Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail, with mango

Caipirinha with mango
The basic recipe to this famous Brazilian cocktail - Caipirinha - is limited solely to lime, sugar and "cachaça," a spirit made from the sugar cane juice, also known as Brazilian rum.

However, some people add fruits like mango, passion fruit, grape and strawberry and I think it is a nice twist to this popular drink.

To make the traditional caipirinha:
1 lime
1 shot cachaça (Brazilian rum but vodka will do)
1 tablespoon sugar
ice cubes

1) Quarter the limes crosswise and divide pieces between  two glasses.

2) Add sugar to each glass, muddle the lime slices with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved into the lime juice.

3) Fill each glass with ice and add 1 shot cachaça to each, stirring well.

Add any fruits you like like mango slices, strawberry, grapes, etc. But please note, this is optional.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My mom's 80th birthday

Celebrating my mom's birthday with a moist passion fruit cake, what a delight and what a blessing to have her as my mom!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dressed for success, recycled glass bottles

On my kitchen window some glass bottles, like olive oil, wine and syrup bottles, are dressed for success. I create my own glass vases recycling old glass bottles and it is so much fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coffee cups

Coffee cups, small ones, arranged in a bamboo tray ready for the women's small group that used to meet to chat and have a change in routine every week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A basic and versatile risotto recipe with salt cod

Good friends, good times. Cooking for my family and friends... it is what I enjoy most! A good recipe for a get together? A risotto!

So Italian... I make risotto with starchy rices like arborio and carnarolli that result in a creamy and rich texture and these rices can be easily found in any grocery stores. Once you learn how to make the basic recipe for risotto, you can start playing around with ingredients you have in your kitchen like vegetables, mushrooms, aspargus, sun-dried tomatoes and meats, seafood, sausage, cheese, herbs etc.

The secret to making creamy risottos is to add the hot stock one ladleful at a time and cook slowly, stirring constantly, waiting until the liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. This way the stock gets absorbed and releases the arborio's starches.

 Sometimes I top the cooked risotto with grilled or sauteed shrimp. Since we eat a lot of rice here in Brazil and rice is stir-fried first, making a risotto is just like adding an elegant touch to everyday rice.

I like to use salt cod and desalt it in advance.

Salt cod risotto
2 cups arborio rice
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 cups (2 liters) stock (vegetable, chicken, fish - I prefer vegetable stock)
1/2 teaspoon saffron powder

10 oz (300 g) salt cod (bacalhau), desalted and flaked

1 tablespoon butter

Fresh parsley or thyme
3 oz (90 g) Parmesan, freshly grated

1) Bring 8 cups of stock to a boil - keep it in a separate boiler.

2) In a large pan (or wok) with a heavy bottom, heat olive oil and canola oil over low heat and sauté onions until translucent, not brown. Then, add garlic stirring until it releases its flavor. Add rice and stir to toast  approx. 5 minutes. Once toasted, add white wine stirring with a wooden spoon until it is absorbed. Add saffron.

3)  Start adding stock one ladle at a time, wait for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding the next ladle, stirring constantly for about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the salt cod and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the butter. Stir to combine. Serve immediately with chopped parsley or thyme and grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

How to desalt salt cod and rehydrate it: Soak salt cod in cold water for 24 to 36 hours and change the water 6 times.
Shrimp risotto - just add shrimp instead of salt cod, or add both.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dressing up leftovers

On Christmas Eve my family has a midnight supper every year. Before the meal we all form a circle, hold hands and each one of us tells what that year meant to us, then we say a prayer, hugs are exchanged and it is our thanks giving moment.

And on the next day we have leftovers for lunch... For this meal only the rice was fresh. I dressed up my plate with golden strings (egg noodles) that were previously trimming the turkey. The meat was pork tenderloin that my sister-in-law's mother cooked for us, also for the Christmas Eve supper. Traditionally Brazilians have pork for holiday meals.

The pork loin is so easy to make. Instead of baking in the oven, cook it! With the juices that come out you can make the gravy.

1 pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
Salt (use 1/2 tablespoon salt for each pound)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, cubed
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lime or orange
2 tablespoons oil or extra virgin olive oil + 2 for cooking
2 cups water

For the gravy:
1 tablespoon each: catchup, mustard, soy sauce
1/4 cup prosecco or dry sparkling wine (champagne)
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup mushrooms

1) Season pork loin with salt and pepper, pepper, onion, garlic, lime/orange juice and 2 tablespoons oil or olive oil. Marinate for about 2 hours or overnight.

2) Place 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown it well on all sides, for about 6 minutes. Reduce heat, add 2 cups of water and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, adding more if needed.

3) Remove tenderloin to a platter. Stir in gravy ingredients to pan. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, adjust seasoning. Serve meat with sauce spooned on top and rice as a side.