From from my kitchen

From my Kitchen: Acerola Liqueur

When we bought our house it came with a beautiful acerola tree in the backyard. Acerolas are cherry sized red fruits jam-packed with vitamin C. This year’s first harvest was especially bountiful, so we made plenty of juice and also froze some pulp for later use. And of course like every year I prepared a few bottles of delicious acerola liqueur.

Homemade liqueur makes a great gift.
Ingredients:
  • 1 kg ripe acerolas
  • 1 l vodka or cachaça
  • 700 g sugar
  • 1 l mineral water (still) or filtered tap water
Preparation:

Wash the acerolas. Mix the water and the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil until all the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. Add the acerolas and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the stove and allow to cool. Strain through a colander to remove the seeds and skins. Add the vodka or cachaça. Transfer to glass containers, close tightly and store in a dark place for 20 to 25 days.

Strain first through a cheesecloth and then through a paper coffee filter to remove all pulp. Fill into clear glass bottles and close tightly. Let rest for a minimum of 90 days – if you can resist.

Enjoy responsibly.

Hard to believe, but after just about two months we’re almost ready for the second harvest of the year!

Licor de acerola

Ingredientes:
  • 1 kg de acerolas maduras
  • 1 litro de vodka ou cachaça
  • 700g de açúcar
  • 1 litro de água mineral (sem gás) ou água filtrada
Como fazer:

Lave as acerolas. Prepare o xarope com o açúcar e a água. Deixe ferver por 20 minutos. Junte as acerolas. Deixe ferver por mais 3 minutos. Retire do fogo e deixe esfriar. Passe por peneira de malha grossa para retirar os sementes e as peles. Junte ao vodka ou à cachaça. Coloque em vasilhames de vidro e guarde em um lugar escuro por 20 a 25 dias.

Depois disso passe tudo por um pano e em seguida coe em filtro de papel. Engarrafe. Feche bem. Use após 90 dias no mínimo.

Aprecie com moderação.

Let me know, how it turned out. Or, if you like, share your own recipe.

As always I appreciate your visit. And remember to look me up on facebook or Instagram.

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From my Kitchen: Guava Bread

It’s guava season in our part of Brazil, and while we don’t own a guava tree ourselves our generous friends are happy to share their bounty with us.The other day we received a bag of this deliciously fragrant fruit and we made some juice and froze some of the pulp for later use – either for more juice or jam.

Deliciously sweet and fragrant: fresh guava

I did some research on the internet for additional ideas and among a vast variety of different recipes this Breakfast Guava Cake caught my eye. (The author herself says it’s actually more like a Guava Bread – so that’s what I’m calling it here.)

I tried it immediately, tweaking the ingredients slightly, and the result was simply yummy. Allow me to share it with you.

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened (200g)
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract or 1/2 cup raisins soaked in rum (optional)
1½ cups finely chopped guava, seeds removed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180° C
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, then add vanilla extract and raisins or rum extract if using.
Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined.
Fold in chopped guava.
Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Just before serving dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Eat within two days.

Adapted from Betsylife

Pão de Goiaba

Ingredientes

2 xícaras de farinha de trigo
1 colher de chá de fermento em pó
1½ colher de chá de canela
1 xícara de manteiga, amolecida (200g)
1 xícara de açúcar mascavo
3 ovos
1 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
1 colher de chá de extrato de rum ou 1/2 xícara de passas embebidas em rum (opcional)
1½ xícara de goiaba finamente picada, sementes removidas


Modo de fazer

Pré-aqueça o forno a 180 ° C
Em uma tigela média, misture farinha, fermento em pó e canela. Deixe de lado.
Em uma tigela grande, bata junto manteiga e açúcar mascavo até macio.
Adicione os ovos, um de cada vez, em seguida, adicione o extrato de baunilha e as passas ou o extrato de rum, se estiver usando.
Com o batedor em velocidade baixa, adicione gradualmente a mistura de farinha até ficar bem combinado.
Adicione a goiaba picada.
Despeje a mistura em uma forma
de pão de ló untada e ase por 50-60 minutos ou até um palito introduzido no centro sai limpo.
Tire do forno e deixe descansar na panela por 15 minutos. Transfere para uma grade de arame ou tábua para esfriar completamente.

