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Panaderia Canadiense

eG Foodblog: Panaderia Canadiense 2019 - EAT! Empanadas, Arepas, Tortillas and Other Ambato Food On the Go

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3 hours ago, ElsieD said:

@Panaderia Canadiense  That was interesting information on baking soda.  I did some reading today on Ecuador.  According to what I read, the country's standard of living in many aspects has improved greatly in a relatively short amount of time. I need to read some more about it.

 

The country has grown in leaps and bounds even in the 13 years I've lived here; this is due in part to strong social programs with a focus on the inclusion of traditionally disadvantaged groups. It's no always fast change, but it's steady.

 

2 hours ago, catdaddy said:

I'd like to add my thanks for the in depth reporting in your blog, Panaderia. It's content like this that makes egullet so unique and enjoyable. 😀😀

I wonder how the climate changes are effecting your seafoods?

 

Ecuador is one of the few countries that's actually benefiting, at least in the short term. The Humboldt current comes earlier in the year now, and stays longer, bringing larger popuations and viable breeding popuations of commercially popular species into our waters. This, coupled with an increase in shrimp farming, has actually pushed Ecuador into one of the top spots for world seafood production.

 

We'll likely stay there, too - fisheries age very closely monitored to ensure sustainable harvest, and the bulk of our fleet are considered artisans - there are almost no trawlers here.

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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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11 hours ago, Darienne said:

 Of course now it's legal to grow your own marijuana.  I think a person is allowed 6 plants...but I don't know.  And the hemp producers gave up growing it long ago and now just process other farmers' hemp.

 

It's four plants per person in Canada, and the same in most - but not all - of the US states that have legalized (I recently had occasion to look it up for an article I was writing).

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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2 minutes ago, chromedome said:

It's four plants per person in Canada, and the same in most - but not all - of the US states that have legalized (I recently had occasion to look it up for an article I was writing).

What's the yield of 4 plants?

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I couldn't tell you for sure. I've Googled it and gotten a lot of varied results, which I guess is logical because so much would depend on growing conditions, the grower's skill, etc. The range seems to run from 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz for hobby growers, though I'm sure professionals can coax higher yields. Also, like any other crop, I'm sure some cultivars just naturally have higher yields than others.


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

What's the yield of 4 plants?

It depends on how you grow and the strain, but for the average yielding strain, you can get 500-600 grams per plant. High yielding strains can get 700-800g per plant, assuming they're getting enough light, proper environment and CO2 enrichment.

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Fascinating as this is, home-growth of even one marijuana plant is still completely illegal in Ecuador, and carries a hefty jail term.  I have an acquaintance who was caught with 30 hectares of plants; he'll be in jail until his youngest son graduates university.  Growing here is heavily regulated within the natural remedy industry, by the same secretariat that controls baking soda.

 

So, instead let's take a look at last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast!

 

Dinner was a Canadian staple, meatloaf and steamed veggies, but with the Ecuadorian touch of a pile of buttered rice.  This is the long-grain gold rice that I bought on Sunday.  Accompanying it is freshly-blendered melon and strawberry juice.  If anyone's interested in how juices are made in Ecuadorian home kitchens, I'm happy to go on and on about it, especially since everybody makes juice but hardly anyone owns a juicer...

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And since it's a miserable cold rainy winter day, breakfast is what nearly every Canadian turns to, to give them a nice start: oatmeal!  In my case, with fresh strawberries and a generous heap of panela on top.

 

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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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48 minutes ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

If anyone's interested in how juices are made in Ecuadorian home kitchens, I'm happy to go on and on about it, especially since everybody makes juice but hardly anyone owns a juicer...

 

Like KennethT above, I'd like to know more about this. I envision a lot of hard work without a juicer or blender, but I might be surprised!


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10 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

Like KennethT above, I'd like to know more about this. I envision a lot of hard work without a juicer or blender, but I might be surprised!

 

Oh, a blender is definitely involved!  It's more that nobody owns a centrifugal juicer the way most North Americans do.  I'll make more juice for dinner tonight and give you all a step-by-step at that point, but basically you toss chopped fruit of your choice into the blender with a bit of water, vrrrrp! and strain.  Or don't strain, if you were juicing something not-too-seedy that you enjoy the pulp of.

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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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@Panaderia Canadiense I don't remember if you've discussed this in the previous blogs, but would you mind talking about your community?  Is there an expat community in Ambato?  I somewhat remember your discussion of how your family decided on Ambato as opposed to elsewhere in the country, but don't remember the details.  I am fascinated by the idea of being an expat, and would love to hear your take on it.

