Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo is legend in Brazil. The mere mention of them evokes images of a good smelling kitchen, or a grandmother rolling the dough and serving to their grandchildren. Pão de Queijo is addicting, and nobody can eat just one.

Watch Pão de Queijo Reel HERE! 

A golf-sized little roll that is chewy, cheese, steamy, and almost succulent, Pão de queijo is the result of yucca alchemy.

It’s the national snack. With a cafezinho (small coffee) on a side in the middle of the afternoon this is one of the most traditional habits.

But when it comes to making them, the sad truth is that many people, especially Brazilians, don’t. Why? Why are so many tropical souls intimidated by a little piece of cheese roll? The main reason is that Pão de Queijo is very easy to buy frozen. But so are chocolate chip cookies! That doesn’t stop millions of Americans to head into their kitchens with a good cookbook on a side and prepare batches and batches of the American classic while they still might have a bucket of Nestle Toll House dough in their fridge, which they use as well.

It also doesn’t stop magazines and cookbooks to continue publishing new versions of it repeatedly, stimulating the former action. So, let’s take it from the beginning and make it from scratch, shall we?

Pão de Queijo
Photos on this post by Rodolfo Sanches

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Makes 35

(Watch Pão de Queijo Reel HERE! )

 

3½ cups (630g) povilho azedo

1 cup (250ml) water

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

1 cup oil

3 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs

227 g Parmesan, finely grated

Freshly ground nutmeg

Few twists of freshly ground pepper

 

  1. Place the manioc starch in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.
  2. Place the water, milk, oil, and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the hot liquid mixture in one stroke into the starch and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and starch is all incorporated, about 2 minutes. Pause the machine and add the eggs. Continue to paddle at low speed until the dough develops structure and turns pale yellow about 5 minutes. The dough will feel sticky.
  3. Add the cheese and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Season to taste with nutmeg, cayenne, and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Wet your hands with olive oil (alternatively, you can flour your hands with manioc starch) and use an ice cream scooper to make 1-inch balls, rolling them with your hands. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1½ to 2 inches between each (you can freeze them at this point by storing them in a zip-lock bag for up to 3 months).
  8. 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.
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a nice cloth. Serve immediately while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.

 

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Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Caipirinha
Photo by Hollie Bertram

 

Refreshing, cool, sweet, and relaxing, Caipirinha is Brazil. And if Caipirinha is Brazil, then cachaça is our national shrine.

In the US, cachaça is also called Brazilian rum and the distillation process is quite similar indeed. The difference between them is that rum is distilled from molasses (which also comes from sugar cane) while cachaça is distilled from the fresh juices of sugar cane. Good cachaça has an intense aroma and flavor of fresh sugar cane. Essentially, caipirinha is a simple cocktail based on a mixture of mashed lime with sugar, ice and cachaça.

 

Caipirinha

Makes 1 drink

2 limes

1 tablespoon sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons cachaça (adjust amount to taste)

Ice cubes

  1. Cut the two ends of the lime and cut lime into medium chunk wedges.
  2. Using a muddler, mash the lime with sugar, making sure to squeeze all the juices and to dissolve the sugar in the juice.
  3. Transfer the lime mixture to a shaker. Add the cachaca and ice cubes. Shake well (about 8 to10 times) and pour into a large (but not tall) sturdy glass.

 

 

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Falafel Recipe

Twin Fritters: Falafel in Israel, Acarajé in Brazil

As a Jewish girl born and raised in Brazil, I can’t help but compare, cherish—and cook Falafel, one of the most iconic foods of Israel, to Acarajés, one of the most iconic foods of Brazil. They are first-degree cousins! Better yet, they are twins. Twin Fritters! Well, non-identical of course. One lives in Israel, one lives in Brazil.

Twin Fritters Falafel and Acaraje
A young Baiana frying Acarajés in there sweets of Bahia, Brazil.

 

Falafel is made with raw chickpeas; Acarajé is made with raw black-eyed beans.

They are both soaked in water for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator but never cooked. The beans will cook when they fry but not before then. In fact, if you cook the beans or use cooked canned beans—for both, the batter will simply melt away in the oil and you end up with a disaster. But don’t worry, once the beans are soaked and pureed in the food processor, they fry beautifully, and they hold quite well.

Twin Fritters

For both Falafel and Acarajé, the beans are pureed with raw onions.

In Brazil, we season the Acarajé with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a bit of paprika.

In Israel, we season the falafel with salt, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander—and fresh herbs, very important—giving that bright green color and fresh taste to the batter. Sesame seeds and garlic also go in the falafel mixture.

When seasoning, I encourage you to try lots of combinations and know that these little twin fitters can stand up to lots of hot seasoning.

In Israel, falafels are rolled and shaped into a walnut-size ball and stuffed in pita bread along with hummus, Israeli chopped salad, and Tzatziki sauce made with yogurt and/or sour cream and dill.

