Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Adventures As A Local Food Grower

To many people, growing plants, vegetables, or any type of greenery is an easy task.  However, this is in no way my case.  I am a very, rather I should say, extremely lousy gardener.  Not long time ago, I even tried to maintain alive a very tiny cactus that my daughter gave to me as a present for mother’s day.  Needless to say, my attempt ended up in a wrinkled, dead, sadly looking cactus. To this day, my daughter never forgave me for letting her precious gift go to waste; and she avidly promised by no means to give me another plant as a present. 
Today, I am no better plant grower.  However, through trial and error, I have learned a few tricks here and there, and thanks to our lovely, and very intelligent mother nature I can proudly say that I have fortunately ventured into the amazing habit of growing my own fruit trees in my backyard; with great success, I believe.
After enthusiastically reading, and later practicing about sustainable agriculture proposed in innumerable occasions by Alice Waters; or discovering Michael Pollan´s encouragement to bring pleasure back to eating in his book In Defense Of Food, I have found out the incredible satisfaction that is to cultivate yourself part of what you eat.  Persistence and hard work have let me to delightfully taste the fruits of my own harvest.
My story as an improvised horticulturist began in a lovely house in a nameless town, where a once manicured lawn was rapidly surrendering to abandonment and decay.  Ordinary plants disorderly grew everywhere, and the thirsty grass seemed more like a desert than an oasis.  A cadaverous mango tree was the only tree still standing in the yard.  Just a few yellow leaves decorated its treetop like a fragile, aged bold man. Nevertheless, the plot was spacious and the place had a great potential to become our home for the coming future, and the whole family absolutely fell in love with it. (It is too bad that I did not take any pictures at the time)
 Days passed, and we arduously cared for the garden.  We watered the trees, fertilized the soil, and colorful plants and flowers dressed up now our new backyard, delighting us with a gratifying sight.
The mango tree leaves flourished, and eventually flowered.   Precious little flower buds populated its once neglected branches.  Soon, hundreds of mini-mangoes fully developed into luxurious fruits, sweet, ripe, and juicy ambrosia, which daringly tempted every visitor who came to my house.

It was as Eve was luring Adam in God’s Garden.

One thing led to another, and sooner rather than later I had planted one papaya tree, two autochthonous banana trees, one lime tree, one avocado tree, my own aromatic herb garden, and a Clementine tree.  However, the latest did not make it to this summer.  I am, somehow, still trying to find out what happened.
Early this spring, we tasted our organic papayas, and they were sweet morsels of delight. The papaya tree is the envy of my neighbors.  And to this day, enormous papayas are continuously growing out of it.

The banana trees are about 5 feet tall and are still maturing.  I am hoping to dutifully enjoy some of my local bananas by March next year.  Like I said, patience is the key essence of being a gardener, a trait I yet have to properly develop.

The young avocado tree is still too tender to offer its fruits, but its dark green leaves are proliferating trough the branches making it hard for anyone to see the trunk.  I can imagine myself savoring the creamy almond taste of the avocados, once the first flowers appear.  I surely will share with you some of my best recipes like shrimp cocktail avocados, or red onion shavings and avocado slices dressed in balsamic vinaigrette once I collect my reward.

             Planting an herb garden is a recommendation that I seriously follow anywhere I get to live.  Nowadays, more and more food connoisseurs, great American chefs, even food bloggers like me are convincing people to get into the habit of procuring oneself a little terracotta pot, or if you are lucky enough, your own piece of land where to grow fresh oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary and anything else that you can get your hands on.  Trust me, any meal cooked with love, passion and of course, pesticide free, organic natural herbs make a huge difference in your taste buds and in the taste buds of your loved ones.
And so, my adventures as a food grower continue as I learn new things every passing day.  And to this moment, when I take a look at my garden, I can’t help but momentarily travel back in time to that first sight of my lonely, thirsty mango tree.  My neglected piece of land has become my refuge, my psychologist (because I talk to my plants,) my pride and joy.
My point behind this story is that with this recipe that mother nature has passed on to me:  a teaspoon of love, a pinch of carefulness, a bit of sun, and a dash of fertilizer you too can grow something very unique in your terracotta pots, or around your garden. Something that will fulfill an unknown sentiment inside you, which once awaken it could never be stopped, and like an addict it will require you to increase the dose.   For starters, you can procure yourself one of those small basil aromatic plants, follow my advice and the next time you need basil for your Capresse salad, use your own grown culinary herbs and taste the difference.  You’ll know what I mean.
Nothing can compare to the pleasure that it is to sample the fruits of your hard, caring labor, and for that, I am unconditionally thankful to our mother nature.
For now, I am just deciding on what tree I should plant next ...


