I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tostones and Mojo Sauce

I grew up eating a lot of canned veggies as a side dish. Throughout college and my early married life almost no meal was served without canned green beans or corn. Now I have broken out of that rut and am constantly on the lookout for new, interesting side dishes.
This dish may be a new all-time favorite. Tostones are plantains that are sliced, fried, squished, and fried again. Mojo is actually a marinade that is used for meats, but can also be used as a sauce (it is pretty yummy served over pernil). The tostones are excellent on their own, but top them off with a little mojo and they are heaven. The tostones recipe is from multiple sources--most of them are almost identical in directions, but the mojo is my own take on this sauce/marinade.

(multiple sources)
2 plantains
cooking oil
warm, salted water

Peel the plantains and slice into pieces 1-1 1/2" thick. Heat enough oil in a skillet to have it about 1" deep over medium high heat. Make sure the oil is hot before beginning to cook!
In small batches, cook the plantain slices about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
Using anything flat and slightly heavy (or using a tostone press, if you can find one), press/squish the plantains on a flat surface until they are about 1/4" thick.
Dip the squished plantains into the salty water and then place back into the hot oil. Cook until they are slightly brown and crispy on each side.
Salt immediately after removing tostones from the frying oil. These can be served alone or with a sauce, such as mojo.

Mojo Sauce
Juice from 3 limes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB chopped cilantro
1/4 t. cumin
1/8 t. allspice
1/3 c. olive oil

Mix together lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin and allspice. Add olive oil slowly as you are briskly whisking the mixture. Can be used as a sauce or marinade.

Nemmie's Crunchy Pea Salad

Don't you just love the food blogging community? So many cool people and so many great ideas. And people will actually "listen" to you go on and on about food!
I love Nemmie's Blog, Cast Sugar. I always bookmark things from her site and this is one of those that I've been wanting to try for a while. It's one of those great summer treats that helps you stay cool in the kitchen by not having to cook (except for a little bacon) and is cool and refreshing to eat. I think it would be the perfect picnic side dish. So thanks Nemmie for such a great recipe!

Nemmie's Crunchy Pea Salad
(from Cast Sugar)
8 slices bacon
1 (10 oz.) package frozen green peas, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 c. finely chopped red onion (or use green onions)
2/3 c. low-fat sour cream
1 c. chopped cashews or sunflower seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.In a medium bowl, combine peas, celery, onion, and sour cream. Toss gently to mix.Just before serving, stir nuts and bacon into salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm a Half Marathoner

No, this post has nothing to do with cooking. But it does have to do with taking advantage of all of the things this city has to offer, which really is one of the things this blog is about.

On Sunday, July 27, I got up (sooo early in the morning, around 3:30am) to run the Nike NYC Half Marathon. I couldn't have asked for better weather for a late July morning. It was a little rainy at first, but then that let up and it was cloudy and fairly cool the rest of the race. I lined up for the start with the about 10,600 other people and got ready to run.

It was such a fun experience. We ran a little over a full loop of Central Park, then around mile 7.5 we exited the park down 7th Avenue. I got to see my wonderful hubby for a brief moment and a quick kiss around 47th Street, and then it was on to Times Square. The streets had been shut down and we got to run right down the middle of the road, getting cheered on by spectators and tourists, and getting serenaded by bands along the way. Right after mile 9 we turned onto the West Side Highway and finally finished up the 13.1 miles at Battery Park. I finished in 2:22:54, a 10:54 pace. Not winning any races, but I was proud to just finish this time around! I'm looking forward to running another so I can get faster. Also looking forward to running a full marathon next year...I'll let you know when I decide which one to run.