All posts filed under: Ecuador

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

Monday Meal Review: Ecuador

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 been on a date since Ava was born. Because we haven’t. That’s right. Before Saturday it had been more than 1 1/2 years since we’d been to the movies. And, well, a couples massage was a total first. But before my romantic evening could commence, I had to clean up the remnants of our Ecuadorian Global Table. I looked at the clock – the baby sitter would be here any minute. Stacks of dishes covered the counters and crumbs littered the floor. Flour dusted my face. I pushed up my sleeves and …

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Ecuadorian Potato & Cheese soup with Avocado | Locro de papa con queso

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 ground annato/achiote 3 giant baking potatoes, peeled and cubed (each about 6″ long) 2 cups of milk enough water to cover the potatoes 1-3 cups extra milk for thinning to desired consistency salt & pepper 1 cup shredded cheese – cheddar or Monterey jack a palmful of chopped cilantro For the Garnish: chopped cilantro crumbled queso blanco 1-2 avocados, cubed green onion, sliced Method: Prepare yourself for an assault of deliciousness. First, cook the chopped onions in a large pot until softened. While they’re cooking, add in the crushed garlic… … …

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Ecuadorian Open-Faced Cornmeal Omelet with Cheese

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 cornmeal 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro 1/4 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack and cheddar blend) Garnishes: Shredded cheese Cilantro Green onion Method: Whisk eggs together with cooked cornmeal. Add in the cheese, cilantro, green onions, salt, and pepper. Melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Trust me on the non-stick part. I tried to make this in a regular pan and it stuck like crazy. When the butter is sizzling, pour in the egg mixture. Cover and cook gently. The goal is for the top to be cooked before the bottom burns. Gentle heat is your answer. Sprinkle with cheese and let melt. Cover again if …

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Chunky Warm Peanut & Achiote Salsa from Ecuador | Salsa de Maní

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 peanuts 3/4 cup milk palmful of coarsely chopped cilantro salt & pepper to taste Method: Have you ever had a warm salsa? No? Let’s remedy that. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a medium skillet. Add annato and cook until the oil is stained red. Now.. this is very important… REMOVE the annato from the oil. I forgot and, let me tell you, these puppies stay very crunchy. Fry your onions in the stained oil until soft and caramelized. Add the cumin… Unsalted peanuts and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for …

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Ecuador’s Crowning Glory (w/ poll)

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 been eating bananas with gusto ever since. Ava’s not the only one who loves them – bananas are Ecuador’s crowning glory. Literally. According to Lonely Planet, bananas and related plantains are so popular in Ecuador, they’ve made their way into regional (and world) festivals. But it’s not the bananas being voted on… oh no. Instead, each year the best looking gal in Machala (a coastal city famous for banana exports) is crowned the “Banana Queen.” She then can move on to compete to be the banana queen of …

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Apple Empanadas

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 ground cinnamon 4 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1 egg to brush on the pastries before baking 3 1/2″ cutter Method: First, prepare the empanada dough. Next, put on a happy song while you peel and chop the apples. Preferably this one from Ecuador. When you’re chopping go a little smaller than I did (it will make it easier to fill such the empanadas). Gather the rest of your ingredients… in a moment the sweet apples, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins will make your entire house smell like “good.” Melt butter in a pan with sugar and cinnamon. Add apples and …

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Dough for Empanadas & Pies

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 water Method: If you do make this recipe with family, have everyone take turns telling stories from their childhood. Get ready to laugh and, possibly, cry. Whisk sugar and salt into the flour. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives), cut the butter into the flour until it is pea-sized. Add in water – a little at a time… … until a shaggy mass forms. This is perfect: Press together with your hands. It will be a little dry to the touch. Shape into 2 flatted disks, wrap in …

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Menu: Ecuador

When did a running, giggling, dancing toddler possess my sweet baby? When did she learn how to say “Hi baby”? How does she know to brush her teeth after eating? And, most importantly, when will the word “yes” cross her lips? Even if I can’t get Ava to say it, as far as Ecuador is concerned, this menu is a “yes.” Each dish is made up of regionally loved ingredients, such as potatoes, corn, and peanuts. Enjoy this small window into the world of Ecuador. What sounds good to you? Ecuadorian Potato & Cheese soup with Avocado (Locro de papa con queso) [Recipe] Creamy, cheesy, potato goodness topped with queso fresco, avocado chunks, and green onion. Seasoned with hints of ground annato/achiote and cumin. Open-Faced Cornmeal Omelet with Cheese [Recipe] Wake up to Ecuador- this simple recipe requires no special ingredients, just a healthy mix of cooked cornmeal, eggs, green onion, and shredded cheese. A distant cousin to Mote Pillo, which is hominy tossed with scrambled eggs. Warm Peanut & Achiote Salsa from Ecuador [Recipe] …

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About the Food of Ecuador

Until about five minutes ago I was sitting in bed, bundled up in a wool sweater, under a down comforter, eating a candy cane, and freezing my fingers off.  Now I’m packing for Ecuador. What’s so alluring about Ecuador? They have it all. The Pacific Ocean. Staggering mountains (complete with active volcanoes disguised as pristine mountain-top lakes) and the Galapagos Islands, themselves made up of volcanoes. There are rain forests, bursting at the seams with wildlife and there are dusty villages filled with tradition. With something for everyone, choosing between bustling city action and rumbling, bumbling country life is just the beginning. Convinced? Let’s have dinner. Pull up a chair to the Ecuadorian table and you’ll be met with a carb-heavy spread loaded with potato, avocado, corn, and/or rice – balanced by a fresh salad and tropical fruit. You’ll about pass out when you try Locro [Recipe], their answer to our creamy potato/cheese soup. The South American spin? Locro is seasoned with a tantalizing combination of earthy annato, creamy avocado chunks, and crumbles of queso …

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