Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arroz a Valenciana - Valenciana Rice

Arroz a Valenciana

As a young child growing up in a Portuguese home, with quite a big family around, I think the moments I most remember are the ones spent around the dinner table.

I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, and I think the beginning of this love affair with food and cooking was brought on by my great grandma.

She was quite a strong, amazing woman, always in the kitchen preparing these huge meals for a table of 14 or 15 at a time.  As with many large families, dishes were often kept simple but stretched to feed many, as is the case with this rice.

Sometimes she would add in a few shrimp, or some calamari.  Other times she would substitute bacon for the chourico, but no matter which way she made it, it was always one of my favorites and today, it's one I prepare for my family and my brother's family, knowing that it will go quite far.

Arroz a Valenciana

Arroz a Valenciana

1 lb chicken breasts, cubed (you can also use a whole cut up chicken or drumsticks or thighs)
1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
bay leaf
olive oil
salt and pepper
white wine
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cans of vienna sausages, sliced
2 small chouricos, sliced
Frozen peas (I sometimes use mixed veggies)
fresh parsley
2 cups rice

In a pot, add a little bit of olive oil, the onions, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaf and cook until the onion is translucent.

Add in the chicken and the spices and stir well to combine, next pour in the tomato sauce and some white wine, I use about 1/4 cup of wine or so, just eyeball it.

Cook for a few minutes until the chicken is brown, then add in the frozen veggies and a little water and cook for a few minutes more until the veggies are done.

At this point, add in the 2 cups of rice and the sliced chourico.  Pour in enough water to cover the rice about an inch above.  Stir well and cook over medium heat until rice is to your liking.  Some people like the rice to have a bit of crunch to it, while others prefer a mushier rice, so cook according to your family's taste.  About 5 minutes before the rice is done, add in the sliced viennas and some chopped fresh parsley.

Serve immediately. 

Arroz a Valenciana

National Pizza Month with California Ripe Olives


October is known for many things: falling leaves, cooler nights, and Halloween costumes. But in the culinary world it means one thing and one thing only: National Pizza Month!

We are a pizza AND olives loving family, matter of fact, you can always count on finding homemade pizza and some kind of olive as a topping.  I do have a certain affinity for black olives though, especially on pizza.

In 1769, the first olive cuttings were planted in California at the San Diego Mission. As most transplants do, they responded quite well to the California climate-sunny days, cool nights, fresh air-and they set their roots.

 You can find out more about California Ripe Olives by visiting or by following @MissCAOlive on Twitter, or Facebook.


The wonderful folks at California Olives sent me a kit to try out some of their olives and even included a recipe for a Black and White Pizza which I think is delicious.

Black and White Pizza

Black and White Pizza

1 Tbsp olive oil, plus additional for crust
1 cup onion that has been quartered and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced roasted garlic
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 ball prepared pizza dough
1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
4 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into ½ inch pieces
1 (6 oz) can extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, cut into quarters chicken breast, cooked and sliced thin
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a skillet, heat the 1Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until onions are soft (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
Roll pizza dough into a very thin oval.Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and light brush with olive oil.
Then top crust with Alfredo sauce followed by mushroom mixture, cheese, chicken, and rosemary. Sprinkle with olives.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is brown around the edges.
Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves 4.

I didn't get a picture of this one because it went THAT fast, by the time I grabbed the camera it was gone LOL

I did make another one using butter and garlic as a base, instead of pizza sauce. I added smoked ham, banana bell peppers, California ripe black olives, onion and was YUMMY!


By far, one of my favorite olive brands has to be California Ripe Olives, so I always keep a few cans in my pantry, not just for pizza but for quite a few of my Portuguese recipes too :)

Thank you to the folks at California Ripe Olives for providing me with a kit for this review.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Homemade White Bread

Fresh, hot bread out of the oven, slathered in butter and then bit into while the melted butter drips down your hands.  I do believe that has to be one of Earth's wonders, right??

Homemade White Bread

So tonight, I wanted to make a big pot of potato and onion soup, it's been pretty chilly here and downright Fallish, and the perfect meal for a day like that is a bowl of steaming soup with a slice of hot fresh bread.

If you're looking for the soup recipe, it will be up right after this one :)

Anyway, back to the bread.  I do have quite a few bread recipes on the blog and I enjoy every single one of them.  This one however is one I tried from the blog Jamie Cooks it Up and it's truly a simple, easy and delicious bread to make.   The fact that I get 5 loaves out of it makes me extremely giddy too, because you see, fresh better never lasts longer than an hour in this house.

Homemade White Bread
Yield: 5 loaves
 Source:  Jamie Cooks it Up

4 C hot water
1/2 C sugar
2/3 C oil
2 T salt
3 T yeast
10-12 C white flour

1. In a Bosch or Kitchen Aid mixer place the hot water, sugar, oil, salt, and 4 C of the flour. Mix for 1 minute.

2. Add the yeast, and the rest of the flour 1 C at a time while mixing. You will know you have enough flour when the sides of your mixer get scraped clean.

3. Once you have enough flour mix for 8 minutes on high.

4. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into 5 pieces and place in sprayed bread pans.

6. Take each piece and “spank” it to get any bubbles out.

7. Round the dough into a ball and place back in the pans.

8. Place the pans in your oven at 170 degrees, and let rise for 25 minutes, or until the bread has risen about 1 inch above the edge of the pan.

9. Turn the oven up to 350 and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t take the pans out while the oven heats up.Just let the bread keep rising while it heats. Enjoy!

Homemade White Bread