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


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While I wait for my video to upload, I want to talk a bit about a neat phenomenon in Ecuadorian barrios - Hornado Solidario, or solidarity pig roasts.  When someone in the community needs that bit of extra help, everybody will pitch in to buy a pig and roast it, then put up some speakers and sell it to whoever passes by.  A dish of solidarity roast usually costs about $3 and features a generous portion of wood-oven roasted pig, lettuce, mote (exploded flint corn), and encurtido (fresh-pickled onion and tomato salad).  Sometimes there are also llapingachos, the potato tortillas that traditionally accompany pork dishes.  This one was in Barrio La Vicentina in favour of Kevan, who is trying to buy a new prosthetic leg.

 

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This is an older barrio, and it still has its urban orchards very much intact.  This lot has two big guabo (ice-cream bean) trees, a couple of walnuts, an Abyssinian apricot, a pear, and a capulí (Andean weeping cherry) in it, from what I could see - and there are probably also pear, peach, and plum trees in there.  Out on the sidewalk in front of the wall is a large pile of oca, a traditional Andean tuber, which have been laid out in a sunbeam to break down their natural oxalates and make them sweeter.

 

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I was in the Vicentina to deliver a pie to my chiropractor - and I'm disappointed to report that only my pictures of the raw pie turned out - the others overexposed.  So, here's a raw black cherry pie!  It smelled amazing coming out of the oven this morning.

 

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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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And here's the Molle!  These trees, Schinus molle, are common in Ambato and other parts of dry highland Ecuador; they're native to the Peruvian Andes and are all along the old Inca trade routes.  These ones in particular are in a very steep public greenspace, which means that harvesting them is not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

These are fairly young trees, probably around 50 years; harvesting them helps keep the trees healthy and productive.  The older pepper trees in the city are thought to be close to 400 years of age, and they're also productive.  However, they're in easy to access parks, so they're already stripped clean.  It's been a pleasantly sunny day, which has wreaked havoc on my photos, but the harvest is really good this year.  It's always smart to wear gloves to harvest Molle; they're spicy, and the juice will persist on your hands, making it fairly horrible if you scratch your nose by accident.  Mom and I picked a 10-gallon pail full of racemes of peppercorns; when we get home, we'll pick them through.  It's probably about two pounds of total yield once it's been winnowed; we barely harvested the tips of the two lowest-hanging branches.  It will be enough pepper for the kitchen and to share, for the upcoming year.

 

The general philosophy of things growing on public land is that one takes what one needs, and leaves the rest for other people who need it.  This particular greenspace has four big Molles on it, two of which bear fruit and two of which are males, which are necessary for fruiting.  The amount of pepper produced on just one of them is close to half a tonne if it were all harvested at once.  The greenspace also has wild spinach, yacon, berry lantana, and a number of medicinal plants growing on it.

 

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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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On 6/14/2019 at 10:59 AM, Panaderia Canadiense said:

Friday delivery is four totes of food, packed full (about 120 pounds), strapped to a wheeler, and the basket is stuffed full - it normally weighs around 30 lbs at the beginning of the day.

 

How are you transporting all this heavy deliciousness?  Entirely on your own on foot or are vehicles or a driver involved?

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I had no idea the pink peppercorns from those trees were edible! We call them "pepper trees" in California, but I grew up thinking they were simply lovely ornamentals with a wonderful smell. The next time I visit, if the peppercorns are ripe, I'll try to harvest some. 

 

This has been a delightful blog. Thank you very much for showing us more of your part of the world, and your life there.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have enjoyed this week with you, thank you for sharing with us!  Had you previously told about what prompted you to leave Canada for Ecuador, and I missed it?  After the comment about speaking out and the govt keeping tabs I will admit to some worrying about you and will want to know you and your family are safe.

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17 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

How are you transporting all this heavy deliciousness?  Entirely on your own on foot or are vehicles or a driver involved?

 

We take a taxi from home to the downtown, and the rest of it is done on foot.  It's impractical to have a delivery vehicle in downtown Ambato, where the streets were designed for horse and buggy - there's almost no parking, and traffic can jam up easily.

 

1 hour ago, JeanneCake said:

I have enjoyed this week with you, thank you for sharing with us!  Had you previously told about what prompted you to leave Canada for Ecuador, and I missed it?  After the comment about speaking out and the govt keeping tabs I will admit to some worrying about you and will want to know you and your family are safe.

 

I don't think I touched on it in this blog (although I have talked about it extensively in the past), but the short version is that my parents retired here.  I followed for a vacation, and basically never left because there was much more opportunity for me here, and because I'm not a huge fan of northern Alberta winters.

 

1 hour ago, Smithy said:

I had no idea the pink peppercorns from those trees were edible! We call them "pepper trees" in California, but I grew up thinking they were simply lovely ornamentals with a wonderful smell. The next time I visit, if the peppercorns are ripe, I'll try to harvest some.

 

They're not only edible, but a very expensive spice when you buy them commercially!  Pink peppercorns are perfectly ripe when the berries are bright pink and still firm to the touch.  Just a word of caution, though - the Molle tree is in the same family as Cashews, and if you're at all sensitive to tree nuts the pepper can cause an allergic reaction.

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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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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

I had no idea the pink peppercorns from those trees were edible! We call them "pepper trees" in California, but I grew up thinking they were simply lovely ornamentals with a wonderful smell. The next time I visit, if the peppercorns are ripe, I'll try to harvest some. 

 

Just pull the princessmobile around to the end of my driveway and help yourself.   This once magnificent tree was badly butchered at the behest of the electric company a few weeks ago

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But there are still plenty of pink peppercorns within easy reach.

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And here's my sendoff - after a quick cheese sandwich with pickles, and inspired by picking molle (which is one of the hidden spices in really good Mole Poblano), I had a tortilla night!

 

But first, a word about Ecuadorian pickles.  So, that plate in the background of my sandwich looks like common pickles - some bread n butter, and some gherkins.  You would be shocked upon tasting them, if that were your expectation.  The sliced ones are closest to hamburger dills, and the gherkins are some of the absolute strongest, sourest pickles I have ever eaten.  They go well with other strong flavours, like aged gouda and rye, which was the sandwich.  However, I remember that upon having recently moved here I bought a bag of them thinking they were going to be the sweet-ish little cucumbers I was used to from Canada, and getting a really rude shock when I popped the first one in my mouth!

 

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Now, tortilla night.  I realized at about 4 o'clock last night that I hadn't actually managed to find any tortillas on my week's wanders.  But!  I'm lucky, in that I live close to the barrio of Los Sauces, which is where most of Ambato's Mexican expat community has settled.  As a result, the tienda for that barrio, which is just three blocks away, stocks ingredients for Mexican cooking including handmade soft corn tortillas, and something any of you who has visited Mexico will instantly recognize: Bimbo flour tortillas!  I was lucky enough to get there close to the milk truck from Cotopaxi as well - it meant there was Nata (cultured clotted cream) still in the coolers.  With a bit of spiced ground chicken, guacamole, diced tomato, lettuce, and cheese (and palm hearts!) it made a filling and delicious soft taco and burrito kind of dinner.

 

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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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23 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I am enjoying this so much, Beth!  The videos are so great and I love hearing your voice!

As Kim said, it was a wonderful blog and so much fun to see a photo of you and hear your voice.  I am so glad that you have made a home in Ecuador and that you are happy there.  And yes, I could do without the winters also.  

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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 This blog ended far too soon! Thank you. I enjoyed every single posting and learned quite a bit in the process. I hope you won’t have to disappear again because your contributions are really appreciated.

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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)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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