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

Crunchy Salad with Greek Yogurt and Honey


I was inspired by two different salads to create this recipe: coleslaw and Tabbouleh (a traditional Lebanese salad.)

Add a comment

Read more: Crunchy Salad with Greek Yogurt and Honey



This is a very popular appetizer in Brazil and the possibilities for fillings are endless! Besides the hearts-of-palm, my favorites are the classics: mozzarella cheese with herbs, shrimp with Catupiry, and ground beef with black olives. But you can use your creativity and experiment!

Add a comment

Read more: Pastel

Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)


"Escondidinho" is bar food in Brazil and it can also be prepared with different kinds of meat like chicken, ground beef, and carne-seca - the Brazilian beef jerky.

Add a comment

Read more: Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)

Caprese Bruschetta with Pine Nuts


The ingredients in this recipe are one of my favorite combinations of flavors ever: fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, pine nuts, and garlic.

Add a comment

Read more: Caprese Bruschetta with Pine Nuts

Shrimp-and-Cream Cheese Stuffed Zucchini


 This recipe is light in calories and in carbohydrates, but it is not light in flavor! You will re-think light cooking after you try this sttufed zucchini.

Add a comment

Read more: Shrimp-and-Cream Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

Eggplant Antipasto


This is another one of my Mom's recipes and it is simply delicious!! I think that it is the best eggplant antipasto ever!! Serve it with pita bread, or any other kind of bread or crakers. It is also a great top for grilled steak, but my mom always serves it with Quibe (Kibbeh), a delcious Brazilian-Middle Eastern recipe made with raw meat or lamb. Helthy and easy to make, this anipasto tastes even better after a week or two in the fridge. I hope you enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Eggplant Antipasto

Chicken-Lettuce Cups


This Chicken-Lettuce Cups can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken-Lettuce Cups

Hearts-of-Palm, Mushrooms, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad


This salad is perfect with a grilled steak during summer time!  Enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Hearts-of-Palm, Mushrooms, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Avocado-Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Mashed Cauliflower


Red meat isn’t always seen as a healthy meal choice. A juicy and delicious steak is, many times, seen as a heavy, hard to digest, fatty kind of dinner. As much as I love steak, I do find myself avoiding from “Monday-through-Friday”, which gives it the status of a weekend indulgence.

Growing up in the Southern part of Brazil, where meat is the go-to protein, I used to not think of meat that way at all. We had red meat on our table almost every day. It wasn’t a crazy, gigantic 16 ounces portion of rib-eye; at a daily basis, smaller portions of meat were served as the main course at every table. Forget about those standardized, all-you-can-eat, Brazilian steak houses. Those are, indeed, a weekend indulgence. On week days, steak is always portioned right.

November is celebrated as the “Eat Smart Month” by the American Heart Association, and I was thrilled to be invited to be part of it. Their big fundraising event was sponsored by NBC Channel 8 in Tampa, and my job was to show viewers how to prepare a colorful and healthy meal. They asked me if I could look at their recipe file to possibly find something we could develop together. Since the cause is one worth embracing, I decided to be open minded.

Add a comment

Read more: Avocado-Chimichurri Skirt Steak with Mashed Cauliflower

Brazilian Jerky Beef and Yuca Bowl (Escondidinho de Carne-Seca)


Do not be fooled by the rustic look of this traditional Brazilian recipe – this simple dish has an incredible amount of flavor!

Originally from the North Eastern region of Brazil, this delicious meal can be served as a full entrée or as an appetizer – sometimes prepared in individual small casseroles, which makes for a really cute presentation. These days, you can find it in restaurants and homes at all corners of Brazil.

Carne-seca is the equivalent of a very high quality jerky beef (take a look at the Cook’s Notes to learn more). It is basically a kind of dried and salted meat that has been used for centuries in Brazilian cuisine.

The real name of the dish is “Escondidinho de Carne-Seca”, which literally translates to “Jerky Beef Little Hidden One” – the carne-seca is “hidden” in between the two layers of velvety yuca purée. I thought that the literal translation would be a little crazy, so I am calling this recipe “Brazilian Jerky Beef and Yuca Bowl” – long name, but more comprehensive ;) I also have a version of this same meal with shrimp. If you are a fan of seafood, you should check this link for the recipe.

My husband says that this dish is like crack – extremely addictive! Sometimes the most rustic, simple meals have some of the most surprisingly incredible flavors. I hope you take a look and enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Brazilian Jerky Beef and Yuca Bowl (Escondidinho de Carne-Seca)

Panqueca de Carne Moida (Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling)

Crêpes are really thin pancakes and they can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. I grew up eating them at home – my Mom makes the best ones! In fact, this is a very special recipe post because during the testing and photo shoot I had the chance to be hands-on in the kitchen with my Mom; and since she is the crêpes expert, this time I could take a step back and watch the process, photograph, and take some really good notes. We had a lot of fun! The whole family ended up getting involved: my husband, my 4-year-old, and even the baby ended up participating on the process.

