No Nooddle “Vegetable Lasagna””

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You are right! lasagna is not a typical Brazilian food but like any other country, Brazil loves Italian food. Many Italians immigrated to Brazil from as early as the 19th Century after suffering  economical crises  in Europe with the Industrial Revolution, mostly were agricultural workers  without land that immigrated to Brazil to work on its coffee plantations .  Many ships left the Port of Genoa (Italy) and arrived at the Port of Santos ( Brazil). Brazil is today home for  one of the largest community of Italians outside Italy.

Anyway, enough with History and back to the dish. I love this recipe because it has no noodles, it is low carb and absolutely delicious, easy to prepare and scrumptious!

ingredients:

  • 6 large zucchini sliced lengthwise, about 4 slices per zucchini.
  • 4 large red bell peppers sliced lengthwise , about 4 slices per bell pepper.
  • 1 small butternut squash diced ( cut into very small pieces).
  • 3 carrots diced ( cut into very small pieces).
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach.
  • bunch fresh basil.
  • 2 garlic cloves.
  • 3 apples, skinned and diced.
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped.
  • 1 shallot finely chopped.
  • 4 ripped Roma tomatoes diced.
  • 1 can 28oz organic crushed tomatoes.
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese.
  • 2 cups skim milk.
  • 1/2 pint half and half cream.
  • 1 tbsp corn starch.
  • fresh mozzarella cheese sliced.
  • dash nutmeg.
  • 1tsp fennel seed
  • 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese.
  • flour.
  • salt.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Place zucchini slices on a large baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and flour over them.Set aside.
  3. Place red bell pepper slices on another baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Set aside.
  4. Place butternut squash and carrots on another baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Set aside.
  5. Place zucchini on top rack of the oven and red peppers on the bottom. Roast them first for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Then roast squash and carrots for 20 minutes . Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven heated to 350F.
  7. While vegetables are roasting and resting aside. prepare the sauces.
  8. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in sauce pan, add diced tomatoes, apples, celery, shallots and garlic. Let it cook until all are soft. Add can of crushed tomatoes and smooth sauce with a hand mixer. If you don’t have one , use a blender. Add fennel seeds and salt to taste, let it cook over medium heat until bubbly then reduce heat and let it cooking.
  9. Dissolve corn starch in cold milk, then transfer to a sauce pan, add half and half, salt to taste and nutmeg, stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add half of the Asiago cheese, stir and set aside.
  10. Place one layer of sliced zucchini on the bottom of a large Pyrex or ceramic rectangular dish. Pour all the roasted butternut and carrots on top. Pour half of the tomato sauce on top. Make a second  layer with the sliced roasted red peppers. Put all the fresh spinach  and fresh basil leaves all over. Sprinkle all the feta cheese o top. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour all the white sauce on top. Then make a final layer with the rest of sliced zucchini. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Place the fresh mozzarella slices all over. Sprinkle the rest of the Asiago cheese on top. Drizzle with more olive oil and place it in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set aside for about 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Enjoy! oh! and by the way, it is even better the next day!
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Brazilian Seafood Stew

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Moqueca’

This is a traditional Brazilian dish, known in Brazil as “Moqueca“*. It is very popular along the coastal States specially the States of Bahia and Espírito Santo. This dish was heavily influenced by the African culture through the Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves to work on the Plantations during Colonial times. There are several ways to prepare this dish depending on what State. It is best cooked in an iron skillet or dutch oven. Originally, it is very spicy but that is totally optional, the recipe I present here is definitely more mild. I showed this recipe on national television on the “Home Show” in 1992, since then I have made a few changes but the essence is the same.

  • Moqueca is also very popular with just fish, “Moqueca de Peixe” or “Fish Moqueca” , in this case remove the shrimp and scallops and double the amount of fish

Ingredients:

  • 1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  •  1lb sea bass or halibut cut into approximately 1 1/2 inches pieces
  •  1lb scallops .
  •  4 shallots finely chopped
  •  4 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  •  4 Roma tomatoes, chopped.
  •  1 can 16 oz, organic tomato sauce.
  •   1 can light coconut milk
  •  2 limes.
  •  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  •   salt and pepper to taste.
  •  pinch crushed red pepper
  •  1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro.

Directions:

  1. Marinate sea food in lime juice, salt and pepper for two hours in refrigerated.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat, cook onions and tomatoes until they are soft, stir in garlic and red peppers.
  3. Add tomato sauce, cover and let it cook until sauce is bubbly.
  4. Add coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste and crushed red pepper, let it cook until bubbly again.
  5. Add shrimp, fish and scallops to sauce, let it cook in sauce until sauce is bubbly again and sea food is cooked about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with cilantro. Stew can be served over white rice.

Bom Apetite!

 

Chicken Stroganoff “Brazilian Way”.

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I Know, Stroganoff is not Brazilian food. We all know it is Russian  but Brazilians love Stroganoff  and they developed  many different ways to prepare  and serve this favorite dish. When researching for the original Russian recipe I found that Russians also have different ways to prepare, some use sour cream , others milk cream. In the United States the recipes use sour cream and they like to serve over pasta.  Brazilians don’t use sour cream or serve over pasta. They like to use milk cream and serve Stroganoff over sauted potatoes or over white rice with finely shredded fried potatoes. I adapted the Brazilian recipe that uses” Nestle” media crema for fresh heavy cream or whipping cream it makes for a fresher and better taste.

Ingredients:

4 Chicken breasts skinless and boneless cut into thin stripes

1 Lime

2 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

1 Yellow onion finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves minced

3/4 Cup Cognac

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp Catsup

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Tomato paste

1 8 OZ. Jar button mushrooms

Salt/Pepper

1 Pint of Heavy cream or whipping cream

Fresh chopped parsley.

Directions:

1) Melt butter with oil in a large saute pan, add onions, garlic and chicken. Let chicken cook until golden brown .

2)Add juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste and cover for 5 min.

3)Add Cognac, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and Catsup and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

4) Add mushrooms , cover and let it cook another  5 minutes.

5) Add cream , folding it gently, reduce the heat to low and let it bubble, stirring occasionally.

6) Garnish with fresh parsley.

I like to serve this dish over white rice and sprinkle shredded fried potatoes* on top.

*Shredded Fried Potatoes:

2 large potatoes

vegetable oil to fry.

Directions:

1) Peel potatoes and shred them in a food processor.

2) Heat oil in a large frying pan, add potatoes make sure both sides are golden brown. Let them dry on paper towel and sprinkle some salt.