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Costa Rica Memories and Gallo Pinto

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Like most people, my Monday to Friday has a schedule that begins at 5.30am with an unsettling, horrifying tone scrambling me away from peace. My weekends, however, are rather unscheduled, sometimes though, a girl has got to be organized.

This past weekend consisted of attending a friend’s wedding, catching up and conversing with old friends (and eating far far too much candy in a short timeframe) and cooking a three course dinner for some friends in their home.

I had to pre-prepare the food in advance. There I was slicing the meat on Sunday morning still in my pajamas, whipping egg whites and folding the melted chocolate into them, making chocolate mousse so it had enough time to ‘come of age’ and reach perfection. Placing all non perishable food in my picnic basket so I could transport it well.

With those little often time consuming duties out of the way, I was able to cook and converse instead. Making the entire process rather a breeze and enjoyable for us to consume all courses.

With all this going on I had to make the time for some Gallo Pinto, as I simply won’t have any other opportunity before next weekend when I will be setting out to wander, step and hike my way through the Tongariro Crossing – an 8 hour hike where a solid, hearty meal will be required to begin my day.

I’m going back to a recipe that has as special a place in my heart as the country it originates from. There is a saying in Costa Rica called ‘Pura Vida’ – it literally means ‘Pure Life’ and from the first moment of the day to the first meal and everything that comes after that, Costa Rican’s literally live this.

Despite my short stay there; the two occasions I ate Gallo Pinto changed my view of how breakfast should make you feel; satisfied, ready for anything the day has to bring – whether that be hiking, parasailing, rock climbing or running from meeting to meeting.

This is the breakfast for supermen and women everywhere.

‘Pura Vida’. Enjoy.

Gallo Pinto
Adapted from Lazy Smurf Blog
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup jasmine or other long grain rice
1 tsp vegetable stock or half of a vegetable broth cube
1 cup black beans (if dried, they need to soak for 8 hours prior)*
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chili pepper
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves or garlic, chopped
1 medium or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 medium chili pepper (or alternatively half a bell pepper), chopped

Directions: 
Simmer the rice with the vegetable broth for 40 minutes on low to medium heat until cooked. You want the rice to be quite dry, but not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Cool and cover, placing in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning: 
Fry the onion, garlic, seeds and chili pepper in oil then add the dried rice. Sauté for a few moments on low to medium heat to get the rice heated through.

Add the beans (I used canned. If using dried beans see instructions below) and stir through, cooking for 1 minute before adding the tomato and chili pepper.

Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, letting the flavors come together.

Serve by placing tightly into a mold and inverting onto a plate.

Eat as is or as a side with a savory breakfast.

*Taken from Lazy Smurf Blog
Using Dried Beans:
Soak the beans for at least 8 hours. If you live somewhere that is really hot (e.g. Texas in the summer) you should do this in the fridge.
When the beans are done soaking change the water (add about 7 cups), add a couple bay leaves, and bring to a simmer for around 90 minutes. You will need to check the doneness of the beans at around 1 hour because the timing will vary depending on how dry your beans are. You can also do this step in the crock pot. Whatever you do, make sure that you save some of the cooking water with the beans because you will need it later.

Gallo Pinto

Serving Size: 4

Gallo Pinto

Ingredients

  • 1 cup jasmine or other long grain rice
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock or half of a vegetable broth cube
  • 1 cup black beans (if dried, they need to soak for 8 hours prior)*
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chili pepper
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves or garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium chili pepper (or alternatively half a bell pepper), chopped

Instructions

  • Simmer the rice with the vegetable broth for 40 minutes on low to medium heat until cooked. You want the rice to be quite dry, but not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cool and cover, placing in the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next morning:
  • Fry the onion, garlic, seeds and chili pepper in oil then add the dried rice. Sauté for a few moments on low to medium heat to get the rice heated through.
  • Add the beans (I used canned. If using dried beans see instructions below) and stir through, cooking for 1 minute before adding the tomato and chili pepper.
  • Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, letting the flavors come together.
  • Serve by placing tightly into a mold and inverting onto a plate.
  • Eat as is or as a side with a savory breakfast.
  • Notes

    *Taken from Lazy Smurf Blog Using Dried Beans: "Soak the beans for at least 8 hours. If you live somewhere that is really hot (e.g. Texas in the summer) you should do this in the fridge. When the beans are done soaking change the water (add about 7 cups), add a couple bay leaves, and bring to a simmer for around 90 minutes. You will need to check the doneness of the beans at around 1 hour because the timing will vary depending on how dry your beans are. You can also do this step in the crock pot. Whatever you do, make sure that you save some of the cooking water with the beans because you will need it later."

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