Bolinho de Arroz (Little Rice Balls)

Little Rice BallsYou know that I like the simple recipes and I always think that the simple recipes are the tastiest. Laboring in the kitchen to produce an extravagant meal is always wonderful and the rewards are big, but, for me, it always comes down to those small and simple morsels of goodness. Bolinho de arroz is one of those foods that I just absolutely love. And, to make them even better they are fried. Really, anything fried is delicious and irresistible. Translated to english bolinho de arroz means little rice balls and there isn’t much more to add to it because that is just what they are.

The wonderful thing with this recipe is that you never need to throw out rice again. I always struggle to think of what to do with the small amount of rice I usually end up with after a few meals of eating the large pot of rice that I make every few days. I usually end up giving the scraps to the dogs. So really the old rice never really goes to waste, but there are those times that I just want to do something more with the rice so that I can eat it and not my dogs (yes, a little selfish I know).

Little Rice BallsSince learning to make this recipe there is no more excuse for me to throw out the left over rice or feed it to the dogs (ok, they will still get the leftovers sometimes as I can’t eat fried rice balls all the time). It is easy to make and a great snack before dinner or to accompany dinner. Who could ask for more? Quick to put together, tasty, and you’re using leftovers. This is my perfect recipe!

Little Rice BallsIngredients

2 cups of cooked rice
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
Parsley and spring onions, finely chopped (Cheiro Verde)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup flour
Canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil

Put the rice, egg, milk, grated cheese, parsley, spring onions, and salt into a bowl. Mix together well using a spoon or your hands. Slowly add in flour, one spoon at a time. Keep adding the flour until the mixture becomes slightly firm and holds together when you roll a ball, approximately half a cup of flour. Roll the rice into small ovals. Pour enough oil into a pan to cover half of the rice balls. Heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the rice balls into the oil and cook until golden brown. Turn the balls over and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper napkin to drain the oil. Eat when still warm.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Little Rice Balls

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MOQUECA a Brazilian Seafood Stew

Brazilian Seafood StewThe first time I tried moqueca in Brazil, and I think the only time that I have eaten it at a restaurant here, was quite a long time ago at the beach with my husband. He had hyped-up this dish like crazy and told me how much I was going to love it. Unfortunately when our moqueca arrived we were both disappointed and I did not fall in love with it. The restaurant was a tourist trap and I did not get to experience this absolutely delicious dish. Instead, I learned to love this dish when my husband made it for me back in the USA. I couldn’t get enough of it and wanted to eat it almost all the time. While living in Boston we found a wonderful moqueca restaurant (Muqueca Restaurant, Cambridge MA) and ate there several times. It was so delicious that we kept wanting to go back for more.

Brazilian Seafood StewSo, Brazil hasn’t yet showed me the best of their moqueca but believe me this is an amazing dish and if you get the chance to try it while in Brazil definitely jump on the opportunity. If you are a fish lover like me you will not be disappointed.

Moqueca is a dish traditionally from the northern states of Espirito Santo and Bahia. It is a seafood ragout or stew made with any combination of fish and shell fish.There are countless recipes for moqueca and everyone has their own favorite recipe. Moqueca is a dish that was influenced by the Brazilian native indian, African, and Portuguese cuisines. The name comes from the native indian word POKEKAS. Traditionally, moqueca is slow cooked in a clay pot known as the ‘capixaba‘. Moqueca that is cooked in the clay pot is called ‘moqueca capixaba‘. The capixaba is a handmade pot made from black clay and mangrove tree sap and adds a beautiful flavor to the moqueca.

Brazilian Seafood StewAgain, moqueca is one of those Brazilian dishes that can be made hundreds of different ways and as long as you have the basic ingredients you cannot go wrong!

