Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quotables: Winnie-the-Pooh

This quote perfectly sums up my feelings about food:

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.

--A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tasty Travels: PizzaRio!

Brazilians have fun with their pizza.

While in Brazil, I had pizza on at least 4 occassions. Normally, I'd never eat pizza so many times in one week, but the fun flavors and creativity kept it interesting for me.

Ketchup, Mustard, & Mayo
Their pizzas are very light on sauce. Instead, Brazilians prefer to squirt ketchup on top of their pizza slice. When ordering pizza in a restaurant in Brazil, the waiter will also provide a pile of ketchup, mustard, and mayo packets for this reason. I can see how the sweet tomato ketchup and creamy mayo go well on pizza (and confirmed this with a few bites with these condiments), but I didn't get the courage to try the mustard with my slices!

Catupiry Cheese
You'll also have the option to order pizza with Catupiry cheese. This Brazilian cheese is very creamy (almost like cream-cheese) with a delicious smoked flavor. If you order a four cheese pizza in Brazil, I can almost guarantee that Catupiry will be one of the cheeses used.

Sweet Pizzas
It's also quite common to have sweet "Dulce" pizzas on the menu. The pizza below has pineapple, peaches, figs, maraschino cherries, bananas, and cinnamon. Unfortunately it also came with ham, as my dear host family forgot to specify meatless when ordering. It's not easy being vegetarian in Brazil!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tasty Travels: Mantioca

I just returned from a vacation in Brazil, my first ever trip to South America. Stay tuned for various highlights about the interesting foods I tried in my travels. Up first: Mantioca. (man-tee-oak-ah)

Mantioca is a root vegetable commonly eaten in Brazil. I'd never heard of it before, but it turns out I'd just never heard this name before. Mantioca also goes by several other names including Manioc, Yuca, and Cassava. And I've actually eaten it several times before... Yuca fries at Pollo Tropical (a chain common in Florida where I'm from), Yuca baked with garlic and lemon at a Cuban themed dinner party, and Tapioca pudding - yes, Tapioca! - it's derived from the Cassava root. And according to Wikipedia, Cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for meals in the world.

On this trip I ate Mantioca several times, in two main ways, sometimes both in the same meal:

1.) Mantioca Fries. Deep fried and lightly salted. They are starchier and thicker than french fries and incredibly satisfying. I had these at least 4 times throughout the trip including several restaurants, buffets, and the home-made fries below:

2.) Farofa (Toasted Manioc Flour). Similar in texture to panko bread crumbs, farofa is served along with Feijoada (fay-joe-ah-da), the national dish of Brazil. Feijoada is a bean stew, usually loaded with meat (but not on my plate!). It is traditionally served with a garnish of chopped collard greens, Farofa for texture, and Orange Slices. Careful though, sometimes Farofa is prepared with bacon grease. Pictured below, a sprinkling of farofa over my friend's traditional (meaty) Feijoada plate.

For a taste of Brazil at home, check out this recipe for Vegan Feijoada courtesey of Vegetarian times: