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Monday, April 25, 2005

Homemade Mexican Recipe: Enchiladas de Pollo

Another one of Sandrita's special meals! These recipes are getting so many visitors that we are trying to make them a more regular feature.


1 package of corn tortillas (36 count)
3 chicken breasts
1 can green enchilada sauce
½ medium white onion (finely chopped)
2 roma tomatoes (cubed)
salt, pepper and garlic
shredded mozerella and cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup

In a large pot with water cook cut up chicken breasts with tomatoes, onion, salt, pepper and garlic. Cook on high heat for about 20 minutes, pour through colander making sure to keep the tomatoes and onions. Let chicken cool.

In another bowl open 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, cup of sour cream and enchilada sauce. Mix thoroughly. Add cooled chicken (shred chicken thoroughly).

Warm up the package of tortillas in microwave (leave tortillas in package only taking off the plastic clasp) warm them for about 4 minutes, take out and fill with chicken mixture and roll placing them on a casserole pan. After laying first layer, spead cream of mushroom soup on top and sprinkle cheese, add another layer and more cream of mushroom and cheese. Place in pre-heated 350 oven for 20-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden. Serve with rice and beans and salsa! ENJOY - ¡Que lo disfruten!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemos Papa

What a disappointment...I guess Latin America will have to wait a few more years!


Vatican Webcam and Video from the BBC

In case you'd like to hear live commentary and don't have a TV, you can watch the live BBC Vatican Cam. Click on the link in the upper right hand corner.


El Humo Parece Blanco!

That smoke is looking awfully white to me! El humo parece bastante blanco!


El Próximo Papa: ¿Será un Látino?

Well it looks like the world will have a new Pope any time now, and Latin Americans are probably glued to their TVs and radios awaiting word! Will it be one of them? My bet would be on Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but I'm certainly no expert Vatican watcher.

For another interesting article on contenders and Vatican politics, you can check out INTRIGUE, MYSTERY SURROUND SELECTION OF THE NEXT POPE.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Shrimp Ceviche - Stacey's Additions to the Recipe

Sandra's original recipe is found here.

While Sandrita's recipe was really helpful - I did find that I needed to make a few adjustments. First is the amount of shrimp - I think her recipe must be for a family of 5 - and I'm only making the dish for 2. So I decreased a few things:

2 lbs of shrimp (even this is a bit too much)
about 6 roma tomatoes (I used 5 romas and 1 medium Italian vine kind)
1 medium onion
2 limes (I'm not a huge lemony-lime flavored fan)

Then I increased a few other things to suit my own tastes a bit more:

1 1/2 avocado (which ends up being quite a bit more avocado, as my batch is 1/3 smaller)
1/2 cucumber - skinned and cut into small pieces
2 jalapeños - I didn't reduce this at all. I used the medium size jalapeños, and they didn't turn out to be very hot. I might try finding a hotter variety next time. Note that you take out the seeds and cut the jalapeños into very small bits.

Ok not exactly cookbook quality photo but here's the ceviche taken with my cell phone camera!

As for the results...I'd give my version of the Shrimp Ceviche a grade B, maybe a B-. It was good and the ingredients tasted fresh - but there was a certain zest or spice lacking. Since I subtracted a little lime, I probably needed to add a little something else (other than salt). If anybody knows what, let me know! I'll be asking Sandrita what else I can do to perfect this dish as well.

We served it with yellow rice, Italian bread w/ poppyseeds (surprisingly tasty with the Ceviche), plus chips and salsa which were probably not needed.

I did get a complaint about the shrimp itself from my resident fish expert here - who said that perhaps the little cocktail type shrimps have a "fishy" taste, that can be avoided by buying either uncooked raw shrimp, or cooked fresh jumbo shrimp. I would say if you like shrimp, you don't need to worry about that - he isn't much of a shrimp fan anyway! (Alaskans only think fish is fresh when it comes off the end of their pole...)


