Sunday, August 28, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: Festa Brasileira

I feel so honored that Foodbuzz selected my proposal for this month's 24x24.  For those of you that don't know, every month 24 food bloggers around the world are selected to host a dinner party on the same day, making 24 dinner parties in 24 hours.  My theme, Festa Brasileira, was chosen and I did a little happy dance.  And then I panicked.  Really, what do I really know about making Brazilian food, other than how to cook beans?!  Luckily I am blessed with great friends who rallied behind me, making this not only a dinner party, but a learning experience and a time for Brazilians and Americans to come together to make something fabulous happen.
In addition to all the prep work that happened the night before, there were a total of six cooks working in shifts for three hours before the party began -- and several who continued to work throughout the party.  All in all, we logged about 20 cooking hours between us... not counting the three hours spent driving around finding all the (sometimes hard to find) ingredients.  WHEW!

But all that work paid off, because we had amazing dishes waiting for us in the end.

(translated into English)

Brazilian Cheese Bread
Fried Yuca
Stuffed Tomato Baskets

Main Dishes
Beans and Rice with Farofa (Brazilian bread crumbs)
Hidden Meat Casserole
Steak Rolls

Brazilian Custard
Passion Fruit Mousse

Pineapple Juice with Mint

Being a Brazilian party, it seemed fitting to invite Brazilians!  Not only do they like to have a good time, but they look good doing it :)  Luckily for me, we live in an area that has many Brazilians around, and being married into that community, I had no trouble coming up with the list of invitees.  This list, however, was carefully planned: I invited young married couples (1 fully American, 2 fully Brazilian, and 3 half-and-half couples like Paulo and myself) and each couple knew about two of the other couples (but no more) so that new friendships could be formed.  And it was a success!  Everyone enjoyed themselves, the food was raved over, and in the end phone numbers were exchanged and plans were made to meet up again.  

I would like to say a huge obrigada! to the following people: Mindy and Caleb for giving us space to make this happen; Daniela for helping me come up with a truly Brazilian menu; Esther for taking the lead in the kitchen when I did not understand the recipes or what to do with them and having extreme patience with my attempts in Portuguese; Esther, Daniela, Caleb, Paulo, and Vicente for helping in the kitchen; Mindy for setting up the tables and chairs and making it look so nice; Mindy's parents for being great support with washing dishes and taking pictures; my mother-in-law, Nilza, in Brazil who shared her favorite recipe with us; and all of our friends who came out to celebrate.  This, my first dinner party ever, was a success because of YOU!  Muito obrigada, todos! 

And for you, my dear reader, so that you may enjoy a glimpse into the beauty and wonder that is Brazil and see why we were so eager to celebrate this beautiful culture, click on the video below.

Obviously, there are a lot of recipes here... and not all of them are possible to make for those that don't have access to Brazilian ingredients. However, here are the ones that I believe you will immensely enjoy and you can actually find the all the required ingredients.

Mandioca Frita (Fried Yuca)
2 lbs. yuca (Can be found at Whole Foods or Mexican style grocery store)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 t salt

1. Peel the yuca and chop in to pieces similar to what you would do to make potato salad, keeping it rectangular shape rather than cubed.
2. Boil the chopped yuca for about 15 minutes, until tender (about the same tenderness as potatoes for potato salad).
3. Let yuca cool. Heat the oil in a frying on medium-high heat and add the yuca and salt, cooking until a light golden brown. Let dry on papertowel lined dish.

Escondidinho de Carne (Hidden Meat)
3 lbs. yuca
1/2 cup milk
3 T butter
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Prepare the yuca like mashed potatoes (peel, cube, boil, drain, mix with the milk and butter, salt to taste). Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a large frying pan, add the oil and heat on medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until light colored, about two minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another two minutes.
3. Add the ground beef to the onion and tomato mixture. Add salt, about 1 Tablespoon (more or less depending on your preference). Cook until meat is no longer pink. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. In a large casserole dish, spread 1/2 of the mashed yuca. Next, add the meat mixture, spreading across the entire casserole dish. Use the remaining 1/2 mashed yuca to cover the meat, "hiding" it (remember the name of the recipe? There you go...). Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes.

