Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rice with black-eyed peas - Grow your own #10

Rice and beans... another staple food here in Brazil. Every time we visit the family farm, which is in another state, the lady who works and lives there gives me black-eyed-peas that her family grows. She taught me how to make this dish called "baiao-de-dois" that is popular in the Northeast part of Brazil. This is the simplified version as you will hardly find the type of clarified butter (bottle butter) they use to cook this and the coalho cheese (a type of curd cheese).

This is my entry for this month's Grow Your Own event. If you grow or raise anything in your garden or if you received something as a gift that the giver has personally grown or raised you can participate too.

1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked
2 cups of rice
4 cups water
1 cup frying cheese, cubed
1/2 cup italian smoked sausage or chorizo, sliced (I omit this sometimes)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped onions
cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in a large pan. Add onions, garlic and sausage and sautée until tender. Add rice and fry it stirring it frequently. Add cooked beans, water, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes until most of the water gets absorbed.

2) Add the cubed cheese and the cilantro. Turn off stove and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cooking rice like a Brazilian

Rice is a staple here in Brazil and everyone knows how to cook it. Depending on where you live you stir-fry first with oil before adding the water. That's how I like it and I learned to cook rice this way from my mom.
  • When cooking rice add a few drops of lime for an extra flavor.
  • To cook 1 cup dried rice, add 2 cups water.

2 cups long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups boiling water (or chicken broth)


1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sautée for a minute, until fragrant.

2) Add rice, let it sit for 10 seconds, then stir to coat the grains with the oil, season with salt and stir-fry about 2 minutes.

3) Add the boiling water. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, fluff it with a fork and add the lime juice if using any. Put the lid back on and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day was good...

Mom baked us an all time favorite cake, served plain, with coffee... Simple like that, just like mother's love...

Ingredients for mom's plain cake
2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal or oatbran (her secret ingredient)
1 cup sugar
1 dash salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup warm milk (another secret)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

1) Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and oil. Mix well.

2) In a separate small bowl, beat eggs and add to the mixture and beat one minute or about 60 strokes. The more you beat the better.

3) Bake in two small oiled and floured loaf-cake pans for 40 minutes at 375˚F (190˚C). Serve plain or with a lime glaze.

Lime and poppy seed glaze
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sugar
Poppy seed (optional)

1) Put lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.

2) Remove from heat, poke holes in top of warm cake with toothpick or fork and spoon the warm glaze over the cooked cake. Sprinkle poppy seed.

I love this cake, because whenever I bake it for my kids I have the feeling I am doing something just like my mom used to do when I was a child. I remember her moving around the kitchen getting the ingredients and the utensils ready, turning the oven on etc. That's why I love cooking for my family, so that they can have fond memories of their childhood too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yogurt Parfait with Mango and Cardamom

Mango, brown sugar and cardamom! These were the three delicious ingredients on my list for this month's joust at the Leftover Queen forum! And I ended up with a parfait.

Did you know that "parfait" means literally "perfect" in French? And also it is:
1 : a flavored custard containing whipped cream and syrup frozen without stirring
2 : a cold dessert made of layers of fruit, syrup, ice cream, and whipped cream
(Merriam-Webster dictionary)

My parfait is made with frozen greek yogurt. Parfaits are
usually made in layers in a tall glass, but I used a serving plate instead.
For the custard:
2 cups greek yogurt (substitutes: vanilla yogurt or ice cream)
2 to 3 tablespoons honey

For the mango syrup:
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 to 4 cardamom pods, split open
1/2 cup water
1 mango, peeled and sliced

1) Mix together greek yogurt and honey. Line bottom and sides of muffin pans with loose fitting plastic wrap or parchment paper. Divide the mixture between the lined muffin pans and freeze for about 2 hours.

2) In a sauce pan heat sugar, cardamom pods and water until sugar dissolves for about 5 minutes. Add mango slices and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and leave fruit to cool.

3) Remove the parfait from the freezer. Remove the plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the parfait on serving plates and drizzle the mango syrup around each one.

Recipe adapted from Woman and Home magazine.