Recipe Wish List?

Hola Amigos! We have had so many clicks on Sandrita's recipes lately that I've decided to put in a new recipe section. Are there any items you've always wanted to make, but never found the perfect recipe for? Let us know! Sandra is a pretty awesome cook - and she's promised to put together a collection of her best homemade Mexican recipes - but if anybody has a special request, she'd be happy to see if she has anything for you. I'm on my way to the store to buy the ingredients listed in her Shrimp Ceviche one - I actually tried ordering Ceviche at a local Mexican restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and it paled in comparison with Sandrita's. Here's hoping I can replicate it! (actually I'll be happy if it's anything remotely close :)

We'd love to hear from you if you have any ideas or requests.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Lesson for the Week: Using the Spanish Verb Echar

This is a super common and versatile verb - meaning to toss, throw, fling, or put in. In some cases it can also mean "give" - like give it a look, give it a bit more gas, etc.

For a full conjugation chart of all tenses, click here. But looking at conjugations doesn't help give you a grasp on the variety of usages for echar - for that we'll need to look at some sentences using the verb, as well as some idiomatic expressions that use echar and echarse, the reflexive form of the verb (reminder: reflexive verbs reflect back on who is doing the action: bañarse = yo me baño - I take a bath or bathe myself, irse = tú te vas - you go or you take yourself, etc).

Sentences with Echar - Oraciones con el Verbo Echar

Echa la pelota

Throw the ball

No eches eso a la basura

Don't throw that in the garbage

¡Échale más gasolina!

Give it more gas!

¿Puedes echarle una mirada a mi coche?

Can you take a look at my car?

¡No me eches la culpa a mi!

Don't go blaming me! (or don't put that blame on me!)

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 of the preterite tense

Idiomatic Expressions with the Verb Echar

echar a + infinitive to start to

echar en cara to throw in somebody's face

echar a perder to ruin or spoil

echar en el olvido to forget completely

echar abajo to demolish

echar flores to flatter

echar al correo to mail or put in the mail

echar mano a to lay hands on

echar la bronca a uno to get mad at somebody

echar raíces to take root

echar chispas to be angry or very mad

echar todo a rodar to screw things up or spoil things

echar una mirada to take a look

echar la culpa to blame or put the blame on somebody

echar de menos to miss (as in: while you were gone I missed you)

echar de comer to feed (animals)

echarse atrás to lean backwards or retract

echarse a dormir to lie down to sleep

echárselas de to boast or brag of being something

Worksheet/Activity: The Verb Echar

Quiz: Spanish Verb Echar

Hangman: El Verbo Echar

Internet Link: Expressions w/ Echar


Sandrita's Fantastic Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Mexican Lasagna - Lasaña a la Mexicana


8 flour tortillas
1 can of green enchilada sauce
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pechuga de pollo)
1 can of corn, (elote)
1 roma tomato
1/2 cup of mined onion (cebolla picada)
1 can of refried beans (frijoles refritos)
1/2 pound of shredded monterray jack cheese (queso)
1/2 pound of shredded cheddar cheese (queso)

Cook chicken breasts in pot of water with one garlic clove and salt and pepper, once chicken is thoroughly cook, shred it to tiny bite size pieces. Mix in enchilada sauce and onions and chopped tomato.

Place four tortillas on the base of a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, spread refried beans on top of tortillas, open and drain can of corn and spread on top of beans, add chicken mixture, sprinkle cheese, top off with four more tortillas to cover mixture and sprinkle the rest of cheese,

Place in pre-heated 350 oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Aprovecho! This one is a favorite with the kids. I have three kids to feed so this one is a great dish for even the pickiest eater.

Stacey's note: Sandra assures me that you can make this sin frijoles or without the beans - as a non bean lover, that's what I would do!


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Latin American cardinals ready to fight for John Paul II sucession - PRAVDA.Ru

Another interesting article about a Latin American potentially becoming Pope!


