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eG Food Blog: Panaderia Canadiense (2011)


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Blue or Black corn can be eaten on the cob, but it's incredibly starchy and has little other flavour to recommend it - I've grown it and tried it, which is why I can even tell you that. That's why you rarely see it in fresh cobs, but rather in dried kernel or meal/flour forms.

Definitely an acquired taste! When I was working for a tiny church in northeastern Arizona, the pastor and his wife had a huge garden and one thing they grew a lot of was the multi-colored corn. They would prepare it just like regular corn on the cob, and it did take some getting used to. Amazingly heavy and starchy....a good sized ear was about as filling as an entree. It was considered good luck to find and eat a solid blue or black ear...for what reason I have no idea. I got to a point where I preferred it over sweet corn, and it is VERY hard to find fresh back here in midwestern corn country. At the market a corn farmer will look at me like I'm insane when I ask about it. I'm very curious to try it again 20 years later and see what I think of it...back then we ate it because it was filling and piecing together enough food for a meal was often a challenge.

Anyway, enjoying the blog even though it is salt on a big wound....last weekend was the final week of the season for my local Farmer's Market! :smile:

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

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My eG Food Blog- 2011

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Breakfast today was Colada and a Guagua, the way they're meant to be eaten - in a leisurely manner, and together. This is one of the exploded black chocolate truffle with walnut Guaguas.

Thrus-Breakfast.jpg

Today's adventures will include searching for a tasty Cuy downtown, shopping for nuts and spices, and a visit to the city's oldest and best cafe and heladeria - The Oasis.

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

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

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Success! Lunch today was the (sometimes epic) search for a good plate of Cuy for me, and a plate of Conejo (Rabbit) for Mom. Happily, Asadero Los Cuyes downtown was open.

LosCuyes.jpg

For those who don't know, a Cuy (Coo-ee) is known to the English-speaking world as a Guinea Pig (though why I'm not entirely sure - they're not native to Guinea or to the Guayanas). It's the traditional protein animal of the Andean nations, and there are specialized breeders here that are dedicated to producing large, meaty Cuyes for the restaurant trade. The normal way to cook a Cuy is to roast it over hot charcoal - this can be done with a Cuy on a stick (most common in rural areas) or in large rotisseries designed specifically for this purpose. Asadero Los Cuyes uses their rotisserie for Cuy, Conejo and chickens - the typical load is 4 rabbits, 6 cuyes, and 10 chickens. The smoke is vented to the street, where its scent entices diners. We took the last available table in the restaurant, which was right across from the rotisserie. This meant that we got a bit of ash blown towards us when busses passed outside, but it also made for some great pictures!

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Finished spits are stored next to the rotisserie; as the meat is ordered, it's reheated on a small grill over the coals.

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Although Sopa de Legumbras (rich vegetable soup) was the starter of the day, we opted to skip the soup (for reasons that will become obvious in a moment) and go straight to the main course, 1/4 beastie with creamy peanut-sauce potatoes (the traditional accompaniment) and salad. Here's my Cuy (it came with its little paw still attached, but happily this time not its head, which kind of creeps me out.) Cuy has a mildly gamey taste similar to wild rabbit, is very rich (think of a fat level comparable to goose), and once you get past the North American feeling that it's a pet, it's delicious.

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And here's Mom's rabbit - it looks like her quarter was the portion just before the haunch. It was incredibly meaty.

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Aji at this restaurant was fiercely spicy to offset the richness of the Cuy.

LosCuyes-Aji.jpg

Not pictured is the fresh white-pineapple juice that came with the plates. For two people, this portion of lunch came to $8.50.

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)
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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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

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After the Cuy, we decided to head to the Mercado Modelo, a few blocks away, for some Llapingachos. First, a bit about the market, and then a bit more about the Llapingachos.

The Mercado Modelo is one of about 6 permanent daily farmer's markets in Ambato; it serves the northern portion of the downtown core. Unlike the Gran Feria Libre that I shop at on Mondays, the permanent markets are open seven days a week. However, the prices here are a bit higher, and you're definitely buying from middlemen. This said, when you run out of something midweek, this is where to come to buy more. The Modelo has two floors - the bottom is produce, meat, and dry goods, and upstairs is small eateries and clothing.

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The Modelo is unique among the markets for separating the meat sellers from the sellers of lard, achiote-lard, and prepared pig products.

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The main floor is also home to the Zumadores - juicers who use whole fruits in western-style juicing machines. They're who you visit when you have a craving for celery and carrot juices.

