Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taste of Brazil - Teasers (little bites)

Coffee... a time to have a cup of jo and try a little bite of something new to eat.  Brazil is full of small bite size foods that go perfect with the cup of coffee.  Below you will find a page of little bites that would compliment that break in the afternoon, finish a meal, or just stand alone on their own with or without coffee.  I did not put the little bites in any particular order (that means no ranking) and I am sure there will be plenty for another blog at some point (working on II now).  Please feel free to comment on little bites that I should try on a future adventure or share a recipe. 

 ** Fig - More of a sweet for after dinner coffee,  Luiz's aunt makes a great fig with a delicious clear sweet sauce.  Often served with a slice of cheese or drizzle of doce.  It is a perfect compliment for the after dinner coffee and the perfect way to end a meal.

**  Pit dog-  These sandwiches can be found in little shops all over Goiania, Mineiros and I am sure other cities in Brazil.  Hamburger or Chicken with a mix of toppings to create a hamburger like experience unlike any other.  Toppings to choose from include - lettuce - tomato - corn - egg - heart of palm - potato sticks - spicy mayo- mayo - ketchup - hot dog - bacon - all or none - they are a simple treat.  Really not much to do with coffee or very small - I needed to share about them somewhere.   Most popular in the evening and early morning. (No Waffle House here)

** Kibe - On our way to Caldas Novas there is the locally famous town of Piracanjuba where one can find delicious Kibe. It is a traditional Northern Africa or Middle Eastern bite filled with cheese, meat, vegetables or a mix.   The filling is surrounded by a chopped meat and rice shell fried until delicious.  Anyone making the journey through the little town would be hard to miss the restaurant with a history of excellent Kibe.  Although we have had this other places after our trip to Caldas Novas, this was my first and most enjoyable experience with this bite.

  ** Carmelized Banana - Have you ever gone to a Chinese buffet in the United States and after you have finished eating, you crave something sweet?  Disappointed to only find bland cake and no flavor treats as your only options to curve this craving.  Well - in Brazil the Chinese have a fried banana that would not disappoint any sweet tooth.  Obviously the banana is dipped in batter and fried until golden brown.  Then a caramelized coating is added to finish off this delicious (of course high caloric) treat.   Good thing they serve only one at the end of the meal even though an American can always manipulate a second pleading that they don't have these in the United States (wink, wink).

** Mane Pelado -- this cake is made from yuca which is the starchy root of the yuca plant grown in South America.   Be careful if you venture into cooking with yuca as you must cook it properly to remove the roots toxicity.  The yuca in this cake makes it extremely moist and the texture a little bit grainy.  At first bite I thought it had coconut in it but it did not.  It has an unique flavor and I can definitely appreciate and accept it when offered the next time without reserve. 

** Baked Pastel  - We stopped for coffee in Rio at the famous Confeitaria Colombo and I had this delicious baked pastel (which I am sure it was much more healthy then the fried pastel I ate at the street market).  It was a perfect compliment to the environment as we sat and relaxed in the nestaljic surroundings  Oh the history of this place, but back to the bite size pastry.  The pastel was filled with cheese as a lot of Brazilian pastries are.  It is light and fluffy and would compliment coffee perfectly even if coffe was really the coke zero I was drinking today.  

**Cookies -  Baking bread occupies most of the ovens in Brazil and you don't often find cookies so I was excited when I saw these short bread like cookies at Della Bakery.  Texture was similar but the taste was not.  A little less buttery and actually a lot less flavor.  They almost tasted like a healthy version of a short bread cookie.  But since baking cookies is not common in Brazil, they were still worth it.
** Coconut Flakes - Here is that dang coconut again.  We sat at a nice  restaurant one evening and out came this interesting bowl of pre meal nibbles.  I can truly appreciate something to snack on as we peruse the menu and wait for our meal to come.  But these nibbles are roasted and salted coconut chips.  I hesitate to try them but remember my vow to give anything a chance.  I eat my first one and am surprise at how tantalizing the mix of coconut oil and salt are to my flavor pallet.  I soon regret eating one as we are shortly brought a second bowl while we wait for our main courses.  Once again I am surprised that I like something coconut.

** Cajamanga Popsicle You may have read earlier about my affair with the Cajamanga fruit and since I loved the fruit so much Luiz said I had to try this popsicle. Made from the cajamanga juice, it was a little sour.  They suggested adding salt so I did but adding salt to a popsicle was just a little different!  Don't get me wrong - it was good - just different.

** Jilo This is a locally grown green fruit in the eggplant and tomato family which is cooked like a vegatable.  (Imagine how confused it must be).  My friend Suely has been a proponent of me trying new tastes and every time we visit her there is something new in the kitchen ready for me to try.  One day when we arrive Suely had prepared Jilo and onions. I had not seen this before and I would compare the looks to brussel sprouts or okra.  I liked the Jilo and flavor wise would describe it as similar to an eggplant with a slightly bitter flavor.  (recipe from "the perfect pantry") It's a must try if you ever get the chance.  Thanks Suely.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed experiencing Brazilian bite size snacks with me and I look forward to trying some more.   My one wish is that you could not only see the photos but smell and taste the bites as well.  But since you cannot,  I will continue enjoying them for you and sharing my experience as I have already started on the second posting of bite size treats.  Brazil truly loves it coffee and compliments it with a wide variety of little bite size treasures - there are plenty to share!

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