Folklife Festival 2015: Peru

I think my favorite event in Washington, D.C. is the annual Folklife Festival which is held the last week of June and the first week of July. This year the featured country is Peru.

The festival is being held adjacent to the National Museum of the American Indian, and extends into the museum itself. Inside you can visit a new English-Spanish bilingual exhibit called The Great Inka Road (third floor), and buy Peruvian folkart, (in the atrium just inside the entrance.)

The most interesting fact I learned from the Inka exhibit, which will be in place until June 2018, is that the Andean people knew the bark of the quina tree (also known as “quinine”) cured malaria for thousands of years. Use of quinine in Europe occurred in the 1600’s after Catholic missionaries learned about it from the Andean people.

Peruvian flowers, folkart

The folk art available included traditional items, like these colorful tin flowers made in Ayacucho, Peru.

But the equally colorful more modern typography art called “chicha” was available as well. I love the quote on this signed print by artist Elliot Túpac. It says “La suerte cuesta trabajo” (luck requires work.)

Art by Elliot Tupac

Outside was an awesome mural in the same style which combines ancestral colors in modern street-style urban designs. I can’t say for sure whether that was the same artist working on it, as another artist by the name of Pedro “MONKY” Rojas, chicha pioneer and mentor to Túpac, was being prominently featured nearby.

Peruvian urban art

There was so much going on, I didn’t really know what to check out first, and as soon as I’d spot something interesting, something else would distract me. There were many different types of artisans weaving, working with clay, carving wood, and this guy who was lashing together reeds to make rafts called “caballitos de totora” which have been used by fishing families in Huanchaco for five thousand years.

Peruvian reed boats

I loved the embroidery on this woman’s blouse.

Peruvian woman weaving

I learned about different types of corn, (I was told the purple corn is used only for chicha morada and chicken feed because it never gets soft), I watched a cooking demonstration for lomo saltado, and I saw what quinoa plants look like.

There were also plenty of things I missed, like the Marinera dance with Peruvian Paso horses, (there was a huge crowd, so I went in the opposite direction to take advantage of everyone else being away from other exhibits), but here’s one of the performers and his horse afterward.

Peruvian horseman

Of course, all this walking around made us hungry, especially since the smell of Peruvian food was in the air.

Chicha morada and papa rellena

We had brought along a picnic lunch so we wouldn’t spend money, but I couldn’t resist a small snack. This is a papa rellena, which is a potato croquette filled with ground beef, hard-boiled egg, raisins, and spices. The green sauce is aji verde, and the drink is, of course, the ever popular chicha morada.

The most interesting part of our day occurred when I wandered over to a tent to investigate men who were dressed in very unique-looking costumes. One of the men turned around while I was staring at the embroidered design on his back and so I said to him in Spanish, “Su traje es bien bonito.” (Your suit/costume is really nice.) The man thanked me in Spanish and so I asked him if it was worn year-round or for a particular event. He explained that he was part of a Contradanza troupe and the costume is worn in a small town during the celebration called the “Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen de Paucartambo.”

I finished my conversation with the gentleman, thanking him for his time, and then turned around to look for Carlos. I found him and the boys standing a few yards away watching a man weave together rope. I realized that this must be one of the Quechua men who is working on recreating the rope bridge, (“Q’eswachaka”) which, when finished, will be suspended across the National Mall. When the festival is over, a section of the bridge will be put on display in the National Museum of the American Indian. This bridge is built and re-built by four Andean communities each year in Peru, a tradition that dates back six hundred years, and being tradition, as you’d imagine, there are many rituals and beliefs surrounding the creation of it.

Well, the man who was working on it, stood up and addressed the crowd in Spanish. “Necesitamos ayuda. ¿Quién puede ayudarnos?” he asked, (We need help. Who can help us?)

I wasn’t sure exactly what he needed help with. Judging from the faces of others who had gathered to watch, nobody else knew either, or perhaps they just didn’t speak Spanish, and maybe for that reason, no one volunteered.

I pushed past my shyness and raised my hand.

I stood only feet away, and yet the man somehow didn’t see me as he repeated his question – “We need help, who will help us?” – Still, no one else volunteered. I waved my hand a little higher. The man explained in more detail that they needed to stretch out the rope that had been woven together by pulling on it from opposite ends. Pull on a rope? I can do that. This time I spoke up with confidence.

“Yo. Yo puedo ayudar,” I said aloud, prepared to hand my purse over to Carlos.

The man shook his head and finally looked me briefly in the eyes, “Sólo hombres.”

Men only.

