September 06, 2012

Come and Walk on the Boardwalk with Us!

Salinas Ecuador Boardwalk and Beach on a beautiful Monday afternoon.

                   

September 05, 2012

Pan de Yuca Recipe from Cuenca Ecuador

Seeing this vegetable for the first time can be quite intimidating. The first time I saw it I thought, "uh, what is that, it probably doesn't taste good. How do you cook it and what does it taste like?"
We lived here a year before I actually cooked with it myself.  And actually there are several Ecuadorian dishes made with yuca, and "pan de yuca" is one of them.

Most "pan de yuca" is made with queso fresco (fresh cheese) but I have found that in place of the cheese you can use yuca and you can't even tell the difference. The only real difference is my version is healthier because the rolls have less fat without the cheese, which means you can indulge by putting butter and honey on them when they are hot out of the oven! Or, you can simply eat more of them.

Here is my recipe. Of course you can substitute 2 cups of white cheese in place of the yuca. These rolls are supposed to come out with a slight elasticity in the middle (this is the yuca) which makes these delightful rolls even more enjoyable to eat.  Let us know if you would like to see more recipes, using traditional foods on this blog.

                 

September 04, 2012

Walking on the North Beach of Salinas

We're walking along the beach and talking about the fact that it has been almost 6-hours without power on our first day in Salinas Ecuador. It's not a a complaint but we're merely talking about how amazing it is to see all of these grand condominium buildings lining this stretch of Ecuadorian coast and there's no power. If the condo units you see in the video have a generator it is either not on, or it is a really quiet generator. As we were walking along the beach we could hear which condo units had generators on and it was only a few. Good thing it is not summer in Salinas because many people would have been complaining about the heat without AC.


                  

September 03, 2012

Salinas Ecuador Blackout!

Yes, the electricity went out in Salinas Ecuador, and for several hours. Luckily for the restaurants they still serve customers because they cook with gas. A few of the condo complexes had backup generators but most did not. The power was out for about 6-1/2 hours.

               

September 02, 2012

Cuenca Ecuador Winter Weather

For those of you who care about Cuenca weather, you might care about this. Cuenca’s weather, oddly enough is nicer and sunnier in the wintertime. The only difference is, it is about 5 to 10 degrees cooler at night but come eleven o-clock in the morning most of the days are warm and absolutely beautiful. 

UPDATE: (Winter - August 2014) The first statement above is not true anymore. LOL. We've experienced a lot of rain and chilly, windy weather this July and August of 2014. I'm using all of our heaters in the house and it is still cold! This has been an unusually cold winter this year. I think the best way to tell people about the weather in Cuenca is to say, IT IS UNPREDICTABLE! 
We’ve commented before about how there are more cloudy days in Cuenca than sunny, but in the winter, we feel it is a toss-up. It seems we’ve had just as many sunny days as cloudy days this winter. Winter in Ecuador begins in June and ends in October or November. Summer begins Nov/Dec and ends in April/May, or there a-bouts.
It takes some getting used to because it is so much nicer here in the winter compared to summer that you think it is summer, but it is actually winter. Did you get that? LOL ...PLEASE READ the update above.
Summer in Ecuador is rainy season, and boy does it rain! It rains and it rains and then it pours. This is great for gardening and having lush green grass and flora in your yard, but you most likely will get caught up in a rain storm if you walk around a lot like we do. Take an umbrella with you.
Winter in Cuenca coincides with the dry season—we haven’t had much rain lately (2012 and 2013). If you are a gardener you may have to water your plants the old fashioned way, otherwise your garden may dry out. It rained today, the first time in a couple of weeks. This winter seems to be much dryer than last year in Cuenca. Of course, when there are no clouds, you get…sunshine…so dry season = many sunny days in Cuenca.
In the summer it rains almost every day and it is cloudy on most days. We’ve enjoyed the sunny days this winter, but the gardener in the house is ready for some rain. Just thought you might want to know this bit of information about the weather patterns in Cuenca Ecuador.

September 01, 2012

In Cuenca Try Yuca Instead of Potatoes: How Many Ways Can You Use Yuca?



Remember the commercial about the mom who looks in her pantry and realizes she is out of potatoes?  So, what does she do? She cooks “Stove Top Stuffing” instead? Well, here in Cuenca, if you are out of potatoes, you can cook yuca instead.

Yuca is readily available and priced better than potatoes and is starchy with the same texture as potatoes. Yuca can be replaced with potatoes in many recipes. 

Yuca is to the Ecuadorians, as potatoes might be to the North Americans. Yuca is prepared in a variety of ways here in the Andes Mountains and we just recently learned about it because it is one of the odd looking vegetables that we’ve never seen before.  

 


Yuca, also known as cassava in some parts of Latin America is an Ecuadorian staple food. Here in the Andes they add chopped yuca to soups, stews and encebollado (fish soup) soup. 





 


Another Ecuadorian specialty, which we have recently been making in our home, is “pan de yuca”.   







 


This wonderful bread is actually made with yuca flour but I have a variation of it, which uses the actual yuca cooked and then mashed up with the yuca flour. Makes the bread (rolls) more hearty and dense.






Pan de yuca are really good when they're hot right out of the oven with butter and honey. Yummy!











Another simple dish using yuca is to boil chopped up yuca for about 45 minutes then sauté in a little bit of olive oil and garlic for about five minutes, season with salt and pepper. Makes a great side dish to other veggies or a meat dish. 

We also use yuca when make one of our favorite homemade pasta dishes called gnocchi, which is just little Italian dumplings. I replace the potatoes with yuca and they are delicious!


Warning: Yuca / cassava is poisonous if not cooked. cook thoroughly by boiling for about 45 minutes to an hour. Video with my recipe for "pan de yuca" coming soon!

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