Lemon Ricotta Cake

This is a delicious cake, very soft and fluffy almost like a pudding. It is wonderful anytime of the day. My family enjoys it for breakfast or in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or for a late snack with a cup of tea.

It is originally an Italian delicacy but very popular all over the world. In Brazil, we use limes instead of lemons. It is a bit more tart this way but still delicious. You can use either.

I used an Angel food cake pan for this recipe but you can use your favorite shape pan.

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of ricotta ( I use part skim for a lighter cake but whole milk will give a richer taste and consistency)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tea spoon lemon extract ( citrus extract or vanilla)
  • 3 lemons or limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting and garnish

Ingredients for the glaze:

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350F . Grease your favorite cake pan thoroughly with 1 tablespoon butter. Dust pan with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Make sure entire pan is heavily coated with powered sugar and set aside.
  2. Mix 1/2 teaspoon sea salt with zest of 1 lemon or 1 lime using the tips of your fingers. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the ricotta cheese and beat again until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time processing after each egg and scrape the sides with a spatula then beat again.
  4. Now add lemon or citrus extract or vanilla and beat again. Add lemon or lime juices and beat again.
  5. Add flour, baking soda and zest sea salt and beat again until well blended. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes in center of oven or until fork comes out clean.
  6. While cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Mix juice of the 2 lemons or limes with the 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. If using limes and it is too tart, add a bit more powdered sugar per your taste. Set aside.
  7. When cake is ready let it cool . Once cooled, place it on a platter and spoon the glaze over the top allowing the cake pores to absorb the glaze until glaze is all finished. Dust cake heavily with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Cooks tip: Use limoncello for the glaze instead of lemon or lime juice for a nice kick!

If you want a more caramelized finished add 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar or raw sugar to the dusting of the prepared pan.

Apple Cake with Walnuts Cinnamon and Cloves.

by Tatiana Bessa Coutinho.

What a wonderful cake!

When I saw a post by a friend about this cake on my Facebook page I immediately knew I had to make it so I asked for the recipe. This is an adaptation of Tatiana’s recipe to accommodate measurements and techniques used in the USA.

The original recipe calls for Fuji apples but any apple will do. This is actually a good recipe to use up some apples that are getting close to due date. I used honeycrisps in this recipe because I had them on hand. However, cooking apples like Granny Smith will give more of that tart taste.

I added a drizzle of caramel to the recipe because they go so well together and it gives the cake a nice finished look. I also sprinkled a little powdered sugar to top it off with a bang. 

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 4  apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 table spoon sugar and 1 table spoon cinnamon ( for topping)

Ingredients for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions:

  1.  Pre heat oven to 350F. Oil a Bundt cake pan or any cake pan with a hole in the middle sprinkle some flour and set aside.
  2.  Peel and remove seeds from apples . Then shred apples in a food processor, transfer to bowl and set aside.
  3.  Change the blade in the food processor to a mixing blade and mix eggs, oil, milk, sugars and vanilla. Mix well until creamy.
  4.  In a large bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder. Make a dent in the middle and add liquid mixture. Mix well until fully incorporated, forming a thick dough. Add shredded apples, raisins and walnuts and fold them into the dough.
  5. Transfer dough to prepared cake pan and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix over the top and bake for 35 minutes.
  6.  While cake is baking, make caramel sauce. Safety tips before starting the caramel: use a long handle wooden spoon and keep your face away from pot. When hot water is added to high temperature sugar it will cause it to crystallize and splatter.
  7. Heat water and set aside. Melt sugar in a saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly. When sugar is melted and has a caramel color, turn heat to low and add hot water. Caramel will foam and crystallize a little but keep stirring at medium high temperature until melted again. Pour caramel into a glass saucer and set aside to cool  and thicken.
  8.  When cake is ready, remove from oven and let it cool for 30min. Then flip it over onto a serving platter, sprinkle powered sugar and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Carrots and Beets salad with Citrus vinaigrette

 

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Salada de Cenoura e Beterraba Crua com Molho Vinaigrette 

This Brazilian salad is popular with vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and is easy to make. It is crunchy and juicy, with a hint of sweetness and earthy flavors that will leave your guests very impressed. Make it to accompany your “churrasco” — a Brazilian way to grill meats.

Some versions of this salad will have shredded apples, shredded fried yuccas or shredded fried potatoes, mayo instead of vinaigrette.

