Fresqui-Top

Fresqui-Top

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!

Recibí un email de una lectora con la pregunta: “¿Qué es fresqueto? Mi esposo salvadoreño me dijo que es una bebida popular con los niños en El Salvador pero cuando fuimos a la tienda él me enseñó un bote de Kool-Aid.”

Bueno, primero pensé que ella malentendió la palabra “refresquito” pero para asegurarme, pregunté a Carlos. Inmediatamente Carlos respondió, “Ah, ella quiere decir Fresqui-Top.”

Aparentemente es una bebida con sabores de fruta que viene en paquetes de polvo igual que Kool-Aid. Eso bebía Carlos en El Salvador cuando era niño.

¿Recuerdas Fresqui-Top?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I received an email from a reader with the question: “What’s ‘fresqueto’? My Salvadoran husband told me it’s a popular drink with kids in El Salvador but when we went to the store he showed me a canister of Kool-Aid.”

Well, at first I thought she had misunderstood the word “refresquito” (a little refreshment/drink) but to make sure, I asked Carlos. Immediately Carlos responded, “Oh, she means Fresqui-Top.”

Apparently Fresqui-Top is a powdered drink that comes in packets of various fruit flavors just like Kool-Aid. This is what Carlos drank in El Salvador when he was a boy.

Do you remember Fresqui-Top?

(Image source)

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas

Torrejas are kind of like French Toast and in El Salvador as well as in other parts of Latin America, they’re eaten during Semana Santa (holy week, Lent, and Easter), with a special homemade syrup. One of the things that make Torrejas more amazing than your average homemade American French Toast is that after it’s fried to a golden brown, it’s cooked a second time in the syrup. The type of bread used is also important, as your common white sandwich bread will not do! Salvadorans use thick slices of a bread called “torta de yema” but it’s difficult to find in the United States. Good substitutes for torta de yema include Challah or “pan de leche” (milk bread.) Challah can be found at some grocery stores and the “pan de leche” I used for this recipe was from a Latina bakery.

Another ingredient I want to explain a little is the “dulce de panela.” Panela is an unrefined brown sugar and it looks like this:

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in plastic)

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in dried corn husks)

dulce de panela
(Salvadoran “panela”)

If you’re unable to find Salvadoran “panela” at your local Mercado Latino or International Market, then you can substitute about two 8 ounce Mexican piloncillos or about 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Ready for the most amazing French Toast experience of your life? Then you’re ready to make Salvadoran Torrejas en Miel!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

First, How to make the “miel” (syrup):

You need:

1/2 of a 28 oz. panela (So, about 14 ounces. For substitutions see post above.)
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. 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.)

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

3. 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. Note that the liquid is a thinner consistency than American-style syrup or honey – that’s okay!)

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (The liquid will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.)

5. Now this is ready for the Torrejas! Set aside and continue below.

How to make the Torrejas:

You need:

2 tortas de yema (or 2 loaves of Challah, or milk bread/pan de leche)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups 1% milk
8 eggs

Canola oil for frying
a batch of “miel” (the recipe above)

1. Slice the bread into thick slices, (about 1 inch thick or a little more.)

2. In a large shallow dish, beat the eggs, milk, salt and sugar until well combined. (You can use an electric mixer for about 1 minute.)

3. Dip the bread slices into the egg/milk mixture one-by-one, allowing them a few seconds on each side to soak up the liquid. Fry in oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, being careful not to crowd the slices in the pan. (My pan only fit two pieces at a time.) Flip when golden brown and cook the other side the same.

4. When each slice is golden brown on both sides, remove to a large rectangular baking dish or Pyrex lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

6. When the entire batch has been fried, carefully remove the paper towels from beneath the torrejas.

7. Some people cook the torrejas in a frying pan with the miel, but I find baking them works great and is much easier. Pour 1 cup of the miel onto the torrejas in the Pyrex, making sure that all get some of the “miel” on them. (Avoid including any of the cloves.)