Pouco antes de servir povilhe com açúcar de confeiteiro.

Coma em até dois dias.

Adaptado de Betsylife

Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. Let me know how it turned out.

 

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From my Kitchen: Traditional Pesto Sauce

The basil in our garden has grown vigorously thanks to the abundant summer rains we’ve had here in the past weeks. It has become a delicious addition to a variety of dishes, but pesto sauce is still my favorite use for this savory herb.

It is equally perfect with pasta, boiled new potatoes or as dressing for a tomato salad. I make a large batch whenever the basil plants need trimming. It keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator, making for effortless dinners even when surprise guests show up. Alternatively it can be frozen for longer storage. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays, so portions can be defrosted according to need.

By the way your basil-less friends will love to receive it as a gift!

Ingredients:

36 basil leaves

4 cloves of garlic

150 g pine nuts or walnuts or blanched almonds or Brazil nuts – or a combination thereof

100 g freshly grated mixed pecorino romano and parmesan cheese

200ml good quality olive oil

salt and black pepper

Preparation:

Rinse the basil leaves and spread them on a paper towel to dry. Place them in a food processor and blend together with the garlic. Gradually add the nuts, cheese and olive oil. Finally add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Just before serving mix with 1 -2 tablespoons of hot water (from cooking the pasta or the potatoes) per portion.

Serves six.

Adapted from the book “The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces” by Diane Seed, Ten Speed Press

 

Molho de pesto tradicional

Observação: este pesto pode ser feito com manjericão, mas fica melhor ainda com basílico doce (alfavaca)

Ingredientes:

36 folhas de basílico

4 dentes de alho

150 g pinhões, nozes,  amêndoas descascadas ou castanhas do Pará – ou uma mistura

100 g mistura de quejo pecorino romano e parmesão ralado

200ml azeite de boa qualidade

sal e pimenta do reino

Modo de preparo:

Enxágüe as folhas de basílico e espalhe-as em uma toalha de papel para secar. Colocá-las em um liquidifiquador e misture com o alho. Adicione gradualmente as nozes, o queijo e o azeite. Por final, adicione sal e pimenta do reino a gosto. Use imediatamente ou guarde na geladeira por até duas semanas.

Antes de servir mistura com 1 -2 colheres de sopa de água quente (de cozinhar a massa ou as batatas) por porção.

Serve 6 pessoas.

Adaptado do livro “The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces” by Diane Seed, Ten Speed Press

 

Enjoy – and thanks for visiting. Please click the link if you like to follow me on facebook

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From My Kitchen: Bourbon Chicken Liver Pâté

I absolutely adore chicken livers. Truth be told they are not very popular here in Brazil. I cannot figure out why, when many people enjoy hearts or gizzards. As a result livers are the cheapest parts of the chicken at the supermarket, which is fine by me.

A while ago when searching for ways to prepare pâté I came across this easy to make and delicious recipe. I’ve served it to a group of our friends and after some initial skepticism they really liked it and I got lots of compliments.

Though it can be eaten the day it’s made, I find it even more flavorful when made 1 or 2 days ahead.

Ingredients:

200g  unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 kg chicken livers, trimmed
2 tablespoons bourbon

Garnish: a fresh thyme, marjoram, or sage sprig

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-cup crock or terrine or several small ramekins
Enjoy with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Preparation:

Melt 150g butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, then cook onion and garlic, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add herbs, salt, pepper, allspice, and livers and cook, stirring, until livers are cooked outside but still pink when cut open, about 8 minutes. Stir in bourbon and remove from heat. Blend mixture in a food processor until smooth, then transfer pâté to crock and smooth top.
Melt remaining 50g butter in a very small heavy saucepan over low heat, then remove pan from heat and let butter stand 3 minutes. If using herb garnish, put sprig on top of pâté. Skim froth from butter, then spoon enough clarified butter over pâté to cover its surface, leaving milky solids in bottom of pan.
Chill pâté until butter is firm, about 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours more.

If you use several small ramekins instead of a pâté crock or terrine, you may need more clarified butter to seal the tops.

