São Miguel: Cooking in the Azores

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Our home for the week

 

After a week exploring Lisbon, we took a flight to São Miguel, aka “The Green Island”. São Miguel is the largest of the nine islands that make up the Azores. We were happy to have a week relaxing and enjoying nature! I spent a lot of time finding the perfect home for us and discovered this cute, rustic house with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Most importantly we had a barbeque to do some grilling!

 

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Our view of the ocean

 

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Our view of the island

 

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Our grill for the week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we can cook anything, we needed to buy some food! There aren’t many big cities on São Miguel, so we figured our best best would be going to the Mercado da Graça in Ponta Delgada – the capital of the Azores. We weren’t positive what to expect, because they don’t have a website. So much fresh fruit and vegetables – especially pineapples! Originally we wanted to buy fish, but we learned October isn’t really a big fish eating month, so we went the butcher and bought some pork, a chicken and steaks! We couldn’t get over how inexpensive everything was – $2 for a steak, $3 for an entire chicken! One thing we knew for sure going in was that we needed to buy local cheese – so we went to the O Rei dos Queijos (King of Cheese) for our selection, which had to include an aged cheese from São Jorge!

 

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Mercado da Graça

 

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Fruit and vegetable stalls inside

 

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King of Cheese located at the market for delicious cheese and wine

 

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Best pineapple we’ve ever tasted – smaller, sweeter, and more flavorful than their tropical counterparts

 

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You can find bananas all over the island! These bananas here are small with thick skins and concentrated flavors!

 

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Making our selection

 

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Our bounty

 

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First night using the barbeque

 

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Grilled vegetables – eggplant, bell pepper, and onions

 

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And delicious pineapple for dessert!

 

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Breakfast – local tea, smoothie, and scramble with bell peppers

 

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Queijo de São Jorge – cheese from the São Jorge Island – we bought three different ages and it was so so so delicious!

 

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We also bought a soft, creamy cheese for the week

 

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The oldest with a bit of honey and wine from the Island of Pico

 

 

 

 

I tried a new fruit while on São Miguel – the annona fruit! When I spotted it at the market, no one could help me with the translation, so I bought a few and looked them up once I got back to the house and had wifi! I found it a lot of work to eat, but worth it!

From the Saveur site:

The islanders call it “coracao negro,” or “black heart”, since it darkens to a harsh black as it ripens and then expires. A transplant to the islands from the Philippines, it’s grown on Pico, a neighboring island, too. Once you slice it open, it’s easy to remove the black seeds and eat the pulp with a spoon. The ripe fruit has a custard-like texture and is incredibly sweet, like a cross between a mango, a pineapple, and a banana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Also bought some juicy papaya!

 

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Fruit salad with the annona on top

 

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This time we had breakfast with eggs and chorizo – an Azores specialty

 

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The wild cat that hung out in our backyard every day

 

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Preparing the grill

 

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Sunsetting over the ocean

 

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Grilling pineapple

 

 

 

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Grilled pork and pineapple with preserved bell peppers served on bolo lêvedo, aka a Portuguese muffin

 

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So much fruit every day

 

 

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Grilled chicken marinated in piri piri sauce

 

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Grilled piri piri chicken with tomato salad and rice

 

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Breakfast – bolo lêvedo with scrambled eggs, bell pepper, and chorizo

 

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Our daily visitor

 

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Relaxing with a glass of wine, enjoying the view

 

 

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Steak dinner

 

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Grilled steak with mushrooms and sweet potato

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