RIO OLYMPICS 2016: A GOLD MEDAL MENU

Corcovado_statue01_2005-03-14By Klaus with K – CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1970179

Olympic games are going at full speed, these are two exciting weeks! So much to follow, we tend to stay up late trying to catch up with the events we enjoy the most: swimming, running, track and field, synchronized diving, gymnastics, volleyball, beach volleyball, soccer, and this time even golf  is keeping us glued to the TV screen… Three words for you: Simone Biles rocks. 

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In this post I share a full menu with Brazilian goodies published in previous years, but first I offer a new take on Shrimp Moqueca, adapted in honor of the games.

 

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SALLY’S GOLDEN SHRIMP MOQUECA
(from Bewitching Kitchen)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or dendê oil, if available)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Serrano pepper, minced
salt and pepper
roasted bell pepper, cut in large squares (preferably yellow)
2 cans (15 ounce) yellow tomatoes, drained, briefly processed in blender
a lot of cilantro (a lot)
about 1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat, please)
lemon juice to taste
hot sauce to taste

Squirt a little lemon juice all over the shrimp and reserve.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan with a lid. Add the onions and cook until golden and fragrant. Add the Serrano pepper and roasted bell pepper, cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Now pour the processed yellow tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, a dash or two of the hot sauce of your choice. Cover the pan and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes in very low heat.

Add the shrimp, simmer until cooked, just for a few minutes, then add coconut milk and cilantro to the pan, stirring until warm. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce to taste.  If you’d like, sprinkle fresh lemon juice right before serving. Perfect over white rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

If you don’t have canned yellow tomatoes, use red.  I like to process them to have a smoother sauce. Yellow bell peppers would reinforce the golden color of the dish, but our store did not have any this time.

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A BRAZILIAN MENU TO CELEBRATE THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Let’s get a trio of appetizers going, starting with Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread).  This is a very easy recipe using a blender and a few minutes of your time. If you’ve never had Pão de Queijo, don’t blink. Make them right now!  They were born gluten-free, which is an added bonus to many.

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For the recipe, click follow this link.

Another great, traditional option,  Pastéis (a bit like empanadas, but fried).

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for the recipe, follow this link.

And perhaps my favorite, the one that gets the Golden Medal of Appetizers,
Mandioca Frita (Fried Yucca Root)

mandiocafrita1For the recipe, follow this link. 

To serve with the Golden Moqueca I recommend basic white rice and a nice helping of Brazilian Farofa, to help soak up the flavorful tomato-coconut sauce.

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For the recipe, follow this link.

 

You definitely need the Brazilian national drink to get into the Olympic spirit!

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recipe for Caipirinhas can be found here.

Finally, for dessert, let’s share a triple round of goodies, starting with Brigadeiros,
because how could you not have brigadeiros during a Brazilian feast?

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For the recipe, click here

But it’s hard to beat the level of deliciousness of Cocada de Forno (Baked Coconut)

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to get the recipe for Cocada de Forno, jump here.

 

And perhaps my favorite of all, as Brazilian as Brazilian gets, Mangas Flambadas, served  comme il faut, with vanilla ice cream (but if you use Dulce de Leche it won’t hurt my feelings at all).

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For the recipe, click here.

Top the meal with what my Dad used to call um cafezinho esperto (a smart coffee), and dream with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals around the neck of your favorite athletes.
Let’s keep in mind that medals are great but the effort each athlete puts into being there to compete, that’s what impresses me the most. Imagine the personal ordeals they go through to finally be part of the Olympic team.  Commitment, hard work, mental and physical struggles most of us could never face.

Quoting a great phrase from an advertisement for Under Armour: 

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Watch the video in full here. It is moving, truly mesmerizing.

Golden Shrimp Moqueca, from Bewitching Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Tomato Tatin

TWO YEARS AGO: Headed to Colorado! 

