Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cookin' Non Brazilian Food in Brazil

So, in case you didn't know (or you forgot) Ro and I are living with his family.  On a side note, I feel like our living situation is pretty fortunate, especially when you compare it to some others (ahem, Stephanie, ahem).  There are obvious downsides to this but instead of going into detail and turning this into a rant, I shall only name one.  The lack of cooking I can do.  Now, don't get me wrong because Ro's mom is an incredible cook.  I love to eat pretty much everything she makes and hell, who doesn't like to just show up to the kitchen at meal time and fill up their plate?  I have made comments on more than one ocassion that I feel like I am living in a delicious restaurant. 
The sad part is, I really like cooking.  And I really like having all of my spices, eating spicy food, trying new things (and Ro is really good about being experimented on) and generally having space in the kitchen to move around and make a mess.  It's difficult to just take it upon myself to cook something here because Ro's mom is usually in the kitchen for the majority of the day. 
BUT.  Last week I suggested that I make a Mexican Night (not that I am really seasoned at Mexican, but I can make a quesadilla pretty well).  So I picked up the items for my Mexican Night because I figured, if I'm going to make it, I'm going to make it all from scratch. 

On my menu was:

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Salsa
Cheese Quesadillas
Zucchini & Corn Fritters with yogurt lime cilantro dressing

I cooked away in the kitchen for 5 hours to make my dinner and in the end I think it turned out pretty well!  See for yourself:


Secondly, we have been talking up "Canadian Breakfast" to Ro's mom lately... For all you Canadians, you know what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about the scrambled eggs, bacon, buttered toast & jam, hashbrowns, pancakes, fresh fruit, orange juice.  THAT'S a breakfast.  In Brazil, breakfast usually consists of something delicious from the bakery but lacks in any protein in my experience.  So this morning Ro and I woke up to cook a true Canadian Breakfast, including all the items mentioned above.  From scratch!!  We juiced oranges for our orange juice.  We made pancakes from Amelia's website (SOOOO GOOD).  We simmered some apples in apple juice, cinnamon, and honey for a delicious pancake topping, fried up some red skin potato homefries, cooked the bacon, scrambled the eggs and topped it off with a watermelon/canteloupe/pineapple fruit platter. 
What do you think??

Ok, so obviously we forgot to take a picture before diggin' in.  We were way too hungry to remember, seeing as it took us an hour longer than we planned. 
Oh well!  Here are some more pics:

Pretty damn proud of our breakfast, Babe!!!  And feeling happy to be able to cook again...  It's true that my specialty isn't everyday cuisine.  I always prefer to make something new and elaborate that takes a lot of time and effort (and usually money).  So for Ro's mom to give up her kitchen for several hours to let us do our work, I really appreciate.  And I'm sure she appreciates being cooked for as well... it's just like I told Ro.  It's difficult for her to give up the kitchen; it's like the driver suddenly becoming the passenger.  My mom can contest to that one... it's hard isn't it, Mom?  Always stepping on your nonexistent brake with your white shoe.... hahaha! 

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this delicious post...  Below are the recipes for the tomato salsa (sans onions because Ro's mom hates onions) and the pancakes from Amelia's blog. 

Tomato Salsa without Onions
Prep Time:
5 Min     
Cook Time:
15 Min
Ready In:
20 Min

Servings  (Help)

Original Recipe Yield 3 cups


  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place poblano pepper and garlic cloves on a medium baking sheet. Turning pepper frequently, broil at maximum distance from heat until browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, place roasted pepper, roasted garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, chili powder and lime juice. Process using pulse setting until an evenly chunky texture is obtained. Chill until serving.

*Side Note*
I didn't have poblano pepper so I used green and red pepper and drizzled olive oil and salt on them before roasting.
Also, didn't have chili powder so I just put in a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.  Let it chill for about 4 hours before serving. 

Amelia's Basic Pancake Recipe
Here are some tips to making perfect pancakes:

1. Before you ladle on the pancake batter, wipe access butter off the griddle with a folded paper towel. This will make sure you have perfectly browned pancakes.

2. Use all purpose flour in the batter. Cake flour can turn soggy when you top it with syrup. Experiment with different flours like buckwheat or whole wheat just substitute half of the all purpose for any of these.

3. Never whisk batter until it's smooth. Lumps are a good thing and will result in fluffier pancakes.

4. Flip pancakes just as the surface bubbles begin to burst. Flipping them after makes for flatter pancakes.

5. When adding blueberries, bananas or chocolate chips (only some of the many additions you can make) sprinkle them over the batter right after they have been poured on the griddle. This will make sure they are distributed evenly and it also makes them look prettier on the plate, which can sometimes be just as important as how they taste.

6. Warm pure maple syrup before serving. It makes for a certain extra little bit of specialness to the morning (or evening, whatever, no judgement here)

Here's a good (basic) recipe that should keep 'em coming for more:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup
  • Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine).
  3. Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.
  4. For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).
  5. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.

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