Pão de Queijo

In Brazil, according to my husband, pão de queijo stands are all over the place. He remembers them as an afternoon snack. But, I met pão de queijo in Argentina my first time there, on a cold, damp day in Rosario when street vendors yelled chipacitos, chipacitos in that funny street-vendor voice. It's not cold here, though it should be, nor damp, though it definitely should be, but winter-food calls in January, whether or not the sky screams summer.

Pão de queijo bakes up to be warm balloons—strangely elegant for street food—that have a shattering exterior crust and an interior that is all tender, chewy, comfort. (And this comfort is, for those who are concerned about such things, gluten-free.)

There are recipes all over the internet for pão de queijo, but I've been happy with this one. In international markets, you'll often find packages of mix that bake up to a close approximation to "from scratch." If you own a stand mixer, try making these babies yourself, even though the tapioca flour is strange to work with and nothing seems like it will come together. It will. And you'll be happy with the result.

We can't make it rain and feel the way January should feel, but we can control some things: namely, our use of expendable resources. Emily Green has some great ideas for saving water here. Already, I changed all my irrigation settings to run longer but much less frequently for deep, efficient soaks, and I'm looking forward to practicing a version of peeponics in the compost pile, which E already does when he's working outside. (Who wants to come inside to pee on a beautiful day when there's a compost pile waiting there for your nitrogen already?) What are you doing to scrimp and save your water as we brace for a year of naught?

If you need some comfort while you're planning your cuts, there are these.


Michelle said…
Do you suppose street vendors in Buenos Aires sell Pao de Queijo? I dearly love gougeres, I'm sure these are as good of not better.

Peeponics! :) I'm sure it can't be any worse than the fish heads and guts that I bury in my compost bin. It's amazing how the fish bones just disappear.
Anonymous said…
Christina - I have been contemplating the summer garden, reducing its size due to water concerns. I feel like the garden requires a fair amount of water in July/August. What do you think?
Christina said…
Hi Michelle: I think so. The term to listen for in Argentina is chipacito. I think you'd like these. They're like gougeres but have a different, very pleasing texture.

Juju: I'm not cutting back my vegetable garden. What I really want to do is change the irrigation and system in my backyard, otherwise known as doglandia. If I can manage what I want to do, I'll be able to cut back water quite a bit and still have a dog friendly place. We'll see.

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