Sunday Market or Feria

Early Sunday morning Joe and I headed out for our daily walk. Joe had several places in mind for us to at least walk by if not visit.  One was the planetarium another the zoo and the third was……..  But instead we got totally side-tracked as we discovered a Sunday Market about five blocks from our apartment.

montevideo-2-4-23The vendors block off the several streets and set up their tents, some even come with what looks like a food truck that opens to show cold cases for cheese, meat and fish.montevideo-2-4-24The first thing that caught my eye was the flowers, but I only picked up one plant and that was thyme.  And it joined my other herb basil on the washing machine in our laundry room.montevideo-2-4-25We figured a tray of 30 large eggs would cost $3.00 and they even had one man selling household products, cleaning, TP, paper towels.  montevideo-2-4-26There were several vendors set up selling cheese, pork, chicken, beef and even fish.montevideo-2-4-27 montevideo-2-4-28The fruits and vegetables looked fresh but we had just gone shopping on Friday and our refrigerator was filled with everything we needed for the week. I have not had the time to check prices but I am sure this Sunday Market is cheaper than Tienda Inglesa.montevideo-2-4-29Grapes run $1.42 per kilo, that is cheap cheap cheap.  They are grown here so maybe that is why they are so inexpensive. Next Sunday these will be on my shopping list.montevideo-2-4-30Everything is marked so you know what you’re spending.montevideo-2-4-31I just could not resist the strawberries, they are one of my favorites.  They were small with a hint of tartness. Just perfect to eat with sugar and cream, and that is just what I did.montevideo-2-4-32$1.60 a kilo for peaches. That works out to about 72 cents a pound.montevideo-2-4-33 montevideo-2-4-34 montevideo-2-4-35 montevideo-2-4-36This stand was selling all different dried herbs and even had nutmeg nuts in this bowl above.  Need to spend some time finding out what these are but I did buy some of the adobo which I knew had red pepper flakes and seeds in it.  I have used it on several things and it does pack a punch.montevideo-2-4-37 montevideo-2-4-38This will be our Sunday morning ritual.  Buying fresh fruits and veggies five blocks from the house.  Now all we need is one of those Old Lady Carts, yes, I am prepared to drag it around. ha ha

Thai Lobster Corn Fritters

IMG_2961 I had the most beautiful fresh corn on the cob and several cooked lobster tails. So what shall I make?  How about Thai Seasoned Lobster and Corn fritters.

We are going to pretty much wing this, so hold on for a pretty funky ride:

IMG_2956Thai Lobster Corn Fritters

  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or clabber milk)
  • 1 small nob of ginger finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Several teaspoons of chopped cilantro
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 medium ears of fresh corn – cut from the cob
  • 2 cooked lobster tails, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large scallion

In a large bowl combine slightly beaten eggs with the next 8 ingredients Mix well. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder. Finally add corn, lobster and scallion. Mix well to incorporate all the dry ingredients.

Using a tablespoon place a dollop of the mixture in a preheated frying pan that has a small amount of oil on the bottom.  Cook on medium heat until golden brown, flip and do the same on the other side.  Serve hot with the dipping sauce.  But they are great cold from the frig as well.

IMG_2959Sweet Sauce for Dipping

  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon of vinegar or water

Mix all ingredients and taste for seasoning. Set aside for the flavors to meld.

IMG_2960Side Salad

  • 4-6 leaves of cabbage sliced very thin
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and shredded
  • 1 small green pepper seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white vinegar

Mix soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and seeds along with vinegar in a small bowl.  Combine cabbage, carrot and green pepper and toss with wet ingredients. Separate into serving sized bowls.

IMG_2949They came out wonderful and the taste was excellent.  A great use for corn and lobster, making a wonderful summer lunch.

Las Velas Restaurant – Malecon, Manta

One of our favorite restaurants here in Manta is Las Velas. It is located right on the malecon. We have eaten there at least five times on our past visits and have found the food and service excellent each time. On Sunday afternoon Joe and I walked down to the malecon and took a table for another excellent meal.

IMG_2559 IMG_2556This is swordfish in a white wine sauce with clams and shrimp. The side dish is mushroom risotto.  I have ordered this every time I have been to this restaurant and have enjoyed it every single time. Why order something different if this is so perfect? Actually, the gentleman sitting near us overheard me raving about this dish to our waiter and asked the waiter what it was and could he have it also!IMG_2555The restaurant is outdoors with a great wine selection and an outstanding menu all with a view of the beach.IMG_2554 IMG_2553 IMG_2552Always ready for a great meal.

IMG_2561Another good job!

Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

IMG_1684We love all different types of food, almost anything Asian – Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Korean you name it we will eat it.  And because these restaurants are not found in our area, I have had to start making my own.  Necessity is the Mother of Invention!

These are Thai Spring Rolls. The biggest problem is getting the spring roll wrappers. A good soul brought me a package from the US and I use them sparingly. The other item I am having a hard time finding is Hoisin Sauce. A while back I could always find it on the shelf in Super Maxi but my past several trips including one to Guayaquil I could not find one jar. Well making Hoisin Sauce will be left for another post.

