Archive for July, 2011

Brazilian Orange Raw Kale Salad

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

citrus kale salad, Brazilian Greens, easy kale salad

The first time I ate feijoada, it was served with an excellent collard green salad. It was the perfect compliment to the rich and thick black bean stew.

After doing a little research, I learned kale is also used to make Brazilian greens. Since I grow kale in my garden and I know that many of you are looking for additional ways to use this healthy leafy green (kale is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and is touted by health advocates as having anti-inflamatory benefits), I created this super easy Brazilian kale salad with oranges.

Kale was introduced to Brazil during Portuguese colonization along with other food stuff like: figs, citrus fruits, coconuts, rice, watermelon, Guinea pumpkin, mustard, cabbage, lettuce, coriander, cucumbers, watercress, eggplant, carrots, according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.

Since Brazilian greens and feijoada are served with orange wedges, it was obvious to me to combine the greens and oranges into a more-modern version.

Nearly all the recipes for Brazilian green salad that I could find in cookbooks and online called for cooking the kale or collards – either boiling, blanching, or sautéing them. In our house we prefer to eat our kale raw, so this salad is one of the raw kale versions in our rotation. If you haven’t eaten raw kale, don’t be alarmed.  The citrus in the dressing tenderizes the greens and also removes the bitterness – much like the ever-popular lemon-parmesean-based one that populates the internet.  If you like or if you’re greens are super bitter, give them a quick saute before adding them to the salad.

You could also use collards or swiss chard as a substitute. As far as all things kale, I prefer the lacinato variety over others. Lacinato kale can also be found under the names cavolo nero, black cabbage, Tuscan cabbage, Tuscan kale, and dinosaur kale.

Whether you make feijoada or not, you’ll want to try this salad. By the way, it’s one of those salads that’s better the next day or two after the flavors have melded and the greens have fully softened.

Best Latina Food Blog – Please Vote

I’m one of the finalists up for Best Latina Food Blog sponsored by Blogs By Latinas. I appreciate every single vote of support nominating Fork Fingers Chopsticks to get me this far. Would you vote for FFC in the final round?

  • Vote at Blogs by Latinas before midnight Tuesday, July 26, 2011.
  • When you go to the site, you’ll need to fill in a vote in the other categories (I’m obviously in the FOOD category)
  • To submit, scroll down near the blue “quit” box, then use your right arrow button to find the “finished” button to submit.

For almost two years, this blog has been the space where I combine my creative talents and passion food. Thank you, not only to those who voted or who will vote, but to all of you who follow my kitchen escapades as I explore ingredients and culture.

Happy eating!


Black Beans: Feijoada – Brazil’s National Dish

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Black Bean Stew - Feijoada - History Brazil - Brazil National Dish

I fell in love with feijoada at first bite.  Feijoada (pronounced “faysh-ju-ada”) is known as Brazil’s national dish. Literally it means “big bean” stew. I’m not sure how it was officially declared the honor, but from all the Brazilians I’ve met, they’ve never disagreed.

My introduction to this black bean dish came at Emporio de Brasil, a very small but cherished Brazilian market/restaurant in north Denver. On Saturdays, they serve up a limited number of items – the best of which is Denver’s finest feijoada.

Feijoada is said to have originated during slave times, concocted from unwanted cuts of meat from the master’s table – including the non-choice parts of the pig including ears, snout and tail. Most of the feijoada recipes today still include plenty of pork – generally pork belly, chorizo, ribs, and other kinds of meat like carne seca (a Brazilian dried beef)

As you know, I’m not a huge meat eater and consider myself more of a flexitarian. But, I smack my lips when it comes to feijoada. All that slowly simmered pork makes for a tasty pot of creamy black beans and, to my surmise, is the reason feijoada continues to be a Brazilian favorite.

A feijoada completa or “complete feijoada” is served with rice, chopped greens (usually collards or kale), fresh orange slices, farofa or farinha, and a side dish of peppery sauce. The stew is generally served year-round in restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the weekends when made at home. It is also a requisite dish for a Brazilian feast and other holidays.

Since my first bowl-full, I vowed to make some at home. In keeping with tradition, I made this Brazilian staple on a weekend and made a huge pot to share using three kinds of pork – pork ribs, pork stew and chorizo.  Oink! By the way, the ribs were the prized piece of meat.

Now, you have a recipe to host at your next Brazilian party. If you’re a person who appreciates beans and you can also get down on some pork, then you must try this dish!

Tidbits on Beans:

  1. Brazil was the largest black bean producing country. In 2006, the Food Guide for the Brazilian Population recommended that beans be consumed at least once every day.
  2. 1 pound of dried black beans = about 6  cups of cooked beans.
  3. Black beans are a strong source of phytonutrient, which is generally derived from fruits and vegetables.

Sources:  The World’s Healthiest Foods, Beans: A History, “Brazil” in the Encyclopedia Food and Culture.