A Glorious, Gluten-Free Gastronomic Triumph

Late last night, I received an email from the mother of the girl who was supposed to make today’s main course and one of the side dishes. The family had made other plans and the daughter would not be able to cook the food or attend class today.

Well, there went most of my class preparation time! This morning I had to make yet another early run to Walmart to get the ingredients for the food I had thought someone else was making. Thanks goodness Lucy had already made the dessert yesterday. That meant this morning we only had to make four things instead of five.

Well, actually it was five things, because we made two versions of the Brazilian black beans. Lucy made the vegetarian version and I made the “real” version with bacon! Sometimes (okay all the time) I wish our geography meals didn’t have to be all vegetarian. It’s not that I dislike vegetarian food; it’s just that so many vegetarian meals seem to be all about beans, especially when you can’t have wheat products. I like beans, but not as my primary food source.

So anyway, we made the beans:

10-15-15 Brazil black beans

To go with the beans, I made some rice, which started with onions and frying the rice “dry” before adding the water. It turned out pretty well:

10-15-15 Brazil rice

The first side dish I made was something called “farofa.” Normally it is made with manioc. My Brazil expert told me that I could make a pretty good facsimile with cream of wheat. However, I went ahead and got the right kind of manioc online because cream of wheat is obviously not gluten free. I also splurged on a jar of real red palm oil, which the recipe also required. Now I will have it when we get to African food! So anyway, this very fattening dish is fried in a LOT of butter and a little bit of palm oil:

10-15-15 Brazil farofa

It is crunchy and I liked it a lot.

The final side dish was the one I’d been most curious about. It was a recipe for cheese bread balls made with no wheat flour at all–just milk, oil, sour manioc (another internet order) eggs, and parmesan cheese.

10-15-15 Brazil cheese bread

These were divine. I’m really sorry the sour manioc flour is not locally available. Or maybe I’m not, because if it was, I’d be tempted to make these all the time. I’ll save my remaining sour manioc for when Mary and Jordan are here for Thanksgiving.

Here is what my plate looked like:

10-15-15 Brazil dinner

We topped off our meal with the chocolate brigadeiros that Lucy made yesterday, using the good Dutch chocolate sprinkles:

10-15-15 Brazil brigadeiros

Since they are quite small, I did allow myself to taste these. Very rich and chocolatey!

We spent the afternoon in South America, learning about Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Peru. That is a stunningly beautiful continent!

Meanwhile, in the backyard, lots of stuff was happening. The exterminator guy showed up for round two of flea eradication. Walter and Jasper (and Lucy after class) finally got the four holes dug deep enough and in the right places, and were able to set the posts. Each post had 160 pounds of cement poured in around the base, and the cement doesn’t even come halfway up the holes! (The holes are four feet deep.)

10-15-15 treehouse posts

Tomorrow, we hope, the platform will finally be constructed, and a two-day job will have stretched to five days. This afternoon Walter begged me to please not make him take this kind of “vacation” again! It has been hard, hard work in very hot weather.


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