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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shaved Beet & Carrot Salad with Spicy-Sweet Dressing

I am still in Costa Rica, but my trip is drawing to an end.
I will miss it here so much. I love everything about this place- the climate, the people, the animals.

But alas, all good things must come to an end.
I am nearing my departure with a heart full of gratitude for all I have done and learned.
And of course, I'll also be bringing home lots of inspiration of all sorts. 

I'm inspired to live simply and eliminate stress, just as I have been able to do here.
I'm inspired to spend less time online and more time with books, nature, and others.
I'm inspired to experiment with new flavor combinations, make more from scratch, and use what's available to me at the moment. 
But really, how could you not be inspired by this?
There are little peppers called ají dulce that grow all over the farm and are incredibly spicy. 
They often find their way into our food here, as just about every current volunteer has a penchant for all things hot.

I'm not big on heat, but I've been learning to adapt.
It's a good thing my taste buds are desensitizing, as this month's Recipe Redux challenge is to make something smoky and/or spicy.
I focused on the latter, viewing it as a perfect opportunity to utilize these cousins of jalapeños.

Not wanting to push myself too past my comfort zone, I chose to incorporate some sweet elements as well. All fresh, all local- a shining representation of the crops grown here on the farm.
The secret ingredient of this delectable sauce is a spoonful (or two) of mango jam.
We made some here at the ranch- recipe shared soon- but in the meantime you can try to make your own or use this one.
If you want a subtler flavor, you can mix your finished salad into some fresh greens as we did.
Otherwise, enjoy it as the gorgeous and tasty dish that it is.
Clockwise from top: yucca/veggie curried stew, beet & carrot salad, brown rice, lentil & spinach salad with peanut dressing
I hope this glimpsed into Costa Rican cuisine fuel your imagination as much as they have mine.

  • 1 large beet
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3/4 cup kefir vinegar (can sub pineapple or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1.5 tbs. mango jam
  • 1 ají dulce pepper
  • 2" knob of turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Grate beet and carrots and set aside
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour over carrot/beet salad and toss

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