Cooks’ notes: Pâté can be chilled up to 2 weeks.
Once butter seal has been broken, pâté keeps, its surface covered with plastic wrap and chilled, 1 week.

Recipe found at: Divinely Delish – Adventures in Food

Pâté de fígado de frango com bourbon

Ingredientes:

200g  manteiga sem sal
1 xícara de cebola picada
2-3 dentes de alho picado
1 colher de chá de tomilho fresco picado ou 1/4 colher de chá seco
1 colher de chá de orégano fresco picado ou 1/4 colher de chá seco
1 colher de chá de sálvia fresca picada ou 1/4 colher de chá seca
3/4 colher de chá de sal
1/4 colher de chá de pimenta do reino
1/8 colher de chá de pimenta da jamaica em pó
1/2 kg de fígados de frango
2 colheres de sopa de bourbon

Enfeite: um raminho de sálvia, tomilho ou orégano fresco.

Equipamento especial: panela de barro ou várias tigelinhas pequenas
Sirva com crackers ou fatias de torrada.

Modo de preparo:

Derreta 150g de manteiga em uma frigideira grande sobre fogo brando, em seguida, cozinhe a cebola e o alho, mexendo sempre, até ficar macios, cerca de 5 minutos. Adicione as ervas, sal, pimenta, pimenta da jamaica, e os fígados e cozinhe, mexendo, até os fígados estarem cozidos do lado de fora, mas ainda rosa quando cortado, cerca de 8 minutos. Adicione o bourbon e retire do fogo. Bater a mistura em um processador de alimentos até ficar homogêneo, em seguida, transferir o pâté para a vasilha de barro e alisar a superfície.
Derreta a manteiga restante (50g) em uma pequena panela pesada em fogo baixo, em seguida, retire a panela do fogo e deixe a manteiga descansar por 3 minutos. Se estiver usando ervas para enfeitar, coloque o raminho em cima do pâté. Retire a espuma da manteiga, em seguida, espalhe manteiga clarificada sobre o pâté para cobrir a sua superfície, deixando os sólidos leitosos no fundo da panela.
Deixe o pâté esfriar até que a manteiga esteja firme, cerca de 30 minutos, em seguida, cubra com filme plástico e leve à geladeira pelo menos por mais 2 horas.
Se você usar várias tigelas pequenas em vez de uma panela de barro ou terrine, você pode precisar de mais manteiga clarificada para selar os tops.
Notas para cozinheiros: · Pâté pode ser refrigerado até 2 semanas.
Uma vez o selo de manteiga tenha sido quebrado, o pâté mantém, com sua superfície coberta com filme plástico e refrigerado, até 1 semana.

Receita de: Divinely Delish – Adventures in Food

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I’m looking forward to your comments. And remember to drop us your e-mail address to receive notifications of future posts. Or like our page on facebook. Thanks.

Ora-Pro-Nobis

For those of you who understand Latin you will recognize the words above as “pray for us”. If you are familiar with Brazil, and with the state of Minas Gerais, you will know that it is also the name of a plant.

Specifically a kind of cactus – though this might come as a surprise even to those who are acquainted with it – with the scientific name Pereskia aculeata. It is an undemanding clambering plant with fiery thorns and oblong leaves. Its spectacular flowers give off a pleasant fragrance, but alas only last for a day or two.

Ora-pro-nobis flowers
The gorgeous flowers appear between January and March. Sadly their beauty is short-lived, as they die within a day or two.

In Minas, and to a lesser degree in other regions of Brazil ora-pro-nobis is part of the culinary tradition. The leaves, rich in proteins, vitamins, fibers, iron, calcium and other minerals, are used in the sauce of stewed chicken or meat. Or they may be sauteed with garlic as a side dish. Raw they can be an ingredient for salads. More and more recipes incorporate them in nontraditional ways.

Ora pro Nobis leaves
The leaves of the ora-pro-nobis plant are an important ingredient in the culinary tradition of Minas Gerais.

A number of medicinal properties are attributed to the plant as well. The leaves release a mucus when cut, which is popularly used as anti-inflammatory ointment for skin irritations or in case of burns.

So, after all, where does the unlikely name originate? Legend has it that people were harvesting the plant in the garden of a parish priest while overhearing him praying in Latin. They liked the ring of it and the name stuck.

