My love for food and cooking began when I was a child in Texas. Maria, an amazing young lady who now has four grown children of her own (and grandchildren, too!) cooked for us every morning. Egg and potato taquitos were my favorite. But if I close my eyes, I can also feel the homemade sugar-raised donuts on my lips. Sugar, sugar, sugar. Thank you, Maria, for taking good care of us when we were children. You are always in my thoughts.
Sweets are my weakness and not just for the taste. I like to bake sweets because afterwards I can toss aside the apron and walk out the door…without smelling like onions or garlic. But don’t be fooled, I come from a long line of good cooks and can hold my own whether it’s a dinner party for twenty or an appetizer soiree.
These are the Top Chefs who have inspired me and taught me their secrets…They may not even know it…but they deserve all the credit:
MOM–Top, Top, Top Chef
Vo Nita–She left our world on December 12, 2012 and we miss her dearly. She loved sweets. I loved to watch her make Pé de Moleque and Doce de Banana.
Tia Neide–Mom’s sister…she makes the best fried fish you’ll ever have…straight from o Rio São Francisco. “Curimbinha frita”
Tia Leila–Dad’s sister…Every time we’re in Brazil she invites us over for lunch…and every time we leave with a new recipe. Everything she makes is delicious.
My neighbor Juancho–He’s from Spain, that automatically means he’s a good cook. From Juancho I learned to make Gambas a la plancha, perfectly…and Paella, of course. We compete with each other in the garden. Especially when it comes to tomatoes. He says everything I plant grows green. We share our harvests. Juancho and his wife, Ely gave Rasta Bunny to me. Juancho makes paellas for large parties…of 200 – 400 people. Don Juan Paellas. Look him up if you need a Paella.
Quintas (Ricardo Quintao)–Meu amigo que foi morar no Brasil…voce é dez na cozinha. Moqueca de peixe…e aquela beringela no azeite.
My cousin Ivano–Lived in Italy for many years and was a chef…he taught me how to make homemade pizza dough when I was in college.
My mom’s friend Tania–Tania is from Brasil and spent some time visiting with us. She taught me how to make the best quiches ever. She also patiently taught me how to make chocolate truffles (trufas).
My friend Renata–From Rena I learned my first recipe for brigadeiro…Rena also introduced me to Pedro, a professional dancer who taught me the Lambada. From there I learned Samba.
My cousin Carla–Esfiha and Carne Mal Assada specialist-thanks for teaching me. Carla is also a master at improvisation.
Noris e Rafael–Cubana e Espanhol…uma boa combinacao na cozinha. Tortilla Espanhola…de ovo e batata.
Rosinha e Neto (da Rua Brumadinho)–Rosinha, obrigada pelos livros de receita que usamos até hoje–Araxa Poe a Mesa. E tambem pela receita de Pavê.
Pedro–Um amigo Portugues que conheci quando estava na universidade…O livro de receitas que voce me deu de presente…Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa de Maria de Lourdes Modesto. Nao me esqueço de voce, de sua amizade…e dos bons tempos em Miami, Mallorca e em Lisboa. Boquerones, Gambas a la plancha, sardinhas na chapa, torta de bacalhau com cebola, filet com roquefort, tudo era bom.
Juju e Tia Preta–Everything Sweet. Obrigada por me ensinar fazer tantos doces deliciosos.
I need to give major credit to Food & Wine Magazine. Many of the recipes in this blog come from you and your magazine’s contributors. I subscribe to the print edition and each month look forward to receiving the latest issue. There are also recipes from MarthaStewart.com, BettyCrocker.com, Allrecipes.com and Finecooking.com among others.
The photos were taken by me (priscillakittycat). Thank you to my brother, Alex, for the nice camera!!
To all visitors: I hope you find the photos, recipes and tips delightful and informative. Please feel free to contact me with questions!