I’m in a Panama state of mind. Still.

I’ve got Panama on the brain. It’s always in my heart, obviously, but I’ve not been able to get it out of my temporal lobe.

It may have something to do with the fact that we brought back so much of what we enjoyed there. I grabbed as many bottles of Seco Herrerano¬†and D’Elidas hot sauce as we could fit into suitcases.

Pineapple juice & Seco. Oh Yeah!

I know have close to a hundred packets of El Arrocero, tons of corn tortillas and empanadas, chorizo…, yeah, I went nuts at the grocery. Oh. COFFEE. I brought bags upon bags of Caf√© Dur√°n. THE best coffee ever in the history of humanity and coffee.

Las Tinajas' Corvina al Ajillo

Sunday I made Camarones¬†al Ajillo¬†(shrimp in garlic sauce)¬†tweaking the garlicky¬†sauce a bit to resemble the one served in every restaurant where we had Corvina¬†al Ajillo¬†(croaker in garlic sauce). The sauce is thicker and includes red bell pepper. Since I hadn’t made it to the store yet, I didn’t have bell peppers, but I added a bit of flour to start a roux and thicken the sauce. Other than that, I followed the recipe. Yum!

Breakfast at El Montuno

Monday I pan-fried thick pork chops and served them with tons of caramelized onions, a lazy ode to an encebollado using what was still in the fridge. That was served with Hojaldas (hojaldre), a traditional Panamanian fried bread popularly served for breakfast and evening snacks.

Last night I went for the traditional Bistec¬†Encebollado. I added crushed tomatoes to accommodate The Hubbz need for a sauce. This was served with plain white rice–though there’s nothing plain about it-and Tajadas, sweet plantain slices that are fried to enhance and caramelize their sweetness. That recipe is here.

Is it any wonder I can’t get Panama out of my brain?

Cookingly yours,