Archive for May 2012

Flor de Izote con Huevos – Yucca flower with eggs   3 comments

I cooked something!   Sharing the recipe with you.   Something totally new (to me) and Salvadoran.  Flor de Izote con Huevos – which is Yucca flower with eggs.  Not to be confused with cassava root / Yuca (one “c”) which people eat, usually boiled, and tastes similar to a potato.

This is a white flower that sprouts from the top of what we call the “Izote” plant/bush/tree, and is also the national flower of El Salvador.  I learned that the Izote plant is also a big desert plant, which makes sense since El Salvador has virtually no rainfall for 6 months a year.   Pictures, with instructions for cooking, for anyone interested in making this at home (if you can get your hands on an Izote flower where you  live).

Flor de Izote

You start with the flower that grows on the top of the Izote bush/tree

The hard part inside of the flower is bitter, so most people take remove it before they cook it.

After the insides of the flowers are taken out, wash the petals and strain them.

Then boil the petals until they get soft – 5 minutes or so. They will look a bit more transparent.

I sauteed one medium size onion and 2-3 tomatoes. Cook them first before adding the flowers, as the flowers have already been boiled. Add salt and pepper or whatever spices you like. Ground ginger is nice for this recipe.

After the onion and tomato are sauteed, add the flowers and cook for a few minutes to absorb the flavors.

The final step is to add the eggs. Here I show the finished product on the plate but you get the idea. You can whip the eggs first or break them into the pan and stir them quickly into the vegetable mixture.


My last purchase from Margarita   2 comments

The Flor de Izote I bought from Margarita was my last purchase from her.  For almost two years now, I’ve bought veggies, cheese, cream, and all sorts of foods from her as she makes her rounds in our neighborhood, toting her goods in the guacal on her head.   I don’t always need what she sells me, but I’m happy to help keep her in business, and admire the courage it takes to walk from door to door selling the way she does.  And always with a smile, and a laugh, she was a bright spot in my week on the days she came by.  I will miss Margarita, so took these pictures of her to remember her.

The white flowers in this guacal (bucket) are what I bought from her that day, and cooked them.


International Labor Day in Panchimalco   Leave a comment

Tuesday, May 1st was “Dia Internacional de los Trabajadores” and also the graduation day for my friend Chata’s first level class in cosmetology schooling in Panchimalco, where they had a big FMLN style celebration.  Everyone had the day off just about, and mid-afternoon I went to “Pancho” with my camera.   Before the graduation ceremony began, they had live entertainment and some folk dancers.

I enjoyed these dancers. The dance in the picture to the right was my favorite – the couple danced back to back with flirtatious gesturing.  The girl in yellow knows the importance of smiling along with the dance movements

Walking through the crowd, you can definitely get the feeling that Panchimalco is populated with a lot of modest, small town type of people, and there is big support for the FMLN party here.

Red shirts everywhere, mostly employees of the Alcaldia (town hall), but some townspeople.

You can tell by the faces this ain’t no Colonia Escalon

Hail to the Chief of the Red Village of Pancho

Mario Melendez, the recently re-elected FMLN mayor, spoke during the graduation ceremony, and there were even a couple of women Diputados (deputies/senators) who came as guest speakers.  I think the red party is doing serious PR work after the heavy losses by their candidates during the recent election.  In fact, Sigfredo Reyes, the head of the legislative assembly, and FMLN party Deputy, came by our neighborhood to speak at the inauguration of our recently paved street.  Talk about making the PR rounds, coming to our dinky neighborhood to celebrate the completion of just one street.

While walking through the crowd, I spotted this basket-o-chickens just outside of the market being cared for by a teenage girl.  There’s an odd-shot every day in El Salvador

After all the song and dance, and requisite political speeches and blessing by the local reverend, the graduation ceremony began.   My friend Chata and all of her other companions had been sitting under the tent, in their Sunday best, waiting for the moment to receive their graduation certificate and  a handshake from Mayor Melendez.  People were taking so many pictures afterwards they asked graduates to please sit down so the other speakers could make announcements.

Courses are being sponsored by the Panchimalco municipality for computation, cosmetology, sewing, pottery, and crafts of card-making and paper flower-arrangements.  Daycare service is provided also.  Sounds like a good program, and I even saw leaflets that were hung up on utility poles and placed in mailboxes.    There were also a few graduates for a literacy program who stepped up the the stage to receive their diplomas.

Here is Chat with her diploma just after she received it.  A big change from where she was just a year ago, selling tortillas in our neighborhood.


