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.

Hurricanes and Living in South Florida

Joe and I moved from the snow and sleet of NE PA to South Miami, Florida back in 1976. We had never heard of a hurricane and boy were we surprised when one actually was headed towards our home.  This was many years after our moving out of our first apartment at Kings Creek Village to our first home in Cindy’s Place in South Miami.  It was Sept. 1979 and the hurricane was David.

We thought what good fun and planned a hurricane party. We got together with friends at their home on a golf course. Well things got a bit dicey when the palm trees in front of their house were bowed almost to the ground. We were not partying any longer, it became nail-biting time. As we sat watching the weather reports on TV we became even more nervous. We were lucky it passed us by with only 70 MPH winds.  We never took a hurricanes approach lightly again.

So as I watched folks walking on the beach in Florida yesterday I say, “How Stupid”.

57f678ac790e9-imageHow could you take the chance that this Category 4 storm with somewhere between 120 and 140 MPH winds would not turn inland and strike with the force of Andrew that hit Florida or Katrina that hit Louisiana with such destruction. It is insane to stay on the coast when history has shown that these powerful storms cause destruction beyond anything you can imagine. History does repeat itself.

Never again would Joe or I take a natural disaster for granted.  With a hurricane you have many days notice and you should secure your property and evacuate. Your property will be their when you return, but the loss of your life would be an unreasonable risk for safeguarding a few of your precious THINGS…

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.

Life is Short


Here is the YouTube link for our beach home: