Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This is NOT what I was going to cook today...

In fact, I left work this afternoon with every intention of coming home and creating a recipe for pizza scones! On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up pizza sauce and flour but somehow got a little bit sidetracked when I saw plantains for sale. I do like plantains but I have not eaten them in almost 2 years. This is likely due to the fact that 2 years ago when I was in Nigeria with a friend, many of my vegan food options were limited with the exception of this lovely fruit. Oh the joys of vegan dining in other countries!!! Haha. Truthfully, the trip was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed various vegetable dishes while I was there. But plantains were among the things that were ALWAYS available to me throughout the trip. Needless to say, after a few weeks of eating them at least once a day, they kind of lost their charm. Perhaps that is why it has been so long since I've wanted them. Well, until today that is... So home I went to whip up my own batch!

Fried Plantains:
(serves 2-3)

1 Plantain
Vegetable Oil
Salt or Sugar to season with (whichever you're in the mood for--salty or sweet)

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add the vegetable oil. The oil should be about 1/4 inch deep. While the oil warms, chop the plantain into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick. Add these to the oil. Be careful for any potential oil splattering as you do this! Fry the plantains for about a minute on each side. Using the back of a spatula, press down gently onto each plantain slice. Remove from the oil promptly thereafter and transfer to a plate that is covered with a paper towel. The towel should soak up excess oil as they cool. Season the plantains with either a dash of salt or sugar and then let them cool completely before enjoying.

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What better accompaniment to fried plantains than black beans with spinach and a side of rice?! It was a simple thing to throw together and I tried to incorporate a rainbow of colors. What do you think?

Black Beans with Spinach, Avocado, Rice, & Fried Plantains

Black Beans:

1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion Diced
1/2 Cup of Corn
1 Can of Black Beans
1/4 Cup of Juliened Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Pinch of Italian Seasoning
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves (A couple of handfuls)

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they become slightly browned. Add the corn and sun-dried tomatoes and mix evenly. Stir in the black beans. Add the Italian Seasoning and Red Pepper flakes. When beans are almost done, add the spinach leaves and stir for a few minutes. The idea is not to really wilt the spinach but rather to heat it just slightly as you mix it into the beans. This way it will still keep it's color and still taste extra yummy!

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Needless to say, after a meal like this, I was completely stuffed!!! And while I didn't make the pizza scones just yet, have no fear! They are still in my mind and therefore still to come! ;)

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