Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Pasta Day


I haven't updated my blog in English in a long, long time, but since Verena invited me to join the celebration for the World Pasta Day, here I am. I wasn't aware there was such a thing as a WPD. Oh, well, since any excuse to eat pasta is more than welcome, there you have it.

Pappardelle with prosciutto and brocolli rabe

Pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, flattened
1 medium onion, chopped
100 g thinly sliced prociutto, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch broccoli rabe
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano

Pre-cook broccoli rabe in the water that will be used for the pasta. Reserve. Start cooking pasta. In the meantime, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel seeds and then garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Mix in onion and sauté until translucent. Toss prosciutto and stir until it starts to shrink and/or brown. Add dried crushed red pepper, then pre-cooked broccoli rabe. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Combine pasta and broccoli rabe over low heat. If necessary, add reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten. Sprinkle with cheese and pine nuts and serve.
Adapted from Bon Apettit


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Angel Food Cupcakes


I was craving something sweet but didn't want to sabotage my diet. Then, I suddenly ran across angel food cake in the grocery store so it occurred to me to bake my own. I think this fatfree cake owes its popularity to its lightness. It is reminds me of cotton candy.


Once at home, with everything laid out and ready to start, I realized I didn't have an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Well, that would make it difficult to unmold the cake without any damage. I, immediately, remembered I had some laminated muffin liners and I could make Angel Food Cupcakes. Why not? The problem was solved and my craving too.


Vanilla Angel Food Cake

1/2 plus 1/4 cups sugar, separated
1 piece vanilla bean, split
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
6 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325°.
Place 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds to sugar; discard bean. Work the vanilla seeds into sugar with fingers until well combined.

Combine flour and sugar mixture, whisk to combine.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in juice. Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Fold in after each addition.

Spoon the batter into an ungreased tube pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan. Cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.
Fonte: Cooking Light

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chicken Stir-fry with Edamame

The recipe seemed easy and simple with a promissing combination of ingredients, but I was sort of disappointed in it. I had envisioned something more moist and juicy, that would coat the rice slowly as it was being eaten. Next time, I will use some good old chicken broth to achieve such result. I also think it could be a little more spicy but that is probably due to my northeatern Brazilian blood.
Flavorwise, I would say it was mild but reasonable and the best of all, it didn't turn out oily.

Stir-fried Chicken with Edamame

1/2 TB oil
1 TB fresh ginger, grated
1 onion, cubbed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (I used leftovers)
2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2 cups bell peppers, cut into large pieces (preferably different colors)
2 TB soy sauce
1 TB sweet rice wine
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp cornstarch
Green onions

Heat oil and sauté onions. Add ginger and garlic. After some seconds, add chicken and stir-fry it. Add edamame and peppers. Combine soy sauce, sweet rice wine, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Add to chicken. Stir in onions and salt, if necessary. Serve over rice.

Adapted from Whole Foods Cookbook

Happy Mother's Day!!!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Coming Back

(Catussaba Resort Hotel , Stella Maris, Salvador)
Coming back from home means going through a re-ajusting process. I need to get used to certain things and re-learn to live without others that I go used to during my stay. Every time I return, I realize that food was present everywhere, at all times. The re-collection of aromas, flavors, textures and colors of everything I ate, brings to mind sweet memories of moments, places and loved ones.

(Homemade sweets: milk, pineapple, banana, coconut, guava & guava-coconut)
Eventually, nostalgia will be replaced by antecipation of another visit and among photographs, new recipes and future experiences to come, time goes by in a simple way, like Silvia said, "simples, como a vida deve ser", simple as life should be.

(Black-eyed peas with dry shrimp, fake dried-codfish moqueca, brocoli rice & lettuce-tomato salad)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


(Planeta Zoo, Lauro de Freitas, BA)

Dost thou know the land where lemons grow, Gold oranges in leafy darkness glow, Dost thou know? — ‘Tis there! ‘Tis there! I wish to go! Goethe

There are palm trees in my homeland,
Where the Sabiá-bird sings;
No songbird’s voice can here compare
With its sweet warbling.