THREE YEARS AGO: Farofa Brasileira

FOUR  YEARS AGO: Thai-Inspired Pork Tenderloin

FIVE YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

SIX YEARS AGO:  Summer’s Tomatoes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

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SALMON RILLETTES, A CLASSY APPETIZER

My last post featured the main dish I chose for Phil’s birthday dinner. Now it’s time to share with you a nice appetizer from the same evening: salmon rillettes. When we lived in Paris, rillettes were a favorite item we ordered in restaurants. Often pork, sometimes duck rillettes. In one of the little neighborhood bistrots, Aux Artistes, they would serve them (as well as their country terrine) family style. A big dish would be brought to the table, so you could serve yourself some, then the waiter would take it away for others to enjoy. Very civilized in that unique French way. Hard to imagine the same situation in the US. What? You expect me to eat something that was already on someone else’s table?  Manipulated by other human beings? You must be out of your mind!  I say “Vive la différence!”  And pass me the rillettes, will you?

I found this recipe in Karen’s site. She loved it so much that she confessed to having it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner several days in a row. That, my friends, is what food endorsement is all about.  I knew I had to make it sooner rather than later.

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SALMON RILLETTES
(from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

1 lemon
1/2 cup vermouth
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced in half, one half minced
5 to 10 white peppercorns
5 to 10 coriander seeds
2 to 3 green onions, cut into 3 inch slices
salt
1/2 pound salmon fillet, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 ounces smoked salmon (peppered coho smoked salmon, if available)
3 tablespoons unsalted and softened butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
With a vegetable peeler, cut off a strip of the peel of the lemon.  Finely zest the rest of the lemon and set the zest aside. Set the lemon aside.
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Place the unchopped half of the jalapeno into a small saucepan. Add the vermouth, water, bay leaf, peppercorns, and coriander seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Add the green onions and fresh salmon cubes. Reduce the heat to low, cover,  and simmer for three to five minutes. Drain in a colander. Discard the vegetables and place the salmon in a medium bowl.
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Mash the salmon roughly with a fork. Add the smoked salmon and mash with a fork.  Add the butter and blend with a fork.  Add some of the juice from the lemon, the lemon zest, along with some salt and pepper to taste.  Add the shallots, minced jalapeno, crushed pink peppercorns, and crushed red pepper. Mix thoroughly. Stir in more lemon juice, to taste.
Pack the mixture into a canning jar or other container. Press the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to a day before serving for the first time. The rillettes will last up to 3 or 4 days.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments: This was incredibly tasty, just as Karen promised it would be, and got better each day.  The mixture of smoked salmon with the lightly poached fish, the lemon, the spices, everything works together in perfect harmony. It is surprisingly mild in flavor. Plus, what a fun recipe to make!  I don’t know why I never attempted rillettes at home, but now that I did, I feel like trying my hands at some pork rillettes, served ‘comme il faut’, with those small cornichons, and a crusty baguette. I will be catapulted straight back to Aux Artistes, although between you and me, the place brings mixed feelings. Yeah, the food was awesome, prices affordable, great atmosphere. but the owner, a gorgeous blonde, tall, bright-blue-wandering eyes, could not – I repeat – could not stop flirting with Phil. Oh, well… as a mentor of mine used to say… attractive people attract.  I took it all with my best smile, sips of Bordeaux, and a few discreet but assertive kicks under the table.  Let’s keep in mind though, that two can play that game. Not that I would ever… you know, I am just not the vindictive type…

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I hope you try this recipe on your next dinner party. Not only it is unusual and elegant, but you will be better off making it in advance. It’s the hostess’ dream come true!
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Karen, once again I should thank you for the constant inspiration!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Special Important Announcement

TWO YEARS AGO: Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad

THREE YEARS AGO: Keema Beef Curry

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin with Soy, Ginger, and Lime

FIVE YEARS AGO: No-Fuss Coffee Cake

SIX YEARS AGO: Swedish Limpa

 

