Friday, April 27, 2012

Octopus with Garlic and Butter

There better be octopus in Heaven, or I am going to have a big problem. Octopus is one of my favorite foods and I wish it was more available in restaurants and markets in Minnesota!

Here in Brazil, we are usually able to find octopus easily. The other day my mom saw it at the fish market and decide to buy it. She prepared it in a way that is very popular here – with butter and garlic! It was SO good I decided to buy it again this week just so I could share it with you (or just because I wanted to eat it again!!).

I find that, when possible, buying just the octopus arms is much less intimidating than dealing with the whole animal. Cooking it was easy. Brazilians cannot live without their pressure cooker, so I used it to cook the octopus arms which were done (tender) in 15 minutes! This time I added a couple of wine corks to the pot (the legend says it helps to tenderize the octopus) but I did not see a difference from the other day when we cooked the octopus without it.

A few more steps and this dish is done! We typically eat it as an appetizer (served with bread).

Octopus with Butter and Garlic


2 pounds octopus arms
3 small bay leaves
2 wine corks
water for cooking the octopus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving


Place octopus, bay leaves and wine cork in a pressure cooker. Add water until you just cover the octopus. Cover the pressure cooker properly and cook octopus for 10 to 18 minutes after the cooker starts to make that typical hissing sound.
When octopus is cool enough to handle clean off its purple gooey “skin”.  Cut octopus into bite size pieces and set it aside.
On a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook stirring often until it starts to look golden in color. Add the octopus and the butter and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until butter is looking deep golden. Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.
Serve right away with lemon wedges and crusty bread or potatoes.


Place the arms in a pressure cooker:

Add the wine corks (optional).

Bay leaves:

Cover octopus with water:

Cover pressure cooker. Count 10 to 18 minutes after the typical hissing sound starts.

Make sure octopus is tender.

It will look like this after cooking:

With your fingers remove the gooey purple stuff:

Then cut it into bite size pieces and set it aside.

Heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden.

Add octopus:

And butter:

Stir it around...

Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off heat when butter is looking deep golden. Add parsley.

I served it with bread and wine. Lemon wedges are welcome.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

That is what they call FRESH FISH

Two minutes away from my parents apartment, at the beach, we can buy fish as it comes out of the sea! Every day when we walk by that guy on the photo above, my son asks for a little fish:

Loving Right Now - Handmade Purse Chain

The day I went to our local airport to drop off my husband, I bought a couple of Brazilian handmade purse charms/over sized key chains that are darling!

My favorite is the rose one:

I love the colors, the roses made out of fabric, and the beads.

The other one is for pepper lovers:

The peppers are adorable:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Sanctuary on a Cliff

Half a mile away from the beach (where my parents live) is the Santuario Nossa Senhora da Penha (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Penha). Housed on top of a 500 feet tall mountain, the Sanctuary was founded by the Portuguese Fray, Pedro Palacios, whom arrived in the area in 1558.

That is where we went today:

Monday, April 23, 2012

When Kids are a Priority...

Traveling with kids is never a vacation. With that said, I must confess that I have completely over estimated the amount of time I would be able to dedicate to blogging while in Brazil. The kids are with me 24/7 and since my youngest is still 3 years old, it is difficult to go out and explore the things that I would like to share with you. Even cooking for the Blog is not easily accomplished around here. But today I am telling myself not to stress about it and try to enjoy my last days around my family whom I had not seen for almost 1 1/2 years! I am happy that, somehow, I accomplished to finish a few recipes for here in Brazil, just in time to leave to another short trip to see one of my aunts and her family. 

I will leave you with some photos from my days with the kids - not the same as food, but they are pretty great too:-)

This is where we go to the beach everyday:

The kids enjoy looking for fish, and other sea creatures!

That is NOT me paddle surfing. I wish I had time for that!

At the train Museum - it was fun until my son had the worse temper tantrum I have ever seen just because one of the rooms was closed for remodel.