that you can call tzatziki to something.

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Arakas me Aginares – Peas with Artichokes

Anyways, all my favorite dishes used to have one thing in common – animal protein. Yes, I am not vegan because I used to like fish or meat less than you. And no, I don’t miss it, whatever that means. But even though all the animal products had been cut out of my diet, my fascination with certain products has continued. I still love stews with beans, cabbage and sweet potato, I still like to eat my chickpeas even without any codfish and I still the biggest fan of peas. About the sardines, well, they can keep doing their thing.

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Macaroni tutte le verdure

So who doesn’t like a nice pasta right? And who doesn’t like some old good caponata right? And who wouldn’t like caponata WITH pasta right? And you probably don’t even know what caponata is right? Yeah, I figured . “Caponata (Sicilian: capunata) is a Sicilian eggplant (aubergine) dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad made […]

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