Cooking with my Mom is an opportunity that I unfortunately do not have very often. She still lives in Brazil and I live in the US. But I just recently had my second baby boy so she flew to Indiana to spend some time with us. When baby William give us a little break, I often ask her to help me prepare some of the recipes I grew up eating.

My Mom’s “Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling” are delicious and fairly simple to make (the step-by-step with pictures is helpful!). You can make the crêpes in advance and store in the fridge for a couple of days. You can also be creative with filling: besides the meat and vegetables, I also love to use shredded chicken with corn. For the sweet lovers, my absolute favorite is dulce de leche. Once you have the crêpes ready, the possibilities are endless and SO GOOD!!!

Add a comment

Read more: Panqueca de Carne Moida (Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling)

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


Are you looking at the picture above and thinking “WOW! This lasagna looks yummy”? Now, I am going to break you the news: it is not lasagna, but a much lighter and healthier dish, that still has the heartiness and comforting flavors of regular lasagna. How? Thanks to a delicious vegetable that works very well with all kinds of pasta sauces: spaghetti squash! I often use this wonderful vegetable as a substitute for pasta with the addition of any pasta sauce, especially when I want something hearty, but gluten-free and light. I am not going to lie to you and say it tastes just like lasagna noodles, because it doesn’t. It is different, but it works in a way that adds flavor and texture to any “pasta-like” dish. It is gluten-free, lower in calories and carbs if compared to regular noodles. But above it all, it tastes really really really good!!!! I used sweet Italian sausage in the sauce, with the addition of carrots, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and fresh herbs and I layered with ricotta and mozzarella – just like regular lasagna. It worked!!!  My husband was licking the plate! Replace the Italian sausage with more vegetables, if you want something meatless. All the vegetables used in this recipe were locally grown (most of them organic) and they were delivered at the convenience of my door steps by Green Bean Delivery! To get a PROMOTIONAL CODE and learn more about this great service provided by Green Bean Delivery, read my Cook’s Notes on the bottom of the recipe…  Spaghetti squash is on season now and I hope you get to try it in this dish!

Add a comment

Read more: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Pulled-Pork Sandwiches


Pulled pork sandwiches have to be one of the most flavorful go-to meals of any casual party. Moist and delicious they are always a crowd pleaser. This version has an unexpected ingredient that leaves people wondering: red pepper jelly! Yet time consuming, this recipe is very easy… Plan well your time and you can make this a day or two ahead of serving. My favorite kind of bread for pulled pork is Hawaiian roll, which totally relates to the kid inside of me, but any kind of fresh bun will be great. Serve with tortillas and top with salsa and you will get pulled pork tacos. There is no way to go wrong with this one!

Add a comment

Read more: Pulled-Pork Sandwiches



Comfort food, all I want is comfort food!!! I am expecting our second child right now, and all I crave are the meals that my mom used make for our family back on the days I lived in Brazil. Similar to the Shepherd’s Pie, Madalena is a traditional Brazilian recipe and it is usually served with rice and beans on the side. Comforting and creamy, this casserole can be made in advance and baked the next day. It reheats well and it tastes even better the next day, which makes for a very practical weeknight meal year-round. Enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Madalena

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


The mint pesto and the farofa (a typical Brazilian side dish) make this tomatoes and Gouda stuffed lamb irresistible!

Add a comment

Read more: Lamb Roulade with Tomatoes and Gouda, Mint Pesto, and Farofa

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)


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...

Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Chimichurri and Onions Sauté


My guests put together their own pulled-pork sandwiches, since I arranged the ingredients in a “pulled-pork sandwich bar” (sorry, no pictures of the buffet table). I wanted to make things easier for the hostess (me!) and more fun for the guests – who could pick and choose sauces for their own sandwiches. Everything was easy and perfect for entertaining! The pork was tender and moist (thanks to Chef Andrés Dangon method). The sides were delicious and complimented the pulled-pork very well! Check it out.

Add a comment

Read more: Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Chimichurri and Onions Sauté

Hamburger with Chimichurri Sauce and Provolone


This hamburger recipe gets a delicious South American twist: chimichurri sauce! This tangy and flavorful Argentine sauce combined with Provolone and home-made hamburger patties is my husband’s new favorite. This is the ultimate grilling experience!

Add a comment

Read more: Hamburger with Chimichurri Sauce and Provolone

Quinoa with Sausage, Pine Nuts and Spinach

quinoa-sausage-spinach-pine-nuts 2

Quinoa is a very healthy grain and it can be used as a more nutritional alternative to rice or pasta. 

Add a comment

Read more: Quinoa with Sausage, Pine Nuts and Spinach