Leche Poleada (Salvadoran Vanilla Custard)

leche poleada salvadoreña

I decided to surprise Carlos by making a batch of leche poleada today but I tweaked my usual recipe and it came out even better, so of course I want to share the new version with all of you!

Leche Poleada (Salvadoran Vanilla Custard)

Ingredients:

5 rounded tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups 1% milk
3 egg yolks
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

ground cinnamon (for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

1. In a blender add milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Blend for 15 to 30 seconds until well combined.

2. Pour the mixture into a pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and vanilla extract.

3. Stir regularly until the mixture thickens. (Don’t be too quick to remove it from the stove. You want it to be the texture of pudding. After 5 minutes, if it isn’t thickening, turn the heat up a little and stir a little less regularly.)

4. Remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick.

5. To serve warm, serve immediately. To serve cold pour into individual ramekins, bowls or even disposable plastic cups, and allow to chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Right before serving sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Leche Poleada - Salvadoran Vanilla Custard

Don’t get the wrong idea…

This past weekend Carlos and I had the unhappy chore of shopping for new cellphone service since my contract with Cricket Wireless is coming to an end this month. Because of the way our family’s service was set up, we weren’t able to keep our phone numbers, making this the third cellphone number change for us in three years.

We spent all weekend setting up the new phones and texting all our contacts to apologetically let them know we have new numbers yet again. Most people dutifully changed our numbers in their contacts and replied with simple responses like “Ok! Got it!”

However, the response Carlos received from his Mexican friend Rigo had us both laughing.

rigo-text

Pupusas en la Escuela: Part II

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 unos años les dije que pupusas fueron mencionadas en el libro de la clase de español de mi hijo mayor. Hoy les quiero mostrar la tarea de mi hijo menor.

pupusas-homework

Tal vez parece no muy importante, pero me hace feliz ver que la gente que escriben los textos y caudernos realizan la importancia de la diversidad.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

A few years ago I told you that pupusas were mentioned in my older son’s Spanish class textbook. Today I want to show you my younger son’s homework.

Maybe it doesn’t seem very important, but it makes me happy to see that the people who write textbooks and workbooks realize the importance of diversity.

How to make: a Pupusería for your Nacimiento

pupuseria-traisy-1

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.

In El Salvador and many other Latin American countries, the nativity scene, or “nacimiento” is not the quiet, traditional scene most Americans are used to. In addition to Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, barnyard animals, a shepherd and three wisemen, Salvadoran nativity scenes can take up a whole room and look like an entire village complete with soccer players, musicians, and figures of favorite TV characters.

If you wanted a pupusería (restaurant that sells pupusas) for your nativity this year, you’re in luck! Here’s how you can make your own custom pupusería, either for your nacimiento or to gift to someone as a decoration.

How to make: a Pupusería for your Nacimiento

What you need:

1 primed inside corner crown moulding block
1 pack wide hobby [popsicle] sticks (found in hardware in the drawers labeled “hobby”)
scissors
hot glue gun and glue sticks
Valspar paint samples and/or craft paint in various colors
hobby-size craft paint brushes
cutting pliers
ruler
painter’s tape
newspaper (to protect the surface you’re working on)
paper towels

Optional (to make people or animal figures):
craft board (light, thin wood)
pencil
jigsaw
sandpaper

Directions:

painting-pupuseria-craft-1

First you’re going to want to place some painter’s tape halfway up the “walls” as shown so that you’ll have a clean line when you paint. Many Salvadoran houses are painted in two colors like this, but you can paint it just one color if you wish. You will also want to paint the “roof” a brownish color so that any spots that show through won’t be obvious when you’re done with the roof tiles.

cut-popsicle-sticks

To make the traditional looking “tejas” roof tiles which are popular in parts of El Salvador, you’ll be using the wide popsicle sticks (also called “hobby sticks.) Cut as many as you need with the pliers for the first row which you’ll hot glue to the roof. Mine were about 1 1/2 inches long, but I think it would have worked better if I cut them slightly shorter.

popsicle-stick-edges

For the corners, you may need to cut your roof tiles with the scissors so they’re beveled (see photo.)

