Brazilian in Manhattan

Apple Picking

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Last Saturday I went apple picking at maskers I know… I know it’s something you do with kids. But if you could see me, you would think I was six years old. I got so excited! It was the first time I saw an apple tree, I couldn’t stop smiling and the scenery all the way from Manhattan to Warwick was amazing. It left me speechless. Every time we leave the ‘island’ (Manhattan) that is when we realize we actually live in America. It’s hard to feel that while in Manhattan. There are so many different people; from all over the world that you almost forget it’s part of America. But as soon as you leave, you start to see the country; my husband is the most patriotic person I know. He was singing the American Anthem during the Olympics with his hand on his heart. He told me he was dreaming about living in America ever since he could remember himself…. He’s got family here that used to come and visit his family every summer. He still remembers the ‘American’ smells that came out of their suitcases full of cloths, toys, chewing gums, every little thing you can imagine (only later he discovered that this ‘American’ smell was actually the smell of cinnamon from the big red chewing gum). In his room where he grew up, he had a huge flag of red & white stripes covering the wall over his bed. At school he drew an amazingly detailed map (with all the states which he memorized) on his desk. Then he imagined flying to visit each and every state. He lived in London for 3 years when he was studying law, he traveled to Thailand, India, Vietnam, and lived 3 years in Australia studying film. That’s when I met him, while I was studying Graphic Design. But from all those places America is where he feels at home. I have to confess something, I love it here, but Australia has a very special place in my heart, I guess it’s because it’s very similar to Brazil. The weather is the same, Christmas in December, that’s how I grew up. I absolutely love their way of living too. Their lives are all about the environment and having fun. They are very peace and loving kind of people. I really miss living close to the beach. I’m a totally beach person, I think life is much more interesting if you live close to the beach. And by the way, don’t expect an apple pie recipe following these pictures. We are still trying to loose the bulge over here. I have to think about something light without sugar, maybe a salad. I’m open to suggestions. 

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Comfort Food?

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Arugula,Fennel, Blood Orange, Hearts of Palm

Turns out, long distance relationship wasn’t very good for my waistline…. I was last week in a bread bonanza; bread is definitely my comfort food.

 Comfort food is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated, and easy to prepare. Many people turn to comfort food for familiarity, emotional security, or as a special reward. The reasons a dish becomes a comfort food are diverse but often include pleasant associations of childhood. Small children often seem to latch on to a specific food or drink (in a way similar to a security blanket and will repeatedly request it in high stress situations). Adults eat comfort food for a sense of continuity.

And God knows last week I needed some comfort. Usually I have “one” type of bread in the house, either whole grain or multigrain, Never a simple loaf of white bread (Trying to keep some sort of figure here).

But man! I went berserk; I had bread with raisins (they were delicious), sourdough bread, pita bread, focaccia bread, you name it… I had it. So of course in one week I became four pounds heavier. One night my dinner was olives and bread (very Mediterranean) would be great if I hadn’t top it of with a pint of chocolate ice cream. The conclusion here is: my husband is the sentinel of my sanity. Thank God he is back; if he stayed away longer, I would probably have to call 911 to break our surrounding walls in order to pull me out of my apartment. But now we are back to sensible eating, these four pounds have to go as fast as they came or else…

Salmon filet,Watercress,Fennel, and couscous. 

Pork chops and Israeli couscous

Beef Noodle Soup

Kale, Cucumber, Hearts of Palm Salad

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Not a Magic Mushroom!

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Don’t even get ideas; I’m the dorkiest person alive. Even to write about magic mushroom I feel a bit worried as if I’m breaking some law. But for the first time I wish they were magic. Not in the sense to be hallucinogenic but to somehow make the time fly faster. It’s just four days since my hubby left to visit his family, and I’m already thinking about magic mushrooms. Who knows what will be next, maybe get a sugar high with loads and loads of chocolate, I’m trying anything to increase my endorphins, ice cream, chocolate, and today I walked at least 7 miles which was a very good thing after all the chockies. But nope!!! Endorphins, right now they are ignoring all my attempts. I guess I’ll have to just “Maverick” through this tough time (“Wink”).

Mushroom Risotto

  • 6 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside. Add 1-tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2-cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.




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Missing ya guts!

