Adventures in Costa Rica cooking – Part 2

Last year I was in Baltimore and had an amazing meal at a Lebanese restaurant.  I always wanted to try to recreate some of the food I ate (we got a sampler plate of 9 vegetarian items) but I was working 70-80 hours a week and there was just never enough time.  Now, I have a lot more time but I can’t find the ingredients that I need!

I also thought it would be fun to make mango jam.  They’re so cheap at 70 cents each compared to the $4 I pay for a jar of strawberry jam!  But then I looked up “how to can” and realized there was a key ingredient missing from my pantry.  And yes, I am mentioning, once again, that I cannot find lemons.  Many Lebanese recipes call for lemons and canning requires it!  NOT limes.

I know I should just be eating what the locals eat.  Their diet consists mainly of rice and beans.  And it would be a lot easier on my wallet if I did just that.  As an example, a box of Kashi GoLean cereal cost me $8.  Now, I realize, that’s not financially sustainable but I also know it’s fast, easy and it gives me a huge quantity of the daily nutrients I need.  Plus, you cut up a mango and mix it in and it’s divinely good.  And the mango only costs $0.70 so there’s how I balance out the $8 box of cereal.

I also attempted to introduce some of my favorite meals to my friends here.  The polenta with spinach and mushrooms didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.  My Swiss/Italian friend loved it but then again, she’s Swiss/Italian and polenta is an Italian dish.  The one thing that received rave reviews from everyone were my famous chocolate chip cookies.  But who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie!

As for the rice and beans, I have attempted to make them in the traditional gallo pinto way.  I’ll write more about that in a future post…For now, I’m really excited to try to make pita bread.  I just hope I can find yeast in the store.

Pura vida…Chrissy