Pita Bread

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Pao Arabe

Pita Bread is so easy to make, the perfect pair for Hummus! The warm and rich flavor of the Arab cuisine that reached Portugal and Brazil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tea-spoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 table-spoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tea-spoon dry yeast

Directions:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Dissolve yeast in water and add olive oil.
  3. Make a hole in center of flour and add yeast mixture, then slowly knead mixture to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place it back in the bowl, brush top with a little extra olive oil, cover with a plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and divide it in 6 balls.
  7. Roll each ball in to a circle or oval shape about 1/3 inch thick. Brush each one with a little more olive oil, cover them back and let them rest for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 400F. Place 3 pita circles on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. You will need to pans or bake in batches.
  9. Bake for 6 minutes or until they puff up and are golden brown.

So Yummy!

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Hummus

 

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Garbanzo Bean Dip

Hummus comes from the Arabic word meaning “chickpeas”

Believe it or not but Brazil is home of one of the best hummus you can find. The History of Brazil and Syrian/Lebanese immigration go as far as the Ottoman Empire when  Arabs conquered Portugal and became new Christians “Moors”. During the colonization of Brazil many of the colonists were the new christians and they brought with them to Brazil, their culture. The influence of the Moorish in Brazilian food is rich.  Moorish cuisine has been fully integrated as Brazilian food. Today there are approximately 7 million Brazilians of Syrian/Lebanese descent. You will find Arab Restaurants everywhere and Middle Eastern food as part of the main Brazilian menu.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked Garbanzo beans or 2 cans drained
  • juice of half a Lemmon or lime
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tea spoon ground cummin
  • salt to taste
  • 2 table spoons Tahini (optional)*
  • mint leaves to garnish

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor except for mint leaves and process until creamy and smooth.*
  • Place hummus in a serving dish, drizzle some extra olive oil and garnish with chopped mint leaves. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

*If you remove the skins off the garbanzo beans you will have a silkier puree.

* It can be difficult to find Tahini, when Tahini is added then you have a Hummus bi Tahini, but it is not necessary for just making garbanzo bean dip.

Serve with Pita bread, following is a recipe for homemade pita bread

 

 

 

 

 

Brazilian mini Doughnuts

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“Bolinhos de Chuva”

“Bolinhos de Chuva” translates to English as ” mini rain cakes” or perhaps “rain scones”.  Bolinhos meaning “little cakes” and “chuva” meaning “rain”. The popular say for the origin of the name is that when you drop the batter in to the hot oil it forms what looks like a rain drop. Brazilians love “Bolinhos de Chuva”, it is easy to make and very much resembles a doughnut hole. It is usually served with coffee or tea but it can also be a dessert, definitely a treat. It is delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 table-spoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lime or orange
  • 1 tea-spoon baking powder
  • extra oil for frying ( I like to use coconut oil)
  • powdered sugar and cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until smooth. Add milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and lime zest and whisk until well mixed. Add flour, salt and baking powder, whisk until a batter is made.
  2. heat oil in a medium low temperature. If oil is too hot it will burn the doughnuts before the inside in fully cooked. Drop batter using a tea-spoon full.
  3. Place doughnuts on a paper towel. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Brazilian Shrimp Torte

 

 

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Torta de Camarao

 

This is a very popular dish in Brazil, it can be served as a main dish, side dish, party food.

This dish is also known as “Empadao de Camarao” and it is found in every bistro, served in big slices or in mini sizes,as finger food or appetizers .

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) cold butter cut into cubes
  • 8 tablespoons ice water
  • shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound of cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 lime or Lemmon
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 of an onion finely chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palms ( optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives ( optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 table-spoon flour

Directions:

  1. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour and salt to a food processor or to a medium bowl. Pulse or stir until combined. Add butter and process or use a fork to mix. Add remaining flour and mix until dough is crumbly. Add cold water and process or use hands to shape dough into a ball. If dough falls apart add another table-spoon or two of cold water and work the dough until  forms a ball.
  2. Remove dough from food processor or bowl, place it on a clean surface and divide dough in two halves. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper in olive oil,  cook until soft. Add shrimp, squeeze lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes. Then add hearts of palms, olives, fresh parsley and flour. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Pre heat oven to  350 F.
  5. Remove one half of dough from refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Open dough with a rolling-pin and place it on a round pie dish. Prick dough with a fork and place it in oven for 15 min.
  6. Remove from oven, place but leave oven on. Pour shrimp filling inside pie crust, set aside.
  7. Remove other half of dough from refrigerator and open with a rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on top of filling. Press the sides to close the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Make a cut like a cross in the middle with a knife. Place it on top of a cookie sheet and in the oven and bake for 35 min or until top is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Brazilian Sweet Bread ” Rosca Doce”

 

 

Brazilians love sweet bread!  there are many varieties of this delicious treat and you find them in every bakery around the country. Sweet bread was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, it is as popular there as it is in Brazil. Great with butter and honey or fruit preserves, it is usually  served at breakfast or in the afternoon accompanied by a cup of bold strong coffee or” café au lait”

