If you’re a superhuman who books their trips a year ahead and plans things to a tee, can I say I bow before you in total awe? I’m doing last minute travel planning, and I’m exhausted. I don’t normally bother doing anything in advance, since our idea of winter bliss could be hanging out in swampy Scottish field, taking pictures of twigs (this actually happened). Turns out that Costa Rica is only slightly more popular and already pre-booked by superhumans a year ago (see above), creating a major catastrophe for my plans and wallet. Edit: these Beef and Black Bean Burritos are… technically, enchiladas. Brain fart, geez 😛
But going we are, and I’m excited, grateful, and only a tiny bit apprehensive (about millions and millions of insects). I’m still planning the last details, but I know for sure we’re staying at a university research station, like, in the *jungle* – and I choke up just thinking about it. It’s the kind of stuff I always ogled on BBC nature shows, and life came to a point where it’s possible to see first hand. It’s incredible, a privilege, and I can’t wait.
The route so far is Liberia – Monteverde – Arenal Vulcano and finish in Manuel Antonio National Park. Monteverde is the research station, then an ecolodge /working ginger farm (endless joke) in Arenal. I’m soo excited about Manuel Antonio, the property shares the fence with the park: monkeys/birds/more horrible insects…
I did all my planning on Tripadvisor, and it’s been an interesting experience, I travelled here and there, and I think common sense regarding safety prevails, but I’m still so naive when it comes to certain things. Putting cameras in the oven because the thief won’t look there? Wouldn’t cross my mind. Don’t leave anything in the car, even flip flops? Okay…It would suck to get flip flops lifted and it actually happened to someone. Hire an armed guard? For real. Why would you go to a place where you think you need an armed guard? Might as well go hang out in Kabul. I don’t think it’s that bad. But in the very least, we didn’t book a room where, as one guy put it, “hundreds of cockroaches came out at night and made things interesting”. I thank you forever, Tripadvisor.
The only thing all of this has with the burritos is that I haven’t had time for proper cooking, and they take 5 minutes to assemble.
Pan-fry some finely chopped onion, then brown the meat. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and pepper, then stir in the black beans. Fill the tortillas with rice seasoned with chili powder, add greens, and top with tomato sauce and cheese. Be creative – the filling is very flexible.
This recipe is made even easier if you keep a bit of pre-cooked rice in the fridge – sometimes something that small helps a lot.
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 250g extra lean ground beef, chicken, turkey, or bison
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 4 cups of cooked rice
- 1½ tsp chili powder
- spinach leaves, or other greens
- cilantro and chopped green onions
- 4 cups tomato sauce, plain, to garnish
- shredded cheese (part skim mozzarella and cheddar) to garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- On the side
- shredded iceberg lettuce
- sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the meat and cook, stirring often, until browned and no longer pink. Season with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Add the beans. Set aside.
- Combine the rice and chili powder. Set aside.
- Place the tortillas in a large oven-proof dish and fill with the rice mixture, the meat mixture and greens. Fold each one, then pour over the tomato sauce, just enough to coat the top comfortably, then garnish with a handful of cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts and the tomato sauce starts to bubble.
- Serve with sour cream, salsa, and shredded iceberg lettuce.