(Red Macaws)

There are more flowers in our meadows,
More stars in the sky above;
In our forests is more life,
And in our lives more love.
Here alone at night I ponder;
What delight these memories bring!
There are palm trees in my homeland
Where the Sabiá does sing.


Absent here are pleasures dear,
Such lush and wondrous things;
Here alone at night I ponder;
What delight these memories bring!
There are palm trees in my homeland
Where the Sabiá does sing.


O God grant I may return
Before my soul takes wings,
That I may there enjoy once more
Those lush and wondrous things,
And see again the palm trees
Where the Sabiá-bird sings.
(Song of Exile, Gonçalves Dias, translated by James H. Kennedy )
Fonte: TEI

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On Vacation, in Brazil

The kitchen will be closed for a while.


The cooks are in Salvador.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Sometimes I avoid passing by a street in my neighborhood because the Indian ice-cream parlor there is too much temptation. Falooda, (faluda faloodeh ou faludeh) is an interesting concoction made of ice cream, milk, Rooh_Afza syrup, thin noodles, known as cellophane noodles, and basil seeds, which become gelatinous after being soaked in water and have many medicinal properties, according to ayurvedic medicine. This exotic "sunday", very popular in India and Pakistan, has Persian origin. My version is light and low fat but Shaheen's and Ashwini's recipes are more traditional.

Falooda/ Falooda

Rose syrup, Rooh Afza
Nonfat milk
Nonfat or lowfat vanilla ice cream
Falooda or Celofane noodles, cooked
Basil seeds (takmaria ou sabja)

Soak the seeds in water for at least 15 min. Place the syrup and two scoops of ice cream on the botton of a tall glass. Make one layer of noodles and another of soaked seeds. Top it off with milk and finish with more syrup, noodles an seeds on top.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Easy Pad Thai

I hadn't made Pad Thai in a long time. At first, I wasn't a big fan of this dish but then, I met a Thai lady that gave me a whole new perspective on it. According to her, there are thousands of variations and recipes for it. Some are more traditional, others less conventional and it's even possible to find some innovative ones that make use of ketchup. The important thing, though, is to balance all the flavors (sweet, sour, salty, spicy) well.
Today, I decided to try a simple and not so elaborate recipe that was adapted from here. My husband is on a vegetarian mood lately, I used smoked tofu instead of seafood and left out the eggs and the traditional fish sauce.

Tofu Pad Thai
250 grams pad thai noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
Peanut oil
Smoked Tofu, cubbed
Green onions, chopped
Bean sprouts
Roasted peanuts , crushed

1 TB soy sauce
2 TB tamarind paste
1 TB sugar (add more according to taste)
Chili powder to taste

Cook noodles according to instructions. Heat oil and sautee tofu cubes. Reserve. Turn up heat and, on the same skillet, sautee garlic. Add chilli powder, carrots strips, soy sauce, tamarind paste and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and let simmer for a while. Add noodles. Stir fry well. Add some bean sprouts, green onions and the reserved tofu. Stir carefully. Serve with carrots strips, beans sprouts, green onions, cilantro and peanuts on top.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gorgonzola & Spinach Pasta


My Dad hates Gorgonzola with a passion and most people I know either love it or hate it. This recipe reminds me of a certain occasion when a former coworker's lunch disappeared from the cafeteria. She had been looking forward to trying the Gorgonzola and Spinach lasagna she made for lunch but ended up having to make do with a ham and cheese sandwich on that day. It turned out someone had thrown her food away under the impression it had spoiled. To this date, this whole episode makes me laugh.

Spinach and Gorgonzola Pasta

9 oz any pasta
1 TB butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 TB all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz) can evaporated low-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 oz) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (use more or less according to taste)
black pepper
Fresh baby spinach (about 2 cups)

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and saute garlic. Add flour, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add the milk, increase heat to medium-high. bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, add cheese, salt, and pepper. Combine the sauce, pasta, and spinach, tossing gently to coat.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Masala Chai

I learned to like hot tea with my in-laws. Every single day, at 5 pm, they have the Indian style tea. Nowadays, for me, there is nothing more relaxing than sip a cup of chai when the weather gets colder. Masala chai is also my entry for the event Rei dessa Quinzena. There is no specific recipe for it, people make it different ways and use various combinations of spices. Quantities are also adjustable, according to one's taste.

