Monday Meal Review: El Salvador

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THE SCENE My first mistake was getting out of bed. My second? Thinking I could cook my way through El Salvador on a stomach bug. There's something inherently ridiculous about stumbling around the kitchen in pajamas, cooking enough food for a party, the very smell of which is hard to process, yet also insisting on taking photos for the world to see. I mean, really. And then, every fifteen minutes, I just had to call my mom about the latest weird gurgle coming from my stomach. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Creamy Sweet Corn Drink (Atol de elote)

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Serves 3 In El Salvador, Atol is made with fresh corn kernels, milk, cinnamon, and sugar. My version is simplified for the home cook - but if you have the time, and if it is in season, cut the corn straight off the cob. Do it while listening to Salvadoran music, just because. Ingredients: 1 lb frozen corn, thawed 2 cups milk 1 cinnamon stick 1/4-1/2 cup sugar extra milk, as needed ground cinnamon for garnish Method: Add golden nuggets of goodness to a medium pot. Balance a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Salvadoran Pickled Cabbage Slaw (Curtido)

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Makes 1 giant bowl. Vinegar lovers unite! With very little effort you can have this Salvadoran slaw at your next barbecue or gathering. To be authentic, serve slightly "pickled" - about 1-3 days after making it. This should be vinegary and with the slightest hint of heat. Serve with pupusas. Ingredients: 1 cabbage, cored and sliced thinly 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly 2 carrots, grated 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1/8 cup olive oil salt … [Read more...]

Recipe: Salvadoran Quesadilla (Sweet Breakfast Cake)

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Makes 18-22 cupcakes Don't expect cheese and tortillas. Instead, think poundcake. Think party food. Think happy mornings, popping a few too many quesadillas in your mouth. In El Salvador they eat rich, buttery quesadillas in the morning with a big cup of coffee and I suggest you do the same. You'll love the slight crunch of the sesame seeds in combination with the sweet/salty cake. I'm proud to say that this recipe was awarded First Place in food52's Gluten-Free Baking Competition. Best … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Drinking & Dancing in El Salvador

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Elegance turns to a sloppy muddled mess in the Salvadoran danza de los chapetones. On purpose. For giggles. The satirical dance begins with thirteen dancers, 12 men and a woman. All are elegantly dressed - the men represent Spanish nobles, wearing suits with fancy hats, the woman represents the Spanish queen, wearing a crown and white wedding dress. Which all makes sense once you realize El Salvador was once a Spanish colony. The satire begins as a waltz, wickedly exaggerated. As the dance … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cheese Pupusas (Pupusas de queso)

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Makes 6-10 pupusa Take a big bite of El Salvador with cheesy pupusas. Many locals eat pupusa several times a week - some are filled with beans, others meat. But, no matter how you fill it, there's an art to shaping the mighty papusa. Here's Martha Stewart's demonstration: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kShxKY1mrPM Here are four things I wish I knew when I got started: Make your dough fairly moist. Play with the consistency. You don't want a lot of cracking on the edges. The one … [Read more...]

Menu: El Salvador

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El Salvador is calling my name but I can't go, no matter how badly I want to. We just dug ourselves out of a 14" snowstorm that sent Tulsa to a screeching halt. The newspaper didn't print, milk has been missing for days, and - someone help us - we've got another 5-10 inches coming. At times like these, I find "denial" to be a fairly decent coping mechanism. So, if you need me, I'll be tucked away, under comforter, spooning Salvadorian food into my mouth, waiting for the snow to melt. Cabbage … [Read more...]

About the food of El Salvador

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Do you like colorful birds? What about ruins - ancient, gothic, and colonial? Step right this way. Meet El Salvador, a tiny country freckled with mighty volcanoes, thickly coated by lush tropics, and so much more. In this steamy dreamland, I discovered a theme: corn. First, there's pupusa - thick corn flour (masa) based tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat, or beans. Pupusas [Recipe] are often served with a bright, vinegary scoop of curtido [Recipe], or cabbage slaw, and fresh salsa. Then, … [Read more...]