One thing about moving to any foreign country and that is the most well equipped cook can be brought to her knees because ingredients and spices can be very different.
You almost feel like a beginner cook because you do have to learn to cook differently. On top of being in a different country, I have to adjust to the altitude here too while cooking in Ecuador.
I have started with the very basics. You know my crew likes meat and potatoes and there is no shortage of that here. But I did not realize, though I consider myself a cook from scratch type of person, that I was using still way too many ready things in the states.
While cooking a favorite of roast and potatoes for my crew, I often used premade cream of mushroom soup. Guess what? They don’t have that here. Before I tell you what I did, look at this list of some things they don’t have here or at least I am still on the hunt for them.
- Cream of mushroom soup pre-made.
Maggi brand has cream of mushroom and others in a bag that you mix with water, but that didn’t sound very appealing appetizing to me.
- Chicken or Beef stock or broth.
Yep, you guessed it, I have been making my own.
- Beef Bouillon Cubes.
I consider this a staple in my home. Though they do have chicken bouillon cubes, it’s hard to make beef stew without my much loved beef bouillon cubes.
- Chili Powder. I can just pass out over this one.
You know I am from Texas and well we love us some chili, tacos and fajitas with original chili powder.
These were very basic items I kept stocked up on for any easy meal preparation.
So the other day, I started with my list and have tackled at least two things to make and keep in my freezer.
Too, we wanted to cook a bit healthier here. I hadn’t read the label to those pre-made soups in a while, so I set out to stock my freezer a bit.
It’s pretty easy to make chicken stock, so I did. But I was especially excited at finding a great link over at Money Saving Mom for cream of anything soup and oh I found a new recipe, Poor Man’s Steak that Tiny loves to.
Focusing on what we do have here, which is an abundance of a variety of fresh ingredients, I whipped me up some home made and delicious cream of mushroom soups.
After seeing how easy it was, it makes me wonder why I didn’t do it before, but then again in the states it’s all about the convenience.
(cherries are in season and they are so sweet, we just can’t stay away from them and the grapes)
Then next on my list is learning how to cook all their tasty soups. I could just live on soup and bread if my crew didn’t always want meat and potatoes.
(cream of onion)
(bean, hominy and corn soup)
(cream of broccoli is my favorite, so far, but I just had quinoa yesterday and now it’s a toss up)
(but then I forgot about the cauliflower soup where the cauliflower was slightly fried. I never leave any of the soup at lunch.)
Then of course there is no shortage of the best testing hamburgers you have ever had when you have had your fill of being a “trial” cook.
Somehow when we go out to eat, the ingredients and spices that aren’t found here in Cuenca just don’t seem that big of a deal.
Hugs and love ya,
Want to read some more about living in Ecuador?