Masala Chai

3 cardamomo pods, cracked open
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anis
2 slices fresh ginger,
5 black peper seeds
Loose leaves or bags of black tea
Steep, strain and serve.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yesterday's Mint

Today, I had a craving for some refreshing juice, like those that can quench one's thirst and also cool off his soul. Suddenly, I remembered the orange juice with mint that I used to have in Salvador. and since all I had was a pineapple, I had to make do with it, substituting pineapple for OJ. Why not? Checked on the Internet first to make sure the mixture wouldn't be fatal, after all "pineapple is a heavy fruit", according to my folks. It turned out the concoction is very popular these days. Now, I'm addicted to it and I won't miss it anymore.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Pulao or Pulau?

No matter what the spelling is, pulao is always welcome. I usually tease my husband's folks because they eat rice three times a day, every day. Although I can not do the daily thing, I pretty much enjoy different preparations using rice, like this one, for instance, that one of his aunt's makes. The rice is so vibrant and aromatic, seansoned with a mixture of coconut, mint and spices. The smell, different flavors and textures in your mouth as you eat it make it a real sensory experience.

Coconut & Mint Pulao

1 tsp black mustard seeds
Curry leaves(opcional)
5 Cloves
1 Cardamon
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 Onion
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
2 green chillis
1 Bay leaf
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup grated coconut
2 cup Basmati rice

Heat all the dry spices in a cast iron pan or skillet. Grind and recerve. Puree onion in a food processor. Reserve. Puree the coconut, mint and ginger together. Reserve. Heat some oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves and onion. Saute until it starts to get brown and then, add garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir often. Add dry spice mixture and allow it to get aromatic. Pour in the coconut mixture, bay leaf, rice and salt. Add enough hot water ( I usually use 1:2 ratio for rice and water, in this case 4 cups). Cover and allow it to cook on very low heat.
Source: Molly Aunty

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Improvised Gratin

One of my husband's coworkers also distributes cheeses and occasionally he gives us some samples of different kinds. Yesterday, we got a block of Feta, which is very finicky so I decided to use it right away.

This was actually an adaptation to a friend's recipe. She uses yellow squash but I tried butternut and spinach. They went well with the feta. I just used too much topping and will use less next time.

Butternut , Spinach and Feta Cheese Gratin
3 cups butternut squash
2 cups spinach
1 leek stem only (no leaves), cleaned and sliced (or 1 onion, sliced thin)
4 cloves of garlic chopped and minced
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 /2 cup fat-free greek iogurt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup crumbed or cubbed feta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 TB parsley chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 TB olive oil or melted butter.
Pulse 3 times or until moist.
Preheat oven to 375°. Saute garlic and leek/onion. Add butternut squash, half the amount of pepper, oregano and some salt, if necessary, because the cheeses already contain salt. Cover and cook until squash is tender. Add the spinach leaves and remove from heat. Reserve. Combine leftover pepper, yogurt, milk, egg, squash mixture, basmati rice, cheeses, parsley, and left over oregano. Pour into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over rice. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until brown on top.
source: Julie

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I always tell my husband that he found the way to my heart through my stomach. Rasmalai was the first Indian sweet I tried and it was instant love. I was always hesitant to try making it at home but I followed RP's instructions. It was easy and simple.

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp rose essence (optional)

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 can evaporated milk
Sugar to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence (optional)
Using an electric mixer or a whisk, cream ricotta, sugar and rose essence. Fill up a muffin pan with this mixture (or spread it on a regular baking sheet). Bake at 350 F for 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, mix milks, cream and cardamom powder. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add rose essence and stir well. Remove baked rasmalais from muffin pan (or cut them into squares if using regular baking sheet). Pour milk syrup over them. Refrigerate and serve with crushed pistachios and/or almonds.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Slow-Roasted Cauliflower with Pounded Anchovies


In my household, we love everything that has some sort of seafood in it so when I found Brett's recipe I was delighted. The cauliflower's intense flavor is amazing and matches perfectly with the anchovie sauce. I have made it so many times now that I even take the liberty to skip salt from sauce and change it a little here and there, like this time, for instance, when I completely forgot the bread topping. Sorry, Brett.

