Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rachel and Tasha's Stuffed Pumpkin

Rachel over at Rachel's Rantings in Rio shared a recipe that she got from Tasha from Becoming Brazilian, and now I'm sharing it with you guys!

The recipe is for stuffed pumpkin. You buy a pumpkin, cut it in half (or buy a half that's already been cut), bake it, take out the seeds, fill it with the goodness of your choosing, and bake it again.

I always get a little confused with buying pumpkins so... I haven't yet. I get confused by the translations: pumpkin vs. squash? Abórbora x Aborbrinha? Are they both reflecting the same technical difference?

It seems like the pumpkin Rachel used in her picture was half of a big abórbora japonesa, which is a pumpkin hybrid unique to Brazil. I learned that while trying to find the name in English. The site, which explains the crop, calls it a Japanese squash, not a pumpkin. Sigh.

From what I can find, the most similar crop in the US is an acorn squash.

When I make this, I think I'm going to treat the stuffing the way I would treat stuffing for bell peppers: a bread crumb base (farinha de rosca), onion, tomato, and garlic (my fundamental ingredients for almost anything), some spinach or rúcula, maybe some quiejo minas, because it won't melt too much. I'd like to add in some eggplant to the mix, but I'm so bad at preparing eggplant.

In case you missed the link above, check out the recipe here.

Come on! Try it! Tell us what you put (or would put) in your stuffing!

Thanks for the recipe, ladies!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yummy Apple Crisp

This recipe is super simple and ALL of the ingredients are easily found at any grocery store.  It’s an old favorite of mine dating back to my hippy days when I lived in a vegetarian housing co-op (in college), so it’s a little crunchy granola like – but I love it.
The overall concept is to slice up some apples and layer them with a sweet crumble, then bake.  The ingredients list makes about 6-8 servings in an oblong baking dish, but you can shrink it to serve just you and your sweetie, or expand it to take to a BBQ.  It is not delicate.

8 – 10 medium apples (choose crisp, tart varieties, mix and match)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, maybe some sunflower seeds)
2 cups raw oats (not the shredded “instant” variety)
¾ cup flour
½ cup butter
1/3 cup honey
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg (Portuguese: noz-moscada)
½ tsp. salt

Peel, pare and slice the apples.  You don’t want them to be too big, but don’t slice them too thin either. Drizzle the apple slices with fresh lemon juice. Toss.  Spread half of the apples into a suitable, greased, baking dish.
Mix the oats, flour, nuts/seeds, salt and spices in a bowl. Melt the butter and honey together. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  It should be a somewhat dry, crumbly mixture.  If it looks too dry, add a touch more melted butter.  Some might want to add a little sugar to sweeten things up.  This recipe is not a super sweet one.  (Hippies like to taste the nuts, oats and fruit and not just the sugar.)
Crumble half of the mixture over the apples in your pan.  Cover with the remaining apples, and then the rest of the topping.  Pour the orange juice over everything. Bake 40 – 45 minutes, uncovered, at 375 degrees F.  Watch it near the end and cover it if it crisps too quickly.  You want the apples cooked well, but not mushy.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, or drizzle your serving with crème de leite.
NOTE: if you want to add raisins, include them with the apples, not the crumble topping.  You can also use pears or peaches, but then reduce the cooking time by perhaps 20 minutes.
Oh, and if you have any leftover the next morning, put some in a bowl, heat it up in the microwave, pour a little milk over it and enjoy a super scrumptious hippy, crunchy, granola breakfast.
This recipe is only slightly modified from the original published in the Mooswood Cookbook.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brownies in Brazil

Oh, dear cooking blog! How I´ve abandoned you! You´re practically Jim´s cooking blog now. That´s OK. You´re in good hands.

::Cue infomercial music and black and white dramatization::

Are you living in Brazil? Are you tired of paying too much for defrosted brownies that just aren´t the same as Grandma´s, or even TGI Fridays´s?

::Back to color::

Well I have the solution for you! This easy brownie recipe can be made right in the comfort of your Brazilian kitchen! No ingredients have to be imported! No boxed brownie mix required!

I followed the recipe from this website exactly. Then I copied an idea from this website and put doce de leite on top of the brownies before I put them in the oven.

Some tips to help you ´´translate´´ this recipe in your Brazilian kitchen:

*The recipe calls for an American stick of butter. This is approximately 115 grams. Brazilian sticks of butter are typically 200 grams. I bought manteiga com sal and used a little more than half of it.

*The word for powdered cocoa in Portuguese is cacau em pó. We went to a huge supermarket to buy it. In the aisle with chocolate for baking and other types of chocolate (like ice cream topping), we found exactly one brand of cacau em pó. It was Garoto. It came in a box. It looks like this. It was 10 reais! I thought it ironic that, in a country where cacau grows in abundance, I could only find one brand, and it was expensive. But you´ll only use about half of the box, and maybe your supermarket will have other (cheaper) brands. (But if not, IT´S WORTH IT! Remember, you´ll pay like R$15 for a crappy brownie in a restaurant.)

*the recipe calls for parchment (wax paper) to line the pan. I just slathered the glass baking pan in margarine and it worked fine.

*the doce de leite recipe says to use an entire can of doce de leite. I thought that was too much. I bought one of those little buckets (400g) and used about 1/3 of it, and it was plenty.

*To make your brownie experience extra special, buy some American-style milk to drink with it! Brazilian milk is great, with its practicality and long shelf life and all, but the flavor just isn´t the same. When you´re in the cold section of the supermarket buying your butter, pick up some Batavo pasteurized milk. It looks like this. It´s only like, 1 real more than the Brazilian-style milk. I love how the translation of ´´skim milk´´ is leite magro.

Thank you so much to my great friend Crystal for the recipe and tips!!

Enjoy! Try not to eat too many at once, or you´ll end up with a stomach ache, like I did.

Here´s the recipe, copied from Inside a Black Apple:

You need: 1 medium sized pot, parchment, and an 8" sq. baking dish

Ingredients: 1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 c White Sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
Pinch salt
Tbsp Vanilla
1. Preheat Oven to 390F (200C) 
2. Melt butter in pot over stove
3. Remove butter from heat, let cool about a minute, then add sugars (just use the pot as your saves you more dishes). Mix well.
4. Add eggs, flour, cocoa, salt, and generous tablespoon-splash of vanilla, and mix well.
5. Line baking dish (I use a glass one) with parchment, pour in batter, and pop in oven.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, I test with a knife in the center and remove when only a few little crumbs cling to the knife.
7. Cool one hour or overnight.