All posts filed under: Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua, a.k.a. The Sweet Sea and Cocibolca Lake. Photo by Aaron Escobar.

Monday Meal Review: Nicaragua

When I say “toxic,” what comes to mind? Is it a food? Is it a person in your life? Is it a lifestyle led by you or someone you know? This week we ate yucca – a tuber known to have toxic bits of cyanide if processed improperly. In the early days of this adventure, I made the mistake of grating up the tough fibers on the inside of the yucca, where these toxins are concentrated. Several hours later this novice error caused me to crash down onto the floor unconscious, only to awake with ringing ears, vertigo, and my insides turned out. Toxicity. It’s not pretty. The reality is, we all have to deal with toxins, whether they come by way of food, people, or lifestyles. Over the last few weeks I’ve had run-ins with all three varieties of toxins, the latest of which is the yucca in our Nicaraguan Global Table (thankfully I knew better this time around and prepared the tuber properly). Toxins do one thing perfectly: they drag us down and suck our …

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Pineapple Horchata

This summer I’ve seen almost everything. Laughter in sad moments. Tears in happy moments. Life is a bumble-all-over-the place, as it should be when temperatures screech up into the 100’s. What I haven’t seen? Purple-feathered dancing ladies. This Pineapple Horchata is certainly the closest I’ll get to this sort of carnival fun. And every summer should have a little carnival fun, don’t you think? The recipe is a cooked horchata (homemade rice drink), different from the amazing no-cook Strawberry Almond Horchata we made for our Mexican Global Table. In this drink, the Pineapple skin and core simmers with the rice and water to extract maximum flavor. Then I added extra pieces of pineapple goodness to amp up the flavor. Puree with a sprinkling of sugar and you’re done. Welcome to summer in a glass. Makes a gallon 1 pineapple 12 cups water 1 cup rice 1 cup sugar, or to taste Method: Gather your rice and pineapple. Let the sweet pineapple fragrance help you drift away to sunny Nicaragua. Once there, trim and core the …

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Lime & Cabbage Slaw with Yucca | Vigoron

Today we’re taking a bite of Nicaraguan sunshine. This is the kind of sunshiny soul food that satisfies cravings. Bored cravings. Excited cravings. Lonely cravings. I’m ready for winter cravings. I miss my man cravings.  I wish I could sing cravings. It’s like the fairy godmother of salads. This sunshine is magic. So what is it? Vigoron. A heaping mound of comfort, nestled on top of deep green banana leaves. This is Nicaraguan street food, designed to make your mouth happy. First comes cubes of boiled yucca, tender like a potato. On top of that sits the cabbage slaw – seasoned with zingy lime juice, fresh tomatoes, onion, a touch of jalapeno, and cilantro. It’s like… salsa and slaw mixed in the most refreshing way. Wait. Scratch that. Thanks to the happy helping of salt it’s a lot like … a margarita salad. The perfect margarita. Traditionally Vigoron is served with fried pig rinds, or chicharones. I tried this and it was fine, but I really enjoyed it with a vegan version I stumbled across at the Hispanic market down the …

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Menu: Nicaragua

Nicaragua taught me three very important things about life. First, eat more sunshine. To do so, simply pile fresh vigoron on your plate. Soaked in lime juice and a happy heaping of salt, this tastes like the margarita of slaws. Done and done. Second, everything is better with an umbrella in it, especially if pineapple is involved. Third, try, try, try, and try again. This is the only way to succeed.  Those of you who have been reading this blog for a year or more will know about my longstanding battle with yucca. This meal marks yet another try to tame this tricky tuber. Check back to see if I succeed. P.S.  I’m curious… what do you guys think about having a recipe site to share your recipes from your homelands with each other?  Lime & Cabbage Slaw with Yucca | Vigoron [Recipe] Welcome to happy town. Tender, boiled yucca topped with a cabbage slaw,  lime juice, sliced onion, chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, and a touch of fresh cilantro. Serve with crunchy chicharones (traditionally pork rinds, although we provide a …

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Carnaval in Managua, Nicaragua. Photo by Jorge Mejía peralta.

About the food of Nicaragua

Nicaragua is best known for her namesake, which means “surrounded by water.” She boasts great, rolling waves on both shores as well as in the middle. The Pacific Ocean crashes into her western shore – a treat for surfers. Cross over beautiful lagoons, lush valleys, huge volcanoes, tropical rain forests, coffee plantations, and Spanish Colonial architecture…to her eastern shore and you’ll find dreamy Caribbean waters. Oh, and in between? Lake Nicaragua (a.k.a. the “Sweet Sea”) home to the fresh water shark. Here, waves crest tall enough to fool the visitor into thinking they are by the sea. The fresh water shark actually jumps upstream like salmon back and forth from the lake to the ocean. Crazy town. No matter what part of Nicaragua you’re in, you’ll find gallo pinto – or red beans and rice. This hearty, affordable meal is served any time of day, including during breakfast (perhaps with some cheese or eggs). We made gallo pinto for our Costa Rican Global Table [recipe] and loved how easy it was to throw together. Gallo pinto …

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