Hipster Chili

For those of you who don’t know (mom), a hipster is a term used for a subculture of American youth that is as widespread as it is derided. Unlike other subcultures, the boundaries are a bit fuzzy, but they are defined by a distinctive style of dress, and “you know ’em when you see ’em” typecasting.

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Flip Burger Boutique: Atlanta

Capping off my trip down South was a lunch with the ever lovely Miss Connie, one of my girlfriends from work. She suggested we go to Flip Burger Boutique, a decision which ended up being just about perfect.

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Burrito Mexicano Como Te Extraño

If I have learned one thing about myself in the past few months it is that I will jump through hoops to get a taste of “home”…

Something I truly am fond of is a tasty carne asada burrito with a huge side of guacamole. And although you can find very crowded Mexican restaurants in my neighborhood, the overpriced menu and awful cheese wiz seem to miss the point. Where oh where have my $5 taco stands gone?

I found myself really wanting a beef burrito and did what I had to do to make it happen! Filet mignon marinated in balsamic vinegar and mustard with pico de gallo, guacamole and…beans!! For those of you that live or have lived in Brazil, you know that you cannot find frijoles (pasta de feijão) in your average supermarket…here was my first tentative at making them.

(Do not pay attention to the poor aesthetics of this picture)

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Brazil: Churrasco

Brazilians love their churrasco and even more so their picanha. For those of you that are unfamiliar with these terms, I am talking about barbecue and top sirloin (or rump cover), respectively.

After a warm greeting from Helio’s family and a lovely tour of the property, we all reunited at the churrasco area where we ate like kings. Unlimited grilled picanha, linguiça (sausage), chicken and T-bone steaks accompanied with rice, beans, vinagrete (which is similar to salsa), farofa (powder-like substance made from yucca flour) and more! Let us not forget the cerveja estupidamente gelada and home-made cachaça. Very delicious spread of food, something I will surely never forget.

Let me take a moment to relate Brazilian hospitality to their way of eating meat. Always cut into small pieces and shared with all at the table, it makes for a truly enjoyable experience!

To start off the churrasco, a huge chunk of picanha:

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

There is so much one can do with bell peppers…they can be eaten raw in salads, grilled to perfection with onions and even baked as I do here. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The bell pepper really is a multi-purpose vegetable!

Here is a nice and easy way to prepare them as a main entrée. Carb-free and colorful as can be!

Stuffed bell peppers

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Osso Buco with Ricotta Mashed Potatoes

Every Thursday on my way home from teaching at the orphanage I walk passed a butcher shop and glance at the tons of cow meat displayed in front of me. I am not a big beef connoisseur; do not really know the difference between most cuts, never really grew up eating much beef. I did notice, however, that the name for beef shanks in Brazil is osso buco, which in a way doesn’t surprise me since Italian influence is so strong here. So there I was, face to face with the butcher asking me how many kilos I wanted. One will do, I replied.

I do not claim to be a big beef eater (although I do enjoy the occasional steak and picanha na chapa) but how can you refuse 2.2 pounds of beef shanks for not even USD $4!  That is how I came to the decision to make osso buco (beef, not veal), my very first time!

Osso Buco with Ricotta Mashed Potatoes

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Empanada Oscars party

Last night in honor of the Oscars we had a few people over and made some empanadas. It was the first time I’d had one since our return from Argentina and Chile this winter and had been craving them for a while…I will give our first empanada making a thumbs up!

Beef & Veggie empanadas

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