Sunday, March 2, 2014


Well, I finally got back to the blog.  I can tell fatigue from being sick is really getting me down.  Halfway through cooking today, I was ready to take a nap.  But my fiending for papusas overcame that fatigue.  Well, maybe a little. 

The first thing I got started today was salpicón de res, or shredded beef salad.  It actually called for a beef flank steak, but when I finally found them, they ranged from $18-26. Um, no. So, I went with some sirloin steaks that were on sale for less than half the cost.  I put each steak in a pot of water with some onions and salt and let it cook down for about two hours. Then I took it out and shredded it, mixing this in with a bowl of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, a can of diced tomatoes, a little sliced onion, (I left out the chilies), and some chopped avocado.  After gently mixing everything together (because I didn’t want to end up mashing my avocados), I put this in the refrigerator.

My husband loved this. In fact, it's really good if you put it on top of the pupusa as well! 
In the meantime, I also was making the curtido to go with the pupusas.  Curtido consists of shredded cabbage, grated carrots, and sliced onions, topped with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, salt, brown sugar, dried Mexican oregano, and some crushed red pepper.  I think I used too much cabbage (and I didn’t even use how much they said!), because it was still a little dry.  And I’m not sure if it was supposed to be made with green or red cabbage.  The stores were running out of things because it was snowing today and people generally went crazy. (But not as bad a the storm in early January.) It was described on a couple sites like being a cross between Korean kimchi and sauerkraut. It turned out like neither.

Curtido on top.  Looks and tastes like cole slaw. I need to figure out how to make this better.
And because horchata is a common drink in El Salvador as well, I bought a mix from the international grocery store.  I’ve ordered horchata in restaurants, but I’ve never bought my own mix.  My sister bought a powder mix, but the only one I could find was a liquid concentrate.  It was pretty good.  My son couldn’t get enough.  And then insisted he could pour it himself and poured it directly on the table. Lovely. (Probably not my most well thought out plan.)

Pupusas!! It's no wonder there's a holiday devoted to these.
And finally, we come to pupusas.  I went on two trips to find corn flour to start with.  And this one starts out with mixing the flour with warm water and salt until it’s a soft dough. I had to add a lot more water than the recipe actually calls for. After letting it sit for about 15 minutes, I broke it into six pieces and rolled them into balls. Gently, I made an indention with my thumb and spooned in a little bit of refried beans and topped with some grated queso cotijo.  What was hard to do was wrap it around the beans and cheese to close it up back into a ball. But when I did, I flattened it.  (I found it helpful to dip my fingers in water and then rub the ball before I made the indention.)  But after I made all of the flattened pupusas, I fried them on a griddle.  They’re meant to be topped with the cutido and salsa roja (that I didn’t make today).  I did top mine with a little bit of some peppery corn salsa that I bought last week. It was really good. Because of the dryness of the corn tortilla, you really need to have some kind of salsa to go on top of it. Real pupusas are also filled with a finely ground pork called chicharrón, but I left that out. Maybe next time.

This will make an awesome lunch for me tomorrow. Too bad I have to surround my lunch time with work. 
I liked this meal.  In fact, my husband is losing his mind over it.  Making this meal today was more or less a personal goal.  I have a lot on my plate right now that I found myself really having to push myself to finish this one.  But I did finish it. And although it snowed again today (even though this is March 2 and it really needs to stop now), I did manage to feed my family. That’s winning in my book. And I rewarded myself with some Mexican beer since they don’t sell any Salvadoran beer here.  I tried a different one this time: Pacifico.  I thought it was really good. So, while these recipes will go in my folder to be made again later, I’ll be taking another break in my blog to take a writing class to learn some new things and hone my skills. This working full time is getting in the way of all the other things I want to do in my life. Actually, it would be great if I had a writing job somewhere where it didn't feel like a job. 

Up next:  Equitorial Guinea

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