August 07, 2011

Traditional Ecuadorian Food: We're Eating a Humita in a Panaderia (bakery)

Some of the Ecuadorian food is interesting. A Humita is something that one must acquire a taste for. We believe it is made with corn or hominy. I have never been a fan of hominy. We think it has some white melting cheese, such as queso fresco in it and slight bit of sugar. And finally it is wrapped in a corn husk.

According to Wikeapedia here is the ingredients in an Ecuadorian humita.
in Ecuador humitas are prepared with fresh ground corn with onions, eggs and spices that vary on the region, and on each family's tradition. The dough is wrapped in a corn husk, but are steamed rather than baked or boiled. Ecuadorian humitas may also contain cheese. This dish is so traditional in Ecuador that they have developed special pots just for cooking humitas. Ecuadorian humitas can be salty or sweet.

August 06, 2011

Ecuadorian Pizza?

Ecuadorian pizza is different than pizza most of us are used to. Why? Well, for one thing they do not put tomato sauce on their pizza. Since we live in Ecuador now, I had to try it out. So here are the pizzas. I did make a white sauce with a little garlic, flour, milk, herbs, and Parmesan cheese. Here's what I put on these three pizzas: White sauce, diced green bell pepper, diced red chili peppers, diced red onion, olives, fresh tomato and Ecuadorian cheese called Queso fresco, which is literally translated "fresh cheese". Queso fresco is much like mozzarella cheese with its milky flavor and soft texture. It's pretty good on pizza.

Here's the pizza right out of the oven.

We love pizza around here and I usually make it from scratch at least once or twice a month. In this video I am making pizza from scratch. Frank is really picky about eating Italian food in restaurants. There are a couple of Italian restaurants here in Cuenca, but we have not eaten at them yet. We did try the pizza though and that was when we found out they didn't use tomato sauce. So, was my pizza good? Yes, it was absolutely fantastic! Would I do anything different next time? Yes, I will make at least one of the pizzas with tomato sauce. Feeding three big sons is a challenge sometimes, but it can be rewarding. tomorrow we're going to have lentil burgers, which is another Ecuadorian fare. Well, at least the lentils are. Ciao!

August 05, 2011

Warming Up In Cuenca! Yahoooooooooooooo

My oldest son Brandon

reminded me today that it is warmed up nicely here in Cuenca. I guess that the Argentina cold front I had previously posted about has passed. In a previous blog post I had said that I was cold and that the spring-like temperatures felt more like winter to me. The last four or five days have been absolutely perfect. The overnight lows have been in the mid 40's and highs in the low to mid 70's. For it being winter here, that is pretty nice weather. I still need a sweater in the mornings, but by afternoon, the sun is usually out which warms things up nicely.

August 04, 2011

What’s it Like to Live in Cuenca Ecuador?

When we first moved here, about six weeks ago, family and friends were asking us what is it like to live in Cuenca Ecuador? Some of them asked us if there were sheep in the roads. They wanted to know if the roads were gravel roads or paved and they wanted to know if you can drink the water out of the tap.

My very first impression of downtown colonial Cuenca was a feeling of being taken back in time or of being in a southern Italian town. The narrow cobblestone streets line a four-mile by six-mile area which is known as the historic district. There are a lot of very old colonial buildings and museums of Ecuadorian history in this part of town. Huge Cathedrals of vast proportion adorn the city of Cuenca, even if one is not Catholic, it is awe inspiring to see these cathedrals, built of marble, with their tall arched ceilings, and painted murals; it is a sight to see.

Want a Glass of Fresh Goats Milk?

Now had there been sheep in the road, but there weren’t, it would not have surprised me in the least. One day when we were at the Mercado of Feira Libre right off of the road of Las Americas there was a indigenous woman standing on the side of the road to the entrance to the Mercado, offering us fresh goats milk. This goats milk is non pasteurized and non FDA approved coming right out of the goat right there and now! It was so cool! The neat thing is you get to see the goat you are drinking from. Is she healthy looking? Is she clean where cleanliness matter most? Yes on both accounts. This milk is cleaner and healthier than the pasteurized garbage they call milk in the grocery stores.

No Sheep, Only Bulls in the Roads

Now we have seen plenty of cows in the roads and many farmers just tie up their cows and bulls wherever the grass looks green, it may be your own back yard. It’s kind of scary walking right past a bull on the side of the road, but they are quite docile and usually don’t pose too much of a threat. But no, there are not sheep all over the roadways, at least not in the cities; there are only cows and bulls that we have seen so far.

Yes, the Roads Are All Paved

The roads are all paved and very nice and well taken care of. Here in Cuenca there are always road workers improving on parts of the roadways that have gotten worn. The roads are wide and two or three lanes almost everywhere in Cuenca, except for downtown where it is narrow, cobblestone streets. The sidewalks could use some work as many of them are not level and have big gaps and holes in the cement and weird protruding things sticking up from them. If you plan on walking a lot, like we do, wear a pair of comfortable shoes, and do keep an eye on where you are walking, lest you stumble and fall.

The Water Tastes Great!

We’ve lived here going on 6-weeks now and have never bought bottled water. We’ve been drinking the tap water and none of us our sick or dead yet. You really cannot believe everything you read. Some blogs say you can’t drink the water and some say you can. We took our chances and just drink it and we're still drinking it with no problems. The first time I tried the tap water I noticed fresh, almost spring water like taste, unlike in the U.S in the south the water tastes very chemically and metallic. The drinking water in Cuenca comes from the many glacial lakes that are made from the mountains of the Cajas National Park. Yes, you can drink the water in Cuenca but not in the coastal cities.

Cuenca is an emerging, developing city that has good clean water, and better plumbing than elsewhere in Ecuador. It has all of the conveniences you will find in the States or in Europe. Some of the people may still do things in the traditional way or old fashioned way but this is what makes it so incredibly neat to live here. Where else can you drink a glass of fresh milk right from the goat?

August 01, 2011

Free Cuenca Entertainment in the Downtown Square

Last Monday night Frank, Brandon and I happened to be downtown Cuenca eating dessert at a great restaurant called Tutto Freddo's when all of a sudden they started playing Latin music in the square. People were dancing, watching the fireworks, and enjoying the music with family and friends. I still don't know what the celebration was, but from what I hear, they have these kinds of fireworks and music festivals all the time here in Cuenca. Enjoy the video.

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