Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Because the human brain is a hungry beast!

Crispy Kale Chips

Serves 4 people


1 bunch curly Kale (about 1 ½ pounds), well washed and well dried

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  • Remove the stems from the kale and cut the leaves into large chunks. Place them in a bowl, drizzle olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss well.
  • Spread the kale on a baking sheet (or more than one baking sheet; if you put too much kale, it will steam rather than crisp, so it’s very important to spread the leaves well on the baking sheet) and bake in the oven until crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool at room temperature and serve.


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French Cheese Puffs

French Cheese Puffs

I’ve been making French Cheese Puffs, aka GOUGERES for years, and there is always a conflict in me because this is a delicious French version of cheese bread. As a Brazilian, how can I possibly opt for the French Cheese Puffs when my country is the king of cheese bread? So I went to therapy, debated my food conflicts, and decided that I love both, and will bake both. Just not at the same time. There is time for Brazilian cheese bread, and there is time for French Cheese Bread! Viva!

In honor of Bastille day, shall we bake some Gougeres? Feel free to bake these wonders any other time of the year—they are evergreen.

Most recipes for cheese puffs call for milk instead of water. Some call for a mixture of milk and water. Over the years, I realized that milk actually makes the cheese puffs less crunchy on the outside; so I’m leaving milk out of the recipe, and the recipe is still so moist inside. Take a bite of this open cheese puff through the screen! Hope you’ll bring it to life in your own kitchen!

French Cheese Puffs


French Cheese Puffs (Gougeres)

Makes 40 Gougeres


1 cup (235ml) water

1 stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (125g)

1 teaspoon (5g) Kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5g) sugar

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon paprika

1 cup + 1 tablespoon (175g) all-purpose flour

3 to 4 eggs

2 cups (250g) finely grated Gruyere cheese

  • Center a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
  • In a medium saucepan, pour the water, butter, salt and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the flour in one stroke, and cook with a wooden spoon, now over low heat, until it all comes together as a ball.
  • Add the fresh pepper, nutmeg and paprika and continue mixing, until the dough leaves a light crust on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. You are looking for a smooth dough, nice and tender.
  • Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on low speed. Beat slowly for a minute to let the steam out. By the way, you CAN do this part manually, using a bowl and a wooden spoon, but the machine makes it easier and faster.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time. Now, here is the tricky part: depending on the humidity and temperature, you might need only 3 ½ eggs, or 4, or 4 ½ eggs. Be sure to add one egg at a time and beat well after each egg. How do you know if the dough needs another egg? You need at least 3 eggs (still adding one at a time). If you run your finger through the center of the dough, the dough should close slowly.If it doesn’t, then add another ½ egg (beat an egg with a fork in a small bowl), beat the dough, and check with your finger again.
  • Add the grated cheese and continue to beat slowly until it’s well mixed.
  • Prepare a sheet pan lined with silpat.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, form little balls of the dough, spacing them about an inch apart.
  • Bake in the oven until it’s firm, puffed and gorgeously golden, about 18 minutes, rotating once between baking time.
  • Serve warm or transfer the pan to cool. If you want to prepare them ahead of time, they re-heat very well; let them cool completely, place them in a zip lock bag and keep them in the fridge. Reheat in the oven for 5 minute, and serve.


I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it,

I’d love to connect with you! Please do send comments and suggestions,

If you prepare any of the recipes on the site, snap a photo and send it to me!

Follow my food adventures on social media!



Contact me!

And remember always,

Cook at home! Body Up! Health up! Wise up!

See you next time!





avocado toast

Avocado Toast With Eggs

Kids Eating Breakfast

My kids Bianca and Thomas, on a typical day, eating Avocado Toast with Eggs.


