Monday, March 9, 2009


Ok So I stole this recipe from the net shot me!

For Churros Rellenos now that is a different twist.
I am all too familiar with Churros as a delicacy in Mexico and Spain but I was surprise to see them as part of the culinary plethora of southern brazilian celebratory food. Turns out the Gauchos are not only an Argentinean phenomena. Brazilian Gauchos are a culture on their own and have retained many of their european customs originating in the Iberian peninsula. Churros may have originated as a derived of Moorish (Ibero-arabic)  food but the story goes that the invention actually came from shepherds in the regions between Portugal and Spain as a portable and easy to make staple for the long cold mornings at the herding camps. Urugay has a version worth mentioning since traditionally sweet Churros have turned savory for the Uruguayans, often stuffing them with cheese. The Churros that is not the Uruguayans!
Churros are the equivalent of fry dough and doughnuts. Using an extruder to drop a long rope into the hot oil. I recommend a mild to non flavored oil that serves well for flash frying or deep frying. Corn and Canola work well and keep better than with vegetable shortening though Churros should be eaten immediately. Use a pastry bag with a star or flour nozzle the largest opening gauge  the better. In a pinch you may even use 1/2 pancake mix and 1/2 wheat flour batter just make sure is thicker consistency than that usually mixed for pancakes.
Sugar coating your freshly fried Churros is best done after the oil has drained or blotted to a paper towel. I like to mix the 10x Sugar with the Regular sugar and Cinnamon powder in a plastic bag and use that bag for quick easy to clean coating.
Once coated wrap the Churros half-way with parchment paper or waxed paper and stack neatly on shoot glasses. Dipping Churros into hot chocolate is the way to go you may stuff them with ready made Araquipe, Dulce de Leche, Chocolate Ganache or Condensed Milk. To stuff the Churros hold one end upwright while they are still hot and with a second pastry bag or a large marinade syringe with a long narrow nozzle, inject the filler making sure the filler has a consistency that is easy to flow but still holds the shape of a drop for several seconds. Warm fillers tend to do better at that!


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, depending on taste

Directions:Preheat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a 10 to 12 inch frying pan to 375 degrees F. In a separate dish mix the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
In a 3 qt. sauce pan add the water, brown sugar, salt, and butter and heat to a good boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Stirring in the flour will take some muscle. Mix it in until well blended.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and vanilla together and then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended and all the egg is completely mixed in.
Fill your decorating tool with the churro recipe dough and attach the largest star tip you have.
Test your oil by placing a small amount of dough in it. The dough should bubble up right away or that means the oil is not hot enough and a soggy churro is on the way.
Once the oil is hot enough, squeeze some dough (with decorator) into the oil about 4 inches long. I used my finger to release the dough from the decorator. Careful not to burn yourself.
churros should be able to cook 4 or 5 churros at a time. Cook them about 1 minute and turn them over with a slotted spoon. Cook an additional minute or two. You're looking for that nice golden brown color.Remove the churros with the slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-covered plate to absorb excess grease.
While still warm, roll each churro into the dish with the sugar and cinnamon until coated.


Friday, March 6, 2009


I am never certain of how I would feel like in Brazil.  Joyfully sad or sadly 
content, perhaps hilariously sad. The fact is I will always have a sad component the to trip. I mean: Brazil is so beautiful there is no way you can be there and not feel sad about the rest of the world. The people of Brazil know this feeling and often express it in their ambivalence for passion and restraint. Regardless of how hard life is for the everyday brazilian, they know how to live. Feel every moment to its fullest, tomorrow may not be there for you! 

I visited Florianopolis (Floripa) as a safe introduction to the brazilian carnival.  Considered the 4th largest "Carnaval" in the country, using national census statistics (yeah the census in Brasil tallies the Carnaval attendance) Floripa's carnaval is none the less the gayest in the world.

Lets put some history in your head for starters. Floripa is actually the Island of Santa Catarina in the souther state by the same name. Florianopolis is actually the main city in the island.   Many gay brasilians prefere to be in Floripa for carnaval mostly to get away from the "general public" in their own cities. Unfortunately they swap tradition  for non-stop circuit parties usually sponsored by "The Week" clubs. Being the hard headed anti-establishment commie that I am, I dragged my friends to all the traditional festivities. Guess what?  They were gay as a goose! 

