We’ve been MIA from blogging for a couple of weeks now. We haven’t gone away…we’ve just been…well…to use an overused word…we’ve been busy. You see, Nelson’s parents recently arrived from the Azores. They’ll be with us for the next few months, enjoying some time with their grandkids and celebrating our little guy’s first Communion with us.
Each time they’ve stayed with us, it’s taken Nelson’s mom about a week to get comfortable in our kitchen, but she eventually finds her way around…and we’re so grateful for it. And the cutest thing always happens…and it started to happen this week…Nelson and his mom hanging out in the kitchen—observing, asking questions, learning and sharing food talk. It’s kind of cute to see—they’re both quiet cooks—just doin’ their thing—very focused—neither saying much. Then, every now and again you hear one ask the other about how or why they’re doing something a certain way. A son learning from his mom and a mom learning from her son—how very sweet.
This is extra special because it was Nelson’s mom’s own hand-written recipe notebook, that she’d left for us on her previous visit, that inspired this blog. While Nelson already enjoyed cooking for family and friends, and loved creating new dishes or putting his own spin on a traditional dish; he had also always wanted to recreate the meals he grew up with, and share traditions from the islands he called home through his teenage years. Now he’s doing that through Photos & Food—and I’ve been lucky enough to come along for this ride.
Our blog has become a regular part of our lives. Even our kids are totally into it and often ask us what we’ve got planned for the blog (they also love being our taste-testers—especially with desserts). While it can be difficult to make time for blogging—with our full-time jobs, kids, and all the extra-curricular that brings—it’s been a really fun hobby. And we miss it when we can’t get to it throughout the week.
But we’re getting back into the swing of things, slowly but surely. We’re settling into new routines with Nelson’s parents here, and today we introduced them to what our dining room looks like when we don’t have guests. Bins with props, backgrounds and reflectors, dishes in a variety of colours, and a great big light and soft box. I think they found this to be a bit odd and maybe they think we’re a bit nuts, but they know times have changed and that this is a new way of sharing a love of food and photography (hence Photos & Food… I know…creative, right?!).
Funny though…all this talk of Portuguese roots and traditions, and Nelson was in the mood for an Italian dish tonight. So, with our visitors from Portugal, we present to you this Italian-inspired Braciole di Vitello (thinly sliced veal, fried and then slow cooked in our Nonna-Approved tomato sauce)… because, why not…we like to mix things up a bit sometimes.
Now with Nelson’s mom here, maybe she’ll have a few more traditional Portuguese meals to share with us, which means we’ll have some more traditional meals to share with you. It’s a win, win! Adeus…until next time… eat well friends!
- 12 thin veal cutlets (2 lbs or 0.9 kg), pounded to ¼” thickness
- 3 tbsp olive oil (for the filling)
- 3 tbsp olive oil (to fry/sear the veal)
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced
- ½ cup Italian parsley chopped
- 10 basil leaves, chopped
- 5 oz or 142 g quality prosciutto, thinly sliced (12 slices)
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted in a pan on medium high for about 2 minutes or until the pine nuts are lightly browned
- ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
- 6 cups Nonna-Approved tomato sauce (or any other favourite tomato sauce)
- ⅔ cups of your favourite red wine
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Combine 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, pine nuts and parmigiano reggiano in a bowl, and mix well.
- Season both sides of veal cutlets with salt and pepper.
- Place one slice of prosciutto on top of each slice of pounded veal.
- Divide the stuffing mixture evenly over all 12 veal cutlets, spreading roughly one tsp around the centre of each cutlet without reaching the edges.
- Roll each cutlet tightly and secure with one or two toothpicks as required.
- Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high.
- Brown the rolled veal pieces on both sides and set them aside.
- Still on medium high, add the red wine to the pan and scrape down any bits from the bottom and sides.
- Let the wine reduce by half.
- Add the sauce to the pan and mix well.
- Add the rolled veal pieces to the sauce.
- Once the sauce starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for one hour.
- Serve the veal and sauce over a quality penne or other favourite pasta.
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