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eG Food Blog: Panaderia Canadiense (2011)

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#31 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:40 PM

Market time! I had a quick breakfast of a Guagua de Pan (bread baby), which I made from dough ends off of yesterday's seven grain bread. It's filled with a mixture of semisweet couberture chocolate (cacao Arriba de aroma, which is one of the finest nibs grown in the Amazon), freshly milled Ishpingo-bark Cinnamon (more on this in a bit), walnuts, and panela. I'll explain more about Guaguas and the why of them tomorrow - they're part of the Day of the Dead celebration.

Monday-Breakfast.jpg

Then it was off to the Mercado Mayorista (literal translation: Bulk Market) for Gran Feria. Normally the Mayorista sells only by caselots or quintal (100 lb) sacks, but on Mondays it's open to whatever small quantity seller wishes to occupy space. This means that it's possible to buy directly from the farmers, all grouped into a convenient area. The Gran Feria occupies about 1/4 of the entire Mayorista, which is in and of itself the size of about 3 football fields. It's so big that it's visible from space.

The List
The List - Before.jpg

Coming into the market. The area is divided by Naves, large rooves that cover either open-air spaces or enclosed stores. They're lettered for ease of reference, and each Nave houses a specific food group. The one in this picture is Nave E, which is domestic onions, garlic, and shallots in 50 to 100 lb sacks.
Market-ComingIn.jpg

As you walk downhill, you'll encounter the Carnicerias, or meat-sellers. I do not buy meat here, for reasons that should be fairly obvious - I find chickens that hang in the sunshine and meat in the open air to be a bit iffy. If that makes me a snob, then so be it. I can live with that.
Market-Meat Sellers.jpg

The first of the areas where I do my shopping is Nave J, the dry-goods, grains, and spice sellers.
Bulk sellers.jpg
This is Especerias Doña Clarita, run by my friend Kleber, a master miller and Food Engineer. This is where I buy yeast, all of my specialty flours, and many of the nuts, dried fruits, and spices that I use. That's Kleber on the left.
Kleber.jpg
He also sells three grades of Panela in blocks, and a number of fairly exotic spices.
Panela and Spices.jpg

Moving downhill again is Nave M, Domestic fruits and vegetables.
Domestic Fruit and Veg.jpg
I priced the Pitahaya (Dragonfruit) here, but they were too expensive this week for me to buy them. In two or three weeks more, they'll be three for a dollar instead of $3 a pound. Oh well...
Pitahaya.jpg

Moving down again is Nave Q, Leafy Greens and Herbs.
Lettuces and Herbs Caselot.jpg

This nave is the beginning of the Feria Grande. The sisters in this photo are from Pelileo, about 20 minutes downhill, and they're selling their family's accumulated week's harvest. We bought carrots from them.
The Sisters.jpg

Another installment after dinner!
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#32 LindaK

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:56 PM

What a great market, how lucky you are.

So how did you learn about the food of Ecuador, once you'd moved there? It seems a world away from northern Canada, but you seem very knowledgeable and comfortable with its culinary traditions.


 


#33 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:55 AM

So how did you learn about the food of Ecuador, once you'd moved there? It seems a world away from northern Canada, but you seem very knowledgeable and comfortable with its culinary traditions.


Actually, we took a vacation before deciding to move, to sort of "test the waters" as it were, and we left the major urban centers almost immediately. That meant that in addition to learning the language quickly out of sheer necessity, we ate a great deal of what Ecuadorians call "Tipico" or "Platos Tipicos" (literally translated, "Typical Plates," figuratively, "Traditional Food"), which is what one will normally find offered in the comedores (small family-run restaurants, usually 3-4 tables) in any given small town. Pair that with an exuberant wish to try everything at least once, it meant that our learning curve on Ecuadorian traditional foods was pretty steep. Because I'm willing to try everything that I have never heard of before, I've eaten some really astoundingly good things (Corviche comes to mind; this is peanut-braised fish inside spicy green plantain breading, fried.) I've also eaten things that I will never touch again (Caldo de Patas is a good example - this is beef hoof soup.)

