Sunday, November 19, 2006

Red Basil Pesto with Roasted Cashews

2 loosely packed cups of fresh and rinsed red basil
1/2 cup of Parmesean Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of Garlic
2 tablespons of roasted cashews, crushed

Puree red basil and olive oil in food processor. Add Chopped garlic and grated cheese. At the end, fold in the cashews and enjoy with your favorite pasta.

Crab and Beet Salad with Local Greens
2 large beets
1 pound of jumbo lumb crab meat
Bibb lettuce
Dijon mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked Black Pepper
Lemon zest
Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
Croutons and fresh palmito, for garnish

Steam whole beets until they are tender, when their jackets slip off. Slice into bite size piece and put to the side until the rest of the salad is prepared.

Make dressing with the olive oil, dijon, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over local mixed greens and toss in the crabmeat and the beets.

Garnish with croutons and palmito.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Stewed Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Purple Basil

10-15 large tomatoes
1 cup olive oil
1 whole peeled garlic
3-4 stalks of Purple Basil
salt to taste
3T sugar

Blanch tomatoes and place in cold water to remove skin.

Put the tomatoes in a pot and add olive oil and garlic. Bring to boil then simmer until tomatoes are soft. Add Purple Basil and submerge in tomatoes until wilted and black.

Remove Basil stalks and adjust salt.

Very often I add 3T. of sugar at this time to counter balance any tartness the tomatoes may have.

When tomatoes have cooked down and are falling apart they are read to eat.

I find this dish to be delicious served on white rice or plain pasta where you can really taste the freshness of the tomatoes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pura Suerte Banana Bread
Watch the video on the right to see how we make banana bread in Costa Rica!!

Cream the following ingredients:
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

Add 2 Eggs

Sift Together:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup mashed Bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
a couple dashes of cinnamon

Beat til smooth

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350


Serve on its own or with ice cream. Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tico Chop Salad

Serves 8

This is an easy one-bowl recipe. Basically, you can put anything in this salad that “crunches” nicely. I try to keep everything cut into small pieces no bigger than the chickpeas. That way, it mixes well and looks uniform. It’s best eaten the day you make it but will last in the refrigerator for a couple days if you don’t add the dressing (olive oil, lemon juice and optional red wine vinegar) until you are ready to serve it.

1 cup finely shredded spinach
2 large cucumbers, seeded, small dice
3 small tomatoes, small dice
½ cup celery, small dice
½ cup carrot, small dice
½ cup red onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
½ cup Jicama, peeled, small dice
1 can or 1½ cups chickpeas / garbanzo beans
½ cup chopped bacon, cooked crispy
1 cup queso blanco, small dice
The juice of one lemon or mandarina
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 T. chopped fresh dill
Sea salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste

Mix all of the ingredients above and chill for 1/2 hour. Serve in cold bowls with lemon wedges and a sprig of mint.
Arroz con Pollo/Tico Style Chicken ‘N Rice

Servings: about 6-8 large servings

This is the comfort food of Latin America. The people of La Florida will tell you that it not only tastes good, but also makes you feel strong and healthy. If I were to pick one dish to represent the people of Costa Rica, this would be it. The secret is the chicken broth. The stronger, more intense the broth, the better, so I would make a double stock (make one stock and then make another with the liquid from the first, reducing it carefully to pull out as much flavor as you can). If you do not have the time to roast a chicken, get a rotisserie chicken from your local grocer. It is a great way to save time and it works perfectly! The secret to this recipe is the salt. Don’t add any until the end. With all the reducing of liquids in this recipe, you want to make sure it isn’t too salty in the beginning.

8 cups double chicken stock
1 whole roasted chicken, bones included
1 onion, large dice
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into large pieces or whole
3 tomatoes, diced
½ cup chopped celery
4 bay leaves
Cracked black pepper
1 whole jalapeno

1 cup dry white rice
1 cup queso fresco
1 bunch scallions, sliced


Cover the cooked chicken in the strong double broth. Add the carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil. Throw away any foam that may form.

