Cultura, Comida

Taste of Nosara I

Nosara cuisine is a modest blend of Latin America and gringo flavors with a greater emphasis on fresh, natural ingredients and with less fire than the jalapeno-laced recipes of Mexico.

The staples of the local diet are, simply, rice, black beans, cilantro, chicken and eggs, fruit, vegetables and, when there’s a good catch, food from the sea.

Lizano sauce was introduced in Costa Rica in 1920 and appears on most tico tables.  The sauce is a mix of water, sugar, salt, vegetables (onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers), spices, pepper, mustard and turmeric. I have no secret sauce or special concoctions to offer, but I believe that attention to the basics go a long way in providing consistently delicious food from our Guiones kitchen. 

I start here with rice. White rice at Super Nosara sells five-to-one over brown rice, but when cooked properly, whole-grain brown rice is a better choice. Brown rice has more fiber because only the husk is removed. White rice is polished and pre-cooked, removing the bran that provides a healthy dose of fiber.

Costa Rica is the largest exporter of «Culantro Coyote» (Cilantro) in the world at about 20,000 cases per month. Here is Guanacaste, it grows wild and can be store-bought for about 100 colones (¢20) a bunch. It lasts about a week in the refrigerator in a paper towel and plastic bag.

Guiones Brown Rice (4 servings)

2-4 sprigs fresh cilantro, 1/2 medium onion,1/2 small local sweet pepper, 1/2 small local carrot, 41/2 cups (700 ml) vegetable or chicken broth, 2 cups (175 ml) brown rice, 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt. Chop cilantro, onion, carrot and sweet pepper very fine. We use a $20 rice cooker at home, convenient but not necessary. Otherwise, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saucepan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add the chopped onion, sweet pepper carrot and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (about 35 minutes). Serve with black beans, cole slaw and fried plantain for a perfect vegetarian casado plate.

Taste of Nosara II, a bean recipe, to follow soon.

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