Beef Tamales

Beef Tamales

Cooking food inside plant leaves is a practice made in many cuisines. Grapes, banana, and corn leaves (or husks) make for a fascinating cooking technique and charming presentation. Watch a video of these Beef Tamales in the works.

There are many versions of tamales throughout Latin America, and they don’t need to be done with only corn—although corn tamales are the most popular tamal. They can be done with yucca, beans or other vegetables. In fact, in Brazil, one very famous tamal is the Abará, made from black-eyed peas (feijão fradinho in Portuguese), seasoned with dried shrimp, onions, ginger, and palm oil. In Brazil, we use the name Pamonha instead of tamales.

Oh, can we talk grammar for a second? One tamal. Two tamales.

Tamales can be filled with various fillings, from chicken, beef, turkey, or fish. Tamales can be an appetizer, side dish, or a full meal, depending on the recipe. I like to garnish tamales with sauce, queso blanco, cilantro, and avocados. What sauce? I save some of the cooking liquid from the braised beef and use that as the sauce for the recipe below. You can also make chimichurri or tomato salsa as alternative sauces. Use your imagination and feel free to garnish with sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

Many cultures prepare tamales with fresh corn, while in Mexico, it’s more common to use corn flour or masa harina, which can be easily found in grocery stores on the Latin Island.

Masa Harina
Masa Harina

 

Making these beef tamales is a labor-intensive project; you have to prepare the filling, the dough, assemble the tamales and then steam them. The advantage is, you can make them up to one week ahead of time or freeze them if they are well wrapped.

 

Steaming X Boiling

In Brazil, we boil the pamonhas or tamales. In Mexico, we steam. Personally, I find that no matter how well wrapped or tied up, when boiling them directly in water, it always finds a way to get in touch with the tamales. For that reason, I prefer steaming.

 

Fresh Husks X Dry

In Brazil, we use fresh corn husks. In Mexico and Latin markets all over the U.S, it’s easy to find dry husks. If you soak them for 10 minutes in hot water, they’re OK to use.

 

Encasing the Beef Tamales

Some cuisines call for multiple leaves, wrapping each tamal and tying them with a string. Others simply fold the husk tight enough that the dough will stay inside. It’s up to you how to wrap them. There is no right or wrong. At the end of the “assembling party,” if you run out of husks but still have dough and filling, you can always use aluminum foil for the last ones. True, they don’t have a charming presentation, but it can be done.

 

Dough Thickness

It’s important to make a dough thin enough to allow the filling to shine but not so thin that the tamal becomes too fragile. About ¼-inch should be good. When using masa harina, it’s crucial to have a good proportion of corn flour, plus lard and broth to moisten the dough.

 

 

Beef Tamales

Makes about 25 Tamales

 

For the Beef Filling:

2½ lbs beef stew, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 garlic cloves

2 onions, peeled and quartered

1 dry guajillo chiles, seeds and stems removed

1 dry ancho chile, seeds and stems removed

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

 

For the Tamales Dough

¾ cup (130g) lard (or vegetable shortening or coconut oil)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cold water

1 teaspoon baking powder

3½ cups (530g) masa harina (instant corn masa flour)

3½ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

 

To Assemble the Tamales:

25 dried corn husks, soaked in hot water

 

For Garnish:

Feta cheese

Avocado, cut into small cubes

Cilantro, chopped

Equipment: large pan and lid with steamer that fits inside

 

Prepare the Beef Filling: In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients except cayenne, chili powder and paprika. Add cold water, just enough to cover the entire food, cover the pan and bring to boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat, open the lid slightly to cover partially, and cook until the meat is very tender, between 1-2 hours, skimming off the foam occasionally.

Transfer the meat to a bowl and let it cool, then shred it with your fingers (I like to use kitchen gloves to do that). Discard the bay leaves and transfer the garlic, onion and chiles to a blender along with the cooking liquid. Blend until smooth. You will have a lot of sauce. Add just enough to make the beef nice and moist and save the rest of the sauce to serve with the tamales. Taste the meat and adjust the seasoning with the cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika, salt and pepper if needed. Save the meat and sauce separately. You can prepare them up to a week ahead before assembling the tamales. You can also freeze for one month.

Prepare the Dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment place the lard,

salt and water and beat for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add the baking powder and then alternate adding the harina flour and chicken broth alternating a little at a time. Continue beating until the dough is homogeneous and as fluffy as can get.

For the Corn Husks: Soak the dried corn husks in hot water for at least 10 minutes or until they are pliable. Drain them in a colander.