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However, we were here for Llapingachos (ya-pin-GA-chos), a type of fried potato pancake that's part of Ambato's signature dishes. There are a number of sellers of this delicacy up on the second floor; we chose Doña Carmita's because they looked and smelled fantastic, and because we've eaten here before.

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Llapingachos are cooked on a plancha in achiote oil and the fat from chunks of chorizo (which are part of the full Llapingacho platter)

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The full plate, modeled here by Doña Carmita herself, includes four Llapingachos, half an avocado, some salad, chorizo, chunks of lechon horneado (roast suckling pig) and a fried egg.

Modelo-LlapinPlate.jpg

However, since we were already full of Cuy and Conejo, we opted for a simpler plate of just four Llapingachos.

Modelo-Llapingachos.jpg

After that, it was obviously time for more fresh juice! We headed over to the upstairs juice bank.

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Here, we decided on fresh coconut juice, which was blended up before our eyes. The jar in the background contains Com'y Bebe (eat 'n drink), a sort of fruit-salad in juice. Of course, after we were halfway into our 75 cent giant glass of juice, we recalled that at juice counters you can order blends. Duh. Coconut and Mora is one of Mom's favourites, and the girls behind the counter will blend to whatever proportions you wish.

Modelo-Juice.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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Now completely stuffed, it was time for a bit of shopping before dessert. Spice Bazaar, run by Elsa, is where we buy nutmeg with the mace still on it, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, and macadamia nuts.

Elsa-Longshot.jpg

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After that, it was time to head for Oasis, which is Ambato's longest-running Heladeria and Cafeteria (here, the word "Cafeteria" is equal to a Cafe or Coffeeshop in North American terms.) It's been in the same spot for more than 50 years, and serves some of the best Helado de Paila available indoors. It's also one of the few spots in Ambato where one can get Cafe Esencia - distilled essence of coffee with hot milk.

Oasis-Outside.jpg

The Helado counter. Oasis boasts 24 permanent flavours and up to 10 seasonal ones. There are the standbys - chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, but also exotics like Taxo (banana passionfruit), Mango, Mandarine, Chirimoya, and Guayabana (soursop). There's also usually Tiramisu, Cappuccino, and Crema (straight cream). All of these are handmade Helado de Paila.

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Oasis also offers desserts - including their signature Tres Leches.

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However, since we were already stuffed, Mom went for Cafe con Leche (the Cafe Esencia mentioned above), and I had the Copa Ambato, which is two flavours of ice cream over warm chocolate cake crumbles, with cream, mora syrup, oreo cookies, and cookie flutes. The two flavours I chose were Durazno en Almibar (peaches in syrup) and Nuez (walnut).

Oasis-Sundae.jpg

Oasis-CafeLeche.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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That's lot of eating for an afternoon, thanks for sacrificing so we may enjoy vicariously.

I've never heard of "distilled essence of coffee" before. Unless it's like instant coffee. Any other uses for it, besides adding to milk, such as baking?


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You lost me with the guinea pigs, but reeled me back in with the potato pancakes, white pineapple juice and the lovely coffee service. Have you ever made llapingachos? They look totally yummy. I'm on an achiote kick, so anything that uses it gets my attention. About that coffee....what exactly is essence of coffee? It looks like espresso. Do you add the milk to the coffee or vice versa?

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That's lot of eating for an afternoon, thanks for sacrificing so we may enjoy vicariously.I've never heard of "distilled essence of coffee" before. Unless it's like instant coffee. Any other uses for it, besides adding to milk, such as baking?

Distilled essence of coffee is what happens when you brew 1 lb of beans in 2 L of water, then reduce over very low flame (they sell special alembic setups for it here) until it's a light syrup. It's meant to be drunk, but is also used in some recipes - most notably as a bass note in the candied figs.

The ice cream combo is quite an amazing juxtaposition of flavors. Do you find the cuisine there favors lots of contrast? Right up my alley :smile:

Cuisine here is a study in contrasts - and I chose the ice-cream flavours for that sundae out of the 28 available today. Peaches in syrup is a very sweet flavour and the peach in it is very up-front, and walnut is incredibly subtle, but together with the chocolate cake (which is also a very different texture) they marry quite well.

I should mention that all that lunching gave Mom and I what we refer to as "food baby" - we were so stuffed that we looked vaguely pregnant... :biggrin:

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)

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 lost me with the guinea pigs, but reeled me back in with the potato pancakes, white pineapple juice and the lovely coffee service. Have you ever made llapingachos? They look totally yummy. I'm on an achiote kick, so anything that uses it gets my attention. About that coffee....what exactly is essence of coffee? It looks like espresso. Do you add the milk to the coffee or vice versa?