Acarajé looks like a big meatball and there is no bread around it. The acarajé is a vessel for the stuffing. When fried, the baianas split them in half with a serrated knife and ask what kind of filling you would like. The options are chopped salad, very similar to the Israeli chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, although in Brazil you’ll see bell-pepper as well;

Vatapá (a mixture of fish, shrimp, peanuts, cashews, bread, coconut, and palm oil)

Vatapa Twin Fritters
Vatapá

 

or Caruru (made with okra, dried shrimps, coconut, cashews, and peanuts).

Caruru
Caruru

 

Falafel is fried in canola or vegetable oil. Acarajé is fried in palm oil (iconic foods), yielding that reddish-orange vibrant color on the fritter.

Acarajes
Acarajés frying in palm oil.

 

You can find the recipe for Acarajé in my cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen (e-mail me if you’d like more info).

To the Twin Fritters, Lechaim (in Hebrew) and Saúde (in Portuguese)!

 

This recipe for Falafel is adapted from Adeena Sussman’s cookbook Sababa.

You might also like other recipes from Sababa’s cookbook and other Israeli dishes on my website.

Eggplant and Tomato Galette

Short Ribs with  Eggplant, Silan and Nigela Seeds 

Tahini Caramel Tart

 

Falafel

Makes about 24 falafel balls

 

Ingredients:

2/3 cups dried chickpeas

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

½ onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves

½ small jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying

 

Prepare the Chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a bowl, cover with 4 inches of water and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, place them in the bowl of a food processor, and process until they’re pulverized into large crumb-like pieces, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the parsley and cilantro to the processor with the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until a unified and bright green mixture is formed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 20 to 30 seconds (add an extra tablespoon of water if necessary).

In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds. Just before frying the falafel, add the spices to the food processor and pulse until incorporated, 10-15 pulses.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until it reads 350˚F on a candy thermometer, or a small piece of white bread begins to sizzle and brown immediately when dropped into the oil.  Set a colander over a bowl or line a plate with paper towels. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, shape the falafel into balls the size of small walnuts. Fry in batches, making sure not to over crowd the skillet or let the oil temperature drop below about 340˚F, until deep golden, 1-2 minutes but no more. Serve hot, seasoning with more salt if desired.

 

 

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Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

You can find more about my work on ChefLeticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb Soup

Chilled Rhubarb Soup

We often associate rhubarb with pie, tarts and crumbles recipes, but it was OMG at first sight when I saw this bunch at the farmer’s market and used it as an inspiration for this gleaming new recipe for Chilled Rhubarb Soup. Think Pink! Sweet and sour, it subtly glimmers for an occasion that blends easy elegance with a casual spirit.

Characterized by a unique tangy taste, each slurp of this soup celebrates your hand in the kitchen. The soup’s distinctive taste is created by slowly cooking rhubarb and some ginger in a sugary syrup. The result is one of the most gorgeous foods you’ll ever create. I’m not kidding! Look at the color of this soup! Rarely we see recipes as photogenic as this.

We are entering rhubarb peak season during the months of May, June and July.

Think Pink! Think Rhubarb!If any association with celery comes to mind, yes, look for crisp, refreshing stalks. You’ll see shades of green turning to shades of pink and it’s that passage of color in this unique vegetable that makes rhubarb so unique in taste and appearance.

When buying rhubarb, choose a bunch as you would celery. You’re looking for crispy stalks. I like to wrap the ends of the rhubarb in a wet paper towel and keep it well wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. It should last a good two weeks in the fridge.

This soup is so refreshing from the ground up! After many winter months, a new season feels like a miracle and rhubarb has the power to transform an entire menu, whether it’s creating a healthier neutral base or taking center stage as dessert. For a modern spin, garnish the soup with strawberries pistachios and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Every year I like to explore rhubarb in a variety of different recipes. You might like this recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Pie here on the site and boy, oh boy, oh boy, this recipe is dreamy!

 

Chilled Rhubarb Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Adapted from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming

Simple Syrup

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ cup water

6 ½ cup sliced, trimmed rhubarb (about 2½ pounds untrimmed)

1 ½ ounces fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into 12 quarter size slices

For Garnish:

Serve with some quartered strawberries or raspberries in the soup.

Chopped pistachios

Green Yogurt

Procedure:

In a large saucepan over medium high-heat combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer gently for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.

Add the sliced rhubarb and ginger to the pan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break down the rhubarb. Do not let the soup boil or the foam will turn bitter. Force the soup through a medium sieve discarding the solids. Pour the soup into a bowl and let it cool completely. Chill the coup until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. To serve, scoop a small mound of Greek yogurt in the middle and ladle each into chilled bowls or soup plates and garnish with strawberries and pistachios.

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

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You can find more about my work on ChefLeticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A cookbook.

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

 

Brigadeiros

How To Make Brigadeiros

What’s that? A truffle? A fudge? You want to know the recipe everyone is talking about, clicking, pinning, and drooling over the internet more than any other this week? BRIGADEIROS! Silky, chewy, fuggy, and chocolaty, brigadeiro, is an undiscovered candy from Brazil waiting to become your next vice.

