Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corinne's Moqueca

Reader Corinne sent in a recipe for Moqueca, and says this:

" Okay, it is a lame entry, since this is such an easy dish, BUT it is a Brazilian classic and a surefire way to impress if you have someone over for dinner--  Even more so if you have the cool soapstone or clay pot to cook and serve it in. "

I don't think it's lame at all! Ease of a recipe does not determine its deliciousness. :)  I especially love the way Corinne wrote the recipe with the convenient words in Portuguese. Pretty much how my brain works nowadays.  By the way, the picture is from the internet, so this recipe's end result may look a little different.

Moqueca de Peixe (serves 4):

1 large onion cut into rings
1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley (for garnish)
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons of tomate extract
2 small or one large bell pepper (can be one green and one red as well), cut into rounds
2 garlic cloves
chopped cilantro to taste (the recipe says 1 teaspoon, but I usually like more - like 2 Tablespoons)
1 malagueta pepper, seeded and chopped (I omit this, but it depends on how much heat you want) - could use a squirt of hot sauce instead)
200 ml coconut milk (one jar)
3 T olive oil
3 T dende oil
1 T of chopped green onion (cebolinha)
4 fish steaks (postas).  Can be any firm fish.  The usual choices are robalo (sea bass - best option) or cascão.  I have also made it with namorado
juice from 2 limes
salt to taste

Season the fish with salt and lime juice for 10 minutes.  In a large pot (or the nifty clay or soapstone one if you have it), heat the two oils.  Chop and add the garlic untl it browns slightly.  Take the pot off the heat and arrange a layer of onion rings, pepper rings chopped tomatoes (use about half).  Then put about half the malagueta pepper (if using) and half the cilantro and green onions on top of the bell pepper, onion and tomato layer.  Place the pieces of fish on top and add a second layer of onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, followed by the remaining pepper, cilantro and green onions.

Disolve the tomato extract in one cup of water (200 to 300 ml or the size of a requeijão cup) and pour over the vegetables and fish.  If using a dash of hot sauce instead of the pepper, add it now.  Put back medium to medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is beginning to flake.  Add the coconut milk and adjust the seasonings (salt, pepper) to tast.  Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the fish is fully cooked.  Remove from the stove and add the chopped parsley.  Serve over rice. 

NOTE: if you want to get fancy, you can add some cleaned and peeled shrimp to the moqueca when adding the coconut milk.

conversion note: a US tablespoon is exactly a level "colher de sopa".

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Julie's Fish Pie

Julie (the one with the fabulous blog, Flor da Maçanilha) has submitted a recipe (complete with entertaining commentary) for fish pie. Remember, dear Americans, that the word "pie" for Brits is akin to the word "casserole" for us yankees. :)

If you try it out, please leave some comments on what you thought! :)

Julie's Simple Fish Pie

Adapted from Delia Smith’s Luxury Smoked Fish Pie

I have traumatic memories of my Mother’s fish pie. Otherwise a fantastic cook, her pie just made my skin crawl. A thin layer of pastry (yum) under which lurked unidentified bits of seafood swimming in a thin white soup (horror). Then I found out about this kind of fish pie and it turned my life around. The fish is surrounded by a thick, creamy sauce and covered by soothing mashed potatoes, topped by layer of cheese. Plus, I now get to choose the fish and make sure there are no unidentified objects, or, shock horror, BONES in my pie.

The adaptation is based on necessity rather than choice. Lovely Delia uses no less than FOUR types of fish, but it tastes just as great (if not better?) with whatever filet you can find at your supermarket. Here goes


* 4 filets of fish (whatever kind you like/can find, try and choose something as bone-free as possible)

* 2 cups milk

* A bay leaf (louro)

* 6 peppercorns (if impossible use a bit of ground pepper – pimento do reino)

* Butter

* Flour

* 2 eggs

* 1 cup of frozen peas (ervilhas), defrosted

* 900g/2lb potatoes (around 6 medium potatoes for those with no scales!)

* Cheese to be grated

* Salt & pepper for seasoning

The preparation looks long and tricky, but the only part you need to concentrate on is the sauce. The fish and potatoes are impossible to mess up, even if you leave them in the oven/on the stove for too long.

Prepare the fish:

* Put the filets in an ovenproof dish with the bay leaf and peppercorns, cover with the milk and put in the oven for about 10 minutes (no need to be exact, you just want the fish to cook through)

* Remove the fish and seasoning (throw seasoning away) and set the milk aside (you’re going to need it for the sauce)

Prepare the topping:

* Halve the big potatoes so all are around the same size, dump into a big pot and cover with water. Boil for around 20minutes or until completely and utterly fluffy and cooked (do this before the fish)

* Towards the end, plop in the two eggs, you want them to turn out hard-boiled

* Once fluffy, cool down the potatoes and eggs with cold water (I rinsed them twice). Peel the eggs and the potatoes, set the eggs aside.

