Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brigadeiros e um Cafezinho para Receitas Regionais

There is something you don’t know about me....its not a secret.... but it occurs to me as I write this post that it isn’t something I’ve ever brought up here. Did you know I can speak a foreign language? Or five?

Everyone has something they are good at. Something that seems to come....naturally...to them. For me, it was foreign language. It started with Spanish in high school, at which I excelled from the beginning. I spent some time as a foreign exchange student south of Barcelona (which is NOT Spain, if you ask the residents there. It is Catalunya) and my life was never the same.

In college, I majored in foreign language, studying first Spanish, then Portuguese and Italian (which my professor said I spoke with a lovely Spanish accent. Asshole.). I soon discovered that my university also offered classes in the Basque language, which I gobbled up greedily. Although they did not offer Catala (the language spoken in Catalunya), I continued to pursue it at every avenue. While I never studied French or German, I am able to read and understand both to some extent, just due to my exposure to similar languages.

What is my point? Among all the things I learned about languages in my course of study,. One thing I will always know is that each language has its own personality. French is beautiful and, ahem, it knows it. Italian is Romantic. And Portuguese? Well, you may not know this, but Portuguese....well...it is SEXY. There is just something about the way your tongue moves in your mouth when you speak Portuguese that gives you the sensation of being naughty. And if you’ve ever seen an attractive man speaking it...well...let’s just say you may have had OTHER sensations. Taking it just a step further, the Portuguese spoken in Brasil is Portugal’s guttural, somewhat slutty cousin, a rhythmic song, more felt than sung. Self assured and a little dirty, but completely unconcerned by the sexuality of it.

How do I know this? Well, naturally, there was this guy.... (don’t look at me like that....he didn’t even know I existed!) and he was BEAUTIFUL. When he looked at you with his coffee colored eyes, and spoke those special words (it didn’t matter in the least WHAT words he spoke), your world went a little out of focus. He was Brasilian and he made quite an impression on my sophomore year at the U when he walked into my Portuguese class bearing Brigadeiros.

You knew this post had to turn to food at some point, didn’t you? After all, college is also where I truly began to appreciate both food and coffee (okay, okay, and gorgeous, unattainable men!) You can learn a lot about Brigadeiros by doing a simple search on the internet. These beloved little treats are Brasil’s version of truffles, and are often served alongside a “cafezinho”, a sister to the traditional espresso. Much like the Brasilian tongue, these two treats swirl around in your mouth like a romance novel on fire.

Making Brigadeiros is as simple as the cafezinho is traditional. For the Brigadeiros, cook 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon butter in a heavy pot over medium-low flame for 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent the mixture from burning. When the mixture thickens such that it doesn’t come off the spoon easily, remove it from the heat and pour it onto a tray. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes. (I put mine in the fridge to set up.) Traditionally, Brigadeiros are rolled in chocolate jimmies, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I let Ty pick from my stash of sanding and gourmet sugars. Naturally, he picked orange. Butter your hands to keep the mixture from sticking, and roll it into small balls, then roll in your coating. I leave mine to coll in the fridge again until I am ready for them and then I serve them alongside my cafezinho.
(pardon the picture quality - I'm still experimenting with my new camera!)
If you ask a Brasilian how to make the cafezinho, he will explain to you that a cafezinho isn’t just a coffee. You must start with a pan that you promise to use only for making coffee. I just happen to have one such pan in the depths of my kitchen (don’t give me that look – you know by know that my kitchen fetishes are vast). Over medium high heat, bring your water to a boil and dissolve the desired amount of sugar in the hot liquid. For each cup of water, mix in one heaping tablespoon of high quality coffee (in my case, Medaglia D’Oro espresso). Then you must use a contraption to filter the coffee through a cloth filter (or coffee filter, if you want find cloth) and serve it in espresso cups (again, which I just happen to have...).

Serve this cafezinho alongside a couple of Brigadeiros and you have one sexy little afternoon treat. Maybe, if you’re lucky, your own little Brasilain Adonis will walk by and look at you in that special way they have....if he does, offer him a Brigadeiro....maybe he’ll stop by and have one with you.

This is my submission to Regional Recipes for this month’s theme – Brasil!


Kim said...

Beth - This post was a real treat to read. I'm a total sucker for men with accents, of any kind. Guess that's how I ended up down here in KY.

I love these Brigadeiros made with the sweetened condensed milk. I know that has to be some good stuff.

Question: Are the bacon games open to pancetta OR is it just bacon? I do have another bacon dish to post for this month, but was just wondering about the pancetta.

Joanne said...

I think I would be much better at languages if there was always a hot brazilian man involved. Seriously. I am so impressed at your lingual abilities!

Man these cookies sound absolutely delicious. I could gobble them up in seconds. Thanks so much for submitting these to Regional Recipes!