cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Book - O Livro

55 Knives

No not my book (don't worry we're working on it) but a book in which i happen to have a small part in (one chapter to be exact). 55 Knives; a compilation of 55 recipes and prosy personal stories from 55 different food bloggers. Now, there are assuredly more than 55 food bloggers out there, i would say there are undoubtedly more than 500 (maybe 1000, 2000?), so stating the 55 chosen as the "best" is impossible as no one can really get to know every food blog, and it would sound very conceited of me as i know of many better chefs, writers and photographers on the web. So i'm no really sure if i'm in the top of anything. The fact of the matter is that some blogs are better than others, but it depends on the category. Some food blogs are better for the food itself, some for photography, the layout, and some for the writing. So who's the best depends on what you are judging. The 55, in my opinion, are a just a random sample of what's out there.

I know many of the 55 authors behind this book, and know many food bloggers who aren't part of it but are just as if not more skilled than i am in one of the three food blogging categories. For this project, however, writing and story telling seem to be the linking thread amongst the chosen bloggers. The wordy bloggers who want to write poetry about the beauty of mushroom spores, the sound of a buttered knife as it scrapes across a nearly burnt slice of toast, or the memory of their grandma peeling garlic for 7 hours until she passed out in a bed of broccoli are the ones who are part of this project. Ah, verse. If you like that and don't mind it accompanied by full detailed recipes, then buy the book!

Nick Evans of Macheesmo, the organizer behind the project, settled on an e-book rather than a paper book as well lets face it, the publishing industry can be quite a bitch eh. If you think about it, a compilation of internet writers should be in an electronic book. You read my words on the screen already, just think of the shock you would suffer if they were actually in print. Furthermore, this book can be downloaded anywhere in the world. How long do you think it would take to come to print here in Brazil? Exactly. And at a 80% price inflation.

The book is split into appetizer, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. There are plenty of vegetarian recipes and at least one gluten free recipe that i know of (mine). So, what is my chapter on? (Brazilians, you will laugh) pão de queijo; an extremely simple little tapioca and cheese bread. When Nick contacted me for a chapter he mentioned that the recipe should be one that has a personal story attached to it (since we love our food bloggers for their wordy turn of phrase) so i knew immediately what i had to write about. (this recipe was actually already posted on Salty about 2 years ago, if you can be a scout and search it out, parabéns!!). But, in order to get the full love story (oh yeah) you have to buy the book. Actually, reading the old post and then this one back to back would be quite entertaining. I'm not sure if its gratifying or horrifying to realize that the last three years of my life are capsuled in this blog.

The price is $14 now, and then it jumps to $19 at the end of the week. But guess what; if you buy it from my link i receive 50% of the revenue. What will the profits be put toward? A weekend in Rio. Or, perhaps a mixing bowl so i can stop using my boiling pots for stirring batter and dough.

follow the link below if you would like to purchase a copy.

Click here to purchase through my feed!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Senora Cenoura,

meet my friend Miss Ginger

Ginger and Carrot Rice Cake (Gluten Free)
Bolo de Arroz com Cenoura e Gengibre (Sem Glúten)

Why's it a rice cake? Guess. So in a few weeks i will have been in Brazil for four months, officially a third of a year. How is my Portuguese you ask? Am i participating in friendly banter with the locals at the corner bakery early each morning and making dentist appointments by phone? No. Strangely i am still worse off than a three year old when it comes to speaking. Writing, reading and listening i would say i am at about a third grade level (special ed third grade) but what can i say, i'm not enrolled in a class and during the weekdays my only Portuguese is television (oh wait, i meant soccer announcers) and eavesdropping on the quarblings of strangers at the gym. Of course there is the everyday use of comprehension, such as discovering that the bag of corn flour i purchased to make bread with was in fact actually corn starch (soup rather than dough alerted me to the findings). During my first week living in France i recall washing my clothes solely in fabric softener.

I've realized that i have to learn a word four and a half times before it makes any sense or has any chance of remaining inside my memory. When the word carrot (cenoura) finally stuck, i stammered, wait a minute, isn't that a Mrs.? no no, laughs my [cough] Portuguese professor (the reason i'm not enrolled in a class), that's senora, not cenoura. Eh? Where is the difference? I have a phobia of some day calling a madam a carrot. The phenomenon continues to plague me. After being asked how my parents were about six dozen times, it finally clicked that pais were parents. Oh they are fine. but wait a minute....parents are breads? the Portuguese word for bread in the multiple is pães, which sounds exactly like pais (to me). wonderful. Mrs. Carrot and my parents are breads. The list goes on, but my fingers do not. Plainly put, Portuguese is not an easy language. When Holly Golightly believed that Fred was in league with the butcher, she really didn't know what she was getting herself in to.

