Coffee-Rubbed Ribeye Roast

Coffee Rubbed Ribeye Roast by My Little Jar of Spices

This is a little awkward, the last recipe I posted was in February. I almost feel like a stranger on my own blog. Long time no see blog! The reason why I haven’t been posting lately is that I have been pretty overwhelmed with work. In fact I was traveling last week for a study on small-farmer Peruvian coffee cooperatives that produce and export organic and fair trade coffee to the US. Hey, maybe you’re sipping on a cup of freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee right now? Well I met some of your suppliers! Our objective was to study how connecting coffee smallholder farmers to international markets produced positive socio-economic impacts in the region and for the farmers of the cooperatives. Amazing experience in an absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking region (San Ignacio, Peru) named one of the best in the world for coffee; and for the first time in my life, I participated in a coffee-tasting. It’s kind of like wine-tasting, and believe me it’s serious business. They do it in a lab and test everything from aroma to flavor, uniformity, body. And you got to love the vocabulary of any specialty product-tasting profession when they discuss the results of each sample. Me: “slurp. Hmmm, wow, that’s some tasty coffee, batch number two seems stronger than batch number one, wouldn’t you say?”. The lab tester: “you’re right, batch number two was a little syrupy, with notes of aromatic cinnamon in cup, along with hints of mandarine acidity and quite lively on the palate”. Me: “…………yes, totally what I meant”.

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Brazilian Carne Seca – and a Top 5 Must-try of Brazilian Cuisine

Brazilian Carne Seca - only 5 ingredients!

Hi everyone! I feel like I haven’t posted in forever… well, it’s *only* been 10 days. This is how I know I’m completely hooked on blogging. Life is just not as sweet without it. But I’ve been crazy busy with some very exciting work projects lately, and as a result I have completely and utterly abandoned the kitchen. I barely even know what’s in the fridge these days and have been eating sardines and almond butter for dinner since Sunday. Gasp. It’s completely disorienting. I feel bad, I haven’t even had time to make Freddy a breakfast bread like I usually do every week and he’s one day away from falling back into the comforting arms of gluten.

So I’m here to make amends, with a post I’ve been meaning to write up for a long time now on the quintessential ingredients and foods of Brazil – the Must-tries if you will -, and depending on my inspiration, I might make it a monthly series. So let’s talk about Brazilian gastronomy a little. After a year and a half or so of living here, I have got a pretty good vibe of what the customs around food are here and what the typical ingredients are. Here’s the top 5 of foods and ingredients you just cannot miss on if you are in Brazil or just want to have some fun trying out Brazilian gastronomy. Continue reading

Beef and Curry Stir Fry

Beef and Curry Stir Fry by My Little Jar of Spices

One of my favorite restaurants to eat here is a little family Chinese joint, a sort of tiny hole in a wall with no name in the middle of São Paulo’s Asian neighborhood, where almost none of the owners speak Portuguese and they barely understand us when we order something. We happened to stumble upon it one evening with my roommate while shopping in the neighborhood and we were drawn in by the familial and chattery atmosphere we saw inside with large families of ten or more people sharing food around big round tables. I love the concept of ordering plates for the entire table to share rather than individual dishes, it reminds me of when I went to India and Singapore and I always find that those types of meals are so much friendlier. The tables have a big revolving plate in the center where you put all the food and you can just turn it to help yourself to whatever food you want instead of sprawling yourself across the table to reach for a dish. So clever. You make the food come to you. Plus it feels all fancy, just turn the plate and you have a big bowl of food that humbly presents itself under your eyes. I’m thinking of getting one of those for my house. Continue reading

Stuffed Collard Greens

Who would have guessed but collard greens are a staple food here in Brazil. Eating the traditional Brazilian Feijoada (meat and black bean stew) without a side of collard greens is just not right. Before coming here I didn’t even know what a collard green was. In fact, my only experience with leafy greens was limited to lettuce and spinach. But when I go to the farmer’s market we have by our house every Sunday morning, there’s always a huge stall with all kinds of cabbages, root vegetables and greens. Oh my. Mustard greens, beet greens, chard, dandelion greens, collard greens, spinach and so on. So many choices. It’s my favorite moment of the market, plus I think one of the sellers there has a little crush on me because he always insists on filling my order and digging up the greenest, leafiest collards for me. How I interpret a big leafy collard as code for flirt, I sometimes honestly wonder where I get these ideas. Continue reading

Perfect Espelette Chili Sirloin Steak

steak asparagus

Paris mon amour! It feels so wonderful to be back in France for one month, you really appreciate a place once you’ve been far away from it. And concerning French gastronomy, I feel like I’m discovering it for the first time. Or more accurately, I probably took most of the flavors in French cooking for granted and had never felt much curiousity towards them, but having lived in Brazil for one year, I suddenly realized all the ingredients that I really missed on a daily basis. Like raspberries, which believe it or not are impossible to find in Brazil, or good and inexpensive dark chocolate, or spices and condiments like Herbes de Provence, Dijon Mustard and Piment d’Espelette. Espelette Chili is a variety of chili pepper cultivated in the South of France in the Basque Region that I loved to use to flavor everything, from meats and dips to salad dressings and soups, because it’s spicy but not so hot to the point that it will numb your mouth and deprive you of actually enjoying the flavor of the food, and it’s delightful because it brings a slightly roasted flavor to anything you add it to.  Continue reading