Friday, March 12, 2010


This is my latest submission for the April edition of Dominical Days.


Hallelujah!! It is now possible to buy organic produce and fresh fish in Uvita four days a week and under one roof. GLAGLEMAR has opened in the Uvita Rincon.

While the rest of the civilized world has been able to purchase organic produce for several years, it has taken far too long for it to reach the Zona Sur. We have suffered the indignity of having to buy produce trucked in and looking and tasting the worse because of it. Yes, we have a once a week Feria, but that certainly doesn’t address our daily needs.

At last we can get produce straight from the farm. Finca Los Coriotos to be exact. Ademar Valera and Mauren Jimenez are harvesting their fields and bringing their crops to Uvita Monday-Wednesday and also to the Saturday Feria. No more picking through a selection of vegetables of limited and dubious quality. Carrots are carrots and onions are onions, but when I want a great salad, or fresh green vegetables for my dinner, I shudder to look in the local markets.

And joining Ademar and Mauren under the GLAGLEMAR roof is fish from Pescado Jomar.. Previously, our options have been to either truck down a dirt road and deal with a buying a whole fish or to go to our markets and look at the sad watery filets either formerly frozen or sitting forlornly in a watery bath of melting ice.

Alongside the gorgeous organic produce we can now also buy fresh tuna, pargo, dorado and shrimp straight from the Pacific in one kilo packages. This is the same operation who have been doing a great business on Fridays at the entrance to Ojochal. Now they’re in Uvita.

Please help us all by supporting these courageous folks. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, You Get What You Need.


What I really like for dinner on a hot night is a great piece of fish on a fresh green salad; simply cooked and nicely dressed. When it gets as hot as it has been here this summer, this makes an excellent solution to keeping it simple. This is so easy, you can make it at home and never heat up the kitchen.

Cut a couple of nice pieces of pargo or tuna off a filet, season them with salt and pepper and let them rest while you fire up the grill and then prepare a great salad. Cut a tomato into wedges and lightly salt it, slice a red bell pepper into rings, slice a few radishes (I like radishes) as thin as you can, and of course peel and slice a ripe avocado. Put a mix of fresh organic lettuces in your salad bowl. They get washed by the farmers so, don’t worry about dirt or grit. The wetter young organic greens get, the quicker they wilt, so keep them dry. Put everything in the fridge while you make this simple summer dressing.


1 Tsp (5 mL) Dijon Mustard

1 clove chopped garlic

2 Tsp (5 mL) Mandarina juice

2 Tsp (5 mL) Red Wine Vinegar

½ (120 mL) Cup Olive Oil (use a good one)

salt and pepper (to taste)

Whisk the Dijon, garlic, mandarina, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined. While still whisking vigorously, add the olive oil in a slow but steady stream.

Put the fish on the grill and when it is just about ready, toss the lettuces and vegetables with a couple of teaspoons of the dressing.

Plate the salad and place the tomato and avocado on top.

Nestle the grilled fish up next to your salad and sprinkle a bit of dressing on top.

Sit outside on the patio, pour yourself something cold, and enjoy.

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Wednesday May 13, 2009 La Cusinga and Me

This words below are from our website describing La Cusinga.  The story, however is much deeper and much richer than these introductory words can describe.  La Cusinga represents a noble and successful effort to preserve this section of unspoiled coast and to keep it alive as a model of what true ecology can accomplish.  The dreams and visions of John Tresemer, the owner of La Cusinga and the Finca Tres Hermanas that surrounds it, have been realized here in what is a true example for all who would preserve and protect what remains of this, or any natural wonder. 

La Cusinga 
La Cusinga Lodge is a coastal rainforest eco lodge dedicated to marine and terrestrial conservation and environmental education. Its location on the southern Pacific coast provides guests with sweeping ocean views and a relaxing beach vacation. In addition La Cusinga is part of a private nature reserve that supplies the visitor with an unparalleled look at Costa Rican wildlife and rainforest. The reserve consists primarily of 250 hectares of virgin rainforest that borders thousands of more acres of privately protected forest. On Costa Rica’s still wild south-western Pacific coast, La Cusinga Lodge borders Ballena Marine National Park which was developed to protect the humpback whales that frequent the coast. La Cusinga Lodge was established in order to share the unique site with Costa Ricans as well as international visitors. Besides getting exposure to rural Costa Rican culture and beautiful vistas, visitors have access to highly prolific areas of primary tropical rainforest and unspoiled coast, all conveniently accessible. 

i returned to La Cusinga this past January, 2009, with a dream in mind.  I wanted to create a cuisine for our guests that would bridge the gap between what La Cusinga offered physically and spiritually, and what they were putting in their bodies when they ate here.  I knew from having previously lived in Costa Rica for over two years that there were organic farmers and that sustainable agriculture was being practiced, but at that time it had been limited in its scope as well as its distribution.  

My first steps upon returning were toward the local Feria to seek out and communicate my ideas with the growers and vendors who could provide me with a local, organic and sustainable product.  The fertile valleys of San Isidro that lie over the coastal mountains and to the Northeast of our Pacific location are rich and productive but are only now exploring the potential that they hold.  

I had in mind a vision that would support local farmers, fishermen and food artisans and one that would recreate (or perhaps, create) a new cuisine of Coastal Costa Rica.  I visit the markets each week to talk with growers and to develop the  relationships that I believe will be mutually beneficial as Costa Rica experiences its rapid growth on an international level
Organic farming is a new and not heavily supported concept in our part of Costa Rica.  It is a brave step for farmers to make, as local communities of both growers and consumers have never placed, or not known to place, an importance on farming organically and sustainably.  I feel a responsibility as a Chef here to be at the forefront of those encouraging and supporting these pioneers  

I came to La Cusinga almost three years ago not knowing what to expect.  My first time through here was characterized by a lack of understanding and appreciation on my part as well as an inability to recognize or connect with the local "flavor" that would make for a coherent package for out guests.  I now feel as if I have made a "connect" with the property and the vision.  I am not completely satisfied and hopefully, never will be, until we are able to produce, right here at La Cusinga, the greater share of the produce we serve.  However, the groundwork has been laid with local farmers and the availability and quality of organic produce is impressive.

Now at La Cusinga I serve a variety of organic lettuces and braising greens.  My salads include wedges or slices of rich red tomatoes as well as sweet !00 and yellow pear cherry tomatoes.  I roast organic beets and marinate them in balsamic vinegar to be served alongside the lettuces and topped with a locally made organic goat cheese.

My soups are made from roasted and steamed local organic vegetables and tiny organic yellow creamer potatoes have found their way onto my plates, nestled against filets of locally caught fish.
I am now using a local organic cocoa powder that still contains the nuggets of cocoa butter unlike the fined cocoa powder in the markets.

And better still, I am able to use palmito (hearts of palm), ginger, cilantro and its sawtooth leafed cousin culantro coyote, mangoes, hot and sweet chiles, mandarina limes and yucca root from our own Finca Tres Hermanas to serve in my dining room at La Cusinga.   The connection from jungle and farm to table is evolving.  May it continue to grow.