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What Panamaians and I Eat at the Fair

Written on January 22nd, 2011 by no shouts

This is the final week of the Flower and Coffee Fair in Boquete and it has been a very busy week for everyone anywhere near the fair grounds.

Each year, vendors come from all over Central and South America to sell their wares and locals showcase their home-grown flowers and coffee.

This year was quite different in that the town father’s decided to eliminate street vendors, reduce the volume of the bands that entertain throughout the fair and spruce up the grounds by developing gardens for each and every square inch of fairground.

But my favorite part of the fair is the food available along the midways.

All the dishes are hot, fragrant, beautiful to look at and reasonably priced. Because David and I have visited this annual fair for the last 8 years, we always end up on a bench drinking a local beer and munching on yucca, the local delicacy that reminds me of dry French fried potatoes, but with more flavor.

Whole chickens are cut and grilled to order. The photo just to the right shows chicken pieces and yucca sizzling on the grill. The cook sprinkled some garlic oil on the grill while they were warming up - a good tip.

Folks were ordering fresh smoothies made in an instant, and candied apples were being dipped on the spot.
A double-dip ice cream cone or a cup of Boquete’s finest coffee, I think the best coffee in the world, is only 50 cents.

Now you know what Panamanians are eating at this year’s Flower and Coffee Fair, and it’s all fresh and delicious.

But as many of you know, there are only two of these wonderful foods that I could eat this year, much to my disappointment Because of my new braces, I could only have a smoothie and a double-dip of ice cream in a cone, David ate my cone.

However, along with a couple bottles of Atlas beer, that made for an excellent visit to Boquete’s biggest event of the year. Actually, it was just exactly right for me, I was tired of eating mashed potatoes.

You won’t want to miss it!
Cora

I’m Ready, Set & Blogging to Be a Star!

Written on September 19th, 2010 by 9 shouts

As you’ve noticed, I’m competing to be the 2010 Foodbuzz Blogger of the Year, which is a big stretch for me. It’s really quite amazing!

These folks look amazed, but they’re having fun learning new food skills together and getting to know each other - they are Boquete Gourmet readers!

Sure, I’ve been blogging for almost a year, it all began on September 30, 2009. It was then when I realized that this new life-style I was living at the top of a mountain in Boquete, Panama, opened up a world of opportunity in so many ways.

But, a year is such a short time to learn not only the ins and outs of blogging, but also how I could make a difference in my new Panamanian community by sharing my experiences with others.

The purpose of this blog is to share what defines me as a food blogger and to explain why I think I should be the next Food Blog Star.

First, my goals of blogging are not just to relate new, innovative recipes to my readers, but I want to communicate the whole, new life-style I’ve been living for the past 8 years. And, I want do it though the hearts of my readers. How is that possible? EASY - - through FOOD!

I’m passionate about food, it’s been my hobby all my life. I can’t visit a new place without trying the local cuisine and attempting to reproduce it in my own kitchen as soon as possible.

There are lots of ways Boquete Gourmet is different from any other blog on the web. My subject matter includes as many aspects of living in a foreign country as possible.

Not only do I blog, but I’ve tried to include as many of my readers in food-related activities as possible. These are all photos of Boquete Gourmet readers, the “real stars” of this blog.

Boquete Gourmet readers visit unusual, unfamiliar area restaurants, travel to neighboring communities together, enjoy Underground Dining events and participate in cooking classes taught by local cooks, bakers and International chefs.

Boquete Gourmet readers are getting involved in their new, foreign community, they try new foods, contribute recipes to the Boquete Community Cookbook and shop in stores unlike anywhere else in the world because of reading my blog.

Boquete Gourmet readers see what it’s like to share experiences across cultures, to dine out of their comfort zone, and to build a new, blended community together.

Everyone in Boquete enjoys pure, mountain water that makes the finest cup of coffee in the world. We all enjoy clean, cool air year-round, and the freshest, home-grown foods the rich, volcanic soil can produce. But, to learn each others customs and life-style through a food blog, is truly unique.

Finally, why should I be the next Food Blog Star? I’m passionate about getting people involved with each other, about sharing each others skills, and about “developing community” not only in Boquete, but in little communities everywhere!

As a “Food Blog Star” I will be able to invest $10,000 promoting “Build Community - Dine Together” throughout the world, helping to foster understanding and peace through man’s basic need, food!