First night of Carnaval is mostly about the Samba School's Parade. Just at the edge of the bay the city has been building a new Sambodromo "Passarela Nego Quirido" (Beloved Black Man). The sambadrome's name alludes to their pride in the richness of their cultural heritage. Born from the centuries of integration, all the races came together to make the brazilian people some of the most striking (if not most beautiful) people in this planet. 

Our first day was spend at the beach, the second at the malls buying our outfits.  For less than 50$ (in my case 5$ worth of feathers, a thong and a glue gun) you may also part take in the festivities. You may even go to the local mall and buy an official fantasia (costume) sponsored by one of the Samba schools and parade with their posy.  Watching the parade is a spectacle not to be missed tickets are sold way in advance and may be found in the internet at  The initial parade is the most beautiful and last till dawn allowing up to 11 schools of several hundred dancers to showcase their talents and stage magic.

The beaches are the place to mingle but be prepared to not get any sound tourist advice.
Praia Mole and Galheta are the main gay beaches Mole beach is shared with the surfers and a good crowd of young straight couples usually gathered around their favorite tach roofed watering holes. Bar do Deca is located at the left end of the beach just before the awsome nature trails that lead to the nude beach of Galheta.  Nature in the island ranges from subtropical to rain forest thick with vegetation, wild orchids and bromeliads growing perched up in the cliffs. A walk down any one trail is guaranteed to yield gorgeous gardens (as if professionally landscaped) and incredible granite monoliths that litter the island. Geographically the island was formed in the same event that fragmented Pangea. As a result South America and Africa became continents and the same incredible geography that made Rio de Janeiro so sublime made this island the little gem it is.

The second day of Carnaval "Carnival do Roma" is all about the portuguese transvestites:

The island has long been inhabited by Portuguese that came from the Azores. The same people that originally populated most of Provincetown when we gays first arrived. (See were I am going) Much like in Ptown the long (though much milder) winters gave the cod fisherman much to think about. So besides becoming very artistic and musically inclined they also figured out a way to make their own version of Carnaval. Before the excess of the Rio and Sao Paulo's carnavales dazzeled us with half naked bodies covered in glittering outfits, these humble fisherman and their wives figured they would give each other 4 days of license to play in each others clothes. Yah Brazils biggest gay carnaval started and still is to the day a big cross-dressing party.  Word to the wise if it is in drag , cute and kisses you, chances are he is a straight family man having fun with his feminine side. Regardless of this license you may not score much with these men. Oh yeah and that a cute thin masculine guy around the corner may be his wife. The cross dressing event is a family affair and many futbol matches happen impromptu right in the middle of dancing crowds to the beats of some of brazil best musicians and amongst happy children carried atop the shoulders of their proud cross-dressing hot daddies.

The gay beaches are all about the hottest "bods" many times over surgically enhanced. Contrasting that to the athletic more natural beauty of the straight guys balancing precariously on their wives' high heels it is easy to see why I preferred to skip the circuit party that night.

Brazil is one of the Mecca's for medical tourism, buyer beware, search for a good surgeon with a good reputation. Medical facilities are at par if not many times better than here in America.  One prominent surgeon in the community is Dr. Anacletto Bassetto Jr. he is a very sweet and approachable plastic surgeon who treats many celebrities in and out of the island.

 While the succulent lips and firm tight derrières are unforgettable; I still like my gringos, just like my morning eggs: hard boiled and bland. But there is no denying that a hardy breakfast needs always be complimented with a snack or two of salty and sweet. Brazilians are in deed very expressive and yes that is part of being sexual but do not confuse their openness with lasciviousness. Brasilians by culture have a tendency to be romantic if not a bit extremly idealistic but most certainly always very aware of their decorum.  As forward as they are, most will be insulted with sexual aggressiveness.    

I found that out the third night at The Transgender competition "Gay Pop Festival".

