Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coxinha: the beloved queen of Brazilian salgadinhos

Brazilian salgados or salgadinhos - savory little snacks you can eat at any time of the day you are not hungry enough for a complete meal - comprise dozens of categories, such as empada (also called empadinha), risoles, pastel, quibe, esfiha, croquete, bolinha de queijo, enrolado, folhado, pão de batata, and their several variations (i.e., most of them can be prepared with different fillings). But coxinhas are among the favorite ones. They can be found in nearly all lanchonetes and padarias in Brazil and were very popular at birthday parties some time ago.  

The name coxinha derives from the snack’s peculiar drop shape, mocking a chicken drumstick (which, in Portuguese, is curiously called “coxa” [= thigh] only when referring to chickens; the chicken thigh is called sobrecoxa...). The golden, crispy exterior of this salgadinho surrounds a layer of soft dough filled with lightly seasoned, moist shredded chicken. Some people love to eat them dotting each bite with some good hot red pepper sauce.

The major “secret” to prepare coxinhas is patience. It takes a while to mold them, especially if it’s your first time. Be careful not to let the filling touch the edges of the dough disc, and make sure it is well sealed around the filling, or it will crack open when fried. Coxinhas can be molded as big, individual pieces (virtually a meal), or bite-sized. 

The cooked dough is very easy to prepare, as well as the filling. The dough can also be used to make other salgadinhos, such as risoles (half-moon shapped) and bolinhas de queijo (cheese balls). Use fine bread crumbs (grind some panko in the processor, if you wish) to bread them and, instead of dropping them in the egg white, dip your hand in it and use it spread a layer of egg white on the surface of coxinhas before tossing them in the breadcrumbs.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Coxinha de frango
(mock chicken drumsticks)

2 cups chicken stock
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp powdered milk
2 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
1 tsp salt

1. Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. Cook in a heavy pan, over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan (make sure there are not wet spots in the dough).
3. Let it cool and use to mold the coxinhas

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp grated onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp colorau or anatto powder
2 boneless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallion
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook chicken in about 3 cups water. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid to prepare the dough.
2. Finely shred chicken.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion, then garlic and then colorau. Fry until golden brown.
4. Add shredded chicken and about 3 Tbsp cooking liquid - the chicken should be moist, but not runny.
5. Turn off the heat and add chopped herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Molding and frying
1 egg white
1 cup plain panko, finely ground, or fine breadcrumbs
2-3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. Take a portion of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll it out manually or with a rolling pin into a disk about 1/4 in. thick.
2. Place a teaspoonful of filling at the center - be careful not to let the filling touch the edges of the dough. Carefully mold the dough around the filling forming a bundle.
3. Twist the excess dough on top and remove it to obtain a drop shape.
4. Smooth the surface, if necessary, to correct any imperfections. Make sure the filling is well sealed into the dough.
5. Wet your hand in the egg white and spread a thin layer on the coxinha surface and dip in breadcrumbs.
6. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Panquecas: the name sounds familiar... but it is another matter entirely

Upon request, this post is about Panquecas. Yes, the word should sound very familiar to you, recalling those stacked, warm, fluffy concoctions topped with a good dab of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup you sometimes have for breakfast. But, apart from the fact that the batter uses similar ingredients - such as eggs, milk, and flour - the analogies between Brazilian panquecas and American pancakes stop there, as you can see from this picture:

There are many good things about panquecas, although one might find the preparation of the dough a little tricky and time consuming. But once you master this stage, you are ready to prepare your own assortment of panquecas, because the filling is what really gives them a character. In this sense, they are a good way to use meat, chicken and/or vegetables leftovers. Another good thing is that panquecas can be prepared way in advance and just reheated before serving. They freeze very well too - just remember to transfer the dish to the fridge the night before. As a matter of fact, they can also be successfully reheated in the microwave oven, the only downside being the fact that the cheese will not be as golden brown and the dough won’t get crispy on the edges.

Panquecas are a stand-alone dish, but can also be served with rice (and beans) and salad. If you want them to look fancier, prepare the discs in a larger frying pan and, instead of rolling up with filling, make little bundles, tied with a green scallion leaf or parsley stem wilted in the stove flame. You can then spoon some tomato or other sauce or coulis on a plate and place the trouxinha (Portuguese word for little bundle) in the center. Or use the dough as layers to build a savory cake with any filling you like. Another way to make them look different (and more nutritious) is to add herbs (such as parsley, basil and cilantro), cooked and squeezed spinach, powdered carrot and/or beet, paprika etc. to the batter. The only thing you will need to do, then, is to adjust the consistency. But you’ll have to do it anyway, as different flour batches and egg sizes will produce different batter consistencies.

