Tag Archives: gallo pinto

and the winner is…..

Lucky umber 24 Kayci, who loves spicy chili with cornbread. Send me your address and Tasty Bite will send you a vegan pack of goodies.

Since my MoFo theme is rice and beans I am going to repost my favorite recipe of all time, gallo pinto! 

I became obsessed with gallo pinto when I went to Costa Rica a few years ago. It is one of my favorite dishes to make at home on the weekend because no matter how broke you are or how many people you have coming over you can always whip up black beans and rice, especially if you have a bunch of Lizano in the fridge (in austin you can get it at Tears of Joy) and fried plantains on the side. Make the rice and beans the night before you plan to have the gallo pinto because it will only work with day old rice. You can keep the rice and beans in the fridge for a week so that you can easily have gallo pinto whenever you want.

Gallo Pinto

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, (any will work, I used basmati)
1 tsp Vegeta or half of a vegetable broth cube
1 cup black beans
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilie peppers, seeds removed (any other pepper can be subbed, some will be more spicy, anchos aren’t spicy, you can also use jalapeños or bell peppers just add them when you add the garlic instead)
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves or garlic, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
1 lime

The 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.

The Rice:
Dissolve the broth cube or 1 teaspoon of Vegeta in 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of rice, bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to almost off for 35-60 minutes depending on what kind of rice you are using. It works best to refrigerate the rice overnight because then it drys better.

Gallo Pinto:
Toast the cumin, coriander, and dried peppers until fragrant and then grind in either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Conversely, if you are short on time or don’t have the seeds you could also toast the powders and when you put in the garlic). Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and the spice mixture and sauté another minute. Add a little more oil if you can’t see any and turn the heat up. Add the rice and stir fry for about a minute breaking up any chunks but don’t smoosh the rice. Once all the rice has changed color add the beans starting with just one cup until you have a pleasing ratio of rice to beans. Also add some of the bean cooking water with the beans. Gently mix and once everything is heated through adjust the spices, add the cilantro, and turn off the heat. To make the mold, press the Gallo Pinto into a small bowl, invert a plate on it, and then flip both over and lift up the bowl. Serve with the lime, salsa (preferably lizano), tofu scramble, and fried plantains.

Have a Happy Weekend, if I can get this guy out of bed we are supposed to go camping, but if you watch the video you will see that Dinger is sometime hard to rouse.

Costa Rican Brunch

I had this great idea that I would invite a few of my vegan girlfriends over for brunch. I just invited a couple of people because I am not very good at cooking for many. The menu was perfect, all stuff that I make regularly

Gallo Pinto

Tofu Scramble, shake and bake style

Cilantro Lime Creme Sauce

Fried Plantains

Pineapple Batidos

Lizano Salsa

I had everything prepped and ready to go; the rice and beans for the gallo pinto was made, coffee was in the machine waiting to be brewed, everything was cut up, a giant bottle of Lizano was procured, the plantains were ripe and the tofu was in the oven when my friends started to arrive. Then the universe conspired against me. First, the internet was down because my modem isn’t working at the house so I couldn’t access my glorious recipe for gallo pinto. I can wing it for sure but I spent so long perfecting the recipe that is was such a disappointment that I couldn’t use it. Then right as the plantains were frying the coffeemaker overflowed and while hot coffee was flowing everywhere but the pot the plantains were burning away in the cast iron skillet! Que lástima!

Luckily my friends brought plenty of alcohol to dull my feelings of cooking inadequacy and the meal was still good but I want to do the exact same thing and make it right next time! We have plenty of Lizano now so I can do multiple attempts!I had such a fun time hanging out with you guys! Thanks for coming over!

Carribean Breakfast: Gallo Pinto, Tostones, and Tofu Scramble

It has been so cold here that people have taken to wearing ski masks. The local news shows people frantically buying earmuffs and warning parents that this is the coldest their children have ever seen. If you live somewhere where it snows we Austinites look pretty ridiculous in the winter. The threat of snowfall consumes news coverage for a week ahead of time and the eventual hint of snow flurries sends children running outside to try to make snowmen.