SEAFOOD GRATIN FOR A SPECIAL DINNER

Phil’s brother spent last weekend with us to play some golf and relax (forgive the oxymoron). I did not join them because I am a woman of principle and will not set foot on a golf course until the temperature reaches a comfortable level. For the record, that means above 80 F.  With no excessive wind because that messes my  accuracy with the driver, some irons, and the putter. What can I say? My game is one of exquisite precision. Instead of shivering and getting drenched on the course, I stayed in our kitchen preparing a special dinner for the gentlemen.  I chose a recipe from Ina Garten, which is a bit of an unusual move for me, I find most of her recipes overly rich.  This was no exception, but once in a blue moon it’s ok to indulge. Especially when  we have a wonderful guest to share it with!

Seafood Gratin

SEAFOOD GRATIN
(slightly modified from Ina Garten)

1 cup clam juice (I used homemade shrimp stock)
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup plus 3 tbsp. white wine divided (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
3 tbsp. tomato puree
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
8-ounces raw cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
16 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and green parts
1 cup peeled, shredded carrots
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Combine the shrimp stock (or clam juice), cream, white wine and tomato puree in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the shrimp.  Let cook 1-2 minutes, until pink and opaque.  Remove to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.  Add the pieces of cod to the stock mixture until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove to the same plate with the shrimp using a slotted spoon. Add the cooked lobster to the bowl.

Continue to cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 12 minutes.  Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small bowl with the flour and mash together with a fork.  Whisk the butter-flour mixture with the salt and pepper into the sauce and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a medium sauté pan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add the leeks and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes more.

Add the cream sauce and cooked vegetables to the bowl with the seafood and toss to blend well.  Divide the mixture between individual gratin dishes.  If not baking right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When you are ready to bake the gratins, heat the oven to 375˚ F.  Place the filled gratin dishes on a baking sheet.  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl.  Add the Panko, parmesan, parsley and garlic to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared gratins.  Bake 20 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbling.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Several pointers for success in this recipe: use jumbo or very large shrimp, and cook them briefly in the mixture of heavy cream and white wine.  They will bake later and you don’t want your seafood overcooked. Same is true for the fish, choose a fish with firm white flash, cod or halibut will both word well. If you can splurge, sea bass would be amazing, but when I saw the price of those, I could not bring myself to grab some.  Use any method you like for the lobster tails. I almost went with sous-vide, but in the end simmered them in a little lemony water.  The secret of cooking seafood is to never boil the liquid too hard. They are delicate creatures that will tighten on you and turn rubbery very easily.

I had home-made shrimp stock frozen, and in my opinion that worked much better than bottled clam juice. Great that I remembered having that liquid gold in the freezer. And, what’s even better, it was properly labeled! HA!

This is a perfect dish to entertain, because you can assemble the whole thing in advance and do the final baking while you prepare any side dishes of your choice.  I served it with a bucatini in olive oil with lemon zest, very simple. And roasted asparagus. Dessert was a duo of sorbets, chocolate and raspberry, both recipes should be on the blog in the near future. Ok, near future is a relative term when it comes to my posts. But hang in there, patience will pay off.

😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

TWO YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

FOUR YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

FIVE YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

CELEBRATE WEDNESDAY WITH PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED SHRIMP SKEWERS

This is one of those super simple recipes that deliver a ton of flavor, turning a mid-week dinner into a special event.  Since seafood in general doesn’t need to be marinated for a long time, you can do the whole prep after arriving home from work.  But, if you want to make things even easier, make the marinade, clean the shrimp early in the morning, and keep both items in the fridge until showtime.  Since we have the luxury of coming home for lunch every day, that’s when I normally get this type of prep work done.  A small investment of time at noon, and voilà: painless dinner later in the evening.

ProsciuttoShrimp (Cooked: June 4th – Blogged  Oct 1st)

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED SHRIMP SKEWERS
(slightly adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray)

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, white parts finely chopped and green parts thinly sliced on an angle, divided
1 teaspoon Hungarian red pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 jumbo shrimp, tails on and deveined
12 slices prosciutto

Combine the olive oil, scallion whites, red pepper and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. Season the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, add to the marinade.  Toss to coat, and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge. Wrap each shrimp with a slice of prosciutto and thread onto a metal skewer. If using wood skewers, soak them in water for a few hours.

