On US election night 2008, Ricky and I were away from our home and spent the evening tracking poll results from a Costa Rican hotel room. To our surprise, the hotel’s housekeeping left us a treat the next day. Was it evidence of the party most Costa Ricans side with? I don’t think so. My gut tells me there are few elephant-lovers throughout this country. Still, the gesture was a kind one. Go donkeys! Uh, I mean, democrats!
Today marks the first day since the start of 2012 that America has been able to put its presidency campaigning behind them (if you do not count the withheld outcome in Florida and any early vote counting that continues in Ohio, that is). Despite the fact that not one Pura Vida! eh? Incorporated team member is an American citizen, we internationally sat wide-eyed at televised news reports for the greater part of the evening yesterday waiting to learn whether the road to the future of the western world would be paved red or blue for the next four years.
Although we sure did see red, it was mainly across the faces of republicans angered at their double loss in falling short of obtaining the presidency and senate majority, not to mention in the embarrassment strewn across Mitt Romney’s face – a direct result of his long-running overconfidence. There was not enough red at the polls however, which turned the empire state building bright blue by 11:30pm last night when CNN projected to New York City and the world that Barack Obama would come out on top.
It is no secret that Obama and Romney have their groupies. Latinos have long favoured Obama and his democratic values, not only because of his demonstrated efforts regarding immigration reform in the US, but holistically for his we are all one people mentality that drove him to victory in 2008 and once again in 2012. I’m sure the fact that he speaks fluent Spanish and credits Cesar Chavez as being one of his idols doesn’t hurt his chances of being an honorary member of the latino community either. Although I cannot speak for all (or any) Costa Ricans, I would assume that Obama’s approach towards the future (taken from the perspective of a middle-class American citizen) resonates well amongst the Tico population, and that the majority of Costa Ricans are satisfied with last night’s results. There is no doubt in my mind that many pockets of Costa Ricans residing in the US right now are saying “pura vida” to his success.
From serious topics talked about at length throughout the duration of the campaign to lighter subjects touched on for comic relief (insert Jimmy Fallon’s late night show bit on slow jamming the news with the president here), I wonder if there is anything we do not already know about Obama. Sure, he is America’s commander in chief and is required to put it all out there, but does the world really need to know that he’s the ninth cousin to Brad Pitt? Should this detail make Americans like him more or less? Vote for him or not? I’d like to think that the battle for leadership in the US came down to the defeat of team republican by team democrat, and had 0% to do with team Jennifer and team Brangelina.
GALLO PINTO GUACO-NACHOS
In light of the more trivial facts we know about Obama, tonight the Pura Vida! eh? Incorporated team celebrates his win with a culinary fusion of guacamole and nacho chips (an Obama favourite) and good ol’ Costa Rican gallo pinto. Gallo Pinto Guaco-Nachos – a mix of the typical Costa Rican rice and beans meal (most often presented as a standalone dish) served as a topping on nachos with a base layer of guacamole (and cheese, if desired). From our team to you and yours (whether you are a Tico in Costa Rica, a latino in the US, or an Obama-supporter anywhere in the world), we invite you to try the recipe below and celebrate the election win with us. ¡Viva Obama y los demócratas!
1 Red Pepper
1 Spanish Onion
1 Tomato (if desired)
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Can Black Beans
1 Cup White Rice
1 Cup Cottage Cheese (or the cheese type of your preference)
1 Bag Nacho Chips
1/2 Teaspoon Lime or Lemon Juice
Seasoning (as desired)
1. Prepare the Gallo Pinto. This is done by finely chopping the onion and red pepper and adding it to a rice cooker with a bit of cooking oil. Be sure to leave yourself 1/4 of the pepper and onion you have available so this can be added to the avocado later to make guacamole (if you are not interested in making guacamole, use the entire pepper and onion when preparing the rice). Let the onion and red pepper cook in the oil for a few minutes at the bottom of the rice cooker before beginning to cook the rice. Add rice, water, and seasoning (salt, pepper, or the seasoning of your choice – try cilantro to make a true Gallo Pinto like the Ticos) to the rice cooker and prepare the rice as per its instructions (varying types of rice require varying instructions, so be sure to follow the specific instructions for your preferred rice type carefully).
2. When the rice has finished cooking, add the can of black beans to the rice in the rice cooker. According to your like/dislike of the taste of the bean juice that comes in the can, add a little or a lot of the bean juice to the rice and bean mixture to ultimately determine the Gallo Pinto flavour.
3. Prepare the nachos. Spread your desired amount of nacho chips on a plate and cover with cheese (I prefer no/low fat cottage cheese, but your preferred cheese type will do). Heat the chips and cheese in the microwave for 20 seconds or until the cheese melts slightly.
4. In a small bowl mash the avocado (leaving a few small chunks in the mix – do not over mash) and season with a pinch of salt for taste. Add lime or lemon juice to prevent browning. Put the mashed avocado aside if you prefer it plain, or else add the pepper and onion you kept aside when preparing the rice. Finely chopped tomatoes may also be added to the avocado mash if desired.
5. To the warmed nacho chips covered with cheese, spread the avocado/guacamole mash (this should be served at room temperature – neither hot nor cold). Covering the cheese and avocado/guacamole layers, spoon the Gallo Pinto (rice and beans mixture) onto the nachos. Top with additional seasoning if desired, and serve with a smile!
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: How did you celebrate the Democratic win / mourn the Republican loss?