Horrific Halloween Haggis

Halloween is here! Every year I love to celebrate this little holiday by cooking up this old family recipe. It’s a little tricky to get all the ingredients, but the result is a treat!

First, you must obtain a goblin stomach like this one…

Goblin Stomach l

Once you’ve captured and dispatched your goblin—I find a shovel to the back of the skull to be the quickest and easiest way—hack out all the guts to remove the stomach. Save whatever else you might want to grill or broil over the weekend. Try to keep the nerve to the esophageal sphincter as pictured above. It can be used to tie that end shut and keep the filling from leaking during the boiling.

Next, chop together some oats, suet and…oh, I can’t do this to you. This is really a, actually “the” sweet potato I got from the the garden this year. Despite planting three healthy starts gifted to me by a fellow gardener and surrounding them with metal mesh to thwart burrowing vermin I got next to nothing. The biggest problem was an unanticipated aboveground assault. Voles, I suspect, ate off all the leaves from the vines and in some cases chewed through them completely leaving the roots no way to obtain and store nutrients in nice, fat tubers. I may or many not steam this little fellow for some appetizer. And I may or may not try growing sweet potatoes again in the future. If I do, I’ll certainly take measures to protect them from gobblin’ rodents!

El Día de San Valentín

On Monday we returned to cold, white Wisconsin from some time in hot, colorful Costa Rica. What a letdown. Fortunately Tuesday was a holiday, I’m still layed off this week, and one of the mementos we brought back from Puerto Jiménez was a cookbook. All the means to compensate for having to come home were in place. The book is “Gallito Pinto: Traditional Recipes from Costa Rica.” I consulted it to devise a menu and went grocery shopping.

The first course was a cocktail I concocted with carambola, also known as starfruit. It’s got sort of a weak flavor but some calvados and lime juice rounded it out and the garnish couldn’t have been more obvious.



For  munching along with the cocktails I whipped up a batch of striped seabass ceviche. We’ve been talking about making ceviche for three years since we had it so often in Ecuador but this is the first time we’ve followed through. It’s so simple there’s really no excuse.



For the salad I took the easy route and did a pseudo-Caesar but with fancy-schmancy heart-shaped eggs. I briefly entertained the possibility of coloring them pink. Maybe next time.



The main course was Bistec Encebollado, better known as steak and onions with Chacletas de Chayote—mashed chayote and cheese stuffed in the exotic fruit’s skin. It was unusual but good. Cheese can make anything good, though. I’d make it again.



For dessert I whipped up a couple of simple mini flans. They weren’t much to look at but tasted delicious. I only wish I had remembered to put some coconut in them. As it was, they were so good I dug in before I remembered to take a picture.




One traditional dish we did not have but saw a lot of in Costa Rica was the black bean and rice dish called Gallo Pinto. It was served at any or all of the three meals of the day and with all the hiking we were doing was a welcome, high energy dish. I’ve definitely found a use for some of the black beans I grow every year.


Check back to see the wild side of Costa Rica coming soon!