As you're leaving your house, you count the change for the bus. It's 250 to San José. You struggle to cover all of your bags with the umbrella you bought two years ago, it's rusty and you hope it will work, at least one more rainy season. It's damp out, still not raining too hard. As you walk to the bus stop, you pass by the motorcycles who have budged the rest of the cars and are waiting impatiently underneath the stoplight. Rounding the corner is the bus, and you're in luck- it's rush hour and it's crowded. Maybe you'll have to wait for another bus to come (there are no schedules here; or if there are, nobody follows them). With the bottom of your pants and your feet already wet, you board the next bus behind your fellow bus-mates.
As you hike up the enormous steps (they don't look as big as they did when you were a kid), you are greeted by the familiar, disgusting smell of a too-full, damp bus with the windows closed. It's stuffy. There are too many people. The bus driver hands you your change. You put it away, all the while trying not to splash anyone with your umbrella that refuses to close. The bus driver pulls away swiftly, changing the gears in a very rough fashion; the lady in front of you almost falls back. Not only are you feeling claustrophobic and stuffy, but you are wet and struggling to hold your books and bags with one hand, and the greasy pole with the other. The smell of fried chicken is wafting through the air, and as you look to the back of the bus you see a heavy lady licking her fingers and laughing.
This is the worst of the bus rides. Rainy season, please don't come soon.
Gnocchi with tomato pesto
Pesto adapted from Tessa Kiros' amazing cookbook, Apples for Jam
Serves 4 generously
2 packages (500g) potato gnocchi*
4 TBSP olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled
14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
½ cup basil leaves, torn
¼ cup walnuts or pine nuts (chop walnuts coarsely)
⅓ cup Parmesan, grated
To make the tomato pesto, heat 2 TBSP of the olive oil in a saucepan with one of the garlic cloves. When sizzling, add the tomato and season with salt. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced and the tomato thickens and becomes smooth, crushing up with a wooden spoon from time to time.
Meanwhile, chop the remaining garlic clove and put it in your food processor with the basil and nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil and the Parmesan and pulse just until combined. Stir into the tomato sauce and heat for about 30 seconds. Remove the whole garlic clove and serve.
Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water until they float to the top. Combine when ready to serve.
*Note: I used only one 500g package of gnocchi and realized it probably only serves 2 hungry people. If you are only serving 2, you can use just one package, but keep in mind there will be some remaining pesto left over.