Assemble the Tamales: Lay out a corn husk with the pointy end towards you. Spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the dough into an oval shape, about ¼-inch thick, leaving a border of at least ½-inch on the sides. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the dough.

Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together (you will see how the masa starts to swaddle the filling) and fold the sides to one side, rolling them in the same direction around the tamal. Fold up the empty section of the husk, with the tapering end, from the bottom up. This will form a closed bottom and the top will be left open. Alternatively, you can also fold the top end and make a little package with the tamales. Some people like to wrap it in a string to secure the package.

Set a pan fitted with a steamer inside and fill with water. Line the steamer with one or two layers of soaked corn husks as protection. Assemble all the tamales and place them inside the steamer either with the open end on top or if you folded the top as well, lay them flat. You can pile them up. Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 30-45 minutes. You know the tamales are ready when they come easily free from the husks. Remove all the tamales from the steamer. Serve with hot sauce saved from the meat and garnish with feta cheese, avocado and cilantro.

 

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Beef Brodo

Beef Brodo

If you are reading this page, you are probably considering making beef brodo at home. Congratulations! Your cooking will never be the same! When I worked in restaurant kitchens, I used to prepare stocks and brodos that would simmer for 10 to 12 hours or overnight. In my home kitchen, it’s pretty hard to deal with this large number of bones, so I work with smaller batches and simmer for 1-2 hours. That’s enough to yield an incredible broth. I use it for everything, and it’s so good that it doesn’t last long.

Watch this quick video of Beef Brodo in the works.

Broth or Brodo? Brodo or Broth? What about stock? What’s the difference between them?

Good question. Brodo is more of a drinkable “tea,” and broth is the term used for cooking purposes. Broth and stock are two terms for the same thing. Brodo is seasoned; the broth is unseasoned for stews, sauces, soups, and many purposes.

Can you use brodo for cooking purposes instead of broth? Of course, you can; just be sure to taste the recipe as you cook and adjust the seasoning accordingly. You might need to go lightly on the seasoning if you use brodo.

What about consistency? Do they have the same texture?

It depends on who is making it. I like to give brodo a bit more body than broth, simply because the broth will probably be reduced in cooking recipes. In contrast, the brodo is the final product.

Brodo is considered one of the healthiest foods you can eat/drink. It helps your body function better, improves digestion, strengthens joints and helps the body absorb protein. Speaking of protein, brodo is loaded, about 10 grams per cup of beef brodo.

Brodo is a fantastic meal replacement. It is very satisfying and will give you a sensation of a full meal. I have documented my own brodo drinking experiences. Whenever I drink brodo for dinner, I notice that it fills me up. Maybe that’s just me. I’d love to hear your experiences when drinking brodo.

About the bones: You can start with raw bones and roast them. I like to make many short ribs stews during the wintertime, so if I have leftover bones, I’ll save them for brodo. That was the case when I made this video. You can see in the video that the bones are from short ribs and not raw beef bones. Can you use veal bones instead of beef? Absolutely! Use this same recipe and proceed to make veal brodo. This brodo will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months and it’s one of the easiest frozen dinners you can make.

One last note about Beef brodo, I’m not against recipes (obviously), but some things in the cooking world really don’t need them. Brodo (or broth or stock) is one of them. The recipe below is just a guidance, feel free to go with your instincts. Get in touch if you have any questions. Happy to help, always and forever!

 

Beef Brodo

Makes about 3 quarts

 

6 pounds beef bones

3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 onions, peeled and quartered

2 stalks celery

5 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked

3 to 4 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F. Place a large roasting pan in the oven. Place the beef bones in the roasting pan with the vegetables. Try not to overcrowd the pan so they have lots of space to brown evenly. Drizzle the olive oil and toss well. Roast until they are medium brown all over, about 30 minutes,
  2. Transfer the bones to a large stockpot (about 10 to 15 quarts) with the vegetables and cover them with about 4 to 6 quarts of cold water. The water should be 1 to 2 inches above the bone level. Cover the pan and cook over high heat just to bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to low, and cook at a very gentle simmer, skimming occasionally for fat and foam. Do not try to rush the process by raising the heat and boiling. You want very small bubbles at the most. The longer you cook your stock, the more viscosity and complexity it will have.
  3. When the bones have cooked for about 30 minutes hours, add the peppercorns and bay leaves. Continue to simmer the stock for another hour, skimming occasionally.
  4. After about 2 hours, the stock should be very gelatinous and medium to dark brown. Remove the big bones from the stockpot with a slotted spoon and strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer. This moment is gold! Discard the bones and vegetables.
  5. Place the brodo over an ice bath then chill in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours – chilled is the best way to judge the quality of the stock. The more gelatinous, the better. Carefully remove any fat that accumulates on the top and discard it. Divide the stock into several small plastic containers, label them, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

