Many years ago, I went on a vacation to Costa Rica. To this day, it is still one of the best vacations I’ve had. It is a beautiful country. If you like nature & good food, this is a wonderful choice on your next vacation. They have a diverse eco-system and you can drive through various climates as you drive up into the mountains. You will start off and it can be pouring rain and then all of a sudden you will pass into a different climate zone and it will be sunny, hot and humid. Active volcanos, rainforests, hot spring spas….it is a nature lover’s paradise.
They protect their environment and natural resources well. Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Central America with safe drinking water. People from all over the world go there to study environmental sciences. Their animals are hormone free – you won’t see the huge cows you see roaming in America’s heartland. Their animals may be half the size of ours, but their meat is double the flavor. Without hormones, very little flavor is needed to make their food delicious. Even a simple piece of grilled meat with salt & pepper will bring a huge smile to your face. There are cheap eateries on almost every street corner (I forget what they are called – it’s been about 14 years since I was there), kind of like our deli’s. For just a few dollars, you can get a casado plate, which will typically consist of rice & beans, fried plantain, salad and your choice of grilled or stewed chicken, beef or fish.
Even breakfast in Costa Rica is a complicated meal with a lot of food. Since I am a fruit lover and don’t always get the quality of tropical fruit available there, that was my standard breakfast food. The fruit platter at my hotel was a huge dinner sized plate full of papaya, mango, banana, pineapple & guava. After that, I was usually set until the evening.
One day, I went on a tour visiting coffee plantations, the rainforest and other sites. A typical Costa Rican breakfast at a local farm was included in the tour. I was anticipating some eggs, some kind of pork product, bread, fruit and their delicious coffee, which to me is an ample breakfast. We were greeted with rice and beans, fried plantain, chorizo, queso de freiar, chicarrones, toast & butter, fried eggs, fruit, juice &coffee. Apparently this is not a special breakfast done for tourists, but is a typical breakfast. I could only eat about 1/2 the plate.
|Costa Rica Photos – swimming in rivers, visiting coffee plantations, going on hikes|
1/2 cup black beans, soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sofrito
4 cups water
3 cups rice
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
salt, to taste
Cover beans with water and bring to a boil with bay leaf and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender.
Remove garlic and bay leaves. Drain beans.
In a large pot, heat oil. Add sofrito. Saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
Add beans, salt and water and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir and return to a boil.
Once it is boiling, cover and reduce to simmer and cook, until rice is tender and has absorbed all of the water, about 20 minutes.
Stir in cilantro and adjust salt,if necessary.
Serve with other Costa Rican components. Fried Eggs are usually served, but I prefer scrambled, so I altered this component.
|Costa Rican Breakfast Components|
I think most of the other ingredients will be familiar to most of you. The only unusual ingredients is the Queso de Freir – which is a special frying these. This cheese can be fried or grilled and will not melt. It is very popular in Latin American countries. Cypress also has a cheese like this called Halloumi, which I also love as it comes in a brine with mint. They are both delicious.
Now you will be prepared if you go to Costa Rica on vacation and are offered a typical breakfast. This is the substantial meal you will be getting.