Live From The Field

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Aji is something that I am going to miss. I am going to miss its spicy
tanginess that always hits right where it’s supposed to. When I think of
aji I think of my abuelas smile as she peels potatoes in the kitchen, or my
host brothers laugh, or even the long bus rides that give me the time to
think about everything, the highs and lows and all. It’s spike of flavor
amid the everyday Ecuadorian food is like those times when everything feels
airy and good.

Its feels surreal the fact that I only have 3 weeks left with my host
family and going through this daily routine I have become so accustomed to.
There are many nights that I lay on my bed unable to comprehend how another
day has passed. The weight that was once a constant state of uncomfortable
contentment has lifted and a new weight has landed. One of sadness, one of
the inability to articulate what this past year has done for me. It’s a
weight that I’m having trouble with because this is something I have never
experienced before this feeling of immense gratitude for where I am in my
life right now. Right now I am feeling this appreciation deep within me and
I’m savoring every smell, noise, taste and feeling I can.

And with that I give you a recipe. Aji is a spicy sauce that is served in
almost every restaurant as a topping to your rice, chicken or potatoes.
There are many different ways of making Aji but this is the one my family
makes. As one of my favorite ways to eat food here I thought I would share
it with all of you.

1/2 bunch of cilantro (stems and leaves)

3 garlic cloves

1/2 lime or lemon

4 aji peppers (hot peppers)

4 tomatoes or tomato de arbol

1 white onion

(add water and salt)

– Blend the tomatoes, aji peppers, and water. Add the sliced onion,
lemon, cilantro, sliced garlic and salt