Tag Archives: plantain

Sweet Plantain Canoes filled with Creamed Spinach

8 May

It’s incredible when you have the opportunity to live outside your native country, how you turn more patriotic than the flag.

I developed this recipe as part of a special post for my friend Marixsa’s blog, Mamá Boricua en Brooklyn.    She’s sharing a series of articles celebrating the Puerto Rican Parade in NYC under the moniker Abrazos Boricuas.  She was gracious to invite me to share a bit of my experience living and experiencing the Puerto Rican Day Parade for the first time, 20 years ago!!!  Can you believe it?!?!

abrazos-boricuas

If you want to read more about my story and the pride I feel about flaunting my “mancha de plátano”, please visit Mamá Boricua en Brooklyn.  And to her readers who are visiting KarmaFree Cooking for the first time, we welcome you with open arms.  Here I share many vegetarian recipes recipes that express my love for my beautiful Island, Puerto Rico.  This is one of them… enjoy!

 

Canoa de Platano Rellena de Espinacas

SWEET PLANTAIN CANOES FILLED WITH CREAMED SPINACH

4 sweet ripe plantains
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
4 oz of cream cheese
A splash of half & half or milk
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbs of pine nuts
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. Bake the plantains in their own skin…  cut a Little bit of the ends and you make a shallow slit on the inside of the plantain from one end to the other.  Place in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper side to side and bake in a 350F for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the plantains cook, we prepare the filling…  In a large skillet over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil, the onions and garlic clove.  Sweat slowly for the onions to cook and the garlic to infuse its flavor, without browning.
  3. When the onions are cooked and translucent, remove the Garlic clove and add the spinach in batches to the skillet.  It might seem like too much, but the spinach will wilt down a lot.  Cover the skillet for a few minutes to help the wilting process.  Mix the spinach and the onions well to help the spinach wilt and for the flavors to meld together.
  4. Add the cream cheese in pieces to make it easier to melt with the spinach.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  You’ll end up with a creamy spinach mixture.  If you feel the mixture is tight, add a splash of milk or half and half.
  5. When the plantains are cooked, take them out of their blackened skins and place in a baking dish all 4 plantains together side by side or in individual lasagna dishes or even shallow ramekins might work well too.
  6. Place the plantains with the natural curve to the top.  If you made the slit to the skin previously, now make the slit slightly deeper to fill the plantain on the inside.  Place ¼ of the spinach mixture over each plantain.  Sprinkle the pine nuts over the plantains evenly and cover them all with the grated mozzarella cheese.
  7. Return the plantains to the oven for a few minutes at 350F to melt and brown the cheese a bit.

 

Enjoy these plantain canoes with a nice salad and rice with corn on the side.

 

Canoa de Plátano Maduro Relleno de Espinacas y Queso

 

 

abrazos-boricuas-SQ

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Recap of our 2nd KarmaFree Cooking Class – Love Yourself First

7 Feb

Last week we had our 2nd KarmaFree Cooking class and our theme was Loving ourselves first thru our Food. Sometimes, we only cook nice things when we’re cooking for others. But why not cook something nice even if it’s just us in the house??

Clase Cocina KFC - Feb 2014 2

The recipes we shared are old and new KarmaFree Cooking recipes that work well made just for one person, for two or for a crowd. These are simple, quick and delicious recipes that work well to make just for you on a solo movie night at home and just the same are not much more effort making for a large dinner party.

RECETAS - KFC2

 

 

Here was our class menu:

Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes over Brown Rice Pasta

 Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes - KFC2

Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon Vinaigrette

 Pasta with Spinach KFC2

Spinach Salad with Macerated Strawberries

 spinach-strawberry-salad-comp

Baked Sweet Plantains with Cinnamon and Vanilla

 Platanos maduros - KFC2

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline

 Poached Pears - KFC2

Even though these were all recipes we had shared in the blog before, it’s never the same reading and making them on your own as seeing how I make them, after I have made them over and over and over again. Your words… not mine.

Plato Completo - KFC2

The class is not only about sharing recipes and techniques. We also talked about alternative pastas… we talked about my favorite olive oils and vinegars. We also talked about microplanes and rasps to grate lemon zest and how I do not like to rinse pasta after I drain it. We also shared how the same ingredients for the Marinated Tomates can be used in a bruschetta as an appetizer or skewered to make for a fancier passed hors d’oeuvre.

Tomates Marinados - KFC2

Pinchos de Mozz Tom - KFC2

I am so grateful for all of those who attended… we had a larger class this time around. Some repeats and some new students. I want to give a great shout out to Adriana from Great Food 360 who attended once again and contributed with the wonderful pictures. She rocks!!!

GRUPO - KFC2

Again to my lovely assistants Angie and Mom… who help me with the little things that keep the class rolling smoothly.

Hope you can join us for the next installment… Late April. Mark your calendars – Recipes to celebrate Mom. I am already planning the menu.

 

Plantain Little Spiders – Arañitas

10 Dec

This was supposed to be a recipe for Halloween… you know, the play on words – arañitas means “little spiders” in Spanish. Their name is mainly due to their scraggly shape, because they’re fully vegetarian and have nothing to do with the little arachnid creatures. But maybe they’re more appropriately called in English, Plantain Nests, making them a very nice option for Easter too.

This is yet another way Puerto Ricans love to eat green plantain. Variety is the spice of life and there are 1,001 ways we can cook a plantain. Tostones are most popular because they can be prepared in advance. Arañitas is something you need to grate, season and cook immediately. Not for the prep-ahead cook.