The only way to adjust the consistency of the batter is by trial and error. The dough should be liquid enough to spread all over the frying pan as you twirl it before starting to set, but not so thin that you have big holes and/or a mushy, creamy final product that falls apart. Adjust it by adding more milk or flour to the batter, little by little. The next picture shows the first panqueca I prepared with my batter - you can see that there is a yellowish layer in the middle that started setting before I was able to spread it onto the pan, making the dough a little too thick. I added a tad more milk to the mixer cup and the next one turned out ok.
Lastly, I have to say a word about the “authenticity” of panquecas as a Brazilian national dish. Most Brazilians would never remember to mention panquecas as a “Brazilian” dish; some would even strongly disagree with this “upgrade” I propose here. But, hey, although they sure are a French legacy, the way Brazilians got hold of them and developed all sorts of new manners to prepare them is, sure, unique! And, as far as I know, panquecas are served all over Brazil. 
I hope you too become a fan of them - as Nina and Kristin already are! After all, imagination is the only limitation to how you can prepare them.

Panquecas de frango
(Chicken panquecas)
2 boneless chicken breasts halves, or 2 leg quarters, or any combination of dark/white meat you like
1/2 tsp colorau or powdered annatto seed (optional)
1/2 tsp white wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp thinly sliced onion
1 tsp oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned (drained)
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup shredded zucchini (1 small, optional)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, annatto powder, vinegar, onion and 1/2 tsp oil. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. (You can also season the chicken with salt and pepper only right before cooking, but you’ll need to season the refogado very well to compensate for that.)
2. Heat remaining 1/2 tsp oil in a saucepan or pressure cooker and add chicken. Sear until golden brown on all sides.
3. Add enough water to cover the meat and cook on low heat until very tender (15 minutes in the pressure cooker; about 35 minutes in a regular pan, partially covered). Add more water if necessary.
4. Remove chicken from pan, reserving the broth, and shred the meat.
5. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a saucepan, add onion and fry until translucent. Add garlic and fry until golden brown. Add tomato paste and fry for a few seconds, just to mix it with well with the other ingredients in the pan.
6. Add carrots, corn, peas, and zucchini and refogue on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
7. Add chopped tomatoes and shredded chicken and cook, on medium heat, partially covered, until vegetables are tender and tomato is almost dissolved (about 10 minutes). Add reserved chicken broth as needed - there should be plenty of moisture in the filling, but it should not be watery or runny.

1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
6-7 Tbsp all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until well mixed.
2. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a 8-10 inch non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add about 1/8 of the batter to the hot pan (1/8 of a cup, approximately) in a steady stream, twirling the pan in the air as you pour to spread the batter evenly on the bottom of the pan.
3. Cook until the sides begin to curl up and the bottom is golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side until golden brown.
4. Repeat procedure, stacking the discs as you go, until all the batter has been used (you should have 6 to 8 panquecas, depending on the size of your frying pan).

Tomato sauce:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 16-oz can crushed tomatoes, or 4 ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
1/3-1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add garlic and fry until golden brown. Add canned or chopped tomatoes, 1/3 cup chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Cover the pan and cook, on medium heat, for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add more chicken broth, if necessary - the sauce should be thick enough just to stay on top of panquecas, not more.
3. Turn off heat and add chopped parsley.

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- prepared panqueca dough
- prepared filling
- prepared sauce

1. Depending on the serving size you want (bigger for stand-alone entrées, smaller when served with side dishes and/or a salad), divide the filling among panqueca discs and roll them up.
2. Place cylinders side by side on an oiled baking dish, or arrange them on serving plates (oven proof, if you’re going to reheat them) and pour some tomato sauce along the center, crosswise.
3. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake on preheat oven (375oF) until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Yield: 6 large, thick  to 8 medium, thinner panquecas (2 portions, if served straight, or up to 4 portions, if served with side dishes and salad)

Other filling suggestions: prepared ground or shredded beef or turkey; any combination of shredded, cooked vegetables (such as carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, hearts of palm, peas); chopped / small shrimp cooked in tomato sauce; spinach and white sauce.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gluten-free, delicious “pão-de-queijo mineiro”

Pão-de-queijo (literally cheese roll) is an irresistible, addicting Brazilian comfort food: a treat to be savored at any time of the day. It is a very popular item in lanchonetes (more later) and padarias (Brazilian-style bakeries) all over the country, especially in the Southeast region - painted red in the map below. People have pães-de-queijo (plural) for breakfast, with coffee, as an afternoon snack, sometimes filled with different kinds of cheese (or other fillings), or at any time of the day they feel hungry and cannot or are not in the mood for a whole meal.

