Was he really there?  Not that I am aware of, but his salads were part of my niece’s meals every single day we stayed there last Thanksgiving.  My youngest niece Raquel is a fantastic cook and has a ton of energy: with three young kids, she still finds time to make bread, bake all sorts of sweets (cakes included, she’s got the right genes), and exercise on a regular basis. Phil and I stayed with her, her hubby Celso and the kids during part of our last visit, and we were treated like royalty! She also hosted a lunch for our whole family that consisted of Brazilian classics like feijoada, pastéis, mandioca frita, farofa, mashed plantains, and a chocolate mousse with cachaça that swept Phil off his feet.  Almost literally. Not the type of dessert appropriate for kids, mind you…    Knowing that my goal was to leave Brazil with the exact same weight I had upon my arrival, she prepared several salads from Plenty, so that I could resort to a light meal every once in a while. My favorite was a salad with dates and chèvre, so when I arrived back home, I sat down with Jerusalem, Plenty, and Plenty More to be properly inspired.


(modified from Ottolenghi & Tamimi Jerusalem cookbook)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 ½ ounces pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
2 large navel orange segments
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sumac
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 ounces baby greens
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt

Put the vinegar and dates in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and toss mixing well. Leave to marinate for about 15 minutes, then drain and discard any of the residual vinegar. Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add the slivered almonds, season lightly with salt, and cook until dark golden.  Place them on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with sumac and red pepper flakes. allow it to cool.

When ready to serve the salad, place the baby greens in a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the leaves with dressing. Add the oranges, and dates, tossing it all gently again. Top with the almond mixture and the sesame seeds.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  if you have Jerusalem, this version was a departure from his spinach salad with dates and toasted pita bread.  I am sure it is even more delicious, but I kept it simple this time, and used a nice coating with sesame seeds, plus orange segments which I think go very well with the dates.  I love the unique flavor that sesame seeds impart to dishes.  We have an Oriental grocery store in town that sells HUGE bottles of plain, toasted, and black sesame seeds from the Middle East for a great price, so I make sure to never run out of them.

And now, time to share a few shots of that wonderful lunch that joined my whole family: two sisters, one brother-in-law, four nieces (two with their respective husbands), 5 of my 6 grandnephews, and of course, my Mom presiding like a Queen over all of us.

FeijoadaFeijoada, a Brazilian classic…

All the “usual suspects” that are mandatory to go with it…

FeijoadaStuffOrange segments, shredded “couve” (similar to kale), farofa, white rice…

MandiocaFritaMandiocaServedMandioca frita, to die for!

PasteisPastéis, of three kinds: ground beef, cheese, and hearts of palm…
Choose your ticket to paradise!

Plantains2My first time enjoying this delicacy:  mashed plantains… very very tasty!

SaladOne of Ottolenghi’s salads….  nice counterpart for so many rich dishes!

MousseChocolateLa pièce de resistance…. Chocolate Mousse with Cachaça….
a complete dream in chocolate form!

MomNailsMy Mom’s 91-year-old hands…
I guess it’s clear where my fascination with nail polish comes from…

Mom&Me2One more visit that went by too fast… Until next time, Keep Calm and Carry On…  

Before I say goodbye, a little note to tell you that I just started a Facebook page for the Bewitching. It is a bit strange to start a page for a blog that is almost 6 years old, but I joined a Facebook group of bloggers and they advised me to do so.  If you want to like the Bewitching on FB, just click on the link on the right side. Thank you!

ONE YEAR AGO: Roasted Winter Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

TWO YEARS AGO: 2012 Fitness Report: P90X2

THREE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Bananas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

FIVE YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread

55 thoughts on “OTTOLENGHI IN BRAZIL?

  1. What a wonderful feast and that you could spend it with your mother and all your relatives is so special. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  2. I’ve just started diving into his book Plenty and glad to read of another salad I need to try. What an incredible spread.. I would love sampling each dish, there are flavours there that would be brand new for my palate.. but that Chocolate Mousse with Cachaça.. that would be at the top of my list! Off to like you on Facebook:)


    • that mousse was amazing! Strangely enough, my niece did not think it was that great, she thought the flavor of the alcohol was too overwhelming – I thought it gave it a very warming background, loved it…. and, it did not make me dance on top of the table, so I guess it was just right 😉


    • Mike, the reason why – was your previous commitment to feast on Thanksgiving with your family. I felt that it would be terribly unfair to remove you from the US at such a key moment, and take you from the cold of your state to the tropical environment of Sao Paulo… I will make sure to time my next visit better, so you won’t have it conflicting with American holidays… 😉


  3. Those pasteis look delicious! I’ve never heard of them with hearts of palm. How wonderful! I’m so glad you had such a great (albeit too fast) visit with your family. I can’t imagine being that far from them all the time. Well, I’m definitely going to check out your FB page. I’m on there far more than the blog these days (mostly due to convenience).🙂


    • Hearts of palm were bought especially for me – I LOVE hearts of palm and the way they prepare it for pasteis fillings is soooooo delicious…. sauteed with tomatoes, onions, spices, often some cilantro… HEAVEN, Kristy, heaven…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I researched mandioca and if it’s the cassava that I think it is, I believe it requires some special preparation to be safe to eat. I have some hesitation as to whether I’m ready to try something like that.