8. Bake at 350 F for 5 to 10 minutes.

9. Serve with additional miel to drizzle on top.

Note: You will probably have leftover miel. This can be put into a jar and refrigerated. Use it in other recipes such as Jocotes en Miel or Nuegados!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas

Multiracial Kids, Latino Lit, Jane the Virgin Quiz, and Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die

Well, that might be the longest and most inelegant title I’ve ever written for a blog post, pero no quería marear la perdiz. (If you didn’t know, that’s a Spanish-language idiom for “I didn’t want to beat around the bush.” It literally means “I didn’t want to make the partridge dizzy.” How much cuter is that?)

Anyway, I just wanted to put up a quick post with links to all my latinamom.me posts for the month of February in case you missed any of them. I hope you’ll check them all out and let me know which you liked best so I have an idea of which stories I should write more of in the future. Here we go!

8 Things Moms of Multiracial Kids Are Tired of Hearing

The first is an animated gif post which is a little controversial! My editor asked who wanted to write on the topic of stupid things people say to the parents of biracial or multiracial children, and I volunteered. I usually try to steer clear of topics that get people steamed in any way because I prefer to focus on the positive, but I knew I had some important things to say on this issue so I’m happy I wrote it. [Read it here.]

Latino Lit to Warm Up the Winter

latino-books-2015-2

The second post is book recommendations. I’ve been in kind of a reading rut so I can’t wait for some of the soon-to-be-published Latino Lit to finally be available! (What’s on your “to read” list that you’re most looking forward to right now?) [Read it here.]

Which Jane The Virgin Character Are You?

which-jane-character

This third post was incredibly fun to create because it was the first quiz I designed and it’s all about “Jane The Virgin” – which is my favorite show right now. (A close second would be “Fresh Off the Boat.” Are you watching that, too?) Anyway, let me know which result you got on this quiz and if you felt it was accurate! [Take the quiz here!]

Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die

143-93709-6-mixto-joel-sowers-1424388693(Image source: Joel Sowers)

My last piece for latinamom.me for the month of February is “Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die” – (I know, the title is just a tiny bit dramatic.) It was difficult to choose just 10 foods though and the hunger I felt while putting that post together was painful. If you could have any of the foods mentioned in the post magically appear before you right now, (but just one!) – which would it be? [Read it here.]

Una gata, un sapito, y un perico

gaty

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!

Ayer Carlos me enseño un vídeo para la canción “Gaty Zumbao” por Las Nenas de Caña, un grupo musical salvadoreño.

Después de verlo, desafié a Carlos – “Piensa en dos más vídeos musicales de El Salvador que cuentan con la tema de los animales.”

¡Se tomó menos de cinco minutos!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(¿Quién necesita CrossFit? El Baile del Sapito es buen ejercicio.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor

¿Puedes pensar en otra canción salvadoreña acerca de los animales?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Yesterday Carlos showed me a video for the song “Gaty Zumbao” by Las Nenas de Caña, a Salvadoran music group.

After seeing it, I challenged Carlos – “Think of two more music videos from El Salvador that are also about animals.”

He took less than five minutes!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(Who needs CrossFit? “The Little Toad Dance” is good exercise.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor
[Rough translation: “The Nosey Parakeet” by Los Caballeros del Sabor.]

Can you think of another Salvadoran song about animals?

Corazones de Pañito para Día de San Valentín

doily-hearts

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!

¿Necesitas una manualidad rapida y accesible para el Día de San Valentín? Estos corazones de papel en forma de pañito sólo cuestan $1 por paquete de 30 en la tienda Dollar Tree. Con un marcador de cualquier color que te guste, puedes escribir cortos mensajes en cada uno y después decorar el carro, oficina o puerta para tu amado.

Aquí hay unas frases que puedes escribir. (¡También sirve como lección de español si quieres hacer la manualidad con los niños!)

Te Quiero
Te Quiero Mucho
TQM
Te Amo
Te Adoro
Nene/Nena
Corazón
Corazón de Melon
Guapo/Guapa
Chulo/Chula
Bonito/Bonita
Amor
Amorcito Corazón
Cielito Lindo
Bésame
Besos
Abrazos
Se Mío
Papi Chulo/Mami Chula
Te Amo Un Chingo
Tú y Yo
Para Siempre

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Title: Doily Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Do you need a fast and affordable craft for Valentine’s Day? These paper doily hearts are only $1 for a pack of 30 at Dollar Tree. With a colored marker you can write short messages on each heart and then decorate the car, office, or door of your beloved.

Here are some phrases in Spanish you can write. (This also serves as a Spanish lesson if you do the craft with the kids!)

Te Quiero
Te Quiero Mucho
TQM
Te Amo
Te Adoro
Nene/Nena
Corazón
Corazón de Melon
Guapo/Guapa
Chulo/Chula
Bonito/Bonita
Amor
Amorcito Corazón
Cielito Lindo
Bésame
Besos
Abrazos
Se Mío
Papi Chulo/Mami Chula
Te Amo Un Chingo
Tú y Yo
Para Siempre

Dulce de Leche Valentine Cookies

Dulce de Leche Valentine's Day Cookies

Yesterday I got a sweet craving, and re-discovered a jar of dulce de leche in the refrigerator. Instead of eating it with a spoon like a heathen (not that I haven’t done exactly that before), I decided to make a batch of simple sugar cookies since I was all out of galletas Marias. Naturally since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I grabbed a heart-shaped cookie cutter from the drawer, and thus Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies were born. When dusted with powdered sugar, they’re kind of like alfajores! … Make a batch for your corazón de melon, your niños, or even yourself.

Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies

You Need:

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 jar or can of your favorite dulce de leche
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Method:

1. Beat the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt – sprinkling the baking powder and salt so it’s evenly distributed on the flour. (This is a short cut to avoid having to combine dry ingredients separately in another bowl!) Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

3. Form the dough into a large ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap inside the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven heats, work with small amounts of dough, (leaving the rest covered in the refrigerator), to cut out the cookies. You can use a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, but it isn’t necessary. You can simply flatten a small amount with your palm right on the parchment paper covered baking sheet, then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter on the flattened dough. Remove the excess dough from the edges of the heart shape and re-use for the next cookie you cut out.

5. Bake cookies about 1 to 2 inches apart, (if the dough has been properly chilled and your pan is not hot before going into the oven, it shouldn’t spread and will maintain its shape.)

6. Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. (Bake time may be slightly less or more, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. My heart-shaped cookies were about palm-sized and no more than a 1/4 inch thick.)

7. Remove cookies to cool on clean, dry paper towels, (or on wire racks if you’re fancy. I personally don’t own any of those.)

8. For the first few hours these cookies will be mostly soft and chewy, but if you make them in the evening and wait until the next morning (which is what I prefer), the texture becomes chewy on the inside but more crisp on the outside.

heart-cookie

9. Use a butter knife to spread your favorite dulce de leche either on top of the cookies, or on the bottom of one to sandwich it between two cookies.

dulce-de-leche-cookie

10. Dust with powdered sugar. (I recommend doing this by putting a small amount of powdered sugar in a fine mesh sieve and gently tapping it over the cookies to avoid large clumps of powdered sugar.)

11. Give to your valentine before you eat them all yourself.

El Escarabajo Dorado (a guest post)

Image source: José Luis Celada Euba

Image source: José Luis Celada Euba

Today’s guest post about a humorous turned enlightening moment had while living in Peru, comes to us from Fabianne, a high school Spanish teacher, world traveler, and the blogger behind “Blogging Is Narcissistic But…

Last year I shared an apartment in the noisy city of Trujillo, Peru with two Spanish roommates. One night, I found myself in the kitchen when a big, scary something started frantically buzzing around the room, smacking its chunky body against the walls, seemingly desperate to escape. Meanwhile, the window was, as always, wide open to cleanse the space of my roommates’ tobacco habit. I let out a little yelp and waved my hands in the air, which only seemed to offer the opposite of my intended message as it zoomed toward me in a state of panic.