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Leticia

 

 

 

Sonhos Portuguese Doughnuts

Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts)

Over the years, I’ve tried a myriad of Christmas desserts, from chocolate cakes to tiramisu, puddings, and pies. One treat I haven’t tried in a long time is Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts), from my native Brazil. You find a little fried doughnut, or something similar in most international cuisine, like Beignets in France, Bomboloni in Italy, Berliner in Germany, Churros in Mexico, and Sufganiyot in Israel.

The frying aspect makes for a crispy and satisfying pastry, a small bite of joy. You prepare what is essentially pate-a-choux, then employ the Sonhos trademark: little doughnuts that are light and airy on the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside. See short video of these babies frying. These sonhos are a revelation when served with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, jam, or even plain, just coated in cinnamon sugar. The biggest challenge about making these? Not eating them as you do so.

Especially this time of the year, making Sonhos invokes a sense of nostalgia for a time when I used to eat them in Brazil at padarias (bakeries) where they’re sold. In fact, it’s hard to remember the last time I made Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts) from scratch. It was probably when I was still living in Brazil, exploring our baking repertoire.

The urge to make them hit me when a client asked me to teach them in a cooking class. She wanted to make them with her family with that in mind: bringing everybody together with fun kitchen projects over the holidays.

Days before printing the recipe, I went to the kitchen to test it out making them with water, with milk, with butter, sonhos without butter, with eggs, and fewer eggs. Man, I love my job.

Moments like these fill my heart with joy as I cook, bake, test, write, style, take photos and videos. Who knew that a whole progression of culinary production would unfold from those pastries? Yes, I take pictures, lots of them, as the art of photographing food and making videos gained a whole new meaning in today’s era of social media.

But the culmination of happiness happens when you cook with others and gather with family in the kitchen over Christmas, bonding over a meal prepared by many hands. This cooking class happened in person. The first since the start of the pandemic. We chopped, braised, assembled, fried, cooked, and cooked some more. Our class was a mix of beautiful recipes and family team collaboration.

Despite covid numbers rising, I’m so glad we did it. As I followed the news, I was afraid they would cancel the class. They were worried I was going to cancel as well. None of us did, which tells me that we all urge for this activity, and for togetherness.

The word Sonhos translates to dreams, the fuel for our souls. Welcome family, welcome memories, welcome friends, and welcome dreams! I don’t know what the future holds for us, for the world, or for the current Covid situation. Who knows what social media will be here 10 years now? All I can say is one thing I know for sure: I am a dreamer and, as long as I’m alive, I’ll keep on dreaming.

 

Sonhos Brazilian Recipe

 

Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts)

Makes about 20 doughnuts

 

Ingredients:

For the Batter:

1 cup water

1 stick (115g) unsalted butter

pinch salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs

 

For the Sugar Coating:

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup sugar

 

Canola Oil as needed for frying

 

Prepare the Batter: In a saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, and sugar, and bring to a boil.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the flour, all at once.

Return the saucepan to the stove and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for approximately 2 minutes over medium heat, to dry out the paste. (You dry it out by moving it from side to side, in the saucepot, with a wooden spoon.)

Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat at low speed, letting the steam escape.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is nice and smooth. Don’t overbeat it. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the Coating: In a shallow bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar.

Fry the Sonhos: Fill a medium saucepan with oil to a depth of about 3 inches (about 3 cups) and heat the oil to 350˚F. Using a small ice scream scoop or a small spoon, scoop a few balls and drop them into the hot oil. Work in batches and don’t crowd the pan. Adjust the heat and temperature of the oil as needed. Cook until the sonhos as nicely golden brown all over, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sonhos directly from the oil to the sugar coating, rolling each in sugar all over. You want to roll them in the sugar while hot so the sugar sticks. Repeat with all the dough. Let them cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve them with chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.

 

 

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Leticia

Chocolate cake recipe

Chocolate Sheet Birthday Cake

Let’s talk about Chocolate Sheet Birthday Cake. What do you do when a firm asks you to prepare a birthday cake in a one-hour virtual cooking class? We all know that any birthday cake takes way more than one hour to bake, right? When making a cake, it’s not just the baking part that you have to prepare; it’s baking, cooling, icing, filling, covering, and assembling. It takes a lot of time.

