Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Costa Rican Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

As many of you know, I was in Costa Rica a couple of weeks ago. We ate and had so many wonderful things. The fruits there are just wonderful. Above is a fruit stand at one of our rest stops.

Anyone know what these are? I'll make you guess. When the fruit hangs from the tree the greenish gray part is face down and the colored part is the top. The Costa Ricans drink the juice form this fruit though here in the US I've never seen it. I have seen what comes from the bottom though. It is poisonous unless cooked. I never knew how they grew before. Personally I eat a lot of them. It is one of my favorites. And if you still can't guess, you can mouse over the photos and see how I labeled the photo.

For breakfast the Costa Ricans eat something called Gallo Pinto for breakfast. If you know me, you know I love beans. And this is basically a black bean and rice dish. They use lots of cilantro in the dish and it is delicious. Since I had just picked a ton of cilantro it seemed to be a good choice to make.

My "Gallo Pinto" isn't true to form four two reasons. I didn't have any black beans left. Well I had a few but they were not cooked and I was using my canned beans. Next year I need way more black beans. They really are my favorite bean. The other reason is that I put a bit of cumin it in. This is not normal for Gallo Pinto. Oh and normally there is about half as many beans as I add. I do love my beans.

I can't give you an exact recipe since I didn't follow one and sort of just threw things in. But I'll give you the gist of it. Start with some onion. I used a very small onion. Saute it in tablespoon or two of oil for a couple of minutes then add a cup of rice and about 1/4 c of cilantro. Saute for a couple of minutes more. Then I added about two cups of chicken broth. Maybe a bit less and cooked it until it was done. I tossed in two jars of cooked beans. Mine were Apache Red, but to be authentic it should have been black beans. I added another 1/4 c of cilantro, about a 1/2 t salt, and a 1/2 t of cumin. I didn't measure really. I'm guessing here. Then heated it all through.

Yum. I love beans and rice. Though the photo doesn't really show it they looked a bit like Christmas beans and rice since the beans were red and the cilantro green. I didn't have mine for breakfast, I had mine for lunch along with some Tzatziki, cold cooked beans, and carrots. Is it wrong to combine Costa Rican food with Greek food?

Actually the Tzatziki is left over from my husbands birthday party. I love it so I'm eating it up at every chance. Above is another meal with it. The beans and cukes are left over from the party too. I buy in bulk from Costco for the party. Our birthday parties tend to be large (this one was probably 50 people) and nerdy. They are gaming parties and we play Euro games from 1pm until I finally kick people out after 11pm. Oh and back to the food. The fried rice has cilantro, asparagus, and kale. Those at least were from the garden. The asparagus was only half from my garden. The other half was also leftovers.

Many people wondered what I'd do will all that cilantro I picked last week. Well here are two dishes that used it. Cilantro is widely used in the world. It is used in many Asian countries (certainly in Chinese, Indian, and Thai food) and many Central American dishes. I see it a lot in more upscale US restaurants. It is a wonderful flavor if you like it. Some hate it as they have a gene that makes it taste different than it tastes to me. I keep waiting for it to be on Iron Chef. I really want to see it in the ice cream machine. Anyone up for cilantro cinnamon ice cream? It seems like it would be really tasty. Or maybe it would be terrible. I don't have the skill they have of guessing what something would taste like without trying it. Hmmm maybe cilantro lemon would be better.

Join Robin over at The Gardener of Eden for the rest of the Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts.

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures Daphne! I have been waiting for a post from your vacation. I still don't know what that fruit is.

    Love the recipes!!

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    1. When I mouse over I can see the path of the photo at the bottom of my screen (but different browsers can act differently). But you would read that they are cashew fruits. The cashew comes from the green gray area.

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  2. I never knew that cashews grew in that way. Never really thought about it. Fascinating. Your rice and bean dish sounds really good. I would probably eat that for breakfast.

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  3. Interesting! I had never seen how cashews grew! Nice bean dish you made. It looks yummy!! I look forward to your post about greens. Should be useful.
    ~~Lori

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    1. Oh, I think I got the post mixed up! I was reading two at a time, and was thinking about the beans, rice, and greens, and Robin is going to post about freezing greens later. Sorry for the brain fart. :)
      ~~Lori

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  4. I lived in Panama for 3 1/2 years starting when I was 7. We had two cashew trees behind our house on Albrook AFB. I totally remember the nasty smell of that rotting fruit in the backyard. One of the trees blew down and suddenly we had the best hill in our backyard because there was no more nasty cashew fruit all over the place. It's amazing how your photo took me right back!

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  5. Those cashew fruits are amazing! I had no idea they grew like that! Those meals look delicious!

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  6. Good looking meals and thanks for the education on where cashews come from. I love to eat them

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  7. So thats what cashew fruits look like! I love the idea of euro games - we play a lot of board games with friends but they tend to be more trivial pursuits, pictionary - that sort of thing. I went to Cuba a number of years ago and ate rice and beans most days to the point that the sight of a plate was a little unwelcome, haven't had it since but I think enough time has passed now - I really fancy a plate full.

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  8. Love the cashew fruit photos! I always wonder how people figured out how to cook poisonous plants. And how many people were unsuccessful at cooking and eating poisonous things like cashews. I'll have to try a version of your recipe with my cilantro that seems to be heading towards flowering.

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  9. That's a cashew fruit, and what's hanging is the cashew nuts, correct? Oh, those fruits, bet they were tree ripened.

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    1. Yes they are cashews. I'd be surprised if they weren't tree ripened.

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  10. Wow - cashewnuts! Very special! Very exotic for us up here! have a great weekend! :) Mia

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  11. Beautiful photos, love tropical fruits, thanks for the cashew picture, learn something new.

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  12. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing...

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