The other thing that has helped me immensely is that my initial Spanish lessons occurred in the kitchen of my Lojana friend Beatriz - she taught me to cook while teaching me to speak, and was a fountain of interesting information about the culinary traditions of the country. Actually, the 12-hour cafecito that I was referring to upthread happened at her mother's house!
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#34 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:27 AM

And now, Market: Part II. Sorry about the delay, folks - I passed out on the sofa after dinner and didn't regain consciousness until about 1 am.... :rolleyes:

Heading into the main fray of the market, one finds the herb sellers. This week it was important to pay them a visit, since I needed the herb bundles for Colada Morada (more on this when I catch up to today - it's a project)
Herb Sellers.jpg

Also here were folks selling Guaguas de Pan that were made in a traditional wood-fired clay dome oven.
Guaguas.jpg

Up from there are Maria and Mr. Mango (he actually refers to himself that way!) - Maria sells mixed fruit, and Mr. Mango has mangoes, canteloupes....
Maria.jpg
MrMango.jpg
and Ubos (known to other tropical countries as Natal Plums or Mombins)
Ubos.jpg

Maria also sells bananas by the bunch - these are a type called Seda or Silk Plantain, which are similar to export-types.
SedasByBunch.jpg

Continuing up the naves, other exotic things are on offer: pastel de hoja (leaf cake, a type of chocolate-plantain cake baked in multiple layers of plantain leaf)
PastelHoja.jpg
Guayabana, aka Soursop
Guayabana.jpg

There are also vendors whose entire weekly income depends on this Feria.
Limes and Beans.jpg

Continuing upwards, there are the Caluma orange sellers and sellers of mixed fruit. The aisle shot gives you an idea of the chaos in this market - it's often a scrum to get the things you want, particularly heading into holidays. For this reason, I don't have a photo of the pineapple-sellers: I had to push my way into a huge clump of people in order to get my chance to bargain for the white-flesh types I prefer.
Aisles1.jpg
Caluma Oranges.jpg

And then one reaches what we call "bananalandia" - the coastal sellers of banana and plantain. In this first photo, apart from Guabos (ice-cream beans), there are four types of yellow-skinned cooking bananas - Seda, Limon, Dominicano, and FHIA-21.
LimenoSedaPlatanoGuabo.jpg

Guabos are also one of my favourite fruits, with pulp that tastes almost exactly like vanilla ice-cream.
Guabos.jpg

And then there are the Oritos, which I bought. North Americans know a similar type as "Baby" bananas.
Oritos.jpg

Heading up again, we come to Anita, who sells the best strawberries in the market. She didn't want her picture taken, but here are her berries!
Strawberries.jpg

Heading up some more, there are the fish sellers (who I also normally avoid - fish in the hot sun, anyone?) This week featured prawns, shrimp, and corvina,
FishSellerPrawn.jpg
Ocean perch, and
FishSellerPerch.jpg
Flying fish.
FishSellerFlying.jpg

There are also more sellers of sierra fruits.
Fruit Seller.jpg

And we've almost made it out of the lower Feriada!
Upslope.jpg

Up top, there are more mixed sellers.
UpTop.jpg
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#35 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:33 AM

And also Manuelo, our friendly neighbourhood Azucero (sugar man) - he runs the trapiche (mill) for the Valle Hermoso region, and sells his panela in the market on Mondays. I buy both milled and block panela from him; this week he had only the blonde grade of both.
Panela.jpg

There's also Mercedes, from whom I (and a number of high-end restaurants) buy eggs. Those stacks are cube-flats of 30 eggs each layer.
Eggs.jpg

Heading out, there are a number of tasty things on carts. Among them, charcoal-grilled maduros
Bananacue.jpg
And young coconuts, for drinking.
CoconutCart.jpg

And the edges of the market are also alive with food.
HangingStuff.jpg

Here's the haul! All told, this (plus the non-pictured eggs and herbs) came to $28.60.
TheHaul.jpg
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#36 Country

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:35 AM

What a great market!! I've never seen anything like it. And the bagged shrimp look just like Maine shrimp. Amazing.

#37 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:40 AM

Those were Mangrove shrimp, most likely. Ambato is only 5 hours from the coast, and the seafood will have been trucked in by the seller, who is from Esmeraldas province.
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#38 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:13 AM

The next stop after the market was downtown for a couple of errands. Of course, any time I'm downtown I use the excuse that when downtown one can't be there and not have Helado de Paila! Sr. Segundo Oña and his family have operated this ice-cream cart at the corner of the Cathedral for more than 50 years, and you can have any flavour you wish so long as it's Mora (Andean blackberry). A generous scoop on a handmade cone is 50 cents.
Downtown.jpg
Helados.jpg
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#39 Darienne

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:19 AM

You think maybe Ambato is the Garden of Eden? What a market! Such produce! OMG!!! And the panela... :wub:

Tried the new trick I learned on an Indian Jaggery website about heating the Panela in the microwave to soften it. Saves so much time and arm work. But then you probably knew it anyway.

