Format Change for Finding our Paradise in Ecuador

I have decided to change the format of this blog to one more centered on local food, what to purchase, what it is called and how to prepare. I will throw in pictures of things I find interesting or different.  As well as information on plants and flowers that I think will be a good addition to my garden. We are blessed to have such a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, beans and herbs for very low prices without sacrificing quality.I will not be totally going native as I love a variety of herbs and spices that cannot be found here, so I will depend upon shipments from the US from time to time as well as friends bringing back items that cannot be found here. I am attempting to find native fruits and veggies that will work in recipes that are more like what we grew up eating. Our overall health has improved since we eliminated most processed foods and the quality of our meals has gone from ordinary to spectacular while decreasing our food budget. Again, we are not sacrificing quality – we actually have higher quality meals for less money.

The one big change is that we do prepare our foods mostly from scratch so it is more time consuming but the end result has been one of exceptional meals in a spectacular setting. While living in Panama I started cooking dinners early in the morning as by noon it was just too hot to heat up the kitchen further with preparing meals. I have also made changes as to the quantity of foods that I prepare this allows me the option to cook just a few days each week and serving leftovers in different ways so as not to be eating the same dish over and over for several days. Joe has not complained so I guess I have hit on something.

This week I have found several new seasonal items that I am working with to come up with recipes that are both healthy and satisfying.  The first is Fruta de Pan or bread fruit. I bought a bag around one pound for .50 cents at the mercado. They looked like chestnuts to me so I brought them home and asked a local what it was, was it a fruit and how do I prepare it. After a bit of charades, a few Spanish words I figured out that they needed to be boiled in water for around 10 minutes, cooled and then peeled. The peels are very similar to chestnuts except a bit thinner. Joe and I ate about half a bag and again I felt that we had found chestnuts in Ecuador. I decided to use them in chocolate chunk cookies, they came out excellent with a nice texture and very tasty. The next day the bread fruit got hard and rubbery so my next attempt may be to put them in the cookie batter raw maybe cooking them twice caused the rubbery texture. They were not at all appealing on the second day and I would not bake them that way again.

After my next attempt at baking the Fruta de Pan raw I will give you the Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. I was in the mercado this morning but did not see they lady I purchased the bread fruit from, not sure if I will be able to get them again, if not I will just post the recipe without this fruit.

13 thoughts on “Format Change for Finding our Paradise in Ecuador

  1. Welcome back Nancy! Great to hear from you again. This new blog will certainly help us who are moving there in Salinas. If you don’t mind, could you please include the price/cost of the items you will feature in your blog. Thanks!

    • Hi thanks for your comment – most of the time I try to include the prices – sometimes I just buy so many items by the time I get home I have forgotten what the prices were and just give you a total for all items with a photo showing what I purchased. And remember just because one day the tomatoes on the street are selling for $1 a bag does not mean that they will be that the next or maybe the next day it could be a new person who is selling for .50. And if you are really good a dickering you may get them for .40 – the mercado is not an exact science. But it is so much fun…Joe and I went this morning to get fresh shrimp $4.00 per pound heads on…we will have a feast tonight.

  2. YUM! The cookies look delicious. Fruta de Pan is one of our favorite fruits. We cut it up, soak it in water, then cook it. Anything you can do with a potato, you can do with Bread Fruit. It is sweeter and tastier than a potato. Ron made nachos with them…with guacamole…out of this world. Keep posting your delicious recipes…I’m checking in daily. 🙂

    • Hey Deb Like I said the cookies were great until the next day and then the fruit got so tough – it actually hurt my teeth.. I just made a chocolate cake that is like a brownie using local chocolate bars, I will post that recipe tomorrow. It is really good!!

  3. Pingback: Morning Update – Saturday, October 8, 2011 « South of Zero

  4. Since we live in a fairly warm climate too, I do the same thing, try to cook while it’s cool and make more than one meal at a time. It works out pretty well. We’ve also “gone native” in that our main meal of the day is lunch. It’s only hard when we are with other expats who eat a big meal at dinner.
    It can be so hard to find things if you don’t know the Spanish or local name for them. For instance, I couldn’t find lemon grass until I found out it’s called te de limon .
    The Spanish word for chestnuts is castañas and that is what those look like to me. Here is a link to breadfruit
    not to say that the local name for chestnuts isn’t fruta de pan. Brazil nuts are called “castanha do Brasil” (Brazilian chestnuts) in Brazil and originally called” Almendras de los Andes” by the Spanish so it’s always interesting to shop in a foreign country.

    • Hi Theresa – Thanks for your comment and thanks for keeping up with our blog. We also try to do the big lunch and here you can have almurzo which is the set lunch for $2 or $2.50 per person. I do not fry fish at home so when we have lunch out I always try to get whatever fried fish they are serving. As to the Lemon Grass they call it Herba Louisa here and they also use it for tea. I use it as part of any Asian dish – I now make a mean Asian Chicken Soup with Star Anise, Lemon Grass and Fresh Ginger what a great flavor.

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