You can fry them in oil, just like you do with platanutres or chicharritas de pátano. But I have devised a way to enjoy the goodness of this Puerto Rican favorite without the need to get the deep fryer out. I am Latin, but I do not enjoy having to clean the splatter of a frying pan filled with oil.

Here is how I make arañitas…

PLANTAIN LITTLE SPIDERS – ARAÑITAS

1 green plantain, peeled
1 tbs canola oil
Garlic Salt

 

  1. After you peel the green plantain, grate it in as long strips as possible. I try to grate it on the long side to get longer strips of plantain.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the grated plantain, season with garlic salt and add the canola oil. Mix it all well to ensure the plantain is oiled and well-seasoned all over.

3.  In a non-stick skillet over low-medium heat, place little mounds of plantain. The low heat will allow the plantain mounds to cook on the inside. After a few minutes, you’ll see the outside plantain will start to stiffen and crisp up. Flip when you notice the center of the mound is turning yellow.

see why they could certainly be called nests????

4.  Keep the heat at medium-low. The arañitas will eventually crisp up on the outside and start turning golden brown.

5.  Take them out of the skillet and allow them to drain a bit on a paper towel. They may not drip any oil, but any excess oil is better left on a paper towel.

Serve alongside your favorite Puerto Rican dish – like macarrones with soy picadillo, arroz con gandules or as croutons for a delicious salad.

Dominican Mangú

4 May

As part of our “Puerto Rican” dinner in Paraguay we made mangú. Mangú is a Dominican Republic staple, actually eaten very typically for breakfast. It’s so hearty and filling that in my book is more aptly eaten as a main dish.

Mangú is made with green plantains… but if the plantains are starting to ripen and turning a bit sweet, it’s fine too. Maybe this is not the traditional Dominican way, but this is a “Puerto Rican” mangú and I say it tastes very delicious too. Usually you also create a topping/mix-in mixture to soften the green plantains with. We created a vegetable mixture made from onions, tomatoes, garlic, peppers and spinach. Onions are what’s most traditional but you can get creative and add what you have around in your fridge.

What’s best about mangús is the fried cheese. We didn’t have any, so we decided to make a vegan mangú. But if you’re not keeping a dairy-free or vegan diet, I highly recommend covering the top of the mangú with slices of fried cheese in addition to the vegetables. You will thank me after trying it.

My friend Tania is an expert on mangú and she can make it in one of a thousand varieties. So in honor of all the Dominicans in our yoga group, we give you Mangú.

DOMINICAN MANGÚ

4-5 green plantains, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
3 large yellow onions, 1 of them chopped and 2 sliced thinly
1 large green bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 large red bell pepper, sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, 2 left whole and 4 chopped finely
3 large tomatoes, chopped
4 cups of fresh spinach leaves
Olive Oil
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
Garlic and Herbs Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. First we boil the plantains… so add the cut plantains to a pot of water. Do not add too much water because we’ll use this water to mash the plantains afterwards so try to add just enough water to barely cover the plantains. Add only 1 onion that you’ve chopped and 2 garlic cloves. Add some salt to the water, cover the pot and bring to a boil. After reaching a good rolling boil, reduce the heat and cook the plantains until they’re fork-tender. That’ll take about 20-30 minutes. To prevent the plantains in the bottom from getting scorched, stir the pot a few times during the boiling process.
  2. When the plantains are cooked well, just turn off the heat and leave them there covered until you’re ready to mash them.
  3. While the plantains are boiling away, you can make the vegetable mix-in/topping…
  4. In a large deep skillet, we will cook all the vegetables for the mangú. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan over medium-high heat and add the onions slices from the 2 onions left, the strips of green and red bell pepper and the chopped garlic. Season the veggies with some salt and pepper and sauté until the onions and peppers start to soften.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and the fresh spinach. Mix in well to help the spinach wilt. The moisture in the tomatoes and spinach will start to create juices in the bottom of the pan. Those will be a tasty addition to our mangú later on. Season again with some additional salt, pepper and the garlic and herbs seasoning. Mix well and keep on cooking until the tomatoes and spinach have wilted enough and looked thoroughly cooked.

6.  To finish off, add the vinegar and mix well. This will add a nice tangy taste. Let the mixture sit until the plantains are fully cooked.

7.  Transfer the cooked plantains to a large roasting pan or baking dish… this is where you will serve it in. Transfer as much of the cooked onions and garlic as you can and most of the boiling water, but there shouldn’t be that much water anyways. Mash well with a potato masher. Make sure you have mashed every piece of plantain there is. If the mixture is dry, add as much of the boiling water as you want but you want to avoid it getting too soupy. It should have soft consistency.

8.  Add half of the vegetable mixture into the mashed plantains. Mix well using the potato masher or a large spoon. Feel free to add as much of the vegetable liquid as you want. After it’s all mixed well, add the remaining vegetable mixture over the mangú.

9.  Serve immediately. But if you can’t serve immediately, the mangú will keep warm for a while… Just cover the dish with a plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep warm on the side until you’re ready to serve. Mangú makes a great potluck dish too.

 

If you’re adding the fried cheese slices… place them on top of the mangú after you’ve mixed in half of the veggies. Place them right over the mashed plantains and pour the remaining veggies over of the cheese slices. Delicious!!!!!

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