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Posts from the ‘Brazil’ Category

Yerba Mate Soda

Yerba Mate Soda 1I keep coming across lists of things I’m not supposed to like.  If I do – which is often the case – then I’m from Florida/Brooklyn, varying degrees or white/latino/other, basic or a hipster.  The hipster lists really sting because they’re typically include favorite food trends  – but then who doesn’t love bacon, green juice is good for you, and mason jars are very practical.  I was considering making my own yerba mate-flavored soda when I saw homemade soda listed as a repeat offender and felt very much caught in the act. Read more

My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook

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I first met Leticia Moreinos Schwartz  at a seminar at the International Culinary Center.  Perched in the front row with a well-prepared list of questions and samples for the class, she would have been intimidating if she wasn’t so incredibly nice.  We’ve stayed in touch since and she’s always quick to answer my questions and offer much needed guidance and advice.  Her first book, The Brazilian Kitchen, is full of unfailing recipes and her personal insight into Brazilian cuisine and has become a favorite.  Less familiar to me than other Latin American traditions, Brazilian food has been a blind spot though I’m always happy when I make the effort.  Her latest, My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook, tells an even more personal story of both the carioca home cooking she grew up with and the contemporary Brazilian cuisine she encounters on frequent trips home.

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Empadinhas de Palmito

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I always loved Palm Sunday when I was little.  There was something about getting those palm fronds that felt important.  For once I had a focus for my fidgeting, and I’d spend the service shaping and reshaping them.  Last Sunday, though I (somewhat guiltily) didn’t attend mass, I fussed with hearts of palm instead. Read more

Licor de Mel

It might be a contact high from the first day of school, but I’ve been jittery the last couple of days. Operating under the delusion that summer was endless, I have a vague recollection of saying yes to a series of events and dates in September. With Labor Day come and gone, I’m anxiously waiting for the inevitable overbook or forgotten deadline. Though I’m ready to get back to work (somewhat), I’ll miss the steady stream of summer holidays when you’re never too far from your next firework display. Read more

Sorvete de Carambola

Some days, Manhattan’sChinatown could pass for Miami’s Little Havana. I have better luck finding tropical produce there than some of the smaller bodegas or upscale markets where a few tiny specimens are overpriced and undersold. A couple of weeks ago, I took the long way home, working my way through the East Village going along the Bowery to Canal St. where the fruit carts are piled high with pitayas, sapotes, and fresh guavas. Coming across a stack of carambola, I heard music. Read more

Casquinha de Siri

Looking over Caribbean or Central American recipes, it’s no longer necessary to seek out Latin American markets or bodegas in search of specialty items.  Increasingly popular, all grocery stores are now Latin American bodegas (or at least have a booming selection of Goya products).  I could also order absolutely anything online but it doesn’t compare to finding it in a newly discovered shop or even better, bringing back a longed for ingredient from a trip.  Portuguese and Brazilian recipes pose there own challenges.  Too often lumped in with the rest of South America, it’s a combination of indigenous, Portuguese, and African influences whose unique ingredients can put it just out of everyday reach.  I can find guajillo chiles or aji amarillo within few blocks of my house but I have yet to come across dendê oil or malagueta peppers by chance, making it that much more exciting to find farina de mandioca on the lower east side. Read more

Just Once More

I’d been burned before.  Last summer I found an old recipe for Brazilian coconut candies called  brasileiras.  I put all the ingredients together as directed – egg yolks, freshly shredded coconut, sugar – but they wanted nothing to do with each other.  I Googled “brasilerias” to find my mistake but the results were (not surprisingly) unhelpful.  A few weeks later, I attempted beijinhos de coco or “coconut kisses”. Similar to the brasileiras, they’re a combination of condensed milk, butter, and grated coconut that are rolled into balls and decorated with a single clove.  This version called for a final dip in chocolate and almonds.  I should have known when I wasn’t able to form the coconut into balls, mounds or anything like it that I’d made a mistake somewhere.  I kept going anyway, making an expensive chocolate almond mess.  I pretended they were edible, but after a day or two, I stopped kidding myself and threw the rest away.  I hadn’t looked a coconut in the eyes since. Read more

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