I have a hard time dealing with the cold. My main problem is that my house was not built with winter in mind. Floor to ceiling, poorly constructed windows make all the walls let cold air in and you can feel a breeze in the living room. The beagles can’t stand it either. They get excited to put on their sweaters and they spend a great part of the day under covers cuddled with each other and us. If you sit down in my house you will have a beagle next to you within a minute, cuddled up. The only way I could get out of my warmer bedroom over the weekend was to remember this time last year when we were in Costa Rica. We would have Gallo Pinto for breakfast every morning, usually with a side of plantains. I usually either bake plantains or cut them into long pieces and pan fry them but this morning I decided to try to make tostones. First you cut the plantains into circles and fry them.Then you smash them flat. I used a tortilla press because I could do several at once.

unsmashed

smashed

Then you fry them a second time. They were really good but they didn’t turn out perfect. I am having a lot of trouble with my stove so I am going to blame technical difficulties since I couldn’t get the oil hot enough. They were really yummy.

I was out of coriander so I made the gallo pinto a  little different from my usual recipe. I used a little bit of allspice and some ginger and cayenne. It was delicious! I also tried a baked tofu recipe that my friend Wes came up with. I loved the shake & bake method for tofu scramble, it was ridiculously easy and tasty. I think I will make my spice mix next time because there was a little too much cumin for my taste. Finally I made a yogurt cream sauce to go on top of everything. I blended yogurt, cilantro, and lime together then added a little bit of asafetida. I loved it! If you are feeling beaten down by the weather I completely recommend this spread. Caribbean Breakfast makes everything better.Pura Vida!

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

This is it folks! The definitive version of Gallo Pinto. It took a long time to get here and I have a lot of people to thank, Dan for eating Gallo Pinto all the time, the Ticos for endlessly varying their national dish so that I could try 1000 different recipes, Dinger and Willow for eating the leftovers when we couldn’t face another day of rice and beans…

Gallo Pinto is a terrific recipe to perfect, it works best with leftover rice and/or beans, you can increase the amount to feed 20 without really doing anything different, it is a very hearty breakfast, it is probably the cheapest thing you could ever make, you can make a version with stuff that you have right now in your pantry, and it tastes like Costa Rica! It does take a little planning if you don’t have beans on hand. What works great is to make a big batch of beans & rice for dinner (maybe bean burgers, black bean soup, or burritos) and then when you get out of bed the next day you are 15 minutes from having breakfast on the table. I will write out the recipe assuming that you are just making the rice and beans so that you have them so you can make Gallo Pinto for breakfast for four people.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, (any will work, I use basmati)
1 tsp Vegeta or half of a vegetable broth cube
1 cup black beans
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilie peppers, seeds removed (any other pepper can be subbed, some will be more spicy, anchos aren’t spicy, you can also use jalapeños or bell peppers just add them when you add the garlic instead)
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves or garlic, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
1 lime

The 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.

The Rice:
Dissolve the broth cube or 1 teaspoon of Vegeta in 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of rice, bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to almost off for 35-60 minutes depending on what kind of rice you are using. It works best to refrigerate the rice overnight because then it drys better.

Gallo Pinto:
Toast the cumin, coriander, and dried peppers until fragrant and then grind in either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Conversely, if you are short on time or don’t have the seeds you could also toast the powders and when you put in the garlic). Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and the spice mixture and sauté another minute. Add a little more oil if you can’t see any and turn the heat up. Add the rice and stir fry for about a minute breaking up any chunks but don’t smoosh the rice. Once all the rice has changed color add the beans starting with just one cup until you have a pleasing ratio of rice to beans. Also add some of the bean cooking water with the beans. Gently mix and once everything is heated through adjust the spices, add the cilantro, and turn off the heat. To make the mold, press the Gallo Pinto into a small bowl, invert a plate on it, and then flip both over and lift up the bowl. Serve with the lime, salsa (preferably lizano), tofu scramble, and fried plantains.

Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

I love Costa Rica! This was my second trip out there this year. Last January, my plane was overbooked so twice I ended up staying the night in a hotel paid for by the Airline and a bunch of travel vouchers. This January I went for 17 days with Dan and I checked out other places I didn’t get to go to last time. Sadly my camera was stolen so I am going to try and find other pics in the ‘net to illustrate this post.