Bife a Rolet (Steak Rolls)
10 thin slices of Silverside beef, about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long
5 bacon slices, cut in half
1 tomato
1/2 onion
1/2 bell pepper
1 carrot
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 lime
1 teaspoon of salt

1.  In a dish, season the meat with the juice of the lime and the salt.  Set aside.
2.  Chop the tomato, onion, bell pepper, and carrot into 5 inch-long slivers -- ten of each vegetable.
3.  Taking one piece of meat at a time, place one piece of bacon and one of each of the vegetable pieces.  Roll like a burrito, tightly wrapping it so each end is covered and nothing can fall out.  Secure with toothpicks (2-3).
4.  Add the oil to the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Place the beef rolls inside.  Cook in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes after the pressure builds up.  When it is finished, be careful to let the pressure die down before you open the lid.

Pudim de Leite (Brazilian Custard)
4 Eggs
1 Can of sweetened condensed milk
Equal amount of regular milk
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. water

1.  Mix the first three ingredients together in a blender.
2.  Spread into bundt cake pan or a bain-marie pan. Bake in a water bath for 40 min.
3.  Melt the sugar in a small pan, adding the water and stirring to make smooth.  Add this syrup to the top of the custard when the custard is complete.

Suco de Abacaxi com Hortela (Pineapple Juice with Mint)
1 pineapple, peel cut away and cubed
10 mint leaves
Sugar to taste

Blend the first three ingredients in the blender.  Add sugar to sweeten.  Enjoy!


  1. thank you for inviting us!!! great party and the food was AMAZING!!!!! let's do this again but each couple brings a dish next time! :)

  2. Tiffany What a party yesterday! Remarkable! I'll upload the video and will send the link to you. I agree with Carol, we need to do it again :)

  3. What an awesome party! My ex is brazilian and I love the food and the culture. I cant wait to try some of these dishes!

  4. I love Brazil and I love Brazilian food. You did a great job -- wish I was there! Congratulations!

  5. So fun that Foodbuzz likes Brazil :) When I move back to California next year we should get together. I'm always up for some mandioca frita.

  6. Your party looks like it was definitely the most fun 24 party!!! I love that you went for it and did all brazilian and even invited brazilian guests!!! They all look like such great sports and the food looks amazing!! congratulations!!

  7. LEGAO! Eu gosto muito farofa e toda comida brasiliera! Ok... I'll write in English now! I HEART your theme and just wish that I was there! Your pudim de maracuja sounds fantastic!

  8. Hi! I'm Brazilian and I loved to see this beautiful party on Foodbuzz! Congrats!

  9. Hello! I was born in Brazil and love everything about it! I cook Brazilian food very often and your party made me very hungry!!! Pao de Queijo, pudim de leite moca... wow!!! you had a real brazilian party. Congratulations!

  10. I am so happy you all enjoyed it, whether being there or living vicariously through the pictures! It was fun and tasty, for sure!!!

  11. Looks amazing! I'm glad I found you through Foodbuzz! The festa looked like a blast and your food a true representation of an authentic festa Brasileira! xoxo, Emme

  12. Can't wait to try these recipes. There's a Southern Brazilian Churrascaria in Tampa, FL - Boiazo which serves excellent meats and side dishes, including the Cheese Bread. Love the cheese bread!! Brazil looks amazing; maybe some day. . . for now, we'll go to Boiazo when we can, and I'll try your recipes at home. Thanks for sharing.

  13. So great that I came across your blog today. I am preparing escondidinho de carne seca for dinner (my first time making it) and was wondering what meat options to give to people in the USA as carne seca is not that easy to find. Will definitely refer back to your recipe when I post mine. Let's see how it turns out tonight. My first time cooking with yuca and carne seca:/

    1. We just used ground beef as we can't find carne seca here. We were thinking of shredding some jerkey, but decided against it. The ground beef worked fine... it was a little different, but still INCREDIBLY delicious!


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