Blueberry Crisp, My Roots in Colombia and Tortilla Tweaking

 This week, I needed to use up the blueberries I had bought, so I decided to make Blueberry Crisp. We hadn’t made that dessert in a while, and that was the fastest way to use the berries. I had originally stocked up when the price dropped in order to make scones for my dad and Brody’s mom for their birthdays, but then due to the hot weather, I was not sure the scones would arrive in good condition after a few days in the mail. So, I’ll send them something else for their birthdays. 🙂 It’ll be late, but this way, they can extend their celebrations! This week, as I was making the crisp, I decided to substitute some rice flour for the some of the tapioca flour and was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the crispy part turned out. If you would like a crispier topping, you can tweak the recipe on page 167 as I did this week. Simply make the flour portion half tapioca flour and half rice flour.

 Now for the Tortilla Tweaking I mentioned I’d share. When I was living in Colombia, the Piapoco tribe was the group my parents served in translating the New Testament. We would live with the Piapocos in their village for 4-6 weeks at a time, and usually visited 3 or 4 times each year. I enjoyed the bread the ladies would prepare on a regular basis. Interestingly, the bread I knew so well in the Piapoco village has the same origin (the roots of the cassava or yuca plant) as the tapioca flour which is now a staple in my kitchen since Brody can tolerate it instead of wheat flour.

 Anyway, when the Piapoco ladies would make their bread, they called it macadu (mah-kah-doo) when it was fresh. It was warm, light and faintly sour. It was quite delicious by itself or with venison, fish or chicken soup! The griddle they used was a couple of feet in diameter, and so the resulting bread looked like a very large pancake. 

 If the ladies wanted to preserve the bread for many days (even weeks), they would throw the large pancake-like bread up onto the palm-leaf-thatched roof to dry in the hot sun. This preserved bread was called daleri (dah-leh-ree) which literally means “hard.” And so it was! A person could break a tooth on that if he wasn’t careful! The daleri was so tasty for dipping in soups, and that was one way to eat the daleri with less potential for dental damage. The daleri was great for travel and for preparing food in advance. Since the village didn’t have electricity, the ladies had other ways of preserving their daily labor for food.

 If the macadu was not preserved by drying in the sun on the roof, it would become a little stale over the next few days and was sort of chewy and less appealing to me, but still nourishing. At this point, it was called chuchuweri (choo-choo-wee-ree). I think I spelled that correctly! It’s been many years since I contemplated the Piapoco language.

 A final way the ladies used the bread was to make a soup from it for breakfast or any meal. If the chuchuweri were broken up into water and heated, it was called chucusi (choo-koo-see), a soup-like dish similar to the hot cereals my readers may be more familiar with, such as cream of wheat, oatmeal, or my new favorite, quinoa cereal with raisins!

 I shared all that with you since I’ve been having fun with my tortilla recipe from page 115. The recipe as written is tasty for tacos, but I have enjoyed tweaking it lately to make similar bread items. Originally when I was developing the recipe, I started with a flatbread recipe a friend from Asia had shared with me. After making the recipe many times, I have figured out that cooking the tortillas on my griddle on high heat will make the tortillas lightly brown on the outside, flexible enough to wrap around the taco fillings and easy to chew, similar to the macadu I mentioned above. But if I want to make something like a tostada or a chip, I can cook the tortillas on lower heat for a longer time and dry out the tortilla, making something more like a chip, sort of like the daleri.

 My latest tweaking to the tortilla recipe was to try to make it more like naan, the basic bread of India. I read several recipes, and noticed that some use yeast and others baking powder to leaven the dough. I chose baking powder the other day since I didn’t want to take the time for the yeast to work. I used ¼ tsp baking powder with the recipe on page 115 as a first try and was happy with the results. I also added some pressed garlic and freshly ground black pepper. The final product was thicker and more fluffy than the tortillas and was a fun change of pace for us. I might try adding some other herbs or spices next time! The tweaking of the tortilla recipe reminded me of my “roots” in Colombia! 

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