Another one of my favorite ingredients, sauerkraut, is something you can not find canned here. I have seen it in specialty stores in Guayaquil for over $5 a large jar. So again I have taken it upon myself to make my own.

It is the easiest recipe of everything I have ever done because it has only two ingredients, fresh cabbage and sea salt. That’s it.

First thing I did was purchase a wonderful large enamel pot with a lid. Not easy to find and not cheap but I did find it in a small store in Bahia de Caraquez. It would also work with a crock or large glass container best if it had a cover but use your imagination to cover it. Do not use a plastic container, it could leach into your sauerkraut or vice versa. Clean the container and set aside.

IMG_2359Sauerkraut (this recipe will make 6-8 quart sized jars)

  • 2 large heads of cabbage, cleaned, core removed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup of course or sea salt

Shred your cabbage in a food processor using the disk that has only one large blade. This will cut your cabbage into nice thin strips just right for any sauerkraut dish. Place the cabbage in the processor cut side on the blade. If you do not have a food processor use a sharp knife and slice into thin strips. This of course will take some time. It is much easier with a food processor so if you do not have one ask one of your neighbors if you can use theirs.

With each batch of cabbage you remove from the food processor sprinkle a half teaspoon of sea salt over the shredded cabbage. Continue layering until you have used all the cabbage. Now is the time to get your hands into this and massage the cabbage to release some of it’s juices. Pack the cabbage tightly into the container. Using a plate upside down with a weight on top (I use my heavy mortar from my mortar and pestle to weight the cabbage down). Cover with the lid and clean dishtowel. Look at it after about 1 hour, thoroughly wash your hands and arms because you really need to get into this cabbage and massage it again – do this a few times over the next several hours. You should see a dramatic change in the packing down of the cabbage, it should wilt a bit and when pressed down will take less room in your container and you should start seeing liquid at the bottom. Press down hard with all your weight, I do this with the container on the floor to get more weight behind it.(none of you make a joke about the weight behind me). hee hee

Cover and set it in a cool place, out of the sun. I put it under my sink because every time I go to the sink which is 50 times I day I can smell the cabbage and pay more attention to it that way. Over the next 2 weeks, check the cabbage each day, if there is a foamy scum on top clean it off and repack the cabbage. After about 5 days taste the cabbage for a flavor change, it should start to taste like sauerkraut and not fresh cabbage. It should get limp and create a nice liquid, with a tart bite to it. If it tastes right to you at this point you should can. Always use clean, disinfected jars and lids. This is where I add a few sprinkles of caraway seeds – not necessary – just like that bit of flavor. Place in a canning jar water bath. Boil for 10-20 minutes, bring out and cover with a dry dishtowel. Over the next several hours you should hear the jars pop, the lids should be concave after several hours or the next day. If the lid is not concave place in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

Over the next month or so I will share some of my recipes that use this sauerkraut, I even have a recipe for a sauerkraut chocolate cake, yes you heard me right. .


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.


Coconut Cream Pie – Yum!

Saw a great photo on Facebook one day last week. The pie looked so good I just had to attempt it. Recipe below.

IMG_2330IMG_2331IMG_2335Coconut Cream Pie


  • 4 T white sugar
  • 5 T flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 C milk
  • 3 lg egg yolks (slightly beaten – set the whites aside for the meringue)
  • 1 C shredded coconut (used dessicated coconut which does not contain additional sugar)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t coconut extract

Combine sugar, flour and salt in a double boiler. Add milk, and egg yolks. Cook in double boiler until filling is thick approximately 10 minutes. Stir in coconut, vanilla and coconut extract.  Set aside to cool.


  • 1 1/2 C cookie crumbs (I used coco cookies)
  • 4 T butter melted
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 T white sugar

Mix melted butter, egg and sugar into the cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a pie pan, push up the sides. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10-20 minutes. You want the crust to be pretty hard when you bring it out. Set aside to cool.


  • 3 egg whites
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 1/4 C dessicated coconut

Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl, beat with a hand mixer until soft peak stage, add one tablespoon of sugar at a time and beat until well incorporated.

After the crust is cool, pour filling into crust, top with meringue and put under the broiler for just a few minutes to brown lightly.  Keep a close eye on it, as you can see I did get it a bit too brown….but it still was darn good. Enjoy!


Beach Trash or Art Work – You Be The Judge

While walking I like searching the beach for shells, driftwood and other bits and pieces of trash that wash ashore. I keep a container in the storage closet for driftwood, bamboo, shells and other odds and ends that I attempt to turn into some sort of treasure.

IMG_2303IMG_2290Our neighbor Sergio came by the gate one day and handed me this empty lobster shell. It found a special home on one of the porch walls.IMG_22879.14.2015e 9.14.2015aThis is a piece of my grape vine that needed to be cut back so that became our screen door decoration. I found the nest in the yard and a empty eggshell as well to complete the door wreath. 9.14.2015bThese are just pieces of broken foam that I painted and hung on the porch kitchen window. 9.14.2015c These were given to me by Nellie, seven beautiful shells exactly the same just different sizes.IMG_2350 A piece of gnarly wood along with a thick board made up this shelf for our bedroom wall.IMG_2354IMG_23529.14.2015d

IMG_2355Keeping busy and creating a beach atmosphere.

Garlic Confit

We just love garlic. I use it in about every savory dish I make. So when Joe saw an article recently about how to make your fresh garlic last, I just had to try it.  Garlic Confit…

It is a very easy process, clean your garlic and put it in a pot with good olive oil, cook very slowly for around one hour. Do not allow the oil to boil just a very low heat is required.

It’s ready to eat, plus the olive oil is infused with the great garlic flavor. The garlic itself is spreadable soft and if you want to infuse it with every more flavor drop in a few peppercorns, a dried hot chili or your fresh herbs from the garden.

IMG_2322 IMG_2323 IMG_2325 We tried it out this evening on slices of apple and Tilsit cheese. What  a great combination, it was smooth as butter with a very delicate flavor. I did add a sprinkle of salt and pepper just for good measure.

Remember to use the best quality olive oil you can find and the freshest garlic and you will not be disappointed.

Cooking for scratch and creating imaginative dishes has definitely changed how we view food, eating and shopping.