Kofta Kabobs and Tzatziki Sauce Come To San Clemente

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.

Kafta Kabobs

  • 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.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 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!!!!

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Vendors Part 5: Fruits and Veggies for the Weekend

Around noon on both Fridays and Saturdays this lovely couple comes down our street.  They have a good variety of fruits and vegetables which varies depending upon what they can find in season.

IMG_2987Both on Friday and Saturday they had grapes, strawberries, two varieties of apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beets, cauliflower, lemons, peas, mandarina, radishes, red onions, spring onions, broccoli, cilantro, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tree tomatoes, garlic and green peppers.  Last week they had dragon fruit, two types of grapes, chard just to name a few of their many items.

IMG_2990 IMG_2988 IMG_2989There produce is fresh and of very good quality.

Vendors Part 4: Fresh Cheese, Butter and Veggies

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early afternoon this truck comes by with a variety of items.  They are mostly known for their fresh cheese, butter and peanut products.

IMG_2983They also carry different vegetables and fruits. This varies with each visit, some days they have avocados, melons, watermelon, oranges, carrots, potatoes…

IMG_2986 IMG_2985IMG_2984Thursday they had grapefruits, watermelons, pineapples, potatoes, carrots, garlic, long beans and white beans like a lima, corn, fresh cheese, fresh butter, peanut butter, salpietra, peanut pieces and avocados.  The items are fresh and he is very dependable. Now, what shall I make from this?  Hmmmm…………

Vendors Part 1 – Gonzalo: Veggies and Fruits At My Gate

Everyday at around noon Gonzalo (on the right in the photo below) and his brother Christian come by the house with their cart filled with great fresh produce.

IMG_2963These guys are great! Gonzalo has four boys with the last just starting preschool a few weeks ago. And mommy is Paola who is also as sweet a person as you will ever find. They tease me about broccoli which is my least favorite vegetable and bring me bunches of fresh acelga (chard) each week. When Joe and I were researching moving to Panama we looked at every picture we could find on the internet that showed the food items that were available.  See the pictures below for close up pictures of what Gonzalo sells.

IMG_2967His produce varies each day but most days you can find potatoes, red onions, scallions, cucumbers, beets, cabbage, mandarin oranges, juice oranges, pineapple, cantaloupe,  other melons in season, watermelon, tree tomato and naranjilla.

IMG_2966Some days he will have both the choclo and the yellow corn along with a green vegetable that they stuff with cheese and bake.

IMG_2965Fresh mora berries, green peas, peanut butter, sal piedra, crushed peanuts, tamarind, garlic, white onions, long beans and green beans. Tomatoes, green peppers and carrots are also available.

IMG_2964Today he had strawberries, fresh red beans, cilantro, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes.  I did see lettuce and white cabbage somewhere in the cart as well.

He also carries raisins, other fruits in season, grapefruit, apples, hot peppers, fresh peanuts, watermelon, yucca, the purple sweet potatoes they call camote, celery and bok choy called nabo here.  And if you do not see what you want, ask and he may even be able to get it for you in the next several days.

I depend upon Gonzalo for most of my fresh fruits and veggies.  His produce is fresh, reasonably priced and he always has a smile on his face.

Garlic Confit

We just love garlic. I use it in about every savory dish I make. So when Joe saw an article recently about how to make your fresh garlic last, I just had to try it.  Garlic Confit…

It is a very easy process, clean your garlic and put it in a pot with good olive oil, cook very slowly for around one hour. Do not allow the oil to boil just a very low heat is required.

It’s ready to eat, plus the olive oil is infused with the great garlic flavor. The garlic itself is spreadable soft and if you want to infuse it with every more flavor drop in a few peppercorns, a dried hot chili or your fresh herbs from the garden.

IMG_2322 IMG_2323 IMG_2325 We tried it out this evening on slices of apple and Tilsit cheese. What  a great combination, it was smooth as butter with a very delicate flavor. I did add a sprinkle of salt and pepper just for good measure.

Remember to use the best quality olive oil you can find and the freshest garlic and you will not be disappointed.

Cooking for scratch and creating imaginative dishes has definitely changed how we view food, eating and shopping.