My kids were so happy in July. The menu proved to be a delight and they looked forward to each meal and the discussions about Chinese culture. Now, in this hot and steamy end of summer month we move on to Brazil! August will prove interesting and fun as I am not adept at Brazilian food whatsoever. I am happy for the opportunity to learn about Brazil’s culture, land, and star dishes. Brazil’s history is quite diverse and blends the tastes of African, Portuguese and Indian culture into their food thereby creating a rich history of flavor.
On a funny note, I am in the hunt to find some Guarana. It is a canned drink from Brazil that is made from a small fruit in the Amazon. Apparently it carries quite a caffeinated punch. Supposedly you can’t find it outside of Brazil but I keep hoping to stumble upon a can or two and serve it alongside one of these beautiful dishes just for fun.
This month you will find a change in the menu. I have included as one of the dishes a dessert. When doing my research I found the recipe reiterated and highlighted over and over again. It is a classic of Brazil and so I thought it important include it in our month’s menu. It is tapioca. I know, I know, but I assure you this is not your grandmother’s tapioca. Made most often with coconut milk this tapioca guarantees to leave you and yours speechless. Brazil also claims tapioca as a genuine Brazilian food – so we had to include it! Cuzcuz de Tapioca is listed last and I leave it up to you to remember its not the main course of your evening (or maybe it is)!
And now, the menu for August’s gastronomical delights:
Feijoada – Considered the national dish of Brazil, this traditional black bean stew with smoked meats is served with rice and celebrates Brazil’s African, Portuguese and Indian history.
Acaraje – These fried balls of shrimp, black-eyed peas and onions are one of the most popular street foods in Brazil.
Pao de Queijo or Cheese Bread – My oldest daughter is waiting with baited breath for this dish. These are served at breakfast, as a snack, and at dinner too.
Churrasco or Brazilian BBQ – This is the only food from Brazil that is slightly familiar to me. This is slow-roasted rotisserie meat that melts in your mouth. Definitely follow a slow cook recipe and don’t rush the meat you cook for this beautiful dish.
Empadinha or Little Pastry – Stuff these pastries with traditional hearts of palm, or whatever you and yours will eat (my kids are thinking cheese – surprise!). A funny little game is to include an olive inside the empadinhas. This is a common cultural tradition and sure to be fun for the kids!
Cuzcuz de Tapioca or Coconut Tapioca – From the Northeast of Brazil this dessert is popular and delicious.
Alongside many of these meals you can serve Brazilian style rice which incorporates tomatoes, onions and garlic into the cooking of the rice. It complements much of Brazilian cuisine.
Here’s to helping our kids become better global citizens – one dinner at a time! Happy cooking everyone!