Posts Tagged With: eating

Russian Food in Ecuador? Why Not?

20140117-212254.jpg

Ok, last food post for awhile…I think. There has still been a little rain, but not nearly as bad as last week. This week we’ve met two couples with young girls, new playmates! I’ve been doing some preparations for Miss P’s birthday. With our new friends we’ve doubled the amount of people coming so I am working on some fun stuff. It’s been difficult without a printer. I’m hand writing plenty of things I’d rather do on the computer. Miss P won’t remember it but we’re gonna have fun anyway. I can’t wait to post photos!

So, back to the subject…Russian food, Borscht to be exact. I brought back two very large beets from my father’s farm. Now, I’ve not had much experience with beets. It’s one of those vegetables that tends to be overlooked and shunned by many. My mother swears she loves them, but I don’t recall her ever eating them. Her mom, however, loves pickled red beat eggs. I’ve seen my grandma eat several at one sitting! But me? I’ve maintained my distance from the root vegetable. So why bring them home with us? I was going to serve them up to the kids, of course.

Well, I thought of just roasting them, but then I had the crazy idea of making them into the one thing I knew had beets in it (other than pickled red beet eggs), Borscht. My only experience with Borscht was in middle school while visiting my Russian friend’s home. Her mother had made Borscht and offered to ladle out a bowl for me. I politely declined and ran far away from the strange magenta soup. But now I’m a bit more adventurous and I figured if we don’t like it, we can walk down the road to a restaurant for pizza. So began my culinary adventure.

I searched on Pinterest for some recipes. There were many different variations so I made my own version with what ingredients I had on hand. One of the most important steps to making a good Borscht is to make a good stock from beef or chicken (unless you’re a vegetarian, then a veggie stock will have to do). The more flavorful, the better. My Lithuanian friend, Kristina, gave me this great advice.

Did we like it? No, not all of us, but we all tried it, including my picky toddler. Miss P liked it the first day, but would not eat it after that. Cory ate a small bowl, but I think the look of it turned him off. I enjoyed it, but can say I didn’t like it enough to be the ONLY one in the house eating it. It was a very flavorful soup, not as sweet as I thought it would be, especially with the good stock I made. If you like beets, get some in a CSA batch and don’t know what to do with them, or are just feeling adventurous, I encourage you to try it out. It really was pretty good. My sister-in-law was inspired to make a batch from my recipe. She said it was delish.

Borscht

2 large beets – peeled and chopped (I think next time I will chop them smaller) then toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper
About 2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 small red onion (or two shallots) chopped
1 carrot cut it into matchsticks or coins
2-3 garlic cloves crushed or diced
5 cups stock (beef, chicken or veg) – the richer the stock, the better
1 tsp thyme
1TBSP tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
I roasted the beets at 400 F for 45 minutes. You could also roast them along with the potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic (if you do, I’d leave the garlic whole and toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper too). If not roasting all the veg, sautée the onions and garlic for a few minutes in olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add potatoes and carrots. Stir around for a few minutes. Add the broth, thyme, beets and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender. If you roasted the veggies then that shouldn’t take too long. Salt and pepper to taste. I puréed some and left the rest chunky, but pureeing is not necessary. Some people strain out all the veg and serve the broth only. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, heavy cream or goat cheese. You can also top with chopped chives and/or parsley.

Variations:
Several recipes also used 1/2 a head of shredded cabbage. It was sautéed for about 15 minutes before adding it to the broth mixture.
You can also add coriander and parsley.
Several recipes called for red wine vinegar to be added just before serving.
I was lacking all the variation ingredients and Cory doesn’t like cabbage or vinegar. So I didn’t add them.

20140117-213447.jpg

20140117-213500.jpg

20140117-213505.jpg

20140117-213511.jpg Baby Borscht face.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roasted Garlic Hummus

20140110-150901.jpg

So I’ve been craving hummus. In the US we always seemed to have some store bought hummus in the refrigerator to snack on. It’s such a healthy snack and really very easy to make. I made a plain hummus for a snack when we went to the waterfalls in Oña and we liked it so much I decided to try another recipe. I chose roasted garlic. I love roasted garlic plain on bread as well as in foods. I got the recipe here. The only things I would say to add to the recipe is:
1. You can make this from dried garbanzo beans, which I did. They are super easy to make. Just clean them, soak them (use plenty of water as they soak up a bunch) overnight or during the day while you’re at work, then rinse, cover with water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done. Start checking at 30 minutes. These beans don’t take long to cook.
2. This hummus is best eaten the next day. As hard as it may be, stick it in the refrigerator until the next day. It soaks up that delicious garlic flavor and tastes oh so much better the next day.
3. You will smell like garlic if you eat this. It’s the price you pay for eating such a delicious snack!
4. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil atop it before serving. Serve with pita bread, vegetables (celery and carrot sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers…) or crackers (if I could find some of those nutty crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers I’d totally eat this with those).
Enjoy!
PS My kids love hummus and it’s a great way to get them to eat veggies and to eat healthy!

20140110-152128.jpg

Categories: Ecuador, Food | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Esta Viento

Here I am up with the rooster again today. It’s better than the night before where I was up, most of the night, BEFORE the rooster. Miss P is working on her two top incisors so sleeping can be difficult. I think they will have worked their way through by her 8 month (and her sister’s 3 year) birthday on the 24th.

Yesterday it was very chilly, cloudy, and windy with bouts of misty rain. The farm house is drafty so sometimes it’s even warmer being outside if the sun is shining. Yes, there is no heat or air conditioning here. I’m very thankful for the electric blanket! I did get out my father’s seed collection and E and I planted a pot of flowers. I plan on sowing some vegetable seeds today once Luzbia shows me where there is free space in the garden. I am also going to plant an herb garden off the back patio, perfect for cooking.

I wish I could move civilization a little closer than 2 hours away so we could just stay here but I know Cory is itching to get out and explore and find some English speakers and cable television! I am also very excited about the Montessori school E will attend. The children are taught in four different languages, English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. I have also met via email a few contacts from the US whose children have just begun or will be starting the program. It’ll be nice to meet some younger Americans and not just hang out with retirees while we are there. Not that there is anything wrong with retirees, it’s just that it’s nice to have friends that are in the same stage of life as yourself.

Last night we had a nice family dinner. E read us a story while I cooked and P enjoyed listening to it. I made spaghetti with a delicious tomato sauce full of veggies (zucchini, carrots, Swiss chard, and onions) from the garden. Maybe I should’ve shredded some radishes in it too but I forgot about them. I also made a fresh salad with the lettuce and carrots from the garden and the rest was from the Saraguro market. E loved the noodles with butter, Parmesan, and pepper while P had her first try of spaghetti noodles. They were very sticky and difficult to eat but they kept her entertained. She really wanted my spaghetti and sauce but I wasn’t interested in cleaning up the extra mess last night. Perhaps today she can try some of that delectable, chock-full-of-goodness sauce today. It will be followed by bath time me thinks. 😉

20130920-070527.jpg

20130920-070537.jpg

20130920-070542.jpg

20130920-070555.jpg

20130920-070602.jpg

20130920-070616.jpg

20130920-070623.jpg

*I was going to upload the video of E reading her book to us but I am not paying $60 for video capability on my blog so if you are my Facebook friend, it will be there for you to enjoy the cuteness overload.

Categories: Ecuador | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.