My family loves it with the citrus vinaigrette, especially at summer time because it is so refreshing.

Ingredients:

  •  4 medium carrots
  • 1 yellow beet
  • 1 red beet
  • 2 heads of romaine hearts lettuce
  • Bunch of chives cut in pieces of about 1 inch in length
  • 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 table spoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tea spoon sea salt
  • Zest from the lemon or lime
  • 2 table spoons agave nectar
  • Fresh grinded black pepper
  • 1/2 teas spoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 table spoons fresh basil finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Wash and shred lettuce and place on a big serving bowl or platter.
  2. Peel carrots and beets and shred them in a food processor. Shed carrots first, then the yellow beet and lastly the red beet.
  3. Mix carrots and yellow beets and place half of it on top of lettuce. Then place most shredded beets on top. Mix the rest os carrots and all beets gently and arrange on top. Set aside.
  4. Mix lemon or lime zests with the sea salt using your fingers to infuse the salt.
  5. Squeeze juices in a bowl, add vinegar, olive oil, agave nectar, ground pepper, red pepper flakes and the infused sea salt. Wisk well to combine the oil and vinegar.
  6. Add finely chopped basil and pour gently over the salad. Garnish with chives.
  7. You can also dress the salad individually.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Corn Cake with Guava

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Bolo de Fubá com Goiabada

Minas Gerais is a Brazilian State known for delicious homemade guava marmalades and jams. It is also known for corn cakes, so adding the two together just makes sense.

Brazilian corn cakes are usually sweet and there are endless recipes with all sorts of variations and additions. They can be made with coconut milk, orange juice, caramel, guava, other marmalades and even cheese.

Here is a recipe for a family favorite made with guava marmalade — which can be found in many Asian markets at the Latin American, Hawaiian and the Philippines sections. It is also very easy to find online.

Corn Cake with Guava is a wonderful treat with a cup of coffee or tea anytime of the day.

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup of sugar
  •  1 cup milk
  •  1/2 cup vegetable oil
  •  1 egg
  •  1 cup very fine corn meal (not coarse)
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1 table spoon corn starch
  •  1 table spoon fennel seeds
  •  1 table spoon baking powder
  •  approximately 12  pieces of guava marmalade about 1 inch sizes
  •  1/2 cup guava jelly or jam
  •  1 table spoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line medium-size rectangular cake pan with parchment paper, leaving a small edge on the sides to pull the cake when ready and grease it. Set aside.
  2. Beat sugar, oil, egg and milk in a food processor or blender.
  3. Mix corn meal, flour, corn starch in a large bowl. Add liquid mixture and gently mix with a whisker until well blended. Add baking powder, fennel seeds and fold in well.
  4. Pour batter in cake pan spreading evenly. place the guava pieces inside batter and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. While cake is baking, place guava jam or jelly in a sauce pan at a medium heat and stir constantly until it melts. turn off heat and stir in the butter.
  6. When cake is ready spread the melted guava over the top. If guava hardened, heat it up again on a low heat. Let cake rest and cool. Pull it out of the pan by the parchment paper.
  7. Cut cake in squares and place on serving platter.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Milk Caramel Fudge Roll Cake

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“Rocambole de Doce de Leite”

Rocambole is a Brazilian version of the Swiss roll. Brazilians like to make this rolled up sponge cake filled with milk caramel or guava marmalade. Soft milk caramel and guava marmalade can be easily found at the Latin foods isle of most grocery stores. You can also make your own milk caramel by cooking a can of condensed milk*

It is a delicious treat!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • tea spoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tea spoon salt
  • 1 can dulce de leche ( nestle) or 1 can condensed milk
  •  powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Directions:

*To cook a can of condensed milk, place the can inside an instant pot, cover the can with water, and press the canning function. Remove the can once all pressure is out. Open it and pour caramel into a bowl and stir with a fork to smooth it.

* If you don’t have an instant pot, place the can of condensed milk in a pot, cover it with water and cook it in a water bath over medium heat for 1 hour and a half. Keep hot water handy to fill in water bath and pot as water levels reduce with heat. Do not let waters dry completely or can will explode. The can of condensed milk has to be covered with water and the water bath has to have about 2 inches of water at all times. This process is easy but requires constantly watching the water levels. Once cooked, remove the pot from the water, open the can and pour the caramel in a bowl. Stir with a fork to smooth it.

