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Cotacachi

We have been busy adjusting to our new life in Ecuador, which you can follow on my Ecuador blog.  I’m learning very quickly that most of my recipes are not as simple here as they were in the states. This is because the ingredients I was used to getting, are not as accessible here as in the states.  But I’ll get the adjustments down eventually.  Also, reading a label is difficult at best; the font is usually too small (I really need to find a magnifying glass to use with my readers), and the labels are of course in Spanish.  Most times if Jason and I can’t decipher them we have to remember what it said and come home and type it into Google Translate.  Often times, what Google tells us is not the word the locals use.  I also want to make as much local cuisine as I can and, you know me, put my own creative twist on it, which is not just chocolate!

Speaking of chocolate, I’m having a devil of a time finding pure cocoa powder.  I’ve been told at least 4 to 5 different names to ask for in Spanish.  I shall prevail!  Have no fear….if chocolate is near I will find it!  Albeit, I’m getting a bit frustrated.  What I have found has ‘sugar’ added.  I need to make a trip into Otavalo to see if I find it there, but I was told by an Ecuadorian native who spent 10 years in Holland and speaks very good English, that I will not find it close by.  Ecuador exports most of their chocolate to Nestle and other small chocolatiers in other countries.

I made the Ecuadorian Hot Sauce this week, or rather ‘a’ version of it; it seems there are many versions of it.  So far, they are all good.  However, I opted for one with mucho cilantro, since I’m a fan of this delectable herb.  I wanted so badly to add the chocolate, but had none to do so.

Today I made Carne Colorada which means red meat in English.  In this case the red comes not from it being meat, but from the spice achiote, which is used ubiquitously in Latin America.  Carne Colorada is served in most of the local restaurants.  I tried it in a local eatery, and I loved it; so of course I had to try making it.  Wow!  It was stunningly delicious!  It will be a regular for sure.  Again, I wish I would have had some cocoa to put in it!  It would have been even better.

Our new life in Ecuador has been an adjustment but a pleasant one.  We are still adjusting to our new way of life; walking daily, and always bringing groceries / supplies back with us, as we have no car here.  But this way of life is exactly what we wanted, simple but yet comfortable and very healthy. Knowing that my ingredients are the freshest, and most pure (devoid of GMO and pesticides) is such a reassuring feeling.  I ‘have’ to make some of my ingredients from scratch and I love having the time to do it.

I’ve heard from many of my customer’s in our restaurant that they have tried the new BBQ restaurant that bought our space, and they are all pleasantly surprised, thrilled, and, vow to make it a regular place to visit!  I’m so thrilled!  If you have not yet been, please go and let me know what you think.

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