Q: I would like to make a traditional feijoada for Christmas Eve like the one you get at Texas de Brazil. Can you give me a recipe?
A: This recipe, graciously supplied by the restaurant chain, is a perfect recipe for entertaining. You can make it in advance, the ingredients are inexpensive and the flavor is delicious. The chefs at the restaurant tell us it is traditional in Brazil to serve the feijoada with rice, sauteed collard greens and sliced navel oranges, which provide a bright counterpoint to the creamy beans.
Q: I have long loved the garlic kale at Whole Foods. Is there any way they would give you the recipe for the delicious creamy garlic dressing they use for this dish?
A: Alas, Whole Foods does not share proprietary recipes, but I have tried to duplicate the dressing using their ingredient list.
The real secret is to let the dressed kale leaves rest for an hour or so in the refrigerator so they soften and pick up the dressing flavor. Use your hands to toss the salad, spreading the dressing evenly on the leaves.
Nutritional yeast, for those unfamiliar, is grown on molasses. It is used frequently in vegan cooking to replace cheesy flavors and add protein and B vitamins. Popular brands include Red Star and Bob’s, and it can be found in health food stores and many supermarkets.
Q: I have been told to cut dairy out of my diet and to use olive oil as much as possible in cooking. I am wondering whether I can substitute olive oil for butter in my baking. I love to make cookies this time of year. Can you help?
Rae Anne Rice
A: Yes, you can use olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil in your baking recipes, but you need to keep two things in mind.
The first is flavor. Olive oil can have a mild to an assertive flavor, so I would use the lightest taste you can find; Bertolli actually makes one titled Extra Light Tasting. I’d also keep in mind that even the lightest flavor will still be a bit fruity so I would not use it in recipes where that would not be compatible.
The second caveat is that while you can substitute it directly with vegetable oil or melted butter, olive oil is not a direct substitute for solid butter. You would use less oil to keep the ratio of liquid to solid and even after adjusting risk a flatter baked good. In substituting, the general rule is to replace 1/2 cup butter with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil.
The citrus cookie recipe here was developed by chef Fabio Viviani for Bertolli. I’ve adapted it for clarity. It turns out quite well, and the lemon, orange and olive oil flavors work well together. If you are a fan of the sweet and salty trend, adding a sprinkling of kosher salt just before baking.
Martin Miller Gin, whose U.S. offices are in Miami, shared a great cocktail recipe for holiday parties. The cranberry ginger syrup, which can be made in advance, would make a nice last-minute gift. To make large batches, change the ounce measurements to cups. Then blend 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of the mix with 1/2 cup of ice per serving. For those who don’t indulge, mix the syrup with sparkling water or club soda with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
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