Wednesday, December 26, 2012

EPIC Christmas Eve Brunch 2012

Every year I host a Christmas Eve Brunch in my little apartment for a big group of mostly family with a few friends.  The numbers often get up into the late teens, early twenties so it is definitely a packed house.  My favorite part of this tradition (now in its fifth year) is choosing the theme.  I was struggling a bit with a theme this year, nothing was really standing out, that is until I was half-way through my trip to Ecuador!

Of course!  An Ecuadorian Christmas Eve Brunch!

Here's the plan:


Green mango slices with lime, salt, and pepper.  This was one of my favorite snack foods in Ecuador.  Green or very light yellow mango slices are packed into a little bag and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Very refreshing and a wonderful way to wake up your palate in the morning!


Cafe con leche.  Made with my Ecuadorian roasted coffee topped with some delicious whipped cream and freshly ground canela.  I brought canela home from Mercado Central but in the hub-bub of almost 20 people in my apartment I forgot to put it out.  I put one of my cousins on latte duty and she made cows milk and soy milk lattes for my guests. 


Double-fried green bananas.  How could I not serve these delicious morning treats?  They were a breakfast staple on the farm.  Making them is simple.  The green banana is cut into 2-inch chunks and fried until golden.  The fried chunks are then smashed and fried again.  Keep them in the oven until you are ready to serve breakfast.

Queso blanco.  I love making cheese and this cheese is quite simple.  We also ate this fresh cheese on the farm as the neighbor next door made it.  While mine doesn't have the same depth of flavour (if only I had a cow outside my door to milk), it was quite yummy.

Fruit salad.  Watermelon, apple, banana, and papaya.  An Ecuadorian essential.

Avocado chunks.

Salsa.  A touch of culantro, red onion, tomato paste, chile to drizzle over the cheese...  Mmmm.
And that was my Ecuadorian-inspired EPIC Christmas Eve Brunch!  It was wonderful to share the food traditions I learned on the farm with my own family.

The Verdict

Like every Christmas Eve Brunch it is a packed affair.  My apartment is a decent size but once I fit, er, cram, 18 people in, it feels pretty small.  I really appreciate that my family humours me every year, shows up and eats me out of house and home.  The consensus this year was that the plantains were delicious.  A bunch of people in my family had never tried plantains before and I was happy to introduce them.  They also loved the queso blanco.  As well, my coffee was a hit!  It doesn't taste like the coffee we have here, but I don't know why.  Perhaps it's the roasting?  Or the bean is different?  Whatever the case, smelling it instantly brought me back to Ecuador...  Another EPIC Christmas Eve Brunch over, which leaves me with the question - what will next years theme be???


Shonagh explores the guts of food in An Offal Experiment.


  1. Sho, this sounds amazing!! and healthy ;) Levon and his mom make eggs benny (blackstone= tomato & bacon) which was delish. Her homemade hollandaise sauce was very light! I'm not usually an eggs benny kind of girl, but this was hands down the best version I've had. Ever.
    That is so cool you could find all the ingredients and gave your family a little taste of your experience in Ecaudor!! All the dishes sound scrumptious. Happy Holidays!!

    1. Yummy! How did your sauerkraut end up? I was having a conversation about kimchi with someone recently and am planning on making a foray back into cabbage fermentation land in the new year.