February 27, 2014

Beef Stew

Quick and Easy! Try the pressure cooker version for that classic beef stew.

servings: 4
time: 40 minutes


1.5 lb beef stew cut into cubes (chuck roast or bottom round)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 chopped onion
1 diced tomato, peeled
salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tbs oil (olive or vegetable)


1 – Cut the meat and season with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic.
2 – In the pressure cooker, heat oil and add the meat. Fry for about 2 minutes. Mix well.
3 – Add onion and tomato. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
4 – Put some water (about ½ cup) and cover the pan.
5 – After 20 minutes cooking, turn the pressure cooker off and wait for all the pressure to be released before opening the pan.
6 – With the lid already open, turn the heat back on and simmer until the water has evaporated (to your preference) and transformed into a thick broth.
7 – Try and add more salt, if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Tips and Options
  • Season meat a day before the preparation, adding 1 cup of dry red wine.
  • Change the water by red wine or beef broth.
  • Replace the parsley for cilantro.
  • Add chopped vegetables when you get to step 6 and cook until soft. Could be potatoes, carrots, chayote and/or bell peppers.
  • White rice and green salad are good side dishes.

+ Info
Lucky for me, both of my grandmothers cooked very well, each with their different recipes and secrets. Beef Stew was Mrs. Raimunda's specialty, my paternal grandmother, and until today, I have never tasted any better one. My mother is getting there and I 'm just crawling in the preparation of the dish, which is one of my favorites!

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Carne de Panela.

February 19, 2014

White Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Perfect for an evening with family!

servings: 20 slicestime: 
50 minutes


2 cups all purpose flour 
1 ½ cups sugar 
4 eggs (yolks and whites separated) 
1 pinch of salt 
1 cup warm milk 
1 tbs butter
1 tbs baking powder 

Chocolate Ganache (suggestion):
1 cup heavy cream (or 1 can table cream)

8 oz unsweetened chocolate chips


1 – Mix warm milk and butter in a bowl. Set aside.
2 – In the mixer, beat the egg whites into snow.
3 – Add the egg yolks, one by one, and then the sugar. Mix until it is light yellow and creamy.
4 – Add flour and milk/butter, alternating the ingredients.
5 – Add baking powder and mix with a spoon.
6 – In a greased and floured baking pan, bake (at 350°F) for about 35 minutes (or until fully baked and golden on top).
7 – Spread the ganache on top.


Chocolate Ganache:
In a saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles begin to form. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips. Wait 3 minutes and stir well until it forms a consistent and smooth mixture.


Tips and Options
  • This is a basic recipe for white cake and you can use the frosting or topping of your choice.
  • Serve the cake with ice cream and the ganache, while still arm. Yummy!

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Bolo Branco com Ganache de Chocolate.

February 13, 2014

Tuna Lettuce Wrap

Great dining option for summer evenings – and to keep you in shape

servings: 1
time: 20 minutes

1 tuna can
½ cup corn
1 cup chopped mushrooms
5 to 6 green olives, chopped
½ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into very small cubes
chopped parsley and chives, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
salt to taste
8-10 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion and garlic (optional)

1 – In a bowl, mix all ingredients well.
2 – Season with lemon, olive oil and salt and stir again.
3 – Serve with lettuce leaves on the side and wrap them while eating.

Tips and Options

- Add 1 grated carrot and 1 chopped tomato.
- Other vegetables also combine: peppers or sauteed zucchini and steamed broccoli, finely chopped.
- Instead of tuna, use turkey breast.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Wrap de Alface com Atum.

February 06, 2014


Very tasty option to go along with that traditional pasta dish!

servings: 20 units
time: 1:30 hour

1 pound ground beef
½ package French onion soup/cream mix
½ onion, finely chopped
3 crushed garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1 slice of white bread
¼ cup milk
1 whole egg
½ cup chopped parsley and/or chives
all purpose flour (about 1 cup, total)
tomato sauce, ready (about 4 cups)

1 – In a bowl, combine ground beef, salt, pepper, onion soup mix, onion and garlic.
2 – Soak the bread in milk and add to the mixture.
3 – Add egg, flour (about 5 tbs.), parsley and mix well with your hands, until it forms a consistent mixture.
4 – Using your hands, shape the meatballs the size you like.
5 – In a deep plate, put about 3 tbs. of flour with a pinch of salt and roll the meatballs, pressing lightly with your hands (this will prevent the meatballs from breaking apart while cooking).
6 – In a large saucepan, heat the tomato sauce of your choice and add the meatballs.
7 – Cover and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.

Tips and Options
  • Add more or less flour to the mixture so that it is consistent and easy to shape.
  • To make meatballs stuffed with cheese, cut mozzarella into cubes and add to the center while shaping them.
  • Many meatball recipe's combine more than one type of meat (e.g., beef and pork). For a lighter option, use ground chicken or turkey breast.

Original recipe (in Portuguese):
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