starting-roof-1

Once you hot glue the first row, you may find it necessary to put a few layers of hot glue and allow it to harden on parts of the roof before you add the next row to give yourself a more even surface to work on.

roof-teardrop-shape

You may also find that cutting some of the roof tiles in a “tear drop” shape, as shown, will work better in some areas.

roof-complete-before-paint

I’m not going to lie – the roof took a long time and it was far from perfect. I’m definitely not going to be hired as a roofer anytime soon! However, once you have it all tiled, you’re ready to paint it.

roof-complete-with-details

I didn’t have a specific Valspar color on hand that I felt was the right shade so I ended up mixing my own color. You want sort of a dark reddish-orange. After I painted them that color, I used a dry brush in dark brown paint to add a little more detail.

pupuseria-2

Feel free to get creative with whatever details you want to add. As you can see, I painted a little potted plant on the outside wall near the entrance.

As for the figures of the woman and the dog, I just traced their shapes on craft board and cut them out with a jigsaw. Sand the edges until they’re smooth and then you can paint them as you wish.

If you look closely, you can see a little plate of pupusas inside. For that I used a wooden nickel (available in the “hobby” drawer in the Hardware department), which I painted blue. For the pupusas, I used a knife to slice a rubber cork from a wine bottle into little discs and painted them. Once dry, I hot glued the pupusas to the plate and hot glued the plate to the little triangular ledge on the inside.

pupuseria-traisy-1

When I went to paint the pupusería’s sign on a popsicle stick to hot glue to the outside wall, my younger son walked by the table. He pointed to the figure of the woman which I had already painted and he said, “Is that you?” … I decided then that it would be my pupusería. (And yes, I spelled my name the Salvadoran way!)

Want more creative ideas?

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Conversations at Casa López – Part 4

casalopez-2

Today I bring back this series with my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Tracy: Whatcha doing cutie pants?
Carlos: Not much—
Tracy: I was talking to Chico.

Carlos: Look, the guy at the Latino market gave me the merchant copy. [Shows me a receipt]
Tracy: Why is this the American copy? Did you want it in Spanish?
Carlos: What?
Tracy: Why are you calling this an American copy?
Carlos: No, I said MERCHANT copy.
Tracy: Oh, it sounded like you said ‘MURICAN copy.

“Mommy help! Get him off me! He’s hurting me with jalapeño breath!”

– My older son being pinned down by my younger son who was breathing into his face after eating pickled jalapeños

Tracy: Hey, this book says Mexican women don’t shave their legs. I’m moving to Mexico.
Carlos: Um, that sounds… anticuado. How old is that book?
Tracy: Published…(turns pages)… 1972. Oh.

Carlos: I’m going to cut the grass.
Tracy: It’s Sunday. That’s bad karma.
Carlos: But it needs to be done.
Tracy: Ay ve vos.
Carlos: Well I can’t now cause you jinxed me.

Tracy: Can you grab me a wad of paper towels?
Carlos: Huh?
Tracy: Can you grab me a wad of paper towels?
Carlos: A watt?
Tracy: A wad!
Carlos: What is that?
Tracy: Tanate! Can you grab me a tanate of paper towels?
Carlos: Why didn’t you just say that to begin with?

13 year old: Hey Daddy, have you heard of that singer Macklemore?
Carlos: Yeah, he’s from Soyapango.
13 year old: You say everyone is from Soyapango!

Carlos: Ooo, you got Abuelita chocolate!
Tracy: Yup.
13 year old son: Who’s the old lady on the package?
Tracy: Abuelita, of course.
13 year old: Oh.
Tracy: Hey Carlos, isn’t that the same lady in the Pedro Infante movies?
Carlos: Yup, that’s Nana Tomasita.
13 year old: Let me guess, she’s from Soyapango.
Carlos: Nope. She’s from Chalate.

Rajas con Crema Taco Casserole

Rajas Con Crema Taco Casserole

Rajas con Crema is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of strips of roasted Poblano peppers and onion simmered in Mexican cream. The rajas are then usually eaten in corn tortillas as tacos or atop rice. It’s one of the few vegetarian dishes that leaves me totally satisfied. Here’s my version of the dish made into a casserole; it’s perfect for potlucks or for when you want a meal you can prep in the morning then pop into the oven at dinnertime.

