… snack-o-rama …

It’s been Hot here. …yesterday it was 100 and over….
Too hot to cook, and almost too hot to eat,… almost….

…and I found myself taking out the cucumbers…and then
some cheese……and then…..
…then I remembered something that Alcir and I used to make
when it was So Hot in Rio, and we were both trying out the
Low Carb diet, where you eat things like protein and cheeses,
but no breads or crackers…

This was during my second visit, the one I haven’t told you about yet,
the one in 2006, when I stayed for Six months instead of one….
So I am jumping ahead a bit, but time travel is something allowed
here in writing on the internet land…

He had stopped drinking, and we both wanted to loose a little….
the low carbohydrate diet is easy and satisfying… mostly protein
and there are lots of things allowed that have very little carbs.

So we wanted a little tray of munchies while we were watching
TV, and decided to substitute slices of cukes for the cracker part,
and stack thinly sliced veggies and cheeses with little touches
of things for color…. creating the cutest trayful of yummy
and appetizing Appetizers!

He called it our SNACK-O-RAMA….
“BABE!”… he’d call out from the little room, as he watched TV…
“Make us our Snackorama!”

Here are our ingredients, to which you can add, I am sure!

*Slices of Cucumber
*Cheeses…. cheddar, parmesan, cream cheese (great for sticking
things together)
*Small pieces or slices of:  radishes…olives… purple onion…
…pepperacini.. (we couldn’t get these in Rio…like a lot of other
things I adored……..see list below)
*Touches of green…. green onion, celantro, parsley,
*Small pieces of fish, like LOX, salted cod, even leftover chicken.

You get the idea….. make each one a little different, and so pretty!

Some of these things were not available in Rio…to my dismay!
I am a serious cook, love to cook from scratch, and yes,
I”m an American and a bit spoiled, yet some of these things
just seemed strange….
Things like:

Tortillas…. not at all!
Large bags of Plain Chips…all they offered were individual bags
of Flavored ones, which I hate…
sour cream
organic anything except some produce
powdered sugar
unsweetened chocolate
oven thermometer
fresh milk…it was all Canned!!!
sharp cheddar cheese
fresh fish… he wouldn’t even let me buy any…too old
anything to make sushi…rice. seaweeds, raw fish
california wines and beers…the best!
natural oils
naturopathic remedies
large sizes of Anything…toothpaste, yogurt, all was Travel sizes.
peanut butter
good celery
thai curry
yeast for making bread

Also there were odd things for me to adjust to…
Aspirin was the equivalent in buying power, of $1 per tablet,
and they were sold in sheets of individual bubbled by the dozen…

At the Pharmacy, however, you could get antibiotics from them
without a prescription…..






…three fondues and a hot oil pot…

Tom Jobim and Elis Regina  …….  Aguas de Marcu
…Just to get you in the Mood!…

So…. here we go to the Fondue Recipes… there are lots of
variations on the internet…these are just the more traditional
ones, and the ones I chose to use for several parties through
the years.

I have included a little bossa nova tune to help you get in the
mood, as you dream about your fondue parties…

*Swiss Cheese Fondue

*Sharp Cheddar Fondue

*Chocolate with Gran Marnier Fondue

*Sizzling Meats with Three Dips

The first three can be made directly in your Fondue Pot… the
ones with a little candle underneath.   Or it can be heated over
the stove in a double boiler, and then transferred.  The second
option is the one I prefer.

The last one…hot oil for sizzling meats… should be an Electric
Fondue Pot, to keep the oil good and hot, and at a measured temp.

***Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

1 C dry white wine
1/2# shredded swiss cheese
1/2# shredded gruyere cheese
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg

Simmer the wine, add cheeses 1/4 # at a time, stirring each
time until melted before adding more.  Stir in flour, and add
the salt and nutmeg at the last.

Serve with a nice selection of cut up breads, veggies like
mushrooms, cauliflower flowerettes, and crisp apples
wedges are great.  Also pear pieces, broccoli tops, and
anything else that goes well with Cheese…

***Sharp Cheddar Cheese Fondue

6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz shredded swiss cheese
4 oz beer
2 T finely chopped garlic
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 T flour
2 t mustard, or more to taste

Put the beer, the chopped garlic, worcestershire sauce
and the mustard in your pot on medium heat, or in a
double boiler.  Add shredded cheeses, 1/3 of the quantity
at a time, and melt, mix and whisk well til smooth with each
small batch.

Serve with platters of chunks of a variety of breads, crisp
apple wedges, pear pieces, or any vegetable that appeals to you, cut into
manageable pieces… not too small, but a good bite size.