“Mom, can you make breakfast?” How about Avocado Toast with Eggs? At the turn of the year, this daily question made me think that pretty soon, my growing children will be going off to college. Like many professional urbanites, life gets too crazy, and it’s always a rush in the mornings. But over the years, I came to appreciate breakfast with them and for them. When I’m traveling for work, or leave the house before the crack of dawn, my kids get a breakfast sandwich at the deli. This experience, effortless and pleasurable in anticipation, is usually expensive, even when it’s at a theoretically inexpensive restaurant, like the local deli. And according to my kids, not always satisfying. So, we’ve incorporated this daily habit to our lives: breakfast at home. It takes all of 10 minutes to assemble this Avocado Toast at home. It would cost almost $12 at a restaurant or deli. The time we spend in the morning is precious; we talk about the agenda, our schedules and our immense to-do lists. In time, I came to recognize that preparing breakfast for my children is huge privilege, one that I’ll miss tremendously when they go off the college.


Avocado Toast With Egg


Avocado Toast With Eggs


Serves 2

2 ripe avocados, at room temperature

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 slices multi-grain bread

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

2 teaspoons chia seeds

4 eggs


Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Peel and place the avocado in a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork or a masher. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil into a medium non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Working with two eggs at a time, crack each egg directly into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the bread to a light golden color.

Spread each bread slice with the avocado mash; as soon as the eggs are done, place them on the avocado toast (cut to separate the eggs). Garnish with parsley and chia seeds. Serve Immediately.

Cheese Empanada

Cheese Empanada



Or as we say it in Portuguese: Empadinha de Queijo. It’s really a single crusted mini quiche called empada. You can play with the cheese. Be my guest.  Molds from my grandmother, God bless her.


Makes 36 Empadinhas

 For the Dough:

3 1/3 cups (495g) all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons salt

2 ½ sticks (20 tablespoons/ 275g) unsalted butter, lightly chilled, and cubed

2 yolks

3-4 tablespoons cold water


For the Filling:

1 lb cottage cheese, drained overnight in a colander

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup (125ml) whole milk

½ cup (125ml) heavy cream)

1 whole egg

3 tablespoons (26g) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (28g) tightly packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of Cayenne pepper

Equipment:  36 one-ounce individual tartlet molds, about 2 inches in diameter


  • Make the dough: Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse about 20 times to finely mix in the butter. Add the yolks, and pulse again. Add the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Place the dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball, then shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This can be done up to two days ahead.)
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before working so that it becomes malleable. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about ¼ to ½ inch thick (not too thin), and use a round cutter slightly larger than the empadinhas mold. Cut them close together to get as many as possible. Carefully lift each circle and fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the mold, leaving some extra dough above the edges. If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry—patch the cracks with scraps using a wet finger to “glue” them in place. Chill the crusts while preparing the filling. You will have scraps of dough left over.
  • Prepare the Filling: In a bowl, season the cheese (weather you are using Minas, cottage, or Ricotta) with the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a blender, mix the milk, cream, egg, flour, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. (Liquid filling can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)
  • Assemble the Empadinhas: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator; spoon about one teaspoon of the cheese into each mold; carefully pour the filling into each mold leaving about ¼ inch edge. Depending on your empadinha molds, you might have just a little bit of dough left over. Bake the empadinhas until they are nicely golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating at least once. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Bolinho de Bacalhau

Bolinho de Bacalhau

This is the granddaddy of all bar foods served in Boutequins (a type of tapas restaurant) all over Brazil. An exquisite deep-fried morsel that usually comes in a basket with multiples, cod fritters or in Portuguese bolinho de bacalhau has many versions. What makes this recipe so delicious and different from other cod fritters, are the egg whites mixed into the batter, which provide the fritters with a delicate, airy texture.

When using salt cod, always allow a bit of planning since you need to soak the cod for at least 24 hours, preferably for 2 to 3 days, in cold water in the refrigerator, while changing the water at least 3 times per day. Then the cod is gently poached in milk and cut into tender shreds before being mixed with the mashed potatoes. The result is a tender and fluffy-potato mixture surrounded by a golden crunchy crust. Once the fritters are done, they re-heat quite nicely in the oven.

I often serve this as hors d’oeuvres with a side dip of Tartare sauce (a simple mix of mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, capers, cornichons, and parsley) or as a main course with a green salad on the side.

