Hacienda Mérida, Cheap Food Nicaragua

We had to get out of Costa Rica for the weekend to get our visitor’s visa renewed, so we headed to Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. We were told to visit the Hacienda Mérida on the southern part of the island, hike to a waterfall and kayak on the lake. The owner is a local Nicaraguan, who speaks perfect English and knows how to run a hotel and destination for travelers.

They grow almost all their own food on the property, and it pretty regular to see some pigs stroll by while laying in a hammock or a hen and her chicks pecking the ground while eating. The garden was full of egg plant and a variety of lettuces and other vegetables, not to mention the banana trees all over the property. The Hacienda Mérida is a true example of sustainable living and sustainable food.

The best thing about the food served this weekend was by far the homemade bread. It was a whole grain bread with whole peanuts. Peanuts in the bread isn’t something I expected to see, but it definitely added an amazing flavor and texture. The sandwiches were amazing (fresh fish from the lake lightly battered and fried) and so were the enchiladas (Nicaragua-style). And talk about cheap food, the sandwiches come with homemade potato chips for $3.50, which I’m told is pretty expensive for Nicaragua.

We were sad to leave, but definitely know where to go to find cheap food on Ometepe Island and Nicaragua.

Curry Chickpea Pasta Recipe

curry-chickpea-pasta

Again…another night with nothing to be found in the pantry and a hungry husband. I remembered seeing a recent post made by a fellow foodie for some curried chickpea dip and saw that i had a can in the pantry, so i decided to take the inspiration of the dip and make a pasta dish. I wanted to stuff cannelloni noodles with a curried chickpea filling, but I ended up just layering the baking dish with the flattened noodles instead.

Here’s the cheap food here, on-the-fly recipe:

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb of Cannelloni pasta
1- 20oz Can of Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans
5- fresh mushrooms diced
1- medium sweet onion diced
4- cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic (more or less to taste)
1/4 C. crushed walnuts
3- Tbl of olive oil
1- Tbl of yellow curry powder
1- Tsp garlic salt
1- Tsp white pepper
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
2- ripe tomatoes diced
1 1/2 C. shredded cheese (I used peppered Gouda)

DIRECTIONS

1) Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and rinse.
2) Saute the garlic, onions and mushrooms in olive oil for 2-3 minutes on med-high heat. Add the garbanzos, curry powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix well. Saute for 2 more minutes.
3) Reduce heat to medium and add the diced tomatoes. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and remove from heat.
4) Spoon out half of the chickpea mixture into a 9 x 9″ baking dish and layer cannelloni noodles on top. Spoon out the remaining mixture on the noodles and top with walnuts and cheese.
5) Bake on 350 for 15-20 minutes uncovered