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Gallo Pinto

After eating Gallo Pinto (beans and rice, Costa Rican-style) at a welcome brunch, I muddled through a stilted conversation with Marta - the cook, maid, and general go-to gal for the hotel in which we stayed - and figured out what I need to buy at the market to make it. And, like most traditional recipes, I'm certain that everyone has their own version.

This is what she told me to buy: black beans, white rice, boullion, chili powder, and garlic. Getting the 'garlic' portion of that recipe was comical.

I was standing in the doorway of her kitchen and she smiled at me, "ajo," she said. "Ajo," I repeated and shrugged my shoulders. She made the shape with her hands, "ajo." That was not helping. Finally, the doorman interjected, "ajo...like an onion, but not." Ah, garlic! We were all relieved. And Gallo Pinto became a staple on our vacation table. Gallo Pinto and eggs for breakfast, before our adventures. Gallo Pinto and a protein, usually fish, for dinner.

Riley liked it so much, he even requested that I make that for his International Thanksgiving Feast at school in November.

How I do it...I cook the beans ahead of time in a mixture of water and boullion. Then while the rice steams in boullion, I sautée the garlic in a splash of oil, add the chili powder and some salt. I add the beans. And when the rice is cooked, I stir that into the mixture. Easy and a complete protein!

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