Orange Sweet Potatoes or Yams

img_3249One day last week Gonzalo came by with a few orange sweet potatoes. I went pretty crazy as we seldom see orange sweets here. So I begged for him to find me more and yesterday he gave me a bag full of these orange beauties.  I love the purple ones, don’t get me wrong, they are delicious and super sweet.  But when making a sweet potato souffle where I add eggs and brown sugar the resulting color is really off-putting. The combination of the yellow egg yolks, brown sugar and purple potatoes turns almost black.  Again not very appetizing.

I can remember our first Thanksgiving here, we were living in Salinas and were invited to Will’s Coco Bar for a traditional US style Thanksgiving.  I decided to make my sweet potato souffle which is usually well received and finished off. It did not go over well.  Honestly it tasted very similar to the ones I had made in the states but the color, it was scary. I ended up bringing home half a dish full and chucking it in the trash.

Today I have enough to make sweet potato fries. We will see how Joe likes them.

img_3251 Joe loved them and they vanished.

I guess making friends with your vegetable vendor, the meat guy and the rest of the folks who come by on the street does make a big difference. Thanks Gonzalo, you are the best for finding these for me.

 

Baba Ganoush

I know the name sounds a bit strange but it is a wonderful tasting and very filling dip. Especially good with cut up raw vegetables or my favorite fresh pita bread*. So guess what I am making today?  Baba Ganoush. This is going to be lunch.  Joe and I have always talked about just having dessert first and forget about the lunch or dinner.  Well I say let’s have an appetizer for lunch and forget about the lunch!

So let’s talk eggplant, what a wonderful vegetable.  I make a delicious eggplant lasagna as well as a ratatouille recipe that I will post in the future. Both are excellent ways to use this very versatile veg.

Baba Ganoush

  • 1 large or 3 smaller fresh shiny eggplants
  • 1/2 head of garlic just cut the tops off to allow the oil to penetrate the cloves
  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – it is a traditional Indian spice blend that usually includes cumin seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, black pepper, clove, nutmeg and chili.
  • Olive oil for baking the veggies and a few tablespoons for the top of the dip
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

img_3224First take your eggplants, wash them and cut them in half. In a small tin foil wrapper add half head of garlic and just trim the tops of the garlic to show the clove below. Place all on a cookie sheet that has been lined in tin foil, less to clean up. Sprinkle all with olive oil, add the oregano and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until soft.  Squeeze any excess olive oil from the garlic tin foil into your mixture, what a wonderful flavorful oil it has made.

In a large bowl spoon all the eggplant flesh and squeeze the bottom of the garlic head –  the cloves will just pop out and add them to the bowl.  Mash all together and add your tahini, lemon juice, garam masala, salt and pepper. Finely grate the one raw clove of garlic on top of the mixture. Mix well. It should be dip consistency, pretty thick with no big chunks of eggplant if it seems too thick add a little water until you get the right consistency.  Taste for seasoning add more salt if necessary. Refrigerate. Right before serving add your cilantro and mix well.  Serve with sliced vegetables, crackers or pita bread.

img_3245*Pita bread recipe can be found by searching for Pita Bread and Hummus above from my August 2016 post.

Joe just Loves this Chocolate

Do you like unsweetened dark chocolate? Joe does. When we were staying in Manta Joe found this unsweetened chocolate in Super Maxi. I think in the states it’s just called cacao – no sugar OR milk solids/fats added.

img_3206 He would buy several bags and each evening he would sit and have just one of the disks.  It is not for me, unsweetened chocolate – can you say WHAT? That is for making brownies or hot chocolate but eating it straight from the bag?  Not for me!!  But Joe may have something here. All the news you hear about superfoods, chocolate is supposed to lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Another reason that dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy it has inflammation fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.  We do not know if that is true or not but Joe loves it and it really helps him from having other snacks after dinner.

img_3208While in Manta last week at the SuperMaxi I found a shelf full, I think I picked up 10 packages.  Joe will just love it and of course he will think I am the greatest for picking it up for him.

