A New Home!

To have more flexibility and to make it easier to manage both blogs (I have cuakcuakcuak in English and Portuguese), I have switched to self-hosted WordPress’ blogs.You can find me at http://en.cuakcuakcuak.com

Please update your links!

Thanks,

Pat

I don’t want to wear someone else’s dress!

I started this blog out of the blue, on a sleepless night. I didn’t design it, just used one of WordPress’ themes, with no changes. samedress14A few days ago, I was bloghopping and found a blog that looked EXACTLY like mine. I felt like I did when I was 10 years old. After weeks and weeks of begging my parents to buy this dress I wanted, they finally cave in and I went with my mother to buy it. I can remember it exactly, with its pastel colours and twirling skirt – I felt like a princess wearing it! twirling-skirt

 

I remember it was an extremely important occasion, but today, for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was! That ought to teach us something about perspective! LOL All I remember is that it had to do with school (dah! I was 10, of course it had to do with school!). domboscoAnyway, there was some sort of function at Dom Bosco (this gorgeous church from the picture – Dom Bosco Cathedral, in Brasilia. And the minute I walked in I saw another girl with the exact same dress! Nowadays I couldn’t care less, maybe even think it was funny, but back then…my heart sank!!

Ok.. I know I should say something clever to sum it up, but I honestly don’t know where to go from here. All I wanted to say was to please bear with me as I give Cuakcuakcuak its own look! Thoughts and ideas are welcome!

Cuak!

Having breakfast in Brazil, cooking in Australia and stalking Erick

erickfbIt took me a while to sign in to facebook. I resisted for a long time. Then, suddenly, I know all about my American sister’s new kitchen floor, or I am sticking my nose in someone else’s cooking half-way across the globe or laughing at the silly stuff people write on facebook (a lot of silly stuff is written on facebook!). I think it is so neat to be in touch with these people – facebook friends are in contact with you daily, they are a part of your day, and that is the big thing. erickdonna

For example, I know Mark is going to be an uncle, Ed’s on top of his roof shoveling snow that I had no clue needed to be shoveled, Lindy is spending the weekend at her mother’s in Australia and Will is at the Library.

You also become friends with people you don’t know, and sometimes you dive into other people’s photo albums. In Brazil, there’s an old crisps’ slogan that says “it is impossible to have only one”… the same principle applies here…a photo leads to another photo that leads to another profile that leads to another photo…

Erick is a childhood friend of my cousin Nara. I know him in person, but I actually know more of him now than I did when he lived here (“here” is Recife, Brazil, “there” is Sydney, Australia). One day I made a comment on my cousin’s wall, Erick replied and we have been facebook friends ever since.

erickfacebookmap

For the past months, I have seen Erick’s graduation, his mom’s visit to Australia, his love for Artur, his gorgeous nephew – someone stop me or I will tell you Erick’s whole life here!

And today I became Erick’s stalker. He posted a photo this morning. erickislandbarI thought it was a nice pic and checked it out. I then saw an album with a cool title and decided to take a look. And then there was his graduation album. And then there was his family visit. And then the trip to Merlbourne, the trip to Brazil, Jason’s caipiroskas and so on… Well, all I know is that I ended up at Jason’s wall and there was an ad there about a facebook app called Stalker. This app is for you to find out who’s been visiting your wall and seen your photos. I felt like a criminal!!! But even though I thought the facebook police was going to be at my door at any time, I kept going…

Erick and Dona BetaniaWhen I realized, I was at Dona Betânia’s wall. Dona Betânia is Erick-the-victim’s mother. And Dona Betânia, wise lady, has only 20 facebook friends.

 

Cuak!

Hasselhoff Potatoes

 

This weekend I saw a great post at Baking Serendipity with a recipe called Hasselback Potatoes and I decided to try it. As I was cooking it, I changed it a little bit, basically just the way to cook it, and the herb sea salt that I used. It is such a great and simple recipe and it turned out so well that I am posting it here. I have also slightly changed the name according to the original post. But don’t miss the chance of visiting Baking Serendipity – it has so much more to offer!

potatoeshasselhoff

Wash the potatoes, as Serendipity said, we don’t want to eat dirt! Cut the top of the potatoes up, and slice them, but don’t go all the way to the end, leave the skin to hold the potato together. Put a very thin slice of garlic in between each slice. I then wrapped each potato with aluminum foil, leaving part of the top open. I like my potatoes garlicky so I added garlic butter on top of them. Some herb sea salt, black pepper and olive oil.