I felt my cheeks go hot, a mix of humiliation and indignation stirred inside me. I grew up playing tackle football with the neighborhood boys, climbing trees, swimming laps all summer long. I used to fight grown men in martial arts class. Maybe this man just didn’t know I was capable. Maybe he thought I’d get hurt. I’m no stranger to machismo, so I didn’t shrink away quietly. Instead I pulled up my shirt sleeve and flexed my bicep.

“Pero soy fuerte!” I called out loudly – But I’m strong!

Yet the man ignored me as finally a few volunteers of the male persuasion started to come forward.

Carlos rubbed my shoulder, “Did he hurt your feelings?”

“Just go ahead, you help, you guys help,” I said to Carlos and the boys.

Peruvian rope bridge

Two men from the Contradanza troupe smiled at me kindly while trying to comfort me. “It’s not personal,” they said, “It’s just tradition. It would be bad luck for a woman to participate.” I nodded my head, watched the two groups of laughing, grunting men play tug-of-war. I tried to act like I totally understood, but to be honest, it caused me to feel and think a lot of things – Things I won’t delve into here because the festival is meant to celebrate the beautiful and diverse culture of Peru and it just wouldn’t be in the spirit of the event to chase that rabbit today, but I did want to mention it because culture clashes and the questions that arise from them are so very interesting, aren’t they?

So to conclude, if you want to visit the 2015 Folklife Festival, (which I recommend!), you still have July 1st through the 5th. The festival hours are 11 am to 5:30 pm, with special events such as concerts taking place most evenings beginning at 7 pm. Details available at the website. Unable to attend in person? The website has plenty of great information, photos, and videos.

Comida Salvadoreña (Poster Giveaway!)

Do you guys remember around the holidays I shared my gift guide here which includes an awesome Cuban food poster created by Marta of My Big Fat Cuban Family? Well, Marta is actually someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face years ago and she was so thrilled that I loved her Cuban food poster that she contacted me with an idea for a collaboration. Her idea? A Comida SALVADOREÑA poster!

So I created a list of all my favorite Salvadoran foods and narrowed it down to the ones I felt were most important to include (because it was way too many to fit!) Once I provided the list of foods, Marta worked her creative magic and designed the poster! Here’s the one she sent me. I’m still trying to decide if I want it in my kitchen or dining room.

Salvadoran food poster

comida salvadorena poster

Want your own COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster? The poster is available HERE in Marta’s online shop in standard sizes to make framing it super easy: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

And Marta is generously offering one for giveaway to one of my readers, so enter below for your chance to win!

===GIVEAWAY CLOSED!===

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster in the size of their choice. Sizes available are: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Salvadoran food is. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between May 28, 2015 through June 4th, 2015. Entries received after June 4th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

5 Minute Mangoneadas!

Mangoneada

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

Mangoneadas are a Mexican treat combining mango sorbet, a sour, spicy, salty red sauce called chamoy, and chili powder. With these Nestlé Outshine mango fruit bars made with real fruit juice you can whip up mangoneadas for the whole family for a refreshing summer snack within minutes. These are perfect for your next family gathering or BBQ!

Mangoneada recipe

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

Mangoneada

5 Minute Mangoneada

Ingredients:

1 box Nestlé Outshine fruit bars in mango flavor
1 lime, cut in wedges
Tajín fruit seasoning
Chamoy (about 2 tablespoons)

Optional: fresh mango, chopped in bite size cubes

Directions:

REMOVE stick from one Outshine fruit bar and chop the bar into bite size chunks.

chop-outshine-bar-600

ADD the fruit bar chunks to a small drinking glass. If using fresh mango as well, add about ¼ cup fresh mango chunks and mix so they’re combined and not separate layers.

SPRINKLE Tajín on top of the fruit bar chunks, to your personal tastes.

DRIBBLE chamoy on top of fruit bar chunks. (About 2 tablespoons or to personal tastes.)

SQUEEZE a wedge of lime over top.

SERVE immediately.

Tip: Chamoy can be found in the hot sauce section of most large international markets with Latin American food.

Mangoneada

=====GIVEAWAY CLOSED. WINNER SELECTED.======

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between May 20th, 2015 through May 25th, 2015. Entries received after May 25th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Carajillo Coffee Rum Cupcakes

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

The “Carajillo Quemado” is a classic Spanish mixed coffee drink and the inspiration for these cupcakes. Some of you may be more familiar with the Carajillos made in Mexico, which are simply a mix of espresso and Licor 43, which is often served iced, but in Spain the drink is made differently with a few variations.