Grill the shrimp until firm and opaque, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate with sliced scallions, if you like.  I had some fennel fronds in the fridge, that’s what I added.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments:  The Hungarian pepper I used for this marinade was a gift I mentioned in this post. I love its complex flavor and mild level of heat.  I searched and it is available on amazon.com, but the price made me hyperventilate a little.  Lucky me, I do have very nice friends… Red pepper flakes (or fresh Fresno peppers) can be used instead, of course.

My package of prosciutto came with only 10 slices, so some of the shrimp (I actually cooked 14) went to the grill naked. They did not seem to mind, and we definitely did not mind either.  I grilled those for about 30 seconds less on each side. I also like to use a double skewer, a trick that prevents the shrimp from spinning around and makes flipping a lot easier.

Most recipes would call for bacon instead of prosciutto, but I don’t quite get that.  By the time the bacon is properly cooked, seafood will be severely over-done.  I find that prosciutto works much better, as all you need is to get some grill marks on it, so the timing can agree with the seafood wrapped inside it. Alternatively, if you prefer the flavor of bacon, you can pre-cook before wrapping delicate seafood with it. Check Melissa’s method with a click here.

Our dinner that evening was a nice take on surf-and-turf…  Juicy shrimp, and deliciously grilled hanger steak. Light, flavorful, and a breeze to prepare!  Cannot beat that.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

TWO  YEARS AGO: Secret Recipe Club: A Tribute to Daniel

THREE YEARS AGO: Nutella Drop Cookies

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Dreaming of butternut squash

FIVE YEARS AGO: Simply Elegant: Salmon Curry (one of my very favorite dishes!)

SALMON SOUS-VIDE WITH MISO-MAPLE GLAZE

I am very picky about salmon, for my taste it should not be cooked even slightly past medium-rare. Our default method is grilling, and all credit should go to Phil for hitting it perfectly every single time.  I don’t even try to grill it myself, when it’s my turn to cook dinner and I happen to be craving a nice piece of salmon, I bat my eyelashes in his direction, and he cooks it for me…. Now let’s consider the sous-vide approach: you can choose the temperature that takes the fish to that exact point you love the most, seal a bag, press a few buttons, and call it a day. No need to bat eyelashes! HA!

Due to the popularity of seafood in sous-vide cooking, one can easily spend hours comparing methods, recipes, and finishing techniques. A gazillion recipes out there.  I did quite a bit of research on the subject before settling on this recipe.  It rewarded us with a perfectly cooked filet, topped with a salty-sweet glaze of miso and soy.   Of course, if you don’t have a sous-vide you can still cook it using other methods, roasting in the oven, grilling,  then spread the glaze and run the meat under the broiler to give it that healthy glow and intensify the flavors.

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SALMON SOUS-VIDE WITH MISO-MAPLE GLAZE
(slightly modified from Cooking Madly)
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450g (1 pound) fresh salmon
500g (2 cups) water
25g (3 tablespoons) salt
20g (1/4 cup) sugar
70g (1/4 cup) white miso
60g (1/4 cup) maple syrup
14g (1 tablespoon) red wine vinegar
1g (1/2 teaspoon) smoked paprika
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Whisk together water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Prepare salmon by removing skin (optional) and pin bones and cover with brine. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
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While salmon is brining, whisk together miso, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.
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Discard brine and thoroughly rinse salmon. Place in a vacuum seal pouch with ½ of the miso sauce and seal. Cook sous-vide for 20 minutes at 122°F. Start broiler preheating at the same time.
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When salmon is cooked, open bag and discard liquid. Place salmon on a baking sheet, brush a small amount of sauce over the top, and broil until the top starts to brown.
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Finish with remaining sauce and serve.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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ingredients

