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Updates: Costa Rica, Cultural Survival and Vegan Cooking Classes

Posted May 14 2009 5:01pm
Returning home to New England after a week+ of warmth and coconuts on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is taking some adjustment. I spent a lot of time over our Thanksgiving getaway reading, thinking, writing, cooking, learning, walking in the rain, swimming, meeting people and animals, getting bug bites and watching the stars come out in pitch black skies. Now I'm home. The leaves have all shaken loose from the trees, snow flakes whisked through the air last night and I'm shivering under my glad-to-see-me-again cats' warmth, but I'm tranquilo. It's good to be back and it was good to be away.

Omar opens a coconut en route from Manzanillo to Punta Mona

My reflections and photos will have to wait for me to catch up on all that has been left on hold while I've been gone, but for the moment, some pressing news and some more personal updates. The pressing first: it's been raining where we were in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica. Really, really raining. Bridges out, cities closes, mudslides, crops destroyed, people displaced, homes flooded, utter destruction kind of rain. This introduced some difficulties for me and my friends, but our troubles were a speck of dust compared to the struggles that people in that area of Costa Rica and Panama have and will continue to face. The indigenous people who live in the Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica have been particularly impacted. Also, in Yorkin, another area occupied by the BriBri people, the entire water system, septic system, lodge and communal kitchen have been wiped out. Their crops are completely destroyed as well. USAID is providing relief in Costa Rica and in the impacted areas of Panama as well, but if you can give anything to help, it would surely be welcomed. In Puerto Viejo, where we stayed, many places were gathering donations of much needed food and water. The Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (you can contact Alaine at has been bringing these donations to BriBri and is continuing to collect for the area. If you've ever enjoyed a trip to Costa Rica or Panama, here is a chance to give something back.

me with my adopted kitten, 'Quilo
at the veg-owned Cashew Hill in Puerto Viejo
In other much less significant news, I've been delinquent in posting a link to the interview I did a while ago with the lovely Cathleen of Vegan Nutritionista. She's been interviewing lots of interesting people from the veg-blog world and I am honored to be included. So, if you'd like to learn more about my vegan philosophy, soymilk preference, travel experiences, baking business, eating for immune system support, as well as my fondness for alpacas and pygmy goats, check it out here.

star anise and port ganache cupcake
And if the interview just isn't enough, you can come see me this weekend at the Cultural Survival Bazaar in Boston. It is being held December 6 and 5 from 10-6pm at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street. I'll be there both days with plenty of baked goods for sale.

yeasted sugar cake with muscato poached plums
Also for Boston-area folks, I'll be teaching some upcoming classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. The first will be a winter desserts class where we'll make things like the yeasted sugar cake pictured above as well as olive oil and anise cake with blood orange macedonia, spiced fig and apricot compote, black pepper apple galette with salted caramel sauce, and a variety of truffles. It's being held on Saturday, January 31 from 11:00 am–2:00 pm at 42 Brattle Street in Cambridge. You can register here.

fettuccini alfredo with smoked paprika,
cabbage and green beans

I'll also be teaching a cooking series where we'll make a well-balanced main dishes from around the world that really show off all the different ways to incorporate plant-based proteins in your diet, including a chickpea polenta tart, white kidney bean and seitan stew in phyllo cups, fennel sausage and pear pizza, fettuccini alfredo, tofu laksa, cashew cheese endive and roasted beet salad, macadamia kibbeh, and tempeh sambal. It will start on March 9th (the day after my birthday, take note!) and you can register for it on the CCAE website.

Hasta luego, amigos.
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