Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tea leaves and spices and everything nices....

If I have developed a habit of buying anything while living here it has been teas and bags of different leaves and spices.  Some things I've never seen before, and it's reasonably priced.  Cinnamon sticks are downright cheap compared to what you would pay in The States or Canada.

Boldo do Chile is a leaf native to Chile, as you may have guessed, and supposedly good for hangovers or stomach aches. It was discovered when sheepherders realized that the sheep that grazed in a certain area where the boldo do Chile was growing didn't have the intestinal problems that the other sheep developed.  And it has a somewhat unappetizing taste and smell. 

There are also olives leaves from which you can make tea, with a fairly mild, palatable flavor.  Supposedly there are many health benefits from consuming olive-leaf tea, so I may try to drink it more regularly.  There is maté, of course; the toasted maté tea pictured here (with orange peel) is very tasty.  There is something called cavalinha in the back, which translates to horsetail in English.  There was quite a bit on the internet about it, but I'd never heard of horsetail before.  Not sure how it tastes yet.  

There's a bag of chamomile from the feira (open-air market) and a bag of green tea (chá verde). The large bag of bay leaves (folha de louro) that I need for my Louisiana and Cuban (and now Brasilian) cooking didn't make it into the picture.

And whole anise (anis estrelado) - smells sooooooo good.  It reminds me of the pizzelles (Italian waffle cookie) that some good friends of mine make during the holidays.  I LOVE those cookies, and I can't wait to try some tea.

I don't think I've gone overboard, yet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frango assado

Here, chicken is frango.  And roasted chicken is frango assado, one of my favorite (and easiest!) things to make when the weather turns cooler.  This is the first time I've made a roasted chicken since we've been here.  The temperature was cool for a few months when we arrived, but the rental cookware didn't include anything for roasting.

So today marked the first purchase of a whole chicken, and I knew it would be a little different when I saw Contém: pés on the package: Contains feet.

Here's what I pulled out. The neck is included as well (attached, no less), the heart (propping the feet up in the photo below), and I think its head is what laying on the right.  I believe what looks like a beak is its tongue?  (Do chickens have tongues?)

I WISH I had nails like these. Really!  I mean, I'd probably wear them shorter, but compared to my paper-thin, short...  Okay, I'm thankful I'm NOT a chicken butchered on the cutting board, but the nails are lovely.

And where am I supposed to put them, exactly?

I didn't leave them sticking up; I tucked them along the bottom. I can hear it sizzling now and it smells maravilhoso!!!!  We'll see if anyone tries the feet.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cotton roll

I saw this in the store today - hydrophilic cotton roll.  (I had to look up what hydrophilic meant even in English: having a strong affinity for water.  Made sense when I looked at the word again.)

I'm pretty sure I've seen this in the past at some point, but it's been a long time. Like in-my-grandmother's-bathroom-cabinet-when-I-was-a-kid long time. Normally I would use a cotton ball to apply astringent to my face in the morning, but was curious to see what this roll was about.  And now I wonder, what other things could I do with a roll of cotton?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bolo de Laranja e Maçã

... also known as Orange and Apple Cake. 

I've known about this recipe for a few weeks now, and having made it for the second time today, felt an obligation to share it with you.  My Portuguese teacher, and more importantly my friend, gave me this recipe and I REALLY like it. There is nearly an entire orange and apple in the cake and it's delicious. 

I've tweaked the recipe a bit both times, as I usually do with any recipe. (Tweak was a new word for my teacher. This language thing can go both ways, and I'm always happy when I can share some knowledge with her considering all the help she's given me.)  Different flours here and there, less oil, less sugar, etc... But she tried a piece today and I got a thumbs-up, and said I should share away with all my friends in the US and Canada, and whoever else that's out there reading.

This is the version I made today.  It's not as fine a crumb as if you use all white flour.

Emulsify the following in a blender:
1 orange, peeled, seeded, and roughly cut up; chop some of the orange peel and add
1 apple, cored and cut up (but leave the peel)
3 eggs
1 +1/2  cups sugar (could even use a little less, I think)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup ground flax seeds

In a medium bowl combine 1 +1/2 cups white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and about a tablespoon of baking powder. To this add the mixture from the blender and combine.  I used a bundt pan and baked for ~35 minutes at about 325 or 350 degrees F (180-205 degrees C).  Sorry to be a bit vague, but baking temperatures and times aren't very exact here. When it starts smelling good, check on it!

This was taken in the reflection of our microwave - the spots that are apparently on my shirt are actually on the door. I'm trying to achieve the holding-up-the-cake with one finger trick. More of a mini-cake from this perspective.

Feel free to tweak the recipe to YOUR liking and enjoy!