I guess now I owe you at least one traditional recipe.

 

From my Kitchen: Farofa de Ora-Pro-Nobis

Farofa is essentially  Brazilian, and simply cannot be translated. Its base is coarse manioc flour (“farinha de mandioca”), which gets roasted in fat with any number of other ingredients – often including eggs – to become a flavorful crisp side dish for meat or chicken. It’s also great with barbecue.

farofa de Ora pro Nobis

Here is my ora-pro-nobis version:

Ingredients:

1 tblsp cooking oil

50 g bacon, finely cubed

1 small onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 red or green bell pepper, finely cubed

1 cup ora-pro-nobis, finely chopped

1/2 – 3/4 cup coarse manioc flour

salt, dried oregano and black pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

In a non stick skillet heat the cooking oil and add the bacon, fry until crisp. Add the onions and garlic and sautee until golden, then throw in the peppers and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the ora-pro-nobis, cook until they start wilting, about 1 – 2 minutes. Season with the dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Finally gradually pour in the manioc flower, stirring constantly until it reaches a crumbly consistency.

 

Farofa de ora-pro-nobis

Ingredientes:

1 colher de sopa de óleo de cozinha

50 g de bacon cortado em cubos pequenos

1 cebola pequena cortada em cubos pequenos

2-3 dentes de alho picado

1/2 pimentão vermelho ou verde cortado em cubos pequenos

1 xícara de ora-pro-nobis picado

1/2 a 3/4 de xícara de farinha de mandioca

sal, orégano e pimenta do reino a gosto

 

Modo de preparo:

Esquentar o óleo em uma panela antiaderente e em seguida acrescentar o bacon. Deixar bem frito e adicionar a cebola e depois o alho. Assim que ambos tiverem dourados adicionar o pimentão e continuar cozinhando aproximadamente 5 minutos. Acrescentar as folhas de ora-pro-nobis  e cozinhar mais 1 – 2 minutos, até  o ora-pro-nobis muchar. Temperar com orégano, sal e pimenta do reino. Finalmente adicionar a farinha aos poucos, sempre mexendo até chegar na consistência desejada.

 

I hope you enjoyed our little excursion into the kitchens of Minas Gerais. We always appreciate your comments. Please follow us on facebook or sign up via e-mail if you like to be kept up-to-date on our posts.

 

 

From My Kitchen: Banana Bread

Last weekend we harvested a bunch of bananas in our backyard. So it’s been bananas every day for breakfast and afternoon snack. Time to pull out the recipe for this delicious and super simple banana bread that I make whenever I have extra bananas on hand.

Banana bread with chopped Brazil nuts and dried cranberries
Banana bread with chopped Brazil nuts and dried cranberries

 

Ingredients:

4-5 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

3/4 cup of sugar

1 3/4 cups of wheat flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of cooking oil

chopped nuts (or raisins soaked in rum, chopped prunes, pistachios, Brazil nuts, dried cranberries)

confectioner’s sugar (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Beat the eggs with the sugar until creamy, alternately add the sifted flour mixed with baking powder and baking soda and the cooking oil. Turn off the mixer and with the help of a spatula incorporate the bananas and chopped nuts. You can also use any of the alternative ingredients or a combination of several of them.

Bake in a poundcake form that has been greased and dusted with flour for about 40 min or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Before serving dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Recipe adapted from Izabel Delbone. Unfortunately the site where I found it doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

Photo by Jorge

 

Pão de banana

Ingredientes:

4-5 bananas maduras amassadas

2 ovos

3/4 xícara de açucar

1 e 3/4 de xícara de farinha de trigo

1 colher (sobremesa) de fermento em pó

1/2 colher (sobremesa) de bicarbonato de sódio

1/2 xícara de óleo

nozes picadas (ou passas embebidas em rum, ameixas picadas, pistachios, castanhas do pará, cranberries secos)

açucar de confeiteiro (opcional)

 

Preparo:

Preaqueça o forno a 180°C

Bata os ovos com o açúcar até cremoso, em seguida adicione o óleo e alternadamente a farinha de trigo peneirada com o fermento em pó e o bicarbonato de sódio. Desligue a batedeira e, com a ajuda de uma espátula, misture as bananas amassadas e as nozes picadas.  Pode-se substituir as nozes por passas embebidas ao rum, ameixas picadas, pistachios, etc.