Some asides about this recipe and what to eat moqueca with:

  • Moqueca is traditionally made with cilantro, but since there are some people who absolutely hate the taste of cilantro (my husband) you do not need to use it. I always substitute cilantro with parsley and it works perfectly.
  • This dish can be made with ANY type of fish. I generally use a simple white fish like tilapia and shrimp. But feel free to use any fish you have at home or would like to use instead!
  • Make sure that the coconut is not too strong. You want to have an equal blend of tomato and coconut.
  • Once the fish has been added DO NOT STIR.
  • I eat moqueca with rice and farofa. I make a very simple farofa usually just with onions, but again, any farofa recipe works perfectly.
  • Most importantly: have fun with this recipe!

Brazilian Seafood StewIngredients

1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5tbsp tempero caseiro (substitute for onions & garlic)
olive oil
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
16oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
8oz can coconut milk
400g/880oz shrimp
500g/1lb tilapia, or other mild white fish
1 cup parsley or cilantro
1-2 tbsp chili flakes
salt

Prepare all of the vegetables: chop the peppers, onions, garlic, and parsley or cilantro (if using tempero caseiro measure required quantity). Place a the capixaba, clay pot, or cast iron pan over medium heat and warm-up the olive oil. When oil is warm add the onions and garlic (or tempero caseiro). Sauté until fragrant, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the pepper and sauté for another 6-8 minutes or until slightly tender. Add the crushed or diced tomatoes and leave to simmer with the lid off for approximately 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, stir well, and bring to a boil. Add the salt, chili flakes, and half of the parsley or cilantro to taste (you do not want the dish to be too spicy). Lower heat and keep mixture at a low boil. Prepare the shrimp and tilapia; take off the shrimp tails and cut tilapia into medium sized chunks. After mixture has boiled for approximately 10 minutes add the fish. Once the fish has been added do not stir the mixture anymore. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Add the remaining parsley or cilantro. Serve with rice and farofa!

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!Brazilian Seafood Stew

Brazilian Style Greens

DSC_0221The first time that I served sauteed collards was at a dinner for friends; they were all blown away by how amazing they tasted. And, honestly, I was blown away by their praise for this simple dish. Sauteed collards have been a staple part of my diet for many years now and hearing from friends how tasty they were reminded me that simple can really be the best! When I explained how I cooked the collards my friends were even more stunned, the main reaction going around the table was WOW!

Since first visiting Brazil, I have adopted the Brazilian way of cooking greens. It is simple to prepare, simple to cook, and most importantly it is difficult to get it wrong…Oh, and it tastes amazing. Yes, Brazilians cook vegetables in many different ways but it has always been the way that they sauté their greens that has appealed to me most. Any vegetable that is sauteed with olive oil, onions, garlic, and salt is heaven to my mouth.

Now, I know that collards may not be the most popular leafy green vegetable in the USA, except in the south. Why, I don’t know, because I can never get enough of this leafy green. If you have never tried collards before, please, run down to your local grocery store and pick-up a bunch of these goodies. If you have tried them and weren’t convinced, try this recipe, you will not be disappointed. Many people I have talked to do not know what to do with collard. Well, here you go, I am about to give you the one thing you will want to cook with every meal.

DSC_0120If you absolutely detest collards or can’t find them, any leafy green such as kale or beet greens will be just as tasty with this recipe. But then again, this is one of those recipes that will work for any vegetable. As you can see from the picture here I made sauteed broccoli raab and they were to-die-for (maybe because they were also organically grown on our farm).

These greens are great when paired with rice, beans, and meat. Take a look at my rice and bean recipes to put together the perfect Brazilian meal!

So, what do you need to do to get these amazing greens on your plate? Well, it is really easy and only takes a few minutes!

Ingredients

1 medium onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tblsp tempero caseiro (substitute for onions, garlic, and salt)
2 tblsp olive oil
10 leaves of collard or any other vegetable

Chop the onion and garlic finely (if using tempero caseiro measure out necessary quantity). Wash the collard and lay five leaves flat on top of each other. Roll the five leaves tightly together. Take a knife and slice the collard very thinly, as thin as possible. Repeat until all collard is cut. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan or pot and heat on medium flame. Once oil is hot place the onions (or tempero caseiro) in the pan and sauté for approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Place the collard into the pan together with the salt and sauté until reduced in size and just cooked; approximately 5-7 minutes. Make sure that the stalk is still slightly crunchy; you do not want to overcook it. Serve hot.

