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. 😀

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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