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

@Panaderia Canadiense I don't remember if you've discussed this in the previous blogs, but would you mind talking about your community?  Is there an expat community in Ambato?  I somewhat remember your discussion of how your family decided on Ambato as opposed to elsewhere in the country, but don't remember the details.  I am fascinated by the idea of being an expat, and would love to hear your take on it.

 

I'm sure @Panaderia Canadiense will have much more to say, particularly since things may have changed, but in the meantime, I'll point you to this post from her previous blog where I asked her about an article I'd read, "Meals and Wheels on Avenue of the Volcanoes" and she kindly responded:

 

 


Edited by blue_dolphin grammar (log)
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Now... Let's talk empanadas and bakery culture!  Today's fare is thanks to four bakeries within walking distance of my house.  Ambato is probably unique in the world for there being a small bakery within about 10 blocks of anywhere in the city (and that's being generous with the distance), and for most of the corner stores stocking fresh bread daily.  Ambateños proudly say that part of what makes us Ambateño is that there's fresh bread at every meal.

 

Bakeries here run the gamut: I'm the only catering bakery, but we've got the home branches of three large chains here, a number of family-owned industrial bakeries, and a healthy population of artisans.  Four types of oven are used: electric, LPG, diesel, and ancient wood-fired ovens.  And with all this variety, there are plenty of empanadas on offer every day.

 

First up: DeliFruit de Los Sauces, which is furthest uphill of me (4 blocks).  This isn't a bakery in and of itself, but rather a full-service mini market that stocks the bread of Ambato's largest industrial bakery, Cavisa (incidentally, if you go waaaaaay back to my very first foodblog here, I lived 4 blocks from Cavisa!) as well as Pan de Pinllo.  This is important for two reasons: one, because there isn't another bakery serving the uphill communities for about 8 blocks, and two for the Pan de Pinllo.  Pinllo is a township barrio in Ambato that's famous for a couple of things, most notably for having wood-oven bakeries that have been in continuous production for nearly 200 years.  Pan de Pinllo is always wood-fired, and it's sought after for the unique flavour this gives to the bread.  I'm here to buy Empanadas de Pinllo, which are a white bread enriched with lard, stuffed with cheese, and lightly sugared.  They're $0.25 each.

 

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Next up, Pan de Casa, which is a local family bakery with two locations.  They produce probably 5,000 buns a day in various shapes, sizes, and types, and I'm here for their really fabulous Empanadas Integrales (whole wheat empanadas) which are also cheese-filled, but without the sugar.  Pan de Case is also about 4 blocks from my house, but less uphill than DeliFruit.

 

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Third up, Cinco Esquinas, a large-scale artisan bakery inside a mini market of the same name, just one block from Pan de Casa, and 4 blocks from my house by a different walking route.  I'm here for their sweet empanadas, which are the best in the area.  You'll notice that these last two bakeries have been open-bin, serve-yourself affairs with actual bread baskets for your purchases.  This is common in Ambato bakeries, which trust you not to fondle the buns.

 

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Finally, there's Delicious, which is another large-scale artisan bakery.  I'm here hoping against hope that they've still got Empanadas Chileñas (Chilean-style empanadas), because theirs are among the best in the city.  Delicious is 6 blocks from my house, which makes it "far away" by Ambato standards.  I was in luck, and they also had Humitas - bonus!

 

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Now to examine the haul!  I spend $4.20 all told, and what I got for it is this:  five big salt empanadas, three dessert empanadas, and a humita.  This is actually more than two of us can eat for lunch; the Pinllos and the Berliner will have to wait until we've got room again.

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Clockwise from top left: Empanadas de Pinllo, Empanadas Integrales, Empanada Chileña

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Clockwise from top: Berliner, Enrollado de Chocolate, Empanada de Piña

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To accompany the feast, we're having big mugs of instant bouillon.

 

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So... Let's start with the Empanada Chileña!  This is a big pastry, enough to feed one person for lunch all on its own, and it's stuffed with ground beef cooked up with tiny shreds of onion, raisins, and finely chopped walnuts.  This doesn't sound like a normal combination for flavours, but it's both savoury and sweet in perfect measure, and leaves me initially wishing I'd had more than just the half of it.  Chileñas get their name from the Chilean refugees who brought this style of empanada with them in the 1970s and 1980s; they're very similar to Cornish Pasties in size, dough, and texture.

 

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Next up, the Humita!  This is a steamed, slightly salty cornbread, in this case stuffed with a chunk of fresh cheese, and a very popular accompaniment for coffee or light lunch.  They're always sold in the corn-husk wrappers that they're steamed in, which give them both form and a delicate flavour of cornsilk.  Humitas are most common in Loja and Azuay provinces (south Ecuador), where the best corn to make them is grown, but they're available nationally.  Sweet Humitas are also available, which are stuffed with either raisins or prunes, and fully savoury Humitas might feature onions, pulled pork, or chicken.