For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!

100 Things to Try When You Come to Brazil PART 1

Brazilian Feijoada

Feijoada
(image from http://www.food52.com)

So, there is this list, a list of 100 things to try when you visit Brazil. This list has been posted on various blogs and was originally created with the idea that people would mark what they had all tried. It’s a great list and really has some MUST TRY foods on it. But, after going through it, I knew there were things that needed to be added and altered. So instead of following the rules I’m going to take this list and adapt it slightly.

When you visit Brazil you have to remember that this is a BIG country and some of the foods are very regional. Of this list I have probably tried half and am not even remotely close to trying the other half, partially because some of these dishes can only be found in specific regions of the country. Don’t go on a mad goose chase to try all of these foods when you visit Brazil. Trust me, there is so much good food here that whatever you manage to try from this list you will be satisfied with.

So here goes, part one of 100 Thing to Try When You Come to Brazil

1. Pão de Queijo Brazilian cheese bread – this can be found almost anywhere and is commonly eaten with coffee.
2. Doce de batata doce A sweetened potato purée/jam/jelly
3. Churrasco Brazilian style barbecue, or as it is sometimes referred to: eat meat until you pop!
4. Tapioca Made with manioc starch, these are usually cooked like tortillas.
5. Pizza assado no forno á lenha Pizza baked in a wood oven. Definitely order pizza one time in Brazil, especially in São Paulo. Some suggestions of which pizza’s to order: portuguesa (onions, boiled egg, ham, & olives), mozzarella (sliced tomato & basil), garlic (lots of crushed garlic, yum), calabresa (sausage).
6. Feijão tropeiro This is one of the many bean variations you find in Brazil. It is: beans mixed with manioc flour, fried pork belly, sausage, boiled eggs, garlic, onions, and seasoning.
7. Arroz carreteiro One variation of rice that you find in Brazil (again there are many variations), white rice, jerked beef, pepper, garlic, onion, and parsley.
8. Açaí na tigela Purée of açaí or açaí berries served in a bowl with granola. Really yummy!
9. Paçoca de amendoim A peanut sweet usually found in cylinder shape. Really yummy and a great accompaniment to an espresso.
10. Pato no tucupi A duck dish commonly found in the state of Pará in the north of Brazil. It is boiled duck in a yellow manioc sauce.
11. Baião de dois Rice, beans, sausage/bacon/jerked beef, and farofa mixed together to create one big pot of goodness.
12. Acarajé Street food served in Bahia. Made of feijão paste w/ all sorts of goodies and shrimp.
13. Pamonha Sweet corn paste wrapped in a corn lead and boiled.
14. Dobradinha Tripe stew.
15. Rapadura Mostly sold in fairs or street markets (feira), this is basically cubed cane sugar.
16. Farofa Coarse manioc flour fried with butter, onions, bacon/jerked beef, and parsley. Commonly served together with beans, stews, and at barbecues. Recipes vary!
17. Barreado Found on the coast or Parana, this is a bean based dished with cooked meats and accompanied with fruits, like apple and banana.
18. Pastel de feira A must try at the local street market. This is a rectangular pastry filled with any kind of filling you can imagine. It is deep fried. Some good fillings to try: cheese, pumpkin, meat, portuguesa.
19. Couve refogado com alho A very common side dish, this is thinly cut collard fried with olive oil, onions, and garlic.
20. Sanduíche de pernil A pork sandwich. Pernil is pork leg.
21. Palmito Hearts of palm. Eat these in a salad or just by themselves with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
22. Cappucino Your regular cappuccino but served with chocolate mixed in.
23. Camarão na moranga A shrimp stew served in a pumpkin.
