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!

 

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Pumpkin Coconut Pie

Cooking Brazilian

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YUM!  Pumpkin Pie with a Brazilian twist!

Pumpkin and coconut combinations are very popular in Brazilian cuisine.   It makes delicious fudges, cakes, ice creams and soups. It is a perfect pair ! Oh! and vegans, just omit the Chantilly cream or substitute it for vegan   cream or gelatto from your local store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh mashed pie pumpkin .
  • 1 cup brown sugar.
  • 1 can coconut milk.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1 tsp ground cloves.
  • 8 oz ginger snaps.
  • 1/4 cup  almond, sun flower or coconut oil.
  • 1 pint whipping cream*.
  • 3 tbsp sugar.*
  • 1 tsp vanilla.*

*If Vegan, omit these ingredients.

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F. Grease pie pan with oil.
  2. In a blender or food processor, grind the ginger snaps and place it in pie pan. Drizzle the oil over it and press the  crumbles down. Place it in oven for 10mim.

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Brazilian Truffles

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Also known in Brazil as “Brigadeiros” or as my family likes to call them “Brazilian Fudge Balls”. They are very popular in birthday parties but great in any occasion and widely available in any bakery, coffee shops and pastry shops over there.

The original recipe is a simple mixture of condensed milk and cocoa powder then rolled on chocolate sprinkles. I changed the recipe a little by using dark chocolate bar and rolling truffles on finely shredded chocolate chips. A few years ago it was difficult to find chocolate sprinkles and even now if it is not Valentine’s season you can maybe find a small container and it is expensive. I find that shredding your own chocolate instead of sprinkles also makes them tastier.

The picture you see in this recipe has truffles rolled on sprinkles and on finely shredded chocolate chips. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

8 Ounces Dark Chocolate broken into small pieces.

1 Can Condensed Milk ( I like to use the fat free ).

3 Tbsp Butter.

8 Ounces Chocolate Sprinkles or 12 Ounces pkg Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips.

24 Mini Cupcake Paper Molds.

 

Directions:

1) If using chocolate chips set them in freezer.

2) Melt butter and dark chocolate in bowl or pan in a water bath over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickens. It is ready when you see the button of the pan.

3) Remove from water bath and pour chocolate mixture in a glass bowl and let it cool for about 30 minutes.

4) Once cooled cove with a plastic wrap and set it in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

5) Remove fudge from refrigerator. Pour chocolate sprinkles on a plate. If using chocolate chips, remove it from freezer and chop them in a food processor using a shredder blade and pour it on a plate.

6) Use a tsp to scoop fudge or a cookie dough scoop, shape them into balls using the palms of your hands, then roll them on chocolate sprinkles or shredded chocolate chips. Place them in mini cupcake paper molds arranged on a platter. Keep them refrigerated!

 

Pasta and Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs

Pasta, Brazilian Food, cooking

This recipe is fantastic! It is easy, prepares in 30 min or less and is so flavorful. The aroma of the roasted fresh tomatoes and herbs will make your mouth water, It is a very light dish and mainly vegetarian but you can kick this recipe with some prosciutto or bacon for the meat lovers.

Cooking in Brazil, I would roast Roma tomatoes cut into quarters but I substituted to grape or cherry tomatoes. They are sweeter and it saves a step!

Ingredients:
1 Pkg of pasta of your choice( Rigatoni, Penne, Moatacioli )
1 lb Red grape tomatoes
1 lb Golden grape tomatoes
Olive Oil
2 tsp Herbs the Provence
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste.
A bunch of fresh basil chopped
6 slices of prosciutto( optional)*

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 375 F.
2) Cook pasta according to pkg directions, drain and set aside.
3) Place tomatoes  in a rectangular Pyrex dish. Drizzle about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle herbs the Provence and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure all tomatoes are well coded with oil and herbs. Set in oven for 20 min.
3) Meanwhile, cook prosciutto  until crispy, drain on paper  towel and crumble them.  If  using ready- made bacon, just heat in microwave for 30 sec, pat dry and chop pinto small pieces,
4) When tomatoes are ready, place pasta in to a large elegant bowl, add the tomatoes with herbs and all the liquid that formed, add a bunch of fresh basil, Asiago cheese and gently toss.
5) Garnish with more fresh basil and and prosciutto or bacon if using them.