Rajas con Crema Taco Casserole

You need:

6 – 8 chiles poblanos
16 oz. crema Mexicana (I used Lala brand)
2 cups shredded mozzarella or shredded queso chihuahua
half of one medium red onion, (about 1/2 cup when later cut into strips)
12 corn tortillas, lightly toasted on a dry comal and cut in 1 inch strips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
salt
cooking spray for greasing the pan

Note: A pizza cutter works great to cut the tortillas into strips

Method:

1. Roast the whole chiles until the skin is blackend, either over fire if you have gas stove, or on a dry comal (griddle.)

At this time you will also cut the onion half in quarters and place on the comal, moving as needed to slightly roast all flat sides. Remove the onion to cool for a moment before slicing in tiny, thin strips. Measure out ½ cup onion for this recipe.

2. Wrap the chiles in a paper towel and seal inside a large paper or plastic bag for at least 5 minutes. (This process is called “sweating” the chiles.)

3. Remove the chiles from the bag and the paper towel. Use your fingers, a knife or spoon to scrape most of the blackened skin off the chiles. It’s okay to leave some behind. Do not wash the chiles in water.

4. Use a knife to cut off the stem and slice the chiles open. Cut off and discard the seeds and membrane, then slice the chiles into ½ inch to 1 inch strips. It’s okay if a few seeds remain, just be aware that the more you use, the spicier the dish will be.

5. In a greased 9×13 glass or metal pan, put down a layer of tortilla strips, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with a little salt. Next add a layer of chili strips and a layer of onion, using all your chili and onion.

6. Drop crema by the spoonful on top of the chiles and onion, spreading in an even layer with the back of the spoon.

rajas-steps-collage

7. Top with another layer of tortilla strips, sprinkle with salt, and then add the cheese. Drizzle the melted butter over the top.

8. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes uncovered, then broil high for 1 minute to get some nice, toasty brown spots on the cheese. Cut and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Tip: Cooking for a crowd? Double the ingredients and layers! (This may require a slightly longer bake time.)

rajas-1

#SiAmasADios

Si Amas a Dios - Espinoza Paz

Over a week ago Regional Mexican artist and composer Espinoza Paz announced that he would be releasing a new song called “Si Amas a Dios”, (#SiAmasADios on Twitter) inspired by the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico.

The song is now available free to download from iTunes.

If you don’t have iTunes, you can also find it on YouTube.

I searched the internet and wasn’t able to find the lyrics so (with a little help from Carlos), I transcribed them myself. Here they are for anyone else who wants them.

Si Amas a Dios

por Espinoza Paz

Si amas a Dios
No tomes café con el diablo mañana
Hagamos consciencia hermano, hermana
¿O de qué lado estás?

Si amas a Dios
No juegues al bueno con esa pelota
No dejes que al vaso le caiga otra gota
¿O de qué lado estás?

Si amas a Dios
Es tiempo de hacerle caricias al mundo
Dile que lo sientes en lo más profundo
de tu corazón.

Si amas a Dios
No cierres los ojos, la boca, y la puerta
Se encuentra encendido un foco de alerta
Ya pasa la voz.

Si amas a Dios
No rompas piñatas llenas de pistolas
Que ya no se tiñan de rojo las olas
¿O de qué lado estás?

Si amas a Dios
Oremos por todos los que tienen hambre
No dejes que siga rodando el estambre
¿O de qué lado estás?

Si amas a Dios
Es tiempo de hacerle caricias al mundo
Dile que lo sientes en lo más profundo
de tu corazón.

Si amas a Dios
No cierres los ojos, la boca, y la puerta
Se encuentra encendido un foco de alerta
Ya pasa la voz.

No dejes que la maldad gane más terreno.
Sólo nosotros podemos ponerle freno.
No más veneno.

Si amas a Dios
Es tiempo de hacerle caricias al mundo
Dile que lo sientes en lo más profundo
de tu corazón.

Si amas a Dios
No cierres los ojos, la boca, y la puerta
Se encuentra encendido un foco de alerta
Ya pasa la voz.

Si amas a Dios.
Si amas a Dios.