I do make llapingachos when I've got leftover mashed potatoes, but mine never quite measure up to the ones at the Modelo - I think I might be using a different kind of potato. There are about 15 varieties at the market on any given day, so it's entirely possible.

Essence of coffee is added to the milk until the beverage is the right colour for you (if you drink coffee with milk, you know what I'm talking about.) It's extremely strong and a little goes a long way.

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

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

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Distilled essence of coffee is what happens when you brew 1 lb of beans in 2 L of water, then reduce over very low flame (they sell special alembic setups for it here) until it's a light syrup. It's meant to be drunk, but is also used in some recipes - most notably as a bass note in the candied figs.

Wow, that sounds pretty similar to what the Syrians and Lebanese call "Arabic coffee" as sold by street vendors

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The juice vendors are amazing.

The guinea pig... There's a market in Clifton, NJ, (huge market) that sells frozen guinea pigs with the heads and feet still on. They look just like the pets except skinned (and dead). Never could manage to try one. I recognize this as cultural prejudice, of course.

This whole blog is just wonderful.

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It makes sense that you can find freezer cuy in New Jersey, Sylvia - there's a huge expat Ecuadorian and Peruvian community in that state. I wonder- do you have the same "it's a pet" reaction to rabbit as well? I grew up eating bunny at Eastertime (yes, we have a tweaked sense of humour in this family), so when presented with a cuy for the first time I simply dug in and enjoyed it - even though the head they included on the plate gave me the heebie-jeebies a bit. I know why they did it, though - it's to prove that what's on the plate is actually a cuy and not some other similarly sized creature. The saying here is "gato por liebre" (cat for rabbit) when you're being sold a false bill of goods, but they do like to prove that you're eating what you ordered.

Yesterday also saw a cake order - one of the families who bought Guaguas de Pan from me at the cemetery on Wednesday called me up and asked for a carrot cake. I'm always happy to oblige!

CarrotCake.jpg

Dinner was light leftovers, given how heavy lunch was. I should actually mention that Ecuador is very much a lunch culture - it's the biggest meal and it's meant to carry you almost right through to the next morning. This is why lunch is typically three courses, while few restaurants are actually open for dinner, which is typically bread and hot chocolate.

So, here's a take on reheated chicken soup over ramen noodles, with a bit of black sesame on top by way of condimentation

Thurs-Dinner-Me.jpg

Dad prefers his with Salticas, a sort of Ritz-crackerish galletta.

Thurs-Dinner-Dad.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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Today's brunch is brought to you by the Feria de Finados, a sort of fairground experience with vendors of food (this is where the city's street vendors have disappeared to), artesanally made kitchenwares, and other assorted stuff at low low prices! This only occurs during week of the dead and is more than worth visiting for the cart cuisine alone.

We forwent breakfast in order to have a good appetite for the offerings. I began my munching with another delectable hot candied fig and cheese sandwich - and here's a better view of the cart and the cooking figs.

FigCart.jpg

Mom, who doesn't like figs so much (sacrilege!) opted instead for fresh coconut juice and Huevos Chilenos (Chilean Eggs), this country's answer to mini-donuts. Chilenos are orange-corn balls, deep-fried, and lightly sugared.

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There was an abundance of chochos (lupini beans) on offer, in various different formats. Here, they're offered with crunchy roasted beans and lime.

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And here, as Cevichochos with encebollado sauce, popcorn, chifles, and tostado.

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However, our next real stop was at the Bocadillo sellers. Bocadillo is a type of local candy made from panela - in essence, it's blocks of various grades made a bit softer, and often with nuts in it. I bought a pound of Bocadillo de Mani, which is soft blonde panela with peanuts ($1.50), as it's my favourite type. By the pound it's a much better deal, because a single 2-3 oz piece is sold for 25 cents.

BocadilloTable.jpg

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Candy apples and chocolate-coated apples and strawberries are also on offer.

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Further inwards were more traditional stands, and a whole Chancho Horneado (roast yearling pig) was on offer, along with more llapingachos and chorizo.

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Other grills offered Cuero (pigskin) with chochos and onion

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Gummy candy and turrón de maní are also popular here.

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Paletas (Ice cream on sticks) are common at Ferias; I was still into my savouries and so I didn't have one this time around. The town of Salcedo, 20 minutes north of Ambato, is famous for its Paletas. Also on offer is Espumilla, a whipped egg-white and sugar confection similar to soft meringue.