12″ Banana Bread for $2

On our way home from Manta earlier this week, Leigh stopped to buy a banana bread from a man on the side of the road. Of course, I had to try one myself, how could I resist.  It was still warm from the oven and at $2. it was a bargain to me.

img_3195 img_3202 As soon as I got home I cut a few pieces added a nice pat of butter and we went to town.  I really think I need to cut it in half and put that in the freezer for another day.

Laughter is Great Medicine

Our friends Leigh and Rick took me into Manta with them yesterday.  We told stories, laughed having a great time. We had breakfast at a local restaurant with Angie and Raphael, the restaurant served Llapingachos – but not with potato – with yuca, they have a different name which I failed to catch. They also serve the traditional Ecuadorian breakfast meals from Chicken and Rice to Encebollado which is a soup of Albacore Tuna with onions as well as over-easy eggs.  My kind of place. I love encebollado but had to have the over-easy eggs with the llapingachos and a café con leche.

Of course we had to take a few of the llapingachos to go. They are now in the freezer waiting for the perfect day to bring them out for another feast.

img_3193 We then went to the mall and SuperMaxi for some shopping while Rick took his truck in to get detailed -you cannot call it washed as it looked like a new truck when he came to pick us up.

We then went out to lunch, fish ceviche, excellent.

It was a laughter filled busy day, thanks Leigh and Rick for such a fun day.

Beach Home for Sale, San Clemente, Manabi, Ecuador – Completely Furnished $85,000

img_3180This updated and comfortable single family home on one floor has a total of 1,076 sf (100 square meters) under roof, lot size of 2,260 sf (210 square meters). The property is completely walled, private and secure. It comes completely furnished.

img_3116 img_3115img_3078 img_3107 The 3 bedroom, 2 bath home is light filled and airy. The well laid out kitchen has new custom cabinets and shelving with plenty of counter space. Included is a four (4) burner gas stove/oven with top broiler, a sizable refrigerator, blender, coffee maker etc.

Kitchen and Living Room:

img_3187 img_3186 img_3185img_3188The living area has a full wall built-in custom shelving unit at one end, couch, coffee table and Sony flat screen TV.  img_3184 img_3183 img_3182img_3153A spacious master bedroom measuring 10′ x 17′ has a sitting area and en suite bathroom. It comes with a queen sized bed, side tables, a large free-standing closet as well as a 12,000 BTU split unit air conditioner. The second bedroom includes a double bed and side table. The third bedroom can be used as an office or formal dining room. The second full bathroom is at this end of the house.

Master Bedroom and en suite Bathroom:

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img_3133Second Bedroom:

img_3122 img_3071Third Bedroom Currently being used as Office:

img_3139Guest Bathroom:

img_3151The 10′ x 27′ covered porch faces west to the garden. It has a storage / laundry room with American style heavy-duty washer with clothes drying rack. Electric and plumbing have been completely redone including main outside breakers, inside breaker box, 3 outlets in each room, water pump and pressure tank.  Ceiling fans with light fixture in all rooms and the porch plus extraction fans at the roof peaks. Tile flooring throughout. Many other extras.

img_3160img_3168img_3170Entrance is through a new large wood gate with an easy access door. This gate has security bolts and locks.  The newly repaved granito driveway sits between the covered porch and the garden. This can be used for parking your vehicle or for extra outdoor living space. There is an outdoor shower for the beach bum in all of us.

img_3117img_3107The garden has several producing fruit trees including lemon, fig, star fruit, pomegranate and a large guava tree that shades a tile and granito 11′ x 22′ patio.  There are two 5-year-old coconut palms on the property that have not started to produce fruit yet. Mature Bougainvillea hang over the front wall from the garden, providing a bright splash of color.

img_3043img_3104 img_3103 img_3098 img_3094Lemon:img_3089Star Fruit in Flower:

img_3034Guava:img_3030Pomegranate: img_3025The home is located in the beautiful Punta Bikini area, also called Barrio Norte, of San Clemente in the province of Manabi, Ecuador. This quiet fishing village is within 45 minutes of Bahia de Caraquez and 1 hour from Portoviejo and Manta. It is a very peaceful stretch of flat beach great for swimming, sunbathing, walking, surfing and fishing.

