Thursday, December 22, 2005
We are going to travel to another city, Tiete, where both my parent's family and my husband's family live. I am not going to have much access to internet there, so before we leave I wanted to come here and wish all my friends and those who visit my blog a Very Happy Christmas and a Great Begining of 2006! Thank you all for coming and visiting me in this space, which I love and where I came to meet lots of nice people!
Love you all!
Monday, December 12, 2005
That’s the best thing about coming to Brazil, the wonderful produce they have around here! Super fresh, direct from the growers, not to mention the price... it can’t be beaten!
We are having lots of fun with the family here, plus we are savoring the beste and sweetest fruits you can imagine! Mango, papaya, guava... yum!! And the best place to get fresh produce here are the street markets, which we call “Feira” (in English it would be the equivalent to “fair”).
Once a week they close a specific street for the morning hours and very early in the morning the produce growers start to assemble their “tents” in order to display the most varied assortment of fruits and vegetables you can possibly imagine. There you can find from fruits and vegetables to herbs and spices that they will freshly and happily ground for you (with a manual miller). You can also find freshly made cheeses, nuts, snacks, and even toys and kitchen gadgets in there.
There are tons of markets all around town, and basically each area has its own market in specific weekdays. Near my mom’s house there are two, one on Fridays and another one on Sunday.
It is definitely not the most pleasant place to go, but the freshness of the produce makes it worth to check out. Friday we went to one, my son was a little confused among all the people and the noisy vendors, who keep yelling the silliest things to get your attention, but enjoyed sampling fruits and choosing veggies for our lunch later on!
I wanted to take some pictures but forgot my camera, so I used my sister’s cell phone instead. Here is just a small sample of what they have, and next time I will try to remember to capture the favorite snacks you will find in the "feira": “Pastel” (a fried pastry concotion) and Freshly Squeezed Cane Juice!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Just posting to tell you all that we are here, safe and sound!
The trip was nice and Matheus had lots of fun in the airplane! We had some delay, missed a connection, and the baggages only got here a day after we did, but other than that everything was ok and now we are enjoying the family!
Not much to write today, and I haven't been on the computer much, but I will come back with pictures and news. There is still a lot to do, talk, and tons of good food to eat!
See you soon!
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Yes, it is tomorrow, we are going to Brazil!!!
I have been meaning to come here and post the recipes I have made during the week, but with all the packing, laundry, Christmas shopping, and a few other things I had to get done before going, I simply did not have much time left to post.
But here I am, ready to go! Everything is done and now I just have to be organized and put everything together before we leave. Until tomorrow I will probably find out that something is missing, or that I forgot something important, but I will leave to worry about this part later.
Now on to my favorite subject… Food!!
I had a pretty busy week but still managed to cook and even try new recipes, cooking for me is like a therapy so nothing better than heading to the kitchen after a stressful day. Thursday I decided to make muffins to leave for the husband’s breakfasts during the weeks he will be here alone. He requested banana bran muffins and strawberry muffins, and I also made my new favorite oatmeal muffin (the one from Nic’s site, posted here before!), believe it or not, we were in a muffin mood this week and about half of them is already gone… seems I will be making one more batch before leaving!
I also made an asparagus soup that was very good! I know, it is not asparagus season right now, but I found some frozen asparagus spears for the first time when shopping at whole foods during the week, I was extremely happy with my finding and since it was cold I decided to make soup. Very easy recipe and very good too, and you can vary the vegetables accordingly to what you have on hand.
Another recipe I made was for potato rolls, and this was a new one. I have had this recipe on my “to try pile” for years, and although it looked like a good one (it had a picture with it, which I like!) I had not made it before. And I have no idea why I waited so long, because the rolls were awesome! Simple but so good, they had the perfect texture of the potato rolls we buy at bakeries in Brazil, which usually come filled with a creamy cheese called “catupiry”. Well, I did not have the cheese here so I improvised and stuffed them with small pieces of those laughing cow triangles (Brazilians, read “ polenghinho”). It worked very well and the rolls were delicious! The recipe is in Portuguese, so if you want it just let me know and I will be glad to translate!
Recipe for the rolls can be found here: http://cybercook4.uol.com.br/exibir_receita.php?codigo=486
Friday night we had Cheese Fondue! What can be better than melted cheese in a cold night, huh?! So good, and very easy to make too! I always make the same recipe, which I got from foodtv. As with usual fondue it is made with wine, but since Matheus was eating with us I made ours with chicken broth, instead (you can use milk too). I turned out very good, but if you have no kids for dinner by any means use the wine!
Finally, today after our obligatory “Sunday Pasta”, we had Cheesecake Ice Cream! This is actually a recipe I created after browsing different other recipes. As I have told you before, the husband loves cheesecake, and I love ice cream, so during the summer I developed this recipe in an attempt to combine both our likings and create one concoction we could happily enjoy together. It worked, we were all happy and now I share my recipe with you! Today I had some cream cheese left that I needed to use, so I made the recipe again, however, I did not have half-half on hand and used plain whole milk yogurt instead, which worked nice! The recipe is super easy to make and makes a creamy and delicious ice cream!
That is it for today. Have to finish up cleaning and getting everything in order for the husband before we go tomorrow. And I promise I will write from Brazil and try to post some pictures. Whish me a good trip!
See you soon, and enjoy the recipes!
Cream of Asparagus Soup (Cooking Light, April 2002)
3 cups (1/2-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, divided
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
Dash of ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Combine asparagus, broth, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, bay leaf, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Place asparagus mixture in a blender; process until smooth.
Place flour in pan. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add puréed asparagus and ground nutmeg; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 teaspoon thyme, butter, salt, and lemon rind. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup).
Cream of Carrot Soup: Substitute 2 cups baby carrots for asparagus. Omit bay leaf.
Cream of Leek Soup: Substitute 3 cups sliced leek for asparagus. Substitute 3/4 teaspoon rosemary for thyme. Omit bay leaf.
Cheese Fondue (Tyler Florence)
1/2 pound imported Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cherry brandy, such as kirsch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then discard. Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in cherry brandy, mustard and nutmeg.
My Cheesecake Ice Cream
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla