Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Food: The Universal Language

Since my Portuguese is so limited, it's hard to communicate much with the family. I can understand much more than I can speak, which doesn't work well when you are trying to get to know new friends. One way that I have found to get to know Geneci is through cooking. She is an amazing cook! She makes everything from scratch (which I love to do too!) and it seems like there is always something delicious on the stove or in the toaster oven. A note about meals here: the main meal of the day is not dinner, but lunch. They eat it around 1:00, and it's a big production, usually with several side dishes. The kids come home from school to eat, and even Luciano comes home from work sometimes to join in the family meal. Then, around 4 or 5, Geneci makes a sweet treat that we eat with cevada, a coffee substitute made from a grain, and chimarrao, an herbal tea that is really popular here (more on that later). At around 8 or 9, they eat a small dinner snack, like a sandwich or bread and mayo. For breakfast, it is usually the same thing we had for dinner the night before. I LOVE it!
Here are some Brazilian recipes that Geneci has been teaching me:

Pao Caseiro (Homemade Bread)
1kilo flour
10g yeast
5 big spoonfuls sugar
1 small spoonful salt
Mix it all together, add 1egg. Pour in canola oil (she doesn't measure, just goes around the bowl 3 times. Add a little bit of warm water and start mixing with your hands. Be patient! Keep adding water a little at a time until the dough starts to come off of your fingers. It should be around 3 cups of water. Cut into 3 sections, knead each section with a rolling pin. Roll the section several times, then roll it up like a cinnamon roll, tuck the ends in, and put it in a foiled cake pan. Do the same with the other two sections. Place in warm oven, let rise until it doubles in size. Cook 180-200 degree Celsius for about 30-40 minutes. Turn on the broiler for the last 3 minutes to give it a nice color.
Geneci makes this every day. She also uses the dough to wrap around salsichas take little pigs in a blanket. It is so delicious!

Bolo De la Laranja (Orange Cake)

In a blender, mix:
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup orange juice
2 spoons orange rind
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 pkg cake Yeast (I need to look this up, I think it is baking soda or powder)
1 pinch of salt

Blend together. Grease a cake pan. Pour sugar over the oil and spread evenly. Pour in batter, cook at 180 celsius for about 30-40 minutes.
Sometimes she makes a frosting with 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 cup powdered sugar. She stabs the cake and then pours it over the top.

Mayonnaise de Leite

Put 1/2 cup milk in a blender. Turn it on low, take off the lid and start adding oil a little bit at a time until it gets thicker and the blender starts to make a different sound. Add a garlic clove and some vinegar, along with any other veggie or meat, like olives, green onions, or ham.
This was so good! we ate this on fresh rolls a few times and I loved it!

Abondegas (Meatballs)

Mix ground beef with crushed garlic, onions, salt, chopped parsley and chopped green onions. Take some bread, rip it into pieces, and add it to a bowl of water so it gets mushy. When you have about 1 cup of mushy bread, drain the excess water and add the to mixture with an egg. Mix it evenly it's your hands, then let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, form into balls and cook in the oven to brown. Then add to your favorite tomato sauce and serve with pasta. Muito bom!

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1 comment:

  1. Funny story for you: my entire life my Mom called meatballs Abondegas. Seeing as she is POLISH and I grew up hearing several Polish words... I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WAS POLISH! It wasnt until a few years ago that it somehow came up and my mom says, "Polish??? No, it's Spanish!" At which point my mind is blown and my world is caving in and I ask, "why on earth would you be using the Spanish word for meatball???" and she says, "it's the only word from high school spanish I remembered!"