Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving in Brazil

Photo taken with a potato

The First Annual

I told my relatives for a while that I was going to cook a big dinner on November 26th for an American holiday and that I wanted them to come over and eat with us. It took a lot of reminding and explaining to get it across. Somehow they finally connected Thanksgiving to what they had seen on tv and in the movies. I told everyone to arrive at 7pm and as per classic Brazilian style, everyone showed up around 8:30 except for one couple who showed up at 10:30 as I was putting the kids to bed. (Oh Brazilians, you wonder why the government never gets anything done - I digress! It's been instilled in me as an American, and former military, that 5 minutes early is late!) I do have to give my brother and sister-in-law Douglas and Maiara credit because they came pretty close to 7 by Brazilian standards.

I was really excited for Thanksgiving because it was never a holiday that I never particularly enjoyed in the Unites States (the whole later onslaught of Native Americans thing kind of turned me off to it), but when I started a family of my own, holidays took on a new meaning. I wanted my kids to really experience and enjoy those traditional, hyper celebrated, family abundant holidays that you see on commercials. I think Farley and I have been doing a pretty good job of providing that for the kids - even if he's celebrated some of these holidays only a few times before. SO, I've spent a lot of Thanksgivings perfecting my menu and many days on Pinterest collecting recipes. I spent six hours cooking on Wednesday and all day cooking on Thursday. I even made a "Happy Thanksgiving" banner and printed out "pilgrim and Indian" hats for everyone to wear. 

I was really impressed with how much Farley's family embraced the holiday, including the silly hats. They were pretty excited to wear them actually. Everyone loved the food and everyone had a different favorite food. The cornbread I had to experiment with a little bit, but by my second batch it tasted exactly like Sam's Club's delicious sugary corn bread. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that my wonderful husband, who has spent six Thanksgivings with me prior to this one, at 6pm on Thanksgiving, one hour before we were to receive guests, said to me, "Hey don't cook too much, because I'm not sure if they're going to like all this American food." Honey, that boat sailed a long time ago. The only thing I could not find anywhere was cranberry sauce, but that's probably my least favorite part of the meal, so no big loss.

I'm going to share my menu with you guys - by the way I made everything from scratch, with a cranky 10 month old demanding to be held every five minutes, with about 4 square feet of counter space, with a stove that shocks me every time I touch it - I am so proud! I hope you guys enjoy the recipes, use them anytime, don't wait until next Thanksgiving. These are tried and true and sooooo yummy!

Deviled Eggs
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Green Bean Casserole
Oven Baked Chicken
Apple Pie

Deviled Eggs - Hard boil 12 eggs, 4 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp mustard, top with paprika

Mashed Potatoes - You guys know this one

Candied Yams - Boil 5 large sweet potatoes, mash with 1/4 c butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 c brown sugar, 2 tbsp orange juice, top with marshmallows in casserole dish and bake

Green Bean Casserole - Blanch 1 1/2 lbs green beans, melt 2 tbsp butter, saute 1 small chopped onion and 2 tsp garlic, and 2 tbsp flour, add 1 c chicken stock, add 1 cup milk, salt and pepper to taste

Stuffing - (I doubled this and then added 8 more slices of toast) 8 slices of toast crumbled. On stove melt 3 tbsp butter, saute 1 small chopped onion and 2 tsp garlic, add 2 tbsp parsley, add any other spices you'd like, salt and pepper to taste, 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, add crumbled toast and fluff

Cornbread - 1 c cornmeal, 1 c flour, 1/4 c honey, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 c oil, 1 egg, 1 c milk. Cook at 400F for 20 mins 

Gravy - Take pan drippings from chicken/turkey, warm on stove, add flour slowly until it thickens, salt and pepper to taste

Oven Baked Chicken - (one of my favorite things to make, it's soooo easy, and you will look like a top chef if you make one!) Wash and dry chicken - dry it really well inside and out. Coat the chicken in butter or oil, I prefer butter, coat in salt, pepper, and whatever seasonings you'd like. I just use whatever I find in my cupboard. I probably never make the same chicken twice. You can stuff the chicken with an apple, lemon, onion, stuffing, whatever you want, but I never do. I like to cook on low heat about 400F for 2-3 hours. Just watch the chicken and use your meat thermometer to make sure it's safe enough to eat. (Minimum is 165F or 73.9C) My husband and I fight about this a lot because he likes his meat super dry and cooked very thoroughly and I like my meat juicy and kind of rare, so I use my meat thermometer to prove a point.

Apple Pie - Crust: 2 1/2 c flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar add all those. Pulse in 1 cup butter, cold, cubed, add 1/4-1/2 c ice water until dough is crumbly but holds when you pinch it. Filling: Chop up a few apples, add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. I never measure these and actually this year I couldn't find nutmeg so instead I added a little vanilla extract and the filling was still delicious. It's probably blasphemy but I like to cook the crust a little bit before I put the filling in. The lowest my oven goes is 400F, so it probably helps to cook my crust before my oven dries out the filling, but you guys probably don't need to do that.

The cornbread on the bottom was without 1/2 cups of sugar, the cornbread at the top right was so much better

The red/pink/white on the yams are marshmallows - I could only find them as a candy for kids, so heart shaped ones it was

This picture cracks me up - she actually resembles an adorable turkey with her shoulders slumped forward. 


  1. That's wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! That was a good idea with the hats.

    1. Thanks Jay - I found them on Pinterest and just printed them out. I was surprised that everyone loved them. :)

  3. Hey! For the cornmeal did you use fubá mimoso or farinha de milho or something else? I tried making cornbread once with fubá mimoso but it ended up too dense, I don't know if the problem was the cornmeal or my oven... Sigh.

    1. Thanks for checking out the blog - I used fuba mimosa. I did make sure to use the farinha WITH yeast, so maybe that made a difference? I made it three different ways; the first without sugar and the second with brown sugar instead of honey. It definitely needs the honey and the 1/2 cup of sugar to turn out right. You can even see in the picture of the cornbread, the bowl on the bottom turned out dense without the extra sugar. Try it again and good luck - the Brazilians are crazy about it.

  4. Did you manage to find the orange yams, like we traditionally see in the US? I can't seem to find anything but the white sweet potatoes, which have a different texture, or inhame, which is like, a whole other thing.

    1. Nope! I've found two types of sweet potatoes - white and red, but the red ones are actually white on the inside and taste the same as the white ones. I have a terrible sense of taste, so I just load them up with spices and they're okay enough for me. I don't think I told you, but I brought back corn syrup from our last trip to try to make real marshmallows with the kids. No more of this strawberry flavored marshmallows on our candied yams crap hahaha.