To understand the beauty of Medibbean fusion recipes, we must first understand its core definition. Medibbean is all about combining distinctly different food elements from across the world into something new, healthy and tastes extraordinary. Cuisine is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices within a given culture or region. Medibbean alters this to include the best of the best.
From the introduction, we learn that “fusion” may be a term which has more recently been coined to refer to food, but in its broadest definition, we have seen this as an on-going characteristic for chefs throughout the centuries. For instance, when I think of Italian cuisine, pasta covered with a red sauce immediately comes to mind. Many of us know that Marco Polo brought pasta back to Italy from China; further, prior to 1492, there were little to no tomatoes in cooking throughout Italy. This means that at some point, possibly hundreds of years ago, pasta with red sauce was an example of fusion cooking.
Another incarnation of Medibbean cuisine is a more eclectic approach, featuring original Caribbean recipes using varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and Mediterranean regions and then combining cookery techniques and methodologies. A Medibbean cuisine restaurant might feature a wide variety of Caribbean food inspired by a combination of various Mediterranean regional cooking techniques with these new food pairing and preparation ideas.
A third approach uses foods with a history based on Caribbean food, but prepared using methods and flavors inherent to Mediterranean cooking or cuisines.
For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans and other common taco ingredients is often marketed as “Taco Pizza” or a similar concept, and is a fusion of Italian (pizza) and Mexican cuisines. Another example of this is Korean tacos. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients, e.g. cheetos, curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa sauce with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves (resembling inside-out dolmades).
Since Medibbean fusion cuisine is a general term, it is legitimately applied to very few restaurants as of yet. While many diners feature dishes from Greek, Italian, and sometimes Asian cuisines side-by-side, these restaurants are generally not considered fusion as they fail to combine any elements of the cooking styles and also have no over-arching fusion or eclectic theme.
In fact, Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean cuisine has gone further, incorporating ingredients and methods from the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Mediterranean countries into menus that, when successfully paired, begin to lose their national identity and become something like the diet for a culinary One World.
But there’s a problem with this notion: it assumes the existence of a cuisine that hasn’t been fused already. Take that weary emblem of Italian food, pasta with tomato sauce. Noodles, the story goes, were carried to Italy by Marco Polo on the backs of camels and tomatoes or “love apples,” were shipped from the Americas. There are myriad other examples, all demonstrating that cuisines themselves are in as much flux as languages and the nations that claim them both.
Can Medibbean cuisine be in flux and be fused? A region would have to be impregnable–as China once was or seemed to be–for its food to be continuously constant to register the change that flux in Medibbean fusion represents.
No, what we mean when we talk about “fusion” is a particular historical circumstance having to do with late-20th-century chefs and their urge to create. Of course, most high-rent chefs offer the recipes on their menus as their own, but these dishes are usually variations (often wonderful variations) on standard themes–Mediterranean, Greek, north African and bistro-style French. It’s not complicated: you sit down, open the menu and more or less know where you are–whether your protein will take the form of a slab or pieces; whether butter, olive oil or animal fat will smooth your tastebuds way; whether the palate temperature will be Arctic cool or tropical hot; whether you’ll be paying for food originally intended for the poor, the rich or the in-between.
Look at L.A.’s Spago’s early fusion dishes: pizza with artichokes, shiitakes, leeks, eggplants and sage; roasted duck with pears and ginger; marinated tuna with avocado, kaiware (daikon sprouts) and sweet onions; sweetbreads sautéed crisp with mustard greens and smoked pancetta. One can hardly predict where the separating semicolons should go
Fusion works not only by artfully combining flavors but also by reminding the eater of the gap that’s being breached. When the look and taste of such ingredients as nori become so familiar that they cease to challenge the Western palate–cease to seem “foreign”–then chefs may feel the urge to look elsewhere in order to invent. Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean fusion cuisine has succeeded so well in Miami distinctions of where the food was originally harvested will disappear.
Fusion cuisine has existed for centuries before people like Wolfgang Puck coined the term in the 80s and 90s. Whenever you have two or more cultures meeting and combining – either due to trade, conquest, immigration, etc. – the result has always been new culturally variegated recipes.
