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I’m officially BACK from Costa Rica! Oh my goodness, it was such an incredible trip!
Not only was it a wonderful – and high adventure – time with my best friends, we ALSO ate some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had.
So at the end of the post, I’ll share with you some of the truly world-class dishes we enjoyed while we were there!
BUT FIRST —
I need to introduce my HANDS DOWN FAVORITE recipe that I enjoyed this evening.
You know how when you’re traveling, and you’re on the plane all day, and by the end of the trip, you’ve got a hankerin’ something fierce for a specific meal?
Well, friends this. was. it. OVEN-DRIED TOMATO PIZZA
I had a gorgeous heirloom tomato from the farmers market waiting for me when I got back, and so I whipped up this gorgeous pizza, and let me tell you – it hit the spot!
Introducing my Oven-Dried Tomato, Eggplant and Avocado Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust!
I wish you could see me right now — I’m doing a happy dance just writing about it. It was SO GOOD!
Holy smokes you guys. This was outrageous. Like — incredible. I had never made oven-dried tomatoes before, and ohhhhhh my gosh…GAME CHANGER. Seriously. If you take one thing away from this post, it’s MAKE THE TOMATOES! 🙂
And, it’s gluten free, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo — PLUS it has a vegan option!
Here’s What You Need (Serves one very hungry camper)
2 egg whites (Vegan option: 1 flax/chia egg)
1 cup cauliflower florets, riced
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 mushrooms, sliced
fresh basil, sliced julienne style (or chopped)
1/2 avocado, mashed
1 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put your raw cauliflower florets in the food processor and process until it resembles rice. Then, place the “rice” in a clean kitchen towel (or several paper towels) and wring out all the liquid over the sink. This is a really important step.
Combine your wrung-out cauliflower rice thoroughly with the almond flour, salt and egg whites.
Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet. Put your dough onto one sheet of parchment paper, and place the other sheet on top. “Smoosh” it out fairly thin, forming your round crust. Spritz the top with olive oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
Also, toss your eggplant with 2 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper. Then, place your tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Then, take the eggplant off and set aside.
Now, to get your tomato slices suuuuuper dry and chewy like I did, you’ll need to turn off the oven, and leave them in there with the door closed for another hour. However, you can forgo that step and eat them as is, too…which is just as delicious.
While those are baking, brown your mushrooms in a skillet with 1 Tbsp EVOO. Do this by placing them in a single layer, and then don’t touch them for about 304 minutes, so that they can brown. Then, flip, and let them sit untouched for another 3 minutes. Take off the stove and hit with salt and pepper.
Finally, mash your avocado with salt.
To assemble, spread your avocado in a thin layer. Top with slices of tomato, eggplant, mushrooms, pine nuts, and fresh chopped basil.
OK – this was officially one of the best things ever. Oven-dried tomatoes are seriously amazing. They become intensely sweet and “tomato-y.” And they’re nice and chewy and sticky. That, combined with the creamy eggplant, and chewy and earthy mushrooms — it was just fantastic!
And the CRUST! Goodness gracious it was good. It was nutty and chewy and the perfect vessel for this delicious meal!
The avocado — one of my favorite foods. It’s buttery, luxurious, and so creamy! And the basil really gave the right amount of freshness to the it.
Finally, it was a beautiful dish. It was rustic and regal looking. A stunner for sure.
OK — now onto my eats in Costa Rica! Let me tell you – I had some of the most delicious restaurant meals ever there. First of all everything is SO FRESH. The fish was literally in the ocean that morning. It was incredible.
And the produce! Holy cow. The reason it is so delicious is because the soil is so mineral rich in Costa Rica. They have 6 active volcanos, and another 61 dormant/extinct ones. So as a result — the soil is prime for cultivating crops and vegetation.
So everything was just superb. And every restaurant was SO accommodating with my dietary needs. I literally followed my tips for dining out from my last post — and just asked for a filet of fish with sautéed vegetables, and I ended up getting OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious meals. I mean – I have never eaten so well.
The first night, Antonio – the resort’s chef – came to our house to cook us a . private dinner and it was amazing. The menu was this fabulous tuna tar tar appetizer with mango and avocado…
Followed by a delectable sea bass fillet. It was, I think, the best thing I’ve ever eaten.
The next night, we ate at the Four Seasons, and I had an incredible fillet of red snapper. And again – it was phenomenal. The spices on the outside were so flavorful — a bit of middle-eastern flare to it!
This was lunch from the following day. We went ATVing in the morning, followed by ziplining, in the afternoon. And for lunch, they made us a brilliant meal! It was grilled mahi mahi over this refreshing salad. It might not look it from the photo, but the fish was so fresh, and the salad was amazing — the handmade olive vinaigrette was next level.
That night we ended up getting take out, and had a repeat dinner from the Four Seasons.
One night we went to Maracuya Beach Club for dinner, and it was a phenomenal dinner, but WAY overpriced. I got a delicious fillet of snapper with so-good-you-could-drink-it chimichurri sauce, but we did not go back, because the prices made us gag, to be honest.
Our final night, we went to the Andaz Resort’s outdoor restaurant and had a lovely dinner. My red snapper was super duper heavy on the coconut oil, which ended up really hurting my stomach. But the atmosphere was tropical and beachy and really fun. — Minus the time when a flying grasshopper the size of a literal hotdog flew into the hair of the woman sitting at the table next to us, and she let out a shriek so loud, I think the people in Panama could hear. But the highlight was that they had a really talented mixologist, and made my friend her own specialty drink, served in a cacao pod 🙂
I think to rank these — Antonio the chef’s home cooked meal took first place, followed by the Four Seasons, followed by a tie for third with Maracuya and Andaz.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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