Tuesday, August 24, 2010

lovin’ on plantains

Hello friends!

I’m in training for Americorps this week (and it is going AWESOMELY thus far!). As such, I do not have the time or mental wherewithal to blog. So I’m going with some prefab ones I wrote earlier in the month when I had more free time! Updates to come!

The other day I spent the day downtown and took Metro to Ballston, where my mom works, to bum a ride home with her.

Then we were in Ballston. And had nothing inspiring waiting for us at home and were both really tired. Thus, dinner out!

We hit up Caribbean Breeze,  I looked at the menu, and was left somewhat dizzy. There were many many plantain options. This was huge. After some agonizing, we went with:


Tostones. Fried green plantains, fritter-ified. Your latke’s sexy Latin cousin. So good.

I go crazy on plantains. CRAZY. I love them so much. I eat them at every opportunity. If they are on a menu, I can’t not order them.

I mean, it is fortunate that at least where I live (i.e. not, for example, somewhere like Miami where there’s crazy amounts of delicious Cuban food) plantains are not often found on menus. Since they are usually deep fried (if not deep fried multiple times).

To round out our meal, we also had:


Chicken tamales and:


Delicious though unfortunately unphotogenic soft shell crab tacos, a special. The soft shell crab legs were delicious. In this picture, they look a bit frightening.

I was alas, too dehydrated to enjoy Caribbean Breeze’s signature drink, but you can bet I had a sip of this gorgeous mojito.


So with all the plantain lovin’ in my life, it did seem slightly ridiculous that I had never actually made them. Like, I cook. Obviously.

I remedied this a week or so ago using these lovely fresh ingredients:


It always seemed silly that I had never made my own. My local HMart, despite being ostensibly a Korean grocery store, is always filled with Hispanic staples because my neighborhood is an awesome melting pot of (delicious) ethnicities. So they have various delicious frijoles, panes, dulces, etc. etc.

Aaaaaaand platanos! Te amo, mis amores!

The recipe in question was from Discovery of a Continent, by Marcus Samuelsson, who’s been popping up all over top chef and whatnot. It’s an African cookbook that I’ve been wanting to make something from since I bought it. My dad was actually born in Kenya (my little sister, Malindi, was named for a city near where they lived) and his father was South African. So it’s nice to get in touch with that part of my heritage. And the best way to get in touch with one’s heritage is, obviously, edible!

So. The recipe. Roasted plantains and eggplant. I roasted some plantains and eggplant! 


I was pleased to learn that just by roasting, in the skin, you get a lot of the same sweet stickiness that you get with the more traditional, unhealthy cooking methods.

How awesomely semi-dirty is this picture?!


He has you slice the plantains, then toss them in a slightly whacky mixture of coffee, soy sauce, spices, brown sugar, and maple syrup… hm..


You roast them for a bit longer and then they’re REALLY beautiful.


Though the final dish, I’ve gotta say, is not that attractive. You were supposed to puree the eggplant with the coffee and then roast the plantains with the other stuff and toss that with the eggplant puree… but I read the directions lazily, so I just finely diced the cooked eggplant and tossed it with the plantains and its soaking liquid. It worked.


The final dish, despite all my excitement over it, was actually just okay. I think the soy sauce overpowered the other ingredients- next time I’m cutting back!

The accompanying dishes were quite simple and quite delish.


Roasted chickpeas: chickpeas tossed with cumin (lots), garlic powder (lots), chili powder (a bit), and olive oil and roasted at 400 for… awhile? Til they looked like this!


I ended up tossing the leftovers in with my quinoa salad for work lunch. It was grand.

And finally, rounding out what I’m realizing ended up being a rather sodium-heavy meal:



Our refrigerator shelf has gotten wayyyyy classier thanks to the return of local farmer’s market pickles! Soooooooooooooooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooooood.


From Here to There. In Purple. said...

love: plaintains. and pickles.

good luck with the training!!

Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

I have never tried plantains. I've always been curious about them, but I've never had the opportunity to try them at a restaurant and never thought to buy them and try them out on my own. Something to add to the "to do" list perhaps.

fittingbackin said...

Um.... I want that mojito. Stat!!

I've never tried plantain's either!

Sonia said...

those all look great! I have only had plantain chips- so good!

Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said...

Mojitos are great :)

Have fun at the training!