Technically, any dish that is composed of ingredients that aren’t from the same geographical area, could be considered fusion. I was a chef for many years and was schooled in Classical French and Italian cuisine before I worked with healthier French nouvelle cuisine techniques in the early 1980’s. Medibbean follows Northern Italian/Southern France cooking techniques, held to a higher standard by the 1980’s California cuisine craze that tend to marry it to two or three different cuisines on one plate like; a Japanese style cooking method with Thai spices and a Classical French plate presentation. Medibbean is mixing up these cooking techniques and seasonings; splicing them onto traditional Caribbean recipes by adding in our exotic fruit or spices to alter the color, texture and flavors.
Critics of the practice sometimes call it “confusion cuisine,”
arguing that chefs rely on novelty to carry the food,
rather than flavor, texture and presentation.
The roots of Medibbean fusion cuisine are ancient, since Pirates, Indentured servants and worldly travelers have been exchanging culinary heritage for centuries in the Caribbean Islands, but the concept became popularized in America in the 1970’s with the USA Culinary Team winning the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
Some of the most well-known fusion cuisine combines European and Asian-inspired Caribbean food. These distinctively different cultures have wildly divergent culinary traditions and combining the centuries of these cooking traditions can sometimes result in astonishing recipes because of their adventurous home cooks.
Chef Michael Bennett tells what we should expect for the future of our Food Business — The Social Changes in Dining Habits
When you think about it, we will never dine again like we did a decade ago.
With the generational gap between the 70’s counter culture people – the Boomers – that demanded uber-chic foods from their restaurants in the 1980’s – to today’s diners – the Y-generation that has lived through multiple economic down-turns and a social revolution over the past two decades; our current dining clientele have no idea what opulent dining should be.
PRICE POINT, INSTANT SERVICE THE GOAL
The dining populace today is looking for dwindling prices and bold flavors. They are not looking for superior products that are well thought-out in rich visual appeal; it has to be instantaneous and scrumptious without drawn-out service attributes. The dining public that insisted on a 2½ hour dining experience is long gone. Those people are now investing their disposable income on supporting their aging parents, instead of treating themselves to an evening of culinary bliss.
There is one avenue in culinary field that is growing in affluence and totality: the gourmet food market segment. Companies such as Wild Oats, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market continue to grow, and are more popular today than anyone could have imagined in the beginning of the 1990s.
It’s the result of the Boomers treating themselves to superlative foods at home, rather than going out for fine dining. Their teen-age kids are being brought up expecting that this the norm. This procurement practice learned before they leave to go to college seems like it will transverse to the next generation unlike, fine dining of the 1980’s.
ARE THEY THE FUTURE?
Gourmet markets flaunting the highest quality cheeses from Europe, olive oils from around the Mediterranean, prime-aged meats and fresh locally harvested seafood abound in and around South Florida. Home-grown gourmet markets budded from long-standing family-owned local food markets. These markets over the decades saw that as their clientele gained esteem through their occupations, so did their need to live prodigiously at home. Coupled with the lack of formal dining out of the home and the need to still treat oneself, metropolitan gourmet markets flourish.
Look across the Southern United States, where retiring Boomers are now settling for a quite retirement from the rat race and you can see there is an increasing demand for gourmet and time-saving prepared food markets. Looking across Florida, Arizona and Texas, gourmet markets like: Epicure, Norman Brother’s, Gardener’s (all in Miami), Fernanda’s and Doris markets in Fort Lauderdale and Carmine’s of Palm Beach, Rice Epicurean and Eatzies in Houston and Dallas, Central Market in San Antonio, Texas, AJ’s fine foods in Phoenix, have been blossoming in popularity and scope.
I can remember going shopping downtown to the only place in Fort Lauderdale that sells deCecco pasta, Fernando’s, with my grandmother in the 1970’s. This is the way it starts for generational cooking at home. The Boomers have already indoctrinated their college aged kids to expect these markets to fulfill their needs for their future.
BOOMERS RETIRE, BUT THEIR TASTES DON’T
It has been a long journey for the family markets but, this segment is expanding faster than most other segment of the food service spectrum.
“We have seen the growth in sales rise ever since the Boomers started to retire”, a gourmet store manager told me. In the Tampa and Sarasota area of the Florida’s West Coast, there is up and coming places like Morton’s that have broken away from the mom and pop attitude to roasted-in-house gourmet coffee beans, supply in-house prepared entire Home Meal Replacements, dedicate a major part of the floor space to European cheeses and charcuteire that until recently unattainable in most of the United States.
