My kiddos just left me for their first day of school. One starting kindergarten, one in third grade, and one starting middle school.
So many feels.
Instead of thinking on it too much, I’m getting crap done. Like the 10 loads of laundry folded. And the remnants of our China trip I still haven’t completely put away. And this blog post. So you too can have a Brazil culture night!
Listen, I know we are not all Pinterest moms. I know while the idea of cooking in peace and quiet thrills me, to some of you that sounds like torture. So there are three levels to this gig. Easy…I mean EASY! If you can turn on a stove and stir, you’ve totally got this! Medium, a little more involved, but about the same level as cooking everyday dinner for your family. Hard, this will take an hour or two of time involvement, but will produce an authentic, complete meal from the country we are focusing on. Obviously I’m doing hard, but cooking is my thing. It’s therapeutic to me. If it’s not your thing, DON’T pick the hard, because then you won’t want to teach your kids anything about culture, you’ll just want to drink a bottle of wine.
We’ll start with the hard level, that way by the time I get to easy, you really will think it’s easy!
Our Brazil night meal consisted of Pao de Queijo (GF cheese rolls), moqueca (fish and shrimp stew), white rice, and brigadeiro (Brazilian’s take on chocolate truffles).
Pao de Quiejo– I followed this recipe almost to a tee, except using half mozzarella instead of parmesan. These were a HUGE hit! Not only did everyone love them, I LOVE that I have a fairly simple GF bread option in my back pocket now! This will be on my list of go-to’s for parties with GF friends, or just for a quick bread to go with dinner some nights.
Moqueca– I wasn’t sure about how this dish would go over, but I wanted to do something authentic. Shockingly, my oldest LOVED it! And the other three all ate it, which is a big deal for a first time dish. I served the stew over the white rice. I followed the recipe for the most part, except I added a couple tablespoons of lime juice to the fish and shrimp marinade. I used uncooked tail on shrimp and tilapia. Also, instead of leaving the peppers and onions in rings, I chopped them, and sautéed them just a bit before layering everything else on. I knew the veggies in rings would get pushed to the side. I also only used half the coconut milk, omitted the dende oil since I couldn’t find it, and I think the cooking time was a bit longer than what was recommended. I don’t know that I’ve ever had fish in a soup/stew dish before, but I really liked it!!
Brigadeiro– The Brazilians take on a chocolate truffle, but with an additional sweetness from the sweetened condensed milk. I used this recipe and doubled it (BTW, 1 ounce= 2 tablespoons, so 4 tablespoons of cocoa). Seriously, this was SO easy. And SOOO good. I’m really glad I doubled it. I had all of this on hand, and it really was mindless. This is going to be a great simple treat for the kids going forward.
Another popular Brazilian dish is Feijoada. It’s considered the countries national dish. It’s basically a black bean and meat stew. Sometimes the meat in it get a bit wonky (pigs ears and tail? No thanks). I would have done this dish as our main, but one of my kiddos (the picky one) doesn’t like black beans?! While there are certainly more involved recipe for this, like this one…this is medium category. Here’s how I would have made my spin on it:
1 onion, diced
5 strips of bacon, cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 cans 15 oz black beans
1 cup smoked pulled pork (from your local bbq joint, or we get our from Costco)
1 teaspoon + cumin
Over medium heat cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon, leaving fat. Sauté onion in bacon fat until soft. Add garlic and cook for just a minute, until you smell the garlic. Once you smell the garlic, add the entire can of black beans, juice and all. toss in pulled pork, cumin, hot sauce and salt to taste. Serve with lime slice and chopped cumin.
You could arguably even do this in the crock pot! Serve with white rice, and Brigadeiro for a simply Brazilian meal. (we may do this for closing ceremonies)
Do whatever you normally would do for a simple meal for your kiddos, while going over some of the Brazilian culture facts, and have Brigadeiro for dessert. They do need some chill time, so plan accordingly (although I made ours just before dinner and threw them in the freezer and had them ready right after eating without anyone even leaving the table). This is so simple the kids could even make it all themselves! (if you have one old enough to turn on the stove and by it)
Brazilian Facts (for all levels!):
- The green and gold rhombus are preserved from the previous imperial flag. The blue circle with 27 stars represents each one of the countries states, plus one for the federal district. They are arranged in position of the sky over Rio de Janeiro.
- Brazil is the fifth largest country, both in size and in population
- The capital of the country is Brasilia
- It’s the only country in South America to speak Portuguese. Mainly because…
- It was settled by the Portuguese
- Around 60% of the rainforest is found in Brazil
- The worlds second largest river (the Amazon) flows through Brazil
- Football (soccer) is the countries most popular sport, with it’s team widely respected as the best in the world. They’ve won the World Cup a record of 5 times.
- Due to the tribal nations that originated in Brazil, Portuguese settlers, and a large slave trade in the 1800’s, Brazil is a very diverse people group.
- The main religion in Brazil is Roman Catholicism
- Samba is the type of music the country is most known for, although because of their diversity, Brazil has a rich and complex music scene
- Often know as the country who knows how to celebrate, each year at the beginning of lent they throw a huge party called carnival. There are large parades with music and costumes during this time. Basically it’s a nationwide, week long party.
For a fun family night, you could watch the movie Rio, which is based in Brazil, has some great shots of Rio, gives great insight into what carnival is like, shows the local climate and animals, and has some great samba music. Rio 2 also has Bruno Mars in it to make the music even better, and shows the affects we as a world are having on the climate.
Hopefully this helps you teach your kiddos a little about Brazil and have a little taste of the culture! Those Brigadeiro went really great with Michael Phelps 19th medal! USA!