Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yucca stew - Grow Your Own 1st anniversary

I say manioc (cassava), you say yucca. Many people have tried yucca without even knowing it, like when you use tapioca flour... does this ring a bell?

This entry celebrates Grow Your Own's first anniversary! Congratulations Andrea! Thank you for planting the seed of friendship with your event!

This is a simple recipe for chilly nights. I had some yucca in the freezer from the family farm and I added harissa, the Tunisian spice blend, to the stew to spice it up.

Harissa has the power to turn an ordinary dish into a gourmet dish!

Yucca stew
  • Peel and strip the yucca root before cooking (remove the long stringy fibers in the middle)
  • Cut into chunks and cook it in water until soft (it can take from 20 minutes to over one hour, use a pressure cooker if you have one)
3 pounds (1.5 kg) cooked yucca, smashed
10 to 12 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt (omit the salt if using stock)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz bacon, cooked, lightly browned
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon harissa (or any pepper)
2 cups watercress, chopped (or kale)

1) Sauté onion and garlic in oil and olive oil. Add smashed yucca, water (or stock), salt and harissa. Bring to a boil, then simmer until stew is thickened. Using an immersion hand blender (or a blender), puree stew until smooth.

2) Towards the end, add the watercress and the cooked bacon, turn off heat and cover for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm.
  • This recipe can be adapted for the slow cooker.
Yucca plantation

You can check all the entries for the 1st anniversary here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Harissa, a traditional Tunisian blend at our table

Harissa is a traditional Tunisian spice blend made from peppers and condiments. This one was a gift and was made by my friend's mother-in-law who lives in Tunisia. We frequently use harissa to spice up many dishes. With its intense flavor it is well paired with seafood, meat, soups and stews, pizza, pasta etc.

Jenn, at the Leftover Queen teaches how to make harissa paste.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brazilian carrot cake

Our children's favorite cake. This is a simple carrot cake I make and I think every mother here knows how to make it, as it is a very popular and traditional recipe in Brazil. Since I was not a big fan of carrot cakes, even though I like carrots, I started to add cinnamon to give it a twist. Very different from the carrot cakes you probably know, this one does not have nuts and fruits, and it is topped with chocolate icing!

This recipe also makes great cupcakes and I add chocolate chips on top before taking them to the oven!
Brazilian carrot cake
3 small raw carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Grease and flour a 12-inch (30 cm) round pan. Preheat oven to 380°F (190°C).

1) Place carrots, eggs, and oil into a blender and puree.

2) In a bowl, add flour, baking
powder, cinnamon and sugar. Pour the carrot mixture and mix until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake at 380°F (190°C) for 30 minutes.

Chocolate glaze
(mom's recipe)

4 tablespoons milk or water
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa

In a small sauce pan, cook all ingredients at low heat until it thickens, stirring constantly. Spread over cake immediately.