* Mash the potatoes with a fork, a bit of butter and salt and pepper (I add some mustard for extra spice)

Make the sauce:

* Melt around 3tbsp of butter in a pan on the stove

* When melted, add around 3tbsp of flour and mix until combined – let it bubble for a couple of minutes on the heat

* Add the milk from the fish and whisk vigorously with a fork (or whisk if you have one!), so that there are no lumps. Continue stirring over a medium flame until the sauce becomes a bit thicker and creamy. Turn off the heat.

Assemble the pie!

* Break the fish into medium-sized pieces, taking the opportunity to remove any bones, and add to the sauce

* Cut the egg into bits and add to the sauce together with the peas

* Stir gently to combine, but not to break everything up

* Get out your ovenproof dish and fill with the sauce-fish mixture

* Cover with the mashed potato then grate some cheese over the top.

* Pop into your oven (set around 150°, but that’s not really important) for around 20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. Remember, everything has been cooked once, so you’re just really re-heating the dish and giving it a nice, grilled finish

Serve with rice and you’re favourite white wine

This recipe is really adaptable, so feel free to add to the sauce whatever makes you happy (Delia suggests gherkins and capers, I think chopped carrots might be good).

I cannot resist ending on a language note: Funny how there’s a word for fish bone in Portuguese (espinho) and German (gräte), yet neither language really has a word for pie…

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brazilian-Japanese Vegetable Tempura

Brazilian-Japanese Tempura

Here's a picture of our dinner from last night:
We couldn't decide between tempura and chicken-friend steak with mashed potatoes country gravy, so I just made both. Mmmm!! The tempura's there in the middle. Here's the recipe I learned from a Japanese-Brazilian friend for the tempura (enough for 2 people):

You need:
1. 1 big carrot
2. A handful of edamame/green beans/peas....? Dunno. Vagem in Portuguese. Looks like this.
3. 1 small onion (probably half of an American onion)
4. a cube of vegetable bullion (caldo de legumes)
5. 1 egg
6. About 3-4 tablespoons of flour (farinha de trigo)
7. Canola oil


1. Peel the carrot and use a cheese grater to grate it.
2. Cut the tips off of the green veggie that you buy but don't take the seeds out of the skin. Just cut it up into small pieces, skin and all.
3. Chop up the onion into small pieces.
4a. Put all that in a bowl.
4b. Mash up the vegetable bullion cube with your finger and add it to the veggies. Mix it up. If you want to add chicken, cut it very very small and add it in now.

5. Add in some of the egg and mixa-mixa-walla-walla.
6. Add in some of the flour and mix it up.
7. Add in the rest of the egg.
8. Add in more of the flour.

The consistency should be sticky but it's not going to stick perfectly to the spoon.

9. Heat a bunch of oil... like half of a small pot. Then turn the heat down to medium.
10. Use your spoon to plop in 2-3 "balls" of the vegetable mix. It's not going to make a pretty shape (see the picture below). That's okay!

11. Flip them after about 30 seconds.
12. Flip occasionally until it's golden-to-dark brown. Takes about 5-8 mins to cook each set.
13. Take out your funny-shaped tempura pieces and set them on a plate with napkins that can absorb the oil.

14. Enjoy with soy sauce!

Vinho Quente de Festa Juninha

What is vinho quente? It translates to "hot wine," but oh, it is much more. So much more.
Here's the recipe:

You need:
1. Red wine
2. Cinnamon (best as sticks)
3. Cloves (called "cravo da India" in Portuguese)
4. Chopped strawberries (optional, but recommended, by me)
5. A bit o' sugar (Liiikkee... 2 spoonfulls for a bottle of wine)

1. Heat that s&!t up on slow boil. Put the strawberries last.
2. Enjoy!

It looks like this if you use apples instead of strawberries (meh):

Soy Protein Stir Fry Version #2

The textured soy protein that we bought comes like this or like this and is relatively easy to cook with.

Here's what we did:
1. Follow the directions on the bag for preparing the soy.  Just put it in water, boil it, and once the water is boiling, turn it off and let the soy soak for 10 more minutes. (However, it didn't say "add some kind of spices to the water, because the soy has zero flavor." So I'm adding that in for you.)

