Monday, March 30, 2009

My Easter decor

Easy, charming and inexpensive decor. I use empty eggshells and my african violets to decorate the house and the table for Easter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebrating with popcorn shrimp

To celebrate the end of the Summer in the Southern hemisphere, Saint Patrick's Day and most importantly, my husband's birthday I fixed popcorn shrimp because it was one of the dishes that our family enjoyed so much at Red Lobster when we lived in the US.

Popcorn shrimp
2 pounds (1 kg) small shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons coarse cornmeal
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon paprika
salt and black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

1) Season shrimp with salt and pepper.

2) In a plastic bag add all dry ingredients, add more salt and pepper too. Dip shrimps in beaten egg whites, drop them in bag and shake until they are fully covered with flour mixture.

3) Refrigerate prepared shrimp for about 10 minutes in freezer.

4) Fry shrimp in hot oil. Serve with tartar sauce, hot chili sauce and lime slices.

Sometimes I fix this appetizer with breadcrumbs. I coat shrimp with flour, wash them in egg mixture, then coat them with seasoned breadcrumbs, refrigerate and then fry.

A simple salt shaker turns into a lovely decor item... To my husband, whose graceful existence touches all who surround him and makes our lives more flavorful and blessed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Eating your words: coffee talk

We think food... and now it is time to write, spell or draw food! These yummy blogs Savor the Thyme and Tangled Noodle came up with a wonderful idea for bloggers to let the food do the talking.

And here is my contribution, I think coffee a lot... Coffee is about taste, fragrance, the aroma of coffee beans filling the air, and memories... I love traveling... and everywhere I have been to has memories of a coffeehouse, and the good times I had with a friend, the way she holds her cup, the conversation we had, the weather, the special times shared together.

Oh... and the morning coffee... The first sip of coffee is a sweet ritual my husband and I have, nothing can take away the moments we spend together sipping a coffee of cup, as sometimes it might be the only quality time in the busy day we have ahead.

So next time the barista (the Italian term for the coffee expert who makes espresso-based drinks) asks what your name is (oops, sorry, Starbucks is just around the corner...) or what you are having, remember that a simple cup of coffee can hold more than just coffee...

How do you like your coffee? Walking into a coffeehouse or café may be an adventure these days as you try to figure out the words on the board... Not to mention the names in French or Italian that are already part of our coffeehouse menus.

Not sure what to order? Espresso is freshly brewed by steam and pressure and it is more concentrated than the drip or filtered coffee. If you are not sure you like your coffee strong... go with a café americano, that is made with espresso, but diluted with water, and you are still having an espresso! We also have this version in Brazil, it is called "carioca," just in case you visit... Or you can have a cappuccino, the most popular espresso-based drink in the world.

Cappuccino with dulce de leche (milk caramel)

Espresso-based coffees - finely ground coffee brewed by steam and pressure. Just to mention a few espresso beverages I recall seeing on coffeehouse menus:
- Latté: espresso with steamed milk
- Cappuccino: espresso with hot milk and steamed-milk foam, and cinnamon please...
- Mocha: latté with chocolate
- Café au lait: half espresso, half milk
- Espresso com panna: espresso with cream (whipped cream)
- Macchiato: it means stained or marked, so it is an espresso lightly marked with milk.
- Café breve: espresso with steamed half and half, it is creamy.
- And so on...

To join in the fun, blog about your creation, including photos, and add a link back to Savor the Thyme and Tangled Noodle. The details are here.

Coffee beans
Round-up part I: Savor the Thyme
Round-up part II: Tangled Noodle