A NEW SOCIAL SCENE
A newly unexpected social scene for Boomers occur at these gourmet markets. Not only do people linger long at their favorite markets, purchasing specialty foods for dinner, shopping has become a see-and-be-seen sport. It has become universal rationale to go to your favorite gourmet market to spend the afternoon socializing with friends. Today’s Boomer social customs have changed from the “Me generation” to the “We generation”.
The Internet and these markets are now the new siscos for the We Generation. We all want to be interconnected with others, it’s a social thing. The We society as a whole went through many stages.
First it was TV, then cable and i’s broadcasting of specific aspects of the social realm. Cable news brought us together as a country. Thanks to CNN, we know as much of what is happening in California and New York as around the city in which we live. MTV quickly spread to young Americans the urban sounds that they never would have heard locally in their own rural part of the country.
The rapid spread of cable’s cooking shows have led us to become food voyeurs, watching shows and their hosts that we would have previously would only have known from reading their cookbooks. No one has to look far for lessons on any food subject.
Now, the Internet has become the No. 1 outlet for information and our new interconnect-ability.
In the digital world, everyone can be a star as long as they can reach a dedicated viewership. Our Boomer community feels this immediacy brings more inter-connectivity on a personal basis while scanning their favorite sites. By opting-in to blogs and YouTube videos specific to our own wants, the social inter-connection is growing stronger. We can choose to interact with other cooks online, or watch favorites from our computers now sitting on our kitchen counters.
It’s a new age in dining – and where will the next generation get its food information? Time will tell.
* * *
Chef Michael Bennett is chef at the Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is the author of In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks, Underneath a Cloudless Sky and Culture of Cuisine.
South Beach, Florida has seen a lot of things. Snow covering the sands of Miami Beach – on Jan. 19th 1977 – was not the most unique of the event that happened.
The discovery of the New World started in the Caribbean but eventually came to the shores of South Florida. Just like those great explores we are now hosting culinary explorers on our shores. The South Beach Food and Wine experience has changed a little since its inception on Lincoln Road……
Just like immigration changed the culture and cuisine styling’s of Peru, France and Japan; South Florida has had been influenced by world travelers.
At first SoFlo was the land of frozen turbot and flounder- from New England – that South Beach and Downtown Miami flaunted on menus, later it was the new cuisine styling’s of France’s nouveau cuisine that drove SoFlo chefs in the mid-1980’s
Later the forward thinking and influence from regional and “fresh from the ocean” cookery led us to be described as America’s greatest culinary discovery since the time of Columbus (circa 1992-5). Funny this is the same time that the “Taste of South Beach” gained prominence on Lincoln Road.
After the Taste of South Beach out grew its “road” status it became clear that this organized event needed a new venue and FIU was the adapted venue site for the “Taste of South Beach“. Of course it had to be renamed and, the Food and Wine moniker was adapted (#sobewff).
Since the influence of the name had changed its importance to the Foodie community as a whole, the F&W experience ( #sobewff ) was adapted by its greatest supporter F&W magazine. So the Taste of South Beach returned to South Beach after the FIU campus left out an important detail to the entire overall experience of SoFlo cuisine, the BEACH.
As the beach became the venues location once again, we can celebrate the RIGHT WAY. ….with a libation in hand, hob-nobbing with the glitteratti of the foodie world once again on the pristine sands of the Strand of the Atlantic Ocean – that SoFlo loves so dearly.
Michael Bennett, born in Fort Lauderdale to first generation Floridians, had spent most of his childhood trekking to Laurenzo’s with his Grandparents for Saturday afternoons filled with pampering.
Michael began working for his Fort Lauderdale restaurateur family where he absorbed his family’s work ethic and respect for Italian foods. Michael’s grandfather the first in the family’s restaurateurs propelled Chef Michael’s professional cooking while he attended college. He ultimately transferred to The Culinary Institute of America to pursue his true passion and then again found himself in South Florida grinding out 10 years of O.J.T. under the tutelage from Miami’s most well-known and high-powered chefs. On each of these journeys Chef Michael was fortunate enough to have Laurenzo’s Gourmet Market with their distinguished Italian wines, gourmet pastas and cheeses to rely upon.
