Farofa with Boiled Egg

FarofaI get a lot of people who are looking for farofa recipes and I get a good number of questions about farofa, so I thought it was time to post a new farofa recipe. For those of you who don’t remember what farofa is or want to see my first post about it take a look HERE.

I absolutely love farofa and eat it with almost anything. My favorite is to eat it with rice, beans and meat. Traditionally it is served at barbecues with sausage, but you often find it as an accompaniment for any variety of dishes!

Farofa is super easy to make and can be made with any ingredients. Generally I stick to a simple recipe, but on the weekends or more special occasions I elaborate:). Here is one of my elaborated farofa recipes!

Ingredients

3/4 cup farinha de mandioca
2 – 4 tbsp butter
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 slices of bacon, finely chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped finely
1 handful of parsley

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bacon and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the parsley together with the farinha de mandioca. Keep over the heat for approximately 1 minute. Lastly, add the boiled egg. Remove from the heat and place into a serving bowl. This can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.
Farofa

 

Blackberry Caipirinha

DSC_0070-001You can never have too many caipirinha recipes! Caipirinha is so simple and can be made with almost any fruit. A while back I had my first pineapple caipirinha and it was delicious. Another favourite of mine is passion fruit caipirinha.

But, a close second to the traditional lemon/lime caipirinha is a blackberry caipirinha. A restaurant close to my farm serves a delicious blackberry caipirinha and because I have a lot of blackberries at home I decided that it was time to make my own.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

50 ml cachaça or vodka
2/3 cups frozen or fresh blackberries
2 tsp white sugar

Place the blackberries in a glass and muddle (mash the blackberries with a muddler or wooden spoon to extract all of the juice). Add the cachaça, sugar, and ice cubes. Together with the ice cubes you can add some more whole frozen blackberries.

Profiteroles with a Brazilian twist

profiterole1It has been quite sometime since I made these profiteroles, but they are so good, that I decided to dig this post from my drafts and share it with you. I am sure you will all enjoy it!

I went through a phase of wanting to learn how to make choux pastry, it is one of those challenging pastries to make, but so satisfying and tasty when you get it right. Choux pastry is really a simple recipe and is quick to make. But the challenge is getting the right consistency. The biggest challenge is that the mixture cannot be too runny or too thick, and all of this depends on the addition of eggs. Eggs range in many different sizes and therefore no recipe can give you the exact number of eggs you will need to use. So, it all results in careful analysis of your mixture and only experience can really teach you when you have the perfect mixture.

The next challenge with choux pastry, and more specifically profiteroles, is filling them once they are done baking. If you have done everything correctly, you will have beautiful even shaped balls of choux pastry with an inside that is evenly hollow. The goal with profiteroles is to carefully and evenly fill the empty cavern with a tasty filling. Unfortunately, this part can lead to the filling oozing out of the place where you tried to fill the pastry, or, as happened in my case, parts of the pastry splitting and resulting in a mess of filling oozing out of every side.

I wasn’t going to be deterred by the challenges of choux pastry and I went ahead with it anyway! The result…..it was amazing. My first batch turned out a little overcooked and a few too many holes in the bottom of the choux pastry. But, the pastry was delicious, light, and airy. The filling was successful, even though I had many profiteroles that were oozing filling out instead of holding it inside. Confident that I would get it right the next time, I set to work on a double batch of choux pastry the next morning. This batch turned out magnificent, a golden color, perfect balls of pastry, and only minor spillage of filling.

But the real trick to my second batch of profiteroles was the Brazilian twist that I gave them. Instead to filling them with chantilly cream I used doce de leite, sweetened milk that is slowly heated to create a taste derived from the caramelization of the product. Doce de leite is extremely popular in Brazil, and any opportunity to use it is a MUST! Did I turn my profiteroles Brazilian? I would have to say that I did as all of the them were consumed within hours.

