From the 1930s to the 1950s, Carmen Miranda sang, danced and acted her way up to a lucrative entertainment carrier in Broadway and Hollywood. She turned into a Latin American icon and kind of a stereotype when she sported her Tutti Frutti hat for the first time. The Portuguese-born, Brazilian bombshell inspired everyone who wanted to portray anything Latin American, from fashion to advertisement, from cartoons to drag shows, her produce headpieces made a mark.
The colors, shapes, sizes and aromas of the local fruits are incredible. Everything we consider "specialty" in the US, here is "local."
huge (and inexpensive) passion fruits,
the most delicious star fruit (which I had tried before in the US - no comparison). Pink guavas,
|Fruta do Conde|
artichoke-looking "frutas do conde," super fragrant herbs and the quite peculiar caju, a super fruit that I hope becomes more widly available soon.
Caju is actually a pseudofruit, as the fruit-looking piece (red-orange section), is the peduncle--a part that precedes the real fruit. The true fruit is the one that looks like the stem (the hook-looking one) and is what we know as cashew nut (in order to extract the nut, the peel has to go through a special process of crushing and roasting). But the caju part can be eaten as is--well, more like sucked, as its pulp is not really chewable; but if you suck it, a fabulously sweet juice, extra rich in vitamin C and iron comes out. But if my explanation confused you even more about caju than when you didn't even know it existed, please comment at the end of the post and I'll try to make myself clear next time!
|Fresh strawberries, lable indicates "no gluten"|
I would recommend caution if a person eating caju suffers from nut reactions; other than that, I'm hoping caju becomes the new acai (which is also Brazilian, from the Amazonian region).
|Sliced guavas, star fruit, espada mango and passion fruit (back)|
|My fruit salad in a passion fruit "cup"|
Meanwhile, as I keep playing milliner, here's a delicious recipe I tried at my husband's cousin's apartment. It was amazing. Delicious, refreshing and easy to make, and one of the few fresh fruit recipes that I thought could be reproduced at everyone's home. Just please pardon the props, as this is what I have access to (plus they make homage to Carmen Miranda)!
- Vegan (if honey isn't used)
- Dairy, nut, soy, gluten, wheat, egg free
Variation: add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger while blending.