Comments:
  At first I was a bit skeptical that brining would be necessary, since the main reason for it is retaining moisture. In my mind, that would not be a concern when cooking sous-vide. But in fact there is a rationale behind it.  Have you noticed that sometimes a white liquid forms on the surface of salmon as it cooks?  That is albumin,  a protein that sometimes gets pushed out during cooking. Some methods are more prone to this sipping of albumin, poaching being one of them.  There is nothing bad as far as taste is concerned, but if you want to avoid that, brining works best.
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Obviously, in the name of proper scientific conduct, I should have cooked two pieces of fish – one brined, one not – to compare the effect of brining on overall texture and taste. But sometimes it feels nice to leave the scientific approach at work, and not take cooking too seriously.  That’s what I did…   😉
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This marinade is spectacular, and I have also used it on pork tenderloin. I love how just a few simple ingredients can perform magic: miso is like nothing else, vinegar cuts the sweetness, smoked paprika heats things up, and maple makes my heart sing.  At the risk of repeating myself, if you do not have a sous-vide gadget, simply cook your salmon the way you like it, and use this marinade to brush the surface at the end of cooking. It caramelizes beautifully…  It might just make your heart sing too…  😉
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ONE YEAR AGO: Avocado “Hummus”.
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TWO YEARS AGO: Moving is not for sissies!
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THREE YEARS AGO:
 Awesome Broccolini
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FOUR YEARS AGO
Pizza! Pizza!
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FIVE YEARS AGO: 
 From Backyard to Kitchen

SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER

If you want to serve an elegant appetizer for your next dinner party, but would rather pick something simple to prepare, this recipe is just what you are looking for. All you need is a couple of endives, some smoked salmon (get the best quality you can afford),  and a little Boursin cheese thinned with creme fraiche.

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ENDIVE WITH SMOKED SALMON AND CREAM CHEESE
(inspired by Gluten Free Blondie)

1 or 2 endives (see comments)
Boursin cheese, room temperature
creme fraiche to taste (you can also use sour cream or yogurt)
smoked salmon, very thinly sliced
ground black pepper
fresh dill leaves, minced
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Cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom of an endive spear. Start pulling off individual leaves. As you uncover leaves that are still attached at the base, cut another 1/2 inch off the bottom. Continue separating the endive leaves until you get to leaves that are too small.  One endive will give you about 12 leaves large enough to serve in this type of appetizer.

In a small bowl, mix the Boursin cheese with enough creme fraiche to give it a nice spreading consistency. Arrange the endive on a platter. Spread each leaf with about 1 teaspoon of the Boursin mixture. Top with a sliver of smoked salmon. Sprinkle all of the salmon and cheese topped endive with freshly ground, coarse black pepper, and a little dill.

Refrigerate until serving.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  We loved this appetizer, it is luscious enough with the creamy cheese, but the use of endive instead of a cracker gives it a much lighter feel. Next time I will go one step further and add a couple of capers to each of the servings.  Two endives were butchered to get  enough leaves for the platter you see in the photo.   You might do a lot better than me, but just in case, save yourself some trouble and bring an extra endive home.  I made it 2 hours before serving and the leaves retained their texture reasonably well.  I would not make it more than 3 hours before serving.

I hope that next time you have a dinner party on the horizon, you’ll consider this recipe.
So simple to put together, but it will impress your guests for sure.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Clementine Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Springtime Spinach Risotto

THREE YEARS AGO: The end of green bean cruelty

FOUR YEARS AGO: Torta di Limone e Mandorle

 

 

 

 

MY RIO DE JANEIRO: A COOKBOOK REVIEW

Time for a cookbook review, the second publication by Leticia Schwartz.  Those who have been around the Bewitching Kitchen long enough might remember I reviewed Leticia’s first cookbook, The Brazilian Kitchen.   With this new book, she takes her favorite city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, and professes her love by showcasing recipes from each different neighborhood.  I imagine that only two of them might ring a bell for those who never set foot in Rio: Ipanema and Copacabana.   Those are names made famous by Tom Jobim’s song Garota de Ipanema, and by images of beautiful women wearing bikinis that cover the bare minimum of their bodies. But Rio is a lot more than that, a collection of very diverse neighborhoods reflecting the immigrants who shaped them.

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I had a pretty tough time picking a recipe to share with you, but decided to make her Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus in Coconut Milk because it is quite unique and brings many of the flavors of Brazilian cooking in a single dish.

Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus in Coconut SaucePASTA WITH SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS IN COCONUT MILK
(published with permission from Leticia Schwartz)

kosher salt
8 ounces tagliatelle, linguine or the pasta of your choice
8 ounces asparagus (about 1 bunch), tough parts trimmed
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled (use shells for stock)
black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 cup shrimp stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup coconut milk2 Tablespoons Cognac
2 Tablespoons chives, minced

Steam the asparagus for about 3 minutes, cool them quickly in a bowl of ice-water. Drain well and reserve. Cut in pieces before adding to the sauce.

Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil and start cooking the pasta until a little short of al dente.  As the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Reserve some of the pasta water when you drain it in case you need to thin the sauce at the end.

Heat the olive oil in a large, preferably non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and saute until they start to turn orange, about 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp to a plate, tent with foil, and reserve.  Add the shallots to the skillet, cook until they start to develop a golden brown color, about 3 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the coconut milk, bring to a gentle boil again, cook until the sauce starts to concentrate, thicken, and reduce to about half the volume (about 3 to 4 minutes).

Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked pasta, the reserved shrimp, and asparagus pieces. Toss everything together vigorously, if needed add some of the pasta cooking water, or a little more coconut milk to keep the dish creamy.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, stir the cognac, and add chives right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: Making your own shrimp stock is not absolutely essential, you could use chicken stock or even vegetable stock, but it does add an extra something to the sauce. The seafood flavor is obviously intensified.  Leticia likes to roast the shrimp shells with a little tomato paste, I just sauteed the shells on olive oil, then added water and simmered them for 20 minutes with some celery, carrots, and onions.

I had never used coconut milk  in a pasta sauce before, I might try the light coconut milk next time, I don’t think it would pose a problem.  I could not find chives at the store that day, but a little cilantro or parsley sprinkled on top would also be wonderful. I only remembered that step after we were halfway through with dinner.  Such is the life of a blogger. You don’t always fulfill your own expectations.  😉

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Asparagus in Coconut Milk Sauce

Now, let me go through the book, chapter by chapter, so you can have a better idea of what it’s all about. I list just a few recipes from each chapter, as the book contains 90 recipes.  I should also mention that even though the chapters are divided according to each neighborhood of the city, in the index the recipes are listed by ingredients, making it very easy to find anything you might be interested in cooking.

LeblonEvening in Leblon

CHAPTER ONE: LEBLON. In this chapter, Leticia brings the type of food associated with “botequins“. A quote from the book: “A botequim is a simply type of restaurant that came to being in Brazil in the late 1800’s by and for Portuguese immigrants”.   The botequim actually reminds me of simple bistrots in Paris, not the fancy ones geared to tourists, but the small, usually a bit dark inside, where folks who live or work in the neighborhood meet for a simple meal, a drink, a coffee.  She opens the chapter with Sugar and Lime Cocktail, the Brazilian national drink, “capirinha“.   “Botequim” food is usually finger food, a bit like Spanish tapas.  You will find Golden Salt Cod Fritters (bolinho de bacalhau), Brazilian-Style Fried Chicken, in which the pieces are cut very small and heavily seasoned with garlic, and the wonderful Brigadeiros, like the ones I had in the blog  years ago.

GarotaIpanemaAn old photo of Helo Pinheiro (the original Girl from Ipanema)  & Tom Jobim.

