Tag: day of the dead

Calavera Queso Fresco Salsa Dip

Calavera Queso Fresco Salsa Dip

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Cacique and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, recipe and all opinions are mine. 

A recipe I made for Dia De Los Muertos:  made with Cacique's Queso Fresco and salsa

I’m thinking of my feisty friend Alfonso (my fiancés father) as Dia De Los Muertos approaches.  It’s been almost 5 years since he stepped out of his human life and floated into the other side. I was there as he passed and watched his face go calm in peace.  Awwww, that man. He loved to fight with me.  I think I was probably the only female in his world brave enough to not agree with his every word.  He knew I had a good heart but wasn’t gonna back down.  He use to call me his lawyer because when he needed something done or figured out, I was the one he would turn to to get it done.  He said I had a persuasive way. When we first met he questioned my ability to cook and doubted I could find my way around the kitchen.  I loved proving him wrong.  I think he thought of himself as somewhat of a master of the cocina, but the truth was he was seriously the salsa king.  I had to give it to him, his salsa rocked.  I would bring him empty jars all the time so he never had an excuse not to share his salsa with me.  He took such pride in making his salsa and would just gloat to everyone how great it was, and most of the time people had no other choice but to agree.   He would set up a bowl of his salsa, a slab of Cacique’s queso fresco, chopped up avocado cubes, and a pile of corn chips, and that combo was his snack.

I used to sit in his kitchen sometimes and watch him make it.  I’ve never tried to recreate his perfect salsa since he’s been gone, but I do think of him every time I make my own salsa.  I have to eat it the same way he did, with queso fresco (Mexican cheese), avocado, and chips.  This is my ode to that lovely grump Alfonso Lopez that I still love and I once knew.

Ingredients for calavera queso salsa dip

Ingredients for Calavera Salsa Dip:

  • 1 – package Cacique Queso Fresco
  • 3 – tomatoes
  • 1 – tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 – jalapenos
  • 4- serrano chiles
  • 4 – fresh chile de arbol
  • 1 – onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 4 – garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 – teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 pinch of dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 – cups of water
  • avocado
  • corn chips
  • Pistachios, and chile flakes for decorating calavera

Directions:

  • Remove queso fresco from package, and with a small pairing knife cut the sides of the cheese to shape into a skeleton head.  Then with a small circle cookie cutter punch out the eyes. Place on a platter and place back in the fridge. Cut the edges of queso fresco to make a calavera shape Cut out the eyes for the calavera in the queso fresco
  • In a medium pot filled halfway with water over a high flame, bring to a boil.  Add in tomatoes and boil for 30 minutes.  Set to the side. Boil tomatoes for salsa
  • In a frying pan over a medium flame add vegetable oil and allow it to get hot.
  • Add in chiles, onion, and garlic cloves. Fry on all sides until charred and browned. IMG_5523 Fried chiles, onion and garlic
  • Remove stems from chiles, and place in the blender with tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves,  vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and water (I use the water the tomatoes boiled in). Blend until desired consistency is reached. Ingredients for salsa in blenderblended salsa
  • Decorate the calavera with chile flakes around the eyes, and use pistachios for the mouth. Decorate the queso fresco to look like a calavera
  • Place calavera shaped queso fresco on a plate, then pour the salsa  around the plate. Decorate the edges with avocado cubes.
  • Serve with chips. For Dia De Los Muertos Cacique Calavera Queso Salsa Dip
  • ENJOY!

IMG_5971

Im memory of my sweet friend Alfonso… I miss you.

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Cacique and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, recipe and all opinions are mine. 
Potato Pan De Muerto For Dia De Los Muertos

Potato Pan De Muerto For Dia De Los Muertos


Dia de los muertos calada and pan de muerto

Dia de los muertos couldn’t be celebrated without the age old tradition of pan de muerto. I am thrilled to make a beautiful potato version of this “bread of the dead” in honor of my beloved departed uncle. I will make two loafs…. one to eat, and one to decorate my home alter with. How will you celebrate Day of the dead? Watch my video below to see how easy it is to make this delicious bread. 

