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!!!!

Clabber Milk

We love buttermilk but unfortunately I have never seen it on the dairy shelves here on the coast of Ecuador.  So again like Little House on The Prairie, Pequena Casa en la Costa has decided to make it from scratch.  I know all about using lemon juice or vinegar but Joe does not have a tolerance for either so I needed to find another solution. And there are cultures if you lived someplace where you could buy them. But again that is not available here.  This is actually clabber milk which is very similar to buttermilk.

According to all that I have read it is a good substitute for buttermilk in most recipes.  First you must start with raw milk.  We have a good supply of raw milk here so I was ready. I took one cup of “still warm from the cow” raw milk (older milk will work faster)  and put it in a clean glass jar. Place the lid on top but loose and cover with a coffee filter or paper towel held around the jar with an elastic band. This keeps out any critters. Place on the kitchen counter and walk away as it does its thing!

Allow it sit for a day and check it, it should start to separate and look like pudding or yogurt. It took mine two days to get this look because I used fresh milk.  My goal was to make one quart of buttermilk.  Now add another two cups of milk, stir and allow it to sit until it starts to separate like the first cup. This could happen in a matter of hours so keep and eye on your jar.  I added one more cup of store milk.  The original must be raw milk but the next three cups can be regular store-bought milk.

If it has an off smell or discolors you should not use it. Something went wrong in your process.

It was not as tart as normal buttermilk but it worked well in my recipe. Yum!

IMG_2944

Investing in the Local Economy

Ever since we moved here to San Clemente our neighbor David Zambrano has helped us with so many jobs around this house I can no longer remember all of them.  While we were staying in Manta, David took care of our home, our yard and our plants.  When we came back my plants were more beautiful and lush than I could ever had gotten them.  I do feel he has a green thumb.

David is great with electrical or plumbing problems but on occasion he has done some small woodworking for me as well as small concrete jobs along with a bit of painting. If he cannot do it he will find someone who can.

When the earthquake hit on April 16th, Joe got me out of the house but we were in shock, we just sat on lawn chairs out on the driveway.  David and his brother Pilli made a quick check of all the neighbors and then came back to get Joe and I.  They walked us through our house sweeping a path through the debris as they got us into our bedroom and found us shoes, shirts and flashlights. They found two folding chairs on our patio and walked us down the street to a waiting car, where we were treated like royalty and taken up the hill to Pepita’s home to wait out the tsunami warning.  David came back several hours later and took us to our home. Again, he needed to sweep a path to be able to get to the bathroom and into bed.  I cannot explain how much this meant to Joe and I.  It took us days to stop trembling when we felt an aftershock and some of those aftershocks measured over 6.

Now we are starting the work that we have been planning for the house for the past year.  This is the time to do it, this is the time to invest in this community so it can heal. If you have projects that you are looking to do in the next year, I ask that you do those projects now, infusing money into the local economy.

So far we have contracted to have wood cabinets built for our kitchen, a block and concrete wall built at the back of our property and bamboo fencing for two additional walls in our yard. This is not replacement for damage done it is all new items that we were planning to add over the next several years. Next we will be hiring maestros to build two doors for the back walkway as well as a new wood gate for our drive.

Many people are not working right now, have no income coming in and have damage to their own property. If you are living in Ecuador and are thinking about investing in your property and can give work to those in your community please do it now.

It will make a difference in the quality of life right here in Ecuador.

 

 

My New Kitchen Utensil Rack

Having utensil containers sitting on the kitchen counter was becoming a real pain. Not being able to find what I was looking for without pulling everything out and not having room near the stove where most were needed was only part of the problem. I had seen several great ideas on the internet. One was a great peg-board system that was placed inside a picture frame. But finding the materials was not so easy. So when Leigh and Rick bought this great wire for their screen porch, I made my plan to have my neighbor David make me something to hold all my spoons, spatulas, etc.

I made a drawing, gave David the wire mesh and showed him where it needed to go and Ta Da….

IMG_2125Because our breaker box is above our stove, David needed to make this rack into a door that would open as well as a rack to hold all my kitchen things.

IMG_2128I love it.