Baked Eggplant Bolognese

“Beringela assada ao molho Bolognese”

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Eggplant with Bolognese sauce is not typical Brazilian food but became part of everyday Brazilian diet. Italian Immigration to Brazil started in the 16th century but it was in the 19th Century that large numbers of immigrants, facing the industrial revolution in Europe, went to Brazil. Brazilian government and land owners offered land to farm as they were facing the suppression of the slavery system.

According to Brazilian government today, there are 31 million Brazilians of Italian descent. Brazilians of Italian descent have duo nationalities.  Italian identity and culture shaped much of the Brazilian culture after the Portuguese colonization.

This recipe celebrates the fusion of three nations. A popular Brazilian dish influenced by Italian cuisine and once again adapted to ingredients easy to find in the USA.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • fresh mozzarella
  •  shredded asiago cheese
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup rose wine
  • fennel seeds
  • dried basil
  • fresh basil
  • 1 can 20 oz.  San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut eggplant lengthwise in thin slices and let it soak in water for 15 min, it helps cut the bitterness of the eggplant. Cut red pepper in large strips and set aside.
  3. Chop celery, half onion, 3 garlic cloves and fresh basil.
  4. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, the can of tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic  and stir until tomatoes start bubbling. Add salt and pepper and smooth it with an immersion blender. Add fennel seeds, dry basil,  fresh basil ( leave some for garnish), a drizzle of agave nectar and let the flavors incorporate at low heat. Cover and leave at low heat while preparing the meat.
  5. Chop shallots and the rest of garlic.
  6. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, ground turkey, shallots and garlic. Cover and let cook; stirring occasionally until meat is browned and water and liquids dried. Add wine, salt, pepper. more fennel seeds. Cover and let cook over medium heat until meat is completely cooked. Add meat to tomato sauce. Remove from heat.
  7. Drain the eggplant water.
  8. Drizzle olive oil all over a rectangular baking dish, approximately 13×9.
  9. Arrange the dish by making a layer of eggplant. Put enough Bolognese sauce over, then a layer of red peppers (it should take all the red peppers). Then put some more Bolognese sauce over the peppers and another layer of eggplant (should use the rest of the eggplant). Cover with the rest of the Bolognese sauce.
  10. Add slices of fresh mozzarella until completely covered. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried basil. Top with shredded asiago cheese.
  11. Bake for 30 min.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Bom apetite!

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

 

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Garbanzo Bean Dip

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
  • 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.

Serve with Pita bread, following is a recipe for homemade pita bread

 

 

 

 

 

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.