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Archive for February 15, 2009

Mardi Gras Foods

Mardi Gras, or Carnival, celebrated February 20-24 this year, is Brazil’s largest annual celebration. The four-day party was brought to South America from Europe, and the Brazilians made it their own. The Mardi Gras celebration marks the beginning of the 40 day Lent season, starting on Saturday and ending on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi gras in French.

Every year, Brazilian Mardi Gras attracts millions of tourists as well as local celebrants. Each Brazilian city has its own Carnival traditions, including elaborate parades, masquerade balls and other social gatherings, and, of course, feasts. Carnival is believed to have originated from the Italian words carne vale, meaning farewell to meat. The feasts offer meat, and plenty of it.

If there’s a Brazilian-style churrascaria restaurant in your town, there’s no better place to order up a Caipirinha or two and celebrate Carnival. Texas de Brazil, one of the country’s premiere Churrascarias (there are 14 domestic locations—find one near you), offers these suggestions if you’d like to prepare an authentic Brazilian menu to celebrate Carnival at home:

The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made
with cachaça, lime and sugar.

Caipirinha Cocktail. Brazil’s signature cocktail, the Caipirinha is made with cachaça, an intensely sweet Brazilian spirit. Learn more about cachaça and get Caipirinha recipes.

Brazilian Feijoada. Carnival’s signature dish is also the national dish of Brazil, and the perfect comfort food on winter night. Feijoada is a stew made of several types of meat cooked with beans and traditionally served with a side of white rice, salad and peeled oranges. It’s the cassoulet of Brazil.

Churrasco de Fraldinha. In Brazil, churrasco is the term for barbecue and fraldinha is flank steak. The Churrasco de Fraldinha is a meal for meat lovers only; Brazilians use the best meat and cooking techniques so no sauce is needed, but you could make the Brazillian vinaigrette. If you have a grill, invite the gang over for a Churrasco de Fraldinha and Caipirinhas. It will be a memorable occasion!

Brazilian Vinaigrette. Similar to Pico de Gallo or salsa, a Brazilian vinaigrette can be made as spicy or mild as needed and is traditionally served over meats.

Papaya Cream. An easy-to-make dessert that will have you thinking it is summertime. Papaya Cream is a chilled dessert of fresh papaya and cream, a popular and traditional Brazilian treat.

Make your reservations—or start party planning—today.

The orginal sugar free, o calorie, 0 sugar cocktail mix

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TRENDS: Change In Presidential Dining Habits

Mr. McGregor’s Microgreens, a NIBBLE Top Pick.

Bill Clinton liked to go out for McDonald’s. W preferred a barbecue on his Crawford ranch. While a waist watcher, Barack Obama enjoys fine cuisine, frequently patronizing Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Spiaggia. He’s keeping White House chef Cristeta Comerford, who knows how to deal with those massive state dinners, while bringing in his own health-focused personal chef.

Knowing his own mind, the prez turned down advice from three food titans, Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters, Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl and Union Square Hospitality Group head Danny Meyer. The trio wrote a joint letter urging that Obama make the White House a showcase for local, organic and seasonal food. They wanted him to replace the unknown Comerford with a higher-profile chef whose cooking agenda was more in tune with theirs.

Longtime White House chef Walter Scheib, whose departure in 2005 elevated Comerford to top toque, points out that the White House does buy local and seasonal food from area farmers and co-ops…and that Laura Bush was a stickler for organic food. Who knew?

To help out with their personal meals, the Obamas are bringing in Sam Kass, who had been their private chef in Chicago. In addition to knowing what they like, he has a particular interest in healthy food and local food. Out with the Krispy Kremes, in with crudités! Read the full article in Restaurant Hospitality magazine.

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