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!

 

 

 

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!

Brazilian Shrimp Curry

Curry is not a typical Brazilian spice and it’s not commonly used; however, shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and seasoned with curry is very popular in the Brazilian kitchen. Brazilian shrimp curry is a fusion of Asian and Brazilian flavors and cooking styles. Some Brazilian shrimp curry recipes actually have no curry. They will use a blend of cumin, turmeric and coriander. I have a bag of a wonderful curry my youngest son brought me as a gift from his travels to Asia and I have been using this wonderful gift in my cooking whenever it’s called for. For this recipe, I used wild caught Argentinian shrimp, which has a mild and sweet flavor. It is my favorite. Brazilian curry can be served as a soup, but it is commonly served over white rice and a side of sautéed spinach on butter.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups butternut cut into small cubes
  • 1 large potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 large carrots thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
  • 1 finely chopped piri piri pepper with the seeds removed. (piri piri is above average in heat and kind of hard to find, so you can use a chilli pepper)
  • 1 cup frozen petit peas
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • bunch fresh basil chopped or sautéed spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes until nice and pink. Drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, remove shell and devein. Then, squeeze lime juice, sprinkle salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Mix it all together for even flavor. Set aside.
  2. Put the sauté shallots, garlic, and tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil, in a big pot. When the tomatoes start to burst add carrots, butternut, potatoes and peppers. Stir to coat all vegetables and add vegetable broth. Cover and let it cook until carrots, butternut and potato are softer.
  3. Add tomato paste and ketchup. Stir. Then, add coconut milk, curry and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, letting it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring ocasionaly until the sauce has thickened a little. This happens when the cooked potato and butternut release their starch.
  4. Wash ice off the peas and add them to the curry.
  5. Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish the shrimp with basil or add sauteed spinach on butter. Why not add both?

Bon Appetit!

Brazilian Coconut Cake with Creamy Coconut Caramel Sauce

 

Bolo de Côco com Bába de Môça.

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Brazilians love coconut! Well, most of them. There are so many recipes from sweet to savory that uses coconut; I can safely say, coconut is definitely a signature Brazilian ingredient. The recipes for coconut cakes are endless and it is my pleasure to share all the ones I love to make for my family and friends.

If you are following this blog, you will notice that there are other recipes, in which I used the same coconut caramel sauce. It is a very popular sauce to use on desserts and cakes in Brazil. In Portuguese, it is called, “Bába de Môça”. It is sooo good!

This recipe can easily be made vegan. Vegan alternatives will be posted side by side with original ingredients.

Ingredients to make the Cake

  • 2 cups of flour ( I like to use 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of coconut flour)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 table spoon baking powder
  • 4 table spoons of softened butter or 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 eggs ( use vegan egg substitute if making this cake vegan)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk ( from the dairy section)
  • 1/2 tea spoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for Coconut Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can light coconut milk.

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 350F and lightly grease a cake pan ( I like to use a bundt pan).
  2. Mix butter or oil with sugar in a food processor, beat it until creamy and smooth. Add coconut flakes and pulse a few times. Add eggs and beat it again until well mixed. Add vanilla and coconut milk and beat it again.
  3. Then, add flour and salt, and mix well. Finally, add baking powder and pulse a couple times.
  4. Pour dough mixture in the cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the fork comes out clean. Let it rest.

Let’s make the sauce

  1. Heat sugar in a sauce pan, stirring constantly to caramelize the sugar. Once sugar is melted, turn heat to low and slowly add the coconut milk. The sugar will sizzle, so stay back for a few seconds to prevent getting burned. The sugar will harden a little, forming gooey caramel pieces, so it is important to keep stirring constantly for them to melt back to the sauce. Turn heat to high to help hard pieces of caramel melt faster. Once all melted, pour sauce in to a glass container. If there are still gooey pieces in sauce, heat it in microwave for 15 seconds.
  2. Turn cake over on to a serving platter and drizzle coconut caramel sauce over it. Save about half the amount of caramel sauce to drizzle over individual pieces.
  3. If the caramel hardens, just put it back in microwave for 10 seconds.

This cake is also delicious with a scoop of coconut or vanilla ice cream on top and a drizzle of coconut caramel sauce over it.

Note: English is not my first language, I apologize for any incorrections or mispellings. Please feel free to contact me in my inbox with any corrections. I just ask to be kind! Thank you


Banana Cake with Caramel Swirl

Bolo de Banana com calda de Caramelo

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Bananas are a very common fruit in the Brazilian house hold and there are several types of bananas everywhere. They are inexpensive and widely available, which means lots of different recipes for banana cake. Banana cake with caramel sauce is one of my favorites because it’s easy to make with only two bananas and it’s very flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For Caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease a round cake pan with a hole in the middle.
  2. Add all ingredients for the cake (except for the baking powder) to a bowl and mix well until smooth,preferably an electrical mixer. Add baking powder. Gently mix.
  3. Transfer to the baking pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is ready when fork comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is baking, melt sugar in a sauce pan, stirring constantly until it is golden brown. Turn heat to low and add 1/2 cup of hot water. Keep stirring to prevent the sugar from hardening. If needed, add the rest of the hot water and keep stirring until a caramel sauce is formed. Transfer the sauce to a glass cup and let it rest until the cake is finished and cooled. Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a serving platter and drizzle with the caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

 

Milk Rolls

 

 

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“Paezinhos de Leite”

These rolls are so easy to make, very popular with butter or stuffed with deli meat and cheese, it is a perfect lunch snack and is usually paired with a nice cup of coffee. This is a basic recipe but you can jazz it up with potatoes*,herbs, garlic, onion, just add to the dough. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 table spoons of sugar
  • 1 table-spoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tea-spoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Pour milk, 2 eggs, oil or butter, sugar and salt in a blender and blend well, about 1 minute.
  2. Pour mixture in a large bowl and add the flour slowly. Mix with a fork until all ingredients are incorporated. Then use your hands to gently knead until dough is  no longer sticky.
  3. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Roll about 16 rolls placing them on cookie sheet. Beat the other egg and brush the top of each roll. Then place them in oven at a 350F for 18 minutes. Notice that oven is not to be preheated.

*If making potato rolls, you will need 2 potatoes peeled and boiled until very soft. Add the potatoes to the blender with the other ingredients.

 

 

 

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!

Hummus

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
  • 1 tablespoon tahini *
  • 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 “hummus”.