I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather! I know I have!
I head off to Germany/Belgium/MERocco in about a week and have decided against bringing the good ole laptop. I’m traveling a bit lighter this trip – only taking a backpack and day-pack, and I am avoiding all extra weight. Soooo unless one of you has an iPad you’d like to lend me for the trip, the blogging will be quite limited. Then again, you never know what type of internet cafe’s I might find. AND Michael might have his laptop. But still, any iPad lending is totally welcomed ;).
It’s been a total whirlwind here this spring. I’m working with the family still, and starting up a new venture with three amazing people I met through the Slow Food chapter. All I can tell you so far, is that I’m practicing my crepe twirling, serving, and taste-testing :). And they’re the best crepes I’ve ever tasted. I’ll have more information for you in a few weeks!
Fortunately, I’ve still had time to make delicious treats inspired by our trip to Puerto Rico!
Plantains or platanos as they’re known in PR, have been on sale for around seventy cents a piece. While they’re not quite as local as I’d like, you can’t help but buy some when you’re craving tostones and yam stew. Cynthia picked some up and we got to work. The stew was something Angelo made for dinner one night on the Finca. Let me just say, and I’m sure as many of you know, you can build up quite an appetite while digging, building, and raking. That being said, I expect this to be a judgement free zone. Because when I say we inhaled the stew, I mean we INHALED it. And when things like that happen, you think to yourself WOW that was soooo good but I was so hungry I could have eaten hot dogs and they would have tasted like filet mignon. I know you know what I’m talking about. The times when a peanut butter and jelly smammich tastes like brie and honey with toasted walnuts and arugula. Your hunger dictates your enthusiasm. I thought this might be the case with the yam stew. I was REALLY happy to prove myself wrong. It was everything that it was the first time I had it and if you think I’m making that up, ask Cynthia because she loved it.
It’s a pretty simple recipe – yams, plantains, avocado, adobo seasoning, EVOO. Keep in mind though, that simple ingredients do not mean a bland taste. That might be the best thing about this recipe. Directions-wise, peel and chop up two to three yams (or more depending on how many you’re feeding or how much yard work you’ve done that day). Leaving the skin on, slice two plantains (or more, see above) like you would slice a banana to put on your cereal. For this stew, you want the green plantains. I have another recipe for yellow plantains you’ll see below. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the yams/plantains, and bring it to a boil. Throw in a quarter of a cup adobo seasoning. This is a brand of seasoning but you can easily make your own, which we did, with spices you probably already have in your cupboard. Just google it! Let simmer for around 30 minutes. In the meantime, slice up an avocado. The stew is done when your yams and plantains are tender and slip off your fork when you pierce them. You should peel the plantains at this point: you do not want to eat the skin. They’re just easier to peel once cooked. To serve, spoon some yams and plantains into a bowl. Drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with adobo seasoning, and top with a spoon-full of avocado. You are SET! Now, to eat, you’re supposed to smash it all up together but I know a lot of people that would be freaked out by this. I’ve eaten it both as is, and smashed up, and I really enjoyed it both ways. I just happen to come from a long line of smashers. I think in life you’re either a smasher or a purist. If you eat your mashed potatoes with a little bit of everything mixed in them (corn, peas, gravy, turkey) then your a smasher. If everything on your plate is always separated by two centimeters AT LEAST in order to preserve individual flavors, then you’re a purist. I digress. If you have never tasted a plantain cooked, you should try a bite – you’ll be surprised by the taste.
*I’d like to just make the comment that the UCK on my t-shirt in this picture is from the word “PUCK”. I’m a hockey enthusiast. But after looking at this picture I determined an explanation was needed because upon first glance you would think it said something else. Just saying.
Now for the tostones. These are smashed yellow plantains, fried in oil and lightly salted. Peel your yellow plantain, dice the fleshy bit, again, like you would cut up a banana to put on top of your cereal. They can be as thin as you like – I like them about a a quarter of an inch thick. Smash them a bit on your cutting board using the bottom of a jar or glass. Then heat up some frying oil in a pan or iron skillet. I used about one centimeter of safflower oil in a small iron skillet. Let it heat up a bit and then throw your smashed plantains in, as many as will fit to create one even layer. Let each one have about two minutes before you flip it using tongs or a slated spoon. When the other side is done, spoon them onto a plate covered in paper towels to blot up some of the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Invite me over. Eat them.
And for the finale: Mango frozen yogurt. Now, if we know each other well, or if you’ve seen me in the grocery store shopping at any point in time, you’ll know I LOVE Chobani plain non-fat greek yogurt. I’ve had employees stocking the cereal section pull out a case for me when there were none left on the shelf. (Now now, we all have our vices.) It’s the best yogurt in the world and I’m pretty sure something so rich and creamy shouldn’t be good for you but, oh, it is. A lot of people don’t like plain yogurt because it’s slightly tangy and unsweetened. TRY IT WITH HONEY. TRY IT WITH AGAVE. Eat it with fresh berries and you won’t even notice the lack of sugar. It’s chock full of calcium and protein. What else can you really ask of it?
Combine my love of yogurt with the fact that mangoes are ‘in season’ which basically means you can get a whole box of them from the market for cheap. If you like to eat mangoes, this is the time of year for it. Any other time of year they’re pretty expensive AND come from really far away places which is, of course, bad for the environment. The problem with this, is my eyes are bigger than my stomach I guess. I can’t eat them fast enough. They’re suddenly all ripe and I feel guilty eating one mango over another. THEY’RE ALL READY TO EAT. HOW DO I CHOOSE? Well, I grabbed them all and chopped them all up and some are going into the freezer and some are going to become something delicious sooner, rather than later. Mango frozen yogurt.
Thank you SmittenKitchen for encouraging me to utilize the ice cream maker we have, thank you Cynthia for having an ice cream maker, and thank you Lauren for this recipe from which I created my mango frozen yogurt. I followed Lauren’s recipe, almost exactly. I used non-fat Chobani instead of full-fat because that’s what we have in the fridge. I did add a few tablespoons of 2% milk and a quarter of a cup more mango. And for a little ooomph, I added some lemon juice. Because I think lemon juice makes everything fruity taste better. I left out the vodka, because I didn’t want a ‘soft-serve’ result. Oh and thank you Chobani, for enabling my addiction.
Pictures of the actual frozen yogurt to come!
Ok, this was an extremely long post and I have learned that maybe I should update more frequently. But that probably won’t happen. Sorry!