Pão-de-queijo can even be served as an accompaniment to main meals. When I was a child growing up in the country-side of Minas Gerais state (YES!!! I am “mineira”), people used to serve them at wedding parties with thinly sliced pernil (roasted ham) and maionese de legumes (Brazilian-style potato salad) - very “caipira”, and so so yummy!!!

“Caipira” (the same root found in the Brazilian national drink name, “caipirinha”) means “country person”, and/or “pertaining to the country-side”. People from Minas Gerais, or the mineiros (men) and mineiras (women), are known in Brazil as “the” prototypical country people, and there are many jokes and sayings about their proverbial cunning and shrewdness, as well as their cooking abilities.

Legend has it that the best and only authentic pão-de-queijo (the “mineiro” one) comes from the Minas Gerais state - the land of milk and cheese. The original recipe calls for polvilho azedo (“sour” manioc starch, sold in Latin markets as almidón agrio - see picture) and queijo da canastra, a tangy, flavorful, aged farmer’s cheese made with creamy milk from cows eating mainly grass and strolling freely in the pastures of this mountainous state (the picture below is from a farm in my home town, Guaranésia). Thus, to taste the authentic “pão-de-queijo mineiro”, you will have to visit Minas Gerais... (you won’t regret it, I promise!) But, for now, if you want a recipe to prepare a very similar one, here you are.

Actually, I decided to post two recipes here: one is an attempt to get as close as possible to the traditional pão-de-queijo mineiro (or, let’s call it “pão-de-queijo the hard way”). The second one, as I see it, is a recipe for the lazy (or not too versed) cook that does not care much for the tradition and/or does not have enough time to prepare the traditional, handmade one. It uses a blender and a different type of starch, the “sweet” one - polvilho doce (sold as almidón dulce in Latin markets).

One very important note: never ever attempt to bake pão-de-queijo in the microwave oven (I did, with terrible results!). On the other hand, they reheat very well in sandwich / panini makers, specially if you fill them with cheese!

Pão-de-queijo mineiro

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tsp salt (more or less, depending on the cheese mixture you're going to use)
1 lb (500 g) polvilho azedo (Brazilian sour manioc starch)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded queijo da canastra (or you can try a mix of 2 parts sharp cheddar cheese and 1 part mozzarella, or 1 part mozzarella and 2 parts parmesan cheese, or any other mix of melting, strong-flavored cheeses you like)

1. Combine oil, milk and salt in a sauce pan. Heat to just below boiling point (watch closely - when the mixture starts to rise, remove immediately from heat and use mixture in step 3).
2. Place the polvilho azedo in a large bowl.
3. Pour boiling mixture all over the polvilho azedo and, using a wooden spoon, start stirring the dough.
4. When the dough is cold enough to be kneaded by hand (but still hot), add eggs and cheese and knead until it is very sticky and elastic, about 15 minutes (you will need a spoon or scraper to get it off your hands).
5. Let the dough rest while you preheat the oven to 450oF (it is very important that the oven is at high temperature when you bake the pães-de-queijo; if they start to get too brown on the bottom before getting golden brown on top, reduce the temperature a little bit).
6. Oil two large baking pans. Oil your hands with vegetable oil and form golf-sized balls with the dough (40-45). Place them 2-3 in apart in the pan, as they grow considerably when baked. (You can, at this point, freeze the balls and then store them in zip lock bags to bake them straight from the freezer at your convenience - they will take a little longer to get ready, though.)
7. Bake until puffed and golden brown (about 15 minutes). Serve hot.

Lazy cook pão-de-queijo

2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, or a mix of mozzarella and parmesan cheese (or any other melting cheese you like, such as cheddar, gouda, etc)
2 1/2 cups polvilho doce (Brazilian sweet manioc starch)
1 tsp baking powder

1. Oil two 6-muffin pans (medium size). Preheat oven to 435oF.
2. Beat eggs, oil, milk, salt and mozzarella together in a blender.
3. Add half cup of polvilho doce at a time and beat well after each addition. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides, if necessary. Add baking powder and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix well.
4. Divide mixture among muffin cups filling them about half way through (the dough expands a lot when baking).
5. Bake until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot.

Eita trem bão, sô!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

“Refogar” - a quintessential technique in Brazilian cooking

            Nearly all Brazilian dishes start with a “refogado”, that is, chopped onion and/or garlic (see variations below) sautéed in vegetable oil - or some other fat - until golden brown. To this, the ingredients to be cooked are added and briefly sautéed before the addition of liquids (if any). It is that simple, but it can make a huge difference in the final dish. For example: it is this initial step that sets Brazilian rice apart from other rice cooking methods, giving the grains a chewier and firmer texture, as well as a sautéed onion flavor.

