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FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Starts Today Amid Protests

12 Jun

Today the FIFA World Cup 2014 starts in Brazil. I am so excited because Brasil is my mother land and soccer is so important in our culture. There is a saying that goes something like ” Politics, religion and soccer are topics that should never be discussed.” Meaning they are too controversial and heated, with way too many different opinions, so it is not worth risking your friendship over this discussion. Because you might lose a friend.

Believe me, people argue and even fight over soccer, or futebol, as we call it.

Yes, we love futebol. In fact,to bring the World Cup to Brazil is a great way to show our country and culture to the World. We are not only Carnaval and Churrasco. And no, we don’t have monkeys jumping in trees on the streets (You would be surprised how many people asked me this before). Specially now that the country is doing so well and economy is better.

But not everyone is happy about having the World Cup in Brazil.People are upset because the money that could have been used to improve Health Care (Health Care is paid by the Government) and education, was used to remodel old stadiums, build roads, and to “get the country ready” for the World Cup. Some say that a large portion of the protesters are not real protesters. They are hired by politicians for ulterior motives just to cause raucous and chaos (as supposedly happened in the case of the journalist that suffered a deadly injury in a protest earlier this year).

The protest is called “Nao vai ter Copa”, or “There will be no World Cup”. So far, manifestations have been small and controlled, but two CNN journalist were injured while covering a protest in Sao Paulo.

And they should remain controlled. The Brazilian Army is everywhere, roaming the streets in the cities where the games will occur. My grandmother lives two blocks from the stadium where Spain will play their first game (my home team Atletico Paranaense’s stadium) in Curitiba. And she told me there are check points and barricades in the neighborhood. On the day of the game, only people with credentials, who registered with the city and live in the area will be able to be in the neighborhood. Those who drive, must get home 4 hours before the game or they will have to park their cars somewhere else and walk home.

That shouldn’t be a problem since nothing works in the country when Brazil is playing. Everything closes, stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, medical offices, offices, EVERYTHING! You can lay down on the pavement of the busiest street of the city, because there will be no cars on the street. It looks like a ghost town. People get together with friends and families mostly in their homes, to watch the game and eat some pao de queijo, pastel and brigadeiro. When the game is over they go celebrate the victory on the streets with a lot of music and dancing.

We are a happy nation. And while I believe in protesting for your rights, now is the time to put all this anger aside and enjoy the biggest show on Earth, or as we say it ” o maior show da Terra”. Vai que e tua Brasilllllllllllll!!


Bacon+Baby Broccoli+Feta Cheese Quiche

11 May

Lazy Sunday is the perfect day for a late breakfast or brunch. And my favorite brunch food is Quiche. The beauty of a Quiche is that you can throw in the kitchen sink, and it always comes out tasting good.

I wanted to bake a quiche using my Mom’s “Empadao”(Brazilian Pot Pie) recipe, but I did not have enough butter for it.

So I chose the Pate Brisée ‘s recipe from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook. Pate Brisée is a classic french recipe for pies and tart shells that are very rich,buttery, crisp and delicious. There are many versions, and most use cold water and a food processor. I really like Chang’s recipe which does not have water in it and it is made in the mixer, with the paddle attachment. Chang’s Pate Brisée is very easy to work with and roll out.


Pate Brisée (Quiche Dough)

  • 1 c flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c ( 1 stick or 8 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces, plus 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp cold milk

1) Mix the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer with the paddle attachment on low for about 45 seconds. In a bowl, mix together 1 egg yolk and 2 Tbsp cold milk. Add to the mixer and mix altogether on low for about 30 seconds.

2) In an unfloured surfaced place the dough, and with your hands fold and mix until butter is well spread.

3) Make a ball, wrap it in film and leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.This dough is good for 4 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer. If frozen, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator before using it.


4) When you are ready to use the dough, open and roll(with a rolling pin) the dough in the middle of two plastic films, one in the bottom and another on top. Place in a 9 inch pan, all the way up to the border, to allow for shrinkage.Wrap the pan with the shell in plastic film and leave it in the refrigerator for another 30 to 40 minutes.


5) Remove from the refrigerator and Blind Bake* the shell at 350 F for 35 to 45 min until lightly golden. Let it cool in a rack.



  •  5 eggs
  • 1 c whole milk+ ½ c milk (or substitute for creme fraiche, mascarpone, heavy cream or yogurt)
  • ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • black ground pepper to taste
  •  freshly ground nutmeg to taste ( I used ¼ tsp)

With a fouet, beat the eggs with the milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.


  • 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 ½ c cooked baby broccoli with stems, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¾ c Italian truffles cheddar cheese (from Trader Joe’s)


1) Remove the pie from oven. Starting with the broccoli, make a layer at the bottom of the pie shell. Place the bacon all around it, on top of the broccoli. Next, the feta cheese, placing the truffle cheddar cheese last.

2) Slowly and carefully pour the egg mixture on top of everything, being careful so the other ingredients inside the pie shell do not move. Place the pie dish in a sheet pan, and inside the 350 F oven for about an hour (depends on your oven). After 30 minutes, check on your quiche and rotate the sheet pan.

3) Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle. It should come out clean.

4) Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 45 minutes in a cooling rack.




*Blind Baking is a technique used for baking tart and pie shells before they are filled. Depending on the dough, the shell has to be baked first, to prevent it from being underdone, and tasting raw and “flourly”.

In order to avoid the dough from puffing, line the shell with a parchment paper cut out, or coffee filter, and fill with pie weights, or uncooked beans all the way up.To check for doneness lift the paper and if the shell is still shiny is not ready.

If the recipe calls for baking the pie for over 40 minutes after it is filled do not blind bake it all the way. If the recipe calls for a shorter time, blind bake it all the way trough until it is completely done.


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