Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pupusas Probably in My Belly. Ok. Definitely in my belly.

After having Pupusas a few times - once with Albany Jane and E and crew at Flores Family Restaurant and another time with Matty G in Noho, and then looking up the recipe and realizing "holy jeez there are only 2 ingredients for the basic recipe?" - well...it was time to make them.

It was a Stephen Monday so it was our project for the day - we had to do some prep stuff in the afternoon and then our friend Jenna was coming over for the making and eating. 

We started by making the curtido - a coleslawish side dish that is served with the pupusas which can be made up to a week ahead (we probably should have thought about that a week ago) - so we got right to it.  The recipe is on the link and the only thing we did differently was skipped the boiling water step and we boiled the vinegar, salt and water mixture instead, hoping that would help it permeate throughout the cabbage mixture a little quicker.  Then we threw it all in a bowl and covered it and weighted it down, hoping that would help "pre age" the mixture.  Final result:


It is a little boring to look at but tasted delicious - and I have a feeling tomorrow it will taste even better.

Then Stephen and I parted ways a little bit - he made the Salsa Roja, another thing served alongside pupusas, and I got busy making a sour cherry almond cake because I bought two containers of sour cherries  at a farmer's market a month ago and I just threw them in the freezer and never did anything with them.  It was time!!!

Stephen can tell you more of the Salsa Roja but this was the basic recipe we used.  I know he used ancho chiles instead of the serrano and it gave the salsa so much more depth I wanted to hug it.  I happily have a jar of leftover yumminess in my fridge that I plan to pour on everything I eat until there is no more left.  Here's a shot of the insanity:


I threw together the the Sour Cherry Almond Cake pretty quickly after I figured out how to pit the cherries.  I did not have a cherry pitter so Stephen and I Googled it - we saw a few ideas.  We watched a video with a great how-to and I read an article so we decided to try both ways and see which was better.  I guess you can say we "pitted" one idea against the other.  Heh.  Pitted.  (btw - I am turning into my father with the ridiculous jokes how is this happening?)

ANYWAY - Stephen made the fork thing from the video and I used the idea from the article and my way won BY FAR (shhh Stephen).  I basically just stood a chopstick up and impaled the cherry on it and the chopstick did all the work (and yes sometimes I made a noise I thought a cherry would have made if it was impaled on a chopstick and had a voice and was alive).  Most of the time the pit was just pushed through the other end with hardly any mess.  My way MIGHT have been better because the cherries were still semi-frozen - but either way I WON!  After everything was prepped I assembled the cake and baked. 


Cakey goodness.  The cake was tasty and moist and I would make it again. Maybe with some booze next time too.

Jenna showed up with her pupusa filling and Stephen had put together some more fillings while I was lounging on the couch and yelling at him to peel me a grape - so I was time for the making of the you know whats.

We made three kinds:  Chicken Salsa, Bean and Cheese, and Chorizo and Corn .  We rolled the dough into balls and then stuffed and flattened them.  This was not the easiest thing to do at first but after about two or three we got the hang of it.  For us the trick was wet hands so everything didn't get all sticky, not overstuffing the pupusas and being careful while flattening so the goodness didn't seep out.

We then fried them on a cast iron jobby.


and we ended up making a lot...


We were only THREE PEOPLE eating - but we made...23 in all I think?  Next time I think I would make them a little bigger and make less in total - but this was a great first effort.

We also made some Queso de Freir (frying cheese) while we were frying things up...


which came out toasty and delicious


and I would like to eat it every day with Salsa Roja until I turn into a piece of fried cheese with salsa on top wearing a dress and glasses.

When all was said and done - wow.  A meal I will have again - maybe with some small tweaks - but it tasted delicious and was incredibly filling.  The best way to eat the pupusa I found was this math problemy way:

Pupusa + salsa on top + curtido and a squeeze of lime = maximum deliciousness. 

The vinegar in the curtido plus the richness of the salsa really cuts the heavy quality of the pupusa.  I guess you can equate it to kind of like a wierd Salvadorian pizza from the planet Awesome.

It is possible this might be fun to do at a dinner party - everyone can bring a filling and you can make the dough and fill and fry and then chow down.  But maybe I would be the only one that could have fun at that kind of party?  Probably.

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