Posts Tagged With: recipe

Russian Food in Ecuador? Why Not?

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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.

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La Vida de la Finca

20130921-211758.jpgIt was another fun day on the farm. I was up before everyone else. I enjoy my time curled up on the sofa with a hot cup of Ecuadorian coffee and wool shawl wrapped around me to warm me from the inside and out. I secretly hope for everyone else to sleep in so I can enjoy more alone time.

I made a delicious breakfast this morning. Hashbrowns with onions and Swiss chard with eggs baked atop. I’ll share the recipe at the end of the post. After breakfast E and I visited the bunnies. They seem to be getting used to us and appreciate the gifts we bring from the garden.

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The after photo was taken after eating the pretty half. The yolks broke on two of the eggs and that was the remaining half. I left the Swiss chard out of Cory’s since he’s not a fan of it.
After visiting the bunnies we joined Luzbia and her son, Elkin, on a walk down to a neighboring farm for some manure for the garden. Yes, it’s quite a glamorous life here. The kids rode in the wheelbarrow and Mathias and Canela came along too. Elkin made a tower of twigs and rocks and E hugged the dogs while Luzbia shoveled excrement into bags.
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After returning home we had some lunch. Miss P really enjoyed the spaghetti. What a mess but she’s eating like a champ! She devoured a mango this morning. I am liking baby led weaning/solids but it is tons more messy than feeding pureed baby food. I hope she ends up less picky than her sister who was fed the pureed stuff. Miss E passed out on the sofa watching Brave in Spanish for the millionth time.

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This evening as we all prepared for bed we found some interesting creatures. In one room there was another giant spider and a scorpion! In another there were two lizards. Luzbia said the lizards are not usually found here as they prefer warmer climates. Even as I type this, a fly flew onto my iPad! As Luzbia says,

“Es la vida de la finca.”

I hope there’s less bugs in the city!

La Finca Hashbrown Breakfast
3 cups of shredded potatoes
1/4 cup of minced onion
1 tsp of Italian seasoning (or seasoning blend of your choice-I actually used Monterey chicken seasoning)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped Swiss chard (or you could use spinach or kale), optional
3 Tbsp butter
4 eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a kitchen towel, squeeze the extra juice from the shredded potatoes. Mix the potatoes, onion, seasoning mix, cheese and 2 Tbsp of melted butter in a bowl. Add in the greens if desired.

Melt 1/2 a tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Press the potato mixture down into the pan. Cook until brown on the bottom.

Slide the potato mixture onto a large plate then carefully invert onto another plate. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet than add the potato mixture back into the pan, uncooked side down. Make four indentations evenly spaced on the top of the potatoes. Crack an egg onto each indentation. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the underside is brown and the eggs are the desired consistency. Salt and pepper the eggs if desired.

You could also add meat like ham or cooked bacon to the mixture or try a different type of cheese. We ate ours with toast. Now I can’t wait until morning so I can eat the leftovers!

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