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!

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!

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Biscoitos Veganos  de Chocolate

Chocolate chip cookies are not a Brazilian original  but as a Brazilian living in the United States for so long I learned to love and to make them for my family. This is also not a  traditional chocolate chip recipe, it is a vegan adaptation as we are moving more towards vegetarian and vegan foods. I have not seen chocolate chips that are 100% chocolate, it is usually milk chocolate, so I use 100% chocolate bar ( no milk) and cut into chunks. It is absolutely delicious! You will be hooked!

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter

2 cups almond flour

1 table-spoon “neategg” vegan egg substitute

1/4 cup almond milk ( or any non dairy)

4 OZ unsweetened dark chocolate 100% cocoa

powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a food processor, beat the dates and peanut butter until all mixed and smooth
  3. Add almond flour and process.
  4. Dissolve “neategg” on non dairy milk and add to food processor. A ball of dough should be formed now but if still dry and crumbly add another spoon of non dairy milk.
  5. Place dough in a bowl, break chocolate into very small chunks and mix with your hands making sure dough incorporates all the chocolate chunks.
  6. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper, roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 min.
  7. place cookies on a rack or a plate and sprinkle powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

 

 

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”.

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!

Pasta and Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs

This recipe is fantastic! It is easy, prepares in 45 min or less, a very simple and yet so flavorful. The aroma of the roasted fresh tomatoes and herbs will make your mouth water, It is a very light dish and perfect for anytime of the year. A mainly vegetarian dish but you can kick up this recipe with some prosciutto or bacon for the meat lovers.

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

Ingredients:
1 Pkg of pasta of your choice ( Rigatoni, Penne, Moatacioli )
1 lb Red heirloom tomatoes
1 lb Golden heirloom 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 or bacon is optional *

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 375 F.
2) Cook pasta according to pkg directions, drain and set aside.
3) Place tomatoes in a sheet-pan. Drizzle about 1/2 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. Roast in oven for 30 min.
3) Meanwhile, cook prosciutto or bacon 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 into 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 fresh basil, Asiago cheese and gently toss.
5) Add bacon or prosciutto if using them. Garnish with more fresh basil.

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

Enjoy!❤😋