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

Baked Pumpkin with Chicken, Coconut Milk and Cranberries

images/pumpkin-chicken-cramberries-coconut-milk.jpg

Cranberries and pumpkins taste just like the Holidays; coconut milk and fresh herbs add a delicious twist to your Thanksgiving table. Surprise your family with this flavorful dish!

Add a comment

Read more: Baked Pumpkin with Chicken, Coconut Milk and Cranberries

Chicken Pot Pie, Brazilian Style (Empadão de Frango)

empadao-chicken-pot-pie-brazilian-foodgawker

This savory chicken pie is a staple in my country, and this particular recipe was passed over to me by my mom and I am proudly passing it down to you. I hope you enjoy this delicious and comforting Brazilian style chicken pot pie. 

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Pot Pie, Brazilian Style (Empadão de Frango)

Coq au Vin with Cachaça, Cilantro and Yuca

coq-au-vin-cachaca

This is such a warm, comfort type of meal and it is perfect for colder evenings. Cilantro, yuca and cachaça add a little Brazilian touch to this French classic. Just to be fun!

Add a comment

Read more: Coq au Vin with Cachaça, Cilantro and Yuca

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with Coconut Milk-Lemongrass Sauce

stuffed-chicken-mushrooms-yellow-bell-peppers-coconut-milk-lemon-grass

Stuffed chicken breasts is one of my husband's favorites! So I keep coming up with new ideas to prepare it. I added a Brazilian twist by making a coconut based sauce, but the lemongrass added a Thai twist to it too! I guess I will have to call it a fusion dish! I hope you enjoy this healthy and delicious meal!

Add a comment

Read more: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with Coconut Milk-Lemongrass Sauce

Chicken Fricassee (Brazilian Style)

fricassee-chicken-scalions-brazilian-style

This is a very easy dish that everyone will love! So keep this recipe in mind when you are throwing a party because it can be made in advance; all you have to do after your guests arrive is top it with the cheese and bake for a few minutes. Easy and delicious! Can it get any better then that? In fact, I know something that can make this recipe even better: it is very low in carbs!!!

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Fricassee (Brazilian Style)

Chicken Bobó (Brazilian Chicken Stew)

chicken-bobo-frango-foodgawker-3

Chicken Bobó is a traditional stew especially popular on the Northeast part of Brazil.

This delight might have an exotic name, but the method is quite simple. The secret to make this recipe so flavorfull and creamy is to cook the yuca in chicken broth, then process it in blender or food processor to use as the thickening agent.

Coconut milk and red palm oil add richness and a beautiful color to this gluten-free recipe. 

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Bobó (Brazilian Chicken Stew)

Spicy Thai Chicken Skewers

chicken-skewers-thai-lemongrass

This Thai chicken skewers have a touch of lemongrass.

Add a comment

Read more: Spicy Thai Chicken Skewers

Pineapple, and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Crusted Chicken

creamy-pineapple-roasted-red-pepper-crusted-chicken

Pineapple, roasted red bell peppers, mint, and hot sauce give this crusted chicken breast a tropical flavor!

Add a comment

Read more: Pineapple, and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Crusted Chicken

Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Parmigiana and Herb Sauce

chicken-stuffed-eggplant-parmigiana

This creative dish is a mix of two classics with a few twists. Your dinner guests will love the presentation and love the food even more!

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Parmigiana and Herb Sauce

Herbed Tikka Masala

herbed-tikka-masala

I added a couple of twists to a very popular Indian dish. The result is a more mild, fresh, and cremier dish.

Add a comment

Read more: Herbed Tikka Masala

Cheese Ravioli with Chicken and Wine Sauce

cheese-ravioli-chicken-wine-sauce

This sauce is really easy to make, and really fast too! The variations to this recipe are endless. The cheese ravioli can be substituted for penne or any other pasta.  Also, when using this sauce with ravioli, it can be served on small individual plates as a first course or tapas. 

Add a comment

Read more: Cheese Ravioli with Chicken and Wine Sauce

Chicken Marsala with Cream, Garlic and Herbs

chicken-marsala-linguini

I bring a fresh twist to classic italian dish by adding fresh herbs and cream. You have to try it!

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Marsala with Cream, Garlic and Herbs

Chicken Legs with Beer

cauliflower_white_sauce_chicken_legs_beer

Simple to make, this recipe has a rustic look but some really great flavors!

Add a comment

Read more: Chicken Legs with Beer

Salt Cod with Potatoes and Olives (Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá)

bacalhau-salt-cod-bacalao-foodgawker-5

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is a very traditional dish from Portugal that Brazil decided to make its own – like all the other salt cod recipes ever invented in Portugal. 

The method of salting fish or meat, was widely used during the time when Brazil became Portugal’s colony. Therefore, the different recipes and ways to prepare the salt cod were fully embraced by the Brazilians. Wonder why? It’s very tasty and much easier to make than most people would think. 

