Vive la différence

Adrianna Volk and her Feijoada (Brazilian Bean Dish)
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Story by Nick Short
Mon, Oct 14, 2013
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You won’t find just green Jell-O and funeral potatoes on Utah’s dinner tables.

There’s borscht at the Berger home, feijoada at the Volks’, and enchiladas Guatemalan-style over at the De La Rosas.

“Everywhere you go, church gatherings, family gatherings, there is always food, and food brings people together,” said Adrianna Volk, who moved to Utah from Brazil after meeting her future husband there.

These photographs and recipes represent a small cross section of the culinary diversity in the Top of Utah.

Erica Berger, of Ogden, didn’t acquire a love for Ukranian borscht until she moved away from her parents in New York. Berger moved to the United States with her parents when she was 4 years old. “Only when I moved out, did I crave it,” said Berger of the dish. “I actually never really liked it growing up. I didn’t eat it often, I was like, ‘Borscht again?’ But now I love it and I miss it.”

Ukrainian Borscht

5 red potatoes, cubed

2-3 medium-size beets

1 white or yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Fresh dill to taste

Boil potatoes in 7 quarts of water. In a separate pot, boil beets until soft. Cook onions in a skillet with oil until translucent. Add carrots to onions. Cook until soft. Add tomato paste to carrots and onions. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.

Shred beets and add to skillet. Cook to a boil.

Add ingredients from skillet to potatoes and water. Add dill, salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with sour cream.

Measurements are not exact; the recipe varies according to taste.


Melvy De La Rosa, of Ogden, was 25 years old when she moved to California from Guatemala. De La Rosa has called Utah her home for six years. One of her favorite memories growing up is her mother making enchiladas when family members would come home for the weekend. Aside from those rare weekends, her family made the dish for special occasions and parties.

Guatemalan Enchiladas

Ground beef


Carrots, cubed

Green beans, cooked and chopped

Red onion, sliced

Beets, chopped or cubed

Dry cheese

Bay leaves

Black pepper


Pan-fry the ground beef.

Fry tortillas. Assemble tortillas with beef and toppings of your choice.


Adrianna Volk, of Roy, came to the United States on Aug. 31, 1991. Volk had met her husband, who was serving a mission in Brazil for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Volk’s favorite dish from Brazil is feijoada. “It makes me think of my mom’s kitchen,” said Volk, who remembers cooking the dish for special occasions while growing up in Brazil. “In Brazil, if you say ‘feijoada,’ everyone knows what you’re talking about.”

Feijoada (Brazilian Bean Dish)

1 pound black beans, uncooked

10 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 package bacon

1 pound pork loin (cut into small pieces)

3 tablespoons oil

Salt to taste

Garlic salt, to taste

Rinse the beans and soak for one hour. Pour into a pressure cooker for 3-4 minutes with 10 cups of water and bay leaves. Saute the bacon, the pork loin, salt and garlic salt in oil. Pour into the cooked beans and simmer for 30 minutes.

Arroz (White Rice)

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups white rice

6 cups water

Combine and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Farofa (Brazilian Stuffing)

1 pound bacon

1/2 onion, diced

1 egg

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon and the onion in a frying pan. Add the egg, and mix with the bacon and onion. When it is well-cooked, add the bread crumbs. Mix well and serve warm.

Brazilian Potato Salad

6 russet potatoes, cooked and diced

2 carrots, cooked and diced

1/2 cup green olives, diced

1/4 cup green onion, diced

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and refrigerate for one hour.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

1 egg

1/3 cup olive oil

2/3 cup milk

Scant 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour

1/2 cup packed grated cheese, your preference (best results come from Mexican farmer’s cheese — queso fresco)

1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a mini-muffin tin. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point, you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes. Eat while warm or save to reheat later.

Makes enough batter for 16 mini-muffin-size cheese breads

Note that Brazilian cheese bread is very chewy, a lot like Japanese mochi.

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NEXT WEEK: A variety of Mexican dishes


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