Getting ready for Carnaval: Making food from Brazil!

Keeping this little tradition: Holidays, talk about food. This weekend, it’ll be no different.

Bolivia also celebrates Carnaval, and kids are off school, for a grand total of 5 days… (!). Work will also be off, for Monday and Fat Tuesday – the best thing to do? Get together with friends, and plan fantastic meals! Let’s see if I’ll be able to come up with a fairly decent Brazilian feijoada, using my Bolivian ingredients… More to come on this post, but for now, let’s just get our appetites ready for what could be in-store for us! 😮

Whenever I meet someone from Brazil, I ask them what their favorite food is. After steak (picanha), it is almost always feijoada. It’s an old bean, pork and beef recipe, brought to South America, like many foods in many places, by those intrepid, globetrotting spice traders, the Portuguese, and then enhanced, like many other foods in many other places, by African slaves and their descendants.

Feijoada Completa

1 1/2 cups dried black beans (turtle is preferred, for texture)
1/8 lb. carne seca/cesina (about the size of your flat hand)
1/8 lb. pork ribs (about 2 thick ribs)
1 pig foot, split
1-2 pig ears
1 pig tail (smoked, if possible)
4 strips smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 paio sausage, cut into thick slices
1/2 lb. of linguiça calabresa (Portuguese-style smoked pork sausage), cut into thick slices
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 orange, peeled (remove all of the white pith!)
8 cups water

The night before, soak the pig foot, tail and ear in cold water to draw out blood/impurities. Separately, soak the cesina in cold water overnight. In yet another bowl, soak the beans in cold water.

The next day, put the foot, tail, ear and cesina in a pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, boilf for 10 minutes and then drain. Refill the pot with cold water, bring to a boil again and cook until the meats are tender and beginning to fall apart. Drain well.

In a large pot or dutch oven (preferred), place the beans and 8 cups water, bay leaves, and peeled orange. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmering. Cook for 45 minutes. Add all meats, and cook for 20-30 more minutes.

In a saute pan, fry the onion and garlic on olive oil. Add about 1 cup of beans from the pan, cook briefly and mash well with the back of a spoon. Return the whole mess to the dutch oven and adjust for salt. Let simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, until beans are tender and meats are falling apart willingly. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.

Serve with boiled, medium-grain white rice, orange slices, farofa and (chiffonaded) collard greens (that have been quickly fried in canola oil and drained on paper towels.

Farofa
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, minced
4 slices smoked bacon, minced
1 cup toasted manioc flour (farinha de mandioca torrada)
1 bunch scallions – only the dark green tops! – thinly sliced
salt and black pepper to taste

Saute the onion and bacon in the oil over low heat until the bacon is fully rendered and crisp. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring to coat. Add the scallions when the flour has just begun to brown. Remove from heat, mix well.

Serve at any temperature, and refrigerate any unused portion.

A bit of healthy humor, post-Christmas…

Originally posted on Logos con carne:
Having previously established that Santa has to be magical (because the laws of physics prohibit a real Santa accomplishing successful toy delivery), we can turn to the question of Santa’s gender. One might question this on the grounds of Santa’s apparent historic maleness, but in counter I offer George…

Why not a bit of humor, right after Christmas Day? The ‘post-holiday blues’ kicked in, now, it’s all about cleaning the house, washing whatever leftover dishes are pilling up on my sink… make sure the kids don’t kill each other over their new toys… 😮 That said, during one of my blog-hopping ventures, found this funny piece on Santa Claus, discussing the pros and cons of ‘it’ being a man or a woman! As a mother, the one in charge of pretty much everything related to Christmas for our family, ranging from grocery shopping, gift-wrapping, meal-planning, cooking, and the aftermath cleaning – I’m a little bias… maybe, the original author [Wyrd Smithe, from Logs con Carne] has a good point with the ‘pros’ on Santa being a woman… who knows? If you’ve got more to add to this intriguing discussion, hop over to his site, and share it! I’m sure it’d be appreciated!  Below is an excerpt from the original text, where I [freely] highlighted my FAVORITE parts, for both genders, so, I may not be ‘accused’ of being… errrr… a bit…bias! Enjoy!

“Santa is a man!

Santa making toys…It is precisely because Christmas is an“organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal”that Santa has to be a man. Delegation… that’s the key. Just imagine if a woman was trying to delegate all of those tasks and obligations to her underlings. Christmas would be as ambiguous as the spring equinox. Nobody would know what day of the year we were going to celebrate it on.

It takes a man to organize a commercial event as huge as Christmas… We’d have to plan football schedules around lunch instead of the other way around. Or worse yet… there might not be any football at all.  [shudder] That’s a scary thought.