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I really, really miss you Bubi. Everything is very boring without ya! Can you hear the violins? La, la, la, la, laaaa…

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Filed under Fish,Risotto by

I got a big problem. I always go for pretty over practical things. Sometimes I find myself limping across the streets of New York just because I bought the wrong pair of shoes and insisted on wearing them. They sure look very pretty, but they were killing me. Bags…. I looooooooooove bags, and God help me if they are pretty and useless…I will get them anyway. Oh… and I got to tell you about this metal skewer I found once. It turned to be the biggest useless (but pretty) thing I ever bought. They were a nightmare to skew veggies  and use on the grill… HELLO! What was I thinking? Even to hold them with thongs was impossible. They are so out of my drawers!! I think the best way to describe me, would be as a fly that happened to see her friends flying towards the light only to be ZAPED, but she goes on anyway flying in the same direction saying SHYNY!!! Well!!  Is there anyone out there who knows what I mean??? Does it ring a bell??? I need to know that I’m not alone here.

Cilantro Rice       

  • 1 pound black beans
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-tablespoon pine nuts
  • 3/4-cup pure olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

Place soaked beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until cooked through, about 1 1/2 hours, adding more water if needed. Drain beans into a colander set over a bowl and reserve the cooking liquid from the beans. 

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on the grates of the grill. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the rice, toss to coat in the oil and onion mixture, and cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 3/4 cups of the bean cooking liquid (if there is not enough liquid, add some water to measure 3 3/4 cups). Season the rice with salt and pepper, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, place cover on the pot, and cook until rice is just cooked through, about 14 to 16 minutes.

 While the rice is cooking, place cilantro, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the oil and process until smooth. Add the cheese and process until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place rice and beans in a large bowl, fold in the cilantro pesto, and Garnish with the additional chopped cilantro.

For the Halibut skewers:

  • 3 medium zucchini, rinsed and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds halibut or other meaty whitefish suitable for grilling
  • 1 red Bell pepper rinsed cut in squares
  • 1 small red onion cut in squares
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 package 6 or 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.


Halve zucchini lengthwise and then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Meanwhile, cut the fish into 1-inch cubes for the kabobs and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the peppers, onions and olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and oregano. Toss until fish, onions, peppers and zucchinis are well coated.

Assemble skewers and pour the remaining marinade over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill. Skewers can be left to marinate for 30 minutes but no longer than 1 1/2 hours since the lemon juice will start to “cook” the fish.

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

Grill skewers and baste with remaining marinade, turning once after several minutes on the first side, until fish is just cooked through but not flaking apart, about 7 to 9 minutes total. Serve immediately.

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Happy Birthday Daddy!

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 The things you taught me I will always know.

How could I not? The roots have sunk so deep:

All lessons of the heart that I will keep

No matter who I am or where I go.

Kids learn from what their parents are, and so

You are my book of life, the thoughts I reap;

Only in your arms I quiet sleep;

Under my words your voice sings soft and slow.

From you I learned the rules of right and wrong

Against which I at times had to rebel,

Though with regret I carry with me still.

How lucky I am to have been loved so well,

Even as I pushed against your will,

Relying on a father fair and strong.

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I do Like Scallops After All!!

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 For many years my hubby has been trying to convince me that scallops are delicious and I always managed to brush him off  challenging him to eat tomatoes in return  (he hates tomatoes). But Momofuku changed my mind. I was there the other day and he ordered the scallops, it looked very nice and smelled good also. So I decided to give it another go and guess what? I loved it. It didn’t taste too fishy or smell fishy. It was just delicious.  So I decided to try it on my own,

 For the Scallops:

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, rinsed and drained
  • 1-teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, Juice and zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil and 1/2-tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Place half of the scallops in the skillet without crowding; cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove scallops to a plate. Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter in the skillet, and cook remaining scallops. Remove to plate.

Pour in wine, and boil 1 or 2 minutes, until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter; just softening butter to form a smooth sauce. Stir in salt, lemon zest, and tarragon. Pour sauce over scallops.

 For the Navy Beans Salad with Caramelized Onions:

I’ve used (Gasp!) canned beans, I know…. (It’s not that glamorous) but it served me well.  So I rinsed and drained the navy beans to get rid of that gooey liquid, and for the onions, I caramelized them with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper Flakes. Seasoned the beans with

Tarragon Vinaigrette:

  •  2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ¼ fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cups of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Blend until emulsified.


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