Monday Meal Review: Brazil

Things that make you go “Mmmm.”  The food of Brazil is simple and decidedly non-fussy. Many dishes have a short list of ingredients, however they pack intense flavor into each bite. This food practically assembles itself, allowing the hostess to enjoy the fruits of her labor and dance at her own party.

Speaking of dancing, Ava LOVES music. This weekend we played some Brazilian music and she did a cute baby dance while holding on to the coffee table (I call it the diaper-butt bounce). I. Love. The. Diaper-Butt. Bounce. :D

Black Beans with Assorted Meats (feijoada completa) [Recipe]


What I liked most about this dish:

This meal provides slow-burning energy for a hungry soul. The black beans soak up the salty, smoky flavor of the meat – particularly the sausage and the smoked pork shank bone. Typical of a stew, the longer you cook your feijoada, the better the flavor. In fact, this dish is ideal a day or two after cooking because the flavors continue to mingle and soften.

What I liked least about this dish:

Feijoada needs to be served with a heaping side of vegetable for someone like me, who does not normally eat a lot of red meat. This helps cut the intensity of the meat and beans. It seemed strange not to throw in some carrots and celery into the pot and, although some people surely do this, vegetables did not show up anywhere in the traditional recipes I reviewed.

Sauteed Red Kale [Recipe]


What I liked most about this dish:

Sauteed Red Kale is another easy side dish packed full of nutrition. Cooking up some greens in just a few minutes makes a healthy weeknight dinner attainable. Move over spinach, Popeye has a new arm-bulging treat to add to the rotation! :)

What I liked least about this dish:

To be honest the bitter greens did not go over well with my dear sweet husband. I’d love to entertain you with the image of us arm wrestling over how much he had to eat but, in reality, I wage a much quieter war: for every rib he ate, he had to eat two bites of kale. Easy. And “mean,” according to him. Hey… as a result, he ate far less heart-stopping ribs and 100% more greens. If that’s not an awesome double whammy, I don’t know what is.

Brazilian Iced Mocha-Cola [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Cold. Coffee. Chocolate. Cola. Whipped Cream. Someone pick me up off the floor. This drink is an all around winner. I could see serving this if surprise guests popped over on a steamy summer afternoon. I can easily keep a few cola’s and coffee on hand. And I could be convinced to keep this decadent chocolate milk stocked all the time, if it means I get to drink a beverage as good as this!

What I liked least about this dish:

I got nothin.’  But, just for the heck of it, here’s a tip: Make sure your coffee is cool before you add it to the ice. That would stink if you melted everything into a watery mess before you ever got a sip. Do like I do, and just set the coffee in the freezer for a few minutes to draw most of the heat out.

Romeo and Juliet (Romeu e Julieta) [Recipe]


What I liked most about this dish:

The name is so alluring, so romantic, so mysterious. I built up this dessert so much in my mind, I just knew it was going to be a new favorite….

What I liked least about this dish:

Unfortunately, I had many problems with this dessert. First, finding the ingredients was difficult. I went to 2 Hispanic markets and 1 Asian market before finding Guava paste. Tulsa, here’s your local connection: Super Mercados Merelos. I called this store from the parking lot to check inventory (I couldn’t bring myself to just “run in” to one more store. The last place I called had said they had it – when I got there, they didn’t, so I was rather grumpy. We were nearing dinnertime and Ava, me, and my back, were tired of failed shopping trips)… the clerk, when he heard I had a baby with me, actually brought the guava paste up to the register. What awesome customer service. So thoughtful!

My second problem was that the briny cheese with sweet guava paste was a not a match for my palate. I took several bites, trying to acquire the taste for this blissful sounding dessert, but I never fell in love with Romeo and Juliet. Dare I say, the dessert died a tragic death in my mouth. If, however, you like salty/sweet combinations, go for it. You just might find true love. And I hope you do.

Ava’s Corner

Ava tried the feijoada this week. Check out what our sweet girl thought…

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Comments

  1. That looks soo good! I don’t know if I would like the kale or not, but worth trying! I am still trying to come up with better ways to eat! I love watching Miss Ava eat! I keep showing Abigail hoping it opens her eyes to try what I put on her plate!

  2. I want to see video of the diaper-butt bounce!

  3. The feijoada recipe you use makes all the difference in the world. I had so many garbage feijoadas, and then one day I visited a small restaurant in Queens. Here’s what I wrote a few hours later:

    “I’ve never understood why people go crazy over feijoada. Just some beans with a bit of meat thrown in. Malagueta makes it only on Saturday, so today, the first Saturday in living memory I was not hungover, I headed out there and ordered it. Small portion, $15, and worth it. The feijoada came in a clay pot, with a heady smoky flavor and loaded with dried beef and sausage. Somehow the perfect harmony of flavors made it more than just beans. On a separate plate, crunchy collard greens and farofa, both so delicious I ate most of them plain without mixing. So… now I understand.”

  4. Jessica Bennett says:

    I want to see Ava dancing too. And I don’t like the taste of fruit and cheese together (fruit danish should not have cheese, bagel and cream cheese should not have jelly), but your dessert looks so pretty it almost makes me want to try it.