  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving a border and grease it with butter or oil.
  2. Sprinkle a cloth towel with about 1/2 cup powdered sugar and set aside.
  3. Using a food processor or electrical mixer, beat the eggs until thick and creamy. Gradually, add sugar, then milk, and vanilla. Next, add flour, baking powder and salt, and beat until smooth. Pour batter into cookie sheet and make sure it is spread all over.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes or until fork comes out clean. When cake is ready,  turn it over immediately into the towel with sugar, remove the paper and carefully roll it. Set aside on a rack to cool for about 30 minutes.
  5. Unroll the cake and remove the towel. Spread milk caramel all over the top and gently roll it back up. Place it on a serving platter and sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Tasty!

Roasted Tomato Soup with Ricotta and Gorgonzola cheeses.

 

 

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“Sopa Cremosa de Tomate e queijos”

 

When I was growing up, soups were always served regularly before dinner (as a first course), but later, big dinners were abolished. Instead, people started eating lighter meals for dinner,  just soups, or something small. Lunch was the main meal, that was when everyone came home from school and work. With everyone’s busy schedules, it didn’t work to have two big meals and besides there was always an afternoon coffee snack.

This is one of my favorite soups to make and a great way to use up all the ripe and sweet tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds very ripe Roma tomatoes cut into quarters.
  • 2 garlic cloves– minced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 carrot cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue cheese.
  • 1 bunch of fresh Basil–chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tomatoes in a cookie sheet and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes.
  2. While tomatoes are in the oven, heat butter and olive oil in a pot. Add shallots, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add vegetable stock, tomato paste, and cover. Let it cook over medium heat until carrots are very soft. Turn heat to low and keep it at low heat until tomatoes are done.
  3. When tomatoes are done, add them to pot; cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then, smooth the soup with an immersion blender, and add ricotta and cream. Gently stir over medium heat until bubbly. Turn heat to low add and the bunch of fresh basil saving some for garnish.
  4. Garnish soup bowls with fresh basil and crumbled Gorgonzola.

Enjoy with slices of sourdough bread!

Beet Soup a la Borscht

Sopa de Beterraba Russa

This soup is so delicious; it has a hearty root flavor and stunning color. Although originally a Russian dish, it has been warmly incorporated by cuisines all over the world. This recipe is very easy to make. It is a wonderful vegetarian soup and also delicious in its vegan approach. Like many soups, it is excellent the next day.

I first had this soup many years ago at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio. I wonder if the Hotel is still there. Anyway, I fell in love with beets and started trying to replicate this wonderful soup.

Here is a Brazilian version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 chopped garlic gloves
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 large apple skinned and chopped
  • 2 raw beets
  • 2 tablespoons butter*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream**

Directions:

  1. Cook beets with skin on in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside to cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and cut into pieces.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large sauce pan and add shallots, garlic, bell pepper, celery, apples and tomatoes. Let it cook until veggies begin to soften. Add beets and vegetable stock… bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and smooth soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste, agave nectar, and fresh thyme. Cover and let it simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  4. When ready to serve, scoop soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.

*For a vegan approach substitute butter for vegan butter

** Substitute sour cream for coconut cream. It is super delicious this way too!

Serving tip: I like to serve with sourdough bread or garlic toast

Enjoy!

Baked Portuguese Cod

Deliciousness revisited. We have updated this recipe and it is tastier than ever!

Cooking Brazilian

This is a dish I grew up with that is very popular in Brazil, it is inspired by Portuguese cuisine and known as “Bacalhoada.” There are many variations of  this dish. It is originally made using salted cod but I’m using fresh cod in this recipe due to difficulty finding salted cod in Arizona, where I live. Although salted cod is a key ingredient, this recipe with fresh cod still gives you a good taste of this wonderful Portuguese dish and brings me memories of Brazil.

IMG_20191112_224725_038.jpgIngredients:

8 cod fillets

1 bag small Yukon gold potatoes

4 roma tomatoes thinly sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

3/4 Cup pitted Kalamata olives

1 shallot thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

dried oregano

Salt and pepper

fresh Italian parsley chopped

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 375F.
  2. Arrange cod fillets…

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Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Saffron Chicken in Cream Sauce and Cream Cheese

Abóbora Recheada com Molho de  Frango de  Açafrão e Queijo Cremoso”

 

I really love this recipe, it is great to share with everyone in the fall, when pumpkins are in season in the USA.

