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Treasured Friend and Treasured Recipes  
By Dian Thomas

People are like an encyclopedia, filled with information but not often opened. I am on my way to spend some time with a rare information encyclopedia of mine. Guida Ponte is a wonderful person I met on the NBC “Today Show” several years ago. She was born in the Azores islands and came to America to fulfill her dream of becoming a top chef. That she did when she became corporate chef for Legal Sea Foods, a wonderful chain of seafood restaurants.

For a big show like the NBC “Today Show,” there is a rehearsal the night before for segments that have props in them. I had just finished my rehearsal and was heading for the elevator when I was met by a group who had also been at the show rehearsals for their seafood segment. Legal Sea Foods was to be featured on the show the next morning.

As we rode down in the elevator, the group asked me if I would like to join them for a late New York dinner. When it comes to meeting and getting to know new people, I am always game. I do not remember the meal for where we went, but that night I met an incredible woman who dreamed a dream of coming to America and now was busy at work making her dream come true.

I later met her in Boston and even went with her on a trip to her home country. Guida has a wealth of information, and though the years I have had the opportunity to learn so much from her. I am so glad that I was able to share and learn with her. Since I am going to Boston this week, I wanted to share with you one her wonderful recipes. It is Layered Fish Stew. It is a recipe that I love to fix both indoors and out. It has never failed to be one of my favorites.

Layered Fish Stew
Guida, a dear friend from the Azores, Portugal, shared this family favorite. It will be a favorite of yours too.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh tomatoes, sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
11/2 to 2 pounds of any firm white fish fillets (such as cod)
2 zucchini, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
Camp Stove and At Home

In a large pot with lid, heat olive oil. Layer half of the onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, fish, zucchini, salt, pepper and water. Repeat in the same order with remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.

Dutch Oven

Heat a 12-inch Dutch oven over 9 hot coals; add olive oil. Layer half of the onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, fish, zucchini, salt, pepper and water. Repeat in the same order with remaining ingredients. Cover with Dutch oven lid and place 15 hot coals on top. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.

I am so glad that I took time to get to know Guida. Yes, she is truly one of the most wonderful human encyclopedias I have met. I will look for gems of wisdom to share with you next week from my trip to Boston.

   
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