I heard one of my roommates say, “She’s shouting in English again,” and the two of them came rushing to my rescue.

Cucaracha?” (Yes, that is actually how you say cockroach) asked one.

“No! I don’t know what this is!” I gasped as it propelled its seemingly light-brown body toward us. All three of us screamed simultaneously and ran for the kitchen door. Mar shut it behind us and we laughed at ourselves.

“What is that?” she shouted. “It’s enormous!”

At the time, I didn’t know the word for moth in Spanish. (Now I do. Polilla. I’ll never forget it. High stakes situations make for great learning experiences.) So I opted for the word for butterfly because once I read that most insects that appear to be butterflies are actually moths. I figured it was my best bet.

Una mariposa?” They asked, skeptical.

Algo como una mariposa pero con un cuerpo gordo,” (“Something like a butterfly but with a fat body,”) I explained. They both stared at me.

“Well we can’t just stand out here,” my other roommate Vanessa said, entering the kitchen and heroically grabbing the broom. She struck at the fat-bodied butterfly, which was still making circles around the kitchen, using two hands to wield her domestic weapon. Mar and I screamed and laughed from a safe distance, when suddenly, after one swift sweep of the broom, we watched it come spiraling down. She got it. It wasn’t dead, but injured beyond flight, rattling on the kitchen floor. Vanessa leaned over her kill to get a closer look, and let out a little gasp.

“It’s not a butterfly!” she shouted, almost angry. Yes, that much I knew, I just lacked the necessary vocabulary. “It’s an escarabajo!” A beetle, she said.

Escarabajo!” I shouted, not particularly out of concern but mostly because I love that word. So onomatopoeic. When I hear it, I picture a little black beetle scraping and digging through the dirt, making a whispery noise that sounds like, “escarabajo.” I actually only know the word because a little black one crawled into my backpack one time, and a Spaniard pointed and shouted, “Escarabajo!” I remember she told me not to kill it because “los escarabajos no son malos.” They’re not bad. Fair enough.

It turns out the escarabajo in our kitchen was a bit different than the one in my backpack. “It’s a golden beetle,” Vanessa explained. Escarabajo dorado.

I had never heard of a golden beetle and didn’t care too much until she said, “It’s a symbol of immortality.”

For some reason those words resonated with me. To be fair, this is a girl who lit the end of a small branch and waved it around our apartment to expel bad energy, and who charges her crystals by moonlight (though I know of no better way), and while I love her and admire her earthy spirit, I usually remain unaffected by her beliefs. This is not because I claim to possess superior spiritual ideology, just that I’m kind of lazy when it comes to these things. Afterlife? Can’t be bothered…But this time I felt bad. Was I an accomplice to the murder of a bug that only wanted to offer us immortality?

“It’s suffering,” Vanessa said looking at me seriously, “and you have to kill it. I did my part.”

“I don’t like to kill things!” I protested. She shot me a look of death. I get it. OK.

Both of my roommates returned to their respective rooms. The golden beetle squirmed on the floor, its gem-like shell glistening under the fluorescent kitchen lights. Not knowing what to do, I swept it into a dustpan and tipped it out our seven-story kitchen window, hoping maybe it would catch flight.

“It committed suicide,” I announced loud enough for Vanessa to hear, though she didn’t respond.

Later that night, I Google searched “golden beetle.” I found various articles about the insect, my favorite from a gardener saying she is both frustrated and delighted when she finds these beautiful pests among her plants. Another funny bug-nerd article said something like, “Everyone keeps talking about golden beetles.” Oh yeah. People just won’t shut up about them! Nowhere did I find anything about immortality, though the words that affected me most came from an article about insect collections. It recommends that you not add the golden beetle to your collection as it loses its golden color once it dries out, saying, “these bugs are most beautiful kept alive.” Ouch.