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Barcelona, Living a Dream

      A few months ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the extraordinary city of Barcelona.  Although, I ate many of the delightful and appetizing local food, the only thing that left me in complete awe was a medieval neighborhood full of entangled, obscure streets, full with astonishing, complicated building architectures.  As I strolled through them, I found myself living a dream.  Here is my fantasy:
  No matter how many times I travel to the ancient city of Barcelona, Spain, I always find myself immersed in a magical and amazing story.  My mind wonders uncontrollably, and influenced by the fascinating architecture, it takes me back in time.  I am the protagonist of my own fictional adventure. 
      Walking through the cluttered streets of the “Barrio Gotico”, I feel like a time traveler.

The “barrio”, or neighborhood as we would call it, is a labyrinth of narrow streets, each one different than the next, each one offering a new original architecture causing amazement to the eyes of the hungry travelers that curiously roam through them.  I imagine that seen from high above, we look like little lost ants.  I keep walking.  And I keep taking pictures, lots of them, always from the ground up.  It is so much more interesting to look up than ahead.  A myriad of small balconies align themselves up and down the thousands of antique buildings that form the old neighborhood.  Some of them are beautifully decorated with multicolored flowers sprinkled here and there.  And some of them just lie there, nude, with their long, open windows welcoming the fresh breeze of the city’s late summer wind.  

    To me, they are just like silent, old witnesses of the present day and past centuries.  I wonder what they have seen.
      Just for an ethereal moment, I am transformed into a medieval damsel waiting to be rescued by her handsome knight who proudly rides in a perfectly white horse.  I feel Dulcinea in a Don Quixote novel, required reading for anybody remotely interested in Spanish culture.  An image interrupted by the incessant coming and going of annoying tourists who roam around trying to find the true Barcelona.
     At night, the neighborhood changes.  It suffers a metamorphosis, and the ancient buildings witness how the night creatures come out.  People, natives and foreigners, turn to alcohol to have a good time.  Hundreds of immigrants come out of the shadows looking to make a couple of easy Euros by selling products, most of them illegal. The Barrio Gotico changes its innocent semblance, and the multicolor version of the daylight gives way to the lugubrious color of the night.  And for the first time, I was afraid.  I did not like what I experienced.  Personally, I prefer being Dulcinea in medieval Catalunya, accompanied by her brave knight.  And it is here where my memories of Barcelona lie.  


Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

      I wish everybody happy holidays.  For me this is the most stressful time of the year, but at the end of the day, when everybody has eaten plenty of deliciously looking food, food that otherwise you would have not prepared if not for this special occasion, after all the congratulations on your beautifully decorated table, then, is when you realize that all your "days" work has been worth it.  This wonderful moment is what I call happiness.  Like I said in previous posts, I like to cook, but most of all, I love to see my family eating my food.  And today, it is all about you: cooks from all over the world.  Today, is when you can show off your learned skills.  Today is when you can thank your family, and celebrate this time of the year, no matter what you believe in, because what matters is that you are all together. 
      In my next post, I will tell you all about my planned menu for Christmas day.  Happy Holidays from me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stuffed Green and Red Peppers (Capsicums)

