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Category Archives: Cooking in Brazil

Funny fruit

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My brother in Texas shared this with me.  He speaks Portuguese, which is why I assume he ran across something this cute.



Catupiry – Cheddar flavored!!

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I find it ironic that the other day I published a post about the joy of Catupiry and how it’s my “Brasilian cheddar” (which I misspelled, as I tend to type these posts stream of thought as fast as possible, before work or kiddo- so don’t judge me).  Anyway, point being, I went to the grocery store the other day and they had the flavored Catupriy, which I’ve been buying lately.  But this time, it wasn’t just sun-dried tomato (which both me and my son love btw)…. it WAS Cheddar. Catupiry brand has come out with four new flavors and one of them (which thankfully my store now carries at R$4.59) is cheddar.

I’m thinking of making a nice white sauce base, and then adding this in as the cheese and making my son mac-n-cheese today… we’ll see how it works, but I would think it would have that velveeta-y mac-n-cheesiness to it….maybe.

Catipury cheese – so what if I don’t have cheddar

I’ve learned to love it.  It’s a savory cream cheese they sell here.  Requeijão cremoso is what its generic name is, and like cheddar cheese in America there is a noted difference with different brands.  Catipury is like Xerox, the gold standard when it comes to requeijão .  The flavor is wonderful, and unique, and I’ll miss it.  It’s like cream cheese, but with more flavor like Edam (those little babybel cheeses I loved as a kid).  Either way it is yummy and creamy, and they don’t have it all over the place in the US, unless you haul up to a Brazilian grocery store.  Let’s be honest, the only ethnic stores I will take the time to visit are Asian ones, sorry Brazil.

So anyway, the point is you can TRY and knock it off at home.  Why not right? This isn’t too difficult of a recipe, and as I live in Brazil, I have not tried it yet, since heck I get the good stuff.  But if you are not in Brazil (and for me once I return to the US), here’s a recipe from TudoGostoso… meaning everything yummy.  So how can it be wrong?


8 tablespoons corn starch
1 liter of milk (about 4 1/4 cups)
200 g butter (just a smidge less than a cup)
2 cups grated mozzarella
2 cups grated cheese curd (good luck on that, I’ve seen it but I know not too common)
1 can cream (about a cup)
Thicken the cornstarch, milk and butter in a pan.  Once custard like, add the cream, mozzeralla and grated cheese curd together, with the cornstarch mixture.  Beat everything together in a mixure

Refrigerate for 6 hours, then serve.

Yum Sugar had this recipe, which is easier if you don’t want to deal with the above.


2 packages (9 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 lb. Munster cheese


Over very low heat, melt the two cheeses together until they are completely blended. Remove the mixture from the heat, place it in a container and let it cool. Then put it in the refrigerator for a few hours and after it has been chilled, it can be used in any recipe calling for Catupiry.

Buying expat stuff in Brasil

I’m not dead (well I’m sick and super tired, but not dead).  I’m just in the US, and have been for like a month now, letting our monkey visit the grandparents and great grand parents (and well doing a lot of flying for work).

And after a month, I realize while it’s nice to see the family I miss Brasil.  It’s grown on me.  I miss being able to walk to the stores, and buying fresh veggies and bread.  I miss the “Brasil” of it.  Of course while in Brasil, all I could dream about was all of the things from the US I missed.

It’s funny, I never bought sparkling pomegranate juice in the US, but now that I can’t find it for $3.50 in every store, I want it! I rarely ate cheddar, because I’m a havarti, muenster, jack fan, but now I want it, and I want to eat mac n’ cheese!  I also want havarti, muenster and jack, but they don’t have that in Brasil.  It reminds you of home, when the flavor hits your tongue you remember more than just food, you remember the place.  Cherry Caprisun reminds me of sitting on the edge of a hotel bed in Germany as a 7 year old… not that I like it, or drink it EVER, but every now and again I want to be taken back to Germany. Kind of like feijoada for my husband.  Even though my nanny swears she loves my black beans, my husband complains because it’s too American, not feijoada!  And now that I’m in the US, I want my morning Pão, and cooking everything with loads of garlic.  I miss food and baked goods made from scratch not a mix (gasp! I know, but I’ve really gained an appreciation for REAL cooking).

With that being said, here’s my list of the foods expats (American) miss the most:

Cheddar cheese: I’ve seen it at Pao de Acucar in Brooklin Paulista, and bought it (R$88 a kilo!) because I wanted mac n; cheese. I have also found it at the CEAGSP cheese stands.  Neither consistently.

