Shopping in Costa Rica can be quite a challenge but is proving to be a great new adventure. I went grocery shopping with Charlotte last week and we stopped off at Auto Mercado and the Luperon. Auto Mercado (AM) is a grocery store which appeals to the North Americans, a number of the staff speak english, they have air conditioning, but items can be somewhat expensive if they are imported. I tend to buy items here that we are used to and aren’t produced locally such as Clamato juice. The Luperon gears more to the locals, no air conditioning but some great deals on meat and a large variety of exotic fruits and veggies.
At the AM I bought some bran flakes for breakfast along with individual yogurt cups but sadly no blueberries. I forgot to get milk though so when we went to the Luperon I picked up what I thought was milk “Leche”. The next morning was a surprise when I added some chopped pineapple to the cereal and some of the milk. The milk tasted sour and John gave me a lecture on tasting things before I used them for cases such as this.
Dinners at the condo are always great fun and allows everyone to try food from different places, get to know new people and learn new things about Costa Rica. Currently there are folks from: Costa Rica, North Carolina, Louisiana, Seattle, San Diego, Toronto and Vancouver. The other day Danny and Vicky planned a dinner before they went home and invited a group of us for a dinner. They were going to make Louisiana chili, Gord offered a traditional cornbread baked in a cast iron pan on his barbeque and I planned on some cheddar biscuits.
Now that I had offered to make biscuits I was going to have to go shopping again. I needed pretty much everything from flour, baking powder, eggs etc so I dragged John to the Luperon a block away from the condo where hardly anyone speaks english. I picked up a package labelled Harissa that I hoped was regular flour and not the usual corn flower, eggs and butter. They didn’t have any baking powder so I thought to borrow some from our neighbours Charlotte and Gord. Gord mentioned that one of the best leavening agents is buttermilk when I thought about the milk that I had thought was bad. When I returned to the condo I looked up the translation for the milk, leche agri and guess what it was sour milk so voila my leavening agent.
I checked the Spanish translation for the flour as well just to make sure…. Wheat flour enriched with iron and folic acid. Not something I would expect in Canada but it would certainly do the trick and a few more vitamins would never hurt.
I was now ready to make my biscuits. The flour here appears a little darker, the butter (mantequilla) is more yellow and the eggs are mostly brown and sold in packages of 15.
I mixed the ingredients together while John grated the cheddar cheese. The cheese was expensive as well as it was imported from the States. Not expensive though are jalapeno peppers which I minced and threw in with the batter as well. The batter was a bit wetter than normal but it was too late to turn back now, so I ended up rolling them into balls and flattening which was just as well since I don’t have a rolling pin yet. They turned out surprising well considering this was my first attempt baking anything in our oven in the condo in Costa Rica when the outside temperature was 90 degrees. They were light, flaky cheesy with a bite and the best part there weren’t any left over.
My next project is to set up a shopping list with the basic list of things I need and translating them to Spanish so I will know what I’m buying next time I go shopping.