In his current position with Laurenzo’s, Chef Michael loves the daily commune with inquisitive want-to-be chefs and multi-generational Laurenzo’s shoppers, guiding their probing foodie requests with timeless gastronomic retorts and eager well being advice.
“We have been planning this pop-up restaurant event for more than two month now”, says Chef Ricardo Passarelli the owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil.
Itajuba is a budding international (business) city a few hours outside the financial capital of Brazil.
Chef Ricardo Passarelli owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil invited cookbook author and Miami chef Michael Bennetthere because we knew his latest cookbooks were exactly what we wanted to feature at our restaurant to ensure our grasp as the best restaurant in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
at the end of this article
that will be apart of my new Cookbook
Interview with a Mango
Before all this can happen….
Getting into Brazil usually means journeying to the booming affluence that anchors the country — São Paulo.
Our 96 hours in Brazil (#96hoursinbrazil) starts in the the city that is the powerhouse in Brazil that pays the tab for the rest of the Brazil’s material comfort. The São Paulo (Sampa) failings — of incredibly high prices and most prolifically your non-stop awareness that you could end up being a statistic of street crime; even when added together, are still not enough to deter the millions of noteworthy vagabonds seeking out São Paulo’s artistic and business energy snarled mutually together with a relentless and, stimulating 24 hour a day joie de vivre.
Where to Start Your Travels in SamPa (São Paulo – as locals call it) – Brazil…
A São Paulo suburb – Brooklin, is an area just a stone’s throw from São Paulo’s Wall Street (Paulista Avenue) is being celebrated for its rise among the ranks of São Paulo’s best neighborhoods to experience South American culture and it’s food.
If you are here on Sunday you’re in luck if you are visiting Sampa than that means one thing Pizza. You should never leave this city without trying your closest pizza palace. São Paulo has become home to over five million folks from Italy and, they brought their food heritage – that has delivered to the tune of more than 5000 pizzerias, strewn across this mega-metropolis of 15 million South Americans. This city’s favorite is a New York City stylized restaurant called Braz. When you go, bring a heavy wallet and the empty stomach because São Paulo’s best will tempt your tastebuds with the revelation that Brazil is a damn good place to find a (Brazilian) wood-fire pizza.
Sampa’s incessant compulsion for eclectic fare is reinforced with the pervading din of Brazil’s most significant Foodies. This single-minded contagious energy, that invigorates these frenzied metropolitan denizens, seemingly always has these perpetually tanned, wide-eyed smiles that always great you with an never-ending thumbs-up signs by everyone you stumble across.
Brazil’s Table… it is a harmony of diversity
Brazil is a country that is unified by its indulging yet, it is regionally divided by the deficiency of the practice. It is if you deliberate the contradictions in food heritage; culture, accolades and antipathies of the people who live in Iowa to those who live in Florida. This dissimilar display of fluctuating regional preferences at times share our American dining habits, yet a pattern in Brazil illustrates a harmony that is a diverse as it is similar. How can a culture be so diverse and at the same time similar? Food brings the well-off and deprived together in common ways! Rice, beans, coffee and cakelink all Brazilians as they sit down to a meal.
If you are traveling in Brazil on a weekend, you will have to try the nationalized recipe called; feijoada – that can be found on any weekend dinner table and, seemingly has to be overindulged in to taste the heritage of Brazil, is the classic Brazilian recipe of black beanstew brimming with every part of a pigand is as much as part of the National Brazilian past time, as it is a daily fiscal necessity for the Brazilian populace.
Bolo:Brazilians love cake, which they call Bolo. In fact, it is one food that can be eaten at any time of the day. It is available at restaurants, corner shops, street vendors, gas stations, road stop intersections and generally any place that sells food. Bolo is often made with corn flour (like polenta) instead of wheat flour and is sometimes made with a combination of the two, giving it a different texture than what you expect in the USA.
Brazil has always been recognized as being the world’s best source of great coffee. It is part of the Brazilian culture andyou should neverrefuse a cup of coffee when one is offered to you at a restaurant or, by a new S.A. friend. So, downplay your state of consciousness and simply enjoy the rich roasted flavors of the humble coffee bean.
Shopping in the Centro Market in São Paulo – is where we started our Pop-Up restaurant mission.
