Sunday, December 8, 2013


It's been a long time since we've posted to Cozido! but that doesn't mean we haven't been cooking or eating.

Today is a cold and blustery Sunday in the Northeastern USA and we felt was the perfect day to make a batch of sauce.  Depending on where you are in the world, you may know it by a different name.  Gravy, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc.  In my neck of the woods, we call it "sauce" (and we don't ever call it gravy, for everyone knows gravy is something that you put on Thanksgiving Turkey or a white roux you put on biscuits...).

Making sauce on a Sunday is a tradition that harks back to my youth, where every Sunday, Italians all over the Lehigh Valley (and my family included) would gather at 10 a.m. for their dinner (lol) after Mass and eat pasta and sauce, usually with some kind of meat.
spicy and sweet Italian sausage.

So with that in mind, the Mrs. and I decided it was a good time to relive the tradition today on this wintery of Sundays.

Ours is a very standard way of preparing sauce but a delicious one.  Start by browning your meat in the pan.  Today we picked Italian sausage both sweet and spicy.  (by the way, my favorite variation is made with pork neck bones and stew meat - which adds the most incredible flavor to the sauce).

I empty a little more than half of the grease and add some fresh olive oil to the pot.  Once the olive oil is hot enough, we add 1 large onion chopped up beyond recognition, and 3 cloves of minced garlic.  (please....too much garlic?  My wife is Portuguese and I'm Italian.  3 cloves is barely enough).
1 large onion and 3 cloves or garlic

a little more olive oil after the sausage is done cooking.  (emptied half of the grease)

Leonor demonstrates the "forbidden art" of Portuguese rapid onion chopping.

Saute the onion until it's translucent then add the garlic for a little while.  Don't burn the garlic.  Then add 2 cans of tomato paste.  Let it sit there for a little while and flatten it out.  (Your olive oil will turn a delightful orange that will your children will marvel over.)
cooking the onion.

smushing or flattening your tomato paste.

Once you've flattened and "smushed" the paste, add 2 x cans of crushed tomatoes.  If you're feeling froggy, you can add your own fresh crushed tomatoes if that's your thing.

We then add the spices, salt, a little black pepper and red pepper.  Spices are our own blend of seasoning, some of it home-grown and dried and some of it store bought.  You'll need basil, parsley, a little oregano and thyme, and about a teaspoon of salt and 3 shakes of black pepper.  (no more, no less).

Oh and here is an important step you might want to make about now...for every can of tomato paste you use, fill empty tomato paste can with water and dump it in.  That stretches your sauce a little so it's not too thick.

Let it simmer for an hour or 2 or 3 depending on how hungry you are or how much time you have.

It's actually good enough to eat "ascuitta" now, or lightly coating the macaroni.  This is how Italians eat it.  Like real Italians.  In Italy.

So after you simmer the sauce, you add my secret ingredient which gives you the most amazing flavor and totally explains why you only put 1 teaspoon of salt in (I knew you were wondering...).  I add about 1 to almost 2 tablespoons of parmesan or romano (or both!) cheese to the sauce.  This gives it an amazing flavor, extra body and thickening.  You can technically use shaker cheese but obviously the fresh grated stuff is best.
So this is what it looks like outside now.  Does that make the sauce taste better?  Possibly.
The weather outside is frightful, but my sauce is so delightful!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Burgers! Happy 4th of July!

Hello everyone and Happy 4th of July to my American blogging friends.  In the USA today is a day of BBQs and parties.  Leonor is working her overtime period now so it was the little one and I all day today.  I grilled some sausage in the morning for breakfast and immediately grilled burgers after that.

I dont like to use the blog to pitch products or goods, but today I bought a box of "Bubba" burgers (I know..sounds appetizing huh?).  These are 1/3 pound burgers that are lightly seasoned and HUGE as in 1 fills you up and 2 is just asking for trouble.

The burgers are supposed to be placed right on the grill while frozen which is incredibly convenient.  Something else I like about them?  They're shaped like the state of Texas.  A neat little surprise I found out after opening the package.  The ingredients are supposed to be straightforward (beef) and to be honest they tasted that way.  Worth every penny of the 10 dollars it cost to buy a box.  I liked it so much I had one for lunch and we are having one for dinner!
Breakfast Sausage patties.

Bubba Burgers in all their glory!!  The suckers are HUGE!

Well I am certainly enjoying the holiday today and I sincerely hope everyone else is as well!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Portuguese Bifana (bee-fah-nah)

Tonight Leonor made one of my favorites -  Portuguese Bifana which is technically "supposed" to be a sandwich made with pork cutlets but she likes to make them with steak (i guess technically it's not a bifana but what the hell, same recipe).  We cut out some carbs tonight and had it on the plate instead of as a sandwich.

Tonight we had it along with some more fresh lettuce from our garden.  A very successful meal.  We don't eat alot of steak here, so it was obviously important enough to put in the blog!
That's steam coming off of the steak.  You know you want some.

 Here is my exclusive interview with the cook....

Q: So Leonor, what goes into your bifana?
A: A ton of sliced and chopped garlic.  Sweet paprika, salt, and dry red wine.  Marinate overnight but to make it even better, a full 24 hours.

Q: How do you prepare it?

I cut up the french fries and we baked them with a little salt and pepper.
A: You put  it in a pot with some water, enough to cover the beef.  Add a little olive oil and cook until it's done, turning every so often.  I let it cook until there is a thick sauce or gravy there.

Q: How do you serve it?
A:  It's supposed to be eaten with French Fries.  In Portugal and in Portuguese restaurants a bifana is usually eaten with french fries.

