Sunday, May 15, 2011

South American Cheese Breads!

     Who's in need of a getaway?! 

      It has been said that the quickest way to visit another country is to try their food. So today we're going to visit Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay!

      After living in Miami for several years, Ive had the pleasure of tasting delicious food from several different Latin American/Carribean cultures. Most of all, I miss the breakfast I would have at least once a week - a fresh-baked, warm Pan de bono (a Colombian cheese bread) and a sweet, creamy Cafe con Leche. - So good!

      Ive sooooo been missing that yummy combination since moving up (waay) north and finally decided to make it and share it with you. In the midst of looking for a good Pan de Bono recipe I also happened upon  Brazilian (Pão de Quejjo) and Paraguayan (Chipa) versions of Pan de Bono. So I said "why not?" and ended up making all three versions!

Pão de Quejjo (Brazilian)

I found a great authentic recipe from here but be mindful that it may be difficult to find the exact ingredients (you cannot substitute the manioc flour) but you may be able to substitute the type of cheese (I used mozzarella/parmesan)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tsp salt (more or less, depending on the cheese mixture you're going to use)
1 lb (500 g) polvilho azedo (Brazilian sour manioc starch)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded queijo da canastra (or you can try a mix of 2 parts sharp cheddar cheese and 1 part mozzarella, or 1 part mozzarella and 2 parts parmesan cheese, or any other mix of melting, strong-flavored cheeses you like)

1. Combine oil, milk and salt in a sauce pan. Heat to just below boiling point (watch closely - when the mixture starts to rise, remove immediately from heat and use mixture in step 3).
2. Place the polvilho azedo in a large bowl.
3. Pour boiling mixture all over the polvilho azedo and, using a wooden spoon, start stirring the dough.
4. When the dough is cold enough to be kneaded by hand (but still hot), add eggs and cheese and knead until it is very sticky and elastic, about 15 minutes (you will need a spoon or scraper to get it off your hands).
5. Let the dough rest while you preheat the oven to 450oF (it is very important that the oven is at high temperature when you bake the pães-de-queijo; if they start to get too brown on the bottom before getting golden brown on top, reduce the temperature a little bit).
6. Oil two large baking pans. Oil your hands with vegetable oil and form golf-sized balls with the dough (40-45). Place them 2-3 in apart in the pan, as they grow considerably when baked. (You can, at this point, freeze the balls and then store them in zip lock bags to bake them straight from the freezer at your convenience - they will take a little longer to get ready, though.)
7. Bake until puffed and golden brown (about 15 minutes). Serve hot.

put on your fave Gilberto/Jobim song and munch away!

Chipa (Paraguay)

Again a great authentic source a recipe found here turned into a delicous cheese bread!

1 kg cassava, yuca, or mandioca starch
2 cups of milk
1 1/4 tablespoon salt
1 cup of vegetable oil or butter
2 cup grated fontina or gruyere and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
5 eggs

1. Sift starch into bowl and mix in cheeses.

2. In a pot, bring milk, oil, and salt to a simmer. Bring to a simmer.

3. Little by little pour liquid into starch and cheese mix until dough becomes very lumpy. Let it sit for a few minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one or two at a time, mixing well by hand, until a smooth texture is achieved.

5. Add milk if the dough is not soft enough. Let dough sit for ½ hour.

6. Shape the dough into little ping pong size balls by rolling in your hands.

7. Place on a well greased baking sheet (or on baking sheet with parchment paper).

8. Top balls with some grated parmesan to add a golden colour once baked.

9. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees until chipas slightly golden.

Note: Freshly baked chipas will have a soft doughy center while still warm. Do not think that the dough is raw and undercooked, when in fact it should be cooked if the outside is golden, that's how it is supposed to be.

Pan de Bono (Colombia)
cant describe how good this is!

My fave! Here is where I found a super simple and deeeeliisshhh recipe.

1 cup yellow masarepa (precooked cornmeal)
1/2 cup tapioca (cassava, yuca) flour
2 cups grated farmer's cheese, or queso fresco
2 eggs
2 teaspoons sugar
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix the two flours and the sugar in a bowl.

3. Stir in the grated cheese and the eggs. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Taste for salt, and add salt as needed. (Some farmer's cheeses are saltier than others).

4. Knead dough until smooth. If the dough seems too dry, add a few teaspoons of water.

5. Roll dough into balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. Or shape dough into small bagels. The rolls do not have to be perfectly smooth - they will puff up in the last several minutes of baking.

6. Place rolls on a greased cookie sheet and bake, about 20 minutes or until golden in color and puffed.

Serve warm.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Manu from, a wonderful blog with amazing pictures, for passing along the versatile blogger award! : j

Here are some great blogs with great writing and pictures who also deserve this nice honor!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Flowers!

Its been a long, dreary winter.

I dont remember looking forward to Spring so much! To welcome Spring I whipped up a simple but delicious batch of flower sugar cookies with icing. For "leaves" I dyed the dough with a bit of food coloring and used a mini heart shaped cookie cutter. Turn the green hearts upside down and they look like leaves! : j

I found a simple great recipe from all recipes:

The icing was just as simple! You need two different consistencies of icing 1. piping icing which is a bit thicker and is used to outline the cookies. and 2. flooding icing which is used to fill in the outlines made by the piping icing. 

I love youtube and found a wonderful "how-to" video on icing cookies. 

Here it is: 

cookies and cold, yummy milk!