good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Tag: vegetarian

Whipped Feta Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Whipped Feta Cheese and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Cheese is delicious food. Usually, if you’ve got a good quality piece of cheese, it needs nothing else, definietly no embelishments. Sometimes, a nice loaf of crusty baguette and maybe some grapes are really good with cheese too. This time, I decided to go for […]

Jamaica Rolled Tacos

Jamaica Rolled Tacos

This post from last week was leading up to something… something exciting to possibly nobody but me. Anyhow, since we’re all here, lets try something new. On our last trip to Mexico City, I was blown away by a platter of simple tacos made with […]

Locro

Locro

We are in for a treat. Today’s post comes to you from K in which he shares how loco for locro he was. After some tweaking, we have nailed down a recipe that works for us. It’s hearty, comforting, and delicious.

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Two times. That was the number of times I had to visit Quito in one year. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and is mostly known as the jump off point for folks on their way to the Galapagos to see the Piqueros de Patas Azules or as we all know them here, the Blue Footed Booby. I enjoyed going to Quito, it was a wierd and dull place. I probably could’ve done a bit more exploring but with non stop work for which I was there to do, most of my exploring took place during dinner time and on a few friday nights.

What made the biggest impression on me was that every restaurant, cafe, home and probably gas station served a bowl of locro which is basically a stew. And in Quito, the most common Locro is made with potato and I could not get enough of it; that was however, till I’d absolutely had enough and I couldn’t stand it. It seemed like Locro was on every menu in every hole in the wall and after I’d paid the exit fee at the airport to leave the country I was happy that I wouldnt be eating Locro any time soon.

And I was right, its been probably eight years or so since those trips and in that time I’ve grown to miss Locro. I’d try to to explain to S how flavorful the worlds most boring stew was and I finally just had to break down and show her. Locro is simple, potatoes, onions, cumin, water, soft fresh cheese, a hit of milk and some small cubes of avocado and there it is. An Ecuadorian classic.

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Locro

Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon achiote paste

1 large onion, medium dice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons aji paste

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks (6 pieces per potato are ideal)

6 cups water

1 cup milk

Garnish:

chopped cilantro

queso fresco

green onion, sliced thin

In a large stockpot (8 quart), over medium heat, melt the butter and add achiote paste. Stir to combine, breaking up the achiote paste to smooth out. Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add aji paste, stir to combine. Add potatoes, mix well and add water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20- 25 minutes until potatoes are just tender enough to mash. As soon as potatoes begin to soften, gently mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher, leaving some larger chunks and some mashed smaller. The goal here is to get about 1/3 of the potatoes mashed semi-fine, 1/3 small chunks, and the final 1/3 left in larger pieces. Stir in the milk and let simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, queso fresco, and green onion.

*Usually, avocado is used to garnish the soup and in instead of chopped cilantro, its culantro which is not readily available unless you grow your own. Cilantro is the closest substitute we could find.

Roasted Chayote Salad with Green Chile Dressing

Roasted Chayote Salad with Green Chile Dressing

Chayote is one of those vegetables that was mostly relegated to soups in our house. I enjoyed their mild flavor and they were a nice addition to a vegetable soup, but that’s as far as it went. Then, one day we were watching PBS and […]

Quinoa and Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Garlic Lime Dressing

Quinoa and Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Garlic Lime Dressing

Since it’s been so warm lately, I wanted salad and a tangy vinaigrette. But, there are rules. This salad would have to be portable enough to take to lunch, not too fussy to assemble, and not get soggy. Kale is a good option since it’s hearty […]

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Huancaina Sauce

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Huancaina Sauce

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For those who know me, it’s no secret that I love Peruvian food. It’s one of my favorites and I get some mean cravings for the flavors in chifa, huancaina, aji’s, saltado’s, and ceviches to name a few. It would be fantastic to be able to go out for some excellent Peruvian cuisine, but sadly, that’s not a reality in these parts. So, like everything else, when we want something particular and don’t want to be disappointed, we resort to making it at home. That’s exactly what happened here with this huancaina sauce. I really had a taste for it and decided it was high time to scratch this itch.

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Huancaina Sauce

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

8 oz queso fresco

5 tablespoons aji amarillo paste

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons m+1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

3 water crackers (saltines also work)

Heat one teaspoon grapeseed oil in a small skillet and add onion, garlic, and salt. Cook on medium-low heat, until onions become soft and translucent, do not brown. Set aside.

In a blender, combine onion mixture with all other ingredients and puree until smooth. Mixture should be loose enough to fall off a spoon in a smooth and continuous stream. It should not be watery or too thick. If the sauce is too thick or close to the consistency of sour cream, add water, one tablespoon at a time to loosen. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Roasted Potatoes:

1 pound miniature fingerling potatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and coat potatoes well. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.

Serve warm potatoes with a side of huancaina sauce for dipping.

Butternut Squash and Toasted Chile Soup

Butternut Squash and Toasted Chile Soup

I have a favorite butternut squash soup that I make multiple times each fall, a sort of stand-by that’s always guaranteed to be delicious. This is comforting because I can wing the recipe more or less and adjust seasonings depending on how much squash I […]

Mushroom and Blue Cheese Flatbread

Mushroom and Blue Cheese Flatbread

Simplicity is key when one is pressed for time. As much as I enjoy an occasional fancy coursed out meal, it’s about hearty flavors and simple preparation that steals the show on a daily basis. Besides, most of us are beyond busy and weekday cooking […]

Esquites

Esquites

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One great thing about summer is the simple pleasure of having a few extra hours of sunlight in the day to sit on the porch sipping a mint julep– when life’s busy schedule allows. On days when this is not possible, I take pleasure in the bounty of a summer corn harvest. I love corn in almost all renditions. There is hardly a dish I would pass up, unless it included mayonnaise. In that case, it’s all yours. I’ve been known to grab a styrofoam cup brimming with esquites from street vendors when in Mexico. I can’t resist. This is truly a pleasure that has yet to disappoint me. I thought I’d share this simple recipe because it’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy corn. Of course, there are infinite ways to make esquites, but in my opinion, the simpler, the better to let the natural sweetness of summer corn really shine through.

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Esquites:

3 ears of corn, remove kernels and set aside

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped fine

1/2 onion, diced

2 clovces garlic, minced

2 T  olive oil (more if needed)

salt to taste

2/3 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half vertically

cotija cheese for garnish

cilantro, a few sprigs for garish

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

crema (Mexican sour cream), optional

Saute the onion and garlic with olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Cover and let cook on low heat until they turn translucent. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the chopped serrano chile and corn kernels and turn heat up to medium high. Saute for 1-2 minutes and add salt to taste. When corn has softened a bit, remove from heat and add the tomatoes. Stir to combine and transfer to a bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and cotija cheese. Enjoy with sour cream and a squeeze of lime.

Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Toast

Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Toast

I’ve never had $10 toast and likely never will. For me, it’s more of refusal to cave to a ridiculously over priced trend and shining example of band wagon jumping. It’s just not for me, but you go ahead if that’s your thing. I won’t […]

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