Brazilian Chocolate Mousse Torte “Pave de Chocolate”

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This recipe was originally made with “lady finger” cookies but they were really hard to find in the USA back in the day so I substituted for graham crackers.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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.
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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.