Makes about 25 fritters

1½ lbs salt cod (this will make 1 ½ cups of shredded cod)
3 cups milk
1 large Idaho potato (about 11 ounces)
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 cups vegetable or canola oil for deep frying and a deep fat thermometer

De-salt the cod:

1 – When buying the salt cod, try to find a piece that looks very meaty. Trim away all the dark parts around the belly and tail.

2 – Rinse the fish in cold water and place it inside a large container. The volume of water should be 10 to 15 times the size of the cod, so use a very big container (maybe a plastic bucket or a large pitcher). Fill it with about 2½ gallons cold water, and store it in the refrigerator to soak for 2 to 3 days (if you want to maximize space in your refrigerator, cover the container with a lid, however it is not necessary). Change the water at least 3 times per day and each time you change the water, rinse the container as well. It is very important to de-salt the cod properly, otherwise the dish will taste too salty.

3 – On the day you will be cooking the cod, remove it from the container and place it in a medium sized saucepan. Cover the fish with cold milk so that it cooks gently and does not suffer any shock of temperature. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook the cod, uncovered until it becomes opaque, about 5 to 7 minutes.

4 – Using a slotted spoon, remove the cod from the hot milk and discard the milk. Flake the meat with your hands into big chunks then shred the fish by either chopping it with a chef’s knife or passing it through a food processor on the pulse mode. The fish will have lost about half its weight after being desalted and cooked, so you should have about ½ lb (1 ½ cups) of shredded fish. Place the cod in a plastic container covered with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use (you can keep the cooked shredded cod for up to 6 hours before using).

Prepare the mashed potatoes:

1 – Peel the potato and cut it into similar-size pieces to ensure even cooking.

2 – Place the pieces in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover them with cold water; add a pinch of salt.

3 – Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fork- tender, about 8 to 10 minutes; drain them in a colander. While they are still hot, pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. Expect about 1 1/3 cup of mashed potatoes. You should assemble the cod fritters while the potatoes are still warm.

Assemble the fritters:

1 – In a large bowl, mix the shredded cod, mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, egg yolks, olive oil, and cayenne. If this batter gets too hard to mix by hand you can use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment at low speed. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

2 – In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Be advised that egg whites without sugar can be easily over beat and lumpy, so be careful.

3 – Carefully incorporate the egg whites into the cod/potato mixture by folding it in with a rubber spatula. At this point the batter should feel light, airy and a bit runny. You won’t be able to shape the fritters with your hands since the dough is so light (that’s what makes it so good) so you will need to spoon the batter directly into the hot oil.

Fry the fritters:

1 – Pour the vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or casserole and heat the oil to 350°F as measured with a deep fat thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, pour a drip of batter into the oil; if you hear a sizzling sound and see the batter turning golden brown, then the oil is ready.

2 – Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, drop each spoonful into the oil. Only add as many as will fit without touching each other- otherwise they won’t fry evenly. Turn them occasionally with a long slotted spoon, making sure both sides are browned evenly.

3 – When each fritter is lightly browned all over, remove it from the oil and place it onto a half sheet pan or another large, flat tray that’s been covered with a double thickness of paper towels to absorb extra oil. Pat off any excess oil. Continue working in batches until all the fritters are cooked; keep the finished batches in a warm oven until serving. Serve immediately with tartare sauce. These can be reheated in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo


A soft chewy bread roll, about the size of a golf ball, infused with cheesy flavor, Pão de Queijo is Brazil’s favorite savory snack and an excellent recipe to add to your regular repertoire. The manioc starch is what gives the cheese roll an incredible gooey and chewy texture, so try your best to find the Brazilian brand ( both the regular and the sour) for you really cannot substitute it for another type of starch or flour and achieve the same effect.

I recently met a Brazilian cook who grew up in Goiás, in the heart of Brazil, surrounded by manioc. She excels at cooking all kinds of sweets and snacks using yucca and its derivatives.

