Cooking and eating through a new culture

Gringa Gallos

First off, let me say that in Costa Rica, gallos (when referring to a meal) means meat, beans and or cheese in a small tortilla. Usually,  a light snack, sometimes seen on local menus as an appetizer. Gallo is also a rooster. The following post is about the meal. Not some kinky white, feathered transvestite. Not to say they’re not strutting around downtown San Jose. There is some weird shit happening in the wee hours here, but I am trying to keep this site civil, so get yer mind outta the gutter.

For me, gallos are an ideal meal. I’ve never been a big meal person, but prefer to nibble here and there. Although, gallos can be deceptive. If hungry, I can easily down 4 or 5 which basically is…a big meal. But for the most part, a couple fits the bill just fine. You won’t find hard taco shells here, but there are a variety of tortillas. Not to be confused with burritos, gallos are small, with the tortillas only about six inches across. Just big enough for one hand.

Returning to my Meatless Monday kick, and my odd obsession for beans lately, I’ve stumbled across a wonderful recipe for lentil tacos, which I adapted into what has now become known here as Gringa Gallos.

A word about lentils: listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods, they can be cooked on the fly since they don’t require soaking like other legumes. Lentils lack only 2 essential amino acids in order to complete the 20 amino acids that we need in our body, but if you mix them with rice you will have a complete protein meal. Lentils, being a rich source of dietary fiber, are beneficial for lowering cholesterol. This fiber content also prevents the sudden hike in blood sugar levels after a meal.  Lentils contains significant amounts of folate and magnesium to keep your ticker in tip-top shape and flavonoids, which is great for preventing cancer, especially breast cancer. Not bad for something that has been around since Neolithic times.

Cast iron cooking lentils!

I had seen other recipes that just added taco seasoning to cooked lentils. I guess if you were pinched for time, it’s an easy way out, but I prefer to tinker with my spice load and create my own blend. I found the addition of cumin to the lentils and a splash of Worcester sauce transforms the nuttiness to almost meat like dimensions. With an added dose of cheese, I can’t tell the difference. I dress them with slices of avocado, fresh salsa too for a perfect Latino meal…gringa style.

Now Rafa and I are certainly good hedonists. We love the decadence of  a good life, but that is tempered with our concern to stay and be healthy for the rest of our lives. Sure we indulge, but everything in moderation. My rant: Paula Deen is an hypocritical twat. Now, I am not normally invested in the idiots I see on TV. In fact, I hardly watch anything, but on occasion I will peruse the cooking shows for shits and giggles. I have seen her shows…and I found her incredibly annoying and her recipes absolute crap. Usually, it would have just ended there. But with her announcement of her three-year old diagnosis for type 2 diabetes and her subsequent signing with Novo Nordisk for a multi-million dollar endorsement of their new diabetes drug, I call bullshit. Americans consume about 150 pounds a sugar a year and if you want to eat that, fine. It’s a free world. Be fat, and if that makes you happy, who am I to say? But I can’t really think of any other person who will be awarded a lifetime of medication to control a disease they were to ignorant to ward off with their own self-control. The fact that she hid her disease and continued to promote a unhealthly lifestyle, with no concern and “No regrets”, is selfish and disingenuous. There is not a doubt in my mind that if Big Pharma didn’t dangled that golden doughnut in front of her, her diagnosis would still be kept secret. Was that being civil?

Team Bourdain! All the way!


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