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

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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.

10 Gifs For Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

Parenting is one of the biggest challenges there is, and bilingual parenting can be twice as hard. Here are 10 animated gifs only parents raising bilingual kids will understand. Laugh, cry, be entertained – I know you feel me.

#1. When your bilingual child is just a baby everything is new and awesome. Mixing the languages together is totally normal and totally adorable. So your reaction when your baby speaks Spanglish is something like:

so-cute

#2. Fast forward 10 years though and your child is still not fluent. Your child’s Spanglish at this stage of the game may have become somewhat less enchanting.

weep-die

#3. But then one day your child says their first curse word in Spanish, (and you know they learned it from you.)

amazing

Hey, at least they’re speaking Spanish.

#4. And then comes that magical age when they get to pick a foreign language at school. The child you’re raising English/Spanish bilingual tells you they want to take… French.

wait-what

#5. Okay, okay. We must embrace all language learning. It’s fine, they can learn French. Maybe they’ll be trilingual you say to yourself. But then they ask for help with their French homework and you discover your mouth will only pronounce French words following Spanish-language rules so you’re completely unhelpful.

blooblah

#6. At some point you realize hey, we’re not speaking enough Spanish at home, so you try the famous “I won’t acknowledge you unless you speak Spanish” tactic.

wont-hear-it

#7. However your child’s reaction to the “I won’t acknowledge you unless you speak Spanish” tactic is:

ok

#8. Time to get stealthy. You decide you’ll try to sneak Spanish into your child’s life by listening to Spanish-language music in the car.

botas-picudas

#9. However, this is your child’s reaction when you listen to Spanish-language music in the car right before they put their earbuds in.

dont-want-to-hear

#10. You’ve all but given up until one day your teenager develops a crush on a native Spanish speaker at school and suddenly takes a renewed interest in learning the language.

Frank-Underwood-Saying-Welcom-Back-House-of-Cards-S2-E1

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 (between 5 – 6 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.

Día de los Muertos 2014

altar-2014-1

This year marks our 4th year of celebrating Día de los Muertos by creating an altar to remember passed loved ones. In 2010 when I first set up an altar and Carlos asked me to take it down because it made him sad, I completely understood and dismantled it. Día de los Muertos is called Día de los Difuntos in El Salvador and most people don’t see it as a day of celebration. In El Salvador it’s more a day of mourning – so Carlos wasn’t into it.

I thought that would be our first and last altar but the next year my boys remembered the tradition and asked if we were going to build an altar. When I explained that it had made Daddy sad to see his father on the altar they asked if we could make one for a beloved dog who had passed – and so we celebrated the life of Ginger the dog that year.

Last year was a turning point because not only did Carlos say he felt comfortable with me creating an altar for his passed loved ones, I also felt comfortable enough to include passed loved ones from my side of the family.

As I set up this year’s ofrenda I realized how therapeutic Día de los Muertos is for healing. It feels good to be able to look at a photo of my grandfather or Carlos’s abuelos and smile, remembering them.

altar-2014-2

Día de los Muertos Marigold Lamp

DIY-handpainted-lamp

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Autumn is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book, and because it’s darker out, a new lamp in your favorite nook may be just the thing – but don’t settle for just any lamp – How about a custom hand-painted lamp? Today I’ll share how to paint a plain lampshade however you like. I chose a marigold theme for Día de los Muertos. (In Spanish, marigolds are called cempasúchiles, caléndulas, maravillas, or flor de muertos! Here’s a great video about the history of marigolds in Mexico if you’re interested.)

Ready to make your own hand-painted lampshade? Here we go!

Do-it-Yourself Hand-Painted Lampshade

What you need:

computer paper
printer with ink
Styleselections lampshade #0352517
Portfolio lamp base #0526936
painters tape
black paint
two similar shades of colored paint (I used Valspar Coral Reef and Valspar Tomato Bisque)
small craft paintbrushes
light bulb (check the box on the lamp base for the proper bulb. I needed a 13 watt CFL)

Note: I’ve given the specific lampshade and lamp base I used in case you want to get the same ones, but you can use any lampshade and lamp base you like. I recommend a lampshade with a white or light-color and smooth surface. Also, if you do a different design than the marigold, then obviously you may need more or different paint colors.

Directions:

1. Choose your design. The marigold design I chose is available on PicMonkey. I have it here for easy download. Just open in Microsoft Paint and print.

2. Remove plastic from the lampshade and take the base out of its packaging.

lamp-base-and-shade

3. Carefully place the design face down on the inside of the lampshade and tape into place.

flower-design-taped

4. Assemble the lamp, including the light bulb. Turn the light on and make sure it’s positioned the way you want before you start painting.

light-on-ready-to-paint

5. Paint the flower petals as you see in the photo, avoiding the black lines. I used Valspar Coral Reef. (The colors I use came out kind of salmon-colored, so if you want a truer orange, you will want to use a different color.)

first-paint-color

6. Use a lighter shade to paint a thin layer on each petal again, leaving a little of the darker color unpainted at the edges to give it more depth. You can see below I’ve started to paint a few of the petals with the second color.

applying-paint-2

7. Use black paint to fill in the outline.

filling-in-black-lines

8. Allow to dry. Remove the paper and tape from the inside of the lampshade. You’re finished!

marigold-lamp-1-latinaish

Want more creative ideas?

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Jane the Virgin: Quotes (Citas)

jane-the-virgin

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!

Usualmente yo no me obsesiono con un programa de televisión, pero yo estoy completamente obsesionada con Jane the Virgin. Cada semana no puedo esperar para el próximo episodio. Mis hijos también les encantan el show. No he querido un show así desde Herederos del Monte. Los actores son todos brillantes, el elenco es diverso, hay una buena mezcla de inglés y español y la trama es perfectamente complicada. Sólo he visto tres episodios y me he reído tanto y también he sido tocada hasta el punto de llorar.

Aquí están tres de mis frases favoritas hasta el momento de la serie. (¿Cuáles son las tuyos?)

“Inhala, exhala, inhala, exhala.” – Rogelio

“I needed a croqueta… I would offer you some but I’m really enjoying it and if I give you a bite I may resent you in a very serious way.” – Jane

“Las pequeñas mentiras se convierten en grandes bolas de maldad.” – La abuela

¿Quieres más Jane the Virgin?

5 Reasons To Watch Jane The Virgin en Remezcla.

Mira Jane the Virgin en linea.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Usually I don’t become obsessed with television shows, but I’m totally obsessed with Jane the Virgin. Each week I can’t wait for the next episode. Both my sons love it too. I haven’t loved a show this much since Herederos del Monte. The actors are all brilliant, the cast is diverse, there’s a good mix of English and Spanish and the plot is perfectly complicated. I have only watched three episodes and I’ve laughed so much and even been touched to the point of tears too.

Here are three of my favorite lines so far from the show. (What are yours?)

“Inhala, exhala, inhala, exhala.” – Rogelio

“I needed a croqueta… I would offer you some but I’m really enjoying it and if I give you a bite I may resent you in a very serious way.” – Jane

“Las pequeñas mentiras se convierten en grandes bolas de maldad.” – La abuela

Want more Jane the Virgin?

5 Reasons To Watch Jane The Virgin on Remezcla.

Watch Jane the Virgin online.