Vendors Part 4: Fresh Cheese, Butter and Veggies

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early afternoon this truck comes by with a variety of items.  They are mostly known for their fresh cheese, butter and peanut products.

IMG_2983They also carry different vegetables and fruits. This varies with each visit, some days they have avocados, melons, watermelon, oranges, carrots, potatoes…

IMG_2986 IMG_2985IMG_2984Thursday they had grapefruits, watermelons, pineapples, potatoes, carrots, garlic, long beans and white beans like a lima, corn, fresh cheese, fresh butter, peanut butter, salpietra, peanut pieces and avocados.  The items are fresh and he is very dependable. Now, what shall I make from this?  Hmmmm…………

Lobster Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Many folks when traveling around Ecuador make a stop in San Clemente just to say hi, or to stay for a few days or even to look for something to rent or buy. Some ask if they can bring anything from the States or Canada when they come to visit. I have kept a post-it note list with items that we cannot find here that I call my Wish List. When someone asks if they can bring us something I have been just sending them my list. Pick up one item or more – whatever they can easily fit in the luggage and I will happily pay for what you bring.

When Colleen and Richard stopped by Saturday morning they were bearing gifts. Things that I cannot find here that are special food memories from times gone by. One of those items was Spring Roll Wraps. Now before some of my readers get their backs up, we buy locally as much as we can get, we try very hard to spend our money right here in San Clemente, living as close to the locals way of life as possible – we don’t live in a fancy US style apartment or house but…there are things that we loved back in the states one is going to a Japanese or Thai or Malaysian restaurant and having Green Curry Chicken, Pho (pronounced Fa) or Malaysian Chicken Curry with Roti…most I can make almost from scratch but when it comes to Spring Rolls (summer rolls) I will never be able to make those thin rice pancakes no matter how hard I try. So that is where my wish list come into play, things like cardamom seeds, poppy seeds or these Spring Roll Wrappers, that I have not seen here. So all you folks out there that are just ready to give me a hard time about not Going Native, stop and think about those special things that you love, can do without of course but how wonderful when you can make your own version using local produce and the freshest seafood.

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So I decided to make Lobster Spring Rolls. Oh My! They were out of this world, Joe had the forethought to take a picture before we gobbled them down.

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Lobster Spring Rolls

  • 2 Lobsters steamed, cooled and taken out of the shell cut into bite sized pieces
  • you can substitute shrimp that is how we normally have them
  • 2 leaves of lettuce cut Julienne
  • 1 small avocado sliced
  • 1 small carrot grated
  • fresh basil leaves
  • small amount of cooked thin rice noodles
  • 4 spring roll wraps

Spring roll wraps are a dry thin rice pancake, these should be rehydrated by adding a small amount of warm water to both sides of the pancake. When it become pliable add your ingredients putting your lobster or shrimp down first close to one end of the pancake, then the balance of the ingredients, DO NOT OVERPACK as it will not be easy to roll up. Start with the filled end and roll, pulling in the ends as you go along. The pancake will stick to itself sealing.

Peanut Sauce for dipping:

  • 3 tablespoons of fresh peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce

Mix first three ingredients together over heat until peanut butter is melted and a sauce consistency, add more water if needed. Set aside and cool add chopped peanuts and hot sauce to taste. It should have a sweet and hot taste add a bit more hoisin if it is not sweet enough.

I forgot the avocado and ended up just laying them on top, it was unbelievable and we cannot thank Colleen and Richard for hand delivering these spring roll wraps to us all the way from Canada. You guys need to come back over and we will make up another batch for you to test.

Shrimp Roll Supreme

My fish guy delivered fresh shrimp to my gate yesterday morning, 10 to a pound, heads-on beauties. I asked Joe what he thought of a Shrimp Roll sandwich and he jumped on board the seafood train bound for shrimp nirvana.

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Shrimp Roll Supreme

  • 4 fresh rolls
  • 8 oz. cooked shrimp cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped, diced green pepper
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced avocado
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cilantro and green pepper. Fold in shrimp. Cut roll and place avocado on the roll first add shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Broil in the oven at 400 degrees for about 4 minutes until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
NOTE: You may want to try crab meat instead of shrimp and try substituting grated cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan for a flavor difference.  It was decadent!

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Served with homemade bread and butter pickles. Excellent!

Natural Supplement Store

There is a great store in Playas to buy your natural supplements and vitamins.  It is located on Paquisha across from the Chino Ferretería (hardware store).

A lovely family owns this store. I bring my list of items. If it’s in stock I buy it. If not she orders it and within a few days I get a call saying my order is in.

They added a juice and batido bar so while you are looking around for your supplements you can have a papaya juice or maybe even my favorite, avocado. She also sells Avon. What a great little store!

There are several carts around town where street vendors mix up supplement drinks for you to order.  This could be for energy, problems with your kidneys or maybe you just drank to much the night before. The mercado has several push cards with bottles of all different types of elixirs for all your physical problems. There are lines of both men and women waiting to get their specific potion. What a great country!

Fruits, Fruits and more Fruits

We get most of our fruits and vegetables from the mercado. I do not like my tomatoes or avocados purchased from a cooler because the flavor and texture changes so buying at the mercado pretty much insures that these items are fresh off the farm and not refrigerated. While we were out looking for some home items we came across a man selling juice oranges, mandarin oranges and mangos several blocks past the mercado. It looked to me like he picks the fruit fresh from his own trees and drives to this spot each morning to sell what is seasonal.

This photo above shows just some of the fruits  I keep at hand. The bananas look a bit dark but they will be used to make Banana Bread and the avocado is not for guacamole although we do love it, I make a Bebidas (fruit smoothie) with them. I will give you the recipe below.

The juice oranges were 25 for $1, the mangoes were eight for $1 and the star fruit was free. Yes, seems that my friend Miguel needed some repairs done to his Lada and his mechanic has a star fruit tree that was overflowing with ripe fruit. He let us pick what we wanted. Bananas are .05 cents each or some days 4 for .25 cents depending on the size and the avocado’s run  3 for a $1 most places unless they are really big and then it can be 3 large for $2.  There is a man who sells naranjilla juice a 10 oz cup for .25 cents and another sells tiny hard-boiled quail eggs 5 for .50 cents they are one of Joe’s favorite snacks when he shops with me. He always finds a reason to wander to the front of the mercado for these tiny eggs.

Avocado Fruit Smoothie or Aguacate Bebida

  • 1 Large Ripe ready to eat Avocado
  • 8 oz. water
  • 8 oz. semidescremada milk or 2%
  • 6-8 ice cubes (use less water and more ice cubes if you want it thicker)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Peel and remove the pit of the avocado and put in blender with all other ingredients. Pulse until the ice is broken up and blend for one minute. It will be the consistency of a milk shake. Enjoy!  If you really want to have a treat add a handful of Mora (blackberries) and blend – I normally blend the Mora separately and strain as I do not like the seeds in my drink, then I put the thick juice in an ice-cube tray and freeze. I would add one or two cubes to my avocado bebita for that special flavor.  Makes 4 servings

Out of this world, you will never want any other fruit smoothie once you taste avocado….