Monday, October 25, 2010

Tostones (Fried Plantains)

Our friend Bobby, who writes a great blog about deep fried adventures, hosted a Deep Fried Thanksgiving Potluck on Sunday. In addition to a deep fried turkey, we sampled deep-fried stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course sweet potatoes. Charlie and I decided to make tostones, or fried plantains, a dish we had loved during our trip to Nicaragua. These were very easy and really good! We couldn't cook them up fast enough for people. We served them with guacamole, but they're just as good plain or with some rice and beans.

Adapted from the Gourmet cookbook.


3 to 4 large unripe (green) or barely ripe (slightly yellow) plantains
about 2 cups olive, canola, or peanut oil for frying

1. With a sharp small knife cut ends from each plantain and cut a lengthwise slit through skin. Cut plantains crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces and, beginning at slit, pry skin from pieces. (Warning: this is a little trickier than peeling bananas!)

2. In a 12" nonstick skillet heat 1/2 inch oil over moderate heat until just hot enough to sizzle when a plantain piece is added. Fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. With tongs transfer plantains as fried to paper towels to drain.

3. Remove skillet from heat and reserve oil. With the bottom of a heavy saucepan or a wide solid metal spatula flatten plantains to 1/4 inch thick (about 3 inches in diameter). This is the most fun part.

4. Dip flattened plantains into a bowl of warm salted water, 1 at a time. Heat reserved oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and fry flattened plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to transfer tostones to paper towels to drain. Season with salt if desired.

5. Serve immediately.

Yield: Makes 18 to 24 tostones

Orange Cake With Triple Sec

This cake is remarkably delicious, elegant, and easy. I made it in small loaf pans and left the nuts on the bottom; it would probably be delicious with the nuts on top! This can be made using cake mix, or from scratch.


  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 box yellow cake mix, or replace with cake ingredients below
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water (or OJ or Triple Sec)
  • Glaze (recipe follows)
Cake ingredients to replace cake mix:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 T butter


Sprinkle pecans over the bottom of a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except glaze. Beat with an electric mixer on 30 seconds at low speed of an electric mixer; then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Pierce cake all over with meat fork, skewer, or wooden pick. Spoon glaze slowly over cake, letting it sink in.


· 1/4 cup butter (or less)

· 1/4 cup orange juice

· 1/2 granulated cup sugar (or less)

· 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

· 1/2 cup Curacao or Triple Sec

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in orange juice and sugar; bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in orange zest and liqueur.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Indian Chicken

I had some leftover Indian food from a dinner in Somerville with a friend, and Charlie and I wanted to eat it for dinner. We decided to supplement the aloo chole and rice with some Indian-flavored chicken. I loosely adapted this recipe from this one at the blog

Tandoori Chicken Marinade

  • 2-3 tablespoons of plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric or curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • optional: coriander, ground chili pepper, garlic
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper

Mix the ingredients together, until they form a smooth paste.

This makes enough for around 3 or 4 chicken breasts. We cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, but you could also leave the breasts whole. Cover the chicken with the marinade. Leave it to marinate for 10min - 2hrs (the longer you let it sit, the deeper the flavors.

Cook on the stove-top or on the grill (7min per side for a whole chicken breast, 3min per side for cut-up chicken).

Serve with basmati rice!