Confession: Though I have a kosher kitchen and would never ever dream of ever eating pork or shellfish outside my home, I do eat at non-kosher restaurants. I have my own personal reasons for this, but there are blogger reasons for this as well. Typically in any given town across these United States when you come across a kosher restaurant it is usually a falafel place. Perhaps if you are living in a more urban area you can run across a kosher deli. The reasons (I believe) for this is usually just because it’s easier – those cuisines typically don’t require dairy. And think of this, if you come from a long line of religious people who have only ever eaten kosher food, this is all the food you have exposure to, not knowing what’s out there – what kosher food COULD taste like. Living in Los Angeles, we do have the advantage of kosher cuisine being influenced by a variety of ethnicities, so there is access to Kosher Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, BBQ, Italian, etc., etc.
Some places do an amazing job. I remember down the street there used to be this BBQ place called “Smokin'”. The owner was originally from Texas and didn’t grow up keeping kosher. He had a very high threshold for what kind of BBQ was acceptable. The ribs were truly out of this world. Unfortunately, Smokin’ closed, not for lack of business, but because the owner got sick and lost interest (common story whenever you find an amazing kosher place in LA). But there are several other places that do not specialize their menus enough. Their establishments are littered with a grab-bag of kosher mis-matches, never focusing their attentions on doing one kind of thing well. These places remain in business just for the mere fact of being kosher – it’s such a treat to eat food you didn’t have to prepare for yourself. Especially for young, unmarried men eating a dry kosher hamburger is like a feast of kings!
So we’ve reached the point of this blog – to provide recipes for making food kosher which has traditionally been not kosher. Many of the ideas I get for my recipes come from non-kosher restaurants. Is this a justification? Certainly not! Just a fact of the matter, and those who enjoy these treats from my kitchen are truly grateful. It should be noted that as I grow more on my spiritual journey, I am convicted about only eating a vegetarian and fish diet outside my home with little exception, and that exception is Fogo de Chao.
Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian BBQ place unlimited choice cuts of Brazilian beef, lamb, and chicken. Freaking unbelievable. What’s more unbelievable than their meat is their biscuits. Yeah, you heard me. They have these fluffy, savory cheese biscuits that are unlike anything I had ever eaten before. So one time I’m scrolling down the “Everything” page on Pinterest and see a recipe for Brazilian Cheese Biscuits. Knowing I had cheese in my house I thought “hey, I may have the right ingredients for this RIGHT NOW.” I took a look at the recipe and the girl who wrote it said the key was tapioca flour. Well, I had never heard of this, obviously didn’t have it in my house, still don’t know if it’s kosher, and when I looked for it at the grocery store I couldn’t find any tapioca flour to check for a hechsher. So I did what any good kosher cook does, I did a google search for “tapioca flour substitute”. I came up with a recipe that may not be 100% Fogo de Chao, but it is at least 93% Fogo de Chao and my boyfriend ate every last one of them with me, so what does that tell you?
1/4 C grated cheddar cheese (preferably medium or sharp)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
***If you do have tapioca flour, use 1 cup of tapioca flour and omit the all purpose flour and corn starch.
***You can play around with the cheese. I used a mexican blend.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place egg, milk, oil, all purpose flour, corn starch, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Add cheeses and pulse 2 times.
Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn’t non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first), filling each well about 3/4 full, or just slightly less. (I actually filled my full as I used a mini-cupcake pan instead of a mini-muffin pan).
Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing rolls from pan. Serve warm.
Yield: Instead of using a mini-muffin pan I used a mini cupcake pan, which yielded 24. Also, because a mini cupcake pan is slightly smaller, I only had to bake for 13 minutes.
As it is the season to eat all your chametz, don’t forget about your cornstarch! These little babies will be sure to make your tummy happy. 🙂
You can now reach me by a new URL! If you type in www.miriinthevillage.com, it will forward you direct to this blog.