Monday, April 04, 2005

Spanish Reading for the Day...Argentine Cardinal Reacts to Speculation

According to this article, Cardinal Bergoglio from Buenos Aires is none too happy about his name being batted around by the press as a "papabili" or papal contender. ¡Verémos!
Bergoglio rechaza ser considerado papable
El arzobispo de Buenos Aires, cardenal Jorge Bergoglio, ungido cardenal por Juan Pablo II en febrero de 2001, suena como uno de los principales candidatos a suceder al fallecido Pontífice polaco.

Las chances de Bergoglio de convertirse en jefe de la Iglesia Católica fueron mencionadas con insistencia, tanto por medios argentinos como internacionales, apenas la salud de Juan Pablo II se agravó. Pero según su vocero, el presbítero Guillermo Marcó, el purpurado porteño "está muy molesto" por aparecer como eventual sucesor de Juan Pablo II.

Key vocab:

convertirse = to become
purpurado = made purple (the color of Bishops)
su vocero = his spokesman
ungido = annointed


Vatican Vocabulary and Papal Contenders

This week's events are of great importance to Latin America and the Spanish speaking world, as I'm sure many of you have heard from TV reports that up to 50% of the world's 1 billion or so Catholics reside in Latin America. Since there's even a chance the next Pope will be chosen from among the Latin American cardinals, knowing some vocabulary related to the Vatican could help you communicate should you find yourself among Spanish speakers who are discussing a related topic. In addition to vocabulary, we'll also take a quick look at a few of the Latin American countries who have a guy considered to be "in the running" for the papacy - quite an exciting thought for people in each one of these countries!

El Papa y el Vaticano - Spanish Vatican Vocabulary

For a lesson on general religion related words, click here.

Spanish Vatican Vocabulary

Worksheet/Activity: Vatican Vocabulary in Spanish

Quiz: Vatican Spanish Words

Latin American "Papabili"

Here are some potential Papal contenders among the 20 or so Latin American cardinals that will be attending the conclave in the next few weeks (note: I gathered these from various news sources, none of the opinions below reflect my own):


Jorge Mario Bergoglio (d.o.b. 12/17/36)

A Jesuit and the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio is seen as a genuine intellectual. If he were to be elected, Bergoglio's simplicity and humility could become a hallmark of his papacy. In Argentina, for example, he rides public transportation rather than a chauffer-driven car. (read more...) another long Spanish article here.


Claudio Hummes (d.o.b. 8/8/34)

A strong Latin American candidate, Hummes is a member of the Franciscan order, like the legendary Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns whom he replaced in Sao Paolo. Like Arns, Hummes was born in southern Brazil from German parents. Hummes could strike some electors as the right mix between doctrinal caution and social engagement. (read more...)


Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (d.o.b. 7/4/29)

Favorite of archconservatives, Cardinal Castrillon is the head of the Vatican office of the clergy. A defender of traditional doctrine, he's taken a bold stance against his country's powerful drug lords. He once dressed as a milkman and went to the house of notorious drug trafficker Pablo Escobar in Medellín to ask him to repent for his sins. (read more...)


Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (d.o.b. 12/29/42)

Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is widely seen as a rising star in the Latin American church. He speaks near-perfect Italian and English (along with passable French, Portuguese, German, Latin, and Greek), plays the piano, and has taken pilot training. He is ferocious on social justice issues. Rodriguez has a warm smile and a ready sense of humor. (read more...)


Norberto Rivera Carrera (d.o.b. 6/6/42)

Rivera Carrera, whose ancestors were Tepehuene Indians, and entered the seminary at age 13. Rivera Carrera is a traditionalist on doctrine and liturgy. His criticism of globalization and political corruption so annoyed Mexico's Salinas government that it threatened to adopt a law forbidding priests from commenting on politics. (read more...)

More Reading:

CNN's article on the next Pope - Papal Chase The Leading Contenders


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