I’m over the moon and beside myself to tell you some awesome news:

Thanks to Bon Appetit, now anyone who loves chocolate can make brigadeiros!

Just think about all the occasions we have for giving a gift; a bridal shower, housewarming, mother’s day, father’s day—this holiday season!

Tangible expressions of caring and love can be wrapped and given in so many ways. And now, you can add Brigadeiros to the list.

Because a handmade gift, especially a food gift like Brigadeiros, represents creative energy and time spent in the kitchen—like a homemade hug!

Find the article here.

Brigadeiros
Photos on this post are a credit to Bon Appetit. Photo by Laura Murray, Food Styling by Micah Morton

 

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Red Pepper Paste

Red Pepper Paste: My Secret Ingredient

Red Pepper Paste

I’m all fired up in the kitchen today! Got my #RedPepperPaste, got my energy, and I’m ready to work! It’s one my of secret ingredients in the kitchen. Something that I always have handy.

In Portuguese, it’s called Massa de Pimentão and there are many versions; some prepare with red bell peppers, some prepare with roasted bell peppers, but I love this version David Leite developed using two kids of paprika at his cookbook The New Portuguese Table. Throw at many recipes, use it as a condiment, a seasoning, and your cooking will improve a million points!

David Leite also wrote a beautiful memoir called Notes On a Banana, a candid, courageous and funny story about family, food, mental illness and sexual identity. I read it in about a week! Highly recommend!

 

Red Pepper Paste

Recipe adapted from The New Portuguese Table, from my dear friend and author David Leite.

Makes about 1 cup

 

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika

¼ cup dry red wine

8 to 10 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

7 sprigs fresh cilantro

5 sprigs fresh parsley

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

 

  • Dump both types of paprika, the wine, garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper, into a food processor or mini chop and pulse until the garlic and herbs are minced Scrape down any chunky bits from the sides of the bowl.
  • While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and continue whirring until the paste is slick and homogeneous, 1 to 2 minutes. Use the mixture immediately, or spoon into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. The paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

 

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,

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Follow my food adventures on social media!

Contact me!

And remember always,

Cook up!! Body Up! Health up! Wise up!

See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

A Pie from the Sky: Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

In praise of summer, this Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart is the dessert of now!

it’s a pie in the sky, adapted from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook Bake! (Kyle Books 2010)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Makes a 10-inch or 8 to 10 servings

The dough is enough for 2 tarts

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

¼ cup (52g) slivered almonds

¾ cup (108g) confection sugar

2 ½ cups (405g) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Almond Crumb Topping

1 ¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65g) organic sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confection sugar (more for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (or quartered if large)

 

  • Prepare the Dough:Combine the almonds and confection sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse well. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough form a a ball.
  • Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, or at least 1 minute. You can prepare the dough u to 5 days ahead.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature at least 20 minutes before handling. Flour the surface and dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  • Warp the dough on the rolling pin, lift it onto the tart pan, and unwrap. Fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess.
  • Plate the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes before blind baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake until the crust is dry and looking set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart to bake until the crust is evenly lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool the crust on a rack.
  • Prepare the Almond Crumb:In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds and butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes then use your fingers to break the mixture into ¼ – to – 1/2-inch crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until deep golden brown.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the confection sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the Tart:Spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, dust the top with confection sugar.
  • Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter and serve.

Piranha, Heavenly Super Fish

If a fish could speak Portuguese or English, I would tell piranhas how famous they are. Maybe the Piranha, heavenly super fish would change their behavior if they were aware of that. Ok, their reputation is mostly based on being the most ferocious and voracious fish of all, inspiring many movie titles and idiomatic expressions. Their face looks devilish! But really, if you’re looking for a fish authentically Brazil, you must know about Piranhas.

Slim and silvery, the piranha has a distinctive forward projected lower jaw and red colored belly, making it instantly recognizable. Their scales shine as bright as glitter and they swim mostly in a school of fish. Their teeth are as pointy and sharp as a knife and according to scientists; it can bite at a speed of 80 frictions per second, hence their ferocious reputation. Piranhas are relatively small fish and vary in size from 8 to 12 inches, and while a piranha can weight up to 3 pounds, it is mostly found in half this size.

Piranha is plump and smooth; it’s snowy flesh tasting faintly oily, somewhere between a lean whitefish and a dark, fatty one. They swim mostly in the rivers of the Amazon and Pantanal regions (located in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul) and are a regular part of the local diet. Catching them is quite easy: anything you throw in the water is the perfect bait to attract the whole school close by.

Despite their reputation, Piranha is hell of a delicious fish and one of Brazilian classic dishes – Caldo de Piranha is made with it.

In the next post I will tell you about a great restaurant specializing in Caldo de Piranha, a specialty from the Pantanal region.

 

If you’d like to know more about Piranhas, you can visit Build Your Own Aquarium

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

You can find more about my work on Chef Leticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube. And of course, tell your friends about it.

I’d love to connect with you on social media

Instagram @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz,

Twitter @ChefLeticia

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

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