Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner! It’s been over ten years since I was introduced to my first Memorial Day party back in Stillwater, OK. , and I remember it being one of the greatest events ever! I was in college and our church put together a mini gathering for all the international students, where we got to feast on hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, chips, baked beans, chocolate chip cookies, pies, and ice cream until we could no longer move. After all, when there is free food, what is broke college student to do?
Fast forward to today, and trust me, these items are still part of our Memorial Day menu. However, these days I strive to introduce a bit of my Ecuadorian heritage into our meals, and also introduce our neighbors and friends to the delicious treats Ecuador has to offer. So, I have gathered a few favorites that could go great as part of a Memorial Day menu, along with the perennial burgers and hot dogs! Hope you give one of these a go this weekend.
As the burgers and the hot dogs are on the grill, start off with a hominy dip with those chips!
And once those burgers and hot dogs come off the grill, why not top them with some delicious pickled onions?
Ají de Tomate de Arbol
Give them a kick with this spicy ají de tomate de árbol.
Cebiche de Camarón
No outdoor gathering in the summer is complete with a refreshing shrimp cebiche. Surf and turf, anyone?
Don’t forget to add a spicy twist to that cebiche, with ají criollo.
Colada de Avena Quaker
Wash it all down with a delicious oatmeal drink, which can be made the night before and refrigerated.
Yogurt de Mora
Another refreshing alternative, a blackberry smoothie. See? It is not just for breakfast!
Although not necessarily Ecuadorian, this watermelon mojito is a refreshing cocktail to kick off the start to the summer.
And speaking of Oklahoma, please pray for my state, as the people pick up the pieces from the tornadoes that ravaged through Edmond, Shawnee and Moore. You can help by donating to the following organizations and charities to help in the effort of providing for those in need: The Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Feeding America, Convoy of Hope, American Red Cross, and Central OK Humane Society. On this last one, my dog Luna thanks you from the bottom of her little heart.
Enjoy a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend!
This week marked the beginning of Holy Week, or Semana Santa, and I wanted to compile three of my favorite recipes to observe this holiday with family, Ecuadorian-style.
Fanesca – Ecuadorian Easter Soup
First off, a delicious Fanesca! If you are from Ecuador, or lived in Ecuador, you may recall this hearty soup, made of all sorts of legumes and vegetables. You may also recall this soup tends to be a labor of love, since each legume has to be soaked overnight and cooked, and the salted cod fish also needs to soak overnight. In this recipe, I managed to save time by using canned beans, and didn’t compromise on the taste.
Empanadas de viento
Now, fanesca is accompanied by fried sweet plantains, sometimes avocados, and also masitas, which are essentially fried empanadas. This means, you can eat your fanesca along with some yummy empanadas de viento. Cheesy and airy! It doesn’t get any better than that.
Arroz con leche
Oh wait. It just might. Save some room for dessert, and finish a comforting Semana Santa meal with arroz con leche. This rice pudding is warm, sweet and the perfect way to end a meal.
What other meals do you eat as a family during Semana Santa?
When I was young, my nana Gloria used to make us this really awesome soup that had torrejas. Torrejas were these fried patties made with milk-soaked bread and shredded beef. Gosh. I don’t know how she made them or what she put in them, but they were delicious. They were soft and doughy, yet they had a thin layer of crisp on the outside since they were deep-fried.
Well, I am here to tell you that my torrejas were nothing like nana Gloria’s. However, I am not ashamed of the way they turned out. Or how I prepared them.
I am willing to share them with you, because they were good in their own right. Think of it as an experiment gone wrong but right. Does that make sense?
Sopa de torrejas was one of the few soups I ate willingly. This was the kind of soup that did not need to be pureed in order for me to consume it. No sir-ee. This was a legit soup in my eyes.
I went to the store in search for some beef to make the torrejas. I was at a loss because I didn’t know which cut of beef to use. I thought, Maybe I get a flank steak because it is soft. Then I thought, Maybe I get some sort of roast, because it can be shredded. Then, I looked at the prices for beef and opted to buy some pork. That solved my dilemma fairly quickly.
Continue reading Sopa de torrejas – Soup with bread and pork patties
Goodness! We’re half-way through February already! I have to say, I’ve had a pretty busy beginning of the year thus far. El Señor Hubs and I bought a house in early December, and we’ve been thinking and dreaming of our renovation/decor plans for our new home. We’re in the midst of choosing paint and fabrics for our bedroom, and getting ideas about tiles for our bathroom. Our minds change every day. One day we wake up love a zen-inspired bathroom, the next day we’re into super-modern-all-white spaces… and the same goes for the kitchen, which is another room we’ll renovate in the future. I can’t wait to share with you the befores and afters. But we’ll still in the befores… In addition, I’ve been flexing my web content strategy/design/management muscles, and building community with some really wonderful people.
All this to say – I am happy to report that true, human interaction is alive and well in me. I encourage you to do the same!
And how about doing so with some really awesome and super easy pasteles de pollo?
I think all of us at some point have had eaten a variation of these in our lives. Although these chicken ones are very popular in Ecuador, I also love, LOVE the beef version, pasteles de carne. Back in Guayaquil, there is this cafe/bakery called La Palma. On special occasions my mom used to take me there for Sunday breakfast, and we will order pasteles de carne and some coffee and juice. She had the coffee, I had the juice. We ate there, and then we would go to the park. One that was near our home was El Parque Seminario, or El Parque de las Iguanas, a.k.a the iguana park. As you can image, this park was full of iguanas, which were so used to human interaction they were not scared of people at all. So much so, they’d come close to you in hopes of scoring some food. The late Steve Irwin, a.k.a The Crocodile Hunter paid a visit to El Parque de las Iguanas. Do you remember him?
Continue reading Pasteles de Pollo (Hojaldre Criollo)
Arroz con leche, me quiero casar,
Con una señorita de San Nicolás,
Que sepa coser, que sepa bordar,
Que sepa abrir la puerta para ir a jugar.
If you lived in Ecuador – or in any Latin American country as a child, you most likely remember singing this tune in the playground with your friends. This one, called a ronda (a round – basically a circle formed by people holding hands, like Ring around the Rosie), was a popular one among us kids. Back in kindergarden, this one was a must during recess. We ate our lunch as fast as we could so we could go outside and play. We formed our circle and sang until
the teacher came out yelling to come back inside the bell rang.
Arroz con leche reminds me of simpler times, perhaps because it is so easy to make. It tastes sweet, like childhood. Let’s revert back to simpler times, shall we?
Continue reading Arroz con Leche – Rice Pudding