As soon as it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for almost 3 hours, uncovered.

After the second hour of cooking, remove all the bones from the soup or at least as many as you can. Throw the bones away. Stir in 1-cup dry rice and let simmer in the broth until plump. Stir it a few times so that the rice doesn’t clot. Adjust the salt if needed.

When the rice is cooked, ladle portions of the rice and chicken mixture into bowls. Make sure you get lots carrot pieces and liquid in each bowl.

Garnish with crumbled queso fresco and sliced scallions.
Recipe for Grilled Whole Beef Tenderloin with Chipotle Corn Cream Sauce

Serves about 8-12 people depending on serving size

This is a carnivores’ delight. The tenderness of the grilled beef is matched perfectly with the smoky corn sauce. You will be amazed at the variety and depth of flavors packed into this simple dish. I start this recipe on the grill and finish it in the oven to make sure it is cooked perfectly. If you can start a wood fire, do it. A regular gas grill will work fine. You want the grill to be hot enough to burn marks on all sides quickly. As soon as you have achieved a nice char, remove it from the grill and transfer it to a 400-degree oven until medium rare (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit).

After the roast sits for a few minutes, cut into slices and serve with the warm corn sauce.

1 whole beef tenderloin, all fat and silverskin removed
1 T. fresh garlic, minced
1 large onion, minced
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 can of corn or 2 cups roasted fresh corn, taken off the cobb
1 cup strong chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1½ T. Flour
Sea salt


Chop the garlic and the ½ onion together. Add some salt and pepper and rub all over the cleaned tenderloin. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika and grill on all sides to seal in the natural juices. When you have obtained nice grill marks and the outside of the tenderloin roast has some color from the grill, remove it and transfer the tenderloin to a roasting pan and immediately put it into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. You want an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for a medium rare roast. Don’t forget to let the roast rest a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. It will slice better.

You will need a blender for the sauce. Place all the corn in the blender with the other ½ of the onion, the Chipotle pepper, and the chicken stock. Puree until completely smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in the flour until it is totally dissolved into the corn mixture and there are no lumps.

Pour thick mixture into a saucepan with the heavy cream and slowly simmer over medium heat. Stir constantly, taking care not to burn the bottom of the pan. If it is too thick, thin with a splash of chicken stock. Serve hot over freshly sliced tenderloin.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jungle-Fusion Contest Winner

Finca Pura Suerte and the Jungle-Fusion development team would like to thank everybody who entered the Jungle-Fusion Experience Contest.

Over the next few months, we will post recipes from our upcoming Jungle-Fusion Cookbook and will send you alerts when we post chapters that you have indicated are of interest to you.

The winner of the May 1 contest is: Erin Wochos

Please send an email to for more information about your prize.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Recipe for Earth Day, April 22, 2006

Ceviche de Pargo con Mandarinas

Red Snapper Ceviche with Citrus Juices

This is a typical dish found throughout Central America. The secret is to keep everything simple. Sometimes I add chopped bell peppers. Feel free to embellish this recipe with more ingredients if you wish. When in Costa Rica, I use mandarina acidos (orange fleshed limes/green oranges) because they have a refreshing scent and taste that I cannot find in anything available in the States. When in the States, I use a combination of citrus fruit juices. Tangerine juice works very well.

This is a great recipe for a hot day. I recommend serving hot sauce on the side.

Makes 6 servings
30 minutes prep time and let rest for 4 hours or overnight

1 pound red snapper filet, raw, cut into very small pieces
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 tomatoes, small dice
1 large white onion, small dice
3 jalapenos, seeded, minced
1 bunch gren onions
Sea salt
Juice from 3 limes
1/4 cup tangerine juice (from concentrate is fine!)
2 T. grapefruit juice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight, tightly covered. Stir it at least once while it marinates.

Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.