       A few days ago, I found myself wondering through one of the farmers market so popular nowadays.  There is one right where I live.  I can not emphasize enough the importance that supporting your local farmers mean to the environment, and particularly to your health.  I just love to enjoy the multicolor array of vegetables, fruits, flowers and all of the rest edible, natural products that vendors proudly display on their tables.  If it was up to me, I would buy one of each.  But thanks to my reasonable husband, we always end up with just what we need the most.  He is a good "househusband," economically speaking. This is one of the reasons why I take him along when I visit my local organic market every weekend.  It was there that I luckily found these beautiful green and red bell peppers, or capsicums.  As soon as I laid my eyes on them, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them: Stuffed Bell Peppers. 

       For those of you who like your vegetables, and also for those of you who do not really enjoy eating them, this recipe will be a hit.  It is a little bit of work to prepare it, but the tasty meal that you end up with justifies the hard work.   
       Ingredients for 6 people (Half a pepper for each) 
  • 3 whole bell peppers
  • 2 lbs. of ground lean beef
  • 2 cups of cooked white rice
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup parshley
  • 2 cups of tomato puree 
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried herbs du Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon of curry
  • dash of cumin 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish paprika
  • 1 cup of white cooking wine
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
     Mix well in a blender the following ingredients according to the recipes quantities: onion, green and red peppers, garlic, parshley, tomato pure, nutmeg, ground clove, oregano, herbs du Provence, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.   Blend it until smooth.  Pour it into a large skillet and cook it for about 20 to 25 minutes on medium heat, turning occasionally with a wooden spoon.  Put a cover so the "sofrito" doesn't splash all aver your kitchen.

      Meanwhile, cut each of the bell peppers in half carefully so the stem does not fall off, take out the seeds and clean them under running water.  Dry them with a paper towel and arrange them in an oven safe tray, or pyrex.

      Cook the ground meat for 10 minutes, but be careful not to overcook it.  Just enough because it will cook all the way through later in the oven. 

     Check your sauce, and when it thickens add the cooked ground meat.  Stir.  Add curry, Spanish paprika, and cumin, and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Check the seasoning in case it needs more salt.  Set aside and let it cool for ten minutes.
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or 180 degrees  C.
      Stuff the peppers with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top, and pour 1 cup white wine in the tray around the peppers.
      Cook it in the oven for 40 minutes.

  Serve it with a good glass of wine and Que aproveche!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My November Thanks Giving

A Very Special Present From My Lovely Husband
     I enjoy giving presents to my loved ones, but most of all I LOVE receiving them, specially for no reason at all.  The latter is always my lovely husband's job.  He has that gift a few people have of knowing exactly what you need, or what you really, really want.  He is always surprising me by bringing home wonderful little gifts, boxes of my favorite chocolates(Godiva!,) or books that I devour in a couple of days.  Just the other day, he came home from the post office and out the blue he gave me a little box to open.  Surprise, surprise! It was a beautiful recipe journal, completely blank, and for me to fill out.  I could not be more thankful to him. 

     The recipe journal is a 5x8", acid free notebook that has 6 different sections to fill in, 6 extra tabbed sections for you to personalize, food calendars, food facts, and measure and conversion tables, plus a couple of hundreds of stickers to help you with your recipe collection. The covers are an imitation of black leather beautifully embossed with different kitchen utensils.  If you want to make an impression, or just wish to thank somebody, or maybe you want it for yourself, has them at Moleskine Passions Recipe Journal.  It is for sure one of those presents that you will treasure forever.