 

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After the Humita, it was time for the Integral.  This is a much more humble pastry, simply filled with fresh cheese curd; what sets it apart is the soft whole wheat bread that surrounds that cheese.  Most bakeries here bungle whole wheat, turning out dry and crumbly results, but this location of Pan de Casa gets it right.

 

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At this point, we knew we didn't have room to have both the Pinllos and the desserts, so we opted for the desserts.  First up is the Enrollado de Chocolate, which is Ambato's answer to a Parisian Pain au Chocolat.  The difference here is that the Enrollado doesn't use a puff dough, opting instead for something closer to a light brioche.

 

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Next up is the Empanada de Piña, which, as its name suggests, is a leaf pastry stuffed with pineapple.  It's an example of the Ecuadorian tradition of Viennoiserie, and another food that came to the country with refugees, this time Austrian and German Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.  Ecuador has adapted Viennoiserie to its own palate, producing strudel-like empanadas, fanciful puff pastry confections filled with chocolate or dulce de leche, and the king of dessert pastries, the Mil Hojas.  For this last, I'll have to hit up Ambato's French bakery later in the week.  I'm particularly fond of Cinco Esquinas' take on the pineapple empanada, because their filling isn't over-sweetened, letting some of the natural acidity of the fruit shine.

 

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I didn't have room for the Berliner, so that one is going to have to wait for later...

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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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5 hours ago, KennethT said:

@Panaderia Canadiense I don't remember if you've discussed this in the previous blogs, but would you mind talking about your community?  Is there an expat community in Ambato?  I somewhat remember your discussion of how your family decided on Ambato as opposed to elsewhere in the country, but don't remember the details.  I am fascinated by the idea of being an expat, and would love to hear your take on it.

 

I've got a moment before dinner, so I'll dig into this... First off, expats.  I'm assuming you use the term to mean people from first-world nations who maintain substantial ties with their home countries (this is the normal usage - primarily North American residents in other countries.). In this sense, the expat community in Ambato is still vanishingly small - maybe 10 people total.  However, and this is key, I don't consider myself or my family to be expats.  We're immigrants.  The difference is that we left everything behind to make the switch, and maintain only cursory ties to Canada, and this is actually the situation of the bulk of other North Americans and Europeans in Ambato.  Many immigrants here have married Ecuadorians and consider Ecuador to be their home (rather than the countries they came from.). Equally, Ambato is one of the biggest sanctuary cities when it comes to refugees, so our population tends to be quite international but the people have no intention or ability to return to their original countries.  I've been pointing out throughout this current blog how that attitude, of receiving and becoming a new home to refugees from around the world, has shaped the city's food culture.  It happens quickly, too.

 

In the classic "gringolandia" meaning, Ambato doesn't have an expat community.  People who choose this city, regardless of their starting country, become Ambateños after living here for even a short time; the North Americans who live here integrate into their barrios rather than forming their own pockets of culture.  The expat-proper community in Tungurahua province is in Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downhill towards the jungle.  The general sense of expats here is an almost stalwart refusal to adapt to the local culture, insisting on the superiority of their own and trying to change the areas around them by force.  This has varying degrees of success and leads to a lot of resentment by the locals and the immigrant community, the first for the disregard of the culture that's already here, and the second because they're often tarred with the same brush used for expats.

 

We chose Ecuador after about a decade of careful research, took a holiday to see Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, and Argentina, and fell in love with Ecuador almost as soon as we touched down.  After that, it was mostly the matter of liquidating Canada and making the move.  I don't regret a single second of it; I've been here now going on 13 years, and became a naturalized Ecuadorian citizen in 2012 (another reason I'd call myself an immigrant.)  If you choose to expatriate or to immigrate, there's really only one thing to hold in mind: you're not in Kansas anymore.  If you're adaptable and able to roll with the sometimes absurd circumstances that moving to a completely new culture and country entails, you'll probably enjoy yourself immensely; if you're unable to change, you'll have a horrible experience.

 

Personally, I love this country, for all its ups and downs.  During all of the previous blogs I've written, Ecuador was under what's referred to as a "soft dictatorship" which got increasingly more severe towards the end of Correa's unprecedented third term in office.  This is, incidentally, why I disappeared not just from the eGullet but from most social media, after 2016 - the government cracked down hard on freedom of expression, especially through social networks, and it was safer for me to go quiet - I respect the rules here about politics, so I never really talked about how politically active I am here (which is very - I'm kind of a thorn in the side of whatever administration is in power.  This isn't a particularly safe pastime, but it's a patriotic one.)  Under the new administration, which has been in power a little over a year, things have opened up considerably, and it was safe to reestablish my digital presence - and I'm also poking the administration harder than ever.

