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Do you ever end up with ganache that reminds you of extra-heavy mayo? I was winging it today, testing batches that set up ok but grainy, then weirldy flexible. The 60% i usually use is 39% cocoa butter, but in this batch I used 72%, which is 45% fat. I also made some other changes but was trying to keep a similar ratio of liquid to chocolate. The 72% ganache is far thicker than the 60% ever is - it probably needs more cream or a splash of booze, right? Arg, I should know this!
I got annoyed and left the slab out to do whatever it will overnight - cross your fingers that it is either use-able or save-able tomorrow!
My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China. Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China. DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us! We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar. There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning. Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it. I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way. The original free range meat.
The family met us at the airport. We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel. Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM. We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
By Panaderia Canadiense
Wow, this is my third foodblog for the eGullet…. Welcome! I'll be with you from Palm Sunday through Holy Sunday to give you all a taste of the veritable food festival that is Easter in Ecuador. As usual, I intend to eat on the streets, visit a plethora of small shops and vendors, and talk about (and eat copious amounts of ) the specialty dishes of the holiday.
A bit of background on me and where I am. I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen. I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland. I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery. Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador. It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above. We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons. Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country. But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country. Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America. I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.
This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo. It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops. The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city. Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers. The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City. My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen. Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)
Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country. Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase. Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors. And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain. I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later). Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine. Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage. ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars. I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
I'm making truffles for a wholesale customer who will be distributing them to their guests on a daily basis. I've been working on my recipes for quite a while, and have some good recipes for a number of flavors. Since the customer base is pretty varied, I'm not adding any alcohol to the ganache centers. The customer is pleased, but has asked me to expand my flavors to a few that they suggested.
I've been working on a mint center with a white chocolate ganache and am infusing the cream with fresh mint leaves. No matter how much mint I add, the mint taste is not pronounced enough. I've also infused the mint leaves in the cream for up to 6 hours before adding the cream to the chocolate, without pleasing results.
I've also been playing around with a fresh ginger ganache and am interested in lemongrass and other natural flavorings. Since I don't know if the customer will be pleased with the end result, I'd rather not buy the flavored compounds (I've used the mint flavor compound in a previous job) to enhance the flavor until I get a better result using the fresh ingredients.
Do you have some advice for using natural herbs and spices to flavor ganache without using extracts, alcohol, or compounds?
I know this question gets asked frequently, and I've done my research, but I can't believe that I can't find a less expensive option for packaging to hold 2 truffle-sized bonbons. The two options I liked (from Nashville Wraps and BoxandWrap) come to over $1.60 each when factoring in shipping. There is no way to price them at that cost. Am I missing some options out there?
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