by Karen Voelkening-Behegan
In April, we met at the Nature Friends Clubhouse in Sierra Madre for “Tropical NIght.” Our 3rd in a series of Ethnic Nights, we sampled traditional foods from El Salvador, lovingly prepared by Karen’s good friend Mima. Included among Mima’s dishes were a succulent Carne Gisada prepared with grass-fed beef, tomatoes, onions, carrots, annatto, & garlic, some boiled & sea-salted yucca root sautéed crispy brown in fresh Amish lard, a large pot of freshly fried rice with sprouted Salvadoran red beans (“Casamiento”), and a salad of lettuce and garden vegetables seasoned with lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. To complement the meal, participants contributed traditional favorites including sauerkraut, a tasty fermented protein drink made by Jaye Park, some fruity sangria, sliced pineapple & non-GMO papaya, and even some homemade fermented poi prepared by Mei Kwan. To top it all off, Terri Cardinali made us a wonderful gluten-free homemade coconut cream pie.
After dinner, with spirited El Salvadoran music playing in the background, Mima and her daughter Jenny demonstrated how to prepare traditional Central American platanitos fritos. The sweet, soft, ripe, fragrant Columbian plantains were fried to a crisp deep brown in organic coconut oil and enjoyed by all, both during and after dinner.
Heartfelt thanks to Mima for a great Tropical Night with the tastes, smells, and sounds of El Salvador! And Muchos Gracias to our enthusiastic group for stepping up to the challenge, and contributing additional complementary foods to accentuate to flavors of the evening!
Here’s looking forward to our next Ethnic Night coming up on July 31st with a soon-to-be-announced Asian theme!