There’s plenty of interesting folklore about this drink. It’s said that the word “Carajillo” derived from the Spanish word for courage (coraje), because when Spanish troops occupied Cuba, that’s exactly what they needed for combat. Still others say the name originated from the boat carriers at the French station in Barcelona. They would ask for a mixed glass of coffee and liquor instead of two separate drinks, presumably because they were in a hurry, or “que ara quillo” (“now I’m leaving in a hurry” in Catalan.) This phrase, when rushed, would sound like “caraquillo”, which is where we’d eventually got “Carajillo.”

Interesting, no?

In Spain, the simplest version of this drink is just brandy, cognac, anisette, or rum, mixed into strong black coffee – sugar optional. The “Carajillo Quemado” – or “burnt” Carajillo, is much more interesting. Sugar and alcohol along with a bit of lemon peel are mixed in a glass and lit on fire. The coffee is added to put the fire out once much of the alcohol has been burnt off and the sugar has been given a caramelized flavor. In the United States Carajillos typically have sugar around the rim of the glass and the drink is topped off with whipped cream. Cinnamon is also sometimes incorporated in both the Spanish and American versions.

I couldn’t resist developing a cupcake which combines these unique flavors, so I started with a coffee-flavored cupcake as the base. Nescafé Clásico provided the perfect roasted coffee flavor I was going for while being mild enough that it would play nicely with all the other flavors I planned to incorporate. A decadent combination of rum, coffee and buttercream was an obvious choice for the frosting, along with a pinch of fresh lemon zest.

Now for the caramelized sugar flavor. While I briefly considered sprinkling the cupcakes with sugar and rum then lighting them on fire, I decided I’m a little too accident prone to attempt it! (My eyebrows thank me.) Instead, I made caramelized sugar toppings which really gave the cupcakes an elegant touch. I’m sure any mother will appreciate if you decide to make these cupcakes for Día de Los Madres (Mother’s Day!)

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes // Spanish Coffee Rum Cupcakes

Here’s my recipe if you decide to treat your madre (or yourself!) and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

½ cup hot water
5 teaspoons NESTLÉ® Nescafé Clásico
1 ½ cups all-pupose flour, pre-sifted
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon rum
2 large eggs, separated

1 batch rum buttercream frosting (recipe below)
1 lemon, zested, for topping
caramelized sugar garnishes (recipe below)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350 F. Put cupcake liners in muffin tin, set aside.

MIX Nescafé Clásico into hot water, set aside to cool.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

BEAT butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.

ADD rum to butter and sugar, then the yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

ADD flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the cooled coffee, starting with flour and ending with flour, until well-combined.

BEAT egg whites in a separate bowl with hand mixer until soft peaks form then stir them gently into the batter.

FILL cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Do not overfill as cupcakes will rise. Shake the pan to even out the batter.

BAKE on middle rack for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

REMOVE cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Makes about 1 dozen cupcakes.

Tip: I used Bacardi brand light rum which is what I had on hand, but many bakers prefer gold or dark rum; you can use any of those in this recipe.

Coffee Rum-flavored Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Buttercream Rum Frosting for Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract
1 tablespoon NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon NESTLÉ® Nescafé Clásico

Directions:

BEAT sugar and butter until creamy.

ADD rum extract and beat until combined.

MIX Nescafé Clásico crystals into evaporated milk until completely dissolved, then add to the frosting mixture, beating until combined.

FROST cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag and tip as desired.

TOP each cupcake with a pinch of fresh lemon zest and a caramelized sugar garnish. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Tip: As cinnamon is sometimes incorporated into Carajillos, feel free to add a tiny dash of ground cinnamon to your frosted cupcakes as well!

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Caramelized Sugar Garnish for Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

Directions:

HEAT sugar over medium heat in a large frying pan.

WAIT for most of the sugar to melt and become almost amber in color before stirring. Be patient as this process can take several minutes. Avoid the temptation to stir or turn the heat higher. While waiting, lay parchment paper out on a nearby clean kitchen counter.

STIR the melted, caramelized sugar with a wooden spoon, being careful to remove from heat before it burns.

USE a metal spoon to carefully drizzle small amounts of the caramelized sugar onto a parchment paper-covered surface, in whatever design desired. You must work somewhat quickly as the caramelized sugar in the pan will begin to harden.

Caramelized Sugar Toppings

WHEN cool the caramelized sugar designs will harden and you will be able to pick them up from the parchment paper. Use these as an edible garnish for your frosted cupcakes.

