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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.

 

So you wanna cook Brasilian Food?

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Ok, so I told myself when I started this blog I’d put down all the recipes I found and take pictures.  Lo an behold a year and a half later, even though I’ve made a ton of things from scratch, and some quite regularly (Stroganoff) I haven’t really been super great about doing this.  Well imagine my sheer joy when I found Kitchen Corners.  One because she’s all about cooking and lives in Bahia currently, and two because she had a recipe up for Passion Fruit/Maracuja/Lilikoi bars.  MMM mmm yumm~!

I can attest they are delicious. Especially because by the time I finished making the bars everyone in the house (but me) got sick , and no one but me felt like eating.  My poor husband can only look on sadly and wish he felt like eating these golden goodies.

Here is how my bars turned out (not as lovely looking as hers, but lovely still the same.

The crust is cripsy, caramel, crunchiness.  The fruit layer perfectly tart and creamy.  My oven sucks, so I ended up cooking the whole thing for 45 minutes instead of 35 like the recipe said, and still think the center was a bit soft.  I also only used a stick of butter (220 grams), which isn’t quite a half pound (like I was going to measure that out).  Seriously, I will NEVER make lemon bars again.  These are perfect.

But this post isn’t just about Maracuja Bars, this is about all of the other great Brasilian recipes she’s got up on her site.    They are good staple Brasilian dishes like pao de quiejo, coxinha, Brasilian lasagna, feijao, etc.  All in English, with photos, and using cups and oz and tsps.   Seriously, when I first moved here I made coxinha, and the only English recipe I could find wasn’t helpful or looked that Brasilian delish, and the Brasilian one while it looked yummier, was harder for me to follow (obvious reasons).  The recipe on her site is clear, and has photos of what each stage of the time consuming process looks like.

So go visit the site, and at the very least make your self some of these yummy bars.

Our Rio Trip– or lessons learned

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Last weekend we decided last minute to head to Rio.  Since we have kids, we thought we’d break up the drive and sleep in Paraty for the night.  We stayed at the Pousada Eclipse in Paraty, which is farthest from the town, and right off the freeway.  With free wi-fi, 2 beds, and a clean room for R$160 a night, I was fine with having to park in town.  So no photos of this VERY VERY beautiful city, as we basically drove in and thought we’d grab lunch… so I left the camera in the car.  Then we started to walk, as we didn’t realize that half the town is foot access/ cobble stone only. Of course this meant I had to stop and by Haviannas, as I was wearing heels, and you can’t walk these streets in anything but flats.

From Wikipedia– since I left the freaking camera in the car

Paraty is a MUST MUST MUST.  The streets are quaint, and all the restaurants looked great.  They have little cultural events all the time, as they need something to attract people.  When we were there it was a big dance showcase.  We didn’t go in, but in the jeito of Brasil, we passed off our squirmy 2 year old to the waiter (we ate at 7 so no one was in the restaurant), and he took him into the show across the street since he had access to it.  SOO wrong right? I would never do that in the US, but this is Brasil.  For R$30 we went on a buggy ride of the city, I recommend it, as you get a real quick look at all the shops etc, and then can decided where you want to go, versus walking the whole thing.  And you hear a bit of the history.  If we had actually planned to stay in Paraty, I would have loved to go on one of the many day trips on a boat, or taken a class at the cooking school they have there (classes in English too).  Paraty is known for the art/culture, and there were some unique shops and art galleries.  Alas, we were only “resting” here, and didn’t do much other than look and kick ourselves for not visiting sooner.

