Cooking while in Panama

One thing I am so glad we brought with us was seasonings: savory, oregano, basil, and 5 spice.  A bit of an odd variety but the Chinese 5 spice added a nice touch for some variety.  The local spices included achiote seeds, curry (which was more of a broth base), and a few others.  We used these often but our additions were definitely needed.  We also brought oregano oil with us which I would add to our eggs for breakfast (nature’s antibiotic).  And I roasted peppers every week to add to our meals.  The only fresh herb available was culantro, a much heartier version of our cilantro.  We used culantro in our soups and lentils.  There was a local veggie stand we would shop at with a slim selection: tomatoes, carrots, choyote, cabbage, peppers, plantain, and yucca.  The tomatoes were hit or miss but you could always count on the rest.  Once and only once there was napa cabbage and twice we had eggplant and beets.  Of course we ate lots of fruit.  Mainly plantains, bananas, papaya, and melon.  Cooking with such a limited selection had it’s ups and downs.  We definitely came to appreciate what was available and enjoy the simple meals.

Every Morning We Made Mate : )

Lentejas y Arroz -col, zanahoria, cebolla, y ajo  (lentils and rice with cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic)

Shawmin- col, zanahoria, cebolla, choyote, y ajo                                                                                                                                    (noodles with cabbage, carrot, choyote, garlic – the sauce was soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar, and some 5 spice)

Papaya… my favorite!

Spaghetti with a jarred olive red sauce and choyote, onion, garlic, and oregano oil added)

Spaghetti again… we discovered a local queso blanco which we ate almost daily

Frijioles con col, cebollo, y ajo. Arroz con chiles asados. Patacones!                                                                                                       (Beans with cabbage, onion, and garlic, rice with my roasted peppers, and smooshed plantains

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