Passing on Tradition in the Kitchen!

Image credit: Martin Kang Photography

Image credit: Martin Kang Photography

Disclosure: I received Nestlé Abuelita products and compensation for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

In October I was invited to a Día de los Muertos (#AbuelitaDDLM) event with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval in California, but unfortunately wasn’t able to attend since I’m in the DC area. Luckily the good people who invited me were nice enough to send some Nestlé Abuelita products and recipes to check out so I’m predicting plenty of chocolate-flavored recipes in my family’s future!

As for the chef – Richard Sandoval – he’s the owner and chef of 37 Latin-themed restaurants around the world, but that isn’t what impresses me most. What impresses me most about Chef Sandoval is his commitment to the importance of passing down traditions to the next generation in the kitchen. In today’s world it’s so easy for many families to forget, or become too busy, to show their children the recipes which were taught to them by their mother or grandmother, which means many of those special recipes will be lost. Don’t let that happen! Make a list of the recipes you know and show them to your kids – write them down if you can. Some people make recipes from memory but you won’t always be around, so next time you make a special family dish for which there’s no written recipe, take the time to write it down as you go along. Likewise, if there’s a family recipe you still haven’t learned from a mother or grandmother, ask them to teach you the next time you’re together!

And just as important as sharing traditional recipes, as Chef Sandoval points out in the video below, is creating new ones – like these Creamy Chocolate Guava Pockets! I can’t wait to try them, (you already know how much I love the combination of cream cheese and guayaba!)

For the written recipe shown in the video and many other recipes using Nestlé Abuelita and other Nestlé products in both English and Spanish, visit El Mejor Nido!

Which recipe do you most want to teach your children? Which recipes have you created together?

Relajo Giveaway!

relajo

This spice packet may have cost me less than $3 but don’t be deceived! This imported spice mixture from El Salvador is extremely valuable to anyone who doesn’t have access to it, but who longs to make Salvadoran Panes con Pavo for Thanksgiving. I decided to do this giveaway for those of you who live in parts of the United States where Salvadoran relajo is difficult or impossible to find – so just leave a comment on this post for your chance to win!

====Giveaway Closed! Congratulations to Angie!====

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive the item pictured in the photo at the very top of this post: One 3 oz. packet of Mi Canton brand Relajo seasoning.

Approximate value: $3

- 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 not be shared with any third party. 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 November 11th, 2014 through November 13th, 2014. Entries received after November 13th, 2014 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!

Disclosure: I did not receive any product or payment to run this giveaway. Item for giveaway was purchased by me.

Carne Guisada

Salvadoran-style Carne Guisada

Carne Guisada (stewed beef) is the ultimate comfort food for chilly weather. Versions of this dish can be found in countries throughout Latin America, but if you really think about it, most countries throughout the world will have a similar dish. There’s just something about tender pieces of meat and large chunks of vegetables in a brown sauce that has wide appeal. Served with salad and beans, plus rice and tortillas to soak up every last bite, this meal will leave everyone at the table completely satisfied.

Carne Guisada – Salvadoran-style

You need:

2 lbs. beef (chuck roast)
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons Canola oil
¼ cup red cooking wine
¾ cup water, plus water to cover
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon achiote

1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 large carrots, cut in large chunks
1 to 1.5 lbs. potatoes (or yucca), cut in large chunks

Optional: a few tablespoons of flour

Method:

1. Pat the chuck roast with a clean, dry paper towel to remove any excess moisture. In a stainless steel pan, heat 2 tablespoons Canola oil over high heat. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. When the oil is very hot and begins to smoke a little, carefully place the chuck roast in the pot. Do not move or attempt to lift the chuck roast while it’s searing. Shake the pan a little once in awhile to see if it’ll come loose on its own. When it easily comes loose on its own, that means it’s finished searing, (about 1 to 2 minutes.) There should be a nice crust on the meat. Carefully flip it over and sear the other side.

2. Remove the chuck roast to a plate while you deglaze the pan. How to deglaze the pan: Add ¾ cup water and ¼ cup red cooking wine to the pan immediately after you remove the meat. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any bits that are stuck to it. Stir boiling 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. This “base” liquid will add a lot of flavor and we’re going to add it to the pot where we cook the meat the rest of the way.

3. Cut the meat into large chunks and put into a large pot with the “base” liquid. Add enough water to cover (for me it was 4 cups.) Add the bay leaves and achiote. Bring to a slow simmer and cover. Cook slowly on low heat for tender meat. If you cook it faster on higher heat the dish won’t be completely ruined or anything, but the meat will be much less tender, so avoid boiling. If the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat. I cooked mine for about 2 hours and the burner was around the “2” setting on my stove. After 30 minutes to an hour, you may see that the meat is already cooked through but if you try to pull it apart with a fork, you won’t be able to – This means the meat has not cooked long enough. Trust me, cook it to around 2 hours and you will see how tender it becomes.

