Happy New Year from Costa Rica

According to one zodiac prediction – “Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable” – so I am definitely not a snake. You’re going to have to think about that!! http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/snake.htm

It’s Chinese New Years….the year of the snake and a great excuse for a cookout. Actually any excuse will do but this one is as good as any.

It’s a full house with a couple of new folks, mostly Canadians from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and a few from Louisiana. It takes a little while before the new guests  get themselves settled and everyone tries  to make it a little easier by showing them where to get the freshest seafood,  the wonderful variety of fruit from the local stands and the delicious bread from the Tico  bakery. Then there’s  the decision to be made about taking  a tour to the volcanos, ziplining, horseback riding or just taking it easy, at the pool or  the beach which is right across the street. In the afternoon everyone gravitates to the pool and the major decision then is whether to have a beer, margarita, pina colada or just a glass of wine. It’s so tough here in Costa Rica but if you make the wrong choice you can change it the next time.

So while a group of us were lounging by the pool and chatting about the new year we  decided it was time to do another pot luck. The main rule about a pot luck is make it easy and stress free. Usually everyone makes something and there is a ton of food and this was no exception. The menu included: watermelon salad, pad thai, pot stickers, grilled mahi mahi, asian chicken, mango with black beans, potato salad, cauliflower and fresh strawberries stuffed with cream cheese. Holy smoke that is a lot of food for about 13 people.

Gord prepared the pad thai in his extra large wok  using tamarind paste which is sold all over Costa Rica. Tamarind trees grow every where  and  you can see a number of  pods littering the path on the way into town. In Coco, kids will sell the paste and the little plums from the trees which they use to make a sour drink that is very refreshing.  In Thailand it is used in the cooking combination: hot – chili peppers, sour – tamarind, sweet – palm sugar and salty – fish sauce, for the well known rice noodle dish. You can easily get most of the asian ingredients for this dish including the fish sauce, tofu, bean sprouts and sesame oil.

pad thai

Another wonderful dish was the watermelon salad (la sandia ensalada) which also includes feta cheese, onions and parsley. There is a truck that drives around Coco selling the melons fresh from the fields (3 for $1 US) or you can get them from any of the fruit and veggie stands.

Watermelon Salad

If you have read some of my earlier posts you will know about the mangos that grow in the trees across the street that are eaten by monkeys and people. I love mangos because they have both a sweet and sour flavour (if that’s possible),  are incredibly refreshing and will go with just about anything from fish, pork and chicken.

mango salad

Another of the plates was the fresh strawberries filled with cream cheese. Strawberries is one fruit that is not easily come by here but these looked absolutely amazing.

strawberries

We set up a number of tables in the rancho and everyone brings their dishes and digs in. I was going to take more pictures of the food but I was afraid I wouldn’t get any if I kept going.

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During dinner all you could hear were comments like “this is so yummy”, or “wow I need to get this recipe” and “is there any more?”

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After dinner we usually finish off the vino and tell a few jokes, some of which are a little cleaner than others.

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A toast from John and it’s time for bed after a long and exhausting day.

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Kung Hei Fat Choy !!

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