Almost every morning early around 6:30 am Jimmy comes by on his bike carrying this mornings fresh-from-the-oven rolls. 10 cents apiece for a great start to your morning.
Then some afternoons he comes by, today it was around 3:30 pm, with that same basket filled this time with sweet treats. These are 15 cents.
Some of today’s choices were chocolate sweet rolls, a lovely sandwich cookie with a dulce de leche filling, a corn type muffin, a filled sweet roll with what I think is guayaba (guava) filling. We have our favorites but honestly any one of them will pacify the sweet tooth in all of us.
Yet another vendor that comes around occasionally, delivers these beautiful chocolate or vanilla cakes. They are probably a 6″ or 7″ cake for, you will not believe this, $1.50. It is a really nice cake for $1.50. The chocolate one I purchased had a very thin white icing, it was not too sweet yet it really hit the spot for an afternoon snack. You can see it did not take us long to cut into it.
Donicio comes by on his motorbike every day. He has this high-pitched whistle so you know exactly who is driving by, plus his motorbike is pretty loud. Obviously his whistle is why I call him the Whistler. Today he had fresh cilantro, choclo, lemons, long beans, green peppers, tomatoes and an assortment of fresh beans. I assume he has a farm as the items change daily, are of limited quantity and all are fresh fresh fresh.
He was fascinated when he saw the picture I had taken of him. Sometime this week I will print a picture out for him and when I stop him again I will give him his photo.
Another great recipe to use with the Pita Bread recipe from a few days ago are kofta kabobs with tzatziki sauce. Most recipes for the kabobs I have seen and my original recipe were made with lamb. Because we cannot find lamb very easily here I have modified my original recipe to use part ground pork and part ground beef. It worked well and tastes great.
2/3 pounds ground pork (needs a good bit of fat)
1 1/3 pounds of ground beef
4 stems of parsley or cilantro *
1 small onion, finely chopped *
3 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and chopped *
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Small pinch of clove
Small bunch of mint leaves, very finely chopped
Salt to taste
dash of chili flakes to taste
*Note: if you are grinding your own pork and beef add the onion, garlic and cilantro to the grinder, it just makes it so much faster and then it will be blended completely into the meats.
Roast the cumin, coriander and clove in a frying pan until they release their aroma, about 1 minute. Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Add all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl mixing well and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Shape the meat into a 6 inch tube shape like a sausage. Gently cook for 3 minutes on a side, the meat will flatten out a bit but continue to cook until all sides have taken on a nice brown color and are a bit crispy.
1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded and grated – then squeeze out excess liquid
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup thick yogurt or Kefir
2 cloves garlic, grated fine
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
for garnish, chopped dill or cilantro and a dash of cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with garnish and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make your pita bread (or use rolls) and place one kabob in the center of the pita and liberally cover with tzatziki sauce. You can also use hummus or hummus and tzatziki together for yet another taste sensation… Beyond Yummy!!!!
We are cooking again in San Clemente. Today I am making the easiest pita bread you will ever find and hummus that will make you want to cry. Well maybe smile, not cry.
NO Bake Pita Bread
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees f)
1 cup regular flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups regular flour
additional flour for dusting and oil for rising bowl
Heat water and mix with yeast in the bowl of your mixer along with the 1 cup of flour. Mix with the whisk attachment until completely blended. Allow to sit for 15 minutes until bubbly and starting to grow. Add balance of ingredients and mix with the dough hook for 8 minutes until the dough is soft and has formed a ball on the hook. Take dough out, shape in a ball tucking the ends under and add a few drops of olive oil to the bottom of the bowl as well as the ball of dough. Cover with cling film and a dish towel and allow to rest and grow for the next two hours.
When double in size take out of bowl, pat down to a disk and cut into 8 same size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball tucking the ends under and sprinkle with flour. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the cast iron skillet heats – do not add oil. Roll each ball into a flat disk and gently lay into the bottom of the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes. It should start to puff up and get nice brown spotted on the underside. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now turn over once again and cook for a few more minutes. Place on a dish towel in a basket while you finish making the others. If at this point you do not want to make the rest you can refrigerate the dough making sure it is covered completely with the cling film and when you go to use the next day just allow the dough to warm up a bit before cooking.
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooking water from chickpeas or fresh water
1/2 cup Tahiti (sesame paste) include some of the oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated fine
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh cumin, ground
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
extra olive oil and cilantro for garnish
In a food processor add chickpeas, tahini and olive oil Start by pulsing and drizzle water until you get the right smoothness and consistency. Add the balance of the ingredients and mix until completely blended. Taste for salt, pepper and olive oil and add more if necessary. Blend again, remove to a serving bowl, make a deep impression in the middle of the hummus and add your garnish of olive oil and cilantro to that indentation. Serve at room temperature with the pita bread. Refrigerate any left overs for the next day. In our house, there were no leftovers! Yum.
Once a week this man comes by selling brooms (escoba) along with plastic laundry baskets and other assorted plastics.
He just giggled like a little kid when I asked him if I could take his picture. But he said yes and stood smiling while directing you to his wares. I bought two brooms one a push broom for the leaves on the patio and one regular broom for the inside of the house. Total $9.50 and I did not have to go to Bahia or Portoviejo to purchase them. That is a big deal for us.
A few days ago one of our neighbors stopped in front of our house and who popped out of the truck but Mary and John MacDonald. Mary said to John one morning that if she was cold the folks living in tents must also be cold. They took it upon themselves to find as many blankets as they could (which is not an easy feat here) along with many others donated by another wonderful Expat couple. They took to the streets looking for folks still living in tents in our area. They walked around passing out blankets to many appreciative families.
That act of kindness is what makes this small community so wonderful. I took the picture below off of Mary’s Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind Mary.
John and Mary do other kindnesses for our local community including a children’s Christmas party in one community, John has played Santa as well as singing for local events, Mary has made candy for the holidays and donated all the money to local charities most of this going directly to the local children, Mary also hosts a Take Time out for Art morning at their home for anyone interested in working on any type of art project. They have a blog that they use to keep in touch with family and friends about their daily lives here in Ecuador. You should check it out: https://johnandmarylivingitupinecuador.wordpress.com/
Looking for good people is easy here in San Clemente, just turn around and you will find a wonderful local family or an exceptional Expat couple who will make you smile.
Thanks again Mary and John for your big hearts and that wonderful attitude of giving.