Costa Rican Black Beans and Butter Honey Plantains

Anyone else ready for summer? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good winter ski, snowmobile ride, or outdoor hot tub party, but I am missing the beach!

I grew up in a little town in Ontario where beaches are everywhere. In fact, my Grandparents (where I spent most of my time) live on a beach, my cottage is on a beach, and my high school was in 5 minutes walking distance to a beach. Geeze…just writing that makes me homesick!

Luckily, my vacation in Costa Rica brought some darn great ocean views. Tropical wise, I’ve only ever been to Cuba (two times) and Mexico, but Costa Rica has by far the best beaches.

To make me feel sexy like a Costa Rican tropical again, I threw together this awesome Costa Rican meal! Saucy black beans, brown rice, and some scream worthy butter honey plantains. You need to make this. Like now.

To begin, get your brown rice cooking and get out your ingredients: black beans, onion, lime, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, veggie broth, chili and garlic (I guess it’s missing in this photo!)

After about 10 minutes, start cooking your black beans by first heating a medium skillet over medium heat and adding canola oil. Once shimmering, cook your onion until translucent.

Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has cooked off a bit, about 30-60 seconds.

Add the beans to the pan and using a wooden spatula, smash about half of the beans.

Stir in the veggie broth, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld and most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

The plantains only take about 10 minutes so these can be made right after you start your beans. First, melt butter and add plantains in a single layer.

Cook plantains on each side, for about 3 minutes, or until they reach a caramelized brown color. Drizzle with honey just before they are ready. Transfer to a plate covered with paper towel and allow to drain for a minute.

Now you can get to plating. Add a scoop of brown rice on your plate. Add half the black beans. Add half of the plantains and you’re done! If you want to be fancy (or awesome) you could add some chopped scallions or cilantro. My boy loooooves cilantro so of course he threw a giant handful on top and mixed it all around.

Costa Rican Black Beans
Recipe adapted from Smells Like Home
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaf
2 cans (15 1/2 oz) of black beans, ( 1 can drained and rinsed, 1 whole can)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)

Directions:
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the canola oil. Once shimmering, cook the onion until translucent. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has cooked off a bit, about 30-60 seconds.

Add the beans to the pan. One can should be drained and rinsed and the other should be put in juice and all. Using a wooden spatula or potato masher, smash the beans until about half are mashed up. Stir in the veggie broth, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Your beans should be “soupy” and that is a GOOD thing! Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld and most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

If desired, sprinkle cilantro.

Butter Honey Plantains
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ripe (almost black) plantain, peeled and sliced in 1 inch slices
2 tablespoons butter
Drizzle of honey

Directions:
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt butter.

Add plantains, in a single layer. Cook plantains on each side, for about 3 minutes, or until they reach a caramelized brown color. Drizzle with honey just before they are ready.

Transfer to a plate covered with paper towel and allow to drain for a minute.

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Taco Pizza

Hello from Costa Rica! I hope everyone is having a happy holiday. This Christmas was very non-traditional for me. Instead of spending time with my family, I decided to go away with my boyfriend and his family. Of course I missed having a morning at home – waking up a bit too early to snoop all the presents, and having a big breakfast with my family…but I really can’t complain. Costa Rica is beautiful. There are monkeys everywhere! It’s weird. They’re like little obnoxious people who steal your food. Cute little obnoxious people. I’ll do a post on this lovely place when I get back.

Before I left I made this wicked-good Taco Pizza. Another non-traditional pizza to go with this non-traditional holiday. I like patterns.

To make the pizza dough: Mix yeast with warm water and set aside for 8 to 10 minutes.

Mix flour, salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl.

With speed on low, drizzle in yeast/water mixture. Allow to mix until totally combined.

Cover bowl with a towel and set bowl in a warm, draft-free place.

Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Pour black beans into a saucepan. Add seasonings to taste and heat up beans over medium-low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired texture. Continue cooking/heating beans over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny (should be the texture of refried beans. Set aside.

Fry up your tortilla chips (no picture for this).

Place oven rack in the bottom position in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl. Place remaining half in a large plastic bag and refrigerate, saving for another use. With hands, spread pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet, making sure it’s relatively thin. Spread layer of refried beans all over pizza crust.

Sprinkle mixed grated cheeses over the top. Place pan in the oven (in the bottom half of the oven) and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Watch it to make sure crust doesn’t burn.

Remove pizza from oven. Look at that cheesy goodness.

Sprinkle on shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.

Mix together sour cream and hot sauce, adding enough hot sauce to make the mixture pourable. With a spoon (or you can put it in a pastry bag) drizzle mixture over finished pizza.

Slice it up and enjoy!

Taco Pizza
Makes 1 pizza
Recipe taken from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cup Warm Water
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Olive Oil
1 can (14 Ounce) Black Beans
1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning (prepared, Or Make Your Own)
4 whole Corn Tortillas, Sliced Into Thin Strips
½ cups Canola Oil, For Frying
1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar
1 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce, Sliced/shredded Thin
2 whole Ripe Tomatoes, Diced
½ cups Cilantro Leaves
¼ cups Sour Cream
3 Tablespoons Hot Sauce (more To Taste)

Directions:
Make the pizza dough: Mix yeast with warm water and set aside for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix flour, salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. With speed on low, drizzle in yeast/water mixture. Allow to mix until totally combined. Cover bowl with a towel and set bowl in a warm, draft-free place. Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Pour black beans into a saucepan. Add seasonings to taste and heat up beans over medium-low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired texture. Continue cooking/heating beans over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny (should be the texture of refried beans. Set aside.
In a small skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. When hot enough to fry, drop in the tortilla strips in batches, frying quickly and removing from oil with a fork when crisp–about 30 to 45 seconds per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Place oven rack in the bottom position in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Remove half the pizza dough from the bowl. Place remaining half in a large plastic bag and refrigerate, saving for another use. With hands, spread pizza dough on an oiled baking sheet, making sure it’s relatively thin. Spread layer of refried beans all over pizza crust. Sprinkle mixed grated cheeses over the top. Place pan in the oven (in the bottom half of the oven) and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Watch it to make sure crust doesn’t burn.

Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle on shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cilantro leaves.
Mix together sour cream and hot sauce, adding enough hot sauce to make the mixture pourable. With a spoon (or you can put it in a pastry bag) drizzle mixture over finished pizza.

Sprinkle with tortilla strips. Cut into squares and serve immediately with good quality salsa.