facebook-icon  linkedin-icon  google-plus-cynthia-presser  pinterest-icon  youtube-icon  stumbleupon-icon  email-icon

Pumpkin-Coconut Balls (Beijinho de Abóbora com Coco)

pumpkin-coconut-ball-fg

I love to live in the US, but I especially love to be here at this time of year! It’s so wonderful to experience the preparations for Thanksgiving, to watch the beautiful change of fall colors, and to eat all sorts of pumpkin recipes!!

Pumpkin is an ingredient that I really enjoy, and it is so great to be able to share some new uses of it based on my Brazilian cooking background.

Pumpkin and coconut is a very popular (and super delicious!) combination of ingredients in Brazilian cuisine. We make cakes, pies, ice cream, compotes and so on using this mixture.

So my Pumpkin-Coconut Balls are inspired in another Brazilian dessert: the “Beijinho” (translates to “Little Kisses”) which is a Coconut Ball. These kinds of sweets - rolled small balls - are commonly served at birthday parties in Brazil and everyone loves them! I think that the greatest advantage of serving these for large groups is the clean-up: no plates, serving utensils, forks or spoons are necessary – and that makes it a very practical idea for Thanksgiving. I think that the traditional pies have to be at the Thanksgiving table, but these could be a fun add-on to the dessert table. I guarantee it will be a hit!

Add a comment

Read more: Pumpkin-Coconut Balls (Beijinho de Abóbora com Coco)

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Apricots-Gouda-Mascarpone Filling, with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa (Lombo Recheado com Damascos Secos, Queijo Gouda e Mascarpone, com Arroz de Castanha-de-Cajú e Farofa)

tenderloin-gouda-apricot-mascarpone-filling-cashew-rice-farofa

Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on the evening of the 24th and dinner is served only after mid-night, on the 25th. It might sound kind of crazy for most people here in the US, but it is just how it is done down there... Since people wait for supper for a long time, it better give them some sustenance! This meal translates very well what a traditional Brazilian Christmas supper looks like. In this recipe, the pork tenderloin is moist and well seasoned, with a creamy and sweet filling, complimented with the richness of cashews from the rice and crunchiness from the farofa. This family recipe was passed over to me by a friend, and I am excited to present it to you. Enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Pork Tenderloin with Dried Apricots-Gouda-Mascarpone Filling, with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa...

White Chocolate Flan with Peppermint Caramel Sauce

flan-white-chocolate-peppermint-christmas-holidays-dessert

It is no secret that flan is my favorite dessert. I love all sorts of flavors and variations, and I really wanted to create a recipe using the traditional flavors of the holidays. So after a lot of thought I came up with a recipe for a White Chocolate Flan with Peppermint Sauce, and I am proud to say it turned out exactly how I had dreamed it would: rich, smooth, and with just a touch of peppermint flavor. This dessert translates all the amazing sweet tastes of Christmas! In fact, it is even more special to me because I was able to add some flavors of the holidays in the United States to a traditional dessert from my country: Brazil. Merry Christmas friends! Feliz Natal amigos! I hope a slice of my flan brings a smile to your face this holiday season!

Add a comment

Read more: White Chocolate Flan with Peppermint Caramel Sauce

Fig and Prosciutto Phyllo Appetizer

phyllo-fig-prosciutto-appetizer

Sweet and savory at the same time, my flaky Fig and Prosciutto Phyllo bites have a touch of creamy mascarpone and a drizzle of honey. Its shape resembles ravioli and it is an easy-to-make finger food. Also, it can be made one day ahead, which makes it handy for the Holidays and large gatherings. I hope you and your friends enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Fig and Prosciutto Phyllo Appetizer

Spinach Salad with Caramelized Pumpkin and Goat Cheese

pumpkin-goat-cheese-caramelized-almonds-salad

Pumpkin is such a wonderful, nutritious ingredient that can be added to sweet and savory dishes. In this spinach salad, the pumpkin is caramelized in the oven and paired with goat cheese, for a touch of tartness. Lightly caramelized almonds compliment this rich salad and add a crunchy bite. This salad is all about enjoying holiday flavors with healthy greens!