Sooo Rio… I have to say, it was nice to be somewhere warm instead of cold like Sao Paulo is right now.

taken prior to the “accident”

My initial observations on Rio, are the following:

  1. Architecture in Rio is older and more ornate, there are a lot more buildings and churches here to enjoy
  2. The graffiti style in Rio is different- first there is more art graffiti, second the tagging is more curvy than the spiky styles of Sao Paulo
  3. The beach fairs they have at night, probably have the best touristy chotchky crap I’ve seen yet, I actually wanted to buy a lot of it

So lessons learned on this trip:

  1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the camera battery before leaving the hotel room to Pao de Acucar– hubby pointed out each and every “photo moment” that I missed
  2. Check the weather at Corcovado before you go.  It seemed sunny until we got to the top
  3. Carry and extra shirt, and bring a second baby carrier- just in case you’re on top of a big mountain and your kid decides to kill both the Moby and your shirt.
  4. Set up a baby changing area on the counter in the bathroom, before you go to bed, so that when your kid poops at 4am, you don’t wake up the 2 year old too.
  5. Bring a point and shoot camera, not just your fancy Cannon, as your husband will expressly forbid it to be taken to just walk around Rio with. It’s the shark rule- it’s okay to swim in shark infested waters if everyone else is a target too (major tourist areas– not the beach)

We stayed at the Windsor Palace for R$360 for a King + twin.  It was a great deal for Rio, and the room and hotel was clean and 2 blocks from the beach.  They recommended a Churrascuria in Copacabana called the Palace for dinner.  I think it’s the first one I’ve gone to that I really really liked.  Again a list.

  1. The meat was delicious, AND varied, they had shrimp, squid, bbq pork ribs, and the best picanha I’ve had (better than Fogo de Chao)
  2. The appetizers on the table were good- garlic fried shrimp, onion rings, farofa
  3. There was a sushi bar, where you could order any roll you wanted or just slices of sashimi– and it was a welcome break from the usual meat fest
  4. The salad bar had a hot bar- paella, grilled salmon, pasta — again a nice change from just red meat
  5. For all of that the price was only R$70

The 2 year old was of course free, but he pounded down food like I’ve never seen him do before, he thought it was all delicious too.  He also polished off an entire cup of watermelon juice (which is just weird to type in English.  Suco de Melancia just seems right).

All in all, Rio was lovely, warm and I enjoyed our quick drop in, and right now as I snuggle my 2 month old to steal his body heat as Sao Paulo is cold as usual, I miss the sunny beaches.

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?

Catipury

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.

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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.

Fortaleza/Teresina & Vacation Food

So our last night in Fortaleza we hit up Aztec de Oro. It was really good Mexican food, so good that my son who has been spitting out almost everything lately (to be honest I feel like that lately too), ate up everything. The guacomole for R$10 came in a big plate, with a small plate of chips. So no slight dipping, you could scoop the goodness up.

The tacos are the fried crispy yellow corn tacos (American style), but were still good.  I do miss authentic Mexican tacos though.  We also got a Yucaton Taco, which was battered chicken served with onions and tons of purple cabbage, in a very delicious chewy flour tortilla.  You couldn’t eat it with your hands, it was more of a fork and knife dish.

We headed to Teresina on Saturday morning.  Teresina is in Piaui, one of, if not the poorest state in Brazil.  Our once 4 star hotel (Rio Poty) is rather pathetic, although the mini bar still charges 4 star prices… ironically.  I do have to say having 110V outlets however is nice, and the room comes with a blow dryer.  And I guess it’s kinda.

Anyway, I digress.  Because our son was exhausted we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. We made the mistake of a quick bite at Bebalu a burger place the other day…. I still throw up in my mouth thinking about it.  So we decided to try Subway. Subway is always fresh and yummy, and while I really hate the luncheon meat in Brazil, I thought we’d give it a shot. For the record, Subway in Brazil is definitely not the same.. except for the bread *yummmm* and the sauces.  Otherwise, the fresh veggies are very wilty and sad looking, the bell peppers are sliced very tiny, and are not very plentiful.  And the cheese, don’t get me started on the cheese.  You can see from the photo, it looks like the cheese you put in your 5 year olds lunch.

