18.5.11

Green Fig Compote - Doce de Figo




Staying at my parent’s house has being wonderful.  Although my adorable new life in US, it is a privilege to eat my mother’s food again, especially those traditional and regional recipes. After the marolo candies, today I will share with you, my dear readers, Green Fig Compote. This is a classical sweet from Minas Gerais State made with green figs and sugar syrup. 



As figs are very fragile and also has a short "shelf life" (about a week), it is customary to find them in the dehydrated form. In Arabic, Turkish and Greek cuisine, for example, there are a plethora of sweets made with dried figs. But here in Minas we prefer to make compotes. Cooking fresh fruit with water and sugar is a tradition inherited from the colonization times.  But this tradition was also adapted for tropical fruits as cashew and green papaya. Fresh or dried, figs have many fibers, so it helps in intestinal function and enhances the feeling of satiety. They are also a source of potassium, which makes it perfect for those who likes sports and physical activities. 





My mother is an expert in fruit compotes, such as guava, papaya, pumpkin and orange peel compotes.  They are absolutely luscious! The biggest difference between those compotes and fig compote is the cooking process. The figs are not cook in boiling water with sugar, as the other ones. First, the figs are cooked just in pure water for one day, and then, only on the second day, the sugar is added.  To get intense green figs, you have to use a cooper pan; otherwise the figs will get a yellowish green color. The taste will not change if you use another pan, but for me they look more appetizing when they are intense green. Green fig compote is very good by itself or with whipped cream.




Green Fig Compote

2 pounds fresh green figs 
2 pounds sugar 
water 


Wash figs in warm water and lightly rub each one with a cloth or knife. Cut into 4 wedges and let the edges attached. In a cooper pan over medium heat boil in water about 15 minutes and change the water. Repeat this processe during 1 hour or until the figs are cooked. This time the figs will be yellowish green.  Remove from heat and let stand overnight, at room temperature.


On the second day, change the water and let figs boiling about 15 minutes. The figs will change the color to intense green.  Change the water and add sugar. Cook until it becomes thick syrup. Cool the figs in the fridge. Arrange the figs on serving plates, drizzle the sugar syrup over them, and garnish with whipped cream.




14.5.11

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts filled with Homemade Dulce de Leche - Bolinho de Chuva Recheado com Doce de Leite



Hi dear readers! I’m sorry for being absent. I wish I could post more recipes, but I’ve been busy writing my PhD thesis. But I love so much sharing my experiences with you that I couldn’t wait any more. Today is about Bolinhos de chuva, which  are the Brazilian version of doughnuts. They are little balls coated with cinnamon and sugar.

When I think in these mini doughnuts my childhood memories came back. My mother used to make them for me and my sister in one of those rainy, lazy days. Oh, it was so good! The sweet smell when they were frying and the aroma of cinnamon as the touch final made me eat dozens of Bolinhos de chuva. And better than this is that I didn’t have any concerning about the calories. Good times!

I have never made doughnuts before, but I saw an interesting recipe on TV of mini doughnuts filled with dulce de leche. Definitely this recipe has to be the first one to try! To get a good result and a nice shape, it’s very necessary a firm dulce de leche balls before covered it with the dough. The dulce the leche should stay in the freezer for at least one night, otherwise the dulce de leche will mix with the dough (which is not a bad idea). These mini doughnuts are the best I’ve ever eaten. Even my mother agrees with me.  They are so soft and so sweet. Simple irresistible.







Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts filled with Homemade Dulce de Leche


2 cups  dulce de leche
3 1/2 cups  all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
350 ml milk


2 cups sugar
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon



Canola oil, for frying
Homemade Dulce de leche from here


Place the dulce de leche in a plate and bring to a refrigerator overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and make small balls and set aside in the freezer for 20 minutes just to firmApart sift flour with baking powder and salt. ReserveIn a bowl place butter, sugar and eggs and beat with a whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the dry mixture of alternating with milk and mix well until dough is smooth. ReserveDip each ball of dulce de leche in the dough with the help of two tablespoonsTo fry the doughnuts, fill a pan up to 2" of canola oil. Heat the oil until it reaches 375F. Do not over-crowd the pan with doughnuts. Fry about 5 at a time (depending on the size of the pan). They will sink to the bottom but then float to the top. Turn them over and let them cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.Drain them on paper towels and while hot, coat them with the cinnamon sugar.



This recipe was featured on Foodbuzz Top 9: May 16, 2011



1.5.11

Rôti de Porc au lait - Braised Pork with Milk

When I started getting interest in cooking some years ago, my lovely sister gave me the Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook. It is a great book. He explains with a sensor of humor some classical French dishes. But my favorite part is what he said on the introduction. Basically, he said that cooking isn’t in the blood. You need the will, the desire, the determination, the persistence, the passion, the curiosity, the start over and the love to cook well. With his words, I wanted to learn to cook everything. So I started with the Rôti de Porc au lait (Braised Pork with Milk).

There are several ways to prepare a pork loin. You can grill, roast, fry… Well, I think everyone has your favorite method. Now, mine is “Braised Pork with Milk” because the result is a juicy and tender piece of pork. This recipe requires two important steps that shall be followed. First, you have to brown the pork loin on all sides to seal the meat and to conserve the juicy inside of it. The second one is the milk. It has to be fat milk, otherwise you won’t get the wonderfully sweet flavor and meat moist that this recipe provides.  Normally, I use pork loin, but this time I changed it for pork tenderloin. The result was also fantastic! 




Rôti de Porc Au Lait - Braised Pork with Milk
(from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook)
Serves 6

3 lb / 1.35 kg boneless pork loin roast or pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp / 28 ml olive oil
1 tbsp / 14 g butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 cups / 450 ml whole milk
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig of flat parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf, tiedtogether with string. Tying the bundle in cheesecloth makes it easier to retrieve from the pot)

Cook The Pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the butter. Brown the roast on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside on the large plate. Add the onion, carrot, leek, and garlic and stir over high heat until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then add the milk and the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Add the pork and any juices that have collected on the plate. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour, making sure to periodically rotate the pork (the sugars) in the milk can cause sticking and scorching). Remove the pork and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Finish the sauce and serve: Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Strain the cooking liquid into a small pot and bring to a boil. Using a hand blender, puree the sauce until foamy. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Carve the pork and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over and around and serve immediately.


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