Category Archives: Familia
When I say “chuletas” you may think of lamb chops or pork chops and their distinctive shape, but Carlos asked me to make Salvadoran Chuletas which are something entirely different.
At first I thought Carlos was playing a trick on me because the food he described sounded really strange. He said Salvadoran Chuletas look like a meatball wrapped around a strip of tortilla. I questioned him further. “Are you sure this isn’t something your mother invented? Is this really a Salvadoran dish that other people will recognize?” – He assured me this is a real Salvadoran dish. I asked if the meatball part goes on the end of the tortilla strip so that at least it’ll look more like a lamb chop, but he insisted it goes in the middle.
With Carlos’s descriptions and encouragement, I gave it a try, and he says I hit the jackpot – so I present to you Salvadoran Chuletas, (or “Chuletas de Carne Molida.”) I have no idea how this dish came to exist in El Salvador but I imagine a hungry husband telling his wife that he wants chuletas for dinner. The wife goes to the kitchen, knowing full well that they don’t have such an expensive cut of meat, and she creates these fake “chuletas” out of day old tortillas and carne molida in the hopes of tricking her husband.
If you know the real story or anything else about Salvadoran Chuletas de Carne Molida, be sure to leave a comment! For now, here is my recipe.
2 lbs. ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken)
1 handful fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/2 a medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 a medium green pepper, chopped fine
1 cup bread crumbs
1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
canola oil (for frying)
5 thick corn tortillas
1. Fry the cooked tortillas in a little oil until slightly crunchy. Remove and cool. Cut into thick strips. Set aside. (Leftover handmade tortillas work best for this.)
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the tortilla strips and oil. Mix by hand.
3. Take a small handful of the meat mixture, (a little larger than a golf ball), and a strip of tortilla. (Choose the longest strips of tortilla. The short strips can be discarded or reserved for a different recipe.)
4. Mold the meat mixture around the strip of tortilla so that you have tortilla poking out at each end with a meatball-like shape in the middle. Make sure you don’t make the meatball too rounded or big or they won’t cook through when frying.
5. Fry in oil over medium heat, turning to brown on each side. Do this in batches, removing to drain on paper towels when finished.
6. Serve with rice and fresh salsa. Makes approx. 15 to 20 chuletas.
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. English translation in italics!
Sí, ya sé que es muy temprano por escribir sobre El Día de San Valentín, (también conocido como “Día de los Enamorados” y “Día del Amor y la Amistad”), pero yo no puedo esperar porque les tengo una sorpresa.
He creado algunos “valentines” para ustedes en español! Por favor, siéntase libres de compartirlos en las redes sociales, a través de E-mail, o incluso imprimirlos y darlos a su amorcito. Son completamente gratuitos. Besos!
Title: 10 Valentines
Yes, I know it’s too early to write about Valentine’s Day, (also known as “Día de los Enamorados” and “Día del Amor y la Amistad” in Latin America), but I can’t wait because I have a surprise for you.
I have created valentines for you all in Spanish! Please, feel free to share these in social media, through E-mail, or even to print them and give them to your sweetheart. They’re completely free to use. Kisses!
Please note: The license on each of these photos put in place by the individual photographers allows for non-commercial use and adaptations of the original with attribution. Each photo has been watermarked by me with the photographers name and linked to the original photograph. I want to thank the photographers for making their photos available for use under Creative Commons.
Being married to Carlos over these past 15 years, one thing I’ve learned is that American birthday cake and Salvadoran birthday cake are very different.
Carlos will eat American birthday cake, but he doesn’t really like it.
Today was Carlos’s birthday and for the past few weeks, all he’s been talking about is Salvadoran birthday cake. I got the hint and asked him plenty of questions about it so I could make him one. Carlos says that growing up in El Salvador he always got a cake from a bakery called Flor de Trigo on his birthday. The cake part was moist but didn’t have a strong flavor, the frosting was only very slightly sweet. The cakes were usually layer cakes with fruit decorating the top.
I did some research, (even found the Flor de Trigo website!) and this is what I came up with.
The cake is a white cake (from a box mix just to save some time), and the “frosting” is a homemade whipped cream. Sliced almonds decorate the sides, and the fruits I chose were strawberries and apricot. Carlos gave me muchos besos and said it’s just like a Salvadoran birthday cake. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try!
Salvadoran-style Birthday Cake
1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Classic White)
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup white sugar (more if you prefer sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups sliced almonds
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1 can apricot halves, drained and sliced
1 can (12 oz.) “apricot cake & pastry filling” (I used “Solo” brand)
1. Make cake according to package directions. If you have two round pans, use those. If not, you can do what I did – Put it all in a well greased 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Once baked and cooled, carefully turn onto a clean surface and slice in half to create 2 square layers. (Since the edges get browned while baking, slice those off so it’s uniform on all sides.)
2. This is how you make homemade whipped cream. (I recommend making this and assembling the cake the same day you plan to eat it.) First, it’s best if you have a large stainless steel bowl, but a plastic mixing bowl will work. Metal is better because you can get it nice and cold. Cold is your friend when making whipped cream! … Whichever bowl you’re using, stick it in the freezer along with the metal beater(s) from your electric mixer. The heavy whipping cream should be kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. To make the whipped cream – pour the quart of whipping cream into the bowl. Turn your mixer on high and beat until stiff peaks form. Add a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and sugar according to your tastes, (1/2 cup to 3/4 cups makes it just barely sweet by American standards.)
3. Put one cake layer on a base – this will be the bottom layer. (Ideally your base would be the bottom of a cake container which you can cover with a dome lid.) Spread the can of “apricot cake & pastry filling” on the top of the bottom cake layer. On top of the “apricot cake & pastry filling”, spread a layer of whipped cream. Top with the top cake layer.
4. Frost the entire outside of the cake with the whipped cream. Carefully toss the sliced almonds onto the sides of the cake.
5. Decorate the top of the cake with the sliced apricots and strawberries. (This recipe will work great if you decide to use different fruits or a different “cake & pastry filling” – so get creative! Other options include fresh or canned pineapple, fresh kiwi, canned fruit cocktail, and other kinds of berries.)
6. Cover cake and refrigerate for a couple hours then serve!
¡Feliz Cumpleaños! (or as I like to say, “Sapo Verde!“)
Wishing everyone paz, amor, felicidad, salud and blessings al montón!
La Familia López
Actually, despite the title, this turkey is for tomorrow, Christmas Day. Tonight (Noche Buena), we’re going to have tamales, Mexican queso fundido, and Cuban tostones with mojo. (Not a traditional Salvadoran spread, but somehow, those are the diverse recipes I ended up choosing – and that’s after Carlos discouraged me from making a Venezuelan Pan de Jamón on top of it all.)
I don’t cook poultry that looks like poultry very often. It kind of grosses me out and I prefer to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (Suegra always told me I’d have never survived in El Salvador since she had to wring the chicken’s neck and then pluck it.)
Anyway, when making Panes con Pavo I end up having to handle a whole turkey, which happens maybe once a year. Right now I was just putting the “Salsa Perrins” and mustard on the pavo to marinate and my 11 year old came into the kitchen. He looked at the turkey for a minute, checking it out from both ends and all directions. Then he asked, “Which side is the culito?”
In response to the New York Times article regarding the lack of Latino authors and books for children, Latina bloggers have launched the “Latinas for Latino Literature” campaign which works to identify the problems in today’s publishing world that contribute to this lack of diversity so that we can provide ideas for changing the situation to the benefit of not only Latino readers and writers, but to the benefit of the industry itself as they tap into this growing demographic. Look out for forthcoming Google hangouts, Twitter parties, and follow-up posts as this coordinated effort to bring quality books to an emerging group of readers continues.
I kneeled on the coarse, crimson carpet at the library, the third library I had visited that week, trying to find something, anything, on the shelves about El Salvador – the native country of my new husband. I often left libraries and bookstores defeated, with a stack of novels about Mexico, Mexicans, migrant workers – stories that I ended up loving, and still love – but what I really wanted was a book with Salvadoran characters, and I couldn’t find any. Any book I did manage to find about El Salvador would be non-fiction, and usually about the civil war.
When I became a mother of two boys, two Salvadoran-American boys, I wanted desperately to buy them books and read them stories with characters they could relate to. Again, visits to the library and bookstore turned up books featuring Mexican and Mexican-American characters, when we were lucky.
These days, the library selection has gotten better, and the online selection is a dream come true compared to what I faced when my boys were younger. I’ve read books about Cubans and Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Guatemalans and Paraguayans, and thanks to Sandra Benitez, an amazing book called “Bitter Grounds” with a diverse Salvadoran cast. I stayed up late turning the pages, almost not believing that after so many years, I was finally reading a book with Salvadoran characters.
Why am I writing this? – Because I want the publishing industry to know that I am here – an avid reader, hungry for these books for myself, for my husband, for our boys, and for the children out there whose parents won’t go to the trouble I’ve gone to – the children who are at the mercy of whatever their school librarian decides to put on the shelves.
I want it to be known that I hunger for even more diversity, for Latin American characters and characters of Latin American descent from all walks of life. Don’t stop telling the story of the migrant worker, the immigrant, of Mexicans – but let us hear other voices too. We want to hear from characters who are rich, who are poor, and everything in between. We want characters who are white collar workers, and blue collar workers. We want characters who are beautiful, ugly, inspirational, relatable, flawed, ordinary, outrageous, wise, hilarious, serious, complex – in other words, we want all the diversity of voices that are available in the general market. Please, keep seeking out fresh authors and publishing their stories – We are here waiting for them, (and in some cases, some of us are here writing them, too.)
Do you feel there’s enough diversity in the books commonly available in bookstores and libraries? Which Latino/a author or book most influenced you and why?
Chécalo: Other “Latinas for Latino Literature“
Most of you know that I write for several websites each month. I usually share those links on the Latinaish Facebook Page, but I wanted to link this one up here for those who might not be on Facebook since this particular post is so relevant to my usual content on Latinaish. I also took the opportunity to make a bicultural/bilingual gift tag for your Christmas gifts (see above!) Feel free to print it out and use it!
Now for the post:
Mixing Traditions for a Bicultural Christmas
Fifteen years ago I married Carlos, a Salvadoran immigrant who spoke little English. Because we were young, pregnant, and poor at the time—instead of moving to our own place—I moved Carlos into my parents’ house where I was still living. From the outside it didn’t seem like the most ideal situation, but living with my English-speaking Anglo parents turned out to be a unique opportunity for Carlos to get a crash course in English and American culture.
Of course, living in such a situation made our diverse backgrounds that much more apparent—especially during holidays, and especially during Christmas…[READ MORE HERE]
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!
Hace cuatro meses Carlos cambió su trabajo. Fue una decisión grande y un gran riesgo. ¿Quedarse con lo cierto o tomar un chance? Carlos decidió ir por ello y, gracias a Dios, ha sido tan feliz. Conduce un camión en una cantera, moviendo rocas. Le encanta conducir el camión grande. Es el sueño de todos los niños chiquitos que alguna vez jugaban con un camión de juguete en una caja de arena!
Four months ago Carlos changed jobs. It was a big decision and a big risk. Stay with the sure thing, or take a chance? Carlos decided to go for it, and thank God, he’s been really happy. He drives a truck at a quarry, moving rocks. He loves driving the big truck. It’s the dream of every little boy who once played with a toy truck in a sand box!
Sometimes I think I have the bilingual parenting thing down. We get into a groove and I’m speaking Spanish to my kids and they, more and more, are responding to me in Spanish – but it’s inevitable that just when we’ve hit our stride and are on the road to fluency, we will have a setback.
One big problem for me is that I don’t speak Spanish when I’m stressed or tired or very busy. The other day I woke up and realized, “My God, I’ve been stressed and tired and very busy the past few weeks! I’ve had so much on my mind and so many deadlines. I’ve barely spoken Spanish to my kids at all!”
This is when I kick myself in the nalgas and promise to start all over again.
Yesterday morning before my younger son left for school, I warned him not to run to the bus as he usually does, because a slick layer of frost covered the ground.
“Cuando venga el bus, no vayas corriendo, okay? El suelo está bien liso, entiendes?”
My son tilted his head not unlike a dog when you speak to it. I could almost see the words enter his ear, twist themselves inside his brain and translate one-by-one into English. He spoke aloud as he decoded the message.
“When the bus comes… don’t run… because…the ground is slippery?”
He still understands me, but there is more lag time. Then when he speaks, he doesn’t even realize he’s mixing English and Spanish in ways I’ve never even heard before.
After school he asked me what day we’re going to his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.
“El viente dos,” I said.
“Oh, el twenty dos,” he answered.
There’s no point in lamenting wasted time and stalled progress. I’m human, I was tired, I spent weeks speaking very little Spanish to my kids who I desperately want to be fully bilingual. It happens. Seguimos adelante.
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. English translation is below!
Este año no pensé que ibamos a tener una ofrenda por Día de los Muertos. Dos años pasados, sin realizar que los salvadoreños no celebran Día de los Muertos igual que los mexicanos, hice una ofrenda para el papá de Carlos. Carlos agradeció el gesto pero ponía algo triste y esto no fue mi intención. El problema fue que Carlos no estaba acostumbrado tener una ofrenda porque en El Salvador no se hace eso.