CHAPTER TWO: IPANEMA. The opening part of this chapter is a nice tribute to Farmer’s Market, which are a must-visit in Rio (as well as Sao Paulo, says the “paulista” in me). She describes the hard work associated with getting the market ready, as at 7am every stand is open for business.  Grated coconut, coconut milk, fresh coconut pieces, those are ingredients that are part of many traditional Brazilian recipes, and as Leticia points out, no one wants to do that type of job at home, so the street markets have several stands in which people grate coconut the whole day, handing you a bag with the freshest possible product. Absolutely nothing to do with the stuff we get in grocery stores, dried up, often overly sweet.  Her first recipe in the chapter is for Yucca Cracker, and that brought me so many memories!  I grew up enjoying them, and honestly I had no idea they could be made at home. They are shaped like a bagel, but their taste and texture is absolutely unique. You can see them here. Pao de queijo is in this chapter too, her recipe more traditional than the one I blogged about in the past.  Some other recipes in this chapter: Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew), Duck and Yucca Shepherd’s Pie (be still, my heart!). and the recipe I shared with you today, Tagliatelle with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Coconut Milk.

CopacabanaSunsetSunset in Copacabana

CHAPTER THREE: COPACABANA & LEME.  A quote from the book: “Rio’s magical places have the power to inspire musicians and artist from around the world. Indeed music and passion are always in fashion at the Copa! Copacabana!” The chapters opens with a classic soup of Portuguese origin, Garlic and Cilantro Soup with Poached Eggs and Croutons (Açorda Alantejana), followed by Creamy Brazil Nut Soup (a heavy contender for featured recipe, by the way), and also brings some dishes with Middle Eastern influence, like “Esfihas“.  The recipe that made my heart miss a beat, though was Moqueca Blinis with Shrimp.  A fantastic twist on Shrimp Moqueca, in a recipe by Chef Rolland Villar, joining Brazilian and French cuisines.  I must make it! Here is a photo from the book, doesn’t that seem amazing? The moqueca flavors are in the blinis, and the shrimp sits on top of each delicious bite…

photo(2)CHAPTER FOUR: JARDIM BOTANICO, GÁVEA E LAGOA. A quote: “Cariocas are obsessed with exercise and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (a lagoon) is one of the most beautiful places in town to go jogging. … exercising in that setting it’s as if your endorphins double from the visual effects of Rio, and the result is a sense of pure happiness, elation and peacefulness…”  Some recipes from the chapter include Rolled Sausage Bread with Rosemary (a concoction from the very famous Pizzaria Braz), Chez Anne’s Cheese Empanadas, Brazilian-Style Veal Stroganof, and Cashew Fruit Ice Cream (trust me, this is to die for!).

SugarLoaf
CHAPTER FIVE: FLAMENGO & BOTAFOGO.
The famous Sugar Loaf is located in this part of town.  Leticia featured in this chapter some recipes from trendy restaurants like Nomangue and Irajá.  I was quite tempted to prepare the Hearts of Palm Soup, so soothing and creamy, but the Molten Brigadeiro Cake (which Leticia likes to serve with ginger ice cream) was also calling my name.  Real loud.

Cristo

CHAPTER SIX: SANTA TERESA, GLÓRIA, LARANJEIRAS & COSME VELHO: Dining with a view. Perhaps the most famous landmark of Rio, Christ the Redeemer, is located in this neighborhood. Leticia recommends two restaurant in the region, Aprazível, and a botequim-type place called Bar do Mineiro. By the way, clicking on the link to Aprazivel will bring up a beautiful Brazilian song, worth listening to. She features not only recipes from these places, but also some from caterers that often come up with incredible twists on classics.  A few examples: Plum Tomato and Bread Soup, Rita’s Fried Zucchini, Chicken and Chorizo over Jasmine Rice (the famous Galinhada), and Passion Fruit Mousse.

