“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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garnish soup bowls with fresh basil and crumbled Gorgonzola.
Enjoy with slices of sourdough bread!
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!
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
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Using a food processor, beat the dates and peanut butter until all mixed and smooth
- Add almond flour and process.
- 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.
- Place dough in a bowl, break chocolate into very small chunks and mix with your hands making sure dough incorporates all the chocolate chunks.
- 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.
- place cookies on a rack or a plate and sprinkle powdered sugar.
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.
- 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
- 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”.
Torta de Camarao
This is a very popular dish in Brazil, it can be served as a main dish, side dish, party food.
This dish is also known as “Empadao de Camarao” and it is found in every bistro, served in big slices or in mini sizes,as finger food or appetizers .
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ( 2 sticks) cold butter cut into cubes
- 8 tablespoons ice water
- shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound of cooked shrimp
- 1/2 lime or Lemmon
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1/4 of an onion finely chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palms ( optional but highly recommended)
- 1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives ( optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 table-spoon flour
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour and salt to a food processor or to a medium bowl. Pulse or stir until combined. Add butter and process or use a fork to mix. Add remaining flour and mix until dough is crumbly. Add cold water and process or use hands to shape dough into a ball. If dough falls apart add another table-spoon or two of cold water and work the dough until forms a ball.
- Remove dough from food processor or bowl, place it on a clean surface and divide dough in two halves. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper in olive oil, cook until soft. Add shrimp, squeeze lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes. Then add hearts of palms, olives, fresh parsley and flour. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Pre heat oven to 350 F.
- Remove one half of dough from refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Open dough with a rolling-pin and place it on a round pie dish. Prick dough with a fork and place it in oven for 15 min.
- Remove from oven, place but leave oven on. Pour shrimp filling inside pie crust, set aside.
- Remove other half of dough from refrigerator and open with a rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on top of filling. Press the sides to close the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Make a cut like a cross in the middle with a knife. Place it on top of a cookie sheet and in the oven and bake for 35 min or until top is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Using a frying ladle, put a good amount of yuccas in hot oil.
- Let them fry until golden brown turning them around to brown all sides.
- 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!