End of the Street looking North towards the Bluffs:

12-21-3san-clemente-2-13-2013-001-2End of the Street Looking South towards Downtown:12-21-4 san-clemente-2-13-2013-003-2Our comfortable, fully equipped home is in the less busy, northern part of San Clemente walkable to downtown with a variety of small stores, restaurants, drug stores and other basic shopping.  Vendors pass the house daily selling everything from raw fresh milk to fruits and vegetables to fresh eggs and butter and toilet paper. Live lobster is available across the street and jumbo shrimp, fresh off the boat, can be purchased 2 blocks away.

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This is the third house from the beach, about 150 feet from the front gate to the sand, with refreshing ocean breezes. Our Ecuadorian neighbors are welcoming and helpful. It is a very safe and friendly neighborhood, mostly year round lifelong residents who will help you out if you need anything. Several Expats live nearby. There is a small grocery store at the ocean end of the block.

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Internet and land line telephone are available through CNT and electric service from CNEL. Cable TV and Direct TV are available.

Property taxes last year: $21.00, Internet and Land line telephone: $35.63 per month, Electric: $30 to $40 per month, water $12 to $30 per month and gas for the stove/oven $2.50 a quarter.

We are moving due to “itchy feet”. We have loved our 7 years in Ecuador, as we did our almost 4 years in Panama before this.

img_2735All papers are in order and ready for the buyer.  Contact our realtor with any questions.

email: tom@ecuadorbeachfrontproperty.com        telephone: 099 635 9373

Fully furnished at $85,000

Avocados – How to Freeze and The “Best-Ever” Smoothie

Avocado 2I recently read an article about freezing avocados that Joe found and sent to me. We love avocado smoothies but never seem to have enough fresh avocados. So freezing them was of particular interest to me.  It is so easy:  Pick ripe ready to use avocados, cut them in half, remove the pit and the skin. Place the flesh in a plastic bag and pop in the freezer..Voila!!! You have ready to use avocados anytime you want them.

Here are the latest ready to go into the freezer. These are large, local variety with almost yellow flesh that you can buy from several local vendors who come to my house. These are pretty big and were 3 for a dollar.

IMG_3009 Now for the best smoothie you will ever have.

IMG_3012Yes, I said avocado smoothie, I know it was hard for me to wrap my brain around making a smoothie from what I consider the vegetable you use for making guacamole or sliced on a chicken sandwich. You will never want a mora, or frutilla or banana smoothie again after tasting this rich and wonderful drink.

Avocado Smoothie

  • one large ripe avocado
  • 8 oz. milk
  • one large glass of ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 8 oz. glass of water

Place avocado, sugar, ice and milk into a blender.  Blend on high until avocado and ice are smooth and creamy.  Add the glass of water and blend again on high for a few minutes.

Pour into large glasses and taste the best thing you have ever had in your life.  Really, I mean it, this is the best smoothie I have ever had. Once you have had this avocado smoothie you will never want any other smoothie again.

IMG_3013 My preference is the haas avocado and you can find them, most of the time, in the big supermarkets here like SuperMaxi or Mi Comisariato. They have a very dark green bumpy skin, are smaller than the local ones and have a much smaller pit. It has a little different flavor and the color is much greener flesh than the local avocados…but when in Rome do as the Romans do, so we use what we can get.

AVOCADO-hass-300x250avocadoinfoHonestly, I don’t drink avocado smoothies for any of the above reasons, I drink them because they taste so darn good!