The Gay Pop is an outright beauty pageant full of great comedy, dance and live music, seldom will a respectable drag-queen or "trany" show girl lip-synch to a Britney song and most of the music performed is specifically written for these shows. Gay pop usually stats with a fashion show runway at the local mall using the 7 levels of steep escalators as their perilous cat walks. 
Followed that night with the talent show part of the competition, attendance is in the thousands so get there early to get a good spot. This year the venue had to be moved to a new  square left of the huge bus station in order to accommodate the increasing crowds. We showed up in our gogo-boy's carnaval outfit and though respectably covered by Samba chick standards my fuzzy butt cheeks caused a paparazzi frenzy of photographers either in admiration for my courage or in outrage disapproval. Proving my theory that "Men" as an object of desire or physical admiration are still considered a taboo and while woman are to be admired their function has remained that of Eve, the unattainable temptress.   From there and almost by mob control body guards we continued to the third and largest of the circuit parties at the tent in Mole Beach eco-resort. There again to my surprise the thong and body glitter makeup was received with unsettling yet extreme mix reviews or perhaps was my less than surgically perfectly waxed gluteus.

And in the fourth day the lord created the Beach:

I stayed home waiting for my now ex, chewing angry flavored bubble gum and wondering if the rule on missing people reports in Brazil was 20 hours or 24. Word to the wise: keep your children at home were they would not be lead into temptation AMEN!
My other travel companions traveled south to a wonderful little town called Riverao one of the first Azorian settlements on a rich Oyster bed. Riverao is charming quiet and full of romantic corners by the lagoon. They highly recommended a gay-popular restaurant called Ostradamus were oysters and giant prawns are served on skewers by gorgeous young lads in a colonial setting.  I was rescued from my self imposed vigia da misericordia several hours after to attend the last event of the carnival: Campeãs do Carnaval de Florianópolis (The parade of the Champions).

A free entry event, you still need to stand in line early to find tickets as the controls require them for no apparent reason. Perhaps this is the way the census keeps tabs? Once inside the sambodromo find a spot near the railings or free from people sitting in front of you. As soon as the music starts everyone stands up to dance and sing.  The Enredos or theme songs are played live with the aid of speakers mounted on trucks. All the instruments are played by the musicians that belong to that school from children to elderly. The theme songs are played over the radio weeks before the parades. So it seemed to us tourist that the songs were popular tunes repeated, as it turns out all songs are original, unique and will never be played again in another carnaval. But the tunes are so catchy you will soon find your self mouthing the choruses and clapping your hands. Samba Schools are Brazils answer to our ailing non working population, more social clubs than dance schools the Escola do Samba touches the heart of Brazil providing the elderly a gathering place to pass their knowledge and the children a safe haven away from home. Samba schools do have fees and memberships but in a tradition of altruism they sponsor many of their most talented young musicians, dancers, stage managers, choreographers and  fashion designers. Every member of all ages part takes in the construction of their floats, costumes and in the aid of those who can no longer dance their way down the Passarela.  

I am sad to see the discarded floats, costumes and left overs of this the greatest party on earth, all so brilliantly festive just hours ago. King Momo returns the key of the city to the mayor in turn and in an dissonant short speech the president congratulates the nation and wishes them a happy new year. 

Ash wednesday February 25, 2009
Brazil officially starts a year already born.

Photos by: J Andres Rodriguez, Diario Catarinense, Brent Zimmerman and Cyril Gaultier 

Friday, February 20: TOY at The Week Floripa DJs Isaac Escalante, Renato Cecin, Pacheco Saturday, February 21: Nova Pool Party at The Week Floripa at 2pm DJs J. Louis (Matinee Group), Pacheco, Ricardo Gonzales Babylon International Connection at The Week Floripa  DJs Tony Moran, Gra Ferreira Sunday, February 22: Sunrise at Iate Casablanca, leaving at 1pm DJs Ale Bittencourt, Miguel Alanis, and Aless The Week's Angels At The Week Floripa DJs Seamus Haji, Ranato Cecin, Pacheco Monday, February 23: Dancefloor at the Week Floripa DJs Peter Rauhofer, Juanjo Martin, Renato Cecin Tuesday, February 24: Nova Pool Party at The Week Floripa  DJs Chris Cox, Ricardo Gonzalez, Grá Ferreira, Pacheco, Renato Cecin