Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable soup)

Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable Soup)

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Semana Santa is one of my favorite times in Bolivia, we cook and eat a lot surrounded by family. I have loved this soup since I can remember and I love everything about it. My favorite part of this dish’s preparation is the egg part. I remember starring at my mom making miniscule cracks in the top of the egg and pouring into the soup. After that she gave us the empty eggshells to play with. This an easy quick soup to make and has so much flavor, the tricky part is the preparation of the potatoes but it’s so much fun. It’s so delicious, enjoy it!

Makes: 8 portions

Ingredients:

10 cups of Water or Broth

1 cup thinly cut Achojacha (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

5 leaves of yerbabuena (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

1/4 cup diced green pepper

1 small onion diced in small pieces (1/2 cup)

1 small peeled and diced tomato

1 cup carrots cut in thin strips

2 cups sliced green beans

2 tbs canola oil

1 tsp salt

1 large clove garlic

1/4 tsp cumin

5 large potatoes peeled and diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup thinly cut spinach

2 eggs

2 tbs scallion thinly cut and washed

2 tbs cut parsley

2 tbs cut cilantro

1 tsp oregano

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel and cut the potatoes in eight pieces.  Crush the potatoes pieces on a cutting board with a meat softener until they are small chunky pieces. They should still be in pieces but be cracked open. Put the pieces of potatoes in a bowl with water and reserve.

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Cut the vegetables as shown in the pictures. Pepper, onion and tomato are diced, carrots and achojcha are cut crosswise and beans are cut diagonally.

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Mix all the the cut vegetables together. Put the water to boil.

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Cook the vegetables in oil and add the salt. Cook until tender for about 5 min.

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Add this mixture to the boiling water. Grind together the garlic and cumin and add to the soup. Simmer the soup for 15 min. Remove any foam that might form.

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Remove the potatoes from the water and add to the soup. Is very important to save the water where the potatoes have been sitting. The potato starch is at the bottom of the bowl and will be used to thicken our soup.

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Slowly drain the water and save the starch at the bottom and add it to the soup. This step is very important to make your soup nice and thick.

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Cook the potaoes for 10 min and add the peas and spinach.

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Reduce the heat. Turn on the stove. Crack the top of the eggs and pour them into the soup, you have to shake the egg while your pour it in and stir the soup at the same time (a second person can help here). Turn off the stove

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Chop and wash the scallions.
Add to the soup and mix. Crush oregano in your hands and add to the soup

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Cut the parsley and cilantro and top each plate before serving

This soup is healthy and delicious, I love everything about this soup! In bolivia we have el batan and we use this flat stone to crush the potaoes. I miss some tools from Bolivia and the Batan is one of them. Enjoy!

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Sopa de Pan

Sopa de Pan

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My dad and mom used to talk how my grandmother Esperanza (my dad’s mom) would make this amazing sopa de pan for Semana Santa. My mom was always sad that she never learned how to make it from Esperanza. So I asked my dad’s sister, Rosa to teach us how to make this dish. I thought that this was a real soup made with bread, I didn’t have any idea that sopa de pan is more similar to a pizza than a soup. So my aunt Rosa told us how to make it. I guess each family has their own way to do it and the main ingredient is  Pan de Arani. This bread has a particular flavor and consistency. You can substitute the pan de arani for a bagguete or a rustica bread. You can bake it or cook it in a pot on the stove but the final product is so delicious that you will end up eating more than one piece, especially if you love pizza. Enjoy!

9 inch baking dish.

Ingredients:

2 red onions medium size

2 peeled tomatoes

1 large green pepper

3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

24 slices Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

1 cup of milk

2 baguette

Preparation:

Slice the onion tomatoes and pepper in long strip (corte juliana). Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion  for 3 min add tomatoes and pepper and cook for 10 min. Add salt and pepper and taste, the onion should be soft and the pepper should still be crispy.

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Slice the cheese and bread. The bread should not be too thin.

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Preheat the oven to 400F

Butter and flour the baking dish.

Soak each piece of bread at a time in milk and accommodate in a layer on the baking dish. Then add a layer of the vegetable mix and a layer of cheese.

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Start a second row with the soaked bread in milk, add a layer of vegetables and finally a layer of cheese.

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Add the rest of the milk. Bake it until the cheese starts to become golden about 25 min.

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The cheese that we use in Bolivia doesn’t melt. You can use mozzarella if you want but I love Monterrey Jack or even Cheddar would work great. Cut slices, serve hot. Enjoy!

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Biscocho de Semana Santa

Biscocho de Semana Santa

IMG_1934I have so many memories of Semana Santa. My mom and aunts would get together for Sunday and cook 12 dishes all day and they would fast until noon. We used to try to cheat because we were very hungry kids and running around takes a lot of energy :-). So one of us would go with our big eyes and convince one of our moms to give us some biscocho. Because there were so many of us, we would send the little ones first to beg our moms for a  piece of sweet biscocho. But the first try never worked and we kept trying until they would get tired and send a big biscocho for all of us. These biscochos were so big that they were the size of your head. I miss my family and these big gatherings. You can make this bread in small sizes too. My Mom’s friend shared this recipe with me, thank you Doña Alieta. Enjoy!

Serves 10 large portions or 20 small portions.

You can cut this recipe in half.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup sugar
12 eggs
2 tsp salt
4 cups margarine or crisco
3/4 cups water
5 tbsp yeast
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp lemon peeled
4 tbsp oil + 1 tbs to brush
16 cups flour
1 cups raisins soaked in water
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup evaporated milk

Preparation:

Melt the margarine or Crisco. Set aside.

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Set aside.

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With an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar.

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Add the melted margarine and the yeast mix.

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Add the cinnamon, lemon zest, orange zest, and salt. Mix.

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Add the flour slowly and mix with your hands until all the flour is well blended. Add the 4 tbs oil at the last minute and blend well.

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Pass the dough trough a kneader (sobadora) machine 3 times.  Add the raisins and walnuts. Let it rise, about 1/2 hour.

If you don’t have a kneader let the dough rise three times and push it down after each time that it rises. In the last rise add raisins and walnuts. About 2 hours.

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Divide the dough in balls the size of your hand or bigger. Make balls and let it sit to rise. Brush with the oil so the surface doesn’t dry.

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They are ready when you poke them with your finger and they pop back.

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Flatten each ball to about 10 mm thick. And make 2 narrow cuts along the top surface of the bread. Brush them with the evaporated  milk and place them on a baking tray let it rise for a last time.

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Bake for 30 min at 275F. It takes time to cook and let it rise slowly in the oven once the bottoms are cooked. Turn the broiler on and toast the tops of the bread for 1 min until golden.

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To have those nice bright shiny bread, brush the surface of the hot bread with the milk and if you like coconut you can sprinkled with shredded coconut.

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