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Panaderia Canadiense

eG Food Blog: Panaderia Canadiense (2011)

144 posts in this topic

Can't wait to see the markets and street food, have never made it to south America although my brother spent a year or so mostly based in Peru but travelling extensively including Ecuador and it sounds great!


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I love the look of that packet of Guayusa leaves in the photo above. When you brew it, do you measure by number of leaves, or do you crush it and measure by spoonful?

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Great blog PanCana! Looking forward to more.

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I, too, very much enjoy your posts here, and the uniqueness of your story.

I've actually traveled a bit around Ecuador, and really loved Quito. I'm curious as to why you chose Ambato.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Sorry about the long lapse in posts, folks - just after I posted about the Guayusa, I started the day's shopping and errands, and I've only just gotten home. I'll be back momentarilly with a barrage of photos from the market, downtown, and Baños.

So the artesanal classification allows for home-based production? That is most logical in a country with deep culinary tradition and trust in it's home cooks. Laws regarding the selling of home-prepared foods are finally relaxing here in North Eastern USA.

Absolutely. More than 75% of the country's food industry is cottage-type, and the food regulation agency trusts home cooks implicitly. Many of the best foods in this country can't really be produced industrially, so it just makes better sense to let the smallholders do it. There are some towns where the entire economy revolves around small producers of specialty products - a good example is Salinas de Bolívar, which is justifiably famous for its handmade cheeses. Baños, which I visited today, is famous for sugarcane taffy and other cane-related products that can only be made by hand.

When it comes down to brass tacks, I actually trust the home-based producers more than the industrial ones. The quality control with smallholders is much stricter.

I love the look of that packet of Guayusa leaves in the photo above. When you brew it, do you measure by number of leaves, or do you crush it and measure by spoonful?

In my diffuser teapot, about half of a single fold of leaves makes a perfect pot, and I don't crush them (it's hell to clean that filter basket if I do) - I just slide them in whole. That pot makes 4 large mugs of brew, which is exactly the right amount of Guayusa for any given day.

Why Ambato?

Actually, it came about kind of by accident. Just before moving to Ambato, I lived in Puyo, which is in the upper Amazon basin about 2.5 hours downhill of Ambato. I lived there during a periodic drought, which in Puyo (a city whose name translates as "rainclouds") meant that daytime highs were in the realm of 50 C with 98% humidity. As I'm from Northern Canada, I'm in no way acclimated to that kind of temperature, and neither are my folks. Hence, we cast about for a slightly cooler place to live. Ambato won out because it's a lovely dry city that goes up to 40, 45 C maximum, and since it's a dry heat it doesn't feel like we're living in a pressure cooker. The bonus for me is that Ambato's atmospheric pressure rarely varies more than 5 kPa from day to day, regardless of climate (living at 3,000 meters has to have at least one advantage, no?), which means that my bread turns out perfectly every single time.

I'll also say that we've grown to love the rhythm of the city. It's probably the least touristic destination in the country, which means we don't have to deal with groups of lost gringoes, high prices, and the snobbery of the tourist cities (the difference in attitude alone between Ambato and, say, Cuenca, is enormous.) This is largely due to a 8.5 earthquake in 1949 that all but leveled the city; it has few historic buildings left and hence it's often passed over by tourists, or only experienced as a pass-through on the way to more "interesting" places. Guidebooks refer to Ambato as a dingy, industrial town with little to reccomend it - how wrong they are! Ambato is an incredibly vital commercial center, and it's also an agricultural hub. For me that makes it much more interesting than a place with perfectly preserved churches but little real cultural life.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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!


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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.



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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!


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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

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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


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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!


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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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.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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stunning!!!


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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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


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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 (log)

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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?


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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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?

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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.

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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.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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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.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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      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!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      Good morning, everyone and happy Monday!  
       
      It's me again....that girl from Kansas. 
       
       
      This is VERY spur-of-the-moment.  I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it?  I got the ok from Smithy so away we go!
       
      This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was.  But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first?     
       
      Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here.
       
      Nothing much has changed around here.  Same furry babies, same house, same husband  .
       
      Right now we have field corn planted all around the house.  In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested.  Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up.
       