    For me, this book is not just a recipe journal, but my husband's adorable and admirable attempt to demonstrate me how much he supports my project.  A project that came out of nowhere, and now it has gotten me to two cooking blogs,  a few supporters, whom I cherish for confiding in my experience to show them how some recipes are easily done, and a dozen of new food related books that otherwise, if not for Carlos (my husband's name,) I would never had the pleasure to read and enjoy.
     Carlos always keeps the presents a secret (he always does) until he finds the right moment to give it to me.  He is constantly surprising me and today, I would like to acknowledge his hard work by thanking him publicly in my blog.  My dear husband, I love you, and I am very happy to be your wife.  I am forever grateful at how hard you work to keep me happy.  Carlos, thank you!
     My proposition today for anybody who read my blog is to take a moment and ask yourself...  Who do you have to thank this Thanksgiving?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chocolate Bread - Pan de Chocolate

    Happy Halloween to everybody!  Every year, the month of October is very special to me.  Not only because I love celebrations, and Halloween is a big one for our family, but because fourteen years ago this 31st, my son was born, right in the middle of Trick or Treat.  I remember my numerous family being all around me, each and everyone of them, beautifully dressed in Halloween costumes.  All celebrating at the hospital, the day when my first born saw light for the very first time. A big smile draws on my face as I think about it.
     This post is not about Halloween, but about my son, Carlos Jr.  I want to, somehow, dedicate the month of October to him, and what better way to do it than by recounting one of my kitchen adventures with him.
     About two weeks ago, during one of those weekends at home, Carlos came up to me after watching one of his favorite Anime cartoons, and asked me if he could make bread.  I was astonished.  Never before he showed any interest in the culinary arts, but today he wanted to venture into the complicated world of bread making.  My experience in the kitchen is not too broad.  I am not a professional chef, but I am not afraid of embarking in new enterprises.  Although, he made me ask myself where this new acquired interest came from.
     Not wanting to formulate any other questions that would scare him away from the kitchen, I turned to my treasured cookbooks.  In fact, I have one on that topic.  It is a Spanish book that I accidentally found in a small shop in a little town in Tenerife, Canary Islands.  At the time, I did not know why I wanted it but, destiny made me buy it.  It is called "Pan recién hecho", which translated would be freshly made bread, from Parragon Books, United Kingdom.

    He looked through it until he found what he wanted to bake: Chocolate bread. We got all the ingredients ready.  Carlos was all set and ready to get his hands on the dough. 

    He knitted the dough, added water, flour, chocolate chips and anything that the recipe called for.  He followed instructions faithfully, and as it turned out, the chocolate bread came out perfect.

When he got the bread out of the oven, his face lit up like a kid at Christmas opening all the presents that Santa left for him under the tree.  He was really proud of himself.  And, so was I.  With his own hands and no machinery, he made the perfect chocolate bread.  Carlos, I am happy that you became part of my life fourteen years ago. Mommy wishes you Happy Birthday!

     The following is the recipe taken directly from the book "Pan recién hecho" from Parragon Books, U.K. and translated by me.
  • 2 cups of flour, plus more to dust the pan
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a dash of salt
  • 1tablespoon of butter cut in little squares
  • 1/2 teaspoons of clarified butter to spread over the bread
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 pack of active yeast
  • 2/3 of a cup of warm water
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
  1. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan once it is all done.   Sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.  Add the butter cut in squares, the sugar and the active yeast.
  2. Slowly pour into the mix the water, turning with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to form.  Work the dough with your hands and then transfer it to a working table covered with parchment paper, dust some flour and work it again for about 10 more minutes.

    3.  Add the chocolate chips, and transfer to a bowl.  Cover it with a wet cloth and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour and a half.
    4.  Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C  (425 degrees F.)  Bake the bread for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 190º C (375º F) and keep baking it for 15 minutes.
    5.  Take the chocolate bread out of the oven and transfer it to a wire rack.  Brush it with the clarified butter and cover with a kitchen cloth to let it cool.