            “Refogar” (the verb) can be the initial and, sometimes, the only cooking technique used to prepare a vegetable, as you will see from the recipes bellow. But most often it works as the “browning” step for braising (to cook food slowly in a small amount of liquid), a technique which is also widely used in Brazilian cuisine.

            The secret to a good “refogado” is: i) chop all the ingredients about the same size, so they will cook uniformly; ii) add garlic (if using) after onion, as it browns much faster; iii) sauté onion, garlic, etc. until golden brown, over moderate to high heat, without covering the pan - to sweat them (cook slowly in fat without browning) will not produce the desired taste and appearance.

            The fat of choice is, again, vegetable oil, although it was pork lard until a few decades ago, before vegetable oil became more readily available - very tasty, but not very healthy considering nowadays lifestyle. You can also use olive oil, butter (preferably clarified, so it will not get burned) and bacon drippings. Here are some other ingredients to include in your “refogado”:
  • chopped bacon (use less oil, add onion, etc. only after bacon is golden brown)
  • chopped scallion / green onions (add green parts after white ones, if using)
  • celery (finely chopped)
  • leek (sliced, white parts first)
  • green bell pepper (finely chopped, in small quantities)
            Now, a couple of very simple recipes for you to try. They all pair well with Brazilian rice and beans and the protein of your choice (braised pork loin seasoned with salt, black pepper and lime juice, in this picture).

Abóbora refogada
(Braised Squash / Pumpkin)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp thinly sliced onion
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 cups 1-in cubed peeled pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash
1/2 cup water, approximately
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley and/or cilantro

1. In a heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat.
2. Add onion and sauté for a few seconds. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.
3. Add squash and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add half the water, to start with, and stir well. 
5. Lower the heat and cook, covered, adding more water if necessary, for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated and the squash is tender and begins to fall apart.
6. Right before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or cilantro.

Verdura refogada
(Sautéed Green Leaf Vegetable)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
4-5 cups finely shredded collard greens, or kale, or escarole, or mustard greens, or cabbage, or any other tough, green leaf vegetable
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large, heavy pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and sauté for a few seconds. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.
3. Add shredded vegetable and toss well so the onion and garlic are not in contact with the bottom of the pan anymore (or they will get too brown and become bitter).
4. Lower the heat, cover the pan and let cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally (or to the doneness of your preference - I like mine al dente). Add a few drops of water, if necessary.
5. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper (Brazilians would probably add pepper only to the cabbage) and serve.
Tip: if you are preparing cabbage, add 1 ripe tomato cut into wedges or cubed to the pan before covering it.

Bom apetite!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The "rice-and-beans" of Brazilian food

Rice and beans are so important for Brazilian cuisine that when we say something is “o arroz com feijão” (the rice and beans) of something else, we mean “the basics”, “the foundation”. So, let me try and explain some of the most basic, general differences between Brazilian and North American eating habits and their food staples to start with.

Brazilians usually have three main meals a day - a light breakfast right after waking up, a substantial lunch between noon and 2 pm, and dinner around 7 or 8 pm - in general, lighter than lunch (a full size soup with bread, or a salad, or some pasta, etc).

For breakfast, most people have coffee (strong coffee!), or coffee and milk (called “média”, when it's lighter, or “pingado”, when it's darker), and “pão francês” (similar to a baguette, but smaller and with a softer center - see picture; I’ll write more about it later) with butter. Some people make the meal more substantial by adding some cheese and ham to it, but bacon, sausage and even eggs are regarded as lunch / dinner (or maybe brunch) items, not breakfast. A variety of fresh fruit and their juices, sometimes mixed with milk instead of water, may be consumed as accompaniments. And there’s also the “pão de queijo” (a savory tapioca starch roll with cheese)... But this is worth a post itself, so I’ll leave it for later (pão de queijo post here).

For lunch, people usually have rice and beans, a small amount of protein (about 5 oz; beef, chicken and pork are the most popular meats), at least one cooked vegetable (frequently braised) - such as pumpkin, chayote, and broccoli, shown in the first picture of this post - and salad greens (lettuce, arugula, watercress), with tomatoes and/or other raw or cold additions, such as grated carrots or beets, hearts of palm, cucumber and sliced onion.