Eronária de Souza is the kind of woman who cooks from the heart, with barely any recipe to consult. When I showed her my batter for Pão de Queijo, she took a little in her hands, examined with her fingers and told me: – “Nao tem liga” meaning its not well binded or the dough is not well kneaded. She then told me to put the batter back in the mixer and knead the dough with the paddle attachment at low speed for at least 10 minutes. The extra kneading gave the manioc starch the chance to develop the optimal structure in the dough. It worked wonders!

I always buy manioc starch in big quantities, so that whenever I decide to make Pão de Queijo (and that is quite often), I don’t have to go hunting for it. You can prepare the recipe ahead of time and freeze the little balls unbaked for up to 3 months. Just pop one in the oven directly from the freezer and in 12 to 15 minutes you’ll have deliciously cheesy treats. But be advised that when the dough is baked right after it’s done, it’s when it puffs the most.

Makes around 30 balls

2 cups (200g) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1¼ cup sour manioc starch (povilho azedo)
¾ cup manioc starch (povilho doce )
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place the grated Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor.

2 – Add the eggs and yolks to the food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste, about 1 minute. Set aside.

3 – Place the two starches and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.

4 – Place the milk, water and oil in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.

5 – Immediately pour the milk mixture in one stroke into the starch mixture and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and the starch is all incorporated, about 2 minutes.

6 – Pause the machine and add the cheese and egg paste, scraping directly into the manioc starch mixture.

7 – Mix the dough at low speed until it turns a pale yellow, about 10 minutes. You are trying to develop the structure of the dough by kneading it slowly, as Ernaria de Souza taught me. The dough will feel a bit sticky.
Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

8 – Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

10 – Wet your hands with olive oil (alternatively, you can flour your hands with manioc starch) and use an ice scream scooper as a portion control to make 1- inch balls, rolling them with your hands. Place them on a sheet pan lined up with parchment paper or a silpat, leaving about 1 ½ to 2 inches between each roll (you can freeze them at this point by storing them in a zip-lock bag and freeze for up to 3 months).

11 – Bake the cheese rolls in the oven until they puff up and look lightly golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the pan once during baking time.

12 – Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a napkin. Serve immediately while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.

Hazelnut Cookies

Hazelnut Chocolate Sable

Hi friends,

I am completely swamped finishing my next cookbook, but don’t want to be absent this month or any month. So this January, I am going to share with you a delicious recipe for Hazelnut Chocolate Sable Cookies from “ Chocolates Desserts by Pierre Hermé”, written with Dorie Greenspan. I prepared these a few days ago, on a cold weather, when I was itching to bake, and they provided me with the perfect tender and crumbly shortbread I needed that day.

Hope you’ll enjoy the recipe!



Hazelnut Chocolate Sable 2

Hazelnut Chocolate Sable

Adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

Makes About 150 Cookies

For the Butter Dough:

1 ¼ stick (142g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup (75g) confectioner sugar, sifted

¼ cup (50g) finely ground almond power

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 ¾ (254g) all-purpose flour

For the Chocolate Dough:

2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 sticks + 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup (100g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Pinch salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (140g) hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned *

Equipment: Two baking sheets and two sheets of parchment paper

Prepare the Butter Dough:

  1. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla, and eggs and, still working on low speed, beat to blend the ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled, that’s all right. With the machine on low, add the flour in three or four additions and mix only until he mixture comes together to form a soft, moist, dough— a matter of seconds. Don’t over do it.
  2. Gather into a ball and divide it into two pieces. Gently press each disk into a disk and wrap in plastic. Allow the dough to trest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Prepare the Chocolate Dough:

  1. In a medium bowl sift flour and cocoa powder. Working in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and smooth. Add the sugar, followed by the salt and continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 3 minutes, or until the dough is light, pale, and creamy. Add 1 of the eggs and beat to incorporate. At this point the mixture should be light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, add the sifted dry ingredients, and mix just until they disappear into the dough—take care not to overwork the dough. Stir in the toasted hazelnuts.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a smooth surface (marble is ideal) and shape into a 6X7-inch (15 X 18-cm) rectangle that’s 1-inch (2.5cm) high. Chill while you work on the Butter dough.

