Archive for October, 2007

Rabbit becomes Terrine, part 2

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: food, local ingredients, rabbit, terrine | Tags: , , , , |




After soaking the rabbit for two days in brandy I was ready to tackle the terrine. I baked one rabbit whole with the herbs. My husband and I nibbled on it, especially enjoying the tenderloins. The rest went into the stock pot. A good de-glazing of the rabbit’s roasting pan produced a dark and luscious caramel of rabbit jelly. All was reserved with the terrine in mind. At the same time I roasted the rabbit, I roasted the pig’s knees with an onion. That too went into the stock pot.Rabbit number two I de-boned and ground with a hand-crank meat grinder; the kind that attaches to the kitchen counter top. It gives just the right consistency for terrine, not too fine, yet much finer than I could cut by hand. I reserved the tenderloins of the second rabbit and cut them into 2 inch cubes. I thought that it would be a shame to grind them, and I thought it would be great when eating the terrine to get a bite of pure tenderloin.Into the grinder as well went the livers of the two rabbits, two chicken livers, the between-the-rib meat and fat of a pork rib roast (it had been stowed away in the freezer since our last pork crown with the good intentions of a future terrine), about 1/4 pound of really fluffy pork fat and two stale french rolls. The rolls went through last because they help clean the fat out of the grinder.Meanwhile the stock was reducing to half. It was seasoned with fresh rosemary and thyme. After the stock cooled I added about a cup of it to the terrine mixture. All the brandy from the marinade went in too. Rosemary, thyme, fresh ground black pepper, salt and nutmeg also went into the mixture.I then made a simple pate brisee using 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of cold unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of dry white wine and a pinch of salt. The reader may need to use a little more liquid, as our Brazilian butter is watery. As I rolled out the dough, I heated the oven to a medium heat and heated water for a bain marie. I lined two large loaf pans with parchment paper, cutting the paper carefully at the corners so it wouldn’t bunch up too much. I then lined each loaf pan with the pate brisee dough. I lined the pans with another layer of parchment. Then I filled each loaf pan with beans. I reserve beans for this occasion (and for pre-baking any pie shells). I’ve been baking them over and over again for about 10 years. I hope nobody makes the mistake and cooks them one day. The terrine dough was then pre-baked for about 15 minutes. The beans held the dough in place so it wouldn’t sag down the sides of the loaf pans.After removing the terrine shells, I carefully removed the beans (an put them away for the next time). I lowered the oven temperature to low. I waited a few minutes for the terrine shells to cool before filling them with the rabbit mixture. Meanwhile I rolled out the dough for the lids. They then went into the oven in a bain marie (I used a large roasting pan that fit the two loaf pans, and then filled it with simmering water). The two terrines baked low for about 2 1/2 hours covered with parchment paper, and then another 1/2 hour uncovered. The dough tops browned beautifully.I turned off the heat and removed the terrines from the bain marie. I returned the terrines to the cooling oven and let them sit there over night. The next day I moved them to the refrigerator to rest for 24 hours. Only then did I cut each terrine into smaller pieces. The texture was a delight, each bite a little different, not at all uniform, the tenderloin coming through at times. And the texture of the dough was also a pleasure. I had feared a soggy bottom, but the pre-baking seemed to keep the dough not crisp, but at least toothy. And the terrine itself stayed firm. I wrapped some of the pieces in parchment and then in a plastic bag to freeze them. The rest we enjoyed during the weekend with a chilled Chilean Viognier.

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Rabbit becomes Terrine, part 1

Posted on October 16, 2007. Filed under: food, local ingredients, rabbit, terrine | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Novilhão, a great local butcher shop, called me up saying they received fresh rabbit. I said that I’d be their in 10. I got there in about 8. A few days before I had left my number for them to call me when they receive their rabbits. I wanted to buy a fresh one before they stored them away in the freezer. I bought two.

When I got home, knowing that I had to pick up the kids, go to ballet practice….all that Mom stuff… , I decided to let the rabbits soak in a bottle of brandy and some fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary in a large bowl at the back of the fridge. The rabbits stayed there for about 48 hours.

Rabbit with HerbsWhen I was at Novilhão, like always, I like to look over their less common offerings. Most Brazilian butcher shops carry amazing beef from the best parts of the cow hanging in large sections. Whole loin regions and whole rib regions hanging on hooks. There are usually chicken, whole and in pieces and pork loins and sausage. A fancier place may have a freezer stocked with a lamb shank, a few ducks, frogs legs and maybe some wild boar. Novilhão, and Frangão, their poultry-selling counterpart next door, sells the whole animal in all its glorious parts. They treat all the “lesser” cuts like beef and pork shank, osso bucco, tongue, tail, and innards just like they treat the sirloin and filet mignon. At Frangão you can find free-range chicken whole, in pieces, just hearts, all the innards, necks and feet, along with guinea hens, turkey and duck. All the poultry (except for the turkeys) is brought in live and butchered on the premises.

When I went in for the rabbits I eyed the fresh pork knees, thinking of the stock I’d need for the recipe. I also spied the fluffy white pork fat (toucinho). I left Novilhão with two fresh whole rabbits, two pig’s knees and about a pound of toucinho paying R$52,00 (about US$26.)

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Welcome to my Kitchen

Posted on October 5, 2007. Filed under: Brazil, food, more food | Tags: , , , , , , |


Welcome to my kitchen in Brazil. I am an American living in Brazil for quite sometime. I am creating this blog to capture some of the interesting things that we do with the treasures from our butchers, bakers, green grocers and on really special occasions our garden. I feel extremely fortunate to live in a small town in the state of Rio de Janeiro where we have access to a great variety of locally produced materia prima, from meats and poultry, to year round fruits and vegetables and local fresh dairy and eggs. There is even a nearby cremerie making a french style chevre. It is ingredients paradise.

I am not a trained chef, but I have worked in kitchens. I teach cooking and do a culinary spot for a local TV station. My greatest experiences in the kitchen have happened in trying to bridge the gap between the world I left and the world in which I live. For instance when I learned to make my own tortillas in a world where there are none, or walked a local butcher through Martha Stewart’s Pork Crown 101. And, I have learned so much from Brazilian cuisine, since attempting a Brazilian recipe for the first time. It was João Ubaldo Ribeira’s fish moqueca. My pocket português-inglês dictionary couldn’t help me make a dent in his subtle ironies.

I hope that anyone reading these entries will come away with something new, something they didn’t know or only assumed about Brazil, or living abroad or cooking with local ingredients, or whatever comes out of this. I hope that the recipes are clear and easy follow. Most of all, I hope that what I have written will inspire the reader to cook with love and joy.

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