Bake on a preheated oven at 180 C (380/400 F) until potatoes are soft, about one hour or so. I served it with roast beef.

Herb Sea Salt

In the food processor mix sea salt, fresh rosemary, oregano, and black pepper. Actually, you can add whatever mix of herbs you like. I used those because that is what I had at hand. Put it in a jar and use it over fish, meat, poultry, in a salad, over the half-dried tomatoes. It tastes great on toast – toast as we make them in Brazil, that is:

Get all of your ‘not-so-fresh’ bread, put in the freezer for a couple of hours. Take it out and slice it very thin. In a baking tray, put the sliced bread, olive oil, and herb salt – and basically anything you like: grated cheese, oregano, butter. Bake it in the oven until golden. It is deliciously simple.

100% Whole Wheat Healthy Bread

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My dad has had every heart disease known to men, and he has a lot of food restrictions – he also has diabetes, and other fun stuff like it. He loves bread so I twisted several recipes around until I found one that is tasty and healthy enough for both my dad and his doctors to approve! This one is great, I use it a lot for our home as well, although I do add some salt! I promise you it is good…

Yesterday, Caio and Eduina baked dad’s bread (We use a bread making machine. I have never baked bread from scratch, but I suppose the ingredients would be the same, except you would have to do all the hard work…)

For a small loaf (600g)

1 cup of water (240ml)
1 teaspoon of light margarine
1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoon of brown sugar
3 cups of whole wheat flour (720ml)
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (for my father I skip the salt)

Use the “Whole Wheat bread” option of your bread making machine and you’re done.

Tips – after mixing it, if the dough doesn’t look good, I mean if it looks all over the place, not smooth, it needs a bit more of water. Add it teaspoon by teaspoon until it is a smooth. Usually two or three teaspoons do the trick.

paopops1paopops2

My 5 year-old son’s wedding – Part II

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Early this morning, lying in our bed between Serginho and I, as he does every morning, Caio started his usual ramblings…

- Mom, I love you.
- I love you too, son.
- I also love my dad and Eduina. I love my whole family.
- But Mom, I am definitely marrying Roberta Antunes.
- Really, son?
- Yes, Mom, I think being alone is very bad.
- Is it? And why is that?
- How is it that I am going to sleep in a big bed alone? If you sleep on the right side, the left side is empty, if you sleep on the left side, the right side is empty. And mom, I think we have to have a baby right away, because if we don’t, who’s going to be in the middle??? Is the middle going to be empty??

And my Sunday began. Couldn’t have been better.

Cuak!

My 5 year-old son’s wedding Part I

Chocolate with almonds, blueberry and meringue, but it could be nuts, strawberry, cookies…

Sobremesa de Chocolate

Rainy days always remind me of chocolate, and as it is raining today, I thought of this recipe. Serginho keeps telling me that my best food is the one I cook when I don’t follow a recipe, when I cook with what I have at home and invent something new.  The problem is when I try new recipes I forget to write down the measurements…I promise to do better in the future! Anyway, I am sure you can do this dessert, just taste it as you go along… you won’t regret it.

Sobremesa de Chocolate

You know those final slices of cake nobody eats? In Brazil we always bake what we call “white cake” to have with coffee. I believe it is your “pound cake”, except ours is a bit lighter. Anyway, I believe this dessert would work with most cakes. I cut the cake in pieces with my hands and covered the bottom of the bowl.

Chocolates em barraIn a saucepan, pour 4 cups of heavy cream to heat and add 6 tablets of good quality dark chocolate to melt. Add 1 can of condensed milk (don’t confuse it with evaporated milk) and cook it for about 5 minutes in low heat, keep mixing it or it can stick to the pan. Contrary to my savory food, I prefer my dessert sober, but if you wish, you can add some whisky for a more “grown-up” taste.

I poured it over the pieces of cake and just stood there, not knowing how to finish it!

In search for ideas, I opened the fridge and grabbed a handful of blueberrys. Mirtillo, BlueberryIn the cupboard I found a handful of sliced almonds and another handful of merengues (store bought… I haven’t had much luck with baking merengues myself!)

Well, I put it over the chocolate cream and took it to the fridge. That was it. It looks great, and it tastes even better. Besides, you can finish it with whatever you want: strawberries, cookies, nuts, whipped cream. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need different tastes and textures.Sobremesa de Chocolate

** Be aware of the quantities… as I said, I never measured them, so all is approximated. Taste it and I am sure it will work fine – let me know how it goes!

Cuak!