To Chalatenango, and Back   2 comments

Today’s blog is of casual shots I took on the way to, and from, a trip to Chalatenango two weekends ago.  The photos are very descriptive, so I’m going to “let the pictures do the talking” for the most part, with a little narration.   ( Rhymes with ‘let your fingers do the walking’, doesn’t it?   For pp too young to know what that means, just wiki it – the rest of us will enjoy remembering that jingle from the good old days.  ).   Ok, and one thing while you’re reading, you can CLICK A PICTURE TO ENLARGE.  I can tell from the statistics you’re not doing that enough, so start clickin’.

We start our photo journey near the center of San Salvador, at the Tiendona.

This photo shows a lot about what happens around the Tiendona and markets in El Salvador.   Starting on the left, a man in a beige/brown shirt is pushing a type of cart.  Then a street sweeper with a blue barrel – if you look closely you can see his broom looks like a home-made country type of broom.  Street sweepers all over El Salvador use those type.   The lady in the khaki shorts looks almost American.  What’s SHE doing at the Tiendona?  The red truck with veggies in back, and a man carrying numerous ladies purses and bags.  Many vendors carry items on their backs, shoulders, and off of belts on their waist.  And finally, the white truck on the right is a typical commercial truck used for hauling agricultural goods.

Here is an example of what’s seen all over El Salvador – people carrying things on their heads and shoulders, hauling & pushing things.

Here’s the guy in the picture form above – look at
how much he’s pushing!

Here's the guy in the picture form above - look at
how much he's pushing!

Now driving away from the Tiendona, near the
street "5 de Noviembre" I saw this woman, with veggies on her head. Photo a bit muddy, as I took it while driving, looking out the rear tainted window.

These guys knew I had a camera and started smiling, but I was driving , so couldn’t catch them well without having an accident.  They’re driving northward away from the city, looks like they went to the Tiendona market, too.

This pickup driver is a patriot of his country and Jesus – it says “El Salvador is for Christ.”  All the way to the right we see part of a Minutas cart.  Minutas are shaved ice with flavorings and fruits poured over it, and are well known here.  The sign above the truck tells us how far we are from Guazapa, Aguilares, Chalatenango, and the Frontier with Honduras, “El Poy” – I’m still a  good hour away from the cow pastures of our place in Chalatenango.

Ok, now I’m on my way BACK from Chalatenango.   My husband showed me how to fish with an ‘atarraya’ while I was there, but that’s another blog we’ll talk about later.    Here’s a picture of my favorite tree in El Salvador:  the Conacaste.  In Aguilares, off the Truncal del Norte (route 4N).   These stately trees become very large, as seen in this picture, but the leaves are small and almost delicate.  See the truck on the lower left?  Blue barrels are full of milk that they’re bringing into the city.

Right below the Conacaste is hand-painted graffiti, with is a message written in protest:  “The Dams are Death.  No to the Cimarron,” which is a hydroelectric dam project which began a few years back, causing a lot of controversy in Chalatenango.  If that dam goes up, our river we swim  and fish in is hosed.  Last I heard Funes had “suspended” the project, but it could get picked up again down the road.  El Salvador wants to maintain energy independence, and as its population grows, begins to have difficulties in keeping energy costs down.  We need more windmills and solar panels, but we also need farmland for veggies and agricultural products.  Look at the map and you’ll see not a lot of room for either.

Right next to the painted message of protest and also underneath the Conacaste, I ran
into these guys hauling pigs out of a truck. The pigs were squealing away, also in protest, as they were pulled out hind-legs first from the truck.

So I asked them, what do you sell them for?   Oh, you want to buy one?  Not today, I said, but maybe another day.  $130 a piece, he said.  This area where they have the pigs is also where men bring cattle and other animals in for sale. This is a small showing for animals, but it is a Monday.  On other days this place gets full of animals.

And speaking of farm animals, how about this representation of “the Lord is my Shepherd” on the route 117 bus?  (It runs from San Salvador to Aguilares).  The wavy El Salvador flag is like the patriotic pickup driver I saw on the trip up, isn’t it?  Except this one depicts literally how intertwined El Salvador is with the United States, the flags coming together behind the statue of liberty.  I hadn’t seen that until just now writing this post.  Wow.  CLICK THE PIC!

One thing I love about El Salvador that I’ll miss when we leave are the constant vistas of hills and mountains – there’s one just about anywhere you stand in this country.  I pulled over here in Apopa to take this picture and show you what I mean. 

That’s all for now.  Have a wonderful day.

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