July 30th, 2009

See you in September


The Last Stands blog is standing down for a month or two. With the Americas trip over, I’m taking care of immediate business (writing magazine features, editing, doing a fortnightly radio segment called “Off the Beaten Track” on New Zealand’s national radio program “Nine Till Noon”) until late September, when I plan to spend some time in the mangroves of Thailand and Indonesia. After that, I’ll be sequestering myself in front of a computer screen to write the Last Stands book manuscript.

To keep alive travel memories of Latin America, I’ve taken to making pan de yuca (or pao de queijo, as it’s known in Brazil). These chewy, cheesy rolls are standard breakfast fare, but they’re also great with soups in winter — which is just as well, since it’s the middle of winter in NZ). They’re also incredibly easy to make. Here’s the recipe:

Pan de Yuca

2/3 cup (160ml) milk
1/3 cup (80ml) Canola or similar vegetable oil
2 cups (450g) tapioca flour
6 ounces (170 grams) of hard cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the milk and oil together into a pan, and boil until a white foam appears.
2. Gradually add flour to this hot mixture; mix well to form a firm ball with no lumps.
3. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
5. Mix in the eggs and the cheese (plus the salt and pepper) to the dough. The dough will become sticky and wet. If the dough is too wet, add more flour and cheese in order to make firmer balls.
6. Grease your hands, and form small balls 1 – 2 inch in diameter.
7. Place the balls on a greased baking tray or in mini-muffin tins
8. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the top begins to brown.


Pan de yuca, a taste of Latin America.

Pan de yuca, a taste of Latin America.


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