The car windows were frosty in Marlborough 30 years ago

 

Frosty windowJanuary 20th, 1981. I was 14 years-old and terrified. I had just left my home in Brasilia to spend 6 months in the US as an exchange student. I vividly remember the car’s frosty windows on my way from Logan to Marlborough. I had never seen snow. I had never been abroad. And, needless to say, I had never seen the Palardys – Mom, Dad, Bernadette, Donna or Susan. It was all new. Exciting, but terrifying.

Marlborough, Ma.This American family opened their home to me. I think of them as family, and they have always treated me as one of their own. It was an experience that changed my life and in a way shaped my future – I have never stopped travelling after that (well.. now I have, but then again I now have a home, a husband, a son and step-daughter! It had to stop somehow…LOL).

Those who know me well will agree it is strange, but for some reason, a lot of my memories have something to do with food! LOL (No wonder I gained 40 pounds over there!)

French toasts before school at Vicki and Sandy’s home.  Their mother was extremely kind to me, and I will always remember those mornings.

Frozen DonutFrozen donuts heated in the microwave – I remember them so well I can almost taste them! I thought I had imagined them, but then I found Morton Frozen Donuts! There is even an article entitled “Bring back Morton’s honeybuns”.

Dad’s spaghetti with meatball – I loved those dinners. At first he was a bit impatient with me because I couldn’t do anything (and I really mean anything!)to help him in the kitchen (you should see me now, Dad, you would be proud: I can cook for 200!). Back then I was the typical spoiled Brazilian teenager…

Chicken FingersChicken Fingers – At one point, I went to a Chinese restaurant and someone ordered Chicken Fingers. I was so concerned “because we don’t eat chicken fingers back home”. Chinese food in Boston is very different from anywhere else. I hadn’t realized I was going to eat sliced, battered and fried chicken breast. I thought I was going to eat the actual “fingers” (or “tenders”), as they call them in New Hampshire.

And GREEN BEANS – oh my God… how I hate them! And Mom wanted to force-feed them to me – Mom, I still hate them (as well as grapefruit! But I have learned to appreciate a good cottage cheese after many years of trying…).

Black Beans Palardy Style– Trying to do something from Brazil, Dad cooked black beans for us all once. Susan very delicately pointed out they looked like rabbit’s pooh. Quite the lady she was Smiley de boca aberta… Well, they all hated it, and it was the last time black beans were ever cooked in the Palardy’s kitchen. I, however, loved them and was very touched by their effort to make me feel at home.

Boston Baked Beans – I saw a can of BBB and was sooo happy. Thought I was going to eat beans… but I was mistaken – I can’t think of many things as strange to a Brazilian as beans cooked with brown sugar! They simply are NOT cooked that way! And NOT served with hotdogs! I was sooo disappointed…lol

And the list could go on and on…

Thank you guys, I love you all.

My 5 year-old son’s wedding

Caio na LagoaYesterday, Caio, my 5 year-old going on 35, (the same one squeezing Thomas and one of his friends’ in his hands) made the following statement: “Mom, I don’t think I am going to get married. I think I am going to live alone. It is easier, it is better.” Uh? What?

I swear it was just like that, with those words, no foreplay. And to what I replied: “But son, why?” And the answer was as complex as the first statement: “It is too complicated, mom. I don’t know if I can marry Roberta Antunes (all children these days know each other’s full names, don’t ask me why) because Rodrigo  Lima also wants to. And I am not sure if it will work with Fernanda Silva and I certainly don’t want to marry Marília Teixeira. So mom, isn’t it simpler just to be alone, really?”

And I tried: “- but son, it is so good to live with someone…”

To no avail. Caio has decided, age 5, that being alone is less complicated. I hope he learns in the “few” years to come, before he is a grown man, that although complicated, being with someone is great, and it is worth it.

This marriage thing was stuck in his head, because, in the afternoon, he said to his grandparents he was marrying Roberta Antunes. And grandpa and grandma happily replied “we will be there.” And Caio immediately said: “I don’t think so. I think you will be buried, and I think you will be already a skeleton, because you are so old”. (He said that quite naturally, as a statement of fact, no harm intended.)

Cuak!

Checking out the competition…

As most of my translation business comes through the internet and, most of all, because I am on a blog frenzy, I have created a professional blog. If you are interested in translation and languages, the site is at http://patlyra.blogspot.com/ (I also wanted to test WordPress’ biggest competitor: blogger.com). Some of the posts will be repeated, if I believe they are interesting enough…

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