Wish me luck -
Cora

Explore the New Kitchen Store in David

Written on September 16th, 2010 by 2 shouts


La Cocina has recently opened their doors in David, offering low-cost housewares of all types, lots of plastic containers and cookware.

To get to La Cocina, take the first left off the highway and drive past Romero’s until you get to one of the 3 traffic lights in David. Elmec is on the left and the new La Cocina Kitchen Store is on the far right corner, right across from Elmec.

The owners are very helpful, and they have items that are not readily available in other shops. Actually, I believe this is the only exclusive kitchen store between here and Panama City.


The first thing I noticed was the huge selection of mixing bowls beginning at only $1, the stacks of aluminum cookware and good-quality 5-piece wooden spoon sets for $2. I bought a set of spoons, which are just right for mixing up some artisan bread dough. I painted orange stripes on the handles to match my kitchen and to make them easy to find in my drawers.

If you are looking for plastic containers, pitchers, plastic and ceramic plates or bowls, La Cocina is the place to visit.

You won’t find any electrical appliances at La Cocina, which is unfortunate. I’d really like to find a place to buy an electric juicer, a big electric fry pan and a milkshake maker. With Lauretta’s “Gourmet Burgers & More” cooking class coming up, I know I’ll need a milkshake maker.

The owners were very glad to have us visit their shop. They are trying to bring items for the kitchen together into one place, making it easy for cooks like us. I asked if they handled wooden cutting boards, and the response was “Yes, we will be getting them soon.”

A very nice stainless steel thermos bottle was $4, just what I needed to keep a delicious cup of Boquete’s fine coffee hot to drink anytime. It fits perfectly into my car’s console.

I love kitchen gadgets, and La Cocina has a limited supply of basic gadgets. In the photo below, you can see their selection of gadgets on the back wall.

I’ll keep checking back to see the new items La Cocina will be offering and pass along interesting acquisitions to you, as they appear.

Upon leaving La Cocina, I turned left and walked one block to the new Cuidad De David Hotel, the perfect place for lunch!

Don’t you just love David?
Cora

Everyone Loves Snickerdoodles!

Written on June 21st, 2010 by no shouts

My grandmother Sadie, baked Snickerdoodles since she was a child. She remembers having them all during her childhood home in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a favorite with her mother. She served them regularly in her boarding house near the old paper mill.

Trying to find the origin of this peculiarly-named cookie, my research revealed that the first time the name was used was in Iowa in 1902. Many similar recipes appeared as early as 1700s, but the first known cookies called “Snickerdoodles” were made from Mrs. John Montgomery’s recipe.

Mrs. Montgomery was one of the Estherville Housewives, in their published cookbook collection entitled “1902 Cookbook: A Collection of Tried Recipes”, Mrs. Al Barnum and Mrs. S.I. Delavan editors. On page 80 of the book appears this Snickerdoodle recipe: Three cups of flour, two cups of sugar, one cup of butter, two eggs, two teaspoons of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of soda. Drop in a pan and sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over each. Bake in a quick oven.

Since then, modern writers have claimed all sorts of origins for this recipe, as you can see if you Google its name. I’ve always loved my grandmother Sadie’s Snickerdoodles and I make them often in my own home. Her recipe is a bit different from the original recipe, but they always get rave reviews. I baked a batch of tiny Snickerdoodles for a recent party, and 69 cookies disappeared in minutes!

SNICKERDOODLES
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Blend mixtures together and refrigerate 15-20 minutes. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon together. Shape chilled dough into walnut-sized balls. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar and place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 400F degrees until cracks appear, 8-10 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

This is a popular, old family recipe passed down to me by my Grandmother. Similar versions are found in many cookbooks today.

Savor a Snickerdoodle with a delightful cup of Sitton coffee. They just seem to go together, Sitton coffee and one of Sadie’s Snickerdoodles! The results are irresistible, always garnering rave reviews.

How could I resist including my grandmother’s Snickerdoodle recipe in my new cookbook, “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook”, available at the Bookmark Bookstore in Dolega, just south of Boquete. At an upcoming Tuesdays Morning Market, you may be lucky enough to taste one of these delicious little treats and at the same time purchase a copy of this very unusual Boquete cookbook that includes recipes from 46 local residents. It’s sure to become a classic collection of Boquete cuisine.

Enjoy a Snickerdoodle today!
Cora

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