Well, this is the basic “rule” - which means there are countless exceptions. My point here is just to state that: i) rice and beans are the base of Brazilian cooking, and the preferred accompaniment to everyday meals, as opposed to, say, mashed potatoes in the U.S.; ii) although meat is an important part of the meal, it is usually consumed in smaller amounts. In a country where hunger has been an issue for so long, the “rice-and-beans” diet may have saved many impoverished people from starvation and even malnutrition, as rice and beans, when eaten together, constitute a high-quality, or complete, protein - containing the 20 essential amino acids.   

Brazilian rice is prepared more or less like a pilaf, but the fat of choice is vegetable oil (a plain, flavorless one, preferably) - as you can see in the recipe below. Beans are mostly cooked in a pressure cooker with water only and, after that, seasoned with garlic and salt, among other things (later I’ll post the recipe for cooking beans in a pressure cooker; for now, check the recipe with canned beans).

There are many types of beans in Brazil - the largest consumer and producer of the legume in the world, with approximately 3.5 million tons harvested every year. The most popular beans are “feijão carioca / carioquinha” (similar to pinto beans), with 85% of the market, followed by black beans, with 10% (more common in Rio de Janeiro state, but mandatory in the preparation of the Brazilian national dish, “feijoada” - more soon!). The remaining 5% of sales are specialty beans, such as “jalo”, “fradinho”, “rosinha”, “bolinha”, “branco”, “verde”, “azuki” and “roxinho”.

Brazilian white rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 cup white rice (long grain)
2 cups cold water, approximately (preferably filtered)
1 tsp salt

- If rice is not pre-washed, rinse it until water is clear and let it dry in a colander before using. Beware that you’re probably going to use less water to prepare it in this case.
- Heat oil in a saucepan and add onion. Fry over medium heat until it is soft and translucent.
- Add rice. Fry, over medium heat, stirring constantly, until grains are whitish and chalky (grains start forming lumps).
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the water and the salt. Stir well. When it starts boiling, lower the heat and cook, partially covered, until water has almost completely evaporated.
- Add remaining water (less, if rice was rinsed) and continue cooking until all water has evaporated and the grains are cooked but slightly al dente (cooking will continue after you turn off the heat).
- Cover the pan, remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Brazilian beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon diced bacon (optional)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans (or small black beans), cooked with salt only
1 cup water, approximately (preferably filtered)
salt to taste
1 tsp green onion or chives, finely chopped

- Place the beans in a colander and rinse in cold water until there’s no more frothing on top of the beans.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon, if using, and fry until golden brown.
- Add chopped garlic and fry until golden brown. Lower the heat.
- Add beans and, using the back of a spoon or ladle, smash some of the beans into a paste.
- Add about 1 cup of filtered water. Bring to a slow boil and cook until the broth is thick (heavy cream consistency) and brown colored - you might need to add a little more water. Season to taste with salt. Add chopped green onions or chives before serving.

Bom apetite!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I created this blog

Since I first came to the U.S., in 1997 - to study English, after finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics at the University of Sao Paulo - I felt the urge for more information in English about Brazilian food and its gastronomic culture. I remember trying to cook my favorite recipes in Boston, MA (which has one of the largest populations of Brazilian immigrants in the U.S.), and trying to translate the recipes into English for friends at school. It was hard to find the ingredients, and even more difficult to locate proper equivalents for them and for the recipe’s processes in bilingual dictionaries. 

From then on, I decided to dedicate myself to these two passions: languages and cooking. I became a translator of cookbooks and studied culinary translations and the terminology of recipes during my Master’s and PhD degrees in English. I’ve also published an English-Portuguese dictionary of culinary expressions with my academic advisor in 2008 (I’ll post more details about my professional and academic CV here soon). My love for food became so unavoidable that I am now a student of the Culinary Arts program at El Centro College, Dallas, TX. 

I’ve decided to create this blog because, after all these years, despite the massive North American and worldwide interest in gastronomy in the last decades, and all of the information available on the web, to date, there are only a few books and websites on authentic Brazilian cuisine. Besides, not all of them are reliable and specifically aimed at non-Brazilian readers and cooks. Apparently, the world has “discovered” Latin American cuisine, but because (I guess) Brazil is a non-Spanish speaking country right in the middle of South America, it’s usually left out - although every now and then we see a TV show about “exotic” Brazilian food to the sound of good Cuban (!) music, or some other non-Brazilian music. So, I hope I can shed some light on those subjects with my posts.

Being a Brazilian myself, I may not be aware of some of the cultural and culinary differences between Brazil and the U.S. I beg you to ask me questions and to correct me if I don’t explain things adequately, or if my English sounds odd. And for the Brazilians that decide to follow this blog, please send me your comments and suggestions for themes to be addressed in future posts. Help me share the joy of our delicious food and culture with the English-speaking world.
I hope you all enjoy. 

Sejam bem-vindos!