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.