As many of you know, to me “FOOD IS LOVE”… Being an artist I find no other art form to be able to express love more than the culinary. My Abuelita (Grand Mother) taught me long ago that nothing gets people together faster than a homemade meal. Since her passing I found more and more that fact to be true. I notice it is expressed the most during the holidays, no matter how much strife there is in a family when dinner is served they calm down some and things get better. Kind of like what the Oracle expresses in her mysterious way in “The Matrix” when she gives Neo a cookie, “Here, take a cookie. I promise, by the time you’re done eating it, you’ll feel right as rain.” Food always makes us feel a little better…
Now I am not known for my culinary skills, although I do have some and have won some BBQ contests and grill offs in my past. I digress… Let me get back to my point and not gloating on myself, in these hard times I have been longing to have good meals with family and old friends but my schedule with work and paranormal consulting have not really allowed it. But in my new approach to my blog to promoting more quality of life and positive advice it came to my mind “why not share some of my recipes and rest reviews of my travels?” Yeah baby like a paranormal Bourdain! LoL!
Earlier in the day my friend Tory Steele was talking about making some of her black bean dishes and It brought me back to the days with my Abuelita (Grand Mother) and my favorite dish Gallo Pinto”… No one who’s ever visited Costa Rica is likely to forget gallo pinto, and those who haven’t visited rarely understand how people can be so enamored of just a plate of rice and beans… Ticos look at you like you’re a little crazy if you ask how to make it; sort of like if you asked a Brit how to make a cup of tea. Everyone knows you just cook the beans, cook the rice, and then cook them together! It’s almost that simple, but NOPE there is a little more to it…
Gallo Pinto (Black Beans and rice) Recipe
- 1 lb. (450 gr.) Black beans. Fresh are best but most likely you‘ll find them dried. You can also use a can of them too… I recommend the Goya brand.
- 8-10 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaf) fresh or frozen not dried!
- 1 small or medium onion, Red onion is a new spin I use and I have found it to be amazing.
- ½ small red or yellow sweet peppers
- 3 cups (700 ml) chicken broth or water
- 2 cups (350 ml) white rice. I have had it with yellow rice to; it is delicious but not the same.
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
- 3 tablespoon of Salsa Lizano
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 1-3 Tablespoon oil to fry the Gallo Pinto
If beans are dried, cover with water and soak overnight, if they are fresh, just rinse them off. Drain the beans and add fresh water to an inch (2.5-cm) above the top of the beans, salt, add the salsa Lizano and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to very low simmer until beans are soft ( Approx: 3 hours).
Chop cilantro, onion, and sweet pepper very fine.
Add 1 Tablespoon oil to a large pan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add half of the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (20-35 minutes). This is also the recipe for Tico rice used in other favorites like tamales.
Once the rice and beans are cooked keep a significant amount of the “black water” with the beans (½-1 cup 120-240 ml). This is what gives the rice its color and some of its flavor. Sauté the rice, beans reserved chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro together in vegetable oil for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped cilantro just before serving. By the way you can also refrigerate or freeze gallo pinto. Make up small batches of Gallo Pinto when you want it by simply sautéing them together.
In my home we sometimes use small very hot red peppers instead of or in addition to the sweet. Some people add a tablespoon of Chilera (pickled spicy peppers) to the beans while they’re cooking. It makes for some awesome eats…
Gallo pinto can be eaten for any meal; my Abuela would pair it up with some coffee, corn tortillas, chorizo and fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast. This is one of the times I am okay with no bacon in the morning. For lunch she would make some home fries and a cabbage salad (some say a slaw but it is not really the same), plantains and corn tortillas this was my favorite dish. For dinner it becomes a side dish to some steak and other awesome veggies. Also when coming home late after work or a night out this made an awesome late night snack before passing out! Another note, this dish has a best friend… Avocado!! Never pass up pairing them together…
Well guys I hope you give this a try, I know one of the ingredients is hard to find in the U.S. and that is Salsa Lizano. It is available online and I HIGHLY recommend it. CLICK HERE and get some… If you try this leave me a comment on here or any of my social media accounts, I would like to know what you think and any changes you made to it. Also tell me if you want to know more of my kitchen madness…
Peace, Love & NOMS!