When I think about my vacation kitchen, far away across the Atlantic Ocean, I think not just of the foods I’ve made for more than two decades with and for my family, but what it is that I will make that’s new this year. My vacation kitchen is in the Algarve region of Portugal, surrounded by fig, orange and olive trees and wild herbs like sage and rosemary. Just inhaling the air is tantalizing and inspirational.
Throughout the years, I’ve explored various combinations of flavors, merging cheeses, fresh figs, almonds, port wine and honey to create special foods for my family.
As I think of my impending vacation, I picture myself in my Algarve kitchen, one where sea breezes waft through the open window revitalizing my soul as I chop and simmer. Along with this ephemeral glimpse of my treasured recollections comes visions of myself roaming through the aisles of various Portuguese markets gathering the ingredients for my culinary inspirations. I also think of the items I would like to have which I cannot get there.
The cuisine of this sunny and windswept region in Portugal is a simple one graced by an abundance of fresh seafood and farm vegetables simply seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, garlic and fresh herbs. Yet in recent years, new restaurants have opened combining local flavors with organic, gluten free, vegan and less indigenous spices and ingredients. Like these establishments, I too enjoy infusing new and sometimes exotic flavors to this regional cuisine.
So this trip, into my suitcase will go barberries, quinoa, chipotle chili powder and garam masala. Though we enjoy most of our dinner meals out, we eat our lunches and happy hour snacks at the villa which lend many opportunities for some culinary creativity. For today I will share my favorite Algarve inspired recipe we’ve enjoyed countless times while sipping green wine and gazing out across the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Cadiz. There’s no reason why you can’t bring these flavors into your summer entertaining right here in he states. And I’ll share new recipes soon. Enjoy!