What do you get when you combine a missing ingredient, a last-minute recipe change-up, a child trying to jump out of a grocery cart, noise from four different sources (not counting the children) in our little kitchen, a frazzled mom, a child standing on top of the kitchen table, a burned thumb and biscuits spilled on the bottom of the oven?
One upside down six-year old and a delicious meal.
Tonight was our second and final visit with Brazilian cuisine for this go-round. Miss A was swayed away from cooking duck for the time being and instead chose pasta. Our first choice was “Massa Com Bottarga.” A light pasta with freshly grated bottarga - a salt-cured roe from the mullet fish. This item is used in both Italy and Brazil. Unfortunately it’s not used very often in the Midwest. We tried our local Italian grocer and had no luck there. We called two more speciality grocery stores (figuring if anyone had it they would be the most likely candidates), and came up empty. We later found that it is available at a shop downtown – unfortunately we ran out of time to get there. So we did a quick search and opted to cook “Penne Rigoletto” as well as some little biscuits that the kids were excited about, “Broinhas de Fuba.”
Admittedly this night was going off track from the time we got to the grocery store. I had the two kids at the grocery store to gather ingredients for the meal and groceries for the week. Normally I try and avoid taking them both to the store at the same time, but sometimes it has to be done. Miss A spent most of the trip trying to jump out of the cart or do gymnastics on the side and Mr. N did his very best to try and block which ever direction the cart was heading. Fortunately we made it out of the store with no major incidents (dad didn’t have the same luck the day before when Miss A kicked a Corona out of the cart and all over the floor at the check-out).
Back at home, the kids were pretty excited to cook the corn puffs, or Broinhas de Fuba. They each poured the ingredients in and dad stirred the dough continuously as it cooked. That was about the extent of the kids’ involvement today; although they did hang-out with us in the kitchen. Mr. N worked on building an electric boat out of tinker toys and Miss A - well she mostly just flitted around and then ended up on the kitchen table. So while dad simultaneously worked on the Broinhas and keeping Miss A from ending up in the ER, I began coating the eggplant in egg yolk and breadcrumbs.
Then as the penne was cooking in salt water and the eggplant was cooking in oil, I took over the Broinhas. We adapted the recipe from the blog Authentic Brazilian Cuisine which includes a video on how to roll each puff. It’s difficult to explain, but not hard to do. Then dad chopped the eggplant and mozzarella for the pasta. The puffs baked at 400 for about 20 minutes, during which time we combined the ingredients of the rigoletto and then picked up all of the tape, paper scraps, scissors, pens and toys off of the kitchen table. As we dropped the final ingredient into the rigoletto - the mozzarella – I removed the puffs from the oven promptly burning my thumb through the pot holder and dropped the puffs all over the bottom of the oven. Fortunately both my thumb and the puffs survived. Now I just wonder what four-letter word Miss A will pick-up from that little mishap?!
So after a few chaotic hours, we sat down to eat our meal. The reviews were unlike any other night of our adventure so far – Mom gave the rigoletto 4 spoons (I’m a pasta junkie), Dad gave the pasta two spoons (he felt it wasn’t much unlike regular pasta dishes that we’ve made and prefers his eggplant parm recipe to this dish), Mr. N gave the pasta one spoon (and would rather eat beets than eggplant), and for the shocker…Miss A gave the pasta four spoons – she even asked for seconds (of which she ate two bites and announced she was done!)! As for the Broinhas de Fuba, these are meant more as a breakfast food or to eat with coffee or tea, but perfect pairings isn’t what we’re going for in this adventure. The puffs are heavy, licorice flavored, quite tasty and oh so not good for you (but everything in moderation right?!). Miss A didn’t really like them – she much prefers the Pao de Queijo which she popped like candy last night (We made them again this week – like I said, those are dangerous!). So for the Broinhas – Mom gives them a two, but would prefer them with a latte. Dad gave them a two. Mr. N gave them a two and wants to eat the leftovers at breakfast with syrup. And Miss A didn’t seem to enjoy these too much, so we’ll say one spoon for her.
All-in-all it was a chaotic night that produced a delicious pasta. If only we could have eaten it overlooking a beach while the kids played together quietly and happily as live Brazilian music played in the distance.
Then again…there’s not much that can truly top home.