Mientras que los mexicanos llaman el día “Día de los Muertos” y celebran la muerte, abrazan la muerte, aún se ríen de ella – los salvadoreños llaman el día “Día de los Difuntos” y lo consideran un día de recordar sus queridos fallecidos en una manera mucho más sombría.
El año pasado, no queriendo repetir mi error, no tenía previsto hacer una ofrenda, pero mis hijos me dijeron que les gustó la tradición y querian tener una. Entonces, hicimos una ofrenda por nuestro perro que se murió.
Este año no tenía planes por hacer una ofrenda otra vez, pero Carlos me dijo que ya se siente comodo en tener una ofrenda con sus queridos fallecidos. Entonces, nuestra ofrenda incluye el papá de Carlos, la abuela de Carlos, el abuelo de Carlos, (que se murió sólo una mes atrás), mi abuelo y dos perros.
Hay demasiados detalles en la ofrenda por explicar, pero les voy a explicar un poco. Tal vez ustedes pueden buscar los artículos en la foto que menciono.
El papá de Carlos, (“Don Max”) le gustó mucho el casamiento – un plato hecho de arroz y frijoles. Por eso, hay arroz y frijoles. También tuvo un camión pick-up, y estaba muy orgulloso de él. El papá de Carlos era un entrenador de fútbol y le gustaba echar chile en su comida, (algo raro por un salvadoreño, pero algo que le gusta a Carlos también.) Don Max no era muy religoso pero era super dedicado a San Antonio.
Mi abuelo tampoco era muy religoso, pero identificó como judío. Le gustó la música “Big Band” y se comió Corn Flakes cada mañana.
Hay una historia sobre el abuelo de Carlos. “Papá Milo” era muy bueno por nadar y a veces cruzó el Río Lempa nadando para traer grandes bolsas de maíz para su familia. El abuelo de Carlos también fue el alcalde de un pueblo de Chalatenango, y casi siempre andaba con sombrero de vaquero.
La abuela de Carlos se llamaba “Mamá Juana” y era una mujer muy dulce. Ella tuvo diez hijos, y le encantaban las flores. Yo recuerdo que a veces Mamá Juana, en la manera de muchas salvadoreñas del pueblo, usaba un delantal encima de su vestido, aunque no estaba cocinando.
¿Hiciste una ofrenda tú? Quién estás recordando?
This year I didn’t think we’d have an altar for Day of the Dead. Two years ago, without realizing that Salvadorans don’t celebrate Day of the Dead the same way Mexicans do, I made an altar for Carlos’s father. Carlos appreciated the gesture but it made him kind of sad, which was not my intention. The problem was that Carlos wasn’t used to having an altar because Salvadorans don’t make them.
While Mexicans call the day “Día de los Muertos” and celebrate death, embrace death, and even laugh at death – Salvadorans call the day “Día de los Difuntos” and consider it a day to remember your passed loved ones in a much more somber way.
Last year, not wanting to repeat my mistake, I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but my boys told me they liked the tradition and wanted to have one. So, we made an altar to one of our dogs which had died.
This year, again I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but Carlos told me he feels more comfortable now to have an altar with his passed loved ones. So, this year we have an altar which includes Carlos’s father, Carlos’s grandmother, Carlos’s grandfather, (who died only a month ago), my grandfather, and two dogs.
There are too many details to explain them all, but I will explain the altar to you a little. Maybe you can find the items I’ll mention in the photo.
The father of Carlos, (“Don Max”) really liked casamiento – a dish made from rice and beans. For that reason, there are rice and beans. He also had a pick-up truck which he was very proud of. Carlos’s father was a football coach and he liked to put chile pepper on his food, (kind of rare for a Salvadoran, but something Carlos also likes to do.) Don Max wasn’t very religious but he was super dedicated to Saint Anthony.
My grandfather wasn’t very religious either, but he identified as Jewish. He liked Big Band music and ate Corn Flakes every morning.
There’s a story about Carlos’s grandfather. “Papá Milo” was really good at swimming and sometimes he would swim across the Lempa River to bring big bags of corn to his family. Carlos’s grandfather was also the mayor of a town in Chalatenango and almost always wore a cowboy hat.
Carlos’s grandmother was called “Mamá Juana” and was a really sweet woman. She had ten children and she loved flowers. I remember that sometimes Mamá Juana, in the way of many Salvadoran women from the countryside, used to wear an apron over her dress, even though she wasn’t cooking.