If you get a few Americans in one place, you are going to have a Thanksgiving Celebration of some sort. We were fortunate to be invited to the Crucita, Ecuador Thanksgiving Day Celebration. It was held at the home of Paul and Flora Fellers. They have a magnificent home in a gated community on the Malecon. It is a huge home, several stories high, with patios on the top with an ocean view. The house is surrounded by patios lined with beautiful gardens that Flora said she planted about 5 years ago. The plants look like they have been there for decades (the benefits of growing things in the tropics). We arrived about 4:00 PM and most of the people had already arrived, but about 10 of us got to the outside gate about the same time.
We each brought a covered dish to the party. I don’t usually have trouble cooking, but for this event I must have had the universe aligned in a bad way.First I had stocked cranberry sauce I saw on the shelves about a month ago, because you can’t always get the same things even the next week and I figured how many Ecuadorians eat canned cranberry sauce, so I don’t figure we’ll see that often. I found a cranberry/jello recipe online that looked good. I actually found the raspberry jello called for, too. (Royal) I couldn’t find crushed pineapple, but hey, we have fresh pineapple here-even better. You savvy cooks out there already know my problem when you heard fresh pineapple. I made the recipe and it never gelled. You know how everything we have ever heard is stored somewhere in our brains. Well I had a nagging feeling that I had heard not to put fresh pineapple in jello when it did not gel. At the time I heard it, I am sure I hardly paid attention to it, because I don’t make jello, because even though I like it, I don’t like it that much. I went online, after the fact, and sure enough don’t use fresh pineapple (canned is OK), papaya, kiwi, to name a few. So we tasted it, and it was delicious, Then we threw it down the drain.
My next attempt was to make Vegetable Tian another recipe I got online. I have made it here before. I adapt the recipe to vegetables we have here. Also when I went shopping I forgot to get Parmesan Cheese. (store is 1.5 hours away on bus). I called around to friends and no one had it, so I decided I would grate Gouda that I had and put on top. This recipe had to go into the oven. I did have an issue with the oven previously, I turned it on, but the flame never ignited, I lit a burner on the stove and BOOM. The oven door blew open. It was loud and scary. From that time on, I put my hand into the oven after it is lit to feel the heat, so I know the flame ignited and that gas is not building up in the oven. You can’t see the flame. This time, I even asked Leo to double-check me. He pulled out the bottom if the oven so he could see the flame and it was going. I put the food in, it was getting hot, I checked. When it was supposed to be done, it was barely hot. Leo came and pulled the oven bottom again and the flame was not lit. Then I used a fan, open oven door, open windows, and open door to air out the room and oven. Then I decided to figure out a vegetable dish I could make on the top of the stove. I had a bunch of zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and onions left, so I sautéed them in oil and butter. When they were soft, I covered the veggies with Gouda and let it melt. Done.
We went out to take the bus at 3:15 and of course the every 15 minute bus came in 30 minutes. Our friends, Jill and Sy, who live further North than us, came down the road on their quad, stopped and chatted, but there was obviously no room on the quad for us, so we said we’d see them there. Usually we see tuk tuks going by when we wait for the bus and we had decided we would take one if we saw one, but of course, no empty one passed by us. As I said, we got there about 4:00.
We had heard that about 60 people both Ecuadorian and North American had RSVP ed, but there looked like many more and that was a big house. The kitchen counter was lined with food. The dished were triple deep. There was lots of turkey and pumpkin pie, too, so it was officially Thanksgiving Dinner. We enjoyed talking with people and meeting new people, too. It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving in a new country.
I took a picture of the house from the outside as we came up to the party, but once I got inside, I was having such a good time, that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry!