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.


I got this easy recipe from my friend Megumi when I lived in Chicago. Bananas seem to ripen really fast around here so we have to eat them right away or find ways to use them up later. I like to have goodies to munch on so Megumi taught me how to make the Lazy Banana Cake. It is delicious, indeed.

Condensed milk, the other main ingredient in this dish, is very popular at home and I was so happy to find this particular brand here because it brings wonderful childhood memories. Back then, I enjoyed eating it plain, right out of the can.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weekend Cooking

On weekends, I like to make quick pasta recipes. The idea for this one came from two things my husband likes: anchovies and sardines.

I have also added vegetables to this sauce but we enjoy it mostly with just a little parmegiano reggiano on top. Although some might consider it a sin to serve cheese with seafood pasta, I like the combination of flavors in this case.

Lazy Weekend Pasta

On weekends, we are usually in and out of the house so I prefer to make quick pasta recipes. The idea for this one came from two things my husband loves: anchovies and sardines. I have also used vegetable puree to vary the flavor of this sauce but we enjoy it mostly plain with just a little cheese on top.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Daily Bread

I finally decided to start my blog. I have always used the internet as a source for recipes and also have been a visitor to many food blogs out there so I have my own now.

My first post is about one of the things I missed the most after moving to the US: bread. Crispy, fresh, hot bread, straight from the bakery in the morning and late afternoon. Unfortunately, there was no bakery anywhere near my home. Then, a year ago, I saw Danielle Forestier making baguettes in an old Julia Child show. I found her technique to be very simple so I took the courage to roll up the sleeves and try it.