Slow-Roasted Cauliflower with Pounded Anchovies

For the cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Sea salt
Parsley, chopped

For the breadcrumbs:
1 slice country bread, crusts removed
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

For the anchovy sauce
¼ clove of garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets
3 TB extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Remove green leaves from cauliflower. Place head of cauliflower stem side down on a cutting board and slice it into ¾-inch (2 cm) thick slices through the stem and all. Toss cauliflower slices in a bowl with the oil and generous amounts of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Lay out in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place pan in oven and bake for 1 hour, turning the pieces every 10 minutes. The cauliflower will turn deep golden brown, become extremely tender and fall apart easily. It might appear ready after 40 minutes, but it's better to wait. Some smaller bits will turn dark brown and crispy. Do not discard them. While the cauliflower is roasting, tear the bread into tiny pieces. Place in shallow pan and drizzle with the oil. Place it in oven next to cauliflower. Bake until toasted and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Make the anchovy sauce. Mash the piece of garlic with a pestle in a mortar or something like that. Pour lemon juice over it and let sit for 10 minutes. Chop the anchovy fillets, add them to the mortar and pound to a paste. Drizzle in the olive oil while stirring with the pestle until a thick, pourable sauce is formed. Drizzle over the cauliflower, sprinkle with chopped parsley and breadcrumbs, and serve, either warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Avocado Basil Pasta


I had some left over avocados and wanted to use them up. I remembered I had a recipe I had copied from an old magazine in the library and it would be great for that. It's actually a hot salad. My husband like it so much that requested me to make it again tomorrow.


Avocado and Basil Pasta

8 ounces dried pasta
1 medium avocado, coarsely chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBspoons lemon juice
Olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped
Ground black pepper
Queijo pecorino ou parmesão ralado.
Finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

Combine the avocado, tomatoes, bacon, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt. Reserve. Cook pasta. Add hot pasta to reserved mixture and toss to combine. Serve with cheese.

Source: BHG magazine

Monday, February 5, 2007

Finger Food

The weekend went by very fast and so did my pretty "coxinhas". I had been planning on making them for a while but was scared of failing. But then, I wanted to eat them so bad that I finally overcame the fear and tried the recipe. It was really easy.

I like the filling to be simple with just a touch of heat.

"Coxinha" (Little Thighs)
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cube chicken bouillon
5 Tablespoons olive oil

1 boneless chicken breast 1 medium onion, chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
4 garlic cloves, chopped and minced
Salt to taste (if necessary)
Ground black pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley to taste
Other seasoning of your preference, such as cayenne pepper
Bread crumbs

Prepare filling: Cook chicken in small amount of water, seasoned with the chicken bouillon, until all water evaporates). Finely shred chicken breast to make the filling. Heat olive oil, saute garlic and onion. Add shredded chicken breast, salt, ground pepper. Keep stiring for about 5 minutes and add chopped parsley. Turn off heat and allow it to cool.

Make the dough: Bring the milk, oil and bouillon to a boil. Add flour (turn off heat) and stir vigorously with a wood spoon for about 1 minute until it becomes dough. Take it out of pan. After it cools off, knead dough in your hands until it becomes smooth. Flatten small disks of dough in your palm, place a small amount of chicken filling previously prepared, according to the size of the dough disk in your palm. Fold and close it trying to shape it like a chicken thigh or a drumstick. Repeat this procedure until all the dough is used. Dip the shaped "coxinhas" in a mixture of water and flour and bread them on the breadcrumbs. Deep fry until lightly golden. Place on paper towels. Then serve.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wish List

kA mango

I have been keeping on eye on it for a while now. The only thing preventing me from bringing it home is the understanding that there is a difference between need and desire. The latter is urgent while the other one can wait for the best opportunity. I will, then, wait until my dream comes true.

