Monday, October 10, 2011

The Thrill of Success; the Agony of Defeat

I don't really enjoy everyday cooking, but I'm always up for a challenge, cooking something particularly interesting-sounding. That's how I wound up making six bazillion spanakopita triangles for my family's Christmas Eve get-together last year.

Today's projects weren't quite as crazy--or so I thought. I just wanted to try out a recipe for "Quick Pao de Queijo" that I'd found (Brazilian cheese bread--amazing stuff), and take a go at the "Brazilian Lemonade" that I'd found at the same website. (Lots of really tasty-looking stuff there, by the way). I figured this was the perfect time to try the cheese bread, because I had a gluten-free, dairy-free friend coming to visit, and this stuff uses tapioca flour. I figured I'd just substitute some soy cheese for the real stuff, and we'd be golden!
This is the tapioca flour. The box looks like it's straight out of the 70's!

The recipe called for putting all the ingredients for the batter into a blender and mixing. here you see my food processor and several of the ingredients (I was using part soy and part milk cheese for this first trial batch). You can also see that I'm not exactly the neatest cook around--flour tends to go everywhere. This was where I got the beginnings of an idea that a blender and a food processor may not be completely interchangeable--my batter tried to escape!

Ever the valiant cook, I contained the batter and poured it into muffin tins) it was supposed to make a full dozen, but apparently either my food processor didn't make the batter as fluffy as a blender would have or I just filled them too full). I put water in the last three muffin cups so they wouldn't burn. I popped it in the oven, pulled it out, and was too distressed at the results to remember to take a picture.

Did you know that the first ingredient of soy cheese is oil? Did you know that when you melt soy cheese, you pretty much wind up with straight oil? I'll have to try this again, but with real milk and real cheese, instead of almond milk and soy cheese; and with an actual blender!

Well, on to project number two. Apparently "Brazilian Lemonade" is actually limeade with sweetened condensed milk. I nuked the limes a few seconds each to soften them and make them juicier.

Then I made my sugar syrup and put about half the cut-up limes in the food processor. My mistake was following the directions where they said "put half the limes and half the sugar syrup in the blender," but putting all that in a food processor!

Sugar water everywhere! Let my wet, sticky counter be a lesson to you--food processors and blenders are not interchangeable. Guess what appliance is next on my list of things to get! But when I started over again with less sugar syrup and more limes, I wound up with something like this--much better!

The next step was to strain the mixture through a sieve, so you wouldn't have to strain it through your teeth when drinking it. Guess what other basic piece of kitchen equipment I don't have?

I wound up putting it very slowly through a fancy silver tea strainer. It took forever, but it worked! (Guess what I got at Target that weekend?)

The last step was to add a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Sounds crazy, but it just makes it amazingly good--like a lime creamsicle! My only piece of advice for the sweetened condensed milk is to buy one of those tinytinytiny cans if you possibly can--my sis/roommate used what was left over for coffee creamer, but there was a LOT, and I had bought a small can!

So there you have it--I'll have to try again on the pao de queijo, but the lemonade was a big hit when I took it to a Dr. Who-watching party that night!

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