Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Grocery LOVES...

I thought I'd post a few pics of some things I've come to love here.
Of course I love this little guy, but the head of lettuce is what I'm referring to here. So fresh and yummy. I loved the ferria {farmers market} in Jaco. I've found a grocery store here however that has produce just as fresh and with a "lower" price tag. Be still my heart!
Most of the canned goods here come in this cool invention, a pull top. This is my evaporated milk. How easy is that. Because of this my can opener has retired early. Anyone need a can opener?
I'm sure you think this is ground coffee. But alas, it's the closest thing I can find to brown sugar. It's Caramel Sugar. It compacts like our C&H from the states but tastes quite a bit different. I've been told it's healthier than our traditional sugar but that means as much to me as "diet ice cream"....NOTHING!

My S-I-L's amiga just brought {smuggled} me in two HUGE bags of brown sugar. Yes I was as giddy as a little school girl and I'm not afraid to admit it!
I bought this to make a squash recipe that is native to Costa Rica. I was so excited to have learned how to make this, bummer is my family wasn't as excited as I was! Oh well, I'll just use it as a food coloring or make-up if the economy gets as bad as it is in the states. :)
I found this definition on Wikipedia:
Achiote is growing in popularity as a natural alternative to synthetic food coloring compounds. While it has a distinct flavor of its own, it can be used to color and flavor rice instead of the much more expensive saffron. The tree that it comes from is called the "lipstick" tree.

I thought this was interesting. I took this picture in my "not so friendly" neighborhood grocery store. {If you visit here, take it from me, Costa Ricans really don't like it when you take pictures in their stores}
I believe these are quail eggs but I'm not sure. Aren't they gorgeous? I loved all the detail in the shells.
It's funny, the eggs underneath them {what we are used to using} seemed so weird to me our first few months here. I wouldn't eat them {although I feed them to my family}.

A few days ago I saw the BRIGHT white, perfect eggs that I was used to in the states. I was surprised by them and had forgotten how flawless they are. Many times with our brown eggs I have to pull feathers off that have decided to attach themselves. In one batch you will get so many variables in sizes and color. How weird it must be to use a perfectly bright clean egg. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to that...

I might just feed them to my kids until I'm ready.

I HEART this seasoning packet. What's so different about it you ask.

It has dried onion, laurel, cilantro {my favorite} and garlic. What's NOT to love! I use this to make a version of Ranch dressing that blows the competiton away. Sorry Hidden Valley!

If I can't find this in the states I need to pack a suitcase full when we head back. Anyone seen this around? Anyone...Now this is cool! It's an anti-biotic that comes with a top you snap in and the applicator fits right in. You turn it upside down and no spills with the perfect measurement.
Funny thing is when I went to pick this up I didn't have to wait. They just handed it to me. Sweet.
I went home and opened it and it was just powder. I tried my best to read the directions and figured out that I needed to add water up to the line inside. So I did. Only to have my husband come home and tell me it needed to be boiling water. Oh, well. So now we all know why we have to wait 1 hour to get our takes that long to add the water.
I love this! Jelly that squeezes out of a bag. This costs about 550 colones {just under a dollar}. Are you jealous now? No more finding fragments of jelly in my peanut butter.

Since I bake so much now, this is how I store my flour, in a covered plastic bin. We go through so much that this just works for me.
I have to end with these guys, courtesy of Troy. I don't know if you can see the faces he drew. As a mom I so enjoy finding surprises like this around the house. I hate to say that they perished today to serve my little fam our breakfast.

They will go down as heroes in our {stomach} hearts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marinara Sauce

Make sure you print this off and stick it in your recipe book. If you don't have a recipe book, buy one just to keep this recipe!

Awesome Marinara Sauce

Original recipe yield 4 cups

* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
* 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
* 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 6 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/3 cup finely diced onion
* 1/2 cup white wine (or substitute chicken broth)


1. In a food processor (or blender) place Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine (or chicken broth).
3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is so easy and much better than the jars {or even worse} the cans you open up from the store. This will freeze easily too. You can add a tablespoon or two of sugar if you like your sauce more sweet. I use this as my pizza sauce, the base to Minestrone soup and as the sauce in my {to DIE for} meatball sandwiches. I'm posting that next week. Stay tuned!

For those that are interested, this is how I make it CHEAPER.
Instead of buying canned Italian tomatoes, I chop my own and add 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning.
Instead of canned chicken broth I use water and chicken bouillon.

Looks like I made my Tuesday deadline by one hour. I promise next Tuesday to have the recipe posted in the a.m.