Caramelized Sugar Toppings

Tip: Because of the burn dangers of working with hot, melted sugar, make sure that pets and children are not in the kitchen while preparing caramelized sugar garnishes. If the remaining caramelized sugar hardens in your frying pan, you can remove it by simply adding a little water and heating it back up.

Coffee Rum Cupcakes

=== GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATS to HS! ===

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what you love most about your mother or another woman you admire. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between April 22, 2015 through April 27th, 2015. Entries received after April 27th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Flor de Toloache

flor

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Durante el último par de años Jenny Schweitzer ha trabajado en la creación de Rhythm in Motion, una serie documental en 10 partes cortas que retrata a músicos del metro de Nueva York en colaboración con la Autoridad Metropolitana de Transporte. Las películas están siendo publicadas en The Atlantic. La primera película, Flor de Toloache, cuenta con una banda de mariachis exclusivamente femenina que desafía las normas tradicionales del género. Me encanta!

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

For the past couple of years Jenny Schweitzer has worked on creating Rhythm in Motion, a 10-part short documentary series portraying NYC’s subway musicians in collaboration with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The films are now being published on The Atlantic. The first film, Flor de Toloache, features an all-female mariachi band that challenges traditional gender norms. I love this so much!

Salvadoran Nuégados

nuegados

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

Known as “buñuelos” in much of Latin America, El Salvador calls these traditional Easter fritters “nuégados” and they’re almost always accompanied by a toasted corn drink called “chilate.” There are many different varieties of nuégados with the most popular one being nuégados de yuca, but a Salvadoran acquaintance recently introduced me to nuégados de guineo (banana nuégados), which are much easier to make. The banana imparts a very delicate taste to the fried donuts which makes them delicious on their own, but they’re even more amazing with homemade Salvadoran “miel” (syrup) drizzled over top.

Here’s my recipe, and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

nuegados con chilate

Salvadoran Banana Fritters / Nuégados Salvadoreños en Miel

Ingredients:
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions:

COMBINE flour and bananas in a medium bowl. Use a fork or hands to mash the bananas well and mix them thoroughly into the flour.

ADD the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.

DROP spoonfuls of the dough into a large pot of medium-hot oil. Use metal tongs to carefully and continuously splash oil on top of each fritter, and to turn each fritter when it becomes golden brown. Cook only a few at a time so you don’t overcrowd them.

REMOVE each fritter to drain on a paper towel-lined plate when golden brown on both sides.

SERVE warm and with syrup drizzled on top, if desired. (Makes about 1 dozen.)

nuegados salvadorenos

nuégados en miel con chilate

Salvadoran Syrup (“Miel”)

Ingredients:

14 ounces of panela or piloncillo*
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*If you’re unable to find panela, or piloncillo, you can substitute 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Directions:

COMBINE all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

BRING to a boil, stirring occasionally. The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.

BOIL for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

LOWER heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little.

REMOVE from heat and allow to cool slightly. The syrup will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.

SERVE drizzled over Salvadoran Banana Fritters. Keep any unused portion refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Salvadoran fritters

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO JAIME!***

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Easter food. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between March 30, 2015 through April 3rd, 2015. Entries received after April 3rd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Espumillas

Espumillas

The other day I tried to make a Salvadoran “Torta de Yema” and it was a complete failure. The good news is that I had a bunch of egg whites left over and I used them to make espumillas, which are like the Latin American version of meringues. As you can see, I simply dropped mine by the spoonful onto the baking sheet, but if you want to be super fancy, use a pastry bag, (or even a ziploc bag with one corner cut off), to give them a prettier shape.

Espumillas

You need:

4 egg whites (cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
food coloring (optional)

sprinkles and/or ground cinnamon

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 225 F.

2. Beat whites to stiff peaks.

3. Mix in sugar little by little.

4. Add vanilla extract and food coloring. (If you want to make several different colors, separate the mixture into a few bowls before adding the colors.)

5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop spoonfuls of the mixture. You can put them close together because they won’t spread but make them no larger than about an inch and a half in diameter. If your espumilla is too large, it won’t properly bake/dry in the middle.

6. Sprinkle with sprinkles or ground cinnamon. (I find the sprinkles prettier but the cinnamon ones, not pictured, were tastier.)

7. Bake for 1 hour. Do not open the oven door. After one hour, turn the oven off. Leave the espumillas in the oven while it cools down for at least two hours.

8. Break one open. Espumillas should be shiny outside, dry in the middle with a crunchy texture, and sweet candy-like flavor. Enjoy!