Without further a-do here is the recipe to my Brazilianized Profiteroles (incase you cannot get a hold of doce de leite or would rather stick to the more french profiteroles I have included the recipe for chantilly cream….but I recommend you stick to the doce de leite….you will not be disappointed). In the USA you can find doce de leite under the spanish name of dulce de leche.

This is a great little video to help you know when the mixture is just right. Click here for the video!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by WOMAN'S WEEKLY / Rex Features ( 387629D ) PROFITEROLES VARIOUS RECIPES

Ingredients

makes 25-30

80ml (1/3 cup) water
40g butter, at room temperature, cubed
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, at room temperature
Vegetable oil, to grease

Place water and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts and mixture just comes to the boil. Add all the flour to the butter mixture at once and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture forms a ball and begins to come away from the side of the saucepan. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl, then add it to the flour mixture, beating well with a wooden spoon. Gradually add a little of the reserved egg and beat until the mixture just falls from the spoon but still holds its shape. Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a baking tray with oil to lightly grease. Spoon 25-30 teaspoonful of the mixture onto tray, about 3cm apart. Alternatively, use a pastry bag fitted with a 1.5cm-diameter plain piping nozzle to pipe the profiteroles onto the baking tray (I found this method to be the easiest and best). Brush the tops with a little of the remaining egg. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the profiteroles are puffed and golden. Remove from oven and turn the oven off. Using a skewer or a small knife, pierce the base (or top) of each profiterole to release the steam. Return the profiteroles to the oven and leave them for 15 minutes to dry out. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When the profiteroles have cooled add the filling (for doce de leite click here to order online, and for chantilly cream click here for recipe). Place filling into a pastry bag (if you don’t have a pastry bag, check out this video for how to make one at home with parchment paper), insert tip into side of profiteroles and inject. You will know the profiterole is fully filled when the filling oozes out slightly, or it become difficult to push more in! If you do not want to use a piping bag you can cut the profiteroles in half and add the filling making a little profiterole sandwhich.

To finish you can top the profiteroles with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or leave plain.

Credits
Recipe taken from www.taste.com.au
Photo #1 www.gdaysouffle.com/2013/07/24/profiteroles-with-custard-cream-and-chocolate-sauce/
Photo #2 www.specialfoodrecipe.com/chocolate-profiteroles

Rural Brazil – Summer Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant lasagnaWe know it is summer when we can finally make our yummy eggplant lasagna. Because I live at a high altitude the weather is much colder than most of Brazil, nights are cold all year around and we actually have some seasons or at least there is a distinct difference between our winter and summer. All of this means that we cannot grow specific vegetables throughout the whole year. Mainly it is the fruits that we cannot grow such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and eggplant.

We begin seeding our summer fruits in august, get the transplants in the ground by mid October and begin harvesting cucumber and zucchini by late November or early December. Tomatoes we can harvest by the end of December and pepper and eggplant only in January. By April it already begins to get too cold to continue planting. We are able to harvest into mid May, but by June all of  our summer fruits are finished.

So, a lot of the year we eat the basic vegetables such as collards, beets, carrots, escarole and spinach. But, when summer starts we go crazy in the kitchen with all of our summer dishes. We make a lot of antipastos, turn a lot of our tomatoes into sauce that usually lasts us the whole year and we make one of our all time favorite dishes: eggplant lasagna.

We love eggplant and when we have it we eat as much as possible. Our eggplant lasagna usually makes it into our menu on a weekly basis. It is so simple and we actually make this without pasta, so it is gluten-free!

We know that summer has really started when we can make our eggplant lasagna. So, yesterday was the first day I made eggplant lasagna and although it is unseasonable cold we know that summer is here!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you want to add pasta, you most definitely can!
Eggplant lasagna

Ingredients

2 large eggplants or 4 small
2 large jars/cans of tomato sauce
1 recipe of white sauce or bechamel
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese or mozzarella

Slice the eggplant as thinly as possible, length wise. Place in a bowl and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Make one recipe of white sauce or bechamel. I do not use measurements, so if you do not have your own recipe you can follow this one HERE!

Preheat oven to 250C/480F.

