World Cup: Uruguay vs. France

11 Jun

 

Uruguayan soccer player Diego Forlan, pictured above , said today was the most anticipated day for Uruguayans on his Twitter account. Picture courtesy of Diego Forlan's Twitpic account: http://twitpic.com/photos/DiegoForlan7

 

As a lot of you may know, Uruguay is playing its first game in the 2010 World Cup today against France.

It’s airing at 2:30 p.m. eastern time and you can watch it on ESPN’s website.

One of our star players, Diego Forlan tweeted this six hours ago:

“Vamos Uruguay! El dia mas esperado por todos los Uruguayos. A disfrutarlo !!!!!!!”

which translates to “Let’s go Uruguay! This is the most awaited day for all Uruguayans. Let’s enjoy it!!!!!!”

I’m not much of a sports commentator, so I can’t provide some deep analysis, but I can tell you that we have a long history with fútbol (or soccer as it’s called in the U.S) and passion for it.

We hosted the first World Cup in 1930 in Estadio Centenario, a stadium which is still around today.  We also were the first nation to win the World Cup, that same year.

We won the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. It was the first World Cup held in 12 years because of World War II.

This will be our 11th time appearing in the FIFA World Cup.

Needless to say, I’m rooting for us!

For more information on Uruguay’s role in the World Cup visit the FIFA world cup website.

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Once upon a time in a Panaderia …

8 Jun

After going to Salvadorian restaurant/market Mas X Menos in Southside Richmond, I got to stop by La Sabrosita Bakery, located a couple of stores down. The owners of La Sabrosita are also from El Salvador, but you can find some treats that are similar to what you would find in a Uruguayan panaderia (bakery).

Plantillas with caramel in the middle.

Dulce de Leche or "arequipe" as it's called in some countries.

During this outing, I found dulce de leche (yay, another place you can find it in Richmond) as well as some pastries, including alfajores and palmitas. Alfajores are two layers of cake, with filling in the middle (ranging from caramel, dulce de leche, chocolate or jam depending on what country you’re in). Palmitas are a sugary, crunchy and flaky treat. I also had plantillas with caramel in the middle. These were very good; moist and soft when you bit into them. The alfajores and plantillas, however, probably used caramel instead of dulce de leche since they did not seem very sweet to me. Also, I would have preferred more filling in the alfajor and plantilla, similar to what is done in Uruguay.

Overall, the place was good and I highly recommend visiting it. It’s not very often you find panaderias and they are a unique aspect of Spanish-speaking countries. Some of the variations in the pastries from El Salvador are probably regional. For example their dulce de leche (referred to as arequipe in some Spanish-speaking countries) may not be as sweet as ours and they may not use as much filling in their pastries.

Alfajores with coconut on the sides and caramel in the middle (right)

La Sabrositas wasn’t exactly like a panaderia you would find in Uruguay, but you should still visit. It gives you an idea of what it’s like to shop in a specialized market with fresh food.

Veronica Garabelli photos

Pascualina

24 May

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Photos by Veronica Garabelli

Pascualina is a recipe that is inspired by the Italian “Torta Pasqualina.”

Pascua means Easter in Spanish; which makes sense because this pie was originally eaten during Easter. Traditionally, Catholics don’t eat meat during Easter so this is a nice alternative. However, Uruguayans and Argentineans eat Pascualina year round.

The Italian version uses artichokes, while the Argentinean/Uruguayan version does not. They use Swiss chard because it is not only cheap but tasty, however the recipe can be made with spinach. We normally eat it cold because the flavor is allowed to set in.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2  packages of Pilsbury pie crust

50 oz chopped, frozen spinach (5 packages)

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

Salt

Pepper

7 eggs

Olive oil

2 tbs of sugar

Preparation time: 30 minuts

Cooking time: 65 minutes

DIRECTIONS:

CRUST:

1. Preheat oven to 375° F

2.  In a 9 by 12 baking dish, place one layer of the crust on the bottom of the baking dish. Cut part of the second layer and mold it to fit the empty sides the baking dish.

3. Mold the seams with your fingers.

4. Prick the crust with a fork and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

FILLING:

5.  In a large frying pan put 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sautée the onions until they turn transparent. Add the frozen spinach and cook until it’s defrosted and the liquid has been absorbed.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Transfer the filling into a big bowl and add the ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir well.

8. LOWER THE OVEN TO 350 ° F. Put the filling inside the baking dish with the prebaked crust. Make six deep holes in the filling and break six eggs inside each of the holes.

9. Cover the filling with the third layer of crust, using scraps from the second crust to cover the parts which are uncovered. Press down the edges and sides of the crust with a fork.

