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A Simple & Satisfying Tortilla Soup

I often serve this soup at the beginning of a dinner showcasing latín flavors, or in a big bowl and as a meal on its own. It can be vegan by omitting the chicken stock and meat. Other variations are beans and cheese; seafood lovers can replace the chicken with shrimp. For 6 to 8 servings.

Home made chicken stock

  • 1 bone-in chicken breast
  • 2 whole chicken wings
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 medium carrot (they’re so big down here!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Cover all of these ingredients in a stock pot with 1 liter (about 1 and a half quarts) of water.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reserve the chicken.
  3. Discard all of the other solids.
  4. Ideally, you should cool down the stock and skim the fat that rises to the surface. 

For the tomato-based soup

  • 1 liter of tomato puree (passata)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Combine the tomato puree with the stock, adjust seasonings.

For the garnishes

  • 6 to 8 fresh corn tortillas (plan on 1 per person)
  • Cubed cooked chicken meat from the stock
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves 
  • chopped chives
  1. Cut the tortillas into thin ribbons and fry in oil until golden and crispy.  
  2. Follow the pictures by placing the tortilla strips into bowls, followed by the chicken (or other) and the avocado.
  3. Pour the tomato soup into bowl and then garnish with (optional shredded cheese) cilantro and chives.
  4. Serve immediately.

Fiddlin’ Around – March 2017

Fiddlin'AroundYep, folks, these are some mighty strange times we are living in. It is not a very brave new world. It’s a world where alternative facts can be used to ‘prove’ any argument, and where long term planning and prevention and learning from our mistakes is not on the agenda. It’s like a bunch of 5 year olds disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. “uh uh, no it’s not” “yes it is” “no it’s not” “yes it is”… After a couple of minutes and a couple of black eyes the original argument has been forgotten by the kids—but not the meanness.

Beethoven

Beethoven

So it is with some trepidation that I throw my hat into the political fact ring. But the facts I want to talk about here are about music and the role music plays in every society on this planet. America is not the only country who has to grapple with putting a price tag on art and music, but I am worried that everyone will lose if we do not support and help the creative types do what they do. Long after we have forgotten stupid tweets and egotistical rants and watching some loser getting their 15 minutes of fame, the music of long-dead guys like Beethoven will hopefully still be being played by a youth orchestra somewhere in Kentucky. Or Beirut or Stockholm or Singapore. Or at the music school in San Isidro where I teach. Beethoven will still be giving joy and meaning and beauty to the world long after we’re gone, and the skills and cooperation necessary to play and spread his music will still be relevant and welcome. But as with anything valuable, we must protect and insure that his notes are still out there to be shared.

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9 Steps to Create a Great Vacation Rental Property

House and pool at nightBy Shelagh Duncan

There are vacation rental properties and there are Great vacation rental properties. Owning a Great rental property can make you stand out from the crowd and will ensure that your property is rented as often as you’d like it to be. This will also ensure that you not only get top dollar, but repeat customers. So if you have a rental home, use this as your resource to help you create that great rental property.

  1. Build a team.

A property manager will act as the liaison between you and the renter so choose seasoned professionals. They can make sure that your renters are comfortable, and they can promptly deal with any queries or complaints and ensure a great renter experience. They can also encourage good online reviews from happy renters. This is a priceless resource!

Royal Palm Interiors

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Fiddlin’ Around – Sept/Oct 2015

Big Mama Thornton - The Original Hound DogBy Nancy Buchan

Boy, we love our dogs, don’t we? My deaf, slightly doddering, small white fur ball of a dog took me to the beach tonight for sunset, and while we were sitting on a log contemplating important stuff I noticed the folks who looked the happiest were the ones with dogs. And there’s quite the assortment of these 4-legged critters here, from pocket sized yappy things to big brutes with studded harnesses. Much like this country in general—rich in variety. Which got me to wondering why so many songs about dogs are wicked sad, or they are about getting treated like a dog, or mean people say someone has a dogface. Like that’s a bad thing. We unabashedly love our own dogs’ faces and believe them to be beautiful. Like music, art, good food, a beautiful sunset and small children, they are one of our few universally shared joys. They can melt the most frozen of hearts. But there’s a long musical tradition of us tangling up our love for dogs with sadness and getting the blues.