It is very easy to make, and it is very delicious.  I have experimented with many types of pumpkins to find the closest one to a Brazilian pumpkin called “moranga”, and I like to use a Pumpkin called “butter cup”, but the recipe is absolutely delicious with any cooking pumpkin.

In the original recipe a Brazilian  creamy cheese called “Catupiry” is used,  but it is very difficult  to find here, so I have been using cream cheese instead. Although cream cheese does not have the unique taste of  catupiry, it gives you a good idea of what this dish is like.

Saffron is an expensive spice, so this dish can be made with turmeric.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium to large size cooking pumpkin
  2.  4 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
  3.  1 cup chicken broth
  4.  1/2 cup white or rosé wine of your liking
  5.  1 shallot chopped
  6.  2  garlic cloves chopped
  7.  4 cups heavy cream
  8.  1 package cream cheese cut into small pieces
  9.  1 lemon
  10.  1 tea spoon saffron or tumeric
  11.  a dash of nutmeg
  12.  salt and pepper
  13.  olive oil
  14.  2 table spoons butter
  15.  fresh parsleys chopped

Directions:

  1.  Heat oven to 400F.
  2.  Draw a circle around the top of the pumpkin and cut a lid. Remove the seeds. Drizzle inside the pumpkin: olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the pumpkin with aluminun foil, leaving the opening uncovered. Place in a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until soft inside. You can bake the cut lid as well to use the flash in the filling or as a lid.
  3.  While pumpkin is roasting, season chicken with lemon juice, salt, pepper and set aside. Sautée shallots and garlic in butter and drizzle olive oil. Add chicken and stir. When chicken is browning, add wine, broth and saffron/ turmeric; cover and let it cook until liquid reduces a little. Add heavy cream, nut meg, salt, and pepper to taste, if necessary. Bring sauce to a boil and remove from heat, set aside.
  4.  When pumpkin is ready, remove from oven ( leave oven on) and scoop approximarely a cup of the cooked pumpkin from shell and smash it with a fork. Arrange a layer of cream cheese pieces inside the bottom of the shell. Spread half of the smahed pumpkin on top, pour half of the chicken in cream sauce in the shell. Add the rest of the smashed pumpkin and pour the rest of the chicken with sauce, (If there is too much sauce to fit in the shell, save the extra sauce in a nice bowl to be added to the shell later to refill). Arrange the rest of the cream cheese pieces on top and place it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Then broil for 4 minutes to get a crispy top. Garnish with fresh parseleys.
  5. Serve hot over white rice or by itself with a side salad.

Enjoy and Happy fall!

 

Brazilian Lime Torte

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                                                “Torta de Limão”

Lime Torte is a very popular Sunday dessert.  Usually, on Sundays, families get together and share a special meal with scrumptious desserts and tortes just like this one.  Cold, creamy, delicious. The original lime torte is made with a top of merengue, but I confess, I am terrible at making merengue, so I like to make this recipe with a topping of chantilly cream and a touch of limoncello instead. Limoncello is an optional ingredient,  but I think it really adds to the recipe.  The original crust is made with corn starch cookies “biscoitos de maizena”, but they are very difficult to find, so in this version, I use honey and oats crunch bars. They work beautifully in this recipe. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. A day before is good because the torte is left to chill more and the flavor concentrates better. You don’t want to eat this warm.

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Ingredients:

  •  4 Honey and oats crunch bars
  •  4 tablespoons of butter
  •  2 cans condensed milk
  •  10 limes
  •  1 egg
  •  2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  •  3 ounces of limoncello

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 250F.  Crumble the honey and oats bars in a food processor,then transfer to a bowl. Melt the butter and mix it into the crumbs using a fork. Press this mixture in a rectangular dish and bake it for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2.  While the crust is baking, in the food processor, mix the condensed milk, juice of 8 limes and the egg; beat well. Spread the mixture on top of the crust and bake at 250F for 30 minutes.
  3.  While the torte is baking, whip the cream in the food processor until fluffy, transfer to a bowl and slowly add powdered sugar, folding in with the help of a fork. Then, slowly add the limoncello also folding the cream with a fork to preserve the air bubbles. Cover bowl and keep it in the refrigerator.
  4.  Once torte is baked, let it cool . Cover and place it in the redrigerator for at least 4 hours. Spread the chantilly cream over the top and decorate it with thin slices of 2 limes ( wash limes before you slice). Place it back in the refrigerator for another 2 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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