Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wordless Wednesdays- Dia De Los Muertos

Hollywood Forever Cemetery. First Prize Winner For More Wordless Wednesday Participants

This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo
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Friday, 15 November 2013

Classic Latin Songs of All Time

This playlist has Classic Latin Songs from all over Latin America and Spain. Many of these songs have been covered by famous artist and bands, all over the world, like Pedro Infante's, "Historia de Amor". which has been one of the most recorded songs in Latin music history "Hoy Tengo Ganas De Ti", which has recently been recorded by Christina Aguilera, and the classic song Bamboleo which has been recorded by The Gypsy Kings and Celia Cruz. The music runs the gamut from Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Flamenco,Tango to the classic Love Ballad like " Besame Mucho", which has been recorded even by the Beatles. This playlist spans a few decades and demonstrates the diversity and soul of Latin music from all over the Spanish Diaspora.

Here are a few Songs from within the Playlist ( 20 Songs) that I believe are some of the most popular and important songs in Latin Music History and that will give you a taste of this beautiful music that I grew up listening to here in America.

The Song, " Guantanamera" was a continuation of the poem by Cuban poet and statesman,Jose Marti. It has been covered by all the great artists: Beatles, Sandpipers, and even Julio Iglesias.

" Besame Mucho- Andrea Bocelli

" Quien Sera? " Pedro Infante

" Que Rico El Mambo"- Perez Prado

La Cumparsita - Carlos Gardel

Graicas a La Vida written by Violetta Parra Song by Mercedes Sosa

" Hoy Tengo Ganas De Ti" Song by Christina Alguilera and Alejandro Sanz.

" Amor De Mis Amores"- Margarita La Diosa de La Cumbia- La Sonora Dynamita

" Historia de Amor" - Song by Luis Miguel

To See Full Latin Songs Playlist, Click Above Playlist to hear all 20 Songs. Enjoy !

This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Aztec Dance

The Aztec Dance, “Danza Azteca” in Spanish or “Mi’totiliztli” in Nahuatl, is one of the most basic manifestations of the artistic and cultural spirit of the native people of Mexico. It is a mixture of thousands of years of history of both the agrarian and militaristic ethnic groups of the area, and the integration of pre-columbian and Christian rituals as evolved over the centuries.The Aztec dancers are devoted to preserving the traditions and rituals of pre-Hispanic culture through the expression of dance and ceremony.

The Dance represents the eternal search of man for cosmic harmony and integration, both of his body and his spirit, and all the chants of Aztec Dance ritual refer to this essential process. The Aztec Dance has been referred to as a form of prayer and a total way of life and communication.

During the performance, dancers wear traditional costumes, including feather head-dresses and seed-leggings called “chachayotls” that make noise when we dance. Each time you see the Aztec Dancers you take a step back in time. The drum and sea shell alert you that something special is about to happen. The dances are very expressive and represent the forces of nature, the universal four corners of the earth, human existence and the desire to achieve balance with the four elements of earth, wind, fire, water and air. The dancers unite to create a corporal expression to worship and communicate with their gods. Aztec dance is a dance that is grounded in nature and respect for all living beings.

In modern times, Mexican people enjoy learning and dancing Aztec Dance to connect and preserve their Aztec roots long before they were conquered by the Spaniards.

To see Live Aztec Dance in Los Angeles, all you have to do is go to La Placita Olvera during the weekday afternoon.

More on Aztecs and the Spanish Conquistadors coming soon in Learning Spanish is Fun !

This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Authentic Paella Valenciana- Taste of Spain Class at Whole Foods

Sabrina Rongstad Bravo, Chef and Food Writer and owner of Sabrina's Latin Kitchen

Chef Sabrina Rongstad Bravo at Whole Foods 3rd & Faifax

I am very happy to announce that I am getting myself out there with Sabrina's Latin Kitchen I taught Authentic Paella Valenciana class on March 28th at Whole Foods, Third and Fairfax location . This was the first class in a Culinary Series, Taste of Spain, there will be more classes to follow. So Watch this space !

Here are some of the highlights of that class, it was a lot of fun with a lot of student interaction and many people asking a lot of questions. I gave everyone a chance to look at saffron and to smell it. I called in for class participation and we had a few enthusiastic volunteers.

Cathy Quein Marketing Supervisor at Whole Foods giving everyone a whiff of the saffron

I highly recommend using Bomba rice as this is rice dish, Bomba Rice or Short Grain rice absorbs the flavor of the liquid better than most rices since it absorbs three times the amount of liquid. Paella has a long history that originated in the country side in Spain with the peasant people of Spain, just like Flamenco dance, later both of these iconic art forms became modernized and popularized by the masses, but if you look deeper they started with the common ordinary people. Flamenco with the outcast gypsies and Paella with the peasants in the Spanish countryside.

Taste of Spain Class- Students Watching Paella simmer slowly

For me, I was introduced to Paella by Mother and then again my Cuban boyfriend's Mother. At celebrations and family get togethers we would often dine at El Cid in Los Angeles, there Paella isn't the best, but it was my Mother's attempt to introduce me and my siblings to Spanish culture, the Flamenco there is phenomenal, and I highly recommed going there with your friends. I often taking my Spanish students there. Here is an authentic Paella Valenciana dish, it's really fun to make but you will need some patience because there are a lot of steps, but once you do it 2-3 times, you should be able to do it with your eyes closed and then make your own Paella. After all, Paella is made with whatever is in your house, and it's common Arabic-myth that Paella was made with baqiyah, ( Arabic script: بقية)  ) which means left overs.

Whatever you do, don't skimp on the saffron or the rice. If you can't afford Bomba rice, use Short grain rice ( also highly absorbent), and if you can't find Short Grain Rice, use Long Grain. Remember to add salt to the saffron infusion but do it in 1/4 teaspoon increments.

The End Result, an Authentic Delicious Paella

 An Authentic Paella Valenciana made in about 1 and half hours. The process of making Paella is painstaking : Rice, Saffron, Chicken, Pork, Shrimp, Mussels, Haricort Verts and Peas, garnished with Piquillo peppers and lemon. A delight to the senses and the spirit ! Ole !

Paella is a great dish for parties, big or small and it's fun to make with a group of people. Sangria makes a great accompaniment. Both taste better the next day ! See for yourself !

Ole and Buen Provecho ! :)

To Read More about The History of Flamenco  refer to this blog !
To buy Bomba rice go to La Tienda !

This article was written by Chef and Food Writer Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo
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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Champiñones al Ajillo- Mushrooms in Garlic

Few tapas taste more Spanish than Champiñones al Ajillo, dripping with olive oil, garlic and dry Spanish Sherry.

To make this tapa even more authentic, be sure to serve the mushrooms with plenty of fresh, crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.


•1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil

•4 cups (8 oz) mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered

•6 cloves garlic, minced

•3 tablespoons dry sherry

•2 tablespoons lemon juice

•1/2 teaspoon dried red chile, seeded and crumbled

•1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika

•Salt and pepper, to taste

•2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, sherry, lemon juice, dried chile, paprika, and salt and pepper.
Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic and mushrooms have softened.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve on small earthenware platters.

Serves 4

 10 minutes preparation + 12 minutes cooking

 Difficulty: Medium


This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo
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Friday, 11 January 2013

A Traditional Aïoli – Garlic Mayonnaise


2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 teaspoon (or more) coarse kosher salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation: Mash garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl until paste forms. Whisk in mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo
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