Brazilian Food…Damn Close to Being as Good as Mom’s or Grandma’s

Augusto, our Brazilian friend, just got back from a visit to Brazil and brought me a cookbook called “Brazil: A Cook’s Tour” by Christopher Idone. His mom made us feijoada when she visited once and it was absolutely amazing. I have always wanted to try to make it and the cookbook he brought me had the recipe. But that recipe was intimidating to say the least. It was going to take three days to make because of soaking the beans and preparing the meat, etc. So I had Augusto Skype with his parents. His mom told him in Portugese how to make the dish and he translated to me while I vigorously wrote down every single detail. Since we got a late start on Saturday, we had to pressure cook everything, but I always think pressuring things makes them taste better anyway. My last pressure cooker broke and Grandma and Grandpa told me to buy one on them and it would be a housewarming gift. So I bought a nice pressure cooker from Wal-Mart when we went to buy all of the groceries. I had a hard time hunting down some of the meat, like pork knees, but I substituted some other cuts and it tasted just as great. Let me tell you now…it turned out absolutely amazing. I was extremely proud of myself and Augusto said it was very close to his mother’s. I never expected to make it as well as she does. The recipe is at the end of this blog. I suggest trying it for fun sometime…if you like to cook and experiment. It is now one of my top 10 favorite foods.

As for the quilting, I was planning on being somewhat productive this weekend, but that didn’t happen. I also didn’t get any pictures hung up or any decorating shopping done. Making feijoada took up most of my Saturday afternoon and Saturday morning was spent working out and cleaning a bit. I was planning on making to to a quilt shop sometime this weekend so I could pick out fabric for my placemats and buy a baby quilt kit. That didn’t happen because we ended up being lazy this morning since last night was a late one. And we went to a late lunch and played Risk for the rest of the afternoon with Augusto and Kate. Kate and I dominated. When it was just down to the two of us, we stopped played. Kate would’ve won. I am definitely going to make it to a quilt shop one day over lunch or after work this week. And next weekend is already devoted to decorating. At least Andrew’s man cave is finally put together, although most of the boxes and extra stuff are shoved into the spare closet. He has guaranteed that it will be cleaned out and either thrown away, put in a proper place, or put in the storage unit. I believe him. He dislikes clutter almost as much as I do.

I just finished one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it to everybody. It’s “Project: Happily Ever After” by Alisa Bowman. If you have ever been married, are married, have ever been in a relationship, or are in a relationship, read this book! Spend the $19.95 (or cheaper if you get it on the Kindle or used) or chip in with some friends and pass it around. It’s worth every penny. I don’t consider Andrew and I to have serious problems, just normal disagreements. This book made me realize that there are some things we (and I really mean we because I am part of the problem) should work on or it might affect our relationship in 5, 10, 0r 20 years.  And I think every marriage/relationship is a work-in-progress anyway. Andrew has promised to read the book and we are going to work on some things. I am absolutely nowhere near the point where she was at the beginning of the book, but there were times throughout the book that I smiled or teared up or laughed because I saw us doing the exact same things only on a less intense level. And I don’t want them to ever escalate. Tip: Warn your spouse or significant other that you are reading it because you will not feel like being nice to them while reading it. Please let me know if you have read it or if you do read it and what you thought of it.

I promise I’ll blog more about quilting once I actually make it to a quilting shop. Until then, I’ll start posting about my earlier projects and some of the quilts that I cherish.

Feijoada

(serves 8-10 people)

Ingredients

2.5 lbs black beans

2 packages Hillshire Farms smoked pork sausages, sliced into very large pieces (they are the ones that come in the horseshoe shape)

2-3 smoked pork knees (or smoked turkey legs or some other smoked pork part)

1 package thick cut smoked bacon, sliced into very large pieces

2-2.5 lbs chuck beef, cut into very large chunks (I actually used 3.5 lbs because I knew the meat would be eaten fast and that’s how much I bought in the package and didn’t want to freeze it because I knew we wouldn’t eat it.)

4 pieces of corn on the cob, broke into three pieces each

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into very large pieces (I actually would add more if you like sweet potatoes.)

collard greens, rolled and tied

2 oranges, sliced

5 cups white rice

2 large onions, chopped

1 large can crushed tomatoes (You’ll actually only use half of the can.)

1 green bell pepper, chopped

minced garlic (I’m not sure on the amount. Make an educated guess.)

6-8 cubes of beef boullion

1 pineapple, sliced

cliantro (Again, not sure on the amount, so make an educated guess.)

green onion (And again, not sure on the amount, so do that educated guess thing again.)

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

olive oil (Make another educated guess.)

pork spare ribs (There are cooked separately in the oven at 350 degrees F with garlic powder, limes, salt, and pepper until they are done. You should know when they are done or Google it. These are also optional.)

Directions

1. Clean beans one hour before you begin cooking. Place in a pot with hot water covering them. Make sure there is extra water because they will soak up the water. I also put a lid on the pot so the heat would stay in longer.

2. Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil in the pressure cooker until the onions are clear. Make sure to stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

3. Add the green pepper, crushed tomatoes, black pepper, and bouillon. Do not add water with the cubes of bouillon. It seem strange, but trust me. No water is necessary…yet.

4. Add meat and let brown.

5. Add the beans and the water they soaked in.

6. Add water to the limit of the pressure cooker. (This did a decent job of filling up my 16 quart canning pressure cooker so I added the water to the limit. However, if you don’t make this entire recipe, just make sure there is enough water in the pot that it won’t dry out while pressuring.

7. Pressure for 20 minutes on medium heat.

8. Remove all of the meat from the pot and keep warm with foil or in the oven or microwave. (This is why the meat should be cut into large chunks.

9. Add cilantro, green onions, corn, sweet potatoes, salt, and collard greens. (I actually tied my collard greens with quilting thread because I didn’t have any cooking string.)

10. Pressure for another 15 minutes.

11. Serve over rice with oranges and pineapple on the side. Don’t forget to add the ribs.

I actually had the meat on one platter, the veggies on another, and then just the beans in the pot. I don’t know what the word Augusto used was, but it is very important to him that before you serve the meal that everybody gets to taste the bean juice in shot glasses. It’s his favorite part and his family’s tradition. Also, apparently you can order it just like that in Brazil. His mom and I both used it as a taste tester to see whether it needed more salt or pepper.

If you don’t know how to use a pressure cooker…learn. They are amazing and a time saver.

This meal is expensive! Especially since we served cheese and crackers as an appetizer and drank wine, caipirinhas (lime, sugar, and Brazilian rum called cachaca), margaritas, and beer. Everybody that ate chipped in a little and it wasn’t too bad. We also made A LOT! We will be eating feijoada for days, which doesn’t bother me one bit. If you ever make it, let me know how it turns out and what you thought of it.

 

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