"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bien Viajes!

Costa Rica
     If you didn't already know, on Wednesday I'm leaving for Costa Rica for two weeks.  I'm going down with twelve other kids from my school's Spanish class.  I'm sure I'm going to have lots of fun, we're going zip-lining, white water rafting, and we're spending a weekend on the Caribbean side.  Oh... there's also a home stay.  I was wondering what Costa Rican food was like, so I decided to make two Costa Rican recipes for dinner tonight.  The first is a green mango salad, and the second is a tilapia recipe with oranges and limes.
     We're getting started late, because Dad and Cy were off at a birthday party, and I was having trouble getting started without Dad.  Luckily, they're back now and we're off to a roaring start.  The mango salad is simply sitting, and the tilapia is sitting in it's marinade.  Dinner is going to be a little late tonight.
     The tilapia is well on it's way.  On the stove top is a mixture that includes, among other things, oranges, tomatoes, beans, onions, garlic, and cayenne pepper.  It's a strange selection these Costa Ricans dreamed up.  Definitely not  a combination I would have thought would go together.  Food is very interesting.
      The tilapia is now being layered almost casserole style with rice on the bottom, the tomato/bean/orange mixture, tilapia, and the marinade on the top.  Then we bake it for twenty minutes.
     Like Italian and Spanish food, Costa Rican cuisine appears to be derived by mixing up whatever happens to be in the garden and seeing what happens.  In those latitudes, before the world changing invention of the supermarket, you probably could get fish from fishmongers, and had a tomato plant, orange tree, rice paddies and a few beans from your backyard.  It's time for us to eat.

     The tilapia was excellent, most tilapia recipes aren't that great, but this one was excellent.  The rice and beans layered below the fish were what really made it good.  But as a side dish, the mango was straight up weird.  It looked like mango, which is generally sweet and soft.  But this recipe called for green mangoes. These mangoes was crunchy and, adding insult to injury, it was salty and sour.  It seemed more like pickles than mangoes. The first of many new and unfamiliar experiences that await me!! With this dinner under my belt, I can't wait to go to Costa Rica!

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