But this particular client celebrated 146 years in business and wanted to gather everyone in the office, spread across the globe, to bake a cake in their own kitchen virtually. And so, we did it, an easy Chocolate Sheet Birthday Cake.

We assembled a different kind of cake. Instead of going for a traditional round cake, we went for a sheet pan version. Imagine a chocolate cake flat as a brownie, sitting on a puddle of chocolate sauce with a mound of whipped cream on top.

chocolate cake recipe
Before the whipped cream comes in…

 

That was the more than approved recipe we all prepared and celebrated for the occasion. You can see a video of this recipe on my YouTube Channel— and don’t forget to subscribe today!

What’s different about this recipe is not only the shape and individual presentation, but the contrast of textures and complementing flavors from the chocolate cake, the chocolate sauce, which I use in every dessert in need of a sauce, and whipped cream, which you can use in a million different ways.

This cake is for anyone who appreciates the refined taste of dark chocolate, as it shines in the cake part with a dense fudge-like texture to it. The idea came from my own birthday celebration at Estela, one of my favorite New York City restaurants. As I played with the recipe, it evolved into something of my own—the very reason why I love tasting and exploring the food world out there.

It’s great to have this kind of recipe in your back pocket, especially during the colder winter months. There is something about chocolate cake in December that feels perfect. Not to mention that everything can be prepared ahead of time and just assembled before serving.

 

Modern Chocolate Sheet Birthday Cake

 

Chocolate Sheet Birthday Cake

Serves 12

 

For the Chocolate Sheet Cake

1 pound chocolate, semisweet (85%), chopped

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

½ pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

6 large eggs

 

For the Chocolate Sauce:

1 cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup sugar

10.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

 

For the Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons Confectioner’s sugar

 

Cocoa powder for dusting

Equipment: One 9 X 13-inch baking pan, greased, lined with parchment paper, and greased again.

 

Make the Chocolate Sheet Pan:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Place the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium pan, combine the sugar, water, and butter and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir to melt.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs by hand until light and fluffy. Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk again until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 27 minutes, rotating once during baking time. Remove the cake from the oven and let the cake cool at room temperature. You can bake the cake and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When ready to serve, transfer the cake with the parchment paper to a cutting board. Use a hot knife to make clean cuts and cut 12 equal pieces, cleaning the blade after each cut.

Make the Chocolate Sauce:

Pour the milk, heavy cream, butter, and sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture boils, add the chocolate and whisk well to melt the chocolate. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and whisk constantly until the consistency of the sauce becomes dense and fudgy about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl without scraping the bottom of the pan.

You can prepare the sauce up to 5 days ahead of time and reheat gently in the microwave when ready to use.

 Make the Whipped Cream:

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer or a balloon whisker, beat the cream and sugar together just until the cream starts to thicken. Be careful not to overbeat it, or the cream turns into “butter.”

Assemble the Cake:

Place a spoon fool of the chocolate sauce on each plate and spread in a circle with the back of a spoon. Place a piece of cake on top of the sauce and cover with a generous amount of whipped cream. Dust with cocoa powder and serve at room temperature.

 

 

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Leticia

Brazilian Quentao Recipe

Brazilian Quentão Recipe

I wasn’t exactly in a cozy room when I tried the Brazilian Quentão Recipe, a spiced tea made with chachaça, but I quickly immersed myself in the excitement of this rich drink while sitting in a snack bar in Teresópolis, a mountain town about one-hour away from Rio de Janeiro.

Teresópolis allows us, Cariocas (people born in Rio), a fake-winter excuse to wear warm sweatshirts and boots, while sitting by the fireplace with a coffee cup, as the local weather is at least some 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Rio itself.

 

Teresopolis
Photo by Ricardo De Mattos

 

In Portuguese the word quente means hot and the superlative quentão means super-hot. By tradition, the tea is prepared with flavorful spices such as cinnamon stick, lemongrass, ginger, cloves, star anis, and some sugar, and finished with cachaça.

Brazilian Quentao Ingredients
Sugar, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, lime, star anise and cloves.

 

Quentão is known to Cariocas as the typical drink from Minas Gerais. I was happy to try it from the hands of an expert, Mr. Ernani Antonio de Oliveira, who learned to make quentão in Minas and has been offering it for years at his restaurant Caldo da Piranha in Teresópolis.