24. Doce de abóbora Sweet pumpkin jam commonly eaten just on its own. Very yummy and serves as a delicious dessert.
25. Feijoada The national dish of Brazil, this is a bean stew with lots of varied meat. Feijoada is commonly served with rice, collard, farofa, and slices of orange.
26. Galinhada com pequi A chicken stew with pequi fruit. Pequi is a fruit that is popular in the center-west of Brazil.
27. Peixe na telha A baked fish dish.
28. Biscoito de polvilho Little biscuits that come in all shapes and sizes. These are made of manioc flour and are very light and just a little bit sour. Absolutely addicting.
29. Galinha á cabidela Common in the city of Recife this is a simple chicken dish that originated from Portugal.
30. Pão de mel com doce de leite Honey bread with doce de leite. Very tasty and commonly comes in small squares or rounds and is covered with chocolate.
31. Any fish baked in folha de bananeira Fish baked in banana leaf.
32. Queijo coalho nab rasa Usually sold at beaches, this is grilled cheese on a stick!
33. Curau Sweetened corn paste/pudding served with cinnamon.
34. Caldo de cana Sugar cane juice. Drink this with a pastel at the local street market; they are always close-by to each other.
35. Prato Feito This is a cheap lunch dish that comes with your choice of meat, rice, beans, collard, farofa, and fries.
36. Buchada de bode A typical dish from the northeast, it is made of Goat. It is the goats stomach stuffed with small pieces of the other internal organs, cooked with a leg bone of the goat for flavour (Thank you Mu for this).
37. Bolo de rolo Very thin pastry rolled with goiabada jelly, almost like a Swiss Roll. Really good with coffee or to finish off your breakfast with.
38. Chá mate gelado Chilled toasted mate. Go to the center of São Paulo to Rei do Maté and you can order chilled maté with your choice of fruit or other ingredients to be added. Some suggestions: maté com acerola, maté com leite e aveia (w/ milk & oats).
39. Rabada Oxtail stew.
39. Vaca atolada Literally, “stuck cow” this is a type of beef soup.
40. Pitanga A fruit native to Brazil. This fruit is tart and very high in vitamin C
41. Quibebe Mashed pumpkin with fried onions, garlic, and olive oil. A very tasty side dish.
42. Caipirinha A must have drink when in Brazil, this is cachaça, lime, and sugar.
43. Cuzcuz Paulista “São Paulo couscous.” This is not your typical couscous. It is a corn-based dish with all types of different vegetables. Made in a bunt tin it always looks beautiful and is wonderfully delicious.
44. Quebra queixo “Jawbreaker” this is a hard sugar-based sweet.
45. Isca de peixe Small pieces of white fish, battered, and deep fried. Perfect to order as a porção (portion) in a bar.
46. Bacalhau There are many different bacalhau’s, but the main part of the dish is the salted cod and it comes with all different vegetables. If you like fish this is an absolute must have.
47. Torta de palmito Hearts of palm pie.
48. Empada (empadinha) A cupcake sized pie; this is a common snack in Brazil. Come with various fillings: cheese, chicken, hearts of palm are the most common. The pastry is light and crumbly and has the tendency to fall apart when eating…so be careful!
49. Suco de abacaxi com hortelã Pineapple juice with mint, yum!
50. Pão de batata com catupiry Potato bread filled with catupiry, similar to a very runny cream-cheese. Commonly eaten as a snack and can be found almost anywhere!

To Print a PDF for Your Travels CLICK HERE!

Sources:
Minhas Crônicas do Brasil “100 Brazilian Dishes – Part 1
Brazil Phenomenon “100 Brazilian food items and dishes you have to try
O Onívoro “100 pratos brasileiros para experimentar

Hearts of Palm Pie

Torta de PalmitoThe sweets of Brazil are all absolutely mouth watering and there is always something new to try. But the savory dishes also all have the tendency to keep you coming back for more. This is exactly what happened to me with the heart of palm pie, or, as it is called in Brazil Torta de Palmito.

