Tasty Blog

Fanesca: Ecuadorian Easter Soup

Fanesca is a traditional Ecuadorian soup eaten during the Cuaresma period (Lent) and Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter).  The Fanesca is made with 12 legume/vegetable ingredients, and each Ecuadorian family has their own way of making it.  These 12 ingredients are grains grown in Ecuador and include: choclo tierno (corn), habas (lima beans), frijoles rojos (red kidney beans), frijoles blancos (white beans), alverjitas (green peas), chochos (lupini beans), lentejas (lentils), mote (hominy), maní (peanuts), mellocos (a small Ecuadorian potato),  zapallo and zambo (varieties of squashes, like pumpkin, yellow squash, butternut squash, etc.).  Additionally, this soup contains bacalao (salted cod), cooked rice and has a milk base.

The specific origins of the Fanesca are not clear, although it is said that it originated during Colonial times.  The 12 legume/vegetable ingredients symbolize the 12 Apostles, although it is also said they symbolize The 12 Tribes of Israel, while the fish represents Our Savior Jesus Christ.  Recall that during this time of the year, devout Catholic Christians don’t eat red meat, hence the use of fish in this soup.  Also, during Lent it is common for many people to fast, so when Fanesca time comes around, eating a big, hearty soup is welcomed.


By |April 3rd, 2012|Entrees, Recipes|11 Comments

Rosquitas de Mantequilla: Butter Wreath Tea Biscuits

I made these little rosquitas de mantequilla last week because I had a hankering for a snack and wanted something crumbly, something relatively crispy.  I could’ve eaten crackers, but it really wasn’t what I was looking for.  And for some reason, I recalled a type of rosquitas I used to eat back in Ecuador – a kind you could buy on the streets.  Those rosquitas were quite crispy and on the salty/savory side, and street vendors used to sell them in these little plastic baggies which held about ten little rosquitas.  I can’t remember how much they were, but I remember paying Sucres for them.  For those who don’t know or are too young to remember, Ecuador used to have their own currency back in the day, and it was called Sucre.  Oh boy, am I dating myself…

Although these rosquitas weren’t like the ones I used to buy on the street, they will satisfy that 4 o’clock nibble time – just in time for tea.  These rosquitas reminded me more of a cross between an empanada dough and a pie crust – the best of both worlds!


By |March 21st, 2012|Appetizers, Recipes|2 Comments

Butternut Squash and Turkey Lasagna

Going to the grocery store starving hungry is never a good thing.  I know this, yet I do it.  However, sometimes this hunger ignites the food awesomeness creativity in my brain, and I come up with food ideas.  We taste test them, and then I share them with you.  This is the case of this butternut squash and turkey lasagna.  Having gone hungry to the store ended up not being a bad thing.

Last week I was walking down the pasta aisle and I noticed a jar of butternut squash sauce for about $8.00.  I read the ingredients on the back of the label, and I figured I could absolutely make the sauce myself for maybe half of that (I don’t have the dollar breakdown – sorry!), and get much joy in doing so.  Additionally, it gave me another excuse to use my brand new toy – the Blendtec.  I love love LOVE my new Blendtec blender! We’ve been making lots of fruit and vegetable juices to increase our intake of vegetables on a daily basis.

As you know, lasagnas are a bit time consuming, but they are not hard to make.  Using no boil noodles makes the process easier.   I’ve made lasagna before here.  But when I look a the pictures, even though it is a tasty lasagna, it looks rather skinny and puny.  So this time around I wanted a lasagna thick and with lots of layers.  I did a layer of turkey, a layer of butternut squash sauce, a layer of cheeses, with noodles in between.  Thick.  Divine.  Flavorful.  Different.  The butternut squash, the turkey and the cheeses are a great combination.  The sauce is sweet, thick and creamy; the turkey takes on the flavors it is surrounded with, and the cheeses gives add more creaminess and compliments the rest of the ingredients adding the savory flavor to it.  If the acidity of a regular tomato marinara sauce plays tricks on your stomach, try this lasagna instead.  Make this lasagna tonight!


By |March 13th, 2012|Entrees, Recipes|Comments Off on Butternut Squash and Turkey Lasagna

Cocido de Albóndigas con Verduras: Meatball and Vegetables Stew

So last week, El Señor Hubs calls me from the airport as he was waiting to board the plane to come home.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Cocido de albóndigas with some rice and patacones.”


“It’s essentially a meatball stew.  I’m serving it with rice and some fried plantains.”

“Oh, OK.  Cool.  See you in a couple of hours.”

“OK.  Have a safe flight.  I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I always say ‘have a safe flight’ every time El Señor Hubs travels.  I always pray he gets home in one piece.  I do this knowing that there is little he can do about his safety while in flight.  He is neither a pilot nor a mechanic.  So naturally, it makes little sense that he can do anything to ensure the safety of a plane; yet, I find great comfort in saying this.

I digress.

What El Señor Hubs didn’t know about dinner was that said cocido had vegetables.  No big deal.  Well, kind of.  Among the vegetables, this cocido has peas.  And if there is ONE thing you should know about El Señor Hubs is that he hates peas.  I mean: He.HATES.PEAS.  And I made this knowing he hates peas.  Why?  Because I LIKE peas.  AND, this one one of my favorite meals growing up.   Well, aside from the peas, the rest of the vegetables were sort of an issue for me.  As you know, I hated vegetables.  Especially carrots.  And don’t get me started on the green beans.  Darn vainitas!  Celery not so much.   So, if the thought of eating softened vegetables makes you queasy in your stomach, I suggest you puree them like my nana used to do.  It was the only way she would get me to eat vegetables.  In hindsight, I should’ve done the same for El Señor Hubs.

Once home, and I served this to him, the first words that came out of El Señor Hubs mouth were: “PEAS?!?!?!  WHY did you put peas?”  I laughed.  And it was kind of an evil laugh.  And then I said, “Deal with it.”  Because this is one of the ways I show him my unconditional love.

With his fork, he proceeded to separate the vegetables from the meatballs, and then he separated the peas from the rest of the vegetables.  Then, he asked for a spoon.  With said spoon, he shoved the peas in his mouth as fast as he could, his face twisting into this painful grimace.  I laughed.

“Don’t EVER put peas in my food again.”

I have been warned.  But I enjoyed the sight.  Yes, I was mean.  But I got him to eat vegetables.

I promise you though, this dish is delicious.  Although I suppose you must like peas.  Don’t grimace.


By |March 5th, 2012|Entrees, Recipes|7 Comments

Empanadas de Viento: Ecuadorian Cheese Empanadas

Empanadas de viento are one of my favorite Ecuadorian street foods.  It is common to see ladies on the streets selling baskets full of empanadas de viento.  Viento means “wind” or “air” in Spanish, and these empanadas are soft, doughy and delicious.  The airyness of the empanadas is courtesy of the […]

By |March 1st, 2012|Appetizers, Recipes|5 Comments