Friday, February 2, 2007

White & Blue


On February 2nd, in Salvador, Bahia, people celebrate the day of Yemanjá. Fishermen believe that by offering gifts to the Queen of the Sea, they will have good luck in return. Coincidentally, on Fridays, many people wear white clothes for good fortune, like on New Year's eve. On Feb. 2nd, though, some choose to wear blue, the color of the Mother of the Sea. On Fridays, Catholics eat seafood and white rice also.

In many cultures offering food is a way to thank, to share good fortune and abundance. Indian people believe that by offering food they are sharing their best. If I remember correctly, once a year, in São Paulo, Brazil, Italians give away pasta and sweets around their neighborhood. Their Japanese counterparts prepare a rice cake called moti, given away and eaten on New Year's. Thinking about all these things I got my inspiration for today's post. White, rice, as a symbol of abundance, purity and offering. Nothing better to illustrate it than the beautiful, elegant and sophisticated Basmati rice.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Avocado Smoothie

Yesterday, while visiting Chucrute com Salsicha, I learned that Fer is looking for new ideas to use avocados. Coincidentally, I had bought a whole bunch of them and the first thing I made was a rich and delicious smoothie. It is a simple concoction with very few ingredients, just avocado, milk and sugar. Mixed it all up in the blender and voilà.

Our secret to giving it a milkshake consistency is adding some powdered milk to it. Someone has suggested using condensed milk to sweeten it up, which is not at all a bad idea. When we were little, we used to freeze leftovers in the ice cube tray to make popsicles or to use as ice in the smoothie the following morning.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Know by many different names, cassava is a good option to have in the morning. The preparation couldn't be easier, peel if off, remove the skin and pink layer underneath it, boil in plenty of salted water until soft. Slightly sweet and very creamy, it won't need any anything other than a dollop of butter. However, it goes well with eggs, meats or cheese, for the vegetarians.

Skipping breakfast is considered a sin by family. The first meal is sacred. It is a must and even if it is simple, it should be enjoyed at the table for a good start. If possible, one should even read the morning paper to get the latest news.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cabagge Thoran

Another recipe from my mother-in-law that I make quite often. There are two versions, one calls for freshly grated coconut, that has such a bad reputation these days that I only make it once in a while. This is simple. Actually, thorans can be made with all leafy vegetables like spinach, as well as finely sliced carrots, green beans, etc. The possibilities are endless. I, for instance, love to add green peas to it, my husband hates them, but as my Dad would say "to each, its own".

Cabbage Thoran

1 1/2 cup grated cabbage
1 onion, chopped
3 green chillies, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds -
1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin or small pinch of the seeds, roasted
Salt to taste

Warm up the oil and drop the mustard seeds in. When they start to pop, add the curry leaves and add the onion and green chillies, stirring often until they start to brown. Add the ginger, turmeric, and cumin. Stir for 30 sec. Then, add cabbage and salt. Cook uncovered on a low flame, until done.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nutella Cupcakes

I read sometime back that Nutella was trendy, since I had never tried it, I decided to make these cupcakes that have showed up in food blogs worldwide. Everything started when Nic substituted Nutella for peanut butter in one of Donna Hay's recipes. Then, the blogosphere went wild...

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes
12 servings

10 tbsp(140 g) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean (the original recipe called for 1/2 tsp of the extract)
1 3/4 cups (200 g) sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream butter and sugar for about 2 minutes. Cut the vanilla bean in half and using a knife scrape out the seeds. Add to batter. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners. Fill each one with batter. They should be 3/4 full. Top each one with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick and fold a bit of batter up over the Nutella. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Introducing Guaraná Jesus... The pink dream, preferred by the crowds who have already tried it.

Photo originally uploaded by Ju Zara that has kindly granted AGDAH permission to post it.