10. Prick the top part of the crust with a fork (as shown in the picture).

11. Beat one egg, 2 tablespoons of sugar and brush it on top of the crust.

12. Bake for 50 minutes

13. When it’s done, let it stand for 1 1/2- 2 hours until it’s cold.

Dulce de Leche: A Uruguayan treat

21 May
Veronica Garabelli photo

GOYA Dulce de Leche is available at Magruder's in Vienna, Va., 180 Maple Avenue West.

Dulce De Leche is a popular Uruguayan dessert that is undoubtedly responsible for my giant sweet tooth. In English, it translates to “Milk Caramel Cream.”  It’s a spread, which for the sake of categorizing we can call the South American Nutella. In my opinion, it’s different than regular caramel because it is much thicker and sweeter.

Uruguayans spread Dulce de Leche on just about anything: bananas, bread, pancakes, cake or pastries.

I’ve noticed that in the last couple years, Dulce de Leche has become more popular in the United States, most notably with the HäagenDazs ice cream flavor (which if you ask me, is not bad but doesn’t even compare).

If you’re intrigued and haven’t tried it, or are just craving it here is where you can get it:

  1. Olio (formerly known as The European Market)

2001 ½ W. Main St. Richmond, Va., 23220.

I just called them and they’re out of stock, but said they should be getting some by Thursday. Ask for the “Dulce de Leche Milk Caramel by Salamandra.” This one is from our neighboring country, Argentina and it’s DELICIOUS.

Goya Dulce de Leche is worth a try as well. They just started carrying this at Magruder’s in Vienna, Va., 180 Maple Ave West. My mom likes to shop there and she was thrilled.

Of course you can always order online, I will be scouting some good sites for Uruguayan food and reporting back to you soon.

I was fed giant spoonfuls of this thing as a kid, so I love it. Needless to say, there will be many more entries on Dulce de Leche to come.

Do you know of any good places to get Dulce de Leche? Let me know!

Pastel de Carne

20 May

Veronica Garabelli Photo

Hello and welcome to A Taste of Uruguay. This blog is not necessarily going to be a food blog, but I thought it would be a good idea to start with one of my favorite Uruguayan dishes: Pastel de Carne.

Pastel de Carne means “Meat Pie.” Friends of mine who have eaten this dish often compare it to Shepherds Pie. To be honest, it is very close but not quite the same. There are a lot of variations of Shepherds Pie, but from what I can tell, Shepherds Pie doesn’t have eggs. Pastel de Carne, like a LOT of Uruguayan dishes, does.

One of the beauties of Pastel de Carne is that it is really easy to make and you don’t necessarily have to make everything at the same time. Want to use leftover mashed potatoes from yesterday’s dinner? That’s fine! I’ve split the recipe into four parts, which you can do in whatever order you’d like.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of potatoes (I prefer to leave the skin on, but it really doesn’t matter as long as they’re nice and fresh)

1 pound of ground beef/turkey (It taste better with ground beef, but turkey is a healthier alternative)

Butter

Milk

Salt

Pepper

Oregano

Sauteed onions/garlic (this time, I used garlic)

3-4 Eggs

Shredded Cheese (Yellow, of any kind)

DIRECTIONS:

PART ONE: Ground Beef

1. Mix ground beef/turkey with chopped onions/garlic. Add salt, oregano and pepper to taste.

2. Cook ground beef/turkey in pan (medium-high heat)

3. Place cooked ground beef/turkey in pan

PART TWO: Mashed Potatoes

1. Chop each potato into quarters.

1. Place the potatoes in a pan that is filled with water. Turn heat on high. Cook until you can stick a butter knife through the potatoes. (usually takes 20 minutes after the water is boiling).

2. Drain water using pasta drainer.

3. Mash potatoes using a potato masher.

4. Add butter, salt and milk to taste and stir. (This depends on how creamy you want the mashed potatoes to be).

PART THREE: HARD BOILED EGGS

1. Place eggs in pan with cold water.

2. Place on medium-high. After the water begins to boil, put the timer on for 12 MINUTES.

TIP: If you want to see if they’re cooked all the way, spin the eggs on the table. If it spins easily, it’s cooked. Also, if they are just slightly undercooked, you can put them in the microwave for a couple of seconds.

3. Peel eggs and chop into quarters.

PART FOUR: The Works

1. Mix cooked ground beef/turkey and eggs.

2. Spread mashed potatoes on top.

3. Add lots of cheese on top.

4. Put in broiler until cheese is melted.

As you can see, this recipe is very simple. All it takes is combing mashed potatoes, ground beef with onions/garlic and hard boiled eggs. If you have difficulty making hard boiled eggs, you can even buy some pre-made ones at the grocery store.