|Tamara Lukens

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Recipes for Semana Santa

By |March 26th, 2013|

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.

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. […]

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Sopa de torrejas – Soup with bread and pork patties

By |March 12th, 2013|

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.


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Pasteles de Pollo (Hojaldre Criollo)

By |February 15th, 2013|

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?


Arroz con Leche – Rice Pudding

By |January 25th, 2013|

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?


Roasted Sweet Potato and Green Apple Soup

By |January 11th, 2013|

Continuing my love affair with soups these days, here is another one: roasted sweet potato and green apple soup.  Before Pinterest ever existed, I tore off pages from my favorite magazines that had stuff I was interested in: decor, outfits, makeup, and of course, recipes.  This one is from a pile of recipe tears I found the other day.  I used to have “binders full of recipes” (heh heh), and El Señor Hubs swore that if he ever found my folders of torn-off pages, he would throw them away.  Is he mean?  No.  You see, I have a hoarding problem sentimental attachment to things.  El Señor Hubs leans towards the minimalist side, thus no “cachivaches”* are allowed.  If it were up to him, we would just have a couch, a bed, and a TV.  No vases as centerpieces.  No crystal mint dishes on sidetables.  No small appliances on counters.  I, on the other hand, like “stuff”, and I tend to accumulate and save things I deem important, when sometimes they really are not.  I have to say lately, I’ve been all about purging, especially since we moved into our new home.  More on that later!