Caldo da Piranha
Mr. Ernani Antonio de Oliveira

 

“Quentão combina com o clima de Teresópolis”(Quentão goes with the climate of Teresópolis), said Mr. Oliveria.

The appeal for Quentão in cold weather may just be simple thermodynamics: weather a bubbling stew or a hot tea, it generates heat, never a bad thing in winter. Or perhaps, its power lies in its own recipe. If Quentão promotes cozy feelings in the mild winters of Teresopolis, imagine what fantasies it would promote during a snowstorm in the American north-east? Its warmth, balanced by a lingering peppery sweetness surely promises happy endings­­ – or at least, to ease the winter blues. This recipe is inspired by Mr. Ernani Antonio de Oliveira.

 

Brazilian Quentão Recipe

Serves 8

 

1 L (4 cups) water

1 large piece of fresh ginger (about ¼ lb), peeled and roughly chopped

2 limes cut into 4 pieces

3 to 4 cinnamon sticks

1 lemongrass, roughly chopped

6 cloves

3 star-anise

1 cup sugar

I bottle (750 ml, or about 3 cups) cachaça

 

Place all the ingredients except the cachaça in a large sauce-pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil turn off the heat and cover the pan with a tight lid. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Add the cachaça, mix well, and strain the liquid. Serve hot. Keep the left over in a plastic container in the fridge and re-heat before serving.

 

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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

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Facebook 

Linked In

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Leticia

 

Kale Risotto

Kale Risotto

I recently realized that I love green foods. And I don’t mean plants, lettuce, broccoli, and peas (although I love them too). What I mean by green foods is any edible item that is the color green – I feel somewhat attracted to it, like this Kale Risotto. Not only because it comes with a “healthy” idea attached to it. I’m talking about the visual of the color green; in food, it translates really well. It makes the food look alive, fresh, and energetic. – the opposite of gray. It’s been a while now that gray is one of the hottest colors in home décor and interior design. I remodeled my own kitchen to make it white and gray (or gray and white). Bring gray to food. Huh??? No, let’s not do that. Gray, in the world of food, is one of the most unattractive colors. It doesn’t look good, or appetizing, or fresh!

Following that remark, I started to follow green and preparations of green food. I came across a Kale sauce recently, in which I mixed it into mashed potatoes, pasta, and then I thought, why not mix a kale sauce into risotto? Many times, I made a pesto risotto, and that too is delicious. The concept in this Kale Risotto is not that different. The taste, on the other hand, being that this kale sauce is very concentrated, mimics the essence of kale, while a pesto sauce calls for many different ingredients. Even a pesto made with basil doesn’t taste just like basil. It tastes like pesto, in which basil is one of the main ingredients. Here, the kale plays the main character, not the supporting role. The kale sauce can be done a good five days ahead of time or it can be frozen. Every time I prepare a batch of kale sauce, I double or triple the recipe and freeze part of it since it tastes so good and freezes so well. The rest of the recipe is plain risotto – classic and traditional. Garnish with some fresh parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and you have yourself a sexy green dinner!

 

Kale Risotto

Serves 4

 

For the Kale Sauce:

Kosher Salt, to taste

¼ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 bunch (about 1 lb) lucinato kale, thick ribs removed

 

For the Risotto:

4 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

1 cup (236g) Arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

  • Prepare the Kale Sauce: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil with garlic, and cook it just starts to turn golden. When it does, remove it from the heat.
  • Plunge the kale leaves into boiling water at once and cook until it’s just tender,

2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove kale from the water, letting most of the water drip onto a bowl, and place them directly into the bowl of a food processor.

  • Beat the kale, and with the machine running, add the olive oil with garlic in a steady stream. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Scrape into a bowl and keep in the fridge until needed. You can also freeze this kale essence for up to 2 months.
  • Prepare the Risotto: In a medium saucepan bring the stock to a simmer.
  • In another large, heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Add the rice and stir frequently, until the grains are warm, shiny, and coated with the onion mixture, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil until the liquid is almost absorbed about 2 minutes.
  • Slowly add one ladle of simmering stock and allow the rice to cook, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add another ladle and repeat the process. Continue adding ladles of stock only when the previous addition has been completely absorbed. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 18 to 20 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Fold the kale sauce into the rice. Don’t let the risotto get too thick; if the rice seems to have absorbed all of the liquid, add another tablespoon or so of stock to achieve the right creamy consistency. Taste the dish, check for flavor and doneness. Finish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and serve immediately.

 

If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy Kale Chips on this site.