        By the way, I forgot to comment on your mom’s lovely hands which remind me of my own mother’s. Work worn and with a crooked finger from when she worked on the farm as a young woman and never had set properly when it got broken, it was only in the last 5yrs of her life that they were not busy cooking, cleaning or otherwise taking care of her family. I have drawers FULL of the exquisite crocheted pieces that she made … doilies, tablecloths, throws, wraps and scarves. I’m torn between smiling and weeping at the memories that picture brought to mind.


        • I don’t think I ever heard of a single case of problems with anyone eating fried mandioca – cassava is only toxic if consumed raw, most varieties sold in markets (if not all) have very low levels of cyanide. It is hard to find “mandioca brava” which is a wild variety with higher toxicity. At any rate, in mandioca frita the root is first fully cooked until tender, then fried. I would not recommend this recipe to anyone if I was not 100% confident that it would not be a problem

          but, if you rather not cook it yourself, go to a Brazilian restaurant sometime and order a side dish of mandioca frita… I promise you won’t regret it! 😉


        • BTW, totally understand your reaction with the photo of the hands – hands carry so much expression, and the signs of aging in ways that say a lot about the person.

          My Mom has delicate hands still – I remember my Grandma (from my Dad’s side) – her hands were gorgeous, and she had them painted RED, always bright red, until the day she died at over 90 years old. She would not leave her bedroom without red lipstick and her nails done. Super cute…


          • Other than for my brother’s wedding, I don’t think my mom ever had her nails painted. In fact, when they did them for her in the rehab center after my dad’s stroke and her collapse, I held her hands in mine and then clasped them to my cheeks because they were so cute.


  4. And I keep on going back to look at your mother’s truly beautiful hands!! Wasn’t blessed with such at any stage of my life🙂 !! Are her gold rings wedding ones as they are placed on the middle fingers? Amongst Anglos it is a case of left ring finger, amongst Europeans the right one ??? Great menu and one in which I have not tasted quite a few dishes. But ‘Jerusalem’ – have it and use it quite regularly including the salad you have tweaked: must try your version! Am oh so envious of your reasonably priced sesame seed supply – you should see what I have to pay for a small plastic envelope of plain ones!!!!


    • When my Dad passed away, Mom started wearing his ring too. I know that she had to move rings around to adjust to arthritis, and some problems she had in her hand due to a bad fall 12 years ago. The “rule” in Brazil is the wedding ring goes on the left hand, on the usual, ring finger. It is not common to wear it in the middle finger, so take that as a creative departure from my Mom…. 😉


      • Oh. thinking back my Mom did the same after Dad died: lovely and warm . . . Just as a matter of interest, in my birth country of Estonia the engaged couple wore their rings on the left ring finger whilst engaged and transferred to the right during the wedding ceremony even tho’ Mom also had a ruby engagement ring also: don’t think ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ had been heard as yet🙂 !


    • Karen, I must say I am disappointed at you now. A cook of your caliber who doesn’t OWN a single Ottolenghi book? I can only hope you will be overcoming this handicap soon, my friend…. 😉


    • I think you should go for the pita version – you need more carbs in your life than I do. You are young and vibrant and a serious runner.. Moi? I need to watch my carbs more carefully… 😉


    • Oh, that was such a sweet comment! Made me all warm despite the disgusting low temperature outside…🙂
      Thanks for stopping by, and agree with you, every single one of his salads are amazing!


    • Well, in all honesty, my Mom never liked to cook that much, she has three or four dishes she makes that are amazing, but she has not cooked in years, too weak for that. All the food was made either by my niece or my middle sister. I will see if I can get the mashed plaintain recipe from Raquel… I think I do have the choc mousse in a book she gave me, so stay tuned… I might just make it sometime soon


  5. Wow. Now that is a spread!!! Such beautiful food! I need to buy Plenty. I’ve given it as gifts, but somehow forgot to pick one up for myself. I’ve got the rest. That salad is amazing!


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