To assemble the lasagna begin by spreading a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of your lasagna pan. Place a full layer of eggplant on top of the tomato sauce, cover with the white sauce and next add the tomato sauce. Continue in this manner until you have finished all ingredients or reached the top of your pan. Top with cheese.

Cover with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 45-60 minutes. When almost baked through, uncover and allow the top to brown.

Rural Brazil – Rendering Lard

The first time you kill a pig and keep all of the meat for yourself it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of parts of the pig that you either don’t know about or don’t know how to use. There is of course the usual cuts, like the loin and the ribs, but there’s a lot more to the animal then what you get at the supermarket. And then there is all of the fat. What do you do with all the fat from a pig? Obviously you can’t eat all of this, (although where I live it is very common to make pork rinds…recipe coming soon) and to just throw it out is a little bit of a waste.

Our first pig that we killed had a good amount of fat on him. I, excited to finally have my own meat and determined to use every last bit of it, decided to keep all of the fat and I figured that I would find a way to cook with it or just make tons of pork rinds! It was A LOT of fat and after a couple of weeks, some portions of pork rinds, and an overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to use all of the fat, I began to research about lard soap making.

Soap making looked like a perfect solution to my fat problem and after a lot of research I got down to the business of rendering my own lard. Rendering lard is a super simple process and although there are some icky parts to it, it really isn’t that bad.

So, here goes, how to render your own lard!

How to render lard

Grinding all of the fat!

Step 1: If you have a meat grinder, chop all of the fat into medium to small-sized cubes, making sure to remove all skin and meat attached to the fat. If you do not have a meat grinder this step is going to be much more tedious. You need to cut the fat as finely as possible. Having the fat finely chopped ensures that you get more lard and that the fat does not brown or burn when heating it, becoming hard and unusable!

How to render lard

Freshly ground lard in the pan and beginnning to heat.

Step 2: This is for all people using a meat grinder. Take the chopped fat and pass it through the meat grinder. This is the yuckiest step in the process, but makes such a huge difference when rendering your own lard. By grinding all of the fat you ensure that the fat will not brown and harden while heating, resulting in a much higher lard yield! If you plan to render a lot of lard or do this on a regular basis I highly recommend investing in a meat grinder (you can find one HERE at amazon.com, kitchen aid also sells as an attachment HERE). I own both of these and prefer the manual heavy-duty grinder.

How to render lard

Beginning to boil and liquify.

Step 3: Transfer all of the fat to a large pan (I use the largest pan I have, but I also try to render as much lard as possible when I do this). Place on a medium to low heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the fat to a slow boil. As the fat heats it will begin to melt and liquid will begin to form. The length of this process will depend on how much lard you are rendering. In the pictures I have here, I was rendering about 5 kg and to complete the whole process it took about 2 hours. It is a good idea to do this with all of your windows open to keep a good air circulation. I always find that the smell of fat can permeate throughout the whole house which I don’t like!

How to render lard

Almost ready to pour off most of the fat!

Step 4: When about 3/4 of the fat has melted pour the liquid fat through a metal strainer into storage jars (I use regular jamming jars). At this point you will be left with a lot of gritty-like bits of fat, return this to the heat and render for some more time about 10 to 20 minutes.

I do “two rendering batches” so that I guarantee a clean first batch and a dirtier second batch. You will not be able to melt all of the fat, so I do a “second” batch as a way to try and get more from the fat, but this will be a browner lard!

You can use the leftover fat in your cooking if you like, fry them up so they get nice and brown and you can use them with potatoes or as seasoning in other dishes.

How to render lard

Batch one finished and ready to be put into jars. You can notice the brown chunks at the bottom, these bits I reheat to get my second batch.

Step 5: Let the fat cool, as it cools it will become white and solid. Store for 3 to 6 months at room temperature. You do not need to refrigerate, although I do know of some people who do!

If you have any questions please let me know. Happy Lard Rendering!

How to render lard

In the jars and cooling!

How to render lard

All cooled and ready to use!