Bahia-Style Fish Stew

Bahia-Style Fish StewHer Name Is Rio
The Olympics start this week. I am excited to watch, but I admit to not being as excited as in previous Olympic years. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding the games, or maybe I’m just tired…but I’m just not as into it.

Doesn’t mean I won’t go with a theme—it’s tradition, after all. We gotta have the food of the host country while watching the Opening Ceremonies. There are Brazilian dishes that I love (see this post for two versions of Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas). There aren’t too many that I make with any regularity, because despite being introduced to some great dishes, Brazilian food still remains a bit of a mystery to me. Also, until recently, it has been challenging to find all of the ingredients. The good news is that has changed.

One of the first Brazilian dishes I ever made was this Bahia-style Fish Stew. My husband ate so much he made himself sick. It’s definitely tasty, though don’t expect to find it on the Olympic training tables, ‘cause it will blow your diet. It would, however, be a great way to celebrate the Olympic spirit Rio style.

Bahia-Style Fish Stew
Serves 2-4

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Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas

Feijoada, Collard Greens and CaipirinhaThe Beautiful Game

Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!
For those of you living a normal day-to-day existence, this week is like any other—although for some it is the last week of school, which makes this week (in the eyes of the kids) awesome. For us sports junkies, this week kicks of a month of pounding hearts, adrenaline spikes, heated debates, and hair pulling as the greatest sporting event in the world begins…the 2014 World Cup.

Aside from the Olympics, this is the only sporting event where the winners can legitimately call themselves a World Champion. Here in the U.S., soccer is well-loved by our younger generations, but for the most part takes a back seat to football and baseball. The rest of the world on the other hand, goes nuts for it. And I do mean nuts.,

This year’s games are being played in Rio de Jeneiro, which couldn’t be a more appropriate location. (Talk about a party!) Brazil has a long history of great soccer, and is looking to prove to the world again just how dominant they are in the sport.

For me, it’s an excuse to eat Brazilian food. I know. Not exactly the kind of fare you will find around every corner though you can find it—especially in the Bay Area. One of my favorite dishes is Feijoada.

Feijoada is Brazil’s  most emblematic dish. It is stewed meat and beans with sausage and rice and collard greens. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it.) Throw in a caipirinha and I am a happy girl. Too many of those caipirinhas and I am too happy. (Be careful. Caipirinhas are the kind of drinks where you wake up in a road-side ditch…Don’t wake up in a road-side ditch!)

Authentic Feijoada can be time intensive and uses unfamiliar smoked cuts of meat not easily found by most Americans. (How’s that for diplomatic?) Below are two recipes for different versions of Feijoada. The first one is a not so traditional version from Chef Eric Ripert and is more approachable for the American home: the ingredients are more readily available, and the recipe is less labor-intensive. The second is a more traditional version for those who are up for the challenge.

And of course, the Caipirinhas…
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