Located in São Paulo’s Centro district, our culinary journey starts with more than just a starling acknowledgement that this is a city the screams FOOD! São Paulo’s Marketplace is where we start our culinary excursion…..
São Paulo’s #96hoursinbrazil
Get here early – before 12 PM.
The place is almost empty after 4 pm and a lot of the vendors move their products out of the confines of the walled marketplace and set it out onto the surrounding streets for sale during the rest of the evening.
Once we completed our hunting and gathering for our pop-up restaurant event, we jumped in the SUV and headed out of the city. Depending on the time of day, it might take you as much time getting out of downtown at rush hour as it would crossing the entire state of São Paulo’s in the middle of the night. So my hint for you is to grab some pizza or, fuel up at a Churrascaria, before gassing up and starting off.
Itajuba, Brazil;a place that speaks to what it is like to live all of your life in the same village you grew up in.
Finding your way to this provincial town might be one that was a happy mistake by any adventurous Brazilian trekker. There are copious explanations yet unseen that will make you happy you found this animated village among the Minas Gerais highlands.
Itajuba, Brazil is about half way between Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo’s on the north side of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range – that runs between the capital of Brazil and Brazil’s quasi capital (Rio). It is also the intersection of the other two cities that I came to love; Campos Do Jordao (the city that Switzerland lost during the continent drift) and Sao Lourenco (the water city) both are equally separated by Itajuba yet; seem similar because of the city’s welcoming residents.
Why we are here today…
Miami Nights is the pop-up restaurant that was the brain child of Chef Ricardo Passarelli, the owner of Itajuba’s 170 Bistro. Chef Passarelli wanted to make his restaurant the “Zero Point” for culinary awakenings in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He decided that the menu had to reflect love of the city chef Passarelli once called home – Miami, Florida.
Chef Michael brought to the Chef Passarelli’s Bistro 170 recipes that were conceived by mingling ideas from two of his four cookbooks. The Miami Nights menu was highlighted by the fact that some of the food enjoyed would never have been seen in Itajuba without Chef Michael Bennett packing them up in his suitcase and bringing them with him from Miami. It was not a specific ingredient that made this culinary expo unique, it was the cookery techniques and artistic food pairings that made taste-buds stand up and take notice.
The meal started with two choices of appetizers, continued with three entrees picks and finished with two options in dessert. A Miami favorite, an appetizer of Mahi Mahi ceviche was at times the most popular of the night. This recipe was paired with one of Chef Michael favorite recipe side dishes; baby greens en vase. This is where Chef Michael places baby greens – that are rolled into a bouquet (like a bouquet of wild flowers) – and squeezes them into a vase cut from a cucumber.
The second appetizer selection was one of Chef Michael’s favorite cookbook recipes called Lucky 13 curry spiced shrimp. A sugarcane stalk is cut down to form a skewer and the shrimp is threaded onto this skewer. This sugarcane is not only the implement use to eat the shrimp with but it also becomes a taste altering, marinating and moisturizing maneuver to safeguard the texture of the shrimp while grilling. Because of the fragrant and honeyed flavor of the sugarcane shrimp, Chef Michael needed to place this atop an approachable taste-variance counterpoint of Kimchee made with green (under-ripe) papaya that he learned about in the Caribbean while living there (circa 2006-2009).
Entrees were a South Florida milieu consisting of a certified Angus NY strip steak, with an extraordinary three-day sprouted mustard seed~Robert (row-bair) sauce and Angry pommery-balsamic, pan-roasted potatoes.
Another of Chef Michael Bennett’s favorite cookbook recipes that became a bombshell best seller on the third night of this culinary exposition was a Caribbean sweet spiced Mahi Mahi with a Caribbean avocado and Italian scampi salad. Last but not least was the apogee of a true South Florida and Caribbean cookery ideal; Brazilian espresso marinated, grilled pork loin and lobster-saffron (Miami-style) Paella risotto made with an infusion of locally produced in the city just a stone’s throw away from Itajuba; Mascarpone cheese.
Citrus is extremely important in this area of Brazil as is cheese so to highlight this, Chef Michael Bennett paired his recipes to reflect the locally available foods for Itajuba’s first culinary expo. The aftermath of all this was the dinner’s finishing touches of Chef Michael’s Saint Maarten, FIVE-liquor Tiramisu made with local Brazilian espresso and locally produced Mascarpone cheese.