I do envy you. On so many counts. Am enjoying this blog immensely and it's scarcely begun!
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#40 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:46 AM

Could well be a corner of the garden, Darienne....

Once we got back from downtown, it was time to go to Baños to deliver the bread, brownie, cookies, and bagels. Baños (or, to give it it's full name, Nuestra Señora de los Baños de Agua Santa, ''Our Lady of the Holy Water Baths) is a hotsprings and sugar town nestled at the foot of active Volcán Tungurahua, which gives the town its mineral springs. Baños is located on the headwaters of the Río Pastaza, one of Ecuador's main Amazon tributaries. Foodwise, it's a mecca for sweets lovers, and is known across the country for its Melcochos and other sugarcane-based confections.
Banos Is Here.jpg

We had lunch at Cafe Ali Cumba, a hidden gem off the central square. It's a lunch spot, offering some of the best sandwiches in town, and is one of the only places to get a nice hot mug of Chai outside of Quito. Vibeke, the owner, bakes her own whole-wheat bread. It's also one of the few places to get a really good cup of coffee in the valley - fresh ground and straight into the nifty upright espresso machine.
AliCumba-Outside.jpg
AliCumba-Menu.jpg

I opted for Ham and Cheese
AliCumba-Sammidges2.jpg

Mom went with Tuna Salad (and obviously enjoyed it!)
AliCumba-Sammidges.jpg
AliCumba-Chai.jpg

After lunch, we stopped to chat with Marcelo, a master Melcochero (taffymaker) on Av. Maldonado. He's been making traditional panela taffy for at least 40 years in this same location, although he now also sells swimsuits for forgetful hotsprings goers. Marcelo says the following: one bundle of thirty canes is $45. One cane yeilds 2 L of fresh juice, and 1 L of juice makes 1/4 L of panela syrup. 30 L of syrup makes enough taffy for 50 packs of 5 sticks each. One stick of Melcocho in about 2 inches wide by 5 long. He was kind enough to let us photograph the process of whipping Melcocho, and to give us little tastes throughout the process. These are primarily stop-motion photos, since the actual process of flinging the taffy is incredibly fast.
PullingTaffy1.jpg
Taffy-Pulling Stop Motion1.jpg
PullingTaffy Stop Motion2.jpg

The melcocho begins the colour of molasses and through the pulling and whipping process it gradually lightens up to a pale blonde colour. At the end of the first photo, the texture is still very gummy; at the end of the second photo, it's similar to saltwater taffy, and at the end of the third it's approaching its final texture which is smooth, chewy, and just a bit brittle. Marcelo is one of the few Melcocheros who refuses to use artificial flavours in his confections, preferring instead for the natural richness of the panela to shine through.

Snapping the Melcocho into sticks
SnappingTaffy.jpg

Marcelo's wife makes the other sweets that are available at the stand - among them peanut and molasses brickle balls, sesame molasses balls, sticky coconut-ginger-molasses balls, guava pate de fruit, boiled milk sweets, and turrón (a honey, egg-white, and walnut confection). They also import heavy Mora syrup from the northern city of Ibarra (which is famous for it.) We took an assortment of molasses balls home.
Melcochos2.jpg
Melcochos.jpg
GuavaMilkSweets.jpg
GuavaTaffy.jpg
SesameSweets.jpg
Arrope.jpg

On the way out of town are the cane stands, many of which have their own steel trapiches. These vendors sell fresh-expressed cane juice, melcochos, guava sweet, and Macerado, a lightly-fermented cane beer. The whole canes shown here are typical of the area, and are about 8 feet long.
CaneStands.jpg
Trapiche and Cane.jpg

There was also a lone Cevichochos and Fritada cart. The fritada smelled excellent, but I was still too full from lunch to consider it!
Cevichochos y Fritada.jpg

Then back onto the bus for the 45-minute haul back up to Ambato. Tungurahua, who was clouded on the trip in, had shed her clouds.
TungurahuaValleHermoso.jpg
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#41 nikkib

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:59 AM

stunning!!!
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#42 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:59 AM

Dinner last night was a simple affair - paprika roasted Oro Morado potatoes (an Andean heirloom type, with mild purple hearts and gold flesh), steamed beans and carrots, and a nice chunk of flank steak that had been marinading for about a week. In brandy mushroom sauce. Yay Dad - he's the saucier in the family.
Monday-Dinner.jpg

And for dessert, the molasses balls we brought home from Marcelo's.
Monday-Dessert.jpg
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#43 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:03 AM

Great! Now that we've caught up with yesterday, let's see a bit of today....

