|Tamara Lukens

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Colada de Avena Quaker: Ecuadorian Oatmeal Drink

By |January 30th, 2012|

Juices, smoothies, and any sort of liquid fruit concoctions are an integral part of our Ecuadorian culture.  People usually drink a juice with their meal, while sodas are usually left for special occasions – at least that’s how it was for me growing up.  This Ecuadorian oatmeal drink known as colada Quaker, or simply Quaker (KWAH-cker) is a staple for all Ecuadorian families.  And as it is expected, every family has their own way of doing it.

I made it for the first time this past week, and it turned out SO good!  Comparing it with how I remember growing up, it was almost spot on.  Almost because I recall that my nana used to make colada Quaker much thicker, so much so that it was almost like “eating” this drink.  You can choose to make it thicker by using less water, but the way I will show you is smooth and I know you will love it.

I love how colada Quaker is made, using spices and aromatics.  The process is very similar to making Colada Morada.  Quaker can be had warm or cold.  I tend to lean towards the cold version because it is so refreshing, but the warm colada Quaker is perfect during these winter months.  And you know that a drink made with oatmeal is very healthy!


Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Pork Meatballs, Kale and Brown Butter Sauce

By |January 17th, 2012|

So last time, we stopped here:

It is time we finish what we started.  And when we’re done, we’ll have this:

As I had mentioned in my previous post, this dish was inspired by the butternut squash gnocchi I had for dinner at Parish Foods and Goods.  Since we have our butternut squash gnocchi ready, now we can start on the next part of our dish: the pork meatballs and the brown butter sauce.  Along with the meatballs, this dish had shreds of kale.  For garnish, we will use the seeds we scooped from the squashes – toasted and seasoned with some heat.


How to Make Butternut Squash Gnocchi

By |January 13th, 2012|

One of the things I love doing, which inevitably involves eating, is recreating a meal that knocked my socks off at a restaurant.  My most recent foray happened after visiting Parish Foods and Goods in Atlanta.  That night, I decided to go for the butternut squash gnocchi.  I love butternut squash, but I never had it in the form of gnocchi.  The butternut squash gnocchi was served with pork meatballs, kale and brown butter sauce, garnished with toasted butternut squash seeds.  What was not to like about that whole combination?!

The last time I made gnocchi, I was 10 and I made potato gnocchi.  I had just watched and jotted down the recipe I had seen on my favorite TV cooking show “Día a Día con María Rosa”.  Let’s say we ended up eating mashed potatoes for dinner that evening.  But this mushy experience was not going to intimidate me this time around.  I am older and wiser after all.  And I also have more patience, which I think is key.  Gnocchi is an art, and as with everything practice makes perfect.

This recipe makes A LOT of gnocchi; this is what happens when you are creating as you go.  I had 4 pounds of butternut squash.  Yeah…  So, get a friend or more and making the gnocchi will take no time.  The great thing about this is that you can freeze these little guys for up to a month.  All you do when you’re ready to use is drop them in boiling water – just like pasta – and cook for a few minutes until done.  How do you know if they’re done?  The gnocchis will float to the top.

This posting will focus on the gnocchi making process.  The second posting will be the recreation of this delicious meal, so stay tuned.  Now let’s get the dough rollin’…


Historic Savannah in Pictures

By |January 10th, 2012|

One of the first things I wanted to do when we got to Georgia was visit Historic Savannah.  It doesn’t get more southern than Savannah, y’all.  We did a quick two-day trip at the end of December and enjoyed strolling around Historic Savannah, admiring the architecture and eating some really good food!

Tigrillo: Ecuadorian Green Plantain Mash

By |January 5th, 2012|

While moving is always exciting, it is also hectic.  Finding a bit of comfort in an easy breakfast that reminds me of home was key in keeping the sanity.  Wine also helped.  But not for breakfast.

This mash allows me to unleash my love for green plantains in full force.  Plantains never cease to amaze me.  What is not to love about empanadas de verde, sango de verde, bolón de verde, and caldo de albóndigas de verde?  And now we have tigrillo.

So, our Dominican Republic friends call it mangú; we call it tigrillo.  What is tigrillo?  This is a tigrillo (source):