Add a comment

Read more: Spinach Salad with Caramelized Pumpkin and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin-Coconut Pie

pumpkin-pie-coconut-foodgawker

I have to confess I was never a huge fan of pumpkin pie. I remember the very first Thanksgiving I spent in the United States when I had my first bite of a pumpkin pie. With all respect to the traditions I have to say I was disappointed! Such a big deal around a dessert that was neither sweet or savory. So I decided to incorporate a little Brazilian twist to the classic: coconut! Pumpkin and coconut is a very traditional pair in desserts in Brazil, so I thought: “Why not?” I made it in two layers to make a more interesting presentation; I made it sweeter so there is no need for whipping cream; and I used all fresh ingredients to heighten the flavors while still keeping the method really simple - it’s a busy time, we all need easy recipes! So my decadent “Pumpkin-Coconut Pie” was born and quickly became one of my most popula recipes ever. 

Add a comment

Read more: Pumpkin-Coconut Pie

Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to plan some delicious meals for the festivities. We all love the traditional turkey, but there are other great proteins that fit the holiday table!  I have some meals, sides, appetizers, and dessert suggestions that might be a little bit out of the ordinary, but they will certainly bring a twist to the table! So keep an open mind and check out what the Brazilian is serving to family and friends this season.

Baked Pumpkin with Chicken, Coconut Milk and Cranberries

baked-pumpkin-chicken-cranberries

Each pumpkin should serve 6 to 8 people and make a great decoration for the table as well. Remove the chicken and add extra vegetables like zucchini and carrots and turn it into a beautiful side dish.

Pumpkin with Shrimp (Camarao na Moranga) 

pumpkin-with-shrimp-camarao-na-moranga

This recipe is typical from Brazil but it will sure bring a twist to the table and make a big statement. Use chicken instead of shrimp if you prefer. Slow cooked pork shoulder will also taste great with the pumpkin and cheese combination.

Chicken Pot-Pie Brazilian Style (Empadao de Frango)

chicken-pot-pie-brazilian-empadao

Comfort food that will have everyone coming back for more. This is my Mother’s recipe and it is perfect for the fall days, including Thanksgiving.

Lamb Stew with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Mint

lamb-raisins-pine-nuts

This lamb dish has the taste of the Holidays!

Avocado and Candied Cashew Pie 

avocado-cashew-pie

It’s OK to also have a different pie other then the pumpkin pie! The candied cashews on top bring a holiday feel to the delicate taste of the avocado filling.

Add a comment

Christmas Recipe Ideas

It’s time to plan some delicious meals for the festivities. I have some meals, sides, appetizers, and dessert suggestions that might be a little bit out of the ordinary, but they will certainly bring a little twist to your table! So keep an open mind and check out what the Brazilian is serving to family and friends this season.

Eggplant Antipasto 

eggplant-antipasto-walnuts

Another one of my Mom’s favorite recipes, this antipasto can be made with up to 2 weeks in advance and it is perfect with pita bread. Your guests will need a little appetizer while they wait for the big feast!

Lamb Roulade with Tomatoes and Gouda, Mint Pesto, and Farofa 

roasted-lamb-tomatoes-mint-pesto-farofa

The Farofa recipe featured in this meal is the most traditional side for Christmas supper in Brazil.

Moroccan Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts 

couscous-marrocan-apricots-raisins-cashews-almonds

Perfect side for the turkey, the stuffing will be jealous!

Apricot-Cranberry Pork Chops

apricot-cranberry-pork-chops

This should be renamed “Holiday Pork Chops” because it has all those traditional flavors!

Brigadeiro – The Famous Brazilian Chocolate Bonbon 

brigadeiro-brazilian-truffle

This dessert will please everyone from kids to adults. Use holiday colors sprinkles (green and red) on top to make the little bonbons even more special!

Add a comment