Breakfast was a 5-fruit salad with fresh yogurt and Mom's handmade granola (good granola is quite hard to find here). The five fruits, for the curious, are white pineapple, red papaya, Julie mango, strawberries, and Orito banana.
Tuesday-Breakfast.jpg
Tuesday-Breakfast2.jpg

After breakfast we walked down to the MegaMaxi, our local western-style supermarket. It's one of those magical clear days that the city sometimes gets, and we were able to see both Chimborazo and more distant Cotopaxi.
Tuesday-Chimborazo.jpg
Tuesday-Cotopaxi.jpg

MegaMaxi were party poopers, though - they didn't want me to take pictures in the store. So all I can show you is the haul, which came to $88 and some odd cents.
Tuesday-Shopping.jpg
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#44 Jenni

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:20 AM

What was the julie mango like? I've only tried a couple of this variety once when some really good ones came into our local shop (an Indian shop in the UK). Shopkeeper said they (the ones I tried) were from Jamaica. They were delicious but I don't know if they are always good.

Also...white pineapple..tell me more? On a vaguely related note you may chuckle at the fact that my Dad has successfully grown pineapple in the UK and we've had delicious fruits from the plants! He literally just took the tops off shop bought pineapples and planted them! Ok, there was probably some technical gardening-type stuff involved (I do not have green fingers at all so know nothing about it all) but that was basically it.

Edited by Jenni, 01 November 2011 - 10:22 AM.


#45 Darienne

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:38 AM

My nose is pressed against the screen, looking at everything. The mountains are wonderful.

A local supermarket has long sugar canes for sale. We don't have a press naturally. What could we possibly do with a 3' length of sugar cane?
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#46 Jenni

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:57 AM

What could we possibly do with a 3' length of sugar cane?


Break it up and chew on it. I have memories of a long car journey in Trinidad when I was 10...hot and stuffy day, horribly long journey, plus we kids were sat in the back feeling restless. Luckily a roadside vendor of sugarcane was available and our mouths were soon too busy chewing away to complain anymore! Apparantly sugarcane chewing is supposed to be good for your teeth? Or is that just something people say?

#47 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:26 AM

Marcelo's wife makes the other sweets that are available at the stand - among them peanut and molasses brickle balls, sesame molasses balls, sticky coconut-ginger-molasses balls, guava pate de fruit, boiled milk sweets, and turrón (a honey, egg-white, and walnut confection). They also import heavy Mora syrup from the northern city of Ibarra (which is famous for it.)



I was surprised to see "molasses brickle" -- hadn't heard the word "brickle" in a hundred years, since when we had butter brickle ice cream when I was a kid. Looked it up and apparently it was a trademark related to the the toffee Heath bar in the U.S. and the ice cream made with it. Do the Ecuadorians use "brickle"?

What is the Mora syrup? A heavy cane syrup? What's it used for.

I am just loving this look at a, to me, totally exotic place and wonderful food.

#48 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:49 AM

What was the julie mango like? I've only tried a couple of this variety once when some really good ones came into our local shop (an Indian shop in the UK). Shopkeeper said they (the ones I tried) were from Jamaica. They were delicious but I don't know if they are always good.Also...white pineapple..tell me more? On a vaguely related note you may chuckle at the fact that my Dad has successfully grown pineapple in the UK and we've had delicious fruits from the plants! He literally just took the tops off shop bought pineapples and planted them! Ok, there was probably some technical gardening-type stuff involved (I do not have green fingers at all so know nothing about it all) but that was basically it.


Julies have strong orange flesh with very little fibre (just enough to hold their shape when cut), and the flavour is intense and slightly floral with a strong mango undertone and pleasant final hints of pine. They are among my favourite mangoes.

White pineapples, which are seedy (hummingbirds are the natural pollinator, and we've got tons of them), are less acidic and slightly sweeter than 'Hawaiian' pineapples (gold fleshed types). The core is less woody, and the whole fruit is juicier. If you asked an Ecuadorian, they'd tell you that white pineapples are for juicing and gold ones are for eating. Personally, I think it's the other way on.