The second dessert choice of a Brazilian chocolate and cardamom seed ganached base of a passionfruit – that is always extremely popular in Brazil – Tart; with a cardamom-ricotta cheese (also a locally produced cheese) Mousse dressed with a caramelized citrus sauce was a fitter selection proving Chef Michael use of localized ingredient theory.
The dinner was of course topped off with a multiple red and white Chilean wine selections.
An Afternoon in another Country or, it just seems that way….
Campos do Jordao; the city that Switzerland lost during the last continental shift.
This is a city that if you did not drive here yourself, you would believe that you were secretly discarded in Switzerland by alien abductors.
Traveling a little more than an hour from our Itajuba gastronomic haven we ventured out early in the afternoon to Campos Do Jordao and toured the city’s mountainous (elevation: 6,000 feet) neighborhoods and after we crossed the city’s gates anyone can tell that this city was going to be very different.
This city is known to be Brazil’s fashionable Swiss hot chocolate and fondue capital.
This is a place that in the wintertime (June and July –where the population quadruples) is filled with Brazilians fleeing the warm climes of equatorial Brazil to feel as though they absconded the South American continent to vacation in Switzerland’s Alps. This town is purely a vacationer’s paradise. Even in the Brazilian summer, the nights are chilly at this altitude. The town is filled with gift stores, restaurants, bars and seems to be the only reason that people are on the streets, rambling between one watering hole to another. Some people actually use the city’s antique commuter train to do this like a metro trolley.
Sao Lourenco (the Water City) and the Hotel Brasil
This city is the ultimate spring (September to October) afternoon city. A trip to Brazil’s water city can’t be complete without touring it greatest asset – the Water Park.
The park is a walking tour of nine different tastings of naturally occurring springs. All have of the water stations have different tasting water because of the changing mineral content of each spring. To me it was just amazing to see an adjoining park district separated by little more than a few hundred yards yet, the taste from the wells were completely dissimilar.
Description for the naturally sparkling water spring.
Each spring has different medicinal purposes.
Opposite the park (Parque das Águas) district of São Lourenço; in the city center is a tradition in São Lourenço, Brazil – the Hotel Brasil.
An afternoon at the park will lead to a family in need of replenishment. Directly in front of the Water Park is the Hotel Brasil (com – Certificate of Excellence 2014). Since the founding of this area and the discovery of the healthful spring water, the Hotel Brasil has been there.
The hotel stands out for its gentle care. This has been the branding the hotel exemplifies since the end of WW1.
He who evaluates this hotel can not lose sight that Hotel Brasilhas a full life story and during its existence it has been home to media and social personalities to Presidents of Brazil. Charming and this hotel today still keeps the glamour of the 1920’s DECO era despite several generational renovations and expansions.
The building is antiquated and flows with (the) DECO style of Rio de Janeiro and South Beach of the 1920’s and 30’s
The ambiance is kick started with the ageless marble that surrounds you like a luxurious frock, in every sector of the hotel. Timeless flooring instigates your eyes to notice to original artisan-crafted windows and doors.
Don’t want to compare Hotel Brasil network hotels like; Holiday Inn, Hilton or Marriott. The hotel stands out for his gentle care and this branding is what the hotel exemplifies. It is a place that provides good moments of peace, beautiful photos with friends or family.
Since 1917 this family has been keeping the doors of Hotel Brasil open for road warriors and the summertime family vacationer. This will be the hotel you’ll want to come back to year after the year cared for by the same waiters that have been there for over 30 years. Reserve a stay on the south side of the hotel… to get views of the water park and its lake. The north side of the hotel has views of the city.
Recipe example from #96hoursinBrazil
96 hours in Brazil salad
Like so any other things in this book, this recipe is as twisted in its conception, carry through as it is as diverse as the ingredients that are in the recipe itself.
My edification in the Culinary Arts led me to explore South America and the Brazilian cookery culture. I have found the cookery culture of northern Brazil’s traditions and recipes are akin to the Caribbean cookery heritage because these states were originally made up of peoples escaping Caribbean slavery. Mango, pineapple and dozens of comparable fruits and vegetables in the Brazilian pantry are the same as the Caribbean’s pantry.
