Cranberry Walnut Scones: What a Wonderful Breakfast Treat

Last night before bed I was thinking what wonderfulness can I make tomorrow morning.

I have decided that we can eat “good for you” food every weekday but the weekends are special and we should have something even better.  So Sundays I make something wonderful like Lobster Rolls or a Pork Tenderloin Roast with Homemade Sauerkraut and Root Veggies or a Moroccan Roast Chicken with Guava Paste.  But Saturday morning should be special also.  So I remembered making scones once before.  The recipe was from a Rachael Ray cookbook and honestly it did not do it for me.  So I got on the computer and found a recipe from All Recipes.

img_3434I of course made some changes and this is what I came up with:

Cranberry Walnut Scones

Heat the oven to 400 F.  In a medium-sized bowl mix the top 5 ingredients.  Grate the butter into the flour mixture and with a pastry blender or two knives cut the butter into the flour mixture. Do not use your hands as it will melt the butter. Add the walnuts and mix well, place in the fridge until ready to add the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl add the sour cream or the cream and vinegar mixture and set aside.  Add egg to cream and mix well.

Add your egg/cream mixture to your dry ingredients. With just a few strokes incorporate it – it will have dry ingredients that have not mixed well.  No problem just turn out onto a work area (I use a large plastic place mat).  With your hands knead gently until you have a soft dough.  Do not overwork, you do not want to melt the butter pieces. Just a few strokes with your hands should incorporate it into a nice dough.  Shape into a disk about 1/2 inch thick and approximately 7 inch diameter. Sprinkle top evenly with cranberries and pat into the dough. Sprinkle with the white sugar. Cut like a pie into 8 pieces.

Place on a baking sheet with parchment or another non-stick mat. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.  Watch that the bottom does not burn.

Serve hot with honey butter mixture or my favorite cream and honey.

Cream or Butter Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon butter or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light honey

Mix together and serve on the side with the hot scones.

Great with a good cup of coffee sitting on your porch watching the street come to life.

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.

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!



What great neighbors we have. This afternoon our neighbor Paola brought us a huge bowl of viche. This batch was made with lobster, shrimp, choclo (corn), small plantain balls and the most wonderful broth made with peanuts. Of course she did provide rice as well.  It is out of this world and Paola is one of the best cooks I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

IMG_2153We eat like royalty here. Between the kindness of our neighbors like Paola and the bounty we can buy right at our door we are blessed.

We have a new fruta and verdura vendor who has started to come by on Friday mornings. Today he had strawberries, black and red grapes, granny smith apples as well as gala apples and pears, passion fruit, mora, naranjilla just to name a few. He had corn, peas, small and large lima beans as well as fresh fava beans, carrots, red onions, green onions, cauliflower, broccoli, two types of potatoes, iceberg lettuce and cilantro.  Next week I will take a photo of his truck and him and his wife.

Feeling very blessed…

Lobster Ceviche Another First for Me

One morning my neighbor offered lobster across the fence for $5 a pound. We love lobster and I wanted to make something a little different so I decided I would try my hand at Ceviche.

San Clemente 7.23.2013 005As you can see from the above photo I have gathered the lemons and sour oranges from our trees, onion, green and yellow peppers, small red firecracker chilies, cilantro, ketchup and the cooked lobster meat. What is not in the picture is a beautiful red ripe tomato and a tablespoon of mustard that I added at the end. You may need to add a pinch of sugar if your Sour Orange is just too sour and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Mix this all together and put in the refrigerator for several hours.

San Clemente 7.23.2013 007 The hardest part was waiting the hour or so to eat this. It was fabulous – our new favorite meal with lobster…OH MY!!!!

Paola Delivers Lunch

Our neighbors are pretty cool. If it’s not one handing stone crabs over the gate it’s another sharing Viche for our lunch yesterday. (The crabs over the gate thing happened yesterday – Eric gave us 2 huge stone crabs and then later Erica his sister gave us 3 more! gotta love this place).

San Clemente 6.18.2013 017Okay, back to the viche de langosta.

This soup was made with lobster, madura and green plantains, carrots, and corn all simmered in a peanut broth. It is one of our favorites.

If I had to choose the best food that we have eaten while outside of the US it would have to be the cooks of Manabí and Paola would come in first place. Other items that she has shared with us were lapangachos – it s a stuffed potato or yucca fritter filled with meat or chicken. She has also made a fried shrimp dinner that had a chicharone coating on the shrimp. The next cook would need to be Sonia and her lobster and crab ceviche. Living here has been a unbelievable experience in the Manabí art of cooking.