My nose is pressed against the screen, looking at everything. The mountains are wonderful. A local supermarket has long sugar canes for sale. We don't have a press naturally. What could we possibly do with a 3' length of sugar cane?


Cut it up and chew on it, or cut it into 1 foot pieces, hollow out some indentations, and bake coconut-curry shrimp on it. The other thing you can do is to cut the woody part off of the outside and boil the remaining portions in a bit of water to get neat cane syrup. This can then be reduced to form a sort of bastard form of panela, or used as a simple syrup.


Apparantly sugarcane chewing is supposed to be good for your teeth? Or is that just something people say?


Yup - cane fibre is one of nature's toothbrushes!

I was surprised to see "molasses brickle" -- hadn't heard the word "brickle" in a hundred years, since when we had butter brickle ice cream when I was a kid. Looked it up and apparently it was a trademark related to the the toffee Heath bar in the U.S. and the ice cream made with it. Do the Ecuadorians use "brickle"? What is the Mora syrup? A heavy cane syrup? What's it used for.I am just loving this look at a, to me, totally exotic place and wonderful food.


It's the word I use to translate it. Those things are called Dulce de Mani (peanut sweets) locally. Mora are Andean blackberries; Mora syrup is a heavy panela and juice syrup distilled from them. It's used on ice cream, usually.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#49 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:45 PM

Lunchtime! Today's gustations were provided by a comedor, Los Tres Juanes, which is just down the street from my house. Tres Juanes is a fairly typical example of this type of restaurant, which serves a fixed menu for a fixed price. Normally there are two main dishes to choose from, and on this occasion there were also two types of soup. Three courses are included in comedor meals - soup, main, and dessert - along with a glass of fresh fruit juice. Comedores are popular, reasonably priced (three courses in Ambato is between $1.75 and $2.00), and almost always excellent, and they're also guaranteed to be packed on any given lunch hour - much more so than more "refined" establishments.

This photo doesn't show it (because it happened to be a rare lull when I took it) but normally one is lucky to get a table at this restaurant - the food is excellent and inexpensive, and it's located right across from the Technical University campus. This tends to ensure that it's always packed, and at peak hours it's not uncommon for there to be a lineup for tables.
Tues-Lunch.jpg

Today's choices of soup were Aguado de Pollo (chicken and cracked rice; a thin, light soup) or Locro de Queso (thick, rich potato and cheese soup with avocado). Both Mom and I opted for the Locro, which is one of our favourites.
Tues-Lunch-Soup.jpg

The Plato Fuerte options were Medallones de Lomo (Medallions of Steak) or Pollo al Horno (Roast Chicken) - we both opted for the chicken since last night's dinner was so beefy. What really shines at Tres Juanes is the seasoning - the chicken was baked in some sort of lovely subtle adobo (pre-dressing) that included leek, shallot, and cilantro.
Tues-Lunch-Main.jpg

Aji is the main condiment on the table at comedores, rather than salt (food here is normally perfectly salted when it leaves the kitchen). It varies in heat (an aji itself is a hot pepper similar to a chili) according to the chef and the type of food being served. At Tres Juanes today, it's milder and based on red Tomate de Arbol.
Tues-Lunch-Aji.jpg

The fresh juice today was Babaco (very hard to explain, but bear with me - it's an ingredient in today's project and I'll be posting photos later), which is a relative of papaya. This is a very refreshing juice, with a slightly sparkling flavour.
Tues-Lunch-Drink.jpg

And for postre (dessert), well, there's always room for jello! We figured the flavour was Rascherry. Comedor desserts are generally small, simple portions of something sweet, to clear the palate and settle the stomach after the heavier flavours of the Plato Fuerte.
Tues-Lunch-Dessert.jpg
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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#50 Genkinaonna

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:52 PM

Wow you're so lucky to have access to such amazing produce...this time of the year it's strictly squash and apples here...lol...

I would love to get my hands on some of that sugar cane. I remember chewing on swizzle sticks made of sugar cane when I was a kid, but I haven't seen any that wasn't moldy around here.
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#51 Darienne

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 02:19 PM

The other thing you can do is to cut the woody part off of the outside and boil the remaining portions in a bit of water to get neat cane syrup. This can then be reduced to form a sort of bastard form of panela, or used as a simple syrup.

