The paternal side of our family hales from the Portuguese island of Faial in the Azores, and put down roots in the San Francisco Bay Area and Livermore Valley at least 5 generations ago.
Our dad, Wayne Calhoun, and his brother Ken. They grew up fishing on the Alameda Creek in Niles, and the Arroyo Mocho at the Calhoun Ranch on Mines Road in Livermore
Our grandmother died before any of the grandkids were born, and our dad and uncle didn’t pick up many Portuguese traditions other than linguica, so we have been researching and trying out new Portuguese recipes for the last few years.
Ruth Calhoun Brown, our 99 year old family matriach, with nieces Sylvia & Noel
After spending 10 years researching, testing, and publishing our Danish family cookbook, we were in need of a change! Our cousins all bring old and new recipes to our Calhoun family reunion, some Portuguese, some not.
This year I wanted to try a few vegetarian recipes out, along with a huge pot of pinto beans and linguica, all four burners were goin’! I had purchased a couple of Portuguese cookbooks a few years back, and this year found all the recipes in Portuguese Cooking – The Traditional Cuisine of Portugal by Carol Robertson. I made a Piri-Piri sauce in advance, Fragrant Rice, Peas Algarve Style (without the linguica), and everybody’s favorite, Tomato Acorda.
Portuguese Tomato Acorda (Tomato Soup) with Piri-Piri
Acorda is a rustic Portuguese soup that includes a piece of crusty bread at the bottom of the bowl. It turned out to be an unseasonably cool afternoon, so the soup really hit the spot! It’s a very simple and healthy recipe; you probably have the ingredients in your cupboard. I am definitely not a scientific cook, not always measuring, and I’m always adjusting recipes, especially if I don’t have an ingredient or two. For the acorda, I used less olive oil, and a lot more garlic than the recipe called for, so this is my adjusted version from the cookbook.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 4-6 cloves minced garlic, to taste
- 1 28-ounce, and 1 14.5 ounce cans whole tomatoes with their liquid
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 32 ounce boxes Vegetable Broth
- Sliced whole wheat sourdough bread
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and lightly brown the onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, oregano, bay leaves and parsley. Break up the tomatoes (I use a potato masher) and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and simmer, uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving, grill (for the best flavor), broil or toast slices of sourdough bread, rub a whole clove of garlic across the rough bread. Place the bread at the bottom of each soup bowl. Spoon soup over the bread. Drizzle with a bit of Piri-Piri sauce if you’re looking for a bit of added heat and flavor!
- ¼ cup fresh hot chili peppers
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup olive oil
Coarsely chop the peppers, discarding the tops. Thoroughly wash hands, knife and cutting board afterwards. Combine peppers, salt, garlic, and oil in a glass bottle. Cover tightly, refrigerate. Use as needed.
The aroma from the rice was incredible during the cooking process! Serves 6
- 1 ½ onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 inch of cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 cups basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice) rinsed once and soaked for 5 minutes in water
- 3 ¾ cups boiling water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
In a deep saucepan, sauté the onions in the butter. Add the cinnamon, cloves, salt, garlic and ginger. Gently fry for 1 minute.
Drain the rice and add it to the spices. Toss to coat with butter.
Measure 3 ¾ cups of boiling water into the rice mix. When it returns to boiling, add the turmeric, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Shut off the heat and leave rice covered for 5 more minutes before serving.