Monday, September 30, 2013

Plantain Lasagna

We LOVE plantains at our house.  On the weekends the kids repeatedly ask for mangu, which I first had at my mother-in-law's and tweaked it a little.  It's a Dominican dish that uses green plantains.  Where I live there are not a lot of Dominicans, but rather Mexican and Puertoricans who use ripe plantains (yellow).  So to get a green plantain is sometimes tricky.  I have to get them close to the delivery date to the store, or wait until the next delivery.  There is a small farmers market open daily that has them, but again, most of the time they are yellow.  

For this dish the recipe called for ripe plantains, which if you have had one you know they are sweet.  I wasn't really feeling a sweet lasagna.  For me yellow plantains are good sliced and sauteed in a little oil to bring out their sweetness.  With that in mind I went for a green/yellow plantain.  One that was loosing the green, but not quite ripe.  It would be plenty sweet for us, especially for what I consider a savory dish.
I used a mandolin to slice them so they would all be equal in thickness.  Then I sauteed them in a little oil on both sides to brown them.  Put a layer in the bottom of a 13x9 pan.  The recipe called for 9x9 which I didn't have so I used this.  I will definitely buy more plantains and double the meat mixture so that I can put on an additional layer next time.

The meat mixture is simple.  Just brown the meat and add the veggies and seasonings in the order the recipe states.  You can find the original recipe here:  I love this site.  There are always lighter versions of some of our favorite meals, and new recipes to try that are always winners with my family.

Once you layer your plantains, you add a layer of meat.  As you can see I was light on the meat since I had a bigger dish and wanted to get at least 2 layers in.  

Sprinkle with your choice of cheese.  I used a Mexican cheese blend, but would have liked to grate my own.  I just had this on hand.  Continue layering and bake for 30 minutes.

Here is what it looks like when it comes out!  YUM!

I skipped the part about the milk and egg whites at the bottom of the recipe (I actually forgot), and it turned out fine.  I also used red onion because it didn't specify what kind, and I mostly use red onion when cooking Hispanic dishes.  I'm not a fan of green pepper, so I used yellow.  I didn't have a tomato (AKA to lazy to go out to the garden), so I opened a small can of diced tomatoes and used about half.  Since it was open I used an immersion blender to blend the rest of the tomatoes and added the 1/4 cup of water for the tomato sauce in the recipe.  And I used capers because I had them in the pantry.  

You use what you have on hand and make it work.  I did and the family LOVED it.  Except for my youngest who does not like sweet plantains.  I may do this with green next time so it's all savory and not a hint of sweet.  

Go for it.  Give it a try.  It's delicious and gluten free!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fish Wrapped in Parchment

I'm always looking for new ways to cook fish.  I love to saute it, bake it, broil it and grill it.  This is a very easy way to put together a delicious meal in minutes.  You can really do it with any kind of fish.  I used tilapia, catfish, salmon.  Pick your fish and get busy.

Season your  fish with salt and pepper, then your favorite fish seasoning.  I use dill for salmon, garlic and basil for catfish, and rosemary seasoning for this tilapia.  Cut out large parchment hearts, put your fish inside along with a drizzle of olive oil and thinly sliced lemon. 

Wrap the parchment starting at the top of the heart.  Add a tablespoon of wine or water to the packet and then seal it by folding the end under.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!  Serve with your favorite sides.