I feel that Costa Rica is probably one of the easiest places to travel as a vegan, certainly a lot nicer than the sausage fest that is Eastern Europe. Even as a raw vegan it would be fairly easy since you can always get fruit plates, smoothies, and salads. The best part about Costa Rican food in my opinion is breakfast, specifically the food of my dreams: Gallo Pinto.I have been working of the recipe for awhile and I think I have almost perfected it, will try and post soon. Basically you cook & season the rice and the beans separately then you stir fry them together with more peppers, onions, and celery. In Costa Rica they come with a side on fried plantains (if you are lucky) or eggs or meat. I really want to make some tofu scramble to go with my gallo pinto this weekend because I think it would be really good.

I make Gallo Pinto regularly at home but I have learned during this recent trip to Costa that the missing link is Lizano Salsa which is the key to authentic Costa Rican Gallo Pinto.Tico’s love their gallo pinto as much as I do so you can get it at every single restaurant, even Burger King so it is nice to know that you are always going to find a vegan option. Fruit plates can usually be ordered at any time and are often breakfast if you are staying at a place that includes breakfast.

Another great fruit option is a batido en agua. These shakes are everywhere and can be with milk or water (sometimes even soy milk). Usually they list about 14 different kinds of fruit but then only have a couple available. Pineapple and cantaloupe are my favorite.Mixed drinks with tropical fruits are so yummy too. Horchata, which is a rice milk drink was often available as well. The best part is that they are really cheap and fresh. Usually they are around a dollar. The greatest drink in all of Costa Rica, however, is agua de pipa. If you are lucky while you are lounging on the beach a guy with a machete will wander by and open one up for you.

The common lunch in Costa Rica is called a Casado, which actually means husband. I think it stems from what the wife would pack up for her husband when he went off to work. It always involves rice and beans, often a plantain, and instead of meat you can say Casado Vegetariano and you never know what you will get, usually rice and beans and a salad and either a pasta or vegetable dish.

I had so many good meals. We stayed in Santa Elena first by Monteverde in a wonderful place called Cabinas Vista El Golfo which I highly recommend. They had a full kitchen to use and I was shocked to find tahini at the grocery store so I was able to make hummus! Note that lemons in Costa Rica look exactly like limes. We had to ask. Next time I travel I am going to try to remember to bring some tahini. It keeps well and hummus is so great to have along, especially with some olives on bus rides or hikes. In Monteverde we hiked on hanging suspension bridges in the cloud forest. and we took a boat ride on Lake Arenal. It was so beautiful. I rode a horse named Pinto to the top of a mountain where you could see the entire Pacific coast. He was the most adorable horse. We got to see sugar cane growing and learned how the made it into liquor. They also grew coffee, beans, avocado, bananas, and all sorts of other stuff, you would never need to shop if you lived in the tropics.

After Monteverde we took the bus and then the ferry to Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula which is a very veg friendly town. The stores had soy milk powder and some other vegan offerings and the restaurants were just wonderful. I had a fantastic sweet potato and spinach curry at a place called “the bakery cafe” that had a full vegetarian menu.

The food at this place was so great! They had the menu divided into sections by country and I wanted to try it all. The cool part is that they put out food and tropical birds and monkeys come by while you are eating. One day we saw a whole family of monkeys including a mama with a baby on her back!

There was also a really cool juice place called Organico that was all organic and had mostly vegan food.they even had vegan literature on their menu! It was a really laid back place but do to the organicness it was rather expensive so I only went once. Maybe the greatest part was the fact that they have an air conditioned chill room where you can hang out on pillows and read magazines and books. It was really nice. I wish I would have noticed it my first day there when I was feeling sickly.

We stayed at a really nice and cheap place on the beach called Hotel Lucy that also had a kitchen. (This is one of my two pictures, you can see hotel lucy on the right)

We also went snorkeling at the Isle of Tortuga, it was so beautiful! I saw so many tropical fish and the water was gorgeous and a psychotic blue. Here we are on the boat!.

After over a week in Montezuma we went to Mal Pais for a couple days and stayed at the Mal Pais Surf School and Resort. It was fabulous because they had a pool and a restaurant with a ping pong table. I beat Dan 7 times in a row at ping pong.  We went to one little restaurant there that was on the beach and it just had the most gorgeous view. We sat eating gallo pinto and fried plantains and discussed the fact that Austin really needs a Costa Rican restaurant. If I perfect my gallo pinto recipe, who knows maybe I will open it 🙂