I had to adjust my refrigerator shelves to accommodate the perpetual presence of the large plastic jar with the screw-top lid. When the six inches of vinegar is left with only a few random pieces of cabbage, carrot and red chili floating in it, I chop up another cabbage, shred another carrot, toss in the onion and oregano and refill my jar. It ferments for a few days on the kitchen counter, but then back it goes into the fridge - always ready for my next Salvadoran or near-Salvadoran cooking adventure. Cheese and refried beans in an omelet with a little salsita and curtido on the side. Eggs ranchero with beans a little curtido on the side. Yes, I also really love beans.
We recently had a family night and made pupusas and pasteles (semi-circle seasoned masa pies filled with chopped carrot, potato and meat). We definitely need to improve our technique, but we had a lot of fun trying to get our food to look and taste authentic.
I was meandering through some photos from my last visit in El Salvador, and discovered that one third of the photos I took in San Salvador were of food. I can remember myself thinking, "Ooh, I should take a picture of this so I remember how to make it."
There is something very sensual about squeezing warm water into the dry masa (corn flour) with my fingers, about breathing in the scent of simmering beans for long hours as it permeates every corner of the house, about watching the bubbly egg coating becoming golden brown as rellenos sizzle in the pan and about tasting the tangy bit of curtido with each bite of melty cheese pupusa. Who knows what tomorrow's recipe might be. Whatever it is, I am ready with a little bit of curtido to serve on the side.
|Pasteles made by Alma in El Salvador|