I'm going to buy one of the cane stalks and try the above. I'll report back.
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#52 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 03:13 PM

Correction: the Monday night steak was Top Round. My mistake. :rolleyes:
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#53 maggiethecat

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:25 PM

Your blog has taught me more about your country than anywhere ever. I'm astounded , flabbergasted, in love. Thank you.

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#54 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:30 PM


I was surprised to see "molasses brickle" -- hadn't heard the word "brickle" in a hundred years, since when we had butter brickle ice cream when I was a kid. Looked it up and apparently it was a trademark related to the the toffee Heath bar in the U.S. and the ice cream made with it. Do the Ecuadorians use "brickle"? What is the Mora syrup? A heavy cane syrup? What's it used for.I am just loving this look at a, to me, totally exotic place and wonderful food.


It's the word I use to translate it. Those things are called Dulce de Mani (peanut sweets) locally. Mora are Andean blackberries; Mora syrup is a heavy panela and juice syrup distilled from them. It's used on ice cream, usually.


I'm sorry to be a pain but I was so interested to hear "brickle" used, because it has disappeared from my life anyway. Did you use it Canada? Did you have butter brickle ice cream?

Also, that potato/cheese/avocado soup looks fabulous. Any chance of a recipe?

#55 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:49 PM

You're quite welcome, Maggie; I aim to please! Of course, you could always come visit us....

Sylvia - brickle is the term that's been used in my family for roca or brittle for as long as I can remember - I wasn't aware it was a trademark until you pointed it out! We likely had the ice cream as well, or at least Grandpa would have made something similar.

--

Today's project ties in with the weeklong celebration of Dia de Los Difuntos in Ecuador. The Day of the Dead here as a Catholic festival also has very strong pre-conquest roots; it coincides with the old Incan festival of fertility and the celebration of the harvest of black corn and of the Mortiños, a small Andean blueberry that grows in the páramos (high altitude areas) of the country. The tradition here is to eat and drink with your dearly deceased during the festival, hold conversations, and update them on the year. All of this, of course, takes place in the cemeteries.

There are two traditional dishes for Los Finados (the entire festival week), those being Colada Morada and Guaguas de Pan. I'll talk a bit more about the Guaguas later on, but the main project for this afternoon was the elaboration of the Colada Morada. This is a thickish multiple fruit, herb, and spice drink given its signature colour by black cornmeal and mortiños. The roots go back to the Incan festival, where the drink was made to celebrate the harvest and to offer to Inti (the sun) in hopes of a fruitful harvest in the next year. The Catholics have taken it as a sort of sacramental wine, and in the current theology it represents the blood of Christ. However most Ecuadorians are also aware of the prior meaning, and the festival serves dual purpose.

Colada Morada is a multiple-ingredient undertaking.
Colada-Ingredients.jpg

From left to right, beginning in the top left corner, the ingredients are: The Herb Bundle. Sanguarachi (Amaranthus cruentus), Hierba Luisa (lemongrass), Toronjil (Lemon Balm), Orange Leaves, Arrayan (an aromatic Myrtle). Whole Cloves, Star Anise, Ishpingo-bark Cinnamon (Ishpingo being the native cinnamon tree - not true cinnamon in the Ceylon sense, but actually much stronger in flavour), Ishpingos (the flower bracts of the same tree - think of a flavour like strong cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and add something undefineably Ishpingo). Black panela (the darkest possible). Maracuya (passionfruit), White Pineapple, Naranjilla (a tomato relative with a bitter citrus flavour), White and Pink Guavas, Babaco (papaya relative), Zarzamora (wild Andean blackberry), Mortiño, and finally Frutilla (wild strawberries. My original lessons came from Fidelina, my adopted grannie, who insists that Fresas, or large strawberries, have no soul and therefore no place in Colada.)

The herb bundle is separated, washed, and placed in you second-largest stockpot with enough water to cover well, and then set on to boil. I wish at this point that I could attach smells to these posts - the herb bundle fills the house with a most wonderful odour. Once the water is a pale pink to red colour, the herbs are removed from the heat.

