My Seventies Kitchen Episode 8: Brazilian Beef Stew

This dish, which takes its origins from the Brazilian state of Bahia, is literally a Carnivale for the palate. It begins with a base of beef chuck, fried beef, and sausage eventually thickened with okra and toasted mandioca (cassava) flour. The fiery salsa offsets the richness of the dish perfectly while adding a pleasant crunchy texture. As Bill Hader’s character “Stefon” on SNL would say, this dish “has it all.” 

A few notes for cooks who do not have access to proper Brazilian markets:

Traditionally the stew calls for Carne Seca (dried beef) to compliment the beef chuck. I could not locate the Brazilian style of the dried beef, so I substituted a thick, meaty jerky. I reconstituted it for over 6 hours, changing the water a few times. In hindsight, I would say that omitting it and merely using more beef chuck would be preferable if you cannot locate the real thing. 

Again, I could not source Calabreza, the traditional Brazilian smoked sausage with roots in Calabrian cuisine. In the end, Portuguese Linguica was a perfectly acceptable substitute. 

Lastly, Bahian cuisine usually features Malagueta chili pepper. Again, I could not source them, so I pinch-hit with Thai Bird chilies, which fit the bill nicely. 

If there is one thing not to omit or substitute in this dish, it is the Dende Oil. Even if you can’t find the Brazilian brands, any African Red Palm oil will do. 

All Production by No End Media

My Seventies Kitchen Episode 7: hot and sour soup

One of the most important things to have in your life is a Chinese American restaurant that not only delivers but is consistently good. It’s rarer than you think. It’s often the reason I never give recommendations to people in this arena because, without fail, they always seem to go on an “off-night,” and then I end up looking stupid.

I am currently in a phase where I have a roster, if you will, of Chinese restaurants that all do specific things correctly. I have a crucial ordering strategy at each, and almost every time I stray from the game plan, I regret it badly.

I feel it’s essential to develop a few of the classic dishes at home for nights when you simply cannot risk being disappointed.

Hot & Sour soup, part of the “Holy Trinity” of Chinese takeout soups (along with won ton & egg drop), is surprisingly easy to make at home. The variations are endless, plus it allows for much more significant portion sizes than D1 – D18 Dinner Combos.

I have somehow managed to take up residency in a town that has zero options for Chinese delivery. This is idiotic and makes me angry – but this hot & sour soup makes everything all better…

All Production by No End Media