This recipe is called Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, but if you can’t pronounce that, simply call it Salt Cod with Potatoes and Olives. It is a simple dish that uses only a handful of ingredients. Just watch for timing: it can be prepared in advance, but the salt cod must be soaked for at least 24 hours before cooked. Using salt cod just takes a bit of planning. 

Another important thing: use high quality olive oil and olives. I feel like that, besides the salt cod, the stars in this dish are the olive oil and the olives. Good quality, pungent, rich varieties of olives will work best here. The slightly caramelized onions bring a touch of sweetness, and the potatoes will balance everything out and add sustenance to the dish. The eggs make for a pretty topping – and a delicious one – do not skip it!

A big prove that Brazilians have fully embraced salt cod dishes is that these recipes became an Easter tradition down there! On Easter Sunday, a large casserole or skillet is one of the most popular main courses served at the occasion. It has become that kind of special food that everyone looks forward to.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is simple to prepare and full of flavor. I promise that salt cod is really easy to handle! Give it try and maybe you will also want to incorporate this new dish into your traditional repertoire - at Easter or at any time of the year!

Add a comment

Read more: Salt Cod with Potatoes and Olives (Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá)

Shrimp with Catupiry (Camarão com Catupiry)

shrimp-catupiry-foodgawker-1

When I first moved to the US, I was very surprised to learn that most people - especially those who were cooking and talking about food on TV - did not think that the combination of shrimp (or shellfish in general) and cheese worked well together. I would think: “How in the world?! I bet these people have never been to Brazil!”.


One of my favorite combinations in Brazilian cuisine is shrimp and a creamy cheese called requeijão – which is our nuttier and creamier version of cream cheese.


There is a brand of requeijão named Catupiry – which has an extra luscious texture – that is amazing with shrimp. In fact, they go together so well that there is a dish named “Camarão com Catupiry”. Translating to English, it simply became “Shrimp with Catupiry”.


Several versions of this recipe are available - all of them have the creaminess and luxurious texture in common. Like most dishes from Brazil, white rice (I prefer jasmine) is the side of choice. To add a bit of crunch, shoe string potatoes are usually served on the side too - my husband rolls his eyes every time I add string shoe potatoes to a dish “Oh! This Brazilian thing”. Sorry, we like it. In fact, we love it!


My version is made in one single skillet that goes from stove top to oven. It has garlic, onions, and a bit of brandy for fun – and smoky sweetness. Béchamel sauce smoothers the shrimp before it is topped with Catupiry prior to broiling. It is simple to make.


As I mentioned, in Brazil we eat “Shrimp with Catupiry” over rice and shoe string potatoes, but I can see this recipe being served with slices of crusty bread (like a dip), or even mixed with elbow pasta for a Brazilian version of mac n’ cheese.


If you think that shrimp and cheese don’t go well together, give this recipe a shot. I bet that you will change your mind.

Add a comment

Read more: Shrimp with Catupiry (Camarão com Catupiry)

Crab and Coconut Brazilian "Risotto" with Mango Salsa ("Risoto" de Carangueijo e Coco com Salsa de Manga)

crab-coconut-risotto-foodgawker-2

I knew it was very risky to feature the word risotto as part of this recipe’s title… Even more so having the word Brazilian next to it! I understand that Italians are very proud and protective of this centennial method of cooking rice – as they should be. So, before I start getting yelled at by my Italian friends I think I owe an explanation, right?


First, there is not such a thing as Brazilian risotto (that’s why I put the word risotto under parenthesis). Risotto is the Italian method of cooking certain varieties of high-starch rice in a broth until a creamy consistency develops. A traditional risotto recipe usually contains butter and/or olive oil, onions, wine and broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, or fish). Italians say that risotto is a white canvas that serves as the base to other ingredients to add flavors and textures to the dish.


That said, I was curious about trying to apply some Brazilian flavors to the traditional risotto method. Luckily, my creation was a hit!


So, to create my Crab and Coconut Brazilian “Risotto” I used non-traditional ingredients for the method, although they were all from the same “family”. For example, I used coconut oil to replace butter or olive oil, cachaça in lieu of wine, and a mixture of coconut milk and broth instead of just broth. The result was just as creamy, with the same all dente texture, and a slight unexpected flavor that was begging for the addition of some tropical ingredients. That base was my Brazilian white canvas.


Everything else came together very naturally: loads of scrumptious crab meat, nutty toasted coconut, tangy lime zest and a touch of sweet-spicy mango salsa. I hope you enjoy just as much as I did. Buon Appetito! Bom Apetite! Just give it shot.

Add a comment

Read more: Crab and Coconut Brazilian "Risotto" with Mango Salsa ("Risoto" de Carangueijo e Coco com Salsa...