    • An apple-pie without some cheese
      Is like a kiss without a squeeze.

      (this is a very old English and American rhyme, some sources date it back to 1750)

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        Cute poem, but I’m still not convinced :)

      • globaltable says:

        I love this quote – and a slice of cheddar is nice in a New England pie! I’m sending the rhyme to my husband now…. but this dessert is so totally different than that…

    • globaltable says:

      Thanks Jessica, it is pretty…. like you, I was never one for cream cheese with jelly although my one of my brother’s LOVED that growing up.

  5. L'Abeille says:

    Re: balancing all that meat with veggies:
    When I serve feijoada to my family, I use a semi-authentic recipe from the More-With-Less cookbook, submitted by Mennonite missionaries to Brazil. I do it as follows:

    Cook up half a pound of bacon, diced; in some of the bacon fat soften a diced onion and whatever red or green pepper I can find in the fridge; Meanwhile cook up a pot of rice and add to it a can of black beans. Before serving I stir in the bacon and veggies and some dashes of hot sauce according to my mood and the age of the kids I’m feeding.

    On the side I serve sliced oranges (at least 1 for every 2 people) and whatever dark semi-bitter greens I have around. This could be steamed spinach or shredded outer leaves of Romaine or even shredded iceberg in a pinch (hey, it works in tacos!) What makes this meal work is the juxtaposition of the salty, spicy-hot, sweet, and bitter, in alternating bites. My kids never failed to cheer if they heard this was for supper (bacon, what’s not to love?)

  6. Ava is so incredibly sweet! And I want to see the diaper-butt bounce, too.

  7. I was watching the Australian Food Safari programme about Brazilian cooking recently. This link may be of interest… http://www.sbs.com.au/food/foodsafaricuisine/index/cp/1/n/Brazilian It contains some more Brazilian recipes including another for Feijoada.
    I loved the idea of the iced lime & rum cocktail that seemed to be drunk all the time and I will probably have a go at making Quindim, a not too difficult looking dessert that was demonstrated – the recipe is on the site.
    The whole series is worth catching.
    hopeeternal
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’
    http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

  8. You can also get guava paste at Nam Hai Asian Market at 21st & Garnett (should the need ever arise again)

    • globaltable says:

      I scoured the aisles with the owner and they were out, but that was the first place I checked. I’m sure they’ve ordered more since then.

  9. Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti says:

    Hey Sasha…this is Marcia…Keith’s friend… I was browsing your website and could not help but to check the Brazilian food…I hope you do not think I am criticizing I just think I could give you a productive insight I don’t know where you got your recipes from but none this is true to my culture…the feijoada is way more like a soup for you guys…and the traditional recipe contains parts of the pig that is not worth mentioning here…lol…we do not eat kale at all in any part of Brasil that is a trick of translation we eat Feijoada with Collard Greens…I see they always translate the word COUVE in Portuguese as Kale but I have tried Kale and definitely is not Collard Greens which is what we eat and Kale is too bitter… also COLD/ICED coffee in Brazil is non heard of…it would be an exotic thing…and for the desert yes it is a very popular dessert but it is almost impossible to make as the original unless you import a fresh farm cheese from Brazil I have tried a bunch of spanish cheeses but they taste horrible comparing to our cheese. I am just saying this because I have the impression you want to stick with the true culture.
    I really like to cook but I am not any expert if you do any other trip around the world stopping again in Brazil I’d love to share some authentic recipes. A cool thing is that every region of Brazil the cuisine is totally different from the other…
    I think your idea is genius and for sure I’ll be coming back for recipes.
    Good job! BTW your kid is the cutest!!! Congrats!
    much love…
    Marcia

  10. Viviane says:

    Hey there!

    First of all, your idea of “cooking the world” is AMAZING and your baby girl is gorgeous!!! :D

    I am Brazilian, and I LOVE cooking. My Brazilian friends always call me when they are craving for a home meal.
    Just as Marcia de Oliveira said, I would like to give you some tips about the truly feijoada! :) There are many parts of the pig that are cooked with the other meats, even though they are not served in the plate… Those pieces give the feijoada its peculiar taste and texture. Some people do cook feijoada without those pieces, but it definitely tastes different.
    All the times that I have served this dish here in America, it was called a soup because–let’s face it– that is what it looks like! lol

    In my family, we always serve it with white rice, Oranges, Collard Greens sliced very thin and smoked in a frying pan with butter, salt, garlic and some tiny pieces of bacon. We also serve FAROFA with it. Some king of Yuka Meal that can be bought ready to eat at any Brazilian Market.

    It is a huge meal! That is why it is usually served on Sundays, for early lunch.

    I hope I could contribute some how to your amazing experience.

    Best regards!
    Viviane.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Viviane, so nice to hear from you! Welcome to the Adventure :) It’s neat to hear about how you prepare the dishes! We’re almost done – a few more months than the big celebration party in October. Are you near Tulsa?!

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