Many parts of Brazil have a residential heritage of people from the Mediterranean and Middle East. This is why I have included traveling to Brazil in my research for recipes in this book. Sao Paulo, the financial capital of Brazil, has over 15 million people and 5,000 eateries with Mediterranean cookery heritages.
Cheese and dairy is a large part of the culinary culture of the centric states in Brazil. There are more dairy cattle in States like Minas Gerais than in any other part of Brazil. The addition to cheese to any meal in Brazil is as common as adding salt and pepper to your steak. I have based this recipe in a slightly different form to represent the Mediterranean experienced in this Brazilian recipe.
1 each Romaine lettuce, heart only, chiffonade finely
½ cup Kale, shred into a razor-fine chiffonade, see note
6 logs Hearts of palm
2 each Bell pepper, red, roasted, cut into chunks
2 each Mangos, diced
1 cup Pineapple, sliced thin into 2”x1/2” pieces, caramelize, see directions
1 each Shallot, fine chopped
2 stalks Scallions, sliced finely, on the bias
1 cup Labneh, yogurt cheese, buy in gourmet market or, see note 2
As needed Pecans, see sub-recipe
As needed Microgreens, assorted
As needed Grape-cherry Tomatoes, halved
Sub-recipe: candied nuts:
1 cup Pecans, halved and pieces (you can substitute walnuts)
1/3 cup Sugar
2 Tbs. Water
½ tsp. Vanilla
Sub-recipe: the Dressing:
4 each Passion fruit pulp, Brazilian P.F. is much sweeter than in USA
1 Tbs. Lime juice
1 Tbs. Mirin, sweetened Rice wine
2 Tbs. Shallots, diced
2 Tbs. Honey (if using P.F. pulp from the USA)
½ cup EVO
Wash and dry lettuce, and cut into thin ribbons. Place in bowl. Save to the side. When the other parts of the recipe (main recipe) are accomplished toss together in the bowl and then scoop up all the ingredients and place into a 2 inch stacking tube with a 2 ½ inch diameter. Place an appropriate sized bottle (ketchup bottle) over the top and with a light pushing motion slide the stacking tub up the bottle while removing the salad contents into a stack in the center of the plate.
Drizzle the plate with dressing and garnish the plate with Microgreens and halved cherry tomatoes.
Prepare candied nuts: Place sugar, water, and salt in small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring constantly. As the water evaporates, the sugar will turn granular in appearance. Keep stirring until sugar starts to melt and caramelize. Once the sugar has melted and you can see a light brown caramel color forming on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vanilla and pick out the nuts onto a piece of parchment paper to let cool. Add to main recipe.
To caramelize the pineapple; quickly dip the pineapple pieces in the same liquid and remove after one minute. Place on parchment and let cool as well. Add to main recipe. Prepare the dressing: Place passion fruit and the rest of the ingredients (except oil) in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the oil is slowly to incorporate fully. Check for seasoning and place in a container that can be used to easily apply the dressing to the plate. I use a squirt bottle. Follow directions above. NOTES:
In Brazil I found that in all the Farmers markets where I visited, street hawkers and little old ladies behind the shamble they called a booth, there were small bags of shaved greens. The greens were shavings of Kale. A great green for garnishing plates, salads and it could be used to bolster the vitamin content of any main dish by quick sautéing and placing aside an entrée.
In this recipe, I am going to use it as a thickening Hay in the recipe, like the Egyptians used hay in the mud mortar blocks to build the Pyramids.
Labneh, yogurt cheese is made by taking 1 ½ times as much yogurt for the amount of cheese that the recipe calls for, and add a couple pinches of salt, stir it in and place in a cheesecloth. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and tie into a hanging bundle. Place in your refrigerator with a shallow pan underneath the bundle to catch the moisture that escapes.
Tip: Tie the cheesecloth with twine and hang the cheesecloth from the rack/shelf with the twine, to increase Gravity’s pull on the cheese thus increasing the rate and the amount of liquid oozing out from the yogurt.
Before my Vacation…Started?
Well it started out the same way…rush out of work before anyone actually noticed that I was trying to leave for my vacation.
Rushing sounds kinda funny when it is 3:45 AM. After putting in my usual 12 hour day in the restaurant, we have to setup for the Nite club that starts at 12 am 5 nights a week. So when I say that I try to sneak out at 3:45 am I am because we are open till 5 am.
