My wonderful literary agent, Kimiko, and I were enjoying lunch while discussing our respective menu choices as well as food in general. She began to tell me about her Brazilian sister-in-law’s delicious cheese bread recipe. I like the sound of anything with cheese in the name, and Kimiko likes it because it is gluten free.
Suddenly, a man at the next table turned to us. He apologized for eavesdropping on our conversation, but felt that as a native Brazilian, he must tell us some important things about pao de queijo. Among the facts about this very popular Brazilian snack food was his warning NEVER to make it in a blender, as some recipes direct, or we would end up with a block of concrete.
Intrigued by the thought of a chewy, cheesy bread roll, I searched the Internet for recipes the minute I got home. Of course, the ones at the top of the list instructed the home cook to put ingredients into – you got it — a blender. Adequately forewarned, I found another recipe further down the list.
The only ingredient I didn’t have in the house was the base ingredient in the recipe, tapioca flour. It is this flour which makes pao de queijo the quintessential food of Brazil, as the starch is extracted from the cassava root, native to the northern region of the country.
As is my wont, I tempted fate by preparing the pao de queijo for the first time for a company lunch, making a batch to go along with tomato soup and a salad.
The positive: the pao de queijo was cheesy, chewy, and absolutely yummy.
The negatives: 1) I should have made a triple batch because 2) these treats are potentially addictive.