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Colorful, flavorful, exciting Brazilian cooking is hot, hot, hot

Posted: July 8, 2014 - 12:29pm  |  Updated: July 9, 2014 - 9:29am

If you’ve been caught up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil since it began earlier last month, you are not alone. However, in addition to the electrifying games, we’ve also been hearing a lot about all the good food there is to be enjoyed in Brazil. If you are familiar with Brazilian dishes, such as Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), Feijoada (considered Brazil’s national dish, a one-dish meal comprised of black beans and meat), or Picadinho (a classic Brazilian stew), you already know how uniquely delicious and vibrant Brazilian dishes are. On the other hand, should you be exploring Brazilian cooking for the first time, you’ll be excited to know that learning more about Brazil’s diverse cuisine is a worthy, if not lip-smacking, pursuit. American-born author Sandra Cuza, who has lived in São Paulo since the 1990’s, makes it easy to recreate traditional Brazilian dishes at home by way of her highly praised “The Art of Brazilian Cooking,” a 256-page compilation of easy-to-prepare recipes for authentic regional and contemporary dishes of São Paulo, reflective of the region’s African, Portuguese and Indian cultures. As a teaching tool, the book sparkles, not only through its 60 full-color photographs (by Mauro Holanda), but also with many recipes that include the history behind the food used, a glossary of terms, sources for Brazilian food ingredients and products in the United States. Once you get hold of “The Art of Brazilian Cooking,” be sure to keep it close. The enthusiasm for all things Brazilian will remain hot, hot, hot, even after the World Cup concludes on Sunday, July 13 in Rio de Janeiro, as Rio will serve as host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Find “The Art of Brazilian Cooking” at stores selling books for cooks, from on-line sources, such as Amazon.com, or via the publisher’s website www.pelicanpub.com.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Salada de Lulas e Citricos Squid and Citrus Salad

(from the cover of "The Art of Brazilian Cooking," by Sandra Cuza

Grapefruit is not grown in Brazil, so this salad is considered exotic and chic. Choose small squid, cut them into thin rings, and they will cook very quickly and be quite tender. Use the tentacles as well.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¾ pound squid, cleaned and cut into rings

6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup rice vinegar

½ teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha, aka “rooster sauce,” or similar product), or to taste

5 tablespoons oil

Salt, to taste

1 large orange, peeled and sectioned

1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

12 mint leaves, chopped

8 cups assorted lettuce, including radicchio, torn into bit-size pieces

 

Heat the vegetable oil and quickly sauté the squid rings. Be careful not to overcook, or they will toughen. Cool and chill. For the vinaigrette, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Cool to room temperature, add the vinegar, chili sauce, oil and salt and beat to blend. Chill. In a bowl, combine the orange, grapefruit and mint leaves and chill. At serving time, toss the assorted lettuce leaves with some of the dressing and pile onto individual plates. Toss the citrus/mint mixture with more dressing, mound on top of the leaves, and then arrange the squid on top.

Serves 4.

Peixe com Banana e Geleia de Pimenta Fish with Banana and Hot Pepper Jelly

2 pounds sea bass or other mild, firm fish fillets, skin on

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon crushed herbs (thyme and marjoram, if possible)

1½ tablespoons butter, melted

3 bananas, sliced diagonally

2 tablespoons hot pepper jelly*

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

 

Rub fillets with olive oil, sprinkle with ginger on the side without skin, and marinate for 15 minutes. Combine flour and herbs, and dust fillets with mixture. Broil for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or sauté until done. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another frying pan and sauté the bananas until warm (about 3 to minutes), being careful not to mash them. In a separate pan, warm the pepper jelly. Arrange the fish on a platter and pour pepper jelly over the fish. Sprinkle the fish with toasted almonds and serve with bananas on one side. Serves 4.

*Kitchen Ade note: For the purposes of this recipe, I used Harry & David Red Jalapeño Jelly.

Caipirinha

Derivan Ferreira de Souza is one of the most respected bartenders in Brazil. Two-time president of the Brazilian Barmen’s Association, he represented the International Bartenders Association in Latin America for six years and has standardized the caipirinha, as follows.

1 medium lime, cut into small cubes without the core

2 tablespoons bar sugar*

1½ ounce cachaça*

Ice cubes or crushed ice

 

Place the lime pieces and sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and crush with a pestle. Add the cachaça and crushed ice or cubes and stir. Serves 1.

 

*Kitchen Ade note on ingredients:

 

• “Bar” sugar, also known as “castor” sugar, is “superfine” sugar that will quickly dissolve when added to beverages. You can make your own by whirling granulated sugar in a food processor, or blender. I found Domino Sugar Quick Dissolve Superfine Sugar, in a yellow 12-ounce container, in my local Walmart.

 

• Pronounced “kah/shah/sah,” cachaça is a distilled spirit made in Brazil from fermented sugarcane juice. Several brands are available for purchase in the United States in liquor stores.

 
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