Chocolate chips: They do have them here. Chocorob in Brooklin has it for R$5 for 250 grams.  It’s a bit waxy and not creamy like the good stuff in the US.  But I just buy the bars of Garoto chocolate they sell and chop it up, white, dark, semi-sweet, milk, it’s all really good.  If you get Crocante, you get the nice little toffee with the chocolate, and it’s better than a Hershey bar any day.

Corn syrup: My Pao de Acucar doesn’t have it, but my friend in Morumbi says Karo is in the same section as the honey.  I buy it for a tiny jar at Chocorob because I don’t cook with it that often ever.

Agave Syrup: They sell it and it’s expensive as is Maple Syrup.  I bring both of this in from the US, as a bottle usually lasts me about a year, so Merry Christmas to me… and I do buy the BIG bottles 🙂

Mexican Spices: I’ve found them, although they’re not cheap.  Same thing with Lemon Pepper.  It’s just a matter of learning what they call things. Like Nutmeg, it doesn’t come ground, but I’ve learned to love the freshness of grating my own nutmeg!

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake: R$65 at Sam’s Club. I’d rather just make Cheesecake from scratch, and never really ate it anyways.

They do sell small avocados here, and they’re not sweet, they’re perfect for making guacamole.  The big ones are too sweet for my liking. It did piss me off to find Avocados for .44 at Walmart here…. in the snow… when they’re like R$5 a kilo back in the tropics of Brasil.

Everything else you want, you’ve got to make yourself.  Brasil isn’t like the US where you can buy everything pre-made. If you want black beans, you cook it from scratch. You want diced tomatoes with spices, you can buy a can of whole tomatoes (though most boil the tomatoes themselves) dice it and add your spices. That goes for rotel tomatoes. You want them, then boil the diced tomatoes, chop up some hot peppers, and add a bit of salt, boil, and you’ve got something pretty close. There are not huge sections of canned veggies and fruit, or ready made dinners.  Which is good as canned food is bad for you anyway right?

Tortillas are pretty much Wrap 10s, and they’re not that great if you like REAL tortillas… and if you do, well learn to make them yourself.. and give up on corn tortillas all together.

You want chicken broth, substitute their bouillon cubes, or boil yourself a chicken! I usually buy Swanson flavor packets, as they’ve got a great brothy flavor, but are just packets so easy to bring a bunch in the suitcase.  I’m too lazy to boil a whole chicken to get that yummy broth.

Things I have yet to find:

Clorox Wipes: I’ve seen a “how to make your own” online, but they don’t have the same super sturdy paper towels here.

Cheap Toys: Well you can buy them in Centro, but they’re “cheap” as well; you know ala China. Cool toys are more expensive here. So I’m loading up during the holidays for future birthdays.

Bath and Body Works: If you’re into room sprays, I would bring them over from Bath & Body Works, as they are super cheap during their sales. And all the smelly stuff is either lavender or something else yucky, or super expensive fancy stuff.  Like hand soap, if you want nice you go to L’Octainne (which I like) but would rather put out some froofy B&BW pump soap.

Receita: Coca Cola Bolo

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So this is a Southern Recipe, pinned on my pinterest feed that I just had to try. Photos via the link.  All I have are the AFTER photos.

I’m surprised this cake isn’t already here in Brazil, considering they lovey gooey cakes, and they love chocolate, and they love Coca Cola.  You would think it would already be here right? But no it’s not. Our baba thinks I’m the coolest American around right now, because well it’s chocolate and Coca Cola cake, but I also let her take down some for the other baba’s … they all thought she snuck it out of the house and were worried for here. HAHA they all think she’s like the worst baba around it’s hilarious (all my fault of course).  She wants to know if I’m just super cool or if all Americans are as laid back as I am.  There’s not a whole lot of interaction between the maids/babas here and the ladies of the homes in a personal way.  See because I’m pretty much useless in Portuguese I spend most of my day talking to the people at the grocery store, or the feira, or the babas because A. I’m home all day and it’s not like their mom’s ever descend to play with the kids B. I think I probably sound like an uneducated dolt and C. Unlike most Brazilian women, I’m from Hawaii and tend to take a pretty laid back attitude toward how I get ready most days… so people probably think I’m the hired help as it is.. I live in Havaianas.