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MOLD. Friend or Foe?

Mold spores

Mold spores

Some Easy ways to Protect your Home (& Boat) from Mold

By Shelagh Duncan

What is Mold?

Molds (and mildew) are fungi. Fungi are not plant, animal or bacteria, they are microbial. They are responsible for such wonderful organisms as the delicious edible mushrooms, they are the makers of the “miracle drug” penicillin and the yeast that makes our bread rise, our fine wines ferment and our richly flavoured cheeses taste so good. They play important roles in bio-technology and food science in the production of many foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.

Royal Palm Interiors

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An Important New Book About Coffee and Costa Rica

Cafe de Costa RicaBy Jim Parisi

Costa Rica has gained a world-renowned reputation for the outstanding quality and flavors of its coffees. Indeed, Costa Rica can boast that it is as unique, diverse and widespread as any other top-ranking coffee producer in the world. But how did this happen?

Recently, ICAFE published “Café de Costa Rica / Costa Rican Coffee”, a pictorial and written history of the evolution of coffee in Costa Rica. The text is written in both English and Spanish, side by side.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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12 Easy Decorating Tips For a Fresh New Look!

Revamping your styleBy Shelagh Duncan

Revamping your home decor does not always have to be a major project, and you don’t always have to spend a King’s ransom to do it. Here are some easy ways to give your rooms a fresh look in record time, using what you may already have, and without breaking the bank.

Royal Palm Interiors

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Once a Bad Girl, Always a Bad Girl

Bad girlBy Jim Parisi

Mario Vargas Llosa is known for weaving stories like threads into an ultimate, seamless tapestry that far exceeds its individual components. He is also an enigma in that he gained acclaim as a writer while in his birthplace of Peru, became involved in politics there, grew disenchanted and then renounced his Peruvian citizenship. He moved to Spain. But he continues to write about Peru.

I’ve just finished reading his novel, “Bad Girl”, a novel where Llosa unequivocally answers the age-old question, “Which is the weaker sex?” Meet Ricardo Somocurcio, a 1950s Peruvian teenager living in Lima. He falls pathetically in love with “Lily”, who’s just arrived from Chile, with her exotic manner and colloquialisms. She allows Ricardo to hold her hand and no more, calling him “the good boy”. When her Chilean history is exposed as false, she vanishes.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – March 2011

March CoverBienvenidos/ Welcome to our corner of Paradise……….a BIG welcome to my granddaughter, Kara, on her first trip to CR and to all those on Spring Break..we hope you have a great vacation!…..Our weather is pretty close to perfect this time of year –particularly if you like it warm & sunny…not much rain if any so you can enjoy everything you plan to do……….March brings St. Patrick’s Day so look around for green beer and lots of fun — – this month has double holiday fun with Mardi Gras and another wild time at Wacky Wanda’s complete with beads and masks…………….the 11th & 12th brings the Costa Rica Classic Billfish Tournament benefiting the Boomer Esiason Foundation (all money raised stays in CR!) tickets to events are available from those Sponsoring, www.costaricaclassic.com…which brings us to our cover shot provided by David Tuplin at www.davidmarktuplin.com and Bluewater Sportfishing–8705-4026– of a beautiful sailfish on the fly(remember all our boats practice catch and release of billfish)……….we have the best tours in CR and the finest restaurants so get out and have some fun – enjoy a cool drink & delicious meal– visit with our advertisers and tell them you found them in Quepolandia… come back soon….ciao……….P


New World Music Box

By Jim Parisi

It’s a funny thing about music: it does not recognize the imaginary boundaries men have drawn on maps or in the ground. Put simply: music transcends borders.  It travels into the ear of its listeners then, hopefully, into their hearts as well, no matter where they live. And music does not need a passport to accomplish this. That is part of the appeal of World Music for aficionados from anywhere on the globe. We have had a plethora of Euro café discs, Middle Eastern lounge CDs and Indonesian trip-hop fusion albums while, regretfully, Central American music has been nearly unheard during this wave of international awareness. Until now. A joint venture by the four most popular and progressive recording labels in this part of the world has begun to fill that void with the release of La Caja de Musica Centroamericana, the Central American Music Box.