Asse em forma untada e polvilhada com farinha de trigo (forma de bolo inglês) por aproximadamente 40 minutos ou até uma faca enfiada sai limpa.

Antes de servir polvilhe com açucar de confeiteiro se desejar.

Bom apetite!

 

 

From My Kitchen: Mango Chutney

Mango season has just started in our part of Brazil and it’s time for my first batch of mango chutney. This chutney is absolutely fabulous! It’s wonderful with barbecue or any kind of meat, you can add it to a salad, have it on toast or else eat it straight out of the container! Somebody just suggested to pair it with goat cheese, I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds yummy.

It also makes a great gift (if you can bear to part with it).

Our neighbor actually brings me mangoes every season – peeled, pitted and all – in exchange for a pot …

Photo by Food Network
Photo by Food Network

Ingredients

2 kg fresh mangoes, ripe but not too soft, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chili flakes

2 1/2 cups medium diced red onion

1/4 cup minced fresh ginger

1 cup small diced red bell pepper

125 ml pineapple juice concentrate

125 ml apple vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

Salt and fresh ground white pepper

1/2 cup raisins or golden raisins

1/2 cup toasted, roughly chopped macadamia nuts or brazil nuts

 

Directions

Cut the mango flesh away from the pit. Roughly chop the flesh.

In a saute pan heat the oil and add the chili flakes. Be careful not to burn the chili, just toast to flavor the oil. Add the onions and sweat until soft. Add the ginger and bell pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Finally add the mango and cook for 1 more minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, and curry powder. Add this mixture to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a bare simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add the raisins and the nuts and transfer to small containers.

Makes about 4 cups. Can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks.

Enjoy! And let me know how you liked it

Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe, found on Food Network

 

 

Chutney de manga

Ingredientes:

2 kg de manga sem casca

3 colheres de sopa de azeite

1 colher de chá de pimenta calabresa

2 1/2 xícaras de cebola roxa em cubos

1/4 xícara de gengibre fresco ralado

1 xícara de pimentão vermelho em cubos

125 ml de suco de abacaxí concentrado

125 ml de vinagre de maçã

1/2 xícara de açucar mascavo

1 1/2 colher de sopa de curry em pó

sal e pimenta do reino branca a gosto

1/2 xícara de uvas passas

1/2 xícara de castanhas do pará ou macadâmia picadas

 

Modo do preparo:

Tirar os caroços das mangas e cortar as frutas em cubos.

Esquentar o azeite em uma panela grande e acrescentar os flocos de pimenta calabresa. Tomar cuidado para não queimar a pimenta. Juntar as cebolas e refogar até macio. Adicionar o gengibre e o pimentão e refogar 1 -2 min. Acrescentar as mangas e deixar cozinhar por mais 1 min.

Em uma tigela separada misturar o suco de abacaxí, vinagre, açucar mascavo e o curry em pó. Acrescentar tudo à panela, ferver em fogo brando por 30 min, mexendo frequentamente. Temperar com sal e pimenta. Juntar as uvas passas e as castanhas. Desligar o fogo e transferir para potes pequenos.

Rende aprox. 4 xícaras. Pode ser guardado na geladeira por 2 semanas.

Bom apetite! Aguardando seus comentários!

 

 

My Perfectly Imperfect Kitchen

Sunday lunch

Sitting down for a good meal with that special person or a group of friends is one of the great pleasures in life. Cooking is the anticipation of that pleasure, and it is immensely satisfying to see everybody truly enjoying the food you’ve prepared.

I consider it the ultimate praise when guests ask me for the recipe.

What could be a better place for sharing than right here? Starting next week I will periodically post some of my favorite dishes. While in most cases I cannot take the credit for creating them, I’ve cooked them all to general acclaim. I hope you’ll like them as much as we do.

In consideration of my Brazilian friends and followers I’ve decided that the recipes should be posted both in English and Portuguese.

Please check in from time to time to see what’s cooking or, better yet, subscribe and you will never miss a post.