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We were too early to sample the Fritada (chunks of pork belly cooked in their own fat with panela), which is done over wood fires in giant brass cauldrons.

Fritada.jpg

However, the Empanadas de Viento were up and rolling, and very tasty! These are ''Breaded Wind'' - soft sweet dough around a tiny bit of crumbled sweet cheese, fried until they puff up and turn golden. This mother-daughter team have been in the Empanadas business for many years.

EmpanadaDeViento-Sellers.jpg

EmpanadaDeViento.jpg

And what street cart roundup would be complete without juice and fruit?

JuiceNFruitCart.jpg

FruitCart.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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Feria de Finados, Part II (apparently I can't have more than 20 attachments at any one time...)

There are stands from local yogurt and cheese producers - Nola, from Pelileo (20 minutes east), were sampling their excellent Queso Fresco and Manjar.

YogurtCheeseManjar.jpg

There was one booth of amazing stainless steel everythings, including personal-sized samovar-style teapots (Hassouni, you'll recognize these!)

StainlessSteelware.jpg

And there are some really astounding booths full of artesanal kitchen implements. In wood:

WoodenKitchen.jpg

And in raku-fired red clay (these are mainly artesans from Latacunga, 45 minutes north). I bought myself a new teapot in green freckle glaze from a granny who has been making them for more than 70 years.

Teapot.jpg

After that, it was time for something salty and crunchy - Chulpi (a particular type of white corn, toasted and crunchy) is one of my personal faves; this stand also offered salty toasted beans and maiz tostado.

TostadoHabaChulpi.jpg

Mom was still hungry, so we shared a Solidarity Sandwich - the $1 pricetag goes to the search for a cancer cure among the medicinal plants of the Amazon.

SolidaritySandwich.jpg

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We were also too early for the Pinchos (kebabs), which are cooked over charcoal.

PinchosCharcoal.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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It makes sense that you can find freezer cuy in New Jersey, Sylvia - there's a huge expat Ecuadorian and Peruvian community in that state. I wonder- do you have the same "it's a pet" reaction to rabbit as well? I grew up eating bunny at Eastertime (yes, we have a tweaked sense of humour in this family), so when presented with a cuy for the first time I simply dug in and enjoyed it - even though the head they included on the plate gave me the heebie-jeebies a bit. I know why they did it, though - it's to prove that what's on the plate is actually a cuy and not some other similarly sized creature. The saying here is "gato por liebre" (cat for rabbit) when you're being sold a false bill of goods, but they do like to prove that you're eating what you ordered.

Shamefully, I've never been able to get myself to eat rabbit either. I know it's a dumb prejudice, as there is no problem eating pigs, cows, deer, elk, lamb, etc. But the little furry ones trigger something... If it were a regular thing around me, the silliness would probably go away.

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How on earth do you keep from putting on extra pounds and pounds eating this way? Or do you do as the French women are purported to do...eat everything, but just tiny portions?

And the lady in the purple top and black ball cap. That must be your Mother? Correct?

PanaCan, it all looks too delicious for words. When one thinks of the average boring North American diet... :wink:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

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Oh my - lots of bold flavors and textures, bits of so many different tastes - heavenly. I must ask about the "Fritada (chunks of pork belly cooked in their own fat with panela)" - how does that come out when done - soft and fatty and sweet or is there a caramel crunch to aspects of it?

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We get a lot of Guava sweets here in South Florida, it's a favorite among the Cuban and hispanic residents. I love it with cream cheese inside of a pastry, or even on a saltine cracker for the sweet-salty-crisp experience! :wub:

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How on earth do you keep from putting on extra pounds and pounds eating this way? Or do you do as the French women are purported to do...eat everything, but just tiny portions?

And the lady in the purple top and black ball cap. That must be your Mother? Correct?

PanaCan, it all looks too delicious for words. When one thinks of the average boring North American diet... :wink:

I am blessed with a fast metabolism, hence I can eat as much as I like of pretty much whatever I like, and as long as I maintain a bare minimum of exercise (ie walking to the corner store for milk, wandering around the Feria, etc) I stay the same shape.

The lady in the purple top and ballcap is indeed my mother; I'm about the same shape as she is but a bit taller (6').

Oh my - lots of bold flavors and textures, bits of so many different tastes - heavenly. I must ask about the "Fritada (chunks of pork belly cooked in their own fat with panela)" - how does that come out when done - soft and fatty and sweet or is there a caramel crunch to aspects of it?

Fritada, when properly cooked, is bacon-caramel crunchy on the outside and soft and fatty on the inside.

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

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

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