***Chocolate Fondue

12 oz dark chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate
squares, chopped up.  I really prefer the bitter sweet
60% Cacao myself, but choose your favorite.
8 oz heavy cream
pinch of salt

Warm the cream to a slow boil, and add chocolate and let
it sit for a minute to soften, then whisk until incorporated
into the cream.
Optional:  add 2 T Frangelico, Amaretto or Gran Marnier
for an added flavor boost.

Serve with platter of fruits like Strawberries, chunks of
pineapple and bananas, pears, apples, or how bout pound
cake pieces!  Nice little salty Pretzel shapes are also great.
OH… and here’s a great one… Candied Ginger!

Save a little cream to add, if your chocolate starts getting
too thick as it sits and heats.

***Sizzling Hot Oil Meats

This requires an electric pot, to keep the oil at a good hot
temperature.  Be sure your meats are dried off, to prevent
splattering as they are lowered into the oil.

Meat is your choice… tender beef chunks, solid pieces of
chicken, even good sized shrimp or prawns.
Each guest should only use One fork at a time, to prevent
the oil from cooling down too much.

Good oils to use are: Peanut Oil, Canola Oil, or my favorite,
Grape Seed Oil… it’s light, healthy, and can be heated to a
higher temperature without smoking, allowing your meats
to cook nicely and have the juices sealed in.
* Just a little handy hint… don’t buy your Grape Seed Oil at
the local grocery…it will be a Fortune!
Go to Trader Joe’s, or other Natural Foods outlets, because
this wonderful Oil is Very Cheap there!
And remember….Don’t overcook!

***Serve Meats with Sauces for Dipping:

*Honey Mustard- 1C honey, 1/2 C dijon,
mix and let sit a while.

*Tomatoe Ginger- 1 C crushed tomatoes with juice, 1 T chopped
onion, 1 T finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 T olive oil, 1 t celery salt.
Heat oil on the stove, add onions and ginger, cook til tender.
Add tomatoes, cook til soft, then cool.
Puree in a blender, add S & P to taste.

*Garlic Lemon- 1 +1/2 C mayonnaise, 1+1/2 T lemon, 1 T garlic,
1/2 t tabasco.    Just mix it up, and let it stand a while.

And the list goes on and on…. it’s your call.
How bout
*Wasabi Mayonnaise ?
Or a
*Teriyaki Tamari…?

Of course, someone will start it, and Why Not?
Dip the meat pieces into those Cheese Fondues!  Mmmmm

OK…now I’m really getting hungry….
Please… promise me you’ll check out Martin Denny….
…and will you also consider some old Jobim, the early stuff,
the newly born Bossa Nova…  mmmhmmmm
“Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars…”

Actually….. it’s playing right now.

..from the sixties… in your used records place….oh ya

……………………….Gots ta go!……………………
>>>>>>  ENJOY!   and    Have Fun!  <<<<<<



…the party!…

Well, the party was a great success!  Many people, Lots of foods,
and a Six Layer Chocolate Cake with a fudgey hazelnut filling…

I set up four Fondue Pots, and many foods for dipping…

1…traditional swiss cheese fondue
2…sharp cheddar cheese fondue
3…chocolate fondue with gran marnier
4…a hot oil pot for cooking meats on skewers

I was so busy cooking, baking the cake and frosting all those layers,
I wasn’t able to take photos of our gorgeous tables, but I will be
sharing the Fondue Recipes with my next post.

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Meanwhile, get out your Vintage Fondue Pots, or visit your
nearby Goodwill, where you’ll usually find one or two, and
at a minimum expense.

There’s just something about those Retro shapes and colors,
and those Teak Wood handles, that just Make the scene.
Add a little Henry Mancini or Retro Tropical Music…
(…Martin Denny is my All Time Fav for Retro Parties, with those
jungle sounds, bird calls and strange moods… also hilarious ….)
….and Voila! you have an unforgettable Happening.



A Fondue Party is just the thing for creating a great social
atmosphere for spontaneous talk and unexpected laughter.

…the party house…

Today her friend was making plans.  Her husband was
having a monumental birthday party, with many friends
and associates, and massive foods and drinks were in order.
They had traveled to the huge home that the husband and
his group had built for one of the friends, and it was quite
spectacular, atop the golden hills of the Big Island, West
side, with a sweeping view of blueness, and acreage.

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This place was Gigantic, with 8 or 10 bedrooms, hallways
where one could get lost (and did), decks and views of the
sloping, rolling hillside, dramatic and shrubby, palms
added here and there.
There were little guest houses too, and it would seem
perfect for conferences, or entire tribal getogethers.
Yet there was a cozyness about it al, that Island Casual
thing that she lovedl.