Carnival_in_Rio_de_Janeiro

CHAPTER SEVEN: CENTRO, LAPA E ARREDORES.  This is the neighborhood associated with samba and Carnival, where the “Sambódromo” is located, and the huge avenue where the samba schools parade for days, Avenida Marques de Sapucaí”.  Lots of great recipes in this chapter, like Feijoada Fritters with Collard Greens (a take on feijoada from the restaurant Aconchego Carioca), Slow-Roasted Pork Ribs with Guava Sauce, Polenta Turnovers (what a great culinary move!), and Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Caramel Sauce.

CHAPTER EIGHT: BARRA DA TIJUCA.  Well, that is a part of Rio very dear to my heart.  My Mom and my sisters were born and raised in that neighborhood, and so was Leticia!  Quote from the book: “To enter Barra, you have to drive through Rocinha, the largest favela of Brazil. Leticia grew up just a few minutes away, but never connected with this world – so close but yet so far away”.   That is one interesting aspect of Rio, and quite disturbing for foreigners, how close the opposites of society co-exist in town.  A common denominator, though, is food.  Some examples of recipes featured in this chapter are Yucca Fries (the best food in the known universe, if you ask me), Chicken Salad with Carrots and Chives on Whole Wheat (very famous sandwich sold at every beach in Rio, by vendors who scream as they pass by “Look, it’s the Natural Sandwich!”, Fresh Cod with Onions, Potatoes, and Broccolini, and the absolutely delicious Pulled Carne Seca with Butternut Squash Puree.

Buzios
CHAPTER NINE: BÚZIOS.
  Búzios is supposed to be a paradise on Earth. I have never been there, believe it or not, but one day I dream of spending a few days with Phil. It is a beach town, three hours drive from Rio. Enjoying seafood is a must.   How about Farfalle with Salmon and Caipirinha SauceTuna Sandwich?

Paraty
CHAPTER TEN: PARATY.
Now, THAT is a paradise I visited with Phil and a couple of great friends years ago.  We had a fantastic time, and also got one of the worst sunburns in the history of our lives… 🙂 Paraty is more or less halfway through Rio and São Paulo, and it is a historic city, full of churches from the Gold Era of Brazil, and also fantastic restaurants and hotels. Leticia opens the chapter with a drink, Coconut Cocktail, which I find as delicious or better than capirinha… Also in this chapter you can drool over her Roasted Garlic-Ginger Shrimp with Coconut and Fresh Herb Crumbs (the picture is enough to make me swoon).

CHAPTER ELEVEN: REGIÃO SERRANA. In this chapter, Leticia focuses on a town called Teresópolis, located in hills not too far from Rio de Janeiro. I would love to make her Spinach Crepes with Fresh Tomato Sauce (Brazilian crepes, called “panquecas”, are not the same as the French concoction), the Brazilian Tiramisu, or the Dulce de Leche Brioche Pudding (I gained a pound typing it, though).

CHAPTER TWELVE: HOME COOKING.  In my opinion, no better way to close a cookbook. She features recipes from her family, and surprisingly starts the chapter with her Aunt Sarita’s Moroccan Meatballs. It turns out her Aunt was born in Tangier, so you won’t be able to get more Middle Eastern than that…  One of the recipes in this chapter gave me a huge smile because it was part of my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood too: Ground Beef with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Olives. That is simple,  home cooking to the fullest, and I find myself making batches and batches to enjoy for lunch.  Also in this chapter, Baked Rice with Chicken and Chorizo (Arroz de Forno, each family in Brazil seems to have a version for it),  Brazilian Style Pot Roast, White Chocolate Mousse with Passion Fruit Gelee, and Brazilian Rice Pudding.

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Leticia, thank you so much for giving me permission to publish one more of your recipes!  I am sure My Rio de Janeiro will be a huge success, for Brazilians in Brazil, for those like us, living abroad, and for people all over the world who share a passion for food and like to learn about other cultures through their cuisines.  You did a wonderful job assembling these recipes, your love for Rio comes through in every page…

ONE YEAR AGO: Hearts of Palm Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

TWO YEARS AGO: Watercress Salad

THREE YEARS AGO: Curried Zucchini Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate Bread