* Prosciutto is Italian bacon it is not smoked but you can use regular smoked bacon or even turkey bacon.

Portuguese Cod Casserole

This is a dish  I grew up with, that is very popular in Brazil, where it is known as” Bacalhoada.” There are many variations of  this dish. It is originally made using salted cod, however  due to difficulty finding salted cod in Texas and Arizona, where I’ve lived in the United States, I had to change the recipe using fresh or frozen cod. Although salted cod is a key ingredient, this recipe with still gives you a good taste of this wonderful Portuguese dish and reminds me of Brazil. It is ” chic” but  easy to prepare.
cod
Ingredients:

8 cod fillets

4 medium yukon gold potatoes

4 roma tomatoes

2 zucchinis

1/2 red onion

1 large yellow bell pepper

1/2 CUP pitted and sliced black kalamata olives

1/2 lime, juiced

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1 TSP dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 375F.
  2. Arrange cod fillets in a platter and squeeze lime juice over them and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
  3. Cut potatoes in thin slices and cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water and arrange slices in a large glass or ceramic baking dish (I use a 9.5×13). Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.
  4. Cut zucchinis in thin slices and arrange half of them on top of  potatoes, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper.
  5. Cut tomatoes in thin slices and arrange half  of  them on top of zucchinis, drizzle olive  oil, salt and pepper and half of the drid basil.
  6. Arrange cod fillets on top drizzle olive oil , salt and pepper.
  7. Arrange the remaining zucchini and tomato slices on top. Again drizzle olive oil, the rest of dry basil, salt and pepper.
  8. Cut bell pepper and onion in thin slices and arrange them on top.
  9. Garnish with  olives and drizzle more olive oil salt an pepper.
  10. Cover with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove cover, and leave casserole in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Final steps

Serve on top of white steamed rice.
This a large dish perfect for  a dinner party since it serves 8 people. Reduce recipe to half  if making for less people. Bom Apetite!

Pasta Trentino

Nothing says fall like the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season this time of year. A few weeks ago, Chuck and I took the kids to an apple orchard in Wilcox for a day of fun picking fresh fruit.

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After our adventure, we had plenty of apples on hand, which meant plenty of recipes to try.

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I decided to incorporate the fresh apples into a pasta dish I created, Pasta Trentino.

This is basically an apple-tomato ragu sauce. Its is so delicious and easy to prepare. Originally it was a recipe for  a tomato apple- soup, and it is so hearty that I thought, ‘Why not make this soup into a sauce?’ and serve over pasta. I named the finished product Pasta Trentino, after the Trentino region of Italy known for their wonderful apple orchards.

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Ingredients:

1 package Mezzi Rigatoni pasta

1 can (12 ounces) San Marzzano crushed tomatoes

1 TBSP tomato paste

3 TBSP olive oil

2 shallots, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

4 celery stalks, finely sliced

5 medium crispy apples, no skin and diced

2 TSP fennel seeds

2 TBSP dry basil

1/2 CUP shredded Romano cheese

1 bunch of fresh basil chopped

6 slices of prosciutto( optional)*

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to pkg directions, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute celery, shallots, garlic and apples over medium heat until apples are soft and cooked. This should take about 15 minutes, and stir frequently to prevent garlic and shallots from burning. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, stir and add 3/4 cup water.
  4. Use a hand blender to smooth the sauce, add Romano cheese, fennel seeds and dried basil. Let it cook until bubbly. If you don’t have a hand blender, turn off  the heat and blend sauce in a regular blender, moving sauce back to pan once smoothed, turn heat back on add the dry spices and Romano cheese. Let it cook until bubbly.
  5. Turn heat  to low and add pasta, folding gently with the sauce. Leave low heat.
  6. Cook prosciutto slices in a pan until golden brown and crispy, drain all fat and crumble it.*

Final Steps

Arrange pasta in a large pasta bowl, garnish with fresh basil and prosciutto crumbles.

Serve with your favorite salad and a good wine. Buon Appetito!

* Prosciutto is Italian bacon it is not smoked, you may use regular bacon or even turkey bacon instead.