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


  • 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.


  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


  • 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


  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.

Brazilian Chocolate Mousse Torte “Pave de Chocolate”


“Pave de Chocolate” is my signature recipe. I kept this recipe as a secret for a long time. It was one of my best kept secrets, now revealed for you to enjoy.

It is decadent, creamy, cold and dreamy!

This recipe was originally made with “lady finger” cookies but they were really hard to find in the USA back in the day so I substituted for graham crackers.

It’s now easy to find lady fingers, but I kept the graham crackers in the recipe. They make the recipe more affordable and delicious.


  • 1 Box of honey graham crackers
  • 1 Can fat free condensed milk
  • 1 Cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz Coffee liqueur
  • 1 Pint whipping cream
  • 4 oz unsweetened 100% dark chocolate
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 13×9 rectangular glass or ceramic dish


  1. Put chocolate chips in freezer.
  2. Melt dark chocolate in a water bath
  3. Pour condensed milk in a food processor or blender add the melted chocolate and mix well, pour in a large bowl, set aside.
  4. Put whipping cream in food processor and whip until very fluffy. Add whipped cream slowly to chocolate mix folding with a fork to preserve the air pockets. Cover and place in freezer for 30 min.
  5. Mix milk and coffee liqueur in a bowl. Dip graham crackers one by one in this mixture and place in rectangular dish forming one layer. Spread some of the chocolate mousse on top. Repeat this procedure, layering the crackers and mousse until the crackers are finished. The last layer must be of chocolate mousse.
  6. Put frozen chocolate chips in a food processor using a shredding blade and shred to pieces. Sprinkle all over the chocolate mousse.
  7. Cover the dish and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  8. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Keep in freezer between servings.

Brazilian White Truffles


Brazilian white truffles or “Brigadeiro Branco” are sweet and smooth the perfect holiday and party treats.


  • 1 can fat-free condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp powdered milk
  • 1 empty can of condensed milk of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Chambord or raspberry extract (optional)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • **


  1. Put all ingredients (EXCEPT WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS) in a non-stick pot over  medium heat. Stir constantly until bubbly and thickened.
  2. Pour into a glass bowl and let it cool. Once cooled set it in the refrigerator and set white chocolate chips in freezer for 2 hours.
  3. Remove white chocolate chips from freezer and finely shred them using a food processor. Pour shredded white chocolate chips in a bowl.
  4.  Remove fudge from refrigerator and using a teaspoon scoop fudge and roll it over the shredded chocolate chips forming a ball. Place them in mini muffin paper liners. Decorate the center with one sugar pearl or a clove. Keep them refrigerated until ready to serve. p1010427

** This is a basic recipe but you can stuff fudge with a white green seedless grape or small strawberry.



Pumpkin Bundt Cake glazed with Caramel Coconut Sauce


p1010415Make this wonderful cake to serve for breakfast on Thanksgiving day and over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. A great companion for a cup of coffee or tea.

This wonderful moist cake combines the flavors of a traditional American pumpkin cake with exotic Brazilian caramel coconut sauce. Pumpkin and coconut are a very popular combination in Brazilian desserts and caramel coconut sauce is a Brazilian signature, so sweet and loved, its popularly known as “Baba de Moca”meaning literally ” young woman drool”. This recipe can also be vegan if you substitute the eggs for apple sauce and everyone is happy.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour or 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs ( or 1 cup apple sauce if vegan)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup natural apple sauce
  • 2 cups mashed pie pumpkin or 2 cans of pumpkin filing
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • peel from one orange
  • 1/2 tsp saltP1000914

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can coconut milkp1010418


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease a Bundt cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl beat sugars, oil and eggs until smooth.
  3. Add all dry ingredients, then apple sauce and mashed pumpkin,mix well ,if dough seems a bit dry add an extra 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil.
  4. Pour in Bundt cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until fork comes out clean. Let it stand for 15 min before removing from pan.
  5. While cake is baking, melt 1 cup sugar in a sauce until it starts to form a caramel sauce turn heat to low and slowly add coconut milk, stirring constantly until very bubbly and slightly thickened. remove from heat and pour in a glass bowl and let it cool. Sauce will thicken more as it cools. Drizzle sauce over cake and save some in bowl to drizzle over individual pieces. Enjoy!

Feijoada: Witches Brew or Black Bean Stew


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.


  • 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


  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


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.


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


  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



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!


  • 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)


  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.