Ingredients for Potato Pan De Muerto:

  • 1 – package active yeast
  • 1/2 – cup luke warm water
  • 1 – teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – cup sugar
  • 1 – cup mashed Idaho potatoes ( leftovers work best)
  • 1/2 – cup butter (softened)
  • 2 – eggs (beaten)
  • 3 – cups bread flour plus more for kneading
  • olive oil
  • Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water whisked together)

Directions:

  1. Add yeast and water to a mixer, and allow yeast to activate for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour salt and sugar to the yeast mixture. Give it a good mix.
  3. Spoon in the mashed potatoes and break them up with a spoon if you need to. Then add in the butter and eggs. Mix to combine to hook attachment.
  4. Add in the bread flour, one cup at a time until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the mixer about 5 minutes.
  5. Generously flour a clean work surface then knead dough until smooth.
  6. Grease a bowl with a little bit of olive oil. Place dough in greased bowl and turn it once inside to ensure the entire dough is well greased.
  7. Cover dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 2 hours.
  8. Remove towel and punch down the dough.
  9. Generously flour a clean work surface then knead dough again until smooth.
  10. Grease two 8 -inch cake pans and set to the side.
  11. Divide the dough into equal 3 parts.
  12. Place two of the parts in each cake pan, and reserve the additional part for decorating.
  13. Allow the dough to sit for an additional hour before decorating.
  14. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  15. With the extra part, roll the dough out to make bone decorations for the top of the loaf.
  16. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash.
  17. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  18. Enjoy!

potato pan de muerto

 

Idaho-PotatoesI would like to give a special THANK YOU to the Idaho Potato Commission for sponsoring this video. It is my absolute honor to work with you. 

 

 

I would also love to Thank my amazing crew.

Mando Lopez: Director/Editor

Tony Molina: Director of Photography

Jeshua Viveiros: Sound and the awesome calaca make-up artist – he used the Crafty Chica make-up line.

Earrings by ilaments Jewlery – Lisa Rocha!

How To Make Calaveras For Dia De Los Muertos: Sugar Skulls

How To Make Calaveras For Dia De Los Muertos: Sugar Skulls

 This is the first time I have ever tried my hand at making my own homemade calavera. It really forced me to step out of my comfort zone. For as long as I could remember I have always built my alter in memory of my uncle and then once it was complete I would run out and buy a calavera / sugar skull where ever I could find them. Not this time….. I wanted to personalize my calaveras in memory of my loved ones lost.

 

Ingredients for sugar skulls / calavera:

  • 6- cups granulated sugar
  • 6 – teaspoons meringue powder
  • 6 – teaspoons water

 That amount made 5 large skulls total. A little bigger then my clinched fist.

Ingredients for royal icing:

  • 4 – cups powdered sugar
  • 3 – tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 – tablespoons warm water

Other supplies you may use:

  • colored foil paper
  • sequins
  • beads
  • soda pop tops
  • seeds
  • feathers

Directions:

  1. First mix granulated sugar and meringue powder together.
  2. Then slowly drizzle with water. The mixture should feel like beach sand.
  3. Firmly pack sugar into mold, making sure there are no bubbles.
  4. Scrape the back of the sugar mold with a knife for an even surface.
  5. Invert the sugar mold onto a hard surface.
  6. Let the skulls dry for 8 hours.
  7. Once the skulls are hard enough to touch, use a spoon and scoop out the middle, it should still be soft enough to scoop. Leave a 1/2 inch thick wall around the edge. (I made more calaveras with the extra sugar)
  8. Allow the hollowed skulls to dry for an additional 15 hours or overnight.
  9. Make royal icing: Mix powdered sugar, meringue powder, and warm water together. A thick paste will form. According to the amount of colors you’d like to use, divide the icing into that amount of separate bowls and color with concentrated paste food coloring of your choice. Then place each color in it’s own disposable piping bag fitted with a decorative metal tip.
  10. Then using a white royal icing trace along the lines of the two pieces of skull that come together. Make sure no to pipe the neck with royal icing.
  11. Align the two pieces together and allow to dry before decorating.
  12. Decorate the face as you desire. Some calavera have decorative eyes, and other use an inside down heart for the nose.
  13. Enjoy!

