Friday, February 27, 2009

Homeschooling in Guatemala

This is a fun article I collaborated on  with the K-12 Magazine, the program that powers COVA (Colorado Virtual Academy) where the girls are enrolled.

It tell some about Guatemala and our family. On the article the name of the park is Xetulul (it is misspelled a couple of times.)

Click here to read the article.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frijoles -Beans-

What kind of beans? Black of course. Black beans are the staple in Guatemalan food. Yes we do have at the store red and white beans but the everyday and ever loved beans in Guatemala are black beans.

I have often said that black beans are to Guatemalans wh
at peanut butter is to Americans. We could eat beans at any meal an as far as we are 
concerned they go with everything. There is a cute story  on a book I found at the library one day the book is "My name is Jorge, on both sides of the river" by  Jane Medina, I will edit this post with the name of the story. 

Anyway back to the beans. If you know me you know how I love Mediterranean food and that with Tom we are always dreaming about fresh ingredients and gourmet treats, nevertheless nothing will make me happier than my mom's bean
s! I could safely say that beans are the ultimate Guatemalan comfort food. 

Most Guatemalan of all socio-ecomic background eat beans daily, sometimes even twice a day yet beans are cooked only once or twice a week so from the day they are cooked to when they are done they change:
Day 1 -Beans are cooked-

That day for lunch you have bean soup. The bean stock is served with dry cheese and croutons. In the US I buy my cheese at the Mexican store/bakery the closest I have found is "Queso Cotija"

For dinner you have "frijoles parados" with cream. Those are whole beans with some of the stock and you will probably eat them with a spoon. The cream is not the regular sour cream, the closest I have found in the US is Crema Mexicana, found at most local stores, even Sam's Club if you want half a gallon.

Day 2. Beans are blended

The next day the beans are blended and fried with finely chopped onions and or garlic. I do it with garlic. I was always told that in order to be able to refrigerate and reheat the beans over and over you have to fried them the second day or else they will go bad faster.

That day you eat "Frijoles Colados" which is blended beans, th
ey are very runny so you might still eat them with a spoon. You might add cream and mix it well with the beans. I can see myself eating them with water bread and mopping the plate with it, only if you are not with company!

Day 3. Repeat

By this that the beans start getting thicker, you will reheat them with a little bit of oil on the pan and eat them with cream or cheese. At this point of time fork will be do.

Day 4-5 Beans are reheated

Every day beans are reheated, using the oil in a pan, they get thicker and also more fatty. By day four your will be eating delicious "Frijoles Volteados" what one would call in the US Refried Beans. The traditional cheese to go with them would be "Queso de Capas" the closest I have found in the US is "Queso Fresco". At these stage the beans are served in what we call a "Maleta" the literally translation is a "suitcase". (see picture)


From scratch:
 1 pound black beans
 1 onion cut in 4 parts
1/2 a head of garlic, pealed, whole
5 to 6 sprigs of Apazote, you will find it at the store in the hispanic area as EPAZOTE (that is the Mexican name)
In a crockpot/slowcooker place all ingredients and add 2 quarts of water. Cook on low overnight (6-8) hours.

From a can:

I like Fijoles volteados Ducal or Malher (both made in Guatemala). You can find them at some supermarkets and some Hispanica Food store or order them online on Amazon.

How to eat them:

1. With tortillas and cheese.
2. Pan con Frijoles: Bean Sandwich.
3. With eggs for breakfast.
4. With eggs for dinner.
5. As a side with meat or sausage.
6. On a champurrada. Tom would describe a Champurrada as a big thin cookie.
7. With tortilla chips as an appetizer.
8. With tamales.
9. I would eat them here or there, I would eat them anywhere, Guatemalan I am!

Propelled into motion. (and a cool link)

Today without thinking I "advertised" my blog and then I realized it is in my mind not on the web! Oops! It propelled me into motion anyway, so that was good.

I have had all sorts of ideas about how to organize the content, written drafts and collected ideas. I have thought about writing as the year goes and yearly traditions happen. I have thought about just making it about food or just about places to visit. What it comes down to is that I have thought too long, so to honor yet another person I met that shares this beautiful link of having Guatemalan children, I will stop thinking and begin posting! 

I apologize in anticipation for how random everything might start appearing. Please share this blog and please write me asking about any subject you want me to write about. I will try to write once a week.


PS. Last night I got an email from my alma mater, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, promoting their cultural programs. They have a short description of Guatemala from the Arts stand point that shows one of the may facets of Guatemala (it is written in English). 

Follow this link and on the bottom click on Guatemala.