The first time I ate hearts of palm was in Brazil. Coming from England and the northeast of the United States my exposure to hearts of palm was, well, zero. To me they were an exotic food and at first rather strange. Seeing this white-cylinder-like food was not a normal site and I was a little apprehensive at first to try it. But, after my first bite I was hooked and quickly started ordering anything I could find that came with hearts of palm, and in Brazil that isn’t hard as hearts of palm are used in many dishes! 

My introduction to heart of palm pie was my mother-in-laws homemade pie and it goes without saying that I found my favorite pie. After eating my mother-in-laws pie I knew I had to learn how to make it and once I had the recipe I set to work in the kitchen. Not a difficult pie to make, I soon was making this pie for all different occasions, dinners, lunches, and just because I wanted it in the fridge so that I could grab a piece at any time. This pie is wonderful because it is simple, you can add other ingredients if you like, such as peas or green olives, and you can eat it in many different ways: for lunch, as a snack, for a light dinner, or as a side with a big dinner. My favorite is to have it for lunch or a light dinner with a big side of salad.

Torta de PalmitoAfter having made this pie many times there are a couple of things I always like to keep in mind when making it:
= Add the water, a little at a time, when making the pastry
= Don’t work the pastry too much; once it forms a ball, don’t work it anymore
= Leave the pastry for at least 1 hour; this has usually given me the best results
= The ketchup is not a MUST. I usually do a little bit less than what the recipe asks for; GO BY TASTE!
= When adding the milk: I dissolve the cornstarch in one cup of milk, then pour this into the pan, I only add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk a little at a time. The mixture needs to remain thick, and I never like to cook it too long because otherwise everything turns to mush!
= Adding the peas or olives gives more flavor and color, but are not absolutely necessary!
= I like to eat this pie a little above room temperature; let it cool for at least 15-20 minutes before eating.

Where to buy Heart of Palm: You can usually find canned heart of palm in most supermarkets. Take a look in the international foods section and it is likely to be there. Otherwise, take a look at some links that I have here to order online!

For the Crust

500g (2½ cups) All-purpose white flour
200g unsalted butter
1/3 tablespoon salt
½ cup cold water

For the Filling
40g (3 tbsp) butter
1 large onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
600g (21oz) hearts of palm (about 2 jars), thinly sliced
2 tbsp ketchup
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp parsley leaves (or cheiro verde), finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 cup pitted green olives, finely sliced (optional)
olive oil
salt and black pepper

For the crust, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl, rub with your finger tips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs, and then add cold water, little by little, as needed, working the dough until it is smooth and does not stick to your hands (you can use a food processor).
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

For the filling, heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pot, add onion and, when it begins to brown, add garlic, and fry until fragrant.
Mix in sliced hearts of palm, ketchup, vegetable bouillon cube, and cornstarch – previously dissolved in 1 ½ cups milk – and, stirring constantly, cook until it boils and thickens.
Adjust salt and pepper and, if necessary, correct acidity by adding a pinch of sugar; fold in chopped parsley (or cheiro verde), frozen peas, and sliced olives and let cool.

To assemble the pie, use a 30cm (12inch) spring form pan, or an ovenproof dish, if you’re not considering removing the pie from the dish.
Dust a work surface with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out a large portion of the dough into a circle about 45cm (18inch) in diameter.
Line bottom and sides of one pan with this circle and spoon the filling into it. Roll out the remaining dough into a circle about the diameter of the pan and cover the pie, pressing the two crusts together gently to seal.
Cut out decorative shapes and press them onto the top crust, brush with egg yolk, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 180C (350F/moderate/Gas 4).

Bake pie for about 45 minutes, until the crust and tip are deep golden brown. Remove from heat, wait 10 minutes, and remove from pans onto serving platters (or refrigerate and heat thoroughly in the oven before serving).

For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!

Torta de Palmito