4. In a blender, combine tomato sauce, garlic, onion, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Blend until combined. Add to the pot. (Don’t do this until the meat is done cooking or nearly done cooking.) Also add the carrots and potatoes to the pot. Simmer covered until vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat. Do not cook too long after adding the vegetables as you don’t want them to get mushy. Add salt to taste.

Optional: If you prefer to thicken the sauce (I do), you can remove one cup of the liquid and whisk in a few tablespoons of flour, then add the thickened liquid back to the pot. Tip: Do not add flour directly to the pot. It must be whisked to combine properly and you can’t do that with the meat and vegetables in the way.

5. Serve with rice, beans, salad and tortillas. Serves 4.

Feliz Pupusa Day 2014!

pupusa-postcard

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Happy National Pupusa Day, gente! To celebrate I hope you go to your favorite pupusería with your familia and enjoy one of each kind with plenty of curtido y salsa. (Or make some yourself. I’ve got several recipes here.)

If you live in the DC area there’s plenty of pupusa places to choose from. Over the years I’ve shared the names of a few of my favorites. Today I want to give a shout out to a pupusería we discovered this past year called Flor Blanca in Winchester, Virginia. It’s a small place, nothing fancy – reminds me of the comedors back in El Salvador – but they have excellent pupusas (and plenty of other super authentic Salvadoran food.) The best day to check them out is Tuesday or Thursday when they have 99 cent pupusas!

Last time we went to Flor Blanca I snapped a couple photos with my Cricket Wireless Samsung Galaxy. Ever since I’ve gotten this phone I have completely abandoned my camera – I love the photos it takes.

flor-blanca-restuarant

pupusas-flor-blanca-1

Need a pupusa playlist for your car ride to the pupusería? Here are some good pupusa-themed songs I found in Cricket Wireless’s Muve Music store.

pupusa-playlist

Yes. I now have a Pupusa Playlist.

You can learn more about Cricket Wireless by following the #ConMiCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Not Your Abuela’s Pozole Verde

easy-pozole-verde

Sometimes I cook from scratch, trying to make the most authentic version of a recipe that I can, and sometimes I try to find every shortcut possible to use the least amount of time and the fewest number of ingredients – This pozole recipe is one of those times I decided to sacrifice authenticity for a fast, easy meal.

It all came together kind of on accident. I had planned to make the pozole recipe over on Sweet Life, but it’s a slow cooker recipe and it was already fast approaching dinnertime as I walked around the grocery store. So then I decided I would follow her recipe but make it in a pot on the stove, but then I couldn’t find tomatillos (neither fresh nor canned.) Now what?

I stared at the shelves in the “Hispanic Food” section until I came up with an idea. Why not just buy the salsa verde already prepared? … And so I hatched my plan to create my own recipe for the fastest pozole ever.

The "secret" ingredient. Shhh! Don't tell your abuela.

The “secret” ingredient. Shhh! Don’t tell your abuela.

With just 4 ingredients, I was able to make a delicious pozole in less than 30 minutes once we got home.

Carlos and I both loved it, but we’re definitely not pozole experts. I needed someone more experienced to tell me what they thought before I shared the recipe here. Carlos texted a Mexican friend/co-worker and asked if he’d like some pozole. His friend enthusiastically texted back that he would, and that he wouldn’t be bringing a lunch tomorrow because he planned to eat it right then and there. The pressure was on! What if he didn’t like it? The guy would starve all day thanks to me!

Last night I nervously packed a big container full of the pozole along with some tortillas and baggies of lime wedges, diced onion and cilantro. Then today I waited all day until just about an hour ago for the lunch break verdict. Gracias a Dios he said it was “riquísimo” and he ate all of it! (Whew!)

So, if you have the time and want to go the authentic route, check out the posole recipe on Sweet Life – I’m keeping it bookmarked and want to try it one of these days because Vianney’s recipes are always amazing, plus I love to use my slow cooker when I actually plan ahead.

However, if you’re having a crazy day and need to throw together a warm, comforting dinner on a chilly evening in less than 30 minutes, this quick pozole does the trick!

Not Your Abuela’s Pozole Verde

You need:

1 can white hominy/Maiz Estilo Mexicano (29 oz.), drained
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (the thinner the cut, the faster it cooks)
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth
3/4 of a 16 oz. jar HERDEZ Salsa Verde (about 12 oz.)

Optional (for topping individual servings):
chopped cilantro
radish slices
avocado slices
lime wedges
diced onion

Method:

1. Combine the hominy, chicken breast tenders, chicken broth and salsa verde in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir and allow to come to a boil.

2. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and cover, simmering until chicken is cooked completely through. Remove from heat.

3. Remove chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool slightly so you can shred with your fingers. Put chicken back in the pot.

4. Serve with whichever toppings you like. Carlos ate his with some cilantro but I didn’t feel it needed anything at all. Serves 4.

Tip: Need a meatless Monday meal? You can make this totally vegetarian by omitting the chicken and subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth. The hominy is really delicious and filling on its own.