Delicious.  You can see a little bit of the garlic and some of the sauce.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Good Life...Grilled Strip Steak, Baked Potato and Fresh Greens Salad.

This post isn't about recipes but more about a recent dinner the Mrs. and I prepared. and ate on our patio.  We bought 2 fresh Strip Steaks from Wegmans, and picked some younger lettuce shoots from the garden for a salad.

We grilled the steaks, about 4 to 5 minutes per side on the grill.  I coated the potatoes in olive oil and sprinkled "montreal steak" seasoning on them and left them on the grill for about 45-50 minutes, wrapped in aluminum foil.

The wife added chopped onion, cherry tomato, and some carrots along with oil and vinegar to the fresh picked lettuce.  It was really an unforgettable meal.
LOOK at that lettuce!  I was beaming with pride...

For growing it in a pot, i'm surprised at how much we got.

finished product.  thank you wife for your skillful chopping!

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the steak before we grilled it.  It was a beautiful cut of meat too! (read that as expen$ive!)
Leonor likes her steak VERY well done...Mine on the other hand medium-rare.

I sprinkled a little "montreal steak" on the steaks prior to grilling.  that was the only prep that went into them.
I did not want to use the blog for any endorsements of products, but if you eve want a meat seasoning that is literally "no fail" I recommend looking into the "Grill Mate" line by Mccormick.  Montreal Steak has everything you could want to season meat.  I like it for poultry as well, but they also have one for chicken...
You can research Montreal Steak and other seasonings here.

Probably the only thing missing was a nice cold beer or glass of wine.  I had my home-made hard cider with this meal.  Which was good, but I think the wine or beer would have been better.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chicken Shwarma

Before our epic weekend get-a-way we made a classic near-eastern sandwich known as shwarma.  The best way I can describe it would be to say it's an Arabic gyro.  You could then be forgiven for calling Gyro "Greek Shwarma."  You get the idea.

Shwarma is simplicity itself.  The meat is marinated in various spices for an hour or overnight if you like, then cooked, then wrapped tightly  in a pita, stuffed with complementary vegetables and sauces and grilled.  The resulting sandwich can only be described as a gastronomical work of art.  Where to begin?

For one thing, the crispy, grilled, almost burnt outside is the perfect juxtaposition for the rest of the contents of the sandwich.  Chopped up dill pickles, raw onion, and a creamy garlic sauce all heated to perfection mix in your mouth and it seems nothing can top the combination of the cool cucumber or dill pickles, creamy garlic sauce and vegetables you've added.  That is until you try the marinated meat which is the real life of the party.  The savory and slightly salty creamy garlic sauce and dill pickles complement the marinated meat perfectly.

It's almost as if the contents of the sandwich are only eaten well together.  By itself the chicken is special, but is most certainly missing something.

But enough about my thoughts.  Let's get the food pictures!
Whisk your spices in with olive oil

Crush up some garlic and add to mayonnaise   I personally stick by the old adage "if you ain't cheatin' you aint tryin' " so at this point, I add some garlic hummus to mayo and it turns out VERY nicely.  The hummus gives it a very nice texture.

Chop onion and cucumbers and save for later.  My first screw up - should have used  dill pickles instead of cucumbers but they still tasted great.

coat some cut up raw cubed chicken (we used 2 boneless breasts but you should use a mixture of white and dark meat for the best flavor).  mix in a bowl with the olive oil and spices.

probably tastes better grilled but we cook ours on very low heat so all those nice flavors mix around.

here is what the finished product looks like.  

spread your hummus mayo crushed garlic on a pita (we like tortillas because  they  grill up nicer and are nice and crispy)

add some onions, dill pickles or cucumber pieces.

add your cooked chicken

small french fries added make a very nice complement to the sandwich as well.

wrap it all up, grill it on a small grill surface.  Real grills work very well for this purpose.  Remember you're heating up the inside and grilling the outside of the sandwich.

enjoy.  I had this baby with a cider.

As promised, here's everything you'll need:

pitas, tortillas, or some other grillable flat bread.
2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts, or a combination of light and dark meat chicken meat, thighs breasts, etc
1 tablespoon garlic hummus
2 tablespoons of mayo
3 cloves of garlic
1 cucumber
1 small onion
Roughly 5 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pinch of salt
french fries (optional)

How to Make:

whisk all your spices together in with the olive oil.
cut up your chicken into small chunks or slices - whichever you prefer
place your chicken into the bowl with the olive oil spice mixture and coat it
let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge
crush up garlic and mix with mayonnaise and garlic hummus
chop up your veggies

when the chicken is done marinating, cook it on low heat until it's cooked thoroughly through.  Place the cooked chicken individually in a bowl  (piece by piece)

Assemble your Shwarma!

Spread the mayo on the bread.
Place chunks of chicken on the mixture.
Place a few veggies and/or french fries on top
Wrap tightly
Grill on a flat surface, grill, George Foreman Grill, etc.  (using a pan works as well but you'll have to turn it).

Enjoy.  Thank me by commenting!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Welcome to Cozido!  

This is our family's blog about cooking, eating, life, work, play, and sharing good company and good food with friends and family.  The kitchen is synonymous with warmth, comfort, memories, and all of the things that tantalize the senses.  No other room in the house evokes such a powerful sensory experience than the kitchen.  That's why the kitchen is our favorite room in our house.  

We're glad you could join us here!  So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and relax - you're in good company.

Steven and Leonor.


This blog is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by the restaurant Kozeedoo in Philadelphia, PA.  The URL of this blog is used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.