I am going to be doing a review on the new recipe box, “Eat 2 Explore”, over the next few days. Each box explores foods from a different country, and the box I am reviewing centers around Brazilian cuisine! They provide recipes and gadgets in their box, along with spice mixes for your recipes and information on the country that you are cooking from. The box is very cute as well- with a world map and fun illustrations.
The first recipe I cooked was Pasteis with Tomato Watermelon Salad. A pastel (singular of pasteis) is the Brazilian spin on a savory pastry, made using flaky puff pastry dough. The filling is made of ground beef and onion, along with tomato paste and lime juice- but the thing that makes this basic filling special is the spices that are added. The “Pastel Mix” that came in the box was made of a mix of predominantly cumin and cinnamon. I was surprised at adding cinnamon to beef, but the result was a warm, hearty slightly sweet flavor that was perfect with the flaky pastry. It was a sophisticated comfort food- hearty, aromatic, with depth of flavor in the balance of savory, with notes of mellow sweetness throughout.
The tomato watermelon salad was a fun, simple to make, but remarkably complex to eat dish. It was made from bite sized pieces of watermelon and tomato, then topped with a balsamic vinegar glaze- olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, and vinegar. The acidic tomato and vinegar combined with the light, fresh watermelon and the indulgently sweet honey made for very multi-dimensional flavor in every bite. Although the flavors contrasted, similar to opposite colors on a color wheel, they were beautiful paired together.
The one thing I would have changed about this recipe is that the pastry gadget was a bit to small and not sturdy enough for the hearty pasteis, but that was offset by the wonderful recipe.