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Apple Rum Cake

Apple Rum Cake

Hello Pleasure seekers! Apples are blowing my mind this time of the year and since this is what I consider excitement these days, in strange times between Delta variants (yikes!), new anti-viral pills (hurray!), travel laws lifting to allow vaccinated people into the United States and wearing a mask all around. Well, if you’d like to get some excitement from fall apples, and bake a delectable Apple Rum Cake, you’re at the right place!

Apples

At the heart of baking season, pastries, pies, and cakes remain the finest resource for classic baking. There are tons of apple cake recipes out there and I have covered a delicious recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table on the site, you can find it here.

This new recipe for Apple Rum Cake finds its inspiration in the sophisticated taste of almond paste, adding a nutty and creamy texture that is unbeatable. Here, the apples are not mixed within the batter, but instead afloat of the cake, creating a two-layer between the cake and the apples. The result is a delicious contrast of flavors and textures, sweet, rich, and comforting.

Apple Rum Cake

I baked this cake for a dinner party and brought caramel ice cream to serve on the side. As far as I can recall, no one at the table clapped but had they, it would have been for the lovely presentation and the taste. It was all so delicious, a grown-up dessert intended to bring back the sweetness of childhood.

 

Apple Rum Cake

Makes one cake, serves 8 to 10 people

 

For the Apples:

4 large apples (honey crisp, golden delicious, fuji, or a combination of them)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons rum

Cake Batter:

3 oz (80g) almond paste

½ cup (80g) sugar

5 tablespoons (80g) unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cups (150ml) whole milk

For the Topping:

5 tablespoons butter (80g)

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Equipment: one 9-inch springform pan, greased, lined with parchment paper, and dusted with flour.

 

Prepare the Apples: Peel the apples and cut them into thick slices, then, into medium size dice. Drizzle them with the lemon juice, tossing them well so they don’t turn brown. Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the apple cubes for 6 minutes, until golden, stirring carefully from time to time. Pour the rum and carefully flambe the contents of the skillet. Let the flame evaporate and pour the apples and juices into a plate. Cool to room temperature.

Prepare the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and center a rack in the middle.

Cut the almond paste into small cubes into the bowl of a food processor. Add the sugar and butter and beat well until nice and creamy.

Transfer to a bowl.

Add the eggs to the almond butter mixture and mix well with a rubber spatula until creamy.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients and the milk to the almond mixture, starting and ending with the milk, in 2 to 3 separate additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it evenly.

Arrange the apples on top without pushing them down.

Prepare the Topping:

While the cake is baking, prepare the topping: melt butter, sugar, and cinnamon together in a pan until sugar is completely dissolved, whisking well to combine. After 20 minutes of the cake baking, remove the cake from the oven, spoon and drizzle the warm topping all over the apples and the entire cake surface. Return cake to the oven and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean and apples look caramelized (35 to 40 minutes total baking time). Transfer to a cooling rack and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform. Allow the cake the cool until it’s just slightly warm or room temperature.

Apple Rum Cake

 

You might also like to try this recipe for French Apple Tart here.

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

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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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Leticia

 

Pitbull

Hispanic Health Campaign

Exciting news! I’m so proud to be part of the Media Planet Hispanic Health Campaign!

Hispanics have long lacked access to quality healthcare in this country, and as a result suffer disproportionately from health complications like diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and more. This campaign advocates for improving that access to care, and empowering the Hispanic community to take charge of their health and well-being. Learn more by picking up a copy of the campaign in the LA Times or by reading the digital version online here.

Yesssss!!! It’s him, the amazing, the talented, the worldwide popstar artist, the one and only Pitpbull!

I’m so honored and thrilled to be part of this project with him and can’t stop spinning to his songs!

Leticia Spinning to Pitbull

 

Did you hear me say spinning? Oh yes, and you can read abut it too, on this article, part of our campaign, about how I discovered joy in exercising.

 

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

Please send an e-mail.

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

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

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.

 

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 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.

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Leticia

 

 

Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade

 

 

Magic hours: Welcome brighter days with this Basil Lemonade in your kitchen!

I concocted this green juice and have been drinking first thing in the morning on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before breakfast. Give it a try. It works magic. Let me know, and if you can share a photo, I’d love to see it. Because together is much better.

 

Makes 1

1 lemon

1 lime

½ cup fresh picked basil leaves

1 tablespoon honey

Blend everything together until bright green and completely smooth. Strain over a fine sieve, pour over ice and serve.

 

 

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 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

Facebook

See you next time,

Leticia

 

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