Santa Teresa, Costa Rica where the lush green forest meets the white sand beaches. Located at the bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula where the difficulty to get there has left this place unspoiled and sacred to travelers. The weather is tropical, the waves are always firing and the sun is as warm as it gets. We flew into San Jose with a couple of our friends and took an hour or so taxi to Puntarenas to then take an hour ferry ride across to Paquera and an hour plus car ride to Santa Teresa where most of the road was unpaved rutted out dirt and rubble. If you’re looking to find some of the world’s most unspoiled beaches, they sure as heck won’t be located right off of a major highway! Many of the people in this area are expats from other countries who came to get away from the career climbing scene, relax, live a simpler life and become closer to nature. Opening green hotels and organic restaurants while still maintaining the true culture of what brought them to this area. It’s not hard to see what made so many people move here. Without even realising it, you’ll find yourself fantasizing about dropping out and joining the pura vida.
WHERE TO STAY:
Raratonga Hotel & Apartments $80-$150 dependent on the low / high or peak season
WHAT TO EAT:
Burger Rancho : best homemade veggie burger
Almendra sweets: Bakery / Art Gallery with the sweetest owners
Chicken Joe’s : the chicken and yucca fries with chimichurri
Fishbar : newer seafood joint, highly recommended
WHAT TO DO:
While there are many local shops and beautiful beaches within sight, renting a quad and exploring what would be too far on foot is well worth it. Head down to Montezuma and hike the trails to the first of many waterfalls is a must. After about 4 km you will reach the Cocalitos Waterfall and if you keep going though the beautifully forested river, over rocks and roots you will eventually reach another cascade of waterfalls, one of which has a 80 foot drop- BE CAREFUL! If you keep heading further south, you will hit Cabuya and the Cabo Blanco Nature reserve. Playa Las Manchas is a beautiful white sand beach with some of the best snorkeling and swimming and Play Los Cedros is the best surf spot in Montezuma with palm trees and almond trees stretched all along the coast line. If that isn’t quiet you’re speed there are also plenty of Yoga studios and Spas to really melt the stress away all along this beautiful coastal area.
What started out as a cabinet check and a need to use up the veggies in the fridge, turned into a very interesting idea; THAI RISOTTO! Is that even a thing? Yes, yes it is, and yes it was absolutely amazing. The idea was born but then, where do I even begin?! So you make regular risotto and instead of adding cheese you add the spices and sauces? Not exactly. With the guidance of LOVE AND OLIVE OIL’s recipe Thai Red Curry Risotto and a little experimenting of my own- a show stopping dish was born. Ugh and it was SO good..
1 ahi tuna steak
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
1 cup arborio rice
3 tablespoons red curry paste
3 cups vegetable broth (warmed)
1 can coconut milk
1 lime (juiced)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 red pepper (chopped) about a cup
1 cup broccoli (chopped)
1 cup cauliflower (chopped)
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Small handful of basil leaves (cut into ribbons)
- Heat sesame oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant, then add the rice and curry paste, stirring until well combined.
- At about a half a cup at a time, add the warmed broth. Stirring until mostly absorbed, then add another half a cup at a time until all the broth is absorbed. Add a cup of the coconut milk and stir again until mostly absorbed, about 10 more minutes.
- Add the lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and remaining can of coconut milk to the rice mixture. Throw in the chopped red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower and stir for a few minutes, then add the pineapple chunks and stir some more.
- Heat another pan on high heat- the hottest you can get it. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and sear the tuna on both sides- about 2 minutes per side, depending on how thick your steak is.
- Give yourself a big scoop of the risotto, add the tuna steak on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and the basil ribbons. ENJOY!
With the mercury finally rising and Spring in full on bloom what is better than something fresh and delicious? Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and this is just about the most perfect and EASY meal you can make! These are simple black bean tostadas with charred corn and guacamole for a perfect weeknight vegetarian meal if you are in a hurry but of course, feel free to add some spicy chicken or carne asada for your meat loving friends. Heck, while you’re at it, add a margarita, like this one from Honestly Yum and you’re seriously set!
3 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ red onion (sliced)
6 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 can black beans (mostly drained)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup chopped green chilies (canned)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 lime (juiced)
¼ red onion (minced)
¼ cup cilantro (minced) + more for garnish
½ cup of sour cream
½ cup mexican cheese blend
- Place the chopped red onion and white vinegar in bowl and mix thoroughly, allowing this to sit for about a half hour while you are prepping the rest of the meal.
- Preheat the oven to 375F and lightly rub both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil. Bake until the tortillas start to crisp up- flipping over halfway through. The tortillas for crisp up further once they are cooled down.
- Using a food processor, pulse the black beans, cumin, smoked paprika chili powder and green chilies together until mostly smooth but with still some whole beans visible. Next transfer the mixture to a small pan to warm up. If you prefer, a immersion stick blender also works well here if you’d rather dump everything into the pot first.
- In another pan, using high heat, add the vegetable oil and fresh kernels. Stirring around to make an even layer and leave in the pan for at least 2 minutes before moving around again to insure you get a good char on the kernels.
- For a quick guacamole, smash the two avocados, add the juice of the lime, minced red onion and minced cilantro together. Season with salt.
- To assemble, sprinkle the cheese on the tostada, then the black beans, a scoop of corn, a scoop of guacamole, a top with sour cream, pickled red onion and a little cilantro. ENJOY!
Its Easter, it’s a potluck and you just remembered. Don’t worry, I got you covered. Chocolate Pretzel Basket with Krispy Easter Eggs – follow the super easy instructions below and maybe even save some of the eggs for the basket ;]
- 1 cup Chocolate morsels (milk or dark)
- 1, 12oz bag salted pretzel sticks, like Snyder’s Dipping Sticks
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Package (10 oz) Mini Marshmallows
- 6 cups Rice Krispies
- Assorted Sprinkles
- 1 Package Small Chocolate Easter Eggs
- Non-stick Baking Spray
- Plastic Easter Eggs
- Using about a two-quart size stainless steel bowl, press one sheet of plastic wrap across the bottom and up the sides of the bowl and then another crosswise with a little hanging over the sides. Make sure the plastic wrap is as smooth to the bowl as possible to prevent air bubbles.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low power for 30 seconds and then 15 second increments until the chocolate is mostly melted then stir until it is completely smooth.
- Pour the pretzels into the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, turn the pretzels gently in the chocolate until they are completely coated. You can add more pretzels as long as you can get them coated, but it is okay if they aren’t completely covered and some pretzel is still showing.
- As you continue to stir the chocolate and pretzels it will start to thicken up. Before it starts to set, use your fingers and arrange the pretzels in the bottom of the lined bowl and start working your way up the sides. Place the bowl in the fridge and allow the mold to set.
- While the basket it chilling, start on the Krispy Easter Eggs.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely incorporated. Remove the marshmallow and butter mixture from the heat and add the Rice Krispies – stir until well coated.
- Lightly spray the inside of the plastic eggs with non-stick baking spray as well as your hands to make it easier to work with. Fill both sides of the plastic eggs with the Rice Krispies with one side slightly over-filled. Add a small chocolate egg to the center, pressing gently. Close the plastic egg to help shape the egg. Gently open the plastic egg and remove the Rice Krispie egg, decorate it with your choice of sprinkles and set aside.
- Once the chocolate pretzel basket is set, carefully lift the plastic liner out of the bowl. Set the basket on a serving platter or dish and peel the plastic wrap away from the pretzels. Place the Rice Krispie eggs inside and enjoy the fruits of your labor – don’t forget, you can eat the basket too!
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