“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!

 

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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.

Brazilian Chocolate Mousse Torte “Pave de Chocolate”

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“Pave de Chocolate” is my signature recipe. I kept this recipe as a secret for a long time. It was one of my best kept secrets, now revealed for you to enjoy.

It is decadent, creamy, cold and dreamy!

This recipe was originally made with “lady finger” cookies but they were really hard to find in the USA back in the day so I substituted for graham crackers.

It’s now easy to find lady fingers, but I kept the graham crackers in the recipe. They make the recipe more affordable and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of honey graham crackers
  • 1 Can fat free condensed milk
  • 1 Cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz Coffee liqueur
  • 1 Pint whipping cream
  • 4 oz unsweetened 100% dark chocolate
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 13×9 rectangular glass or ceramic dish

Directions:

  1. Put chocolate chips in freezer.
  2. Melt dark chocolate in a water bath
  3. Pour condensed milk in a food processor or blender add the melted chocolate and mix well, pour in a large bowl, set aside.
  4. Put whipping cream in food processor and whip until very fluffy. Add whipped cream slowly to chocolate mix folding with a fork to preserve the air pockets. Cover and place in freezer for 30 min.
  5. Mix milk and coffee liqueur in a bowl. Dip graham crackers one by one in this mixture and place in rectangular dish forming one layer. Spread some of the chocolate mousse on top. Repeat this procedure, layering the crackers and mousse until the crackers are finished. The last layer must be of chocolate mousse.
  6. Put frozen chocolate chips in a food processor using a shredding blade and shred to pieces. Sprinkle all over the chocolate mousse.
  7. Cover the dish and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  8. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Keep in freezer between servings.