Pay de Guayaba y Queso

pay de guayaba y queso

A couple weeks ago we made a visit to the international market to stock up on a few things that aren’t available at the regular grocery store. Somehow a packet of guava paste made it into the cart, (okay, I put it there), and it’s been sitting on my kitchen counter ever since. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to make with it but I decided to get creative and see what happened when I combined American pie and Salvadoran semita with Cuban pastelitos de guayaba y queso. Hilariously, I ended up using my Ecuadorian friend, Laylita’s recipe for sweet empanada dough for the crust, so this recipe is authentically Ecua-Cuba-Ameri-doran… or something like that.

Pay de Guayaba y Queso

If the photos haven’t already tempted you to give it a try, let me tell you, it’s everything I hoped it would be. The look of a traditional American pie with the criss-cross technique I use on Salvadoran semita, a crust that is crisp on top but crumbly and tender inside, and a filling that is sweet, rich, and full of close-your-eyes-when-you-take-a-bite-Cuban-goodness.

Before I give you the recipe down below, I just want to say that I’m not fond of the word “pay” in Spanish. Maybe because it reminds me of “payasos” (which scare me), or because it looks like how I would have spelled “pie” in Kindergarten. Anyway, I’ve spelled it “pay” because the rest of the recipe name is in Spanish. Also, if I spelled it “pie” in English then some of the native Spanish speakers might think about feet, which is just ever so slightly unappetizing. So, call it whichever you want – “Pay de Guayaba y Queso” or “Guava and Cheese Pie” … it will taste the same either way.

Pay de Guayaba y Queso

You need:

1 batch of Laylita’s Sweet Empanada Dough

8 ounces real cream cheese (not cream cheese “spread”)

14 ounces guava paste (not jelly!)

1 egg whisked (for brushing on top of the pie)

1 small handful white sugar (to sprinkle on top of the pie)

Directions:

1. Follow Laylita’s direction to create the dough first. I followed the directions exactly, using 4 tablespoons of water where it says “2 to 4″ and 1/4 cup of sugar where it says “1/4 to 1/2.” Separate the dough into 2 balls, flatten into large discs and refrigerate for 30 minutes as instructed.

2. On a lightly floured surface (lightly floured parchment paper works best for me), roll out one of the balls to fit in and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Leave the other ball of dough refrigerated while you work.

3. Pick up the parchment paper and gently turn it over onto the pie plate. Press the dough against the sides and trim off any excess.

4. Cut the guava paste into slices about as thick as a pencil and layer them on top of the dough, overlapping when it becomes necessary.

5. Spread the cream cheese on top of the guava in an even layer.

6. Roll out the other dough ball the same as the first one and gently put it on top. Trim off the excess.

7. Use a pastry brush (or a clean, dry paper towel balled up if you don’t have a pastry brush), to gently brush the whisked egg onto the crust.

8. Take the dough scraps and form a ball. Roll the ball out and use a pizza cutter to cut strips to decorate the top in a crisscross pattern or however you like.

criss-cross-pie

9. Gently brush egg on the crust again, being careful not to disturb the crisscross design.

10. Sprinkle a small handful of sugar evenly onto the crust.

11. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 F until golden brown. (Mine took about 35 minutes.)

12. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Budín de Plátano

Budin de Platano

“Budín” or “bread pudding” in English, is a dessert that makes use of stale bread, although fresh bread works just as well. Variations of the dish can be found around the world.

When my suegra lived with us she often made “budín de guineo” or “banana bread pudding.” I decided to try my hand at making a traditional Salvadoran budín today, but instead of bananas, I made use of 2 ripe plantains I had on hand in a “budín de plátano.”

As usual, I consulted several authentic recipes before developing my own version and Carlos loves it. I hope you give it a try!

Budín de Plátano

Ingredients:

2 large ripe plantains
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing the Pyrex)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 pieces of white sandwich bread cut into cubes

ground cinnamon

Optional: a handful of raisins

Note: Although I haven’t tried it yet, I imagine 3-4 large bananas can be substituted for the plantains without any problem.

Directions:

1. Cut the ends off each plantain and then cut into the peel lengthwise to remove the peel. Place the peeled plantains in an ungreased Pyrex at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes until you can squish them with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a food processor set to “mince”, process the plantains. Next add the eggs and process until combined.

3. Combine the following ingredients one-by-one, into the food processor. Each time you add a new ingredient, process until combined for a few seconds: 2 tablespoons melted butter, flour, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla extract. [If using raisins, you can now stir them in with a spoon.]

4. In a greased 7×11 Pyrex, place the cubes of bread in an even layer. Pour the plantain mixture evenly over top of the bread cubes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. The budín is finished when it’s firm, sides are lightly browned, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool. You can cut and serve from the pan as is or try the alternate method below.

Optional alternate method: To make the budín especially pretty, use a third cooked plantain or banana cut into circles. Lay the circles on the bottom of the greased Pyrex before adding the bread cubes and batter. When the budín is done baking and has cooled, you can invert it (flip it over) into a larger 9×13 Pyrex. The plantain or banana circles will make for a very pretty presentation.

Budin de Platano, Salvadoran Plantain Bread Pudding