Dia de Los Muertos Sugar Cookies Video

Dia de Los Muertos Sugar Cookies Video

 

There’s something to be said for a sugar cookie that someone has carefully taken the time to decorate. This is one of my favorite ways to spend my afternoon. Filling in the small details and add extra decorative depth to my cookies. I naturally like to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos with decorative sugar cookies. They make my alter look so amazing and the rest are for me and my family to enjoy and remember our loved ones lost. I make my sugar cookies with Mazola corn oil for  a more crisp taste. I’ll share the recipe in my next post. But for now….. Watch my video on how to decorate Dia de Los Muertos Sugar Cookies.

 

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Mazola. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
Dia De Los Muertos Caramel Almond Rice Krispie Treat

Dia De Los Muertos Caramel Almond Rice Krispie Treat

Dia de Los Muertos/ Day of the Dead (Nov.2nd) is a beautiful remembrance of the departed…. I made this Caramel Chocolate Almond Rice Krispie Treat as a dedication to my Uncle Robert.  It was one of those days…. I was missing my Tio who passed away 3 years ago.  With Dia De Los Muertos/ Day of the Dead (Nov.2nd) around the corner, I decided to start building an alter in his name.  I put on his favorite song “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones and played it loud on repeat.  Choked up with tears stuck in my throat, I tried my best to belt it out and get to the rest of the song without a complete break down.  The title “Miss you” seemed perfectly appropriate.  My Tio loved Rice Krispies, he use to eat them all the time.  He also loved his caramel, so why not combine the two to make the perfect treat.  My family has always observed Dia de Los Muertos but it takes on a completely different meaning when you are honoring a close family member dearly missed.  I dedicate this recipe to him and hope that where ever he is now, he’s eating his favorite foods with his friends having the best time.

Ingredients for Caramel Almond Dia de Muertos Rice Krispies Treat:

Non-Stick cooking spray

1 – stick butter (melted) or smartbalance

6 – cups vegan marshmallows

2 – tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2 or almond milk

50 – caramel candies (plastic wrapper off)

1 – box of Rice Krispies cereal (12 oz.)

1 1/4 – cups whole almonds

I decorated my calavera with the following items:

Royal icing

sugar cookies

smarties

mini vegan marshmallows

raspberry gummies

Fruit Loops

edible metallic decorative balls

colored sprinkles

pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Spray the whole room with non-stick cooking spray. Just kidding  just spray a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish, one pot, a big mixing bowl, and mixing utensil.  Set to the side.

  1. Place the pot over a medium flame and in add butter and vegan marshmallows.  Mix until marshmallows are completely melted and smooth.
  2. In an additional pot add 1/2 and 1/2 and caramel over a low flame and mix until melted and smooth.
  3. Then take both mixtures and combine in a big mixing bowl.
  4. Fold in the Rice Krispies and almonds along with the marshmallow caramel mixture.
  5.   Press  into 9×13 sprayed pyrex dish and continue to press down to make mixture even. Allow to cool completely in pyrex.
  6. Once cooled, flip over onto a cutting board.
  7. Using a calavera (skeleton head) stencil made out of a piece of wax paper cut around the edges of the stencil.
  8. Remove excess pieces and either eat or use later for decoration.

DECORATE:

Decorate as you wish.  Pull inspiration from my photo or anything else that makes you happy. To you and your loved ones departed or living this Dia de Muertos.

Dia De Los Muertos and NESCAFÉ Café de Olla

Dia De Los Muertos and NESCAFÉ Café de Olla

In my world making Cafe de Olla is a serious process.  If you’re having family and friends over and want to clean up the house, make food, dress up to look nice, decorate your entertaining space, select good music and make your guests feel comfortable…. making cafe de olla is one more daunting task.  I’m tired just thinking about it.  As you all may or may not know, Cafe de Olla is the finishing touch especially when honoring Dia de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead (Nov.2nd).  Nestle just took one less worry off our hands with their new instant Cafe de Olla.

