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Soba Noodle Bowl

Soba Noodle BowlBy Desiree Brassert

This recipe is vegetarian, but you could also easily add flavored strips of meat or seafood to complete this one-bowl meal.
Soba noodles are a true Japanese delicacy. Thin like spaghetti, they are made with buckwheat flour and their nutty flavor makes an excellent base for stir fries and salads, hot or cold.

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Shrimp Remoulade

Shrimp RemouladeBy Desiree Brassert

This classic recipe from New Orleans can be used as an alternative cocktail sauce for the typical ketchup and horseradish concoction, or as a dressing for a salad as pictured here.

For 6 to 8 servings or 1 kg of medium sized peeled, deveined, and poached shrimp. Allow to cool, and leave the tails attached if serving as a shrimp cocktail.

  • 1 stick of celery, leaves removed
  • 1 small white onion (no more then 1/2 cup if chopped)
  • 2 strands of green onions
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and some for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of good quality mustard, preferably whole grain, but Dijon is fine
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Place all ingredients except for the oil and mayo into a blender. Turn on lowest speed and slowly pour in the oil to obtain a thick emulsion. Check seasonings and then fold in Mayonnaise. 

This sauce is best when made 24 hours in advance.


Potato Latkes with Smoked Trout

Potato Latkes with Smoked SalmonBy Desiree Brassert

The locally farmed and cured smoked trout is a great substitute for smoked salmon that only comes from distant and colder waters.
Here’s a little spin on this classic bite-size appetizer.

Note: Vegetarian options are applesauce and cinnamon, or sour cream.

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Cajun Inspired Stuffed Chayotes

Stuffed chayotesBy Desiree Brassert

Elevate the humble chayote (or mirliton in Louisiana) with this Cajun-inspired recipe. The miniature version (or cocorro in these parts) makes for an attractive party appetizer or side dish. Try this unfailing southern technique of: boil–hollow–stuff–bake, and you’ll be on to something!

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Maki Sushi

Maki SushiBy Desiree Brassert

These are surprisingly easy to make. The key is in the sweet vinegar rice. Sushi rice should stickier then usual so don’t fret if it looks like too much cooking liquid.

Makes 4 maki or 32 bite size pieces

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Cheesy Baked Eggs with Kale & Bacon

Chef's Corner logoBy Desiree BrassertBy Desiree Brassert

We must be thankful that one of the hottest superfoods in the world is now readily available in our town. Not only is kale loaded with vitamins, but it is also known to lower cholesterol, fight certain cancers, and eliminate toxins.

Here’s a quick and simple crowd pleaser that you can make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If bacon is not your thing, try crumbled smoked trout.

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Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad

Chef's Corner logoBy Desiree Brassert

This salad is sold as a refreshing snack in the street stalls of Saigon and goes well with beer.

Salad

  • One small green papaya—I just ask a neighbor if I can pluck one off their tree!
  • One packet of beef jerky, finely cut with scissors –Jack links have finally arrived in Quepos, but other brands are fine
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts or other nut of your preference
  • Handful of chopped cilantro leaves

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Apple Crumble Pie

Chef's Corner logoBy Desiree Brassert

These little Costa Rican apples can be very flavorful. Usually in bags of 6, their colors are reddish yellow. They are soooo much better than the bigger, imported, pricey, and bland varieties also found on those same shelves at the produce counter.

Desiree's Apple Crumble Pie

Crust

  • 1¼  cups flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbs manteca (shortening) chilled
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (preferably unsalted) chilled
  • 4 to 6 tbs water
  • ½ shot vodka

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Crispy Spring Rolls

Chef's Corner logoBy Desiree Brassert

These fried rolls are very different in texture and taste. The authentic recipe calls for ground pork and shrimp although the shrimp can be substituted with crab meat. You can offer a vegan alternative by using tofu and shitake mushrooms. I find that using ground chicken or turkey is just as delicious as long as a little butter is added to keep the juiciness while frying.

Spring rollsSpring Roll Ingredients

•Rice paper or banh trang
•One small bundle of bean thread noodles (they are often sold in little bunches gathered with string)
•5 oz (150 grams) shredded carrots
•5 oz (150 g) shedded cabbage
•2 oz (100 g) shredded daikon (optional)
•1 small onion, thinly sliced
•1 lb (500 g) of ground chicken or turkey
•1 tbs soft butter or margarine
•Salt and white pepper to taste
•Vegetable oil for frying

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