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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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Just absolutely fascinating. Thank you so much for this ground-level view of another country (not to mention the stupendously lip-smacking food!). Thoroughly enjoying your blog.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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@Panaderia Canadiense Thank you so much for that...  I truly have a lot of respect for the feelings you've expressed - I think it is obvious to anyone who reads your blogs that you love your country and that there's no place you'd rather be.

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13 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

This is, incidentally, why I disappeared not just from the eGullet but from most social media, after 2016 -

 This is the question I so wanted answered and yet it felt disrespectful to ask!   You surely were missed.


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

 This is the question I so wanted answered and yet it felt disrespectful to ask!   You surely were missed.

 

 

I'm nearly impossible to offend - you can always ask about that kind of thing!

 

Let's talk beer!  (And also yesterday's dinner)

 

I needed a little something, and since I'd used half the bottle in my rye bread, I decided to finish off a Biela Original.  Unlike all of the other big-brewery bottles available in Ecuador, which are lagers, Biela Original is an American Blonde Ale.  It's got a nice, delicate flavour with good balance and it's quite refreshing.  My only complaint is the over-carbonization.

 

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Dinner, after all that rich and exotic empanada fare, was simple: roasted root veggies, steamed cauliflower, and roast chicken breast.

 

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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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19 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

the government cracked down hard on freedom of expression, especially through social networks, and it was safer for me to go quiet

 

If you don't have it, then getting a VPN is a wise and healthy choice under such circumstances.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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20 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

Now... Let's talk empanadas and bakery culture!  Today's fare is thanks to four bakeries within walking distance of my house.  Ambato is probably unique in the world for there being a small bakery within about 10 blocks of anywhere in the city (and that's being generous with the distance), and for most of the corner stores stocking fresh bread daily.  Ambateños proudly say that part of what makes us Ambateño is that there's fresh bread at every meal.

 

I know it is said that man does not live by bread alone, but with all those delicious bakery delights (especially the savory ones), I'd be a happy camper eating nothing but!  

 

Are you still doing all your baking out of your home kitchen?  I think one of your previous blogs mentioned that you were considering a dedicated space for your business. 

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And now, the reason that I've been lax with updates last night and today: Wendesdays are downtown delivery days.

 

This meant making a fresh 16-piece pumpkin chocolate chip cake, and both quinua and rye breads for sandwiches.

 

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This is the delivery basket for the day, contents of which are dropped off at a number of local government offices, lawyers, and medical professionals.

 

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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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2 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I know it is said that man does not live by bread alone, but with all those delicious bakery delights (especially the savory ones), I'd be a happy camper eating nothing but!  

 

Are you still doing all your baking out of your home kitchen?  I think one of your previous blogs mentioned that you were considering a dedicated space for your business. 

 

I'm still in my home kitchen, the same one I showed you back in 2016!  The search for a dedicated space continues.

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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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2 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

If you don't have it, then getting a VPN is a wise and healthy choice under such circumstances.

 

 

It would be if my content wasn't already under scrutiny.  Unfortunately, it is, so spoofing my IP to a different country now won't do me any good - the government knows where I am.


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

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Aaaand... You know how back upthread I talked about the restrictions on baking soda and mentioned that occasionally I get subjected to spot inspections?  I just had one!  The SETED representative is a lovely woman, and the inspection process is fairly painless.  This time around, they want me to calibrate my scale and to begin daily recording of exactly how much weight of soda I use in which products.

 

As a result, the lunch post is coming a bit late.  I had a couple of sandwiches left from the morning's deliveries, which I pressed because it was a chilly round to walk and I got rained on.

 

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There are a couple of things about lunch that I should mention.  The first is just visible off to the left of this photo - it's a drinkable yogurt, peach flavour.  Mom had guanábana (soursop) flavour, which is not my favourite.  The second is that little pot of relish.  It's made with Achogchas, which are a totally bizarre cucumber relative, tomate de árbol, and red peppers, and it approximates a North American sweet curry relish.

 

IMG_20190612_122632.thumb.jpg.181bef29ded1b560b70d53a859155097.jpg

 

A little later, I'm going to venture up the hill in search of Quimbolitos... Wish me luck!

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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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10 hours ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

 

It would be if my content wasn't already under scrutiny.  Unfortunately, it is, so spoofing my IP to a different country now won't do me any good - the government knows where I am.

 

Of the two South Americans I know who emigrated to the United States:  one had been imprisoned and tortured for his politics in his home country.  The grandfather of the other was imprisoned twice.  Once as a prisoner of war and once as a political prisoner. 

 

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