|Tamara Lukens

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Locro de Zapallo: Ecuadorian Squash Stew

By |September 20th, 2011|

Since it is basically Fall, I thought what better way to welcome it but with a Locro de Zapallo, also known as Ecuadorian Squash Stew.  Although we don’t have four seasons in Ecuador, this locro fits the category of comfort food and fall fare which many of us love.

Locros (LOH-crohs) are stews – usually from root vegetables – with the consistency of a cream of vegetable soup.  Locros are thick and hearty and they are normally the plato fuerte, or main dish.  In Ecuador, the most popular locro is locro de papa, which is a potato stew, and yet another one Yaguarlocro, consists of tripe and blood cooked with the potatoes.  Locros are traditionally eaten in the Andes region of the country, but it is a dish that is loved by coastal Ecuadorians as well – we used to eat it all the time.  Zapallo (squash) is also very popular in Ecuador and it makes a delicious stew.  Don’t fret my tasty friends, I will bring you locro de papa in a later post.  We’ll see about the yaguarlocro…

This is the first time I’ve made locro de zapallo for El Señor Hubs, although he claims we’ve eaten something similar before.  There are lots of Ecuadorian meals that are stews, but I’m positive I’ve not made this before, because I don’t recall how much a pain in the rear was to peel these darn green acorn squashes.  Peeling the squash was the only time-consuming part.  The rest is easy, and the results are well worth it.


Crema de Aguacate: Ecuadorian Creamy Avocado Soup

By |September 16th, 2011|

Since I don’t want to give up on Summer just yet, but it is now a chillier as we get deep into September, I figured out a way to come to terms with both.  The easiest way to do it is by making this Crema de Aguacate from Michelle O. Fried’s book “Comidas del Ecuador”.  Remember my new (old) Ecuadorian cookbooks?

You may or may not know that Ecuadorians’ diet relies heavily on soups.  Normally each big meal, whether it is almuerzo (lunch) or merienda (dinner), consists of a soup, an entree, which is normally a protein of some sort with rice, and then a dessert which normally is in the form of some fruit.  Eating soups is always comforting, although I must tell you that when I was little, I hated soup.   With a passion.  I think every Ecuadorian child  most likely feel this way about soup.  To me, soup as a child was the equivalent of El Señor Hub’s “Eat your peas!!” scoldings.  ACK.  Those days are long gone and I now I love soup.  He, however, still hates peas.

So all you need for this soup are three ingredients: chicken stock, avocados and lemon juice.  To make things easier, I used store-bought chicken stock.  I normally use either low sodium, or no salt because I can then control the amount of salt needed.  Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top and serve with some bread or blue corn chips and you are good to go.

Now that I think of it, this kinda looks like pea soup!  Or like guacamole soup!  I suppose if you have leftover guacamole, you can transform it into a delicious crema de aguacate.  Provided no one double dipped in your guac.  Ick.


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Empanadas Estilo Chileno: Chilean-style Empanadas

By |September 14th, 2011|

About a month ago, one of T’s Tasty Bits awesome twitter followers had a request for an empanada recipe, al estilo Chileno, or Chilean style (by the way, why aren’t we tweeting?).  Then, a very dear reader was wondering how to make a type of empanada that had a sweet filling inside.  And yet another wondered about the empanadas that have a simple cheese filling commonly sold by street vendors in Ecuador.  So I said to myself, “SELF!  It is time for some Empanada Epicureanism!”  Is that a real word?  In Ecuador, you can find all sorts of types of empanadas – fried or baked, and with different types of fillings.  We will explore the most popular ones here on T’s Tasty Bits.  AREN’T YOU EXCITED???

First up, empanadas estilo Chileno.  So what makes an empanada Chilean?  For one, the filling, known as pino.  Pino is a filling that consists of ground beef, raisins and olives, among other seasonings.  From my understanding: no ground beef, NOT pino.  While this is the traditional filling of the Chilean empanada, it doesn’t mean you can’t substitute for other meat if beef isn’t your thing.  Of course, the dough wrapper is equally important – you need a crusty on the outside, yet soft upon biting wrap for this kind of empanada.  After several trials and errors, this dough I share with you is a keeper.  For full disclosure, I made this dough on a very humid day, as in the day before Hurricane Irene.  I figured, if we were going to be flooded and without the ability to go anywhere, we might as well have something good to eat.  Sometimes, air conditions have an impact on preparation and baking, but let me tell you, rolling out this dough on this day was a cinch.


I went to Canada and scored the Ecuadorian Motherload

By |September 13th, 2011|

In addition to eating poutine, I marked another thing off my to-do list while in Canada.  I was able to get a few Ecuadorian cookbooks my mom had kept after moving from Ecuador.  In addition to these cookbooks, she had a whole bunch of newspaper clippings, cake decorating magazines and hand-written recipes – […]

I ate Poutine and I liked it

By |September 2nd, 2011|

A few weeks ago I went to visit my family in Canada and this time around, I was determined to mark poutine (poo-TEEN) off my things to eat in my lifetime list.  So I did.  I ate poutine.  And it was good.

My brother-in-law had read about this new place called La Poutine, […]