Niños Envueltos: Meat and Rice in Cabbage Rollups

By |February 10th, 2012|

Niños Envueltos – now THAT is a name for a dish.  Niños Envueltos  literally means “Wrapped Children”.  Why?  I don’t know.  It is one of those things I have no reasonable explanation for.  The one thing I do know is that these cabbage rollups are delicious.  It is like the Ecuadorian version of a spring roll.  And it goes really good dipped in sambal olek.  ¡Olé-k!

When I was little and my nana used to make niños envueltos, I wasn’t fond of the cabbage leaf of course.  I mean, are you surprised?  You already know how much I hated vegetables growing up.  I used to open up the cabbage roll, eat all the contents and leave the cabbage leaf on the plate.  I don’t do that now.  I love food in edible containers.

Making the niños envueltos is very easy.  The one thing we really need to focus here is on getting some good, large and whole cabbage leaves.  My cabbage, unfortunately was rather on the small side, so I had quite a bit of filling leftover.  To prep the leaves, remove the hardest part of the vein in the leaves by making an inverted “V” incision at the bottom of each leaf.  To make them pliable, blanche them in hot water for a couple of minutes.  The filling is really easy and it is made from a combination of ground beef and pork (but you are more than welcome to use ground turkey or veal, or any other ground meat of your choice), cooked in a mirepoix mixture (celery, carrots and onions), plus some green onions and some cilantro.  I like serving it with some Sriracha or some sambal olek, just like I do with my spring rolls.  Let’s channel our inner Hansel and Gretel witch character, and prep the children so we can wrap ’em and eat ’em.



By |February 8th, 2012|

How do you warm up when it is cold outside?  Common remedies include sitting by the fire place, having some hot chocolate, or a warm soup.  Today I bring you something even more awesome:  Canelazo.  Canelazos are Ecuador’s answer to Hot Toddys.  While more common in the Andes, this delicious party drink is […]

Pineapple and Cranberry Chutney

By |February 1st, 2012|

We’ve made Colada Quaker and Colada Morada using the rinds and the hearts of pineapples, but what do you do with the actual pineapple?!  I suppose you can eat it plain, as it is – something I can’t do because I can’t stomach pineapple by itself.  So, instead of letting that pineapple left over from the Colada Quaker go to waste, I decided to make a chutney.  Having the pineapple drowned in other flavors and fruits makes it easier to eat.  Not to mention, delicious!

Chances are you have some frozen cranberries left over from the holidays; I normally buy a few bags when they go on sale once Christmas is over.  The rest of the ingredients are ones you most likely already have in your pantry.  To add a bit of interest to this chutney, I threw in a green chili, halved – seeds and all.  This will give this chutney a bit of a kick.


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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.