3/27/2011

Foodbuzz 24x24 - Noite Baiana: A Taste of Bahia

Acarajé


My dad went to Brazil this past January to visit my 98 year-old grandma, his mother, who's been a little sick recently. He went by himself. I wish I could've gone. I haven't been to Salvador in five years! I wish I could take Mike and Denise with me so they could meet all my family, especially my grandma.



Left: dried shrimp from Salvador. Right: Manioc flour - the one on the left is one that can be found in Seattle and the one on the right is from Salvador, which is much lighter and finer.


Any time any of my family members or friends go to Brazil, more specifically Salvador, I always have them bring me back two special items: camarão seco (sundried shrimp) and farinha (manioc flour).You see, although I can find these two things here in Seattle at an Asian or Latin market, there is nothing like the real deal from my hometown!

 
The making of acarajé


So, when my dad came back from his month-long trip, I was excited to see him, but even more excited to see my camarão seco and farinha (sorry Dad!). And when Foodbuzz announced that they were looking for proposals for their March 24x24, I knew that I had to be a part of this month's feast. I proposed a Bahian culinary affair, and Foodbuzz accepted! So, today I thrilled to be sharing with you all a taste of Bahia!

 
Acarajé

 
To understand the culinary of Bahia, you have to understand its history. Pedro Alveres Cabral landed in Porto Seguro, a city on the southern coast of Bahia, in 1500 and claimed the territory for Portugal.

The city of Salvador, Bahia was established in 1549. The city quickly became the most important slave trading post in the colony. More than 37% of all slaves taken from Africa were sent to Brazil, and most of them passed through Salvador before being sent off somewhere else in the country.

 
Bobó de Camarão


The cuisine and culture of Bahia, more specifically Salvador, is heavily influenced by African traditions which were brought by the slaves in the early 17th centry. To this day, the people of Bahia have kept the African traditions alive through food, dance, music, and religion.
 
 
Caruru - the okra is traditionally diced.


Like I've mentioned before, palm oil is one of the key ingredient in Bahian cuisine. Other hallmarks are dried shrimp, manioc flour, malagueta pepper and coconut/coconut milk. Since my dad brought the shrimp and manioc flour from Salvador, we were able to enjoy the authentic taste of Bahia!
 
For this special dinner, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite, traditional Bahian dishes. Here is the complete menu :

Acarajé
Black-eyed peas fritters, deep fried in palm oil and served with dried shrimp hot sauce, Vatapá, and pico de gallo. Acarajé is the quintessential street food in Salvador. You will find a Baiana in almost every corner of the city selling them. They are also a staple in Candomblé , an Afro-Brazilian religion.

Bobó de Camarão
Shrimp cooked in a yucca, peanut, ginger, palm oil in coconut milk sauce.

Feijão Fradinho
Black-eyed peas cooked with palm oil, tomato paste and dried shrimp

Arroz Branco
Garlic-scented white rice

Caruru
Brazilian-style gumbo. Okra cooked with palm oil, coconut milk, dried shrimp and spices. This is beleived to be the oldest recorded African dish in Brazil and another staple dish in Candomblé.

Farofa de Dendê
Manioc flour sautéed in butter, onions, palm oil and dried shrimp

Cocada Preta
Caramelized coconut dessert

 
 
Left: black-eyed peas. Center: farofa de dende Right: cocada preta


Cocada Preta


4 cups sugar
3 cups water
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
In a sauce pan, heat sugar over medium heat until it caramelizes into a golden-brown color. Add water, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Add coconut, bring mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Remove cinamon stick and cloves. Serve a spoonful in a small dish or spread mixture onto parchment paper and when cool, cut into squares.

I will be posting more recipes throughout the next couple of weeks!




3/24/2011

Cachaça-Lime Shrimp Skewers


 


Most of you guys have tried tequila-lime shrimp. But, have you ever tried cachaça-lime shrimp? I bet you haven't! Don't you worry, I've got the perfect recipe for you.





I've been contemplating making this dish for a while now.  Since cachaça is made from fermented sugarcane, I thought serving them on little sugarcane skewers would be adorable. Today I finally got a chance to stop by the market by my house that I know sells canned sugarcane (you can definitely use fresh sugarcane if they are available near you).  

This was super easy to prepare. All it really takes is mixing together all the marinate ingredients with the shrimp, placing the skewer through the shrimp and pan-frying it.



I suggest you marinate your shrimp overnight, but if you aren't able to you should marinate it for at least 30 minutes. The flavors in this dish are so vibrant - the cachaça brings a strong punch, while the honey and lime cools down the spiciness of the Tabasco! This is a great little appetizer if you are entertaining guest, or a nice lunchtime snack! You can even make it a full meal and serve it on top of a bed of Brazilian style rice and beans!