Shrimp Spring Rolls:

  • 4 dried spring roll wrappers
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs of jumbo shrimp (Langostinos)
  • 1 small carrot cleaned and shredded fine
  • 1 small cucumber cleaned, seeded and shredded fine drain well
  • 1/4 package of fine rice noodles, cooked al dente
  • 5 leaves of iceberg lettuce shredded
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 fresh mint leaves

prepare shrimp (langostinos) by boiling with the heads on in water infused with seasonings like bay leaf, peppercorns and / or hot pepper flakes for 10 minutes. Drain, run under cold water until cool, clean and cut each shrimp in half. Put in refrigerator until ready to use. Cook rice noodles, cool under running water, drain and set aside. Shred all vegetables and set aside along with the herb leaves. Small individual dishes work great for this.

Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 3/4 C smooth peanut butter (if using unprocessed peanut butter add 1 t brown or panela sugar)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C crushed peanuts
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t hot pepper flakes
  • 3 T Hoisin sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce

Mix the peanut butter and water together over low heat, add the rest of the ingredients once the peanut sauce is blended thoroughly. Taste for spice and sweetness adjust for your palate. The sauce should be thick, sweet and spicy.

Putting everything together:

Clear an area on your counter, clean it and arrange your bowls with the vegetables at the top of the counter. Take a large plate and add water to the bottom of it. Take each spring roll wrapper and gently sprinkle water over both sides. Do not use too much water. This takes a bit of practice. They will still be a bit stiff, they will soften up while you finish all four wrappers. Lay the wrappers down in a row going from left to right. With your plates of veggies above also going from left to right. Start with the wrapper furthest to the left. Placing shrimp in the lower half of the wrapper leaving both ends empty. Do all 4 with the shrimp distributing equally. Then add the leaves evenly over the shrimp, continue with the carrots, lettuce and cucumbers. It works better if you do each wrapper with each additional ingredient this way you will distribute more evenly on each wrapper. Do not overfill the wrappers or you will not be able to roll them. Starting at the bottom or the wrapper peel it off the counter gently, while stuffing the ingredients pulling the sides in until you have a neat roll with all the veggies inside.

Serve with the warm peanut sauce.

 

Spiny Lobster On The Wall

The lobsters that live on our coast are spiny lobsters. They have no claws but the most wonderful succulent lobster tail meat ever.  Our neighbor Sergio is the person who we buy from. We have not been able to buy lobster for several months as the government has an order for non-sales for lobster and crab during certain months of the year – I think when they are spawning.  We had our first for Mother’s Day weekend so great to have them back.  Several months ago Sergio came to my gate with a gift. It was the shell of a lobster, completely intact but totally empty. I have attached it to the wall on our porch, it is very beautiful to see how perfect this empty shell is. Make it a great day!

IMG_2117

Manta

San Clemente 9.20.2014 022Our trip to Manta for a few days was wonderful. Weather perfect, hotel very comfortable and of course our choice of restaurants perfect.

San Clemente 9.20.2014 002San Clemente 9.20.2014 003The above photos were taken at Las Velas on the malecon. The dish was swordfish with a beautiful cream sauce served with mushroom risotto. Excellent!

San Clemente 9.20.2014 016San Clemente 9.20.2014 018The next day we went to Restaurante Martinica. We were served Ceviche Jipajopa as an appetizer. I had the Corvina Encocoda, Joe had the Asian Salmon. We shared a bottle of an excellent wine – Salentein Reserve Malbec from Argentina. We also had a great chocolate and vanilla mousse for dessert.  We will be walking extra miles this week….

We also had dinner at Maido, a Japanese Restaurant where we enjoyed sushi rolls and vegetable tempura.  Sorry we were too busy eating to take any photos.

We did walk on the beach every morning and were surprised to see two different exercise classes.

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San Clemente 9.20.2014 007We had a great time, did some shopping, a great deal of eating and some well deserved relaxing.

San Clemente 9.20.2014 010San Clemente 9.20.2014 009So Joe when are we going back?

Joe the Birthday Boy

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Like most celebrations this past few months, Joe and I tend to always go back to Viviana’s for all the right reasons. Sitting at a beachfront restaurant sipping a cold Pilsener is probably one of the most perfect things on earth to do at this stage of our lives. As you see by Joe’s smiling face he and I are in total agreement on this fact.

Next, the food. Perfection. Yesterdays birthday boys choice was Arroz Con Mixto. This is a rich brown rice packed with your choice of two fresh from the sea treats. Joe’s choice – shrimp and calamari. When he was given his plate Eva the chef had thrown in baby pulpo (octopus) as well. AND papas fritas.

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Now don’t say a word, Joe wanted french fries (papas fritas) but Eva said that she did not have any so he changed his order from Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with French Fries to the Arroz con mixto  dish. But when his plate was delivered Eva had found him the potatoes he wanted…a starch fest for sure. Joe did not complain.

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Viviana and her cousin were out walking on the beach and stopped by to say hello and brought Joe a piece of birthday cake. This was tres leches which is a very rich cake with three different types of cream added to make it even richer.

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Viviana and Joe sharing a hug. She is a lovely young woman, a great entrepreneur and has a wonderful family that is so supportive of her and the business.

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On our walk back down the beach, Joe had to show his cliff diving stance with the beautiful South Pacific sunset in the background.

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What a great way to celebrate a birthday….we need to do this every week. Oh I forgot we do make it our Sunday ritual to visit Viviana’s for a late lunch each week. How blessed are we?

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One last photo of last evenings sunset. Happy Birthday Joe may this year be filled with blessings beyond your wildest dreams!