Back when the air was still hot and the sun was high in the sky, I had to set the dining room because the waiter didn’t show up on time. After setting the outside bar I tried to get things organized in the kitchen so I can leave without worrying that the kitchen will run out of food in the first day after I leave.
I decide to do inventory and ordering later (I didn’t know later meant 3 am) and I start to inventory food supplies. As I get the prep list done, just in time as the first order comes in over the computer, I see that I have a butt-load of prep work that …. I have to handle. Being the chef and manager of a 300 seat restaurant does keep one busy (20 hours a day). After the first hour of prep time I finally get a cook to wonder in. He has a list too. Although I know he won’t be able to get his list done while preparing orders for lunch, I tell him these items have to be done for the PM staff before you leave.
Just as I finish doing 90 percent of my prep list, my partner (Michael Jr.) comes in and says that he is ready to finish the renovations to our niteclub now! Well it is un-mercifully hot in the middle of the day upstairs since the air conditioners only keep the room bearable during the day, and they haven’t been turned on yet. Since hurricane Wilma blew one of our 10 ton air conditioners off the roof, the other air units haven’t been able to keep the place cool. Junior comes back and tells me the room will be cool in a minute (which really means he will be ready in an hour) and we will go up to start with the installations of TV monitors and moving the stages for our niteclub event. So I finish over 10 percent of the prep list!
It is now mid-afternoon and it feel like the day is half gone and I haven’t started anything yet because I know the project we are about to undertake will take the rest of the evening. Just as we are planning out the placement of the monitors, the sound guy shows up and tells us he was planning to move the speaker system around to optimize what we had in the place AND, was going to take and move some of the furniture to do it. So not only am I going to be moving stages, but moving furniture for him too. Well, at least this guy helps out. We don’t have to ask him to move the speakers; he wants to do it to make the sound better.
Getting back to my vacation I think….when the hell I will be able to leave. I doesn’t look like we are ever going to be done. As a matter of fact WE DIDN’T GET DONE UNTIL THE PARTY WAS STARTING AT 11:30 PM. of course I had to get out of what I was doing to go out front and control the door. The crowd was already there for 40-50 minutes waiting to get in and they were asking the staff when we will be opening. So I rush down stairs, without cleaning up throw on a clean dress shirt, because I am soaking wet all the way to my shoes, and jump on the entrance of the club. Security has already started to let the waiting hoard in.
I count the people at the downstairs bar and can tell we have been open for a few minutes because there is already 60 people drinking and talking in the Martini Bar. After a few minutes I scurry off to the front door and try to get a handle on the carnage happening with a crowd that has been waiting too long. I notice it is 12:00 am and we are half full downstairs already. The sound is blasting from the new system upstairs. It does sound better.
As the night progresses, I have to jump into the VIP line and get the security guards to actually do their job and read ID’s from the guest. “Just because they are in the VIP line doesn’t mean they can get in without having an ID” I tell them. The night wears on as usual. The steam of patrons never seems to end. It is now 2:00am and the crowd is finally starting to diminish. There is about 450 people inside which is just an okay size crowd for a Wednesday night. I walk around the second floor check on the bartenders, to see if anything is need to replenish the backup stock of liquor, check on the food servers to see if they are low on anything on the buffet line and cruise downstairs to check on the Martini Bar again. Of course the bar back is running all the time, but the liquor cabinet upstairs is emptying quickly, so I grab him and give him some stock to replenish the cabinet.
At 2:30 am everything is good. Things are happening on the dance floor that you might only see in a Bordello, but the new sound system is making the room rumble and shake. I notice that the TV monitors that we worked on all day are off. What happened? Nobody knew that had to restart the Dance Video after it ended. So I put it on loop mode and split. It is 3:00 am I am just now getting to order the food for the weekend (while I am on vacation). I finish, leave the clip board on the desk and get ready to pack up all my shit from the office to take home. Clothes are packed up, laptop is loaded but my head is saying leave before someone cuts me off and I can make out the back door. I sit at my desk, pondering, are the police coming today? Is the crowd getting rowdy? Dare I try to leave with an hour still to go before the party wraps up? I walk around the back of the building, check all the rear entrances, check the front entrances, check security out front, everything seems okay, so I move my butt into gear and get to the car. Start the ignition as my vacation starts….