Santa has a secret!If Santa was a female, the toys might never be delivered. It would take a she Santa until New Year’s Eve to get dressed (for the third time) and out of the bathroom. And just try harnessing those reindeer with freshly painted nails. Never happen. Once she got underway, she’d be too busy talking on the cell phone to her girl friends to get all the way around the world to every girl and boy’s house in a single year, let alone a single night.


Santa is a Woman!

Ms Santa 1

For starters, the vast majority of men don’t even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I’m convinced Santa is a woman…

Ms Santa 2…Even if the male Santa did have reindeer, he’d still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions.

Other reasons why Santa can’t possibly be a man:

  • Men can’t pack a bag.
  • Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red
  • Men would feel their masculinity is threatened having to be seen with all those elves.
  • Men don’t answer their mail.
  • Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in jest as anything remotely resembling a “bowlful of jelly.”
  • Men aren’t interested in stockings unless somebody’s wearing them.
  • Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.
  • Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.

Thank you for letting me share this piece… funny, and a great way to jump back into reality… nothing wrong with a bit of healthy humor, post-Christmas, right?! 😮

Logos con carne

Santas bothHaving previously established that Santa has to be magical (because the laws of physics prohibit a real Santa accomplishing successful toy delivery), we can turn to the question of Santa’s gender. One might question this on the grounds of Santa’s apparent historic maleness, but in counter I offer George Sand, Mulan and any number of Shakespeare plays.

One might also question this on the grounds of gender perhaps not applying to magical creatures, to which I reply that Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves seem pretty clear on the matter (although one can never really tell with Dwarves—all that hair and battle armor are quite concealing, and it’s poor form to actually ask).

In any event, like all “news” programs these days, I give you now, two opposing views on the matter of Santa’s gender. You decide.

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Ending the 20 days of a Joyful Christmas… our wishes for a very happy holiday season!

#holidays @postaday #Christmas #imagesofjoy

Front & BackOur Family's 'Happy Holidays' Card
Front & Back
Our Family’s ‘Happy Holidays’ Card

Image #20: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Our Happy Holidays Card!

Last Day before Christmas! Our second to last ‘Image of Joy’!

peace on earth

Celebrating our “Paceña Season of Joy” [yeah, we’re loving La Paz!], we’re getting ready to wrap up the series of “20 images of joy, waiting for our White Christmas, here in La Paz, Bolivia. We haven’t gotten snow, so far, but it does not diminish the beauty and joy from these days preceding December 25th. It’s wonderful to look at the kids faces, witnessing their anticipation and excitement. As parents, we have lots to be grateful for, and we’d like to extend our wishes of a Peaceful End of the Year to many other traveling and expat families out there. Life is very intriguing on itself: sometimes very hard, other times, surprisingly easy to manage… Like so many others, we all had our highs and lows, and this holiday season is the moment to reflect upon them… Wishing you all a peaceful, joyful, holiday season!

Image #19: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Peace on Earth

20 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… in 20 joyful images. Only a couple of days to go!

Image #18: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Christmas Stories at School

Unlike last year, when we spent Christmas surrounded by the tropical Brazilian weather; this year, we may have something ‘closer to a White Christmas’, considering we’re in La Paz, and at least, we may experience some cold weather… The season’s wardrobe isn’t packed with colorful light pieces, ‘havaianas‘, and sneakers, like last December… Bring out the boots and coats! Let’s get some warm wine out and sit down by the fireplace, where the kids will get their nighttime Christmas stories

This year, the lights have been out for a while, tree is up and twinkling, we’ve got a yard instead of an apartment veranda, but it’s a bit too cold to be out at night, which is actually, great! 😮

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ve been sharing images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! 😮

3 days away! This year, they made it to his ‘Good List’!

Image #17: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Anxiously waiting to see if they made it to Santa’s “Good List”… I guess they did! 😮

4 days away! And according to our 3 Mayan Calendars… it’ll be a Happy Solstice!

Image #16: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Mayan Calendar

Backstory: Our family’s got Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Mexican, Native American [and who knows what else!] heritage. All into the very same pot… and due to work, we’re bound to the foreign service life(style). That said, we like to ‘collect things along the way’, as we travel, as we move from country to country. And funny enough, we do not not have ONE Mayan Calendar. We have THREE… We like the pieces, and I don’t think they’re any indication of the ‘end of an Era‘- let alone, the end of this world we call home…

And right now, since we were able to get our stuff/household effects from our last post, the calendars are mounted to the wall…. Next to an Elf Stocking (!) and a ‘twinkling plant’, surrounded by tiny colorful Xmas lights. As you may see, we’re a pretty eclectic family… We believe in Christmas Morning Magic, Santa, Elves… and everyone gets along just fine, around the Mayan predictions!

Now, go over for the quick explanation from NASA… Happy Solstice! 😮