Follow by Email, sign up to receive my newest post

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lei Seca

Lei Seca, which literally means "dry law" in Portuguese, is what we are praying for these days as we are waiting for our clothes to dry. The dryer is not working, and the weather became too humid and not warm enough to do the trick. We've had to improvise. My son wore my daughter's pants as pajamas, in turn she used my cami as a nightgown. I put on my husband's sweater and my mother-in-law's skirt, my husband borrowed his dad's socks and we used the hairdryer so we could wear dry underwear. I fought with my son the whole morning trying to get him to pretend that his swimming suit was a pair of shorts, but he refused...

However, the Lei Seca term doesn't have anything to do with our wet clothing issues, even if it sounds like it does. It's actually the law enforcing zero tolerance (well, 0.2 g/l of alcohol in blood are allowed, which is equivalent to eating 2 liquor-filled Godivas', or drinking a can of beer or a glass of wine) to drunk driving in Brazil.
Police officers randomly stop and test drivers at night in undisclosed points in different streets around town. If anyone fails the test, a $500.00 fine is given, the driver's license is suspended for a year and if the alcohol level is above 0.6 g/l, the inflicter might go to prison (FYI, in the US, the limit is 0.8 g/l).

In Rio, the strict lei seca has not outsmarted the Cariocas (people from Rio) nor modern technology, as they now Tweet the details and locations of the check points. This way, fellow drunk drivers can plan their route to avoid the cops. I'm just hoping that if they are sober enough to tweet, they can drive! 
And...why am I explaining all this? Well, because the recipe that follows is for the one and only CAIPIRINHA.

I know. This is supposed to be a baking blog, and here I come and post 2 drink recipes on a row and no baking, but if Irene's sister (or brother) doesn't interrupt our traveling plans, we hope to be back in New York next week and I'll get back to baking. Enjoy this post. An exception, where instead of super food, I tell you how to prepare super booze.
Say goodbye to summer with a caipirinha that tastes as a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the beach listening to bossa nova. And, it also makes family vacations more fun (or even do-able), and help you forget you are wearing wet clothes!

The original caipirinha is made with cachaca (spelled with the squiggly thing under the last c), the sugarcane liquor that's been produced in Brazil for centuries, and which is super popular within the international in crowd.
Other spirits are often used instead of cachaca, so no fear if you are out of it (I'm assuming you are in the in crowd). If vodka is the one, then the cocktail is a "caipiroska," when spiked with sake, you would get a caipisake (I'm serious!).
The traditional caipirinha is made with fresh limes, but at any bar or restaurant, kiwi, berry, lychee, passion fruit, mango, and other combinations might show up in the menu too.
The third ingredient for the drink is a nice amount of white sugar. Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world and it was one of the first crops the Portuguese brought when colonizing, so no surprise Brazilians like their sugar and use it abundantly. Fresh fruit juices, check. Their cafesinho (coffee), check. Smoothies (called "vitaminas" here), fruit, and ultra sweet desserts. Check. It makes me cringe when my mother-in-law sprinkles sugar on my daughter's fresh strawberries. My 6-year-old is ecstatic, and I fear next time I try to feed her plain fruit. But when in Brazil, do as the Brazilians...Who by the way, are a bit vain. Always talking about dieting, substituting their beloved sugar for all sorts of alternative calorie free sweeteners, submitting themselves to the knives of the most gifted plastic surgeons in the planet, and giving Giselle to the world, they do live in their own irony of baking, drinking and loving sweetness.
Phew, I vented! Next? Ah, yes Caipirinhas:


CAIPIRINHA
INGREDIENTS

1 fresh lime (unpeeled), cut into eight wedges
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, or more
2 tablespoons (or less as it's REALLY strong!) Cachaca (try using an artisanal one, not the cheap stuff) or vodka or sake
Ice

METHOD
Squeeze the lime eighths into a glass and place the squeezed wedges in too. Add sugar, crush and mix with a small wooden spoon, a pestle or a  soquete (a cool Brazilian wooden pestle-like utensil used for crushing caipirinhas or garlic cloves).

Add cachaca. Mix and add ice cubes. Mix a bot more and enjoy.

Please don't drink and drive!!!!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the blog! Please post my favorite "sand" recipe. Stay safe and keep up blogging!!