In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here is another of our favorites. This appears on our table quite often.
5 Tbsp canola oil
The first step is to peel the plantain. If you have never cooked plantains before, remember, they may look like green bananas, but they are different. They cannot be eaten raw, and the peel is thicker and tougher than a banana peel. It must be removed with a knife. If you are really adept at this, you can make a slit down the side and open the peel right off. I can’t always do this. If you can’t either, don’t feel bad. As long as you get the peel off, that’s all that matters.
After peeling the plantain, you need to chop it into 5 or 6 pieces.
Fry the plantain pieces in the canola oil until lightly browned.
When browned, remove and drain on paper towel. Now they have to be flattened. You can do this one of two ways. You can buy a tostonera which is made for this purpose, or you can use the bottom of a saucer. The tostonera does not have to be expensive. I think I paid $1.99 for this one and I found it in, of all places, an Amish store in Crofton, KY. Go figure that one…. Anyway, here is how you flatten the browned pieces.
After flattening, return the pieces to the pan and refry until they are crispy.
Remove from the pan, drain on a paper towel, and salt to taste.
And now, for the garlic sauce. Some people want a dipping sauce for their tostones, some eat them alone. Either way is fine. I happen to like the sauce, so I serve it on the side so that everyone has an option.
Adapted from A TASTE OF PUERTO RICO by Yvonne Ortiz (PLUME, 1997)
8 garlic cloves
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. GOYA® Adobo
The easier, modern way is to use a food processor. If you have a mini-food processor, even better. Otherwise, you can use a mortar and pestle, and yes, I have done it that way. The food processor yields a smoother sauce, though.
music to cook by . . .
Until next time, Happy Cooking! :)
“It is through art that we will prevail and we will endure. It lives on after us and defines us as people.” Rita Moreno, Actress (1931- )
According to Wikipedia, the term Hispanic is used to denote a link to Spain, whether it is a culture or a group of people. This is why the people of the countries and islands who were once ruled by Spain are labeled Hispanic today. As these geographical locations encompass a large variety of customs, traditions, cuisines, and music/art forms, the Hispanic community is a diverse group which cannot be limited to a stereotype.
Of course, my bias tends to lean toward Puerto Rico. The fact that SuperHubby is Puerto Rican couldn’t have anything to do with that, could it? ;) Over the past eleven years, I have learned a lot about that beautiful island and its people. In case you didn’t know (and I’m always amazed at how many do NOT know), Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth, just like people from Connecticut, Tennessee, Utah, etc. They do not need a “green card” or a passport to travel, live, or work in the continental United States. Okay; I’ll step down from my soapbox now….
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of years, you are aware that I cook a lot of Puerto-Rican influenced cuisine on here. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I am reposting one of our favorite recipes here.
One of the first things I learned to cook is Puerto Rican style yellow rice. It is a basic dish, and varies slightly depending on the cook. Usually, I just “eyeball” it, so when I decided to post this recipe, I had to stop and measure the ingredients as I cooked. Again, this is one of those things that can vary according to your tastes, so don’t get too hung up on being exact.
1 packet GOYA® Sazón with Coriander and Annatto (con Culantro Y Achiote)
1 packet GOYA® Chicken Bouillon
1 Tbsp. GOYA® Frozen Recaito, thawed
½ C. tomato sauce
2 C. water
2 C. medium-grain white rice
1 Tbsp. diced ham
2 Tbsp. alcaparrado
To effectively cook rice, you need to find just the right pot in which to cook it. I use a caldero, which is the traditional cooking pot used for cooking rice and other foods in Puerto Rico. Basically, it's a Dutch oven.
Heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add the next 7 ingredients.
When the water comes to a boil, add the rice.
Turn the rice down to low.
When the water has evaporated until it is level with the rice, add the ham and alcaparrado, stir once, put the lid on and turn heat as low as possible.
Let rice simmer approximately 20 minutes. Now, you don't want your rice to be too wet. This should not be a sticky rice; but, of course, you don't want it to stick and burn. The only way this will work is to LEAVE THE RICE ALONE!! This is very difficult for me. My usual approach to cooking is to hover over the stove, checking, stirring, sometimes even praying. With yellow rice, you can't do this. Well, you can pray, but you need to do it from a distance. I have learned that when I turn it down and put the lid on, it's best to just leave the room. Really. You have to do this.
Now, as for alcaparrado, it is a combination of olives, capers, and pimentos. If you can't find it in your store, don't sweat it; just use pimento stuffed olives. If you can't find the packets of chicken bouillon, again, don't worry. Just use a chicken bouillon cube. It's basically the same.
music to cook by . . .
Until next time, Happy Cooking! :)
“On a national level there is a tendency to portray Latino culture as a monolithic entity, which is a really inaccurate way of seeing ourselves. There is as much diversity and uniqueness within the Latino culture as there is in any other kind of American culture.” - Benjamin Bratt, Peruvian Indigenous/American actor
1 big handful angel-hair pasta (break into 3 pieces)
In large stockpot, heat oil. Add the salchichón, garlic, Adobo, onion, cilantro cubes, ajies dulces, and parsley; saute on medium 5 minutes. Add the broth, Sazón, recaito, and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in tomato, olives, and celery; lower heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Add potato and pasta. Let simmer additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate pasta.
Serve with white rice.
Okay…it’s a little messy, but that’s real life, right?
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ― Roald Dahl
Here on the blog and here at home we are experiencing a lot of changes right now. At home, we are in the process of selling our home in Florida and and moving back to Kentucky. As you can imagine, the decision to move and change our lives has been a difficult one. We met one another here in Florida, our memories are here, and we built a life together here. And having to leave our youngest son and his wife and baby is heart-wrenching. But we know we are ultimately doing the right thing and everything will work out in the end.
And here on the blog, I am in the process of changing the look of the blog and possibly moving the entire thing. So, in between packing to move, I am working on the blog changes. What this means is that there is no spare time. We have been surviving on sandwiches quite a bit lately. Fortunately, I haven’t packed the slow cooker yet.
SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 C vegetable broth
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
3-4 boneless pork chops
Adobo to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together first 8 ingredients. Pour into slow cooker. With tip of sharp knife, make small cuts in chops. Season with Adobo. Cook on HIGH 3-4 hours. Baste occasionally with sauce.
As you may have noticed, we eat a lot of rice around here. Now, I like rice as well as the next person, but occasionally I do need a little variety in my diet. One day this week, I was thinking of making plain white rice when I decided we were needing a little variety in our rice. Lately, cilantro and lime sounds good to me, so I decided to add those flavors to my rice. Here is the result.