Brazilian Cuscuz (Cuscuz Paulista)

cuscuz_1

My Goodness! How much have I missed working on my recipes and, especially, sharing them?! Life with two boys – one being a two-year-old that is not yet at school - and our move to Tampa, “forced” me to take a step back on my cooking activities.

Well, one thing is for sure: I HAVE NO REGRETS!

In fact, spending the last year focusing on the needs of the boys and helping our family to adjust into our new hometown have been a great experience. I feel incredibly grateful to have being able to do that.
That said, I am ready to push the restart button and go back to the kitchen!

I believe that a great come back calls for a super traditional dish – for that reason, I am sharing with you a recipe for Brazilian Cuscuz (Cuscuz Paulista).

I know what some might be thinking: “I had no idea that Brazilians had a couscous recipe!”. Yes, we do! And the version I am sharing here is delicious and it is spelled Cuscuz.
Couscous has its origins in the Northern part of Africa – mainly Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The geographic proximity to Portugal made the recipe make its ways into the Portuguese table – and in the 1500’s it was a very popular dish (not anymore these days).

When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, they found out the indigenous people had a very similar dish. But instead of using semolina flour, the natives used maize flour and/or yuca flour to prepare it.
So the Portuguese incorporated some of the ingredients that they were using already - such as seafood, green olives, and eggs - into this new found flour mixture. Boom! The Brazilian Cuscuz was born.

The version I am sharing here was inspired by the traditional recipe found on the book “Viagem Gastronomica Atraves do Brasil”, by Caloca Fernandes. I made some adaptations on the method and ingredients. I also added a spicy sauce to serve on the side to suit the American palate ;)

This specific version is very popular in the state of São Paulo – that’s why it’s called Cuscuz Paulista. There are different versions around Brazil, especially on the Northern and Northeastern parts of the country. Those versions are more basic, with less ingredients; and often served as side dishes.

This gorgeous and delicious version I am presenting is definitely the center of attention at the dinner table! Enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Brazilian Cuscuz (Cuscuz Paulista)

Salmon with Passion Fruit Sauce (Salmão ao Molho de Maracujá)

matt_cynthia

salmon_passion_fruit_today

make-salmon-with-passion-fruit-sauce

It was such an honor to be a guest at the TODAY Show once more! Receiving such an invite is so exciting, but the most exciting part is not about being on national television in such a high profile show - like all those movie stars we see on the TODAY show ;) What really gets me excited is to be able to share my Brazilian background through my recipes with a much wider audience!


Being invited to run their cooking segment has allowed me to reach people on four corners of the United States to present them with something that would be new for most. Of course I can reach anyone through my website, but people would have to have the interest on such things to research online. So having that kind of opportunity is like knocking on everyone’s door and saying: “Here is a Brazilian recipe for Salmon with Passion Fruit and Coconut Rice. The hosts of the TODAY show ate and approve it. Why don’t you give it try?” And that is awesome!


So I was delighted to be part of the TODAY’s Valentine’s Day segment and share a delicious, fresh, healthy, and romantic recipe. The whole idea was to present a recipe “to set the mood” and they all agreed that my Salmon with Passion Fruit Sauce and Coconut Rice fitted the bill perfectly – the combination of salmon and passion fruit might sound unusual for some, but it is very well known (and loved) in Brazil. In this easy recipe, I use brown sugar to break the acidity of the passion fruit, and table cream (or crème fraiche) to add a velvety texture to the sauce. Top with fresh herbs and serve over Coconut Rice. 

Photos - Samantha Okazaki/NBC

Add a comment

Read more: Salmon with Passion Fruit Sauce (Salmão ao Molho de Maracujá)

Fish Moqueca (Moqueca de Peixe)

fish_moqueca_brazilian_stew

Greetings from… Florida! If you often follow my recipes, chances are that you noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in a little while. Well, it was all for a very good reason: we were in the middle of a move! Selling the house, packing all our belongings, finding a place to move in, finding a new school, etc. has kept my hands completely full for a few months – and doing it all in the middle of summer while taking care of my two crazy boys certainly did not make the process any easier… But what really matters is that we are all moved in and well-adjusted to Tampa! We absolutely love it here!!


So to celebrate my first post in long time, I want to share one of my BEST recipes! In fact, I cannot believe I haven’t posted my Fish Moqueca here earlier (I just had a recipe for Shrimp Moqueca).


Fish Moqueca is a traditional stew from the Northeastern part of Brazil – especially from Bahia, which is a culinary paradise! It is made with delicious ingredients, such as coconut milk, red palm oil, and cilantro. It has a beautiful yellow/orange color – due to the red palm oil – and a delicate, unique flavor. I often make this recipe in my events because it is such a crowd pleaser! It is so simple to make and it is, in my opinion, one of the recipes that best showcase the delicious food from Brazil. I hope you enjoy!

Add a comment

Read more: Fish Moqueca (Moqueca de Peixe)