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of butter softened
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated coconut sugar or brown sugar

 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, 1/2 cup sugar,salt, vanilla, eggs, butter and 1/2 cups of flour and whisk all together, it will look like a cake batter.
  2. Then add remaining flour and knead until dough is elastic and easy to handle.
  3. Turn dough onto the counter top and grease the bowl. Set dough back in bowl and turn greased side up. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and place dough in a warm area and let it rise for ate least 1 hour. I like to place mine outside , the warmth of the sun is perfect.
  4. Cover a cookie shit with parchment paper and set aside
  5.  Punch  dough and place it on a lightly floured kitchen counter. Divide dough in half. Then divide each half into three parts. Roll each part into a 16 inches string approximately and braid them. Makes 2 braids. Place them on cookie shit and let them rise for another hour.
  6. Heat oven to 325F. Bake them until  golden brown, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, brush bread with water and sprinkle granulated coconut sugar pr brown sugar on top.

ENJOY!

“Caipirinha” a Brazilian National Cocktail

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“Caipirinha” is an unique Brazilian cocktail made with limes, sugar and distilled sugar cane known by several different names being “Cachaça” the most popular but it is also known as ‘Pinga”, “Aguardente” and “Caninha”.  It is basically fermented sugar cane juice and it can be very strong by itself, many people will drizzle honey, others will have a pure shot before a meal, it is known to open up an appetite.

Cachaça may not be easy to find at liquor stores in the US but Caipirinha is becoming popular at bars around the nation and Cachaça can be order on line and it  may be substituted for Rum or Vodka. When using Rum this cocktail is known as “Caipirissima” and if using Vodka it’s “Caipirosca”. A Caipirinha must have Cachaça.

The original Caipirinha is made with limes but there is a variation using passion fruit also very tropical ,Brazilian and delicious.

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Ingredients”

  • 1 lime
  • 2 ounces of Cachaça
  • 2 tbs sugar ( I like to substitute the sugar for agave nectar)
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Rinse lime well and dry. Cut lime in quarters and remove the white skin, then cut the quarters again in half.
  2. Place ice in a cocktail shaker, add lime slices, muddle gently just to release some juice, add Cachaça, sugar or agave. Shake well and transfer all to a Rocks glass. Poke limes and stir with a cocktail straw, garnish with a slice of lime.
  3. No cocktail shaker? just place the ice in the Rocks glass, add the limes and muddle a little using a muddler or the end of a butter knife, add cachaça and sugar or agave. Poke and stir well using a cocktail straw, garnish with lime.
  4. ENJOY!  and SAÚDE!

 

Shrimp and Hearts of Palms “Au Gratin” Camarão com Catupiry

This is a  very rich and creamy dish usually made on Sundays when family, extended family and friends gather for a big lunch. It is made with an unique type of cream cheese you can only find in Brazil, although it can be order on line these days, it is similar to a combination of Mascarpone and cream cheese. It is called Catupiry, it was developed by Italians in the State of Minas Gerais but the name comes from a Brazilian native language “Tupi” and it means “excellent”. It’s an excellent cream cheese!

This dish is perfect served on top of white rice and butternut squash steamed

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb uncooked shrimp with tail on
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 jar or can of hearts of palms
  • 1/2 pkg of cream cheese
  • 1 container of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 can small diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 bunch fresh parleys finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add shrimp let it cook for about 5 minutes or until its nice and pink, drain water, place shrimp in a bowl, melt butter and drizzle over.
  2. In the same pot used to cook shrimp, drizzle olive oil over a medium heat, add can of diced tomatoes, a half   can of water and chopped garlic. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper and  blend using a hand mixer, if you don’t have a hand mixer , transfer to a blender then transfer back to the pot once smoothed. Let it cook until bubbly. Change heat to low and add Mascarpone cheese, parleys, stir and remove from heat.
  3. Remove shrimp tails and place shrimp on bottom of a rectangular 13X9 glass or ceramic dish.
  4. Drain water from hearts of palms cut them in slices and place them all over on top of shrimp.
  5. Cut cream cheese in small cubes and place them all over the top. Pour sauce over, sprinkle bread crumbs and  shredded Asiago cheese over the top.
  6. Heat oven to Broil, place dish in oven and broil for 10 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

Steamed Rice and Butternut

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 butternut squash chopped in small cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • parleys for garnish

Directions:

  1. If using a rice cooker, drizzle with oil, add rice and chopped butternut, dissolve salt and garlic in water and add to the rice cooker, close top and set it to white rice. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and garnish with parsley
  2. To cook over the stove, drizzle oil in a pot turn heat to low, add rice, butternut and stir, then add salt and garlic dissolved in water, stir again and turn heat up to medium, cover pot and let it cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes but you need to watch in case water dries fast, then keep adding a bit of water as needed.