Sunday in Cuenca

Today is Sunday, traditionally, a day of family activities and rest from jobs for most of Ecuador. Not very many taxi drivers are to be found; the local bicycle clubs seem to have taken over the roads today. Across the Tomebamba River, looking down from our aerie, next to the newly renovated Parque de la Madre, it looks like a Grupo of them are getting ready for a ride:

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I think hubby is jealous, he is really missing his weekend bicycle rides with friends in and around San Antonio, Texas. He’s off for a long walk to get to know more of Cuenca.

Yesterday, we went to the market downtown to buy produce. I love that place! We bought tomatoes, onions, garlic, sweet seedless tangerines, a tub of honey and resisted buying anything else, but it was hard.  Here’s my favorite picture of the market, taken a few years ago…but the same lady is in the same spot, probably wearing the same blue apron:

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Back at home last evening, I cooked about 18 small tomatoes, a few cloves of garlic and lots of chopped onions (already fried a bit in olive oil for flavor) in a crock pot to make tomato sauce. It simmered all night, and today I’m going to make lasagna with the sauce. Tomato sauce (not ketchup) is difficult to find and when you do, it’s Hunts and pricey. Ketchup, known as Salsa de Tomates is everywhere. I’ve always wanted to make tomato sauce from scratch and it turned out lovely.  You can buy good quality mozzarella and ricotta cheese here, also noodles  & pasta of all kinds. I also bought some already shredded parmesan cheese, we’ll see how that is later when I make the lasagna.

One of our favorite treats at the Mercado is roasted pork and fried potatoes, hubby likes it with a big Pilsener beer. A whole pig is roasted before the chef comes to the market and at the market, the ladies will cut off pieces of the really tender, juicy and flavorful meat, fry it up in a pan with some potatoes and more spices. Yum.Roasted Pork, Potatoes, Mote & Beer

Hubby brought home some ‘chancho’ (pork) meat the other day and said, let’s have this for dinner! I quickly washed and cut up some potatoes to boil, cut up and fried some onions; chopped up the pork (she threw in a piece of fried pork skins, known here as chicharones, mmm good for a snack) to fry. I fried the onions, cut up the cooked potatoes and threw them and the the pork into the onions. Just as good as in the market!

Hubby also likes the cheese filled corn pancakes from the market downtown:

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Today I am also going to attempt to make brownies: my usual recipe with eggs, sugar, chocolate, flour and a bit of salt and a larger bit of vanilla. I’ve got a guide for high altitude cooking (Cuenca is over 8000 ft above sea level) so I’ll take a pic of my culinary creations later.

Has anyone noticed that I always seem to go back to writing about cooking and food? Since Cuenca is a gastronomical paradise, I expect that I will be doing a lot of cooking and eating!

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6 responses to “Sunday in Cuenca

  1. What is the white food underneath the sliced pork/pilsner photo? Is it some kind of hominy?? I am really enjoying your blog and stories about Cuenca!

    • That is Choclo, my hubby’s favorite food here. It’s sort of like a starchy hominy, but tastier. Choclo can be eaten boiled, toasted, popcorned, and put in soups or fried with scrambled eggs (Mote Pilo) and is a staple of the Andes.

      • Thanks for responding. Sounds interesting, and as a Southern-grit-eating lady, delicious, too! I can hardly wait to try all of the delicious food there (and everything else, too). 🙂

      • Hey, I’ve been researching further and it seems this is called mote (whit hominy corn), not choclo. I found a blog post from a person in Quito who says that choclo is the Ecuadorian version of corn on the cob, toasted over a grill until soft, then rolled in butter or garlic sauce and then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (which *also* sounds amazing!). So many new foods to enjoy!! 😉

  2. *white*, not whit. 😉

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