I was invited to the Nestle Headquarters a few weeks ago to speak with experts on papel picado, Dia de Los Muertos history and to learn to paint the perfect calaca face. I have taken part in Dia de Los Muertos year after year and celebrate it at home and make it a point to visit the annual Hollywood Forever Cemetery fiesta.  Click here to see my photo diary from last year’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration.

Above photo of face painting courtesy of PearMama, opening photo by Nicole Presley

Thank you Nestle for inviting me to this fun event.

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Pan de Muerto recipe… Embraced Rituals.

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Pan de Muerto recipe… Embraced Rituals.

 I’ve been celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) since I was a young girl.  As I get older, the holiday grows in importance.  Over the years I have lost many who are near and dear to me.  Death is such a sad, wild reality, but one we must all face.  I have spent many days mourning the death of loved ones lost and find Dia de los Muertos is a happy medium.  Its a day to honor and remember a departed loved one’s spirit by offering their favorite food or beverage.  Many people build private alters in their homes (we did), and some build them at events for remembrance and festivity.  This weekend we went to the 12th annual Dia De Los Muertos Celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  In my opinion it is one of the BEST events that takes place here in Los Angeles.  I go every year and wouldn’t think of missing it!  You can expect everything from Aztec dancers, Mayan rituals, paper mache skeleton procession, costume contest, ballet dancing, performance art, craft and art vendors, yummy mexican food, micheladas, and some of the best altars you’ve ever seen!  Here is a nice collection of photos from the event.  If you don’t live in Los Angeles, Google a Dia de los Muertos event in your city.  The actual holiday takes place Nov. 2nd.

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez and Nicole Presley

      

   

   

   

      

   

   

   

                            

        

Pan de muerto is traditionally offered to the spirits in the upcoming days leading to Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead), which is celebrated Nov. 2nd.  You can leave it at the gravesite of your loved one along with their favorite food or at a homemade altar.  Here is a simple recipe for you to make your own.  BTW….. it’s not just for the departed, the living find it tasty too!

Ingredients for pan de muerto: 

1/4 – cup milk

4 – tablespoons butter

1/3 – cup sugar

1/2 – teaspoon salt

1 – package active dry yeast

1/4 – cup warm/hot water

2 – eggs (beaten)

3 – cups all-purpose flour

1/2 – teaspoon anise seed

1/4 – cup orange juice

1/4 –  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 – cups sugar plus 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan over a low medium flame melt butter and stir in milk. Bring to slight boil and remove from heat.  Add in 1/3 cup sugar and salt, and mix well to combine. Set to the side.

In a very large bowl, mix yeast and warm/hot water together and stir until yeast is dissolved. Let it rest for 15 minutes to cool down then add the milk mixture.

In a medium bowl mix flour and anise seed together . Then add flour and anise seed mixture to yeast/milk mix, and gradually work in the beaten eggs. Mix until dough forms into a ball.

Flour your work surface well and place dough in the middle. Knead for 5 minutes or until dough is nice and soft. Place it back into the large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place (inside your oven when it’s off) for an hour and a half to two hours. Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet and set to the side.

Then remove dough from large bowl and punch it down and shape it into one large loaf or several small loaves. Reserve a small portion of dough to make a knob on top of loaf or braids around the loaf, or little strips to represent bones. Form your loaf then place on greased baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap or kitchen towel for another hour (in a warm place) or until it’s doubled in size.

Then preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. If you make small loaves then 35 minutes…. if you make one big one 45 minutes. About 5 minutes before the pan de muerto is done baking….. make the glaze.

In a small saucepan over a medium flame add orange juice, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from flame. Set to the side. Next remove pan de muerto from oven and let cool slightly, then brush with glaze. Then sprinkle glazed bread with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar! Celebrate Dia de los muertos by offering your loved one a pan de muerto this year!

Con mucho amor!