Yesterday, I learned that the Coca-Cola Company bought Guaraná Jesus and I started wondering the kind of advertisements and jokes the folks back home will come up with. Can you imagine? One image that keeps poping up in my mind is the soda vendors on the beach shouting : "The holy drink, icy cold Jesus, care for some?"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Essencial Gadgets

It's amazing how all of a sudden certain things become indispensable in our lives. In my case, it is the salad spinner because there is nothing more unappetizing than soggy lettuce.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Trial & Error

At home, no celebration would be complete without "pãozinho" (pronounced pow-zing-yo). Bread rolls that are as light as clouds and melt in your mouth like cotton-candy. Sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese, they are generously stacked in tiered trays, accompanying cold cuts, spreads or preserves. But even plain, the flavor is divine. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to reproduce this delicacy. I am yet to find a foolproof recipe that recreates the original creamy texture and lightness. Will keep trying...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Earlier, if someone asked me about the things I couldn't do without in my household, I would say condensed milk and heavy cream. Nowadays, due to diet restrictions the answer would be yogurt. Its versatility and health benefits are unquestionable and like mentioned here, it is very easy to make, even without any special piece of equipment. I have once achieved good results dissolving nonfat powdered milk to make it.

Monday, January 22, 2007


The strawberry is certainly a charming fruit. Its vibrant color and seductive smell make it hard to resist. The acidity in its intense flavor, however, isn't always pleasing to my palate. I learned that balsamic vinegar is the solution to the problem. They balance each other out and form the perfect combination, as long as we use a good quality balsamic, milder and sweeter.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Couscous Jambalaya

I usually don't watch much TV. In fact, if it weren't for my husband, I wouldn't have a TV set at all. But he loves his remote and I love him so... Incidentally, I learned this recipe from Emeril's show. The texture of couscous reminds me of farofa, which I grew up eating and I miss so much here. The good amount of spices pleased my husband's palate and he asked for seconds, very unusual. Due to my diet restrictions I had to leave out the shrimp but even so it was absolutely decadent.
Emeril Lagasse's Couscous Jambalaya without shrimp
1 small chicken breast, boned, skinned and chopped
1 TB Emeril's Creole Seasoning
Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped andouille sausage
1 chopped onion
Choped green bell peppers
Chopped celery
2 TB minced garlic
2 peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups couscous
In a bowl, combine the chicken and Creole Seasoning. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonreactive skillet over high heat. Add the seasoned shrimp and chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the andouille, onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic and stir-fry for one minute. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire, hot sauce, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stir in the couscous, and turn off the heat. Cover the skillet and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and stir in the remaining olive oil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comfort Food

My husband is one of those people that eat to stay alive, not a foodie at all. Since he's a meditation lover and that nourishes his soul, he prefers light and vegetarian meals. Every now and then, I cook some dishes from my mother-in-laws repertoire because I just love to see the smile and contentment in his face when he asks: "Mommy's recipe?"

“Comfort food is soothing, smoothly slides down one's throat requiring almost no chewing effort. It brings confidence, it's filling and nourishes the soul. It evokes childhood memories and tradition...”
Nina Horta, Brazilian food writer

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mango Lassi

Lu is looking for suggestions on ways to recycle and avoid wasting food so to help her out, I made lassi, an Indian drink made with yogurt. The more traditional lassi contains spices and salt. I prefer the sweet version with mangoes while my husband likes it better with pistachios. The consistency can vary according to personal preference. Some people might add milk and crushed ice to it, others thin it out with milk.

My family believes the combination of mangoes and dairy isn't very healthy but mango lassi is among the most popular in India. One of those cultural differences...

When fresh ripe mangoes are not in season, I use frozen or even canned puree, as a last resource, if nothing else is available.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I heard Lu is looking for ideas to avoid waste and recycle or use up leftover things in the fridge so I thought about Lassi, an Indian drink made with yogurt. Pretty much like a smoothie, it is a mix of yogurt with fruit or spices, very easy to make. Those who would rather have the salty variations use cummin and cilantro to flavor it. The consistency of the drink itself depends on a personal taste. One might add milk, water or even ice to it.

While my Brazilian family would never mix mangoes with any dairy products because it is believed to be unhealthy, in India, Mango Lassi is among the most popular drinks. One of those cultural things... I guess.

When fresh mangoes aren't available, I use either the frozen ones or the canned pulp, as a last resort if I have absolutely no other option.