Cachaça-Lime Prawn Skewers


For Marinade:
1/4 cup cachaça
1/4 lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Tabasco
Salt and Pepper, to taste

18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 batons sugarcane, cut into 18 (5-inch long and 1/4-inch wide) skewers
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped

For marinade: Combine shrimp and ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To assemble: Place on shrimp on each skewer and set aside.

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp skewers and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and stir to coat the shrimp.



3/17/2011

Brigadeiro de Pistache



During the holidays, I shared with you my all-time favorite sweet treat, Brigadeiros! The traditional chocolate version, is super popular in Brazil. But today in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make a special version of these little  goodies!




Like their chocolate cousin, these pistachio brigadeiros are very simple to make. They consist of only three ingredients: pistachios, condensed milk, and butter! They are also very child-friendly-you can make the balls and your child can roll them in the pistachio.

So, if you have a special party to go to tonight (or any night, at that) or you just want to treat your kids and/or spouse to a simple and delicious St. Patrick's Day treat, look no further. I guarantee everyone will love these sweet . Now, I can't guarantee you won't get pinched for more!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!




Brigadeiro de Pistache

8oz pistachio, shelled
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus a little extra to brush on plate and hands

Brush a plate with butter and set it aside.

Place the pistachios in a food processor and grind them until their are fine in texture.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the ground pistachio.
In a sauce pan combine the other portion of the ground pistachio, condensed milk, and butter. Over medium heat, stir mixture until the bottom of the pan becomes visible and mixture comes off the bottom of the pan easily.

Pour mixture onto the buttered plate and let it cool.

When mixture had cooled, put a little butter on your hands, take about a teaspoon of the mixture at a time and roll it into little balls, then roll it in the remaining ground pistachio.

3/16/2011

And the Winner is....

Thank you to all who participated the Gourmoo Cookoff giveaway. You guys rock and I wish I could send a gift to all of you! Unfortunately, I did have to select a winner (who, by the way, was randomly selected using randomizer.org).

Congratulations to Semhar! She will be receiving a $50 Amazon.com giftcard and $25 worth of Lactaid coupons!
Stay tuned for the next giveaway!

3/09/2011

Gourmoo Cookoff + Giveaway!

A couple months ago, I was thrilled to announce that my Avocado Vanilla-Bean Smoothie had won the Gourmoo Smoothie contest, sponsored by Lactaid Milk. Well, today I am happy to bring you some more exciting news from Moovision (a Lactaid partner site, launched to raise awareness around lactose-intolerance.)
The fabulous folks from Moovion, contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in being a part of the Gourmoo Cookoff. I had heard about the cookoff-as a matter of fact I even submitted a recipe for the contest! So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

The Gourmoo Cookoff features five challenge episodes - appetizer, side dish, entree, dessert and a wild card finale. The four contestants (Morena, Laurie, Nicole, and Robert) were challenged to create dishes featuring lactose-free milk.

I will be hosting this week’s dessert challenge! If you haven't caught the previous episodes, you can find them on the Moovision website. Below is the dessert challenge video:



After watching the video, I was glad I picked dessert week! Didn't the contestant's desserts look awesome?!

I love how throughout the whole cook-off, Morena presented the judges with food that had some ties to her cultural background. Being that I love to include my Brazilian heritage when I'm cooking, I could really relate to her! Her perfectly golden fritters looked fantastic.

Laurie definitely entered this contest with lots of experience and mouth-watering recipes. From the beginning, I could tell that she would be a fierce competitor. Bread pudding has got to be one of my top 5 favorite desserts - especially when it's served with ice cream!

I agree with Chef Lala, Nicole had me at "ooey-gooey". Just hearing that makes all warm and fuzzy inside! I am not a pecan fan, but she wins the best name category for me.

I was happy to see that Robert was able to leave the challenge with a "BANG"! I was also glad that he incorporated a low-lactose chocolate to make the chocolate sauce.

I've been having lots of fun watching this exciting challenge! And, as I do when I'm watching any cooking competition, I contemplate on what I would have made had I been a competitor. Had I been a competitor, I would've made a passion-fruit pudding cake and served it a la mode with Lactaid vanilla ice cream.

I'm sure many of you are now wondering what you would've made if you had been one of the four competitors. Well, I've got exciting news for you! Thanks to the lovely folks at Moovision, those of you that share with me what you would've made will have a chance to WIN a $50 gift card and $25 worth of Lactaid milk!

To enter the giveaway:

- Leave a comment on this blog post about what you would have made in the dessert challenge. Please leave your email address!

For additional entries:

-Follow @moovision and @foodsamba on twitter and tweet "I entered @foodsamba's giveaway for @Moovision's #GourmooCookoff Challenge!"

Giveaway closes on Wednesday, March 16th at noon PST. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.