For dinner in Teresina we got together with some friends of my husbands.  Restaurants here are mostly outdoor it seemed, with large seating areas in front of the restaurants.. and these seemed to be nicer restaurants. We ate at Mallagueta, where you order meat dishes, and they come out churrascaria style.  Services was awful, like 3 hour dinner awful, but the food was delicious.  They served a bean dish, with bacon and farofa and green onions, that was sooo flavorful. And the Picanha was well perfectly grilled.

The next day we ate at Favorito, where they had cinnamon grilled pineapple… mmmm.

I also realized I need to buy a pair of the churrascaria tongs… my son was an “angel” relative to his normal self at the restaurant, simply because he had them.  He hate lots of meat with his dad. You can see they licked the plate clean.

Another interesting phenomenon here is the play areas.  All of the restaurants seem to have them, and they’re HUGE.  Usually the baba’s are there with the kids, so I think all the parents thought I was a baba.

The fact, that I love wearing my slippers (I really don’t care that the rich folks in Brazil don’t wear them everywhere, I’m from Hawaii and we wear slippers!), probably made everyone think I was a baba.

Even though we were right next to the indoor playroom, we also couldn’t just let the monkey go wild…as he figured out how to climb up the rock climbing walls all by himself. Overall Teresina is an interesting place. It’s city enough that I can see skyscrapers from our hotel, but country enough that horses were grazing a few blocks from us, and there are still several houses made from mud and sticks in the city.

Day 1: Praia de Iracema, Fortaleza

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I started the vacation at the airport… I unloaded the 1 year old off on my husband on the 3.5 hour flight up.  To be fair, I get the lil guy in a few weeks for a 14 hour flight back to the US, so I’m fulling enjoying this vacation… I need to store up.

See daddy is holding baby…not so baby anymore, more like wild bundle of energy that never stops wiggling, squirming, and pinching.

Fortaleza this time of year is a nice get away from Sao Paulo, as it’s warm here! I think it’s perfect, not too humid, not too hot, great ocean breeze (this is the windiest month of the year).  My husband found an apartment online and it’s a block off the beach, which is nice.  Not that I’ve really found the beach to be that stunningly clean that I want to have my son swim in the water.  This beach has great night shopping… ok fine, this one has lots of kitschy tourist crap to suck us tourists in with.  There are also rollerbladers galore due to the rentals all over the place.

Because all of the little stands on the beach selling tourist kitsch weren’t enough for us, we headed to the Mercado Central, which was four stories of shops, mostly selling the same stuff and yes I bought a few items.  As you can see, beach wear, kitsch, and a lot of hammocks and tablecloths.

I bought something in this photo

I wanted to buy a sun hat (R$50)… and we figured that was a bit steep.  I found one for R$15 at the beach, and was accosted at least twice by the wandering salesmen selling the hats for R$10… so keep that in mind prices vary wildly.

Down the beach a bit is the seafood market, and man did I want to eat some shrimp after looking at all of the amazingly fresh seafood.

My son wasn’t so sure, and the sales guys were even more wary that their lobsters were gonna pinch off the lil guy’s finger.

The snapper didn’t make me want to eat them however…. something about the teeth.

My husband said that you can buy the shrimp, and there are places right nearby that will cook it up.  The fish is that fresh.  And man, was I hungry for some seafood.  Hubby not being from Hawaii, is more of a meat and potatoes guy, so for lunch we hit up Geppos on the beach. Not cheap for Fortaleza standards, but good priced when you compare to Sao Paulo, and the food was great. R$35 for the garlic shrimp and the same for Filet Mignon.

They also had highchairs, not those little wooden chairs they try and pass off as acceptable for a squirming 1 year old, but real highchairs, that you can strap the little guy in with.  That alone made the restaurant 5 stars in my book.  The waiter thought we had a cute little girl, so he made a girl for him to play with, and by the time he finished painting on red lips, he realized the error in his assumption. Granted I do have a very beautiful son.

 

 

 

 

 

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