     This is Carlos' final product following the above recipe.  I can assure that it tasted delicious and it became our mid day snack.  It was gone in a matter of minutes.  Que aproveche! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


      There is nothing more Spanish, besides from Tortilla Española (Spanish omelet,) than gazpacho.  Gazpacho is a cold, refreshing and a bit acidic vegetable soup.  Although its main ingredient are red ripe tomatoes, the making of gazpacho also includes cucumbers, onions and garlic.  A complicated arrangements of flavors if we take into account that all of them are consumed raw.  But when well combined, and given the Spanish twist, the end product enters your mouth and immediately your palate recognizes the goodness in all of it, leaving you longing for more.  Particularly, if you are in the middle of Andalusia, Spain, during the summer months, when the temperatures usually break the previous year's record. 
     It is said, that gazpacho comes precisely from Andalusia, a region located in the South of Spain.  There you can find at almost any restaurant different varieties of gazpacho, all of them having in common the use of tomatoes, and the way it is served, always very cold.  The rest of the ingredients could vary in the amount it is made of, or the addition of any other element.  But basically, I found a recipe for gazpacho that I adore, and usually I have it ready in my refrigerator every other week.  So when I am looking to enjoy a cold, refreshing and tasty soup, I do not have to go all the way to Andalusia to get it. 

  • 2 pounds of red ripe tomatoes plus 2 more tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup of green peppers
  • 1/4 cup of onions
  • 1/2 cup peeled cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
     Introduce all the ingredients in a blender and mix well.  Gradually increase the speed to the highest. The longer you mix it the better.  It needs to be smooth with a creamy consistency.  Put the soup in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
     Meanwhile, finely chop extra onions, green peppers, and cucumbers by hand. (Not included in the amounts above, so use any extra you may have) These are to be presented at the table along with the gazpacho.
     Serve the gazpacho in a bowl with the chopped veggies and some croutons on the side. Que aproveche!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Masa Real-A Cuban Dessert

    I love guava, and so do Cubans.  Their heritage influences American cuisine all around Florida, and nowadays even around the country.  This is the reason why we can commonly find at any fashionable restaurant dishes made out of key Cuban ingredients like mango, guava or plantains.  Just take a good look at any popular restaurant around your town and chances are that you will find, included at their menu, entrees like fried yellowtail with mango salsa, or seared tuna in guava sauce.  And believe me... they taste amazingly delicious.  The sweet and salty pairing is a flavor that I have learned to love and enjoy greatly.  This is what I like to refer as the Cuban nouvelle cuisine. 
    More traditional uses of guava among Cubans include desserts like "masa real."  There is no literary translation to English, so if you decide to give it a chance, and have a piece, you better practice your Spanish.  To me, it is the perfect dessert to accompany a big and strong cup of coffee.  The texture is comparable to soft, juicy pound cake, and sandwiched in between lies the sweet and tangy guava.  It is easy to bake, and once you get the hang of it, it will forever become part of your culinary repertoire. 
    I have to thank my dearest mother in law, Elina, for the special recipe that I am about to share with you all.  She got it from her mother, and she passed it to me.  It is a family recipe, and as I always say, there is nothing like homemade food.  Que aproveche!

  • 1 Guava bar 
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry wine
     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 grades centigrades.)
     Butter a rectangular baking pan (5x8.)   
     Slice the guava in thin slices.
     Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.
     Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Lower the speed and start pouring the dry ingredients carefully.  Then, add the sherry wine.   The dough looks soft and sticky.  Divide the dough in two.  Take one half and spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Carefully, place the guava on top of the batter without overlapping until the dough is covered.  Then, spoon the other half on top with a spatula evenly throughout the baking pan.  You will not be able to see the guava underneath.
     Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.  Check it with a cake tester to make sure it is done.
     Let it cool before cutting it in 2x2" little squares.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Homemade Meat Lasagna with Tomato Sauce

      I have to say that this is my own version of a lasagna.  However, I also have to say that every time I make it to friends or family members I get in return lots of compliments on how surprisingly tasty the lasagna is.  Last week, I had my husband's friends over in my house for lunch.  Spanish lunch that is.  My menu initially, before I knew there would be so many more people over for lunch that day, was codfish with a vinaigrette spiced up by Canarian green hot peppers, and accompanied by boiled potatoes.  Instead, I ended up serving leftover homemade lasagna from the day before together with the cod fish; since we were a bit too many.  Not a match made in heaven I would think, but it would have to do in such a short notice.  To