Happy One-Year Celebration! Plus our giveaway winner…

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About a year ago I was in a strange place. I was a new mom. My hair was a mess. My eyes were crusty. I hadn't slept through the night for over a year - since about the time Ava started trying to push her bottom through my ribs. From the inside. Yawn. About this time I was also looking for purpose. Like deep, soul searching purpose. I got a haircut, but it didn't help. I wanted (needed) to make a difference at home and in the world. I had sweet baby Ava and my love & best … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Ecuador

Keith & I on the California coast, before Ava was born. I am about 5 months pregnant.

Happy Anniversary! This is our 52nd meal for our Global Table Adventure!  Our celebration post will be up in a few hours. THE SCENE: "Hurry!" I muttered to myself, zipping around the kitchen. We had a date. A date! Actually, not just a date. An extravaganza. First, we were scheduled for a couples massage (thanks to a generous gift card from friends) and then, a movie (thanks to my dear brother who sent movie passes with our Christmas card). I can't count the number of times we've … [Read more...]

Recipe: Ecuadorian Potato & Cheese soup with Avocado (Locro de papa con queso)

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Makes a gallon (4 quarts) If you've never had locro de papas, you're in for a surprise. The fine people of Ecuador love this comforting and healthy soup, especially on a chilly day. And why not? Tinged orange from ground annato, most of the flavors remain familiar - potato, cheese, avocado, and cilantro. Feel free to substitute parsley if you hate cilantro. Just so long as you try this soup. You'll love it. Ingredients: 1 onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 tsp cumin 1 tsp … [Read more...]

Recipe: Ecuadorian Open-Faced Cornmeal Omelet with Cheese

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I'm not sure what Saturday morning breakfast looks like at your house but make me one promise... some Saturday soon... whip up one of these crazy open-faced cornmeal omelets.  Tip: make life easier on yourself and cook up the cornmeal with dinner, the night before. Happiness is just two eggs away! Serves 1 For the omelet: 1 tablespoon butter 1/8 cup green onion 2 eggs 1/2 cup cooked corn meal 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro 1/4 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack and cheddar … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chunky Warm Peanut & Achiote Salsa from Ecuador (Salsa de Maní)

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Warm salsa is a novelty to me, but not to lovely Ecuador. They love spooning this nutty, oniony mixture over potatoes, but it is also enjoyed with anything from chicken to guinea pig. For a more fluid salsa, add extra milk and puree to desired consistency. Adapted from Latin & Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified by Linda Bladholm. Makes 2 cups Ingredients: Oil 1 Tbsp whole Achiote/annato (available whole or ground) 1/2 tsp cumin 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup unsalted … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Ecuador’s Crowning Glory (w/ poll)

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Ava didn't like bananas at first. Mashed, pureed with yogurt, cut into chunks... the best reaction I could from her was a giant baby-frown. She just wasn't a fan. Then one day I spotted mini bananas at the store. They were the cutest thing I'd ever seen. About 4"long, they were sweeter than regular bananas (more floral, too) and just the right size for Ava to eat out of hand, like she'd seen me do a hundred times before. Incredibly, this new, miniature format was an instant success. She's … [Read more...]

Recipe: Apple Empanadas

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Sweet, cinnamon-loaded apple empanadas are perfect for popping at parties. Popular throughout south and central america, these tidbits will be gone before you can put the tray down. Try serving warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of dulce de leche. Makes 4 dozen 3 1/2" empanadas Ingredients: 2 batches of empanada dough For the filling: 4 cups peeled, chopped apples (about 3 medium apples) 1/2 cup sugar 1/8-1/4 cup raisins 1 tsp cinnamon 4 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp … [Read more...]

Recipe: Dough for Empanadas & Pies (with video)

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Borrow your mother, grandmother, brother, sister, father, grandfather. All of them! This recipe is best made with a gaggle of family, all chitter chattering and covered in flour. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can use this soft, pliable dough for any empanada (or pie, for the matter) - sweet or savory. We like it with our beef and apple fillings. Makes 2 dozen 3 1/2 inch empanadas Ingredients: 2 cups  flour 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt 8 Tbsp  cold butter 2/3- 3/4 cup ice … [Read more...]