Despite the focus of this blog, aside from the time I’ve spent in the kitchen and a never ending parade of almuerzos, my experiences here haven’t been overly gastronomically oriented. Rather, they look a little something like this:
Friday night puppet show to kick off the international festival de títeres in La Plaza Independencia in El Centro Historico, after which I went salsa dancing in a club on La Ronda (ancient pedestrian street in El Centro packed with tourists but beautiful nonetheless) with the same friend from school who took me swing dancing two weeks ago.
Returned to the Teleferico on Saturday, and the views of both the city and mountains will always take my breath away. I feel like I’m Jack Dawson at the helm of the Titanic, with endless possibilities spread in front of me.
I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately, but Sunday was family day at my school, with the presentation of each class from kindergarten till sexto (seniors). My class wore our chompas (aka class sweatshirts), the uniform sweatpants and either wigs or crazy sombreros (no that does not just mean a Mexican sombrero. It’s a hat).
Monday I gave a powerpoint presentation to my Rotary Club all about moi and afterwards met Jenny at El Jardin (a mall, but a different mall than the one we normally go to. Getting adventurous) where I bought Uncle Tom’s Cabin, spent a ridiculous amount of time and money at Supermaxi, and got sushi overlooking a park in the rain.
And now, onto the chocolate.
When I was about seven or eight years old I noticed where my mom hid her stash. Stash of chocolate, that is. She kept a baggie (could this sound any more like drugs) of the mini dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses- the ones in the purple foil- on the second shelf of the cabinet that held the dessert plates, hidden inside the seldom used stack of serving bowls. So like any good daughter, I started stealing them. This was a bit difficult at the time since I needed to stand on a chair to reach, but I am nothing if not persistent in my search for chocolate.
Fast forward to age eleven, when I first developed an affinity for baking. At first it was chocolate chip cookies, which I made several times a week for about a year straight. I never washed the dishes and sometimes forgot to turn off the oven (I usually baked when my parents weren’t home) but they let me continue anyway- or rather, I begged and pleaded enough until they consented just to shut me up. Then I went vegan, found a recipe online for brownies one day, and voila, my new obsession. I loved the batter just as much as the finished product. Sometimes I even skipped the baking step and decided to call it “pudding”.
Eventually I broadened my horizons, but when I went gluten free, I decided to try that brownie recipe again, substituting the flours. It failed. I tried another. It failed. I’ve recently tried to make black bean brownies, and they failed (looking back at the recipe though I realized I screwed up some of the measurements, so I’ll be revisiting that because they were delicious even if they refused to rise). But the batter was AMAZING. And so good I was tempted not to bake them and just eat it all (but I didn’t). What I did do though, was decide that black bean chocolate pudding was a must. So after a little shopping for ingredients, I bring you delicious, protein filled, healthy-esque pudding.
1 1/4 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed (or coconut sugar)
2 tbsp oil (I used canola, but melted coconut would work too)
1/2 cup water
Possible toppings: coconut whipped cream, flaked coconut, chopped nuts
If using canned beans, rinse and drain, then add to the blender with the rest of your ingredients. Blend. If needed scrape down the sides and blend some more, until the beans are no longer discernible as beans and everything is thoroughly combined. Pour into a separate container and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up (or if you don’t care if it’s not firm eat it right then).
Notes: I used an organic cocoa powder produced here in Ecuador (high quality and 1/3 the price of Hershey’s at Supermaxi, holla) and the richness it gives to the pudding is definitely noticeable. Try to use the highest quality cocoa powder (or raw cacao) you can find. That said, if you want it a little less rich and a little more sweet, increase the sugar by a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired taste.
To make coconut whipped cream: place a can of full fat coconut milk (without added preservatives or gums, and BPA free) in the fridge (NOT the freezer, it won’t work, don’t try it thinking it’ll speed up the process) overnight or for at least 12 hours. When the time is up, be very careful to keep the can right side up and not shake it too much. Open it and scoop out the semi-solid coconut fat that’s gathered at the top. Beat with a splash of vanilla extract and two teaspoons of cane sugar or a packet of stevia. Scoop on top of your chocolate pudding and enjoy!