This compilation of sixteen songs showcases musical styles that ignore the borders of places we call Nicaragua, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. The Garifuna music represented here from Ivan Duran’s Stonetree label from Belize is a good example. The Garifuna culture was spawned nearly four centuries ago when survivors from two sinking slave ships began cohabitating with the indigenous Carib tribes, including the Arawaks on the islands of Saint Vincent (in the Lesser Antilles), Dominica and Santa Lucia, as well as with other escaped African slaves. Later, under British domain, they were relocated to the Honduran island of Roatan and from there they migrated to the surrounding countries in Central America. The resulting music is unique, mesmerizing, and anything but Latin.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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Adaptation

By Solar Costa Rica

As a solar energy company, we hear from a lot of people who want to reduce their energy bills.  Some, like us, want to “save the world” by using renewable energy, others want solar or battery backup because of blackouts and excessive power bills.  Either way, the first step is to look at how much energy is being consumed in the first place.

Solar energy does not reduce your power consumption.  It simply supplies electricity from a different source.  The equipment for capturing solar energy is expensive, which means that the first step is to reduce your need for energy, thereby reducing the size—and cost—of the system.

Even if you don’t plan to invest in a solar or battery backup system, taking stock of the construction of your home or business and your energy use patterns is a great idea that may allow you to dramatically reduce your bills and increase your comfort!  Humans are very adaptable animals; some simple adaptations to your home and habits could significantly improve your day-to-day experience.

Solar Costa Rica

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Yumeiho Massage

Yumeiho MassageBy Victoria

Yumeiho Massage is an oriental massage technique that strives to achieve and maintain the balance and harmony of the body. The father of the method is professor Masayuki Kotsuban.

Yumeiho is a complex method to reestablish and maintain bodily symmetry and harmony by applying pressing and kneading techniques, as well as joint-stimulating energetic elements all over the body. Read More…


Dr. Alfonso Gaspar Martinez del Pino

(in English)
Escrito por Carol Vlassoff

Traducido por Rosa Arechederra

Dr Martinez con perroDr. Alfonso Gaspar Martínez del Pino, nacido y educado en Cuba, dice que  pensó en quedarse en Costa Rica desde el momento en que decidió aceptar la invitación para asistir a una conferencia aquí, en 1995. Dejando a sus amigos y familiares se vino  con 63 libras de equipaje (59 libras de libros), 145 dólares en el bolsillo y se dedicó a empezar  una nueva vida aquí. Dio varias conferencias en la   Escuela de Veterinaria de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma en el Barreal de Heredia, y a continuación, dice, “me quedé.”

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TURTLE PROJECT – MATAPALO BEACH

By Katherine Richardson

The ASVO (Association of Volunteers) has been in Matapalo Beach for 5 years and patrols 5.4 KM of the beach. Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)turtles nest on Matapaplo Beach from June to November. This year according to Mr. Roberto Solano, the scientist in charge of the project, they have had 180 Olive Ridley turtle nests and on 1 leatherback nest as of the 10th of Dec. This is the first leatherback nest in the past 5 years of monitoring according to Mr. Solano. The Volunteers conduct night patrols, monitor the turtle hatchery 24 hours a day and clean up the beach in Matapalo. Night  patrols continued until mid December  to protect the nests from poachers and retrieve the eggs to the safety of the hatchery. Hatchings will continue through January.

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