The fruits, in the meantime, are cut up and skinned (where necessary). Each one is placed in the blender with a bit of the herb water (and in the case of pineapple, guava, and mora, a whole lot of herb water. This is blendered until smooth. I should point out that no matter where you are in the country and completely regardless of social status, every single Ecuadorian household has at least one blender. I've been in kitchens that had no fridge but still had the blender. This is because it's the household's juicer, and that's how important fresh juice is to this culture.
Colada-Blender.jpg

Once it's nice and smooth, the fruit juice and pulp are poured into a strainer and strained to remove seeds and coarse pulp.
Colada-Straining.jpg

Rinse, lather, repeat, until all you've got left are the Frutillas. These are reserved whole (well, cut into halves).

The juices are stirred, the spices added (whole), and the whole pot goes onto the burner. It's heated until it boils, and then the panela is added, all in a lump. This is stirred until it completely dissolves. At this point, I also add an extra branch of Arrayan, because I love the flavour.
Colada-Pre-Boil.jpg

Then the spices are strained out. Half of the mixture (roughly) is reserved in the smaller of the stockpots, and black corn flour is added and blended (I use an immersion blender) until thick and no longer lumpy. Then the thickened portion is reintroduced to the thinner, and stirred well.
Colada-Black Corn Flour.jpg

The Frutillas are added then, and the mixture is allowed to cool slowly. This hydrates the black corn and thickens the drink.
Colada-Post.jpg

Colada is normally served warm accompanied by bread.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#56 Pierogi

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

Interesting concoction to be sure ! I'm sure in Norte Americano culture (at least Anglo Norte Americano culture.... :cool: ) there's nothing similar. How thick does it eventually get from the corn flour, which, BTW is a very cool color !

On another note, what, other than this type of application, do you typically use pink guavas for? I had an overload in my winter CSA shares last year, and while I love the heady, intoxicating fragrance, and the flavor, I most certainly did NOT love the nasty little seeds that wanted to break every tooth in my jaw. I ended up cooking some down into syrup, and infusing vodka with another batch (which was yummy....). But most, I fear, I simply enjoyed for the scent and then tossed when they got past their prime. I'd like to use them to a better purpose this year.
--Roberta--
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#57 Jenni

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 12:55 AM

Also, that potato/cheese/avocado soup looks fabulous. Any chance of a recipe?


I'm glad you say this because it was exactly what I asked when Panaderia Canadiense mentioned it in another thread! Luckily she very kindly gave the recipe here. I can confirm it is very tasty indeed!

#58 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 06:18 AM

Interesting concoction to be sure ! I'm sure in Norte Americano culture (at least Anglo Norte Americano culture.... :cool: ) there's nothing similar. How thick does it eventually get from the corn flour, which, BTW is a very cool color !

On another note, what, other than this type of application, do you typically use pink guavas for? I had an overload in my winter CSA shares last year, and while I love the heady, intoxicating fragrance, and the flavor, I most certainly did NOT love the nasty little seeds that wanted to break every tooth in my jaw. I ended up cooking some down into syrup, and infusing vodka with another batch (which was yummy....). But most, I fear, I simply enjoyed for the scent and then tossed when they got past their prime. I'd like to use them to a better purpose this year.


It depends entirely on how much of the flour you put in - at 1 lb for 7 L of liquid, it's drinkable, pourable, but still thick, kind of like a heavy cream soup. Other chefs use less for a very thin concoction, and others more for something that more closely resembles pudding. It comes down to personal taste.

Pink guavas are for juice! As I mentioned above, if you've got a blender and a strainer, you can get rid of those nasty little seeds very easily. To juice guavas in the blender, just skin them and cut them into chunks, then toss them in with some water (you'll be able to balance the water as you go - they'll take more than you think, since they're really really pectin-y), blend until smooth, strain into your juice jug, and you're good to go. The seeds stay behind and you've just got the essential guava goodness. Some people also add panela to guava juice, but when they're perfectly ripe I don't think it's necessary.

Once you've got that juice, if you add panela equal to half the mass of the guavas and then reduce the result on the stovetop (slowly) you'll eventually end up with Dulce de Guayaba, a sort of pate de fruit that retains that wonderful flavour and aroma and is shelf-stable - they're the deep red bars in my photos from the melcochero in Baños.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#59 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 06:51 AM

Last night's dinner was a simple homecookin' affair - oven-roasted chicken with black bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and some token asparagus in order to say there was a vegetable. It's another living, breathing advert for Smell-o-Vision - will somebody please get on that?!?!?

Tuesday-Dinner.jpg
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#60 nikkib

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:48 AM

Pink guava juice is very popular here on Singapore too... Great blog!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man





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