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Oct 7, 2014

Brazil ~ It's Not All About Soccer and a Bikini Wax

We had quite a spectacular tour of South America at our September Cooking Class, beginning the night with Brazil's favorite cocktail, the Caipirinha (ky-pee-REEN-yah).
     The Brazilians know their liquor, and the beauty of this drink is that numero uno: its simple. The other bonus(es) are that it can be as strong or as sweet or as tangy as you like. (The Brazilians like it strong and sweet!) Oh, and another tiny tidbit of info that I should mention is that one will kick your butt and make you think you that you could actually play soccer. (News flash: You can't. We are Americans and we pretty much suck at soccer.)

Put the limes and some sugar in a glass and muddle the hell out of it with a wooden spoon. Pour in the Cachaca (kah-SHAH-sah) and muddle it again while workin' on your samba moves. Fill the glass with ice and take a sip. This is precisely when you will probably make that it-hurts-like-hot-wax-face, so just add a bit more lime and sugar and get ready to lay back and enjoy. WOW, I gotta say, the Brazilians know their caca! And cachaca.

South America is a big continent and while we did hit on a half a dozen countries, I'm going to hang out in Brazil for the moment and tell you about the dish that was a unanimous favorite of the night: Moqueca; (mo-KEH-kah) otherwise known as  Brazilian Fish Stew. Don't let the idea of fish stew scare ya. There are no fish heads involved in the making (that's another country). Keeping it real, I used South American red palm oil. The Brazilians wouldn't dream of making Moqueca without it, nor should you. It's not only a healthy oil, but it is what gives Moqueca its beautiful red color. (You can get it at most any health food store, even the one here in Hickville.)
Moquea is an explosion of  flavors and textures. You get a mild heat coming from the habanero/serrano while the coconut milk imparts a sweet and creamy goodness. The tomatoes cook down and give this stew a  fresh brothiness and the fish poaches up nice and tender while the peppers retain some of their crunch. 
     This beautiful and tasty dish comes together in about an hour, which includes marinating and prep. Use a meaty white fish such as halibut, mahi-mahi, sea bass, or cod. Bite the heads and tails off some shrimp and throw them in the pot as well and make yourself another Caipirinha while you wait for the rice to cook and the stew to simmer. I prefer jasmine rice and I really love the fact that once you put the lids on the rice and the moqueca they are both ready to eat in exactly fifteen minutes.

Click here or go to the "Seafood" tab or the "Soups & Salads" tab for the Moqueca recipe. You can find the Caipirinha Cocktail recipe under the "Misc. Recipes" tab, or click right here. 

Next up I'll share the Argentine Flank Steak, some killer Peruvian Potatoes and a Colombian sauce.  In the meantime, I'm not finished lovin' up on Brazil! Now where's my soccer ball?


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