It’s been a while since we last brought you a worldly recipe to try out from the comfort of your own home. We’re making up for it today with not one, but two delicious and easy recipes straight from the kitchen of Blue Osa. These recipes, just like Blue Osa, are extremely special to us. We hope you enjoy!
The Osa Peninsula is located in southwestern Costa Rica. It very much remains remote and undeveloped, an idyllic tropical rainforest that has yet to see the burdens of over-tourism. The Osa Peninsula is where the magic happens; in reflection, it was easily the pinnacle of our Costa Rican journey.
Tucked away on the eastern coast of the Osa Peninsula is a yoga retreat center by the name of Blue Osa. In a way, we accidentally stumbled upon Blue Osa; as it would turn out, we were so very glad we did. Our week at Blue Osa was much more than we could ever have imagined. But we can’t give it all away now—we’ll be blogging more about our Blue Osa Experience later this week, and we guarantee it’s an experience you’ll want to take part in. For now, we’re going to wet your appetite with a few gourmet snippets.
Anyway, it’s only fitting to begin our Blue Osa narrative by talking about food. As soon as we arrived at the resort we sat down to a large, colorful lunch with the staff. It couldn’t have been a better first impression.
Blue Osa serves only fresh, farm-to-table food, a portion of it grown on the property grounds. This garden is the result of the sweat, heart and soul of Lara and Alex. Lara is a work exchange volunteer, actually cultivating the organic garden from the ground up in exchange for meals, accommodation, and yoga classes at Blue Osa. She’s a remarkable woman, and her positive energy radiates throughout the retreat grounds. Alex is a local Tico, a man who first came to Blue Osa as a part of the construction staff and now stays on as a crucial caretaker and creator of the garden.
Lara and Alex were kind enough to give us a tour of the garden, to introduce to us the origins of some of the food we were so much enjoying during our stay. We saw lemongrass, star fruit, tomatoes, squash, peppers, aloe, lettuce, green beans…and that’s just the start! Dan and I have absolutely no gardening experience, but witnessing the passion that Lara and Alex have for their project is inspiring. Of course, our taste buds highly appreciated all their efforts. Not all the food served at Blue Osa can come from the garden yet. However, all the food served is fresh and local, whether it’s the locally sourced fish caught straight off the coast or the free-range eggs picked up from the neighbor. Not only does this contribute to the fresh and flavorful cuisine, but to the local economy as well.
If you have the freshest ingredients, it’s only fitting to have the best staff to prepare it. Once again, Blue Osa lives up to the call. The mother in the kitchen is Marie. Actually, Marie is very much the mother of the Blue Osa property; she was the initial owner of the grounds, and in a rather humorous anecdote, the first person Aaron and Adam (the Blue Osa visionaries we’ll introduce later this week) would meet. Aaron and Adam insisted that Marie had to come with the property. She did. A self-taught chef with French and Italian roots, Marie and her husband operated a French bistro in San Francisco, and later a French restaurant in Cartagena, Colombia. Now she splits her time at Blue Osa amongst various other places, but her guidance and recipes still influence the kitchen staff. We had the opportunity to sit down with Marie for a few meals, and let us tell you—she is one energetic woman, full of wit and humor, often speaking a fabulous mixture of French, English and Spanish in the same sentence.
While Marie is the mother of the kitchen, we can’t mention the cuisine without also talking about the rest of the cook staff. Specifically, there’s Jose, the kitchen manager. Jose first came to Blue Osa as part of the construction team, but he would stay on after the retreat center was finished to blend, cut, boil and create alongside Marie. Jose brings his creativity and knowledge of local cuisine to meet Marie’s French and Italian background; the result is a unique fusion only available at Blue Osa.
So it should go without saying that we are excited to be bringing you these special recipes today. Just typing them out makes our mouths water, invokes such sweet memories of the meals we shared with our new friends at Blue Osa. We encourage you to give them a try and then let us know what you thought!
Spicy Passion Fruit Cocktail
I had one of these almost every night during our stay; I just couldn’t resist! They’re not too sweet, with just the right amount of kick. If you’re entertaining anytime soon, these are guaranteed to impress!
Note: Dan doesn’t do spicy, and he still loved these! However, the drink is also delicious if you omit the red pepper.
Pinch of red pepper
2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 basil leaf, cut into strips
2 oz. passion fruit infused Cacique*
1 oz. club soda
Combine red pepper, lemon juice and sugar; mix well and set aside. Muddle 4 lime wedges and basil leaf. Top lime and basil with ice, Cacique, club soda and red pepper mixture. Shake well and serve immediately. Enjoy!
*Cacique is local Costa Rican liquor. Substitute any passion fruit infused liquor, or try making your own!
Gallo Pinto is a signature Tico (Costa Rican) dish. It’s commonly served for breakfast in Costa Rica, but try it any time of the day at home!
2 cups of cooked white short grain rice
1 cup of cooked red beans
1/2 cup of Salsa Lizano*
1/3 red pepper (chopped)
1/3 white onion (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup of chopped cilantro
1. Sauté the onions, pepper, and garlic in a large pan
2. Add the cooked beans and the Salsa Lizano
3. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
4. Stir in the cooked rice
5. Simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all excess liquid is absorbed
6. Fold in the fresh cut cilantro
7. Serve warm
*Salsa Lizano is a signature sauce of Costa Rica. If it is unavailable at specialty shops, try substituting a blend of Worchester Sauce and Red Picante (Spicy) Sauce. If you’re really ambitious, you can also try this substitute.
Blue Osa does a wonderful job of proving that healthy, fresh and natural food can be mouth-wateringly delicious, too! If you’re looking for a few more dishes to enhance your week-night menu, check out the Blue Osa Blog. They share recipes, amongst other inspirations, on a regular basis!
Remember to stop by later this week for Part 2 of the Blue Osa Experience. In the meantime, happy cooking!
What’s your favorite recipe you’ve learned to cook on your travels? Have you ever tried Gallo Pinto? What international cuisine would you like to know how to cook?