Ecuadorian Coconut Fish Stew (Encocado de Pescado)

Ecuadorian Coconut Fish Stew (Encocado de Pescado) by My Little Jar of Spices

Ecuador is undoubtedly a big part of my life. From the time that I lived there, I quickly developed a strong affection for this small yet unbelievably diverse South American country.  Even after having spent a year there and having traveled several times back, I have never ceased to be amazed by this country’s unmatched beauty and nature. Not to mention its incredibly friendly population and delicious cuisine. And although I have come to know the country rather well , I still feel I have so much to discover and am hoping to go back for a visit next year to travel in some regions I have not yet explored well. Among the many things I have yet to try in Ecuador, one of my top to-dos is to visit a cloud forest… Food-wise, I can never seem to get enough of the huge diversity of available and affordable fresh fruit and seafood you can find in Ecuador. One of my absolute favorite meals is the Viche de Pescado, a delicious and very fulfilling soup made with fish, sweet potatoes, plantain bananas, ground peanuts and lime juice. Continue reading

Moroccan Spiced Burgers with Pistachios

Moroccan Spiced Burgers by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s already the end of the year and I can’t frickin believe it! One year ago, though it seems like yesterday, I was starting research for my thesis here with gleaming eyes and high aspirations as I took my first steps in the unknown yet exciting world of academic research. I wanted to write a paper that would change the world and uncover some kind of shattering truth (as it so often happens when you study smallholder agriculture right?), go on the field and bring back ground-breaking data, roll up my sleeves and argue with top researchers, basically do all those crazy things that hot, glamorous academic scholars do. Twelve strenuous months later, the only ground-breaking truth I discovered is that probably no-one will have the slightest interest in reading 200 pages on how to create commitment in buyer-supplier relationships linking private multinationals to smallholder farmers in Brazil (I know, crazy!) and the only arguing I saw was a tepid discussion on the premises of game theory between a Danish scholar and an Argentinean economist. I also discovered the less than glamorous reality of “no-that-person-that-you-emailed-three-weeks-ago-and-who-is-a-key-informant-for-your-topic-does-not-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-your-research” and “it’s-been-a-month-since-you’ve-submitted-it-and-your-advisor-still-hasn’t-opened-your-thesis”. After all of that, and loving almost every second of it regardless, I am proud to say that I have finished my thesis, submitted it, defended it and been approved. Yay! I’m officially done with my master’s and it’s as much a relief as it is scary. There are so many things happening and changes coming, and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but I need to leave some suspense for future posts. Continue reading

Crunchy, Tangy Slaw with an Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette


Crunchy Tangy Slaw 2

 

My roommate and I have this ritual when we’re deciding on something we want to eat, which consists in enumerating all the adjectives we can think of that best describe what we’re in the mood for, each new one outbidding the previous one. Generally these adjectives, which in the spirit of fun often border on saucy, speak for themselves : when we’re talking about making a mouth-watering, juicy, squeezy (“wait what?? that’s not even a food word!”. I know, but this one is our favorites…), plump, marinated, chicken, we’re already mentally tasting it. Kind of like a food foreplay if you will: instead of an appetizer, we like to create salivating mental images. Continue reading