We landed in Central America this week and prepared a classic breakfast from Costa Rico called gallo pinto, which literally translates to “spotted rooster” and refers to the speckled appearance of dark beans cooked with rice. On our world map, we noticed how Costa Rica borders Nicaragua, where our beloved janitor Suzette was born, and that Nicaragua borders Honduras, where our friendly morning crossing guard, Matilde, is originally from. All of these countries share Spanish as a language, as well as one of our students’ favorite foods, tortillas!
First, we reviewed the basic components of cooking rice: use 1 part rice to 1 3/4 parts water, bring it to a boil, cover and reduce heat, set a 20-minute timer, and voila! For the gallo pinto, students added an aromatic mixture of onions, garlic, and red bell peppers, and then black beans once the rice was done. We ate our breakfast atop warmed tortillas from La Palma Mexicatessen in the Mission with a healthy sprinkling of cilantro (check out those knife skills below!) and last but not least, homemade Salsa Lizano, a popular condiment from Costa Rica. Our recipe included ancho chilis, lemon, carrots, cumin, and molasses and provided a wonderful sweet-tart-smoky element to the dish.