Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a culinary workshop at K-State featuring a chef form Costa Rica. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of Costa Rican cuisine except for fresh ingredients prepared in a simple tasteful way. That is exactly what I got, but the flavor was incredible
Before the lunch, we had a homemade salsa of sorts that included avocado, onion, red pepper, lime juice, lemon juice, and palm hearts. Palm hearts are the center part of young palm trees that are cooked down: they don’t have strong flavor but take on the flavor of what they are paired with.

We had two lunches to showcase the different flavors and to take time to enjoy our food. Our first lunch is pictured above and included red snapper, rice and beans with onion and red pepper cooked in coconut milk, and pickled vegetables. I am not a bit fan or traditional coconut, it has a strong flavor for me. However, the coconut that was used to cook with was fresh and didn’t have the strong flavor that American coconut does.

Between the two lunches, we had a blackberry sorbet. It was sweet and a nice fresh treat between the meals.

The second lunch (not pictured) was a sort of Costa Rican Sheapard’s Pie. I say that because it was simple ingredients layered together and reminded me of the American dish. Rice was cooked with coconut milk, onion and red pepper was layered under chopped fresh green beans with onion and pepper. The next layer had marinated beef. The dish was topped with fried plantains. I had never had plantains: they completed the dish by providing a sweet crunchy flavor.

After the main portion of the workshop, we had a coffee tasting. I greatly enjoy coffee and it was neat to learn about the different origins of coffee. The one thing that I had never really payed attention to was the caffeine content of different roasts of coffee. The lighter roasts actually have more caffeine than dark roasts.

This was my first culinary workshop and I hope to take advantage of other opportunities like this in the future. I was able to attend the workshop because the registration fee was greatly decreased for students ($10 for the whole day) so they could learn from the experience.

I encourage students to seize opportunities like this whenever possible. It’s a great way to meet new people and learn about other cultures.

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