       
      I just came in from the garden.
       
      I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread.  I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there.  By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol.
       
       
       
      Here's a total list of what I planted this year:
       
      7 cucumbers
      8 basil
      23 okra
      4 rows assorted lettuce
      20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana
      4 rows peas
      5 cilantro
      1 tarragon
      2 dill
      many many red and white onions
      7 eggplant
      3 rows spinach
      57 tomatoes
      5 cherry tomatoes
      7 rows silver queen sweet corn
      11 squash
      4 watermelon
      2 cantaloupe
      6 pumpkin
       
      I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff.  WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing.
       


      I just love okra flowers

      Found some more smut   
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Pille
      Tere õhtust (that’s „Good evening“ in Estonian)!
      I’m very, very, very excited to be doing my first ever eGullet foodblog. Foodblogging as such is not new to me – I’ve been blogging over at Nami-nami since June 2005, and am enjoying it enormously. But this eGullet blog is very different in format, and I hope I can ’deliver’. There have been so many exciting and great food blogs over the years that I've admired, so the standard is intimidatingly high! Also, as I’m the first one ever blogging from Estonia, I feel there’s a certain added responsibility to ’represent’ my tiny country
      A few words about me: my name is Pille, I’m 33, work in academia and live with my boyfriend Kristjan in a house in Viimsi, a suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was born and schooled in Tallinn until I was 18. Since then I've spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student, four years studing in Tartu (a university town 180 km south), two years working in Tallinn and seven years studying and working in Edinburgh, the bonnie & cosmopolitan capital of Scotland. All this has influenced my food repertoire to a certain degree, I'm sure. I moved back home to Estonia exactly 11 months and 1 day ago, to live with Kristjan, and I haven't regretted that decision once Edinburgh is an amazing place to live, and I've been back to Scotland twice since returning, but I have come to realise that Tallinn is even nicer than Edinburgh
      I won’t be officially starting my foodblog until tomorrow (it’s midnight here and I’m off to bed), but I thought I’ll re-post the teaser photos for those of you who missed them in the 'Upcoming Attractions' section. There were two of them. One was a photo of Tallinn skyline as seen from the sea (well, from across the bay in this case):

      This is known as kilukarbivaade or sprat can skyline A canned fish product, sprats (small Baltic herrings in a spicy marinade) used to have a label depicting this picturesque skyline. I looked in vain for it in the supermarket the other day, but sadly couldn’t find one - must have been replaced with a sleek & modern label. So you must trust my word on this sprat can skyline view
      The second photo depicted a loaf of our delicious rye bread, rukkileib. As Snowangel already said, it’s naturally leavened sour 100% rye bread, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions for making it later during the week.

      It was fun seeing your replies to Snowangel’s teaser photos. All of you got the continent straight away, and I was pleased to say that most of you got the region right, too (that's Northern Europe then). Peter Green’s guess Moscow was furthest away – the capital of Russia is 865 km south-east from here (unfortunately I've never had a chance to visit that town, but at least I've been to St Petersburgh couple of times). Copenhagen is a wee bit closer with 836 km, Stockholm much closer with 386 km. Dave Hatfield (whose rural French foodblog earlier this year I followed with great interest, and whose rustic apricot tart was a huge hit in our household) was much closer with Helsinki, which is just 82 km across the sea to the north. The ships you can see on the photo are all commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn (there’s an overnight ferry connection to Stockholm, too). Rona Y & Tracey guessed the right answer
      Dave – that house isn’t a sauna, but a granary (now used to 'store' various guests) - good guess, however! Sauna was across the courtyard, and looks pretty much the same, just with a chimney The picture is taken in July on Kassari in Hiiumaa/Dagö, one of the islands on the west coast. Saunas in Estonia are as essential part of our life – and lifestyle – as they are in Finland. Throwing a sauna party would guarantee a good turnout of friends any time
      Finally, a map of Northern Europe, so you’d know exactly where I’m located:

      Head ööd! [Good night!]
      I'm off to bed now, but will be back soon. And of course, if there are any questions, however specific or general, then 'll do my best trying to answer them!
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