The Kitchen was a dream, completely stocked with stations
and work areas appropriate for feeding large crowds.
She was in heaven.

She had known it was part of the plan before she arrived,
and had included her several Fondue Pots in her luggage,
as this was to be her contribution to the festivities.
She loved to cook, loved feeding parties, and had wonderful
plans for several flavors and lots of things to fork and dip.

Meanwhile her friend was list making, while she did her best
to extract numbers and timings, so she could plan too.

“Gosh, we’ll need two black slaves to carry our things from
the stores,” she laughed…
“Well, that’s you babe,” came the quick response, and she
immediately checked her friend, to be sure this was a joke…
apparently it was not.
When she did her best to make light of the comment, her friend
suggested she put on her black face…
“Hmmm…I think my friend’s a little tense,” she mumbled to herself.

The shopping turns to her and two of the wives, and they all swing
and stagger through the isles of several island stores, with weighty
lists and last minute thoughts.
Lots of people, more each day are added, and there must be
enough of the appetizers, the main dishes, the desserts,
the drinks and wines, and of course… the cake!
So much to think of…

She hopes she can pull it together, as everyone seems a little
scattered, and who is doing what begins to be confusing…

Still, the excitement builds, she has her own little room to
herself, and just looking across this landscape of brush and
small trees and rocky hillsides excites her imagination.

She’d lived in the islands, and never seen this particular vast
western side, where the moisture has been stolen before it
could pass the mountains, and those rain laced laden Tradewinds
arrive dry and arrid, freed of their burden, and creating an
entirely different world.

Tomorrow they start cleaning and chopping and arranging for
the big afternoon, very soon to come.

She gets out her three little Vintage Fondue Pots, each with its
own stand and warming candle.
There are eight or ten little Forks to each pot, and the whole group
together, with its Retro avocado, orange and mustard colors,
and ‘modern’ lines, takes her back to the early sixties,
when Fondue Parties were quite the thing.

Parties were so civilized and jolly then, she thought.
A nice glass of wine, some jazz in the air, everyone dressed for
the evening, a small fire in the fireplace…  Yes….

…on the road…again…

We went to visit another old friend, Buquinha, and he had a nice
little place with a friend, where Alcir found some of his favorite
garden plants, and we shared drinks, smokes and talks.

He was a gentle fellow, very sweet, and once again there was lots
of Portuguese, yet I never felt left out.

We went to a little place where we sat by the small stream and
were served favorited snacks….very popular in the region…
In Brasilian grocery stores, you can always find Quail Eggs,
big trays of maybe 18 to 24 at a time, and So inexpensive.
I seem to remember them being like 2 reis or so, which at that
time was about $1 American.
For some reason they just Love them, and they are served in bars
and restaurants as little appetizers with beer.

There were streams all around us…

Here, sitting on park benches along the stream,  we had bowls of
them, and also a great munchy that I have taken home with me
to serve to my friends…. little trouts, sliced into small and handy
pieces, and fried til crunchy….
These are all served with a little dish of light salsa, nice and spicy.


Fried Trout Slices…

*Slice fresh trouts crosswise, into 1-2 inch pieces, bone and all.
Dust with flour, and heat a good oil, Olive or Grape Seed…til very hot.
(Grape seed is my favorite, as it can get much hotter without smoking,
so your fried foods end up crunchier and less greasy. )
**Fry til browned and crispy, but not too dark or dried out.
Remember…fish is delicate…
**Drain on paper, and serve with a nice smooth salsa for dips.
**Little Quail Eggs hard boiled and peeled are a very nice complement,
and of course, if you want to be Brasilian, serve very chilled
Ice Cold Beer.

The next day we visited a local artists’ gallery, and enjoyed some
very creative wooden pieces, the house itself being a work of art,
and had lots of fun chatting up the locals.

We also traveled along the coast and made a stop at a tourist-y
spot that had wonderful hand made chairs, made from tropical
hardwoods, and large models of Portuguese ships that I wanted
to bring home to my brother.

The Chairs were gorgeous, and so inexpensive, so well made.

As well, there were little table and chairs sets with animals
themes, similar to what was coming from Bali at the time.
These were some of the things I hoped to import by the container
full, and I was so filled with great ideas on how to make the money
flow, whilst still having Fun!

Problem was, I don’t think Alcir was anywhere into it as I was,
and he never took me back to get one of those chairs to take home.
I was sad, because Piney had sent money for the chair, and I
realized I would have to be more independant in Brasil if
I was to get things done, and be happy.

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