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!

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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.

Feijoada: Witches Brew or Black Bean Stew

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For our Halloween special edition, we made eye balls with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives. Totally optional!

“Brazilian Black Bean Stew” known in Portuguese as “feijoada” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of  beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It’s usually served with white rice, finely shredded and sauteed collard greens , orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.

There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that this was a creation of slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times. The popular view believes that, once the good parts of the meat were served to the slave owners, the pieces thrown away like the ribs and pigs feet would be used by the slaves and cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.

However, some historians and food connoisseurs believe that feijoada is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat like the cassoulet, which is a combination of white beans and meat substituting the white beans for black beans originated of South America. Others believe it was created in the XIX Century.

There has been a lot of changes to the classic recipe for feijoada and lighter versions are very popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of dry black beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 pieces of short ribs
  • 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
  • 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
  2. Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
  3. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for  for 30 min. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the balsamic-marinated short ribs and chicken slices. Cover and let them cook until balsamic becomes a glaze.
  6. Add meat and bacon to the crock pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a crock pot. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in crock pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high; let it slow cook until beans are tender. Then proceed to cook meat and follow same steps.

For the vinaigrette you will need:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare:

  1.  Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.

 

 

 

Brazilian Yucca Fries

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It’s just like French fries but way better!  Yucca fries are very popular in Brazil made with yucca root also known as Manioc in Portuguese “mandioca.” They can be eaten as a side dish accompanying black beans, your favorite grilled meat or veggie or by itself as an appetizer, a perfect bar food.

Ingredients:

  • approximately 3 lb of yucca root (available in most grocery stores)
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
  • salt (pink sea salt is my favorite)

Directions:

  1. Cut the skin off the yucca root, chop them in 2 inches size cubes, Put them in a pot with water and le them cook til tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
  2. Pour oil in a large frying pan and heat oil at high temperature for about 3 minutes. You can test if oil is ready by putting one yucca in hot oil. It is ready hen it sizzles.
  3. Using a frying ladle, put a good amount of yuccas in hot oil.
  4. Let them fry until golden brown turning them around to brown all sides.
  5. Scoop them and let them rest in a bowl with white paper towel to absorb the oil. You may need to do the frying in two batches. sprinkle with salt and it is ready. Enjoy!

 

Brazilian Shrimp and Yucca Soup

 

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Bobo de Camarão

This is a traditional Brazilian cuisine known as “Bobo de Camarão.” It has African roots and it is mainly typical of the State of Bahia where a large number of African slaves concentrated during colonial times but it is largely found all over the nation ,everyone has a version of this dish. It is basically a mash of yucca roots, coconut milk and shrimp. It can be served over white rice or just by itself like a savory soup. Here is my version, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds raw, peeled shrimp
  • 1 lime
  • 2 pounds yucca root
  • 1/2 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or fish broth
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 4 ripped Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Bunch of chopped cilantro, parsley or basil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place raw shrimp in a bowl with juice of 1 lime, set aside.
  2. Peel yucca root, chop in cubes and place them in a pot. Add broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let them cook until very tender. Remove from heat and mash them. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a big pot (an iron pot would be just perfect). Saute onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic until soft. Add shrimp, when both sides turn pink add coconut milk, tomato paste and mashed yucca. Stir with a wood spoon.
  4. Add salt to taste, crushed red pepper and let it simmer over a medium heat until bubbly.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with herbs.

 

Brazilian Ratatouille

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Ratatouille is originally a French dish from the Provence region. It is a versatile dish, you can eat it as a stew, a baked casserole or soup. It can also be used as a filling for crepes and omelets. It can be served as a side dish or main course. The Brazilian way is served as a main dish, stewed over rice. Simply delicious! Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 zucchini cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves minced*
  • 1/2 yellow onion finely chopped*
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp dried herbs the Provence
  • fresh parsley or fresh basil chopped
  • shredded Asiago cheese (optional)

“* If you can’t have onions or garlic, omit those and use 2 celery stalks finely sliced and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan, add onions, tomatoes and red peppers, salt and pepper and saute until onions are cooked and tomatoes bursting. Add garlic, egg-plant and zucchini. Then add vegetable broth or water, tomato paste and herbs.
  2. Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes or until egg-plant is soft. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes.
  3.  Place it in a serving bowl. Sprinkle Asiago cheese, drizzle olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
  4. Serve over your favorite steamed rice, white or whole wheat. It is also great over quinoa!

Bon appetit!

Brazilian Chicken Salad ” Salpicão”

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This salad is called “Salpicão” in Portuguese, it  is hard to translate  but basically it means you add a bit of everything  good, like a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” and make it big and delicious. It is a very popular dish on Sunday meals and holidays, it is perfect for entertaining because you can make a day ahead, it is best overnight . It is one of my favorites!

 

Ingredients:

2 Chicken breasts boneless and skinless

1 Lime o Lemon

Salt and Pepper

6 oz cup of plain Greek yogurt

6 oz of lite Mayonnaise

Olive oil

2 cups of Peas

1/3 pound of deli Ham chopped into small pieces

3/4 cup golden Raisins

8 slices of ready Bacon

2 cups of shredded Potatoes

2 cups Vegetable Oil

1 head of Romaine, Green Leaf or Butter Lettuce * optional

 

Directions:

1) Marinate chicken breast with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste for 20 minutes.

2) Brown chicken breast in a stir-fry pan with some vegetable oil, add the marinate juices cover and let it cook completely over medium heat. Add  a little water occasionally to prevent chicken from burning on bottom. Once chicken is cooked remove from heat and let them cool.

3) Shred chicken breasts in pieces placing them in a large glass bowl.  Add peas, chopped ham  raisins and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

4) Mix yogurt, mayonnaise and olive oil in a small bowl and fold it in to chicken. cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. It is best overnight.

5) Before serving, heat vegetable oil in a deep stir-fry pan and fry shredded potatoes, place them on paper towel, sprinkle some salt and set aside.

6) Heat ready bacon in microwave for crispness and finely chop them.

7)  Wash lettuce and chop them in big pieces ( optional).

8) Place lettuce on a bottom of a large serving platter, place chicken salad on top, sprinkle bacon bits all over the top and shredded potatoes.

Serves 4 to 6.