Preheat oven to 350 F (~180 C), and grease a a 9×13 (or so) pan.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder (fermento em pó)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (canela em pó)

In a saucepan over medium high heat stir this up good until it boils:

More Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (a little over 200 g, I’m too lazy to get it exact as the sticks here are 200g)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coca-cola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp vinegar with a half cup a milk let sit for 5 minutes)

Now take off heat and add that to the flour mix & whisk until combined.

Then add:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (brought back from my last trip to the US, I won’t use the fake stuff here)

Mix it some more, and pour into the pan.

Bake it for about 30 minutes.

When cake is nearly done make the glaze by mixing in saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup butter (just over 100 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coca cola
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Add butter, cocoa, and coca cola. Once the butter is melted, everything is mixed, and it begins to boil, remove and slowly stir in confectioners’ sugar until nice and smooth.

Once cake is done and out of oven (toothpick should come out clean, even if top still looks glassy), pour this warm glaze right over the top of the hot cake!

Gimme some Mexican Food!!

So we love Mexican food.  After living in LA for 5 years, not only am I now an avid lover of Korean food, I also love myself some Mexican food. mmmmm..  I think when people think of Brasil, they think of South America and then they think everyone in South America eats what most American’s think of Mexican food.  Listed on the items I brought back from my most recent trip to the US were various packets of enchilada and taco seasonings.  Because, the sad news is Brasil is more European in food than the rest of South America.

I find I’m buying these really pathetic “wraps” at Pao de Acucar.  It’s the only tortillas I’ve found here, and the flavor isn’t that great.  I usually cut them into chips and fry them. (Making tortillas from scratch, just to fry it is pointless. In fact, sometimes I just by the pastel dough and fry that for chips).

Anyway, I really wanted to start making tortillas.  I’ve got two recipes that I use, depending on preferences.  For the flour tortillas that you think of when eating fajitas, light and fluffy. I use this recipe.

Texas Flour Tortillas (adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)

  • Two cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cups of warm milk
  • Method:

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Slowly add the warm milk. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes. After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.) After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook. In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.

Makes eight tortillas.

However, I’m also a huge lover of Cafe Rio. If you’ve ever driven through St. George, Utah you’ll know what Cafe Rio is. It’s gggreeeat.  I have a knock off recipe that I’m quite fond of, on a recent visit to the site I found they had added the tortilla recipe to go with the ranch dressing and pulled pork. As this is my all time favorite Cafe Rio recipe, I knew the tortillas would be spot on. mmm buttery, chewy tortillas. This one includes shortening, so it gives it that chewy flavor. CLICK the link, there are too many recipes to post on this ridiculously long post as it is. I make the tortillas in my wok so I can make them big enough.

Couple of notes.  I haven’t found enchilada sauce in Sao Paulo, other than at the Mercado Municipal. So,  normally I make my own enchilada sauce (soo happy to have purchased some in the US!!).  I kind of just mashed up a bunch of recipes:

Enchilada Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 -3 teaspoons cocoa powder (depends on your preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

Directions: Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste. Pour into pan and add rest of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in tomato sauce.  If you don’t like the bitterness of normal sauce, you can also throw in a bouillon cube.

Also the ranch dressing calls for tomatillos.  You can substitute green tomatoes, although it’s still not perfect. But I have yet to find tomatillos here, just their cousins the ripe, sweet physalis.

For sour cream (because that too doesn’t exist here) I usually just mix some lime juice in with my creme de leite.  It works.




Guava Lime Bars

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked super yummy. Addicted to that by the way. Back to the point.

I’m in Brasil, and while my grocery store does carry lemons, I buy limes as they are cheaper.  I also didn’t have strawberries on hand, even though they’ve finally in season and so cheap enough to buy. I only had a packet of frozen guava…and yes I said package. You don’t buy your juice in little tin concentrate cans. You buy it in little plastic baggies, and then mix it with water and server.  Normally you don’t add sugar, as there is a a little thing of sugar or liquid fake sugar at the table for people to mix it themselves.

So here is my Brasil twist on lemon bars.

Guava Lime Bars
Adapted from Baking Bites

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 Tahiti limes)
2-3 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup pureed guava (1 large frozen bag)
1 1/4 cups sugar (If you like your bars sweeter, I’d up the amount as these are tart!)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Begin by making the crust.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.  In a blender, combine lime juice, lime zest, guava puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 26-30 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard – nothing to worry about).  Then gently dust with powdered sugar.