Thanks vecinos (neighbors) you made our day!

Susan and Jimmy in Paradise

We met Susan and Jimmy Dufrene many months back when Susan started following the blog. We continued our email conversations until a few weeks ago with they arrived here in Ecuador for an extended vacation. Yesterday finally we were able to get together for lunch at our home. It was great getting to know these lovely folks a little better.

San Clemente 6.9.2013 006

We talked for hours, had a nice lunch, a few cervezas and some wine before heading out to the garden to get away from the sun that eventually hits our porch.  What nice folks. I think Ecuador and especially San Clemente has a special place in their hearts and we will see them return again and again to enjoy part of their retirement in paradise.

Paradise is a Package Deal!

This is a very rare thing to have the dogs bring anything to our gate, but last Sunday morning I found this right outside my doorstep.

San Clemente 12.18.2012 023

Yes, it is a rat and yes it is disgusting. Several folks walked by it and did nothing. So finally I got Joe to get rid of it. You never know what kind of present a doggie will bring to your gate and this will never be one of my favorites. This is the first time I have seen any mice or rats in San Clemente but we are a fishing village with much for all different types of critters to eat. So I am sure they are here.  My hero Joe, he did a great job in taking care of this for me.

Not everything in paradise (my word) is perfect. Making a place enough, comfortable, peaceful, home is not difficult. Mostly it is a state of mind, not of place. My idea of paradise is not necessarily going to be yours. We all have expectations, preferences and comfort levels that need to be fulfilled to make a place paradise.  We have been open to all the unique differences between how we were raised and how we wanted to live out our lives. We have made up our minds that the important things to us are not what money can buy, but the intangibles that make a place unique, home! Some days you will find a rat at your gate another day it will be a vendor selling you lobster for $5 a pound…it is a package deal!

Red Lobster has Nothing On These!

Yesterday afternoon Joe and I were sitting thinking about what we should have for dinner – should it be shrimp or the fresh fish I bought earlier in the day – when our friend Keith drove up to show us what his dinner would be.  Yes, I was so envious but am sure the next time he goes “Lobster Hunting” he will invite me.

As Keith pointed out each of these beauties weighed in at 4 pounds and no claws all tail meat. He and Becky were sure to have a real Lobster Feast at their seaside home last evening…Good going Keith, remember me when you decide to make the next trip looking for lobster.

What a Fabulous Neighborhood

This weekend I finally had the time to bake what is supposed to be Crane House Pumpkin Bread. Well I have never seen pumpkin at any of the mercados here in Ecuador so often I have made it with squash. But I was unprepared and had no squash on hand so I went to the tienda and bought six large carrots. Hey they were orange and when you put all the spices and stuff in with all the other ingredients who is going to know it’s carrot…just me!  I made two separate batches one with sugar and one with a sugar substitute.

This was my small way to begin to pay back all my neighbors for their thoughtful and wonderful gifts that they have been dropping off at our house since we moved here 8 weeks ago. You have seen the pictures of the shrimp, several different types of fruit, one day last week I heard the little girl across the street yelling my name her mother had made llapingachos, this is a potato cake that she stuffed with a beautiful beef filling, they were hot from the stove and crispy and they did not last 3 minutes once I showed them to Joe. Then the next day the one young woman from the tienda wanted to know if I had any limons she could have, I invited her into the yard so we could pick some from the one tree and she spotted the cherry tree. I told her to go ahead take what she wanted and she started picking even the ones I did not think were ripe and popping them in her mouth, next thing I knew she was back with a paper bag with four corn balls filled with fresh queso.. Sorry no photos they went toooooo fast! This morning yet another neighbor yelled over the fence while I was watering the trees and handed me a plastic bag and came back with this big ripe papaya.

Yes, they are lobster, eat your hearts out, Joe and I had Petite Lobster Tails served with drawn fresh Cream Butter as our appetizer and our entrée was sautéed Filet of Fish served with a Garlic and White Wine Sauce.  Don’t I sound posh!

A vendor on a bike came by a few days ago at the urging of one of my neighbors, I bought beautiful heads-on shrimp for $3.50 per pound. I told him I would love some filet of fish, Pargo, Corvina whatever he could get. He was at the gate this morning with several pound packets of fresh filet for $2.50 a pound.

This is the nicest neighborhood we have ever lived in, not the fanciest, not the richest in money but neighbors that have taken two strangers in as part of this close-knit community. We feel blessed every day that we found such a beautiful pueblo and hope to be able to pay these folks back by being good neighbors and friends. Right back at ya amigos.