Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eating the Americas - Ecuador

After taking a break from our Eating the Americas project for vacation time, we got back to the recipe books last week and tried a couple of dishes to represent the country of Ecuador. Both of the things we tried are from the Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students by Lois Sinaiko Webb.

Not everyone was excited to try Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Potato Cakes) but I pushed the issue - after all, it's basically potatoes and cheese, and everyone in my family likes both so I don't know why they would object. And this time, I was absolutely correct. Everyone did like Llapingachos, and I will be making them again. Keep reading for the recipe - it will appear at the end of this post!
mashed potatoes are messy to work with!
these potato cakes need to be flattened and chilled before we fry them
Finished product = cheesy potato deliciousness!
Apple bread pudding, Ecuadorian style.
Likewise, not everyone was enthused about South American Capritoda (Bread Pudding) and that was more understandable to me. While I love bread pudding, the kids are a bit biased against it for some reason. Also, this recipe combined apples, peanuts, and cheese in a bread pudding, and none of us were sure that it would be a combination our North American sensibilities would approve of. Nevertheless, we gave it a try. Or rather - Kennady and I baked it, and tried it; the rest of the family has not yet tasted it. It is actually quite good, sort of like an apple dumpling, and the peanuts give it a surprising little crunch. I think that I didn't cook the syrup quite long enough, because I would have liked it to be thicker.
Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Potato Cakes)
4 tbsp butter or margarine, plus more for sauteing and frying as needed
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cups mashed potatoes 
2 beaten eggs
2 cups shredded cheese (Munster, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or cheddar are suggested)
salt and pepper to taste

(Once again, I didn't have onions to hand, so I left them out. My bad. Including them may have helped the consistency of our potato cakes, but I'm not sure. We used instant mashed potatoes this time. Our potato cakes were a bit sloppy so I recommend making your mashed potatoes thick and a little on the dry side.) Saute the chopped onions in butter until soft, then add them to a mixing bowl with 4 tbsp butter or margarine, mashed potatoes, eggs, cheese, and salt and pepper. Stir well. Using wet hands, divide the mixture into 12 portions. Shape each portion into a ball or disc and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick, placing them on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. We found that placing the discs between two sheets of wax paper was a great way to flatten them evenly and with less mess. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, until ready to fry. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add potato patties, in batches and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Add butter as needed.  These may be served with salsa de mali (peanut sauce) if desired.

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