Assemble the Cookie:

  1. Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon cold water and keep this egg wash nearby.
  2. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll each disk of dough into a rectangle that’s a scant ¼ inch (7mm) thick (the thickness is important here) and slightly larger than 6X7 (15X18cm). Put one piece of the rolled-out dough on the sheet of parchment paper and brush the surface with egg wash, the glue that will keep these multilayer cookies together. Center the chocolate dough on the butter dough then, using a sharp knife, cut away the excess butter dough. Brush the top of the chocolate dough with egg wash, and place the second sheet of butter dough over the cookie dough. Top this set up with the second piece of parchment paper, flip everything over, and remove the top sheet of parchment. Trim the excess butter dough so that it’s even with the other two layers. Slide the package (still sitting on the parchment paper) onto a baking sheet, cover it well, and chill for at least 4 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the package can be frozen for a month; defrost in the refrigerator before baking.)
  3. Set two racks apart and heat the oven to 325˚F. Have another parchment lined baking sheet at the ready.
  4. Using a sharp knife and working from one 7-inch (18cm) side of the dough package to the other, cut even strips of dough, then cut each strip into ¼-inch (7mm) wide cookies. Arrange the cookies on the two baking sheets, leaving a ½-inch( 1.5cm) or so of space between each cookie.
  5. Slide the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and the butter dough is lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom at the 10 minute mark. Gently transfer the cookies to rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookies, making sure to cool the baking sheet between batches.

* Lightly toast the hazelnuts on a 350˚F (180˚C) oven for about 10 minutes. While still hot, then rub a towel to scrape off the skins.

Pão de Queijo’s Cousin- Part One

Part One

Eronária de Souza is a happy woman. You can tell it by by the way she cooks, the food she makes, and the way people enjoy what she prepares. A Brazilian from Goiás, she lived in Danbury, Connecticut for 7 years until the day she – and thousands of other Brazilians for that matter – returned home in the end of 2010 (due to the down economy in the United States versus the booming economy in Brazil).

She came to the Unites States in 2003 to make a better life for herself, working as a cook in many Brazilian establishments in the Danbury area. We met at a party in 2009. She was preparing the food and I was in awe with everything she served. When I saw her passion for cooking, we instantly connected.

We bonded through cooking so deeply I wanted to honor her by featuring one of her recipes (Chicken Beef Roulade, page 99) in my cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen. The recipe I will share with you today didn’t make it into the book simply because we had already included a cheese cracker (Baked Cheese Crackers, page 25) and a yucca cookie (Yucca Sticks, page 34). My editor told me then that we just didn’t have space for another cheese snack. But that didn’t stop me from making this recipe time and again in my house for my family.

I ‘ll say it’s a cousin of the Pão de Queijo becaue they have many characteristics in common: the recipe calls for manioc starch and cheese as its structural ingredients; it is served as snack or hors d’oeuvres; and it’s just as addictive as Pão de Queijo. The difference, however, is that Pão the Queijo is more of a bread roll – chewy, steamy, almost succulent (ah, what a little milk, oil, and eggs can do!), while this recipe ressembles more of a cheese cracker. Yet, it is not your regular cheese cracker because of the manioc starch – which gives the cracker a melt in your mouth feel – and butter, increasing that razor flakyness, toasty flavor, and golden looks.The result is divine!

In her manner of doing it, the dough is scooped a little bigger than a tablespoon,

then it is streched into a 3-4 inch strip,

scored diagonally with the sides of a fork ,

and finaly, shaped into a crescent circle (croissant-like) that is pinched at the ends.

Once you get the hang of it, which you should be able to do it after a single try, play around a bit. You might want to change the shape, or even add spices. Some parika and nutmeg would be nice. Swapping parmesan for pecorino makes a difference. Or top with cheese, or egg wash, or whatever your favorite way of eating cheese crackers is. In any case, you can’t fail to make it personally yours, like Eronaria makes hers.

Stay tuned for the recipe on the next post!