Carrots are fascinating creatures, i love to make cakes with them and have been known to proclaim on multiple occasions that the carrot cake is indeed my favorite. That is, if one can have a favorite cake (i don't think so because whenever i make cinnamon cake i say the same thing). So carrots; we were at the grocery store on sunday as usual (sunday is our grocery day as i am yet unable to drive and get myself anywhere on my own) and spending way too much time in the yogurt aisle as we always do. who doesn't love yogurt. H puts a yogurt in the cart, this was my favorite flavor when i was little. i look. carrot? carrot flavored yogurt? try and find me an American kid who pines after carrot flavored yogurt. how bizarre. but hey, i make cakes out of carrots so what's the difference? The yogurt escapade inspired the cake, which i have now made three times in the past two weeks to ensure to you dear readers that the recipe is perfectly flawless, so you better not screw it up.

The first and second cake (second cake was baked as cupcakes) were carrot and orange; cenoura e laranga, the orange came from the second ingredient in the carrot flavored yogurt which i couldn't taste in the yogurt. To make sure the essence came through in the cake, i used an entire orange peel (the whole thing). As i don't have a zester or food processor, i blended the carrot and orange peel together in a blender until the pieces were fine enough. The same recipe (minus the orange) was used to make the carrot ginger cake. Why ginger today? Because i'm making Japanese food tonight and have a monstrously heavy ginger root that tends to dry out if kept for too long. Ginger caipirinha is next. After tasting both the Salty preference stands at: Carrot Ginger!

You'll notice that there is no xanthan gum, gelatin, or what have you in the cake. I have yet to find xanthan gum in my grocery markets, so i have gone au-naturel. But lo and behold it rose, bound itself, and tastes good all without a mountainous list of ingredients. hmmmm.

carrot ginger/or orange rice cake- gluten free

1 cup white caster sugar (use 1/2 white 1/2 brown if you prefer), 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 cup white rice flour (wheat flour if you prefer), 1 large (extremely large, practically 2) tbsp tapioca flour or starch, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (only 1 if using wheat flour), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup finely ground or grated carrot, peel of 1 orange finely ground or 1 tbsp finely ground fresh ginger.

Method:Beat sugar, oil and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder to the same bowl (i don't mix the wets and drys separately in this recipe) and stir until evenly incorporated.

Chop one medium carrot into small pieces and place in the blender. Add one whole orange peel removed from the orange using a paring knife or add the freshly chopped ginger. Blend the two ingredients until they are finely ground. The final product should be about one cup.

Add carrot mixture to batter and stir until incorporated. Pour into a buttered and floured 8 in round or into about 10 cupcake tins (less for wheat flour, about 8).

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes for a round and 10-15 minutes for cupcakes. All ovens vary in temperature (especially gas and electric) so watch them until they are dry in the middle.
(optional) Cream 8oz of cream cheese with 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp vanilla for a frosting.

Bolo de Arroz com Cenoura e Gengibre - Sem Glúten

Ingrédientes: 200 grama de açucar, 210 grama de óleo, 2 ovos grandes, 125 grama farinha de arroz (ou trigo), 7 grama de fermento em pó, 10 grama de farinha de mandioca (só para bolo de farinha de arroz), um pouco de sal, 1 colher de canella, 110 grama de cenoura ralada, 1 colher grande de gengimbre ralado ou casca de laranja inteira.

Combina açucar, óleo e ovos na uma tigela grande. Adiciona farinhas, fermento, canella e sal. Mistura bem.
Colocou cenoura e gengimbre/ou casca de laranga no um liquidificador. Ralado bem. Adiciona no bolo.

Cozinhe para vinte minuto a 250 graus.

May is nearing an end and it's becoming quite cold here. Winter mornings and chilly evening runs. It's funny how we think of South America only as a hot tropical local completely forgetting that there is a South Pole too. Inside the tropic of Capricorn by just 30 minutes; the Antarctic cold fronts that sweep in off of Argentina aren't pretty. It's starting to actually feel like winter, despite the fact that it is almost June. So maybe i'm getting used to things here. Maybe. Mrs. Carrot. Oh wait no, i still don't have a Kitchenaide mixer.