2. While the soy boils, chop up the veggies that you want. We used asparagus, onion, green beans, cucumber, and carrots. The carrots didn't really go well with it. I think green bell peppers would've been better. The vegetarian restaurant in town adds okra.

3. We steamed the vegetables in the handy dandy rice cooker while cooking the rice on the bottom. I added vegetable stock cubes (caldo de legumes) to the veggies and rice cubes (caldo de arroz) to the rice, because I looovvveeeee Knorr caldo cubes. (No, I don't pick tiny pieces off of the chicken ones and eat them. What are you talking about? That would be gross.)

If you're using the rice cooker, be sure to put a little extra water in with the rice to account for the vegetables absorbing it.

If you don't have a rice cooker (so sad), steam the vegetables and cook the rice separately.

4. Drain the soy from the water that it's in.

5. Put a little bit of water and a little bit of oil into a frying pan (like in the picture).

6. Once the vegetables are softened to your liking, take them and mix them with the soy in a frying pan.

7. Add in some smashed up peanuts or cashews (caju) if you'd like. I did. It came out well.

8. Add in whatever spices/salts/caldo cubes that you want. Remember that the soy is super bland.

9. To make thick and delicous sauce à lá Panda Express, do what Alexandre did:
a) take 3 tablespoons of corn startch (Maizena: Amido de Milho)
b) mix them in a cup or bowl with some water and soy sauce (enough water to thicken but not to be  watery...  good luck)
c) dump this mixed sauce into the frying pan

10. Add soy sauce and salt to your liking.

Ta-Da! So easy, right? Then you've got some rice on the side and some juice and you have a delicious and healthy lunch (aside from all the salt).  MMm!

Broccoli Pasta Bake

Another recipe site I like is www.allrecipes.com.  Here, I found this Broccoli Pasta Bake that I made today. I modified it a bit (partly out of personal preference and partly as a result of not having the right ingredients), so I'm going to include my recipe below, Brazilian style (and with meat). I think mine makes less than the one from the website.

Danielle's version of Broccoli Pasta Bake

(the picture is mine, not from the recipe site)

You'll need:
* 2 "bifes" of contra-file steak (optional, for my (majority) vegetarian friends)
* 1/3 cup butter
* 2 1/2 cups milk
* 1/3 cup flour (farina de trigo)
* salt, pepper, garlic salt, whatever you want
* 2 cups pasta (I used penne, the recipe uses fusilli, I don't think it really matters)
* Some mozzarella cheese (the more the merrier... I used 1 and a half slices of sliced Brazilian mozarella, but I think shredded mozzarella cheese from a fresh block would be better)
* A little bag of grated Parmesan cheese
* a little bit of oil (preferably olive oil) for your pasta
* Fresh broccoli (FRESH, American friends!) (I used half of a head, but probably could've used more)
* 1 cube of caldo de legumes (the little vegetable bullion cubes)

1. Boil your pasta. Put olive oil and some salt in the water.
2. Steam your broccoli with half of a caldo de legume cube

If you listened to my advice and bought a rice cooker, you can do steps 1 and 2 in the rice cooker at the same time!

3. Cut your meat up in little pieces (cutting out the fat that lines contra-file), and then fry your meat with whatever seasonings you like (I just put a bit of caldo de carne (beef bullion) cubes, salt, and pepper)

4. While the meat is frying and the pasta is boiling, make your sauce, like this:
  a.) Melt the butter in a pot
  b.) Add the milk (the more milk you put, the less creamy and thick your sauce is. I started off with 2 cups 
       and then ended up adding another half cup at the end, but the original recipe recommends 3 cups.)
  c.) Mix
  d.) Add the flour slowly, mix some more
  e.) Add the Parmesan cheese, keep mixing! (I used about half of the little Brazilian bag, so about 20 grams, but I kind of have a addiction to problem with cheese. The more Parmesan you add, the stronger the taste of the sauce, but also the thicker the sauce becomes)
  f.)  Add in the salt/pepper/garlic salt that you want. I put a few shakes of the garlic/pepper/salt combination that I have, along with a drop of alho puro.

5. Your broccoli and meat should be done by now. Add them into the sauce and mix everything around.
6. Grease a big bowl or casserole dish. I used butter. Mmm... fat
7. Get the pasta that you already drained at some point and dump it into the casserole dish.
8. Pour your thick sauce all over the pasta in the casserole dish. Mix it up a bit with the pasta.
9. Add the mozarella cheese on top
10. Add a bit more Parmesan cheese on top to make it crunchy
11. Stick the casserole dish in the oven at 350F / 175C for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ray's Torta Rápida (Quick Pie)

Brazil blogger fan Ray Adkins (not his real name) has submitted a yummy Brazilian pie recipe for you guys to try out.

Ray says: 
It's my favorite recipe because it is easy and allows for infinite customization.
         This is a very typical Brazilian pie-- the dough is always the same, but you can change and adapt the fillings any way you want.

If anyone makes it, can you take a picture and send it to me? Thanks!

Torta Rápida (Quick Pie)

1 Cup of Canola Oil
2 Cups of Milk
3 Eggs
12 tableppoons of Flour
Salt (as much as you'd like )
1/2 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tea ppoons of Baking Powder ( Fermento em pó) We use Rumford in the US and Royal when in Brazil.

Put everything in the blender and blend it really well. If it is too liquidy, put in a couple more tablespoons of flour. You need to have a cake-batter-type of consistency.
You can also use an electric mixer or even a hand mixer to stir the dough.

1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables ( carrots, peas, corn etc ), or cans, we like the frozen better because it is more "al dente" and not too soft like the ones from the cans.
1 cooked and chopped up chicken breast. (***)

*Place the veggies and the cut-up chicken in a frying pan with a little bit of canola oil and season to taste: garlic, onions, etc...
*The veggies and chicken mix cannot have any water, so make sure all the water evaporates. If there is too much water, just drain it.
*Place half of the dough on a greased and floured baking pan. Save the other half.
*Place your chicken and veggies mix on top of the half layer of dough.
*Cover the chicken and veggies mix with the other half of the dough.
*Bake it for 30 minutes in 350 degrees F (175 C)

*Due to different pan sizes, ovens, etc, you should watch it until the top looks golden and or stick a toothpick in the middle and check if the tooth pick comes out dry or almost dry.

***You can replace the chicken with salmon, ground beef, lamb, ground turkey, sardines, or mackerel, and you can add Spinach to the veggies and create 100 different fillings for your pie.

We like to eat it with a generous salad.

The leftovers make a great snack.

It's awesome to take to picnics--you can cut up in squares and wrap it in aluminum foil. It is practical and delicious.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Soy Stir-Fry Pasta Mess

 the recipe is a little different from this picture, because it has either pasta or rice under the soy.

This recipe is something I half-made up / half-adapted  from a dish that is available at the Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant in town.  The amount I used is estimated and enough for 2 people.

You will need:

* 1/4 a bag of Proteína Texturizada de Soja (média) / textured soy protein... The one I bought in the store looks has the consistency of ground beef, and looks like this:

*Angel hair pasta (about 5 circle-things) / this can be white rice, if you prefer

*Soy sauce

*Vegetables: 1 tomato, 1 cucumber (pepino caipira), 1/2 a small onion, 1/2 a bell pepper, some American-style broccoli (about 1/3 a head)

*Spices and salts that you like; I used salt, pepper, caldo de frango cubes, and caldo de legumes cubes (the vegetarians won't want the caldo de frango cubes, obviously)

*A little bit of cooking oil

What to do:
1. Follow the directions on the soy packet to rehydrate the soy.  Mine said: (a) measure the soy you want, keeping in mind that it doubles in size-- ADD SPICES HERE.  The soy has no flavor. I added salt and half of a caldo de frango cube; (b) boil it in some water; (c) once it comes to a boil, turn off the water and let it sit for 10 minutes; (d) drain the water.  

2. Cut up the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

3. Steam your broccoli on the side, separated from the rest of the vegetables. You'll add it in last. (You can use a rice cooker, or something like this)

4. If you're making the pasta, get some water ready to boil your pasta. (Remember that the angel hair boils really fast, so you can put it in later.) If you're making rice, start it now.

5. Once the soy is ready, drain it from the water and add it to a pan with a little bit of oil.  Turn the heat on med-high.

6. Add in the salts/spices that you want. If you like it a bit spicy, shave off the seeds from the bell pepper into the soy.  (And if your significant other is scared of spicy foods, don't tell them about this part ;)

7. Add in the vegetables that you cut up (except for the broccoli).  Add in a little bit of soy sauce.  (It's better to put less than more, and add more after you're done.)  Mix mix mix!  (This is a good point to put the pasta into its pot to boil it.)

like this, but without the broccoli yet.

6. After your broccoli is steamed and soft, and after you turn off the heat, mix the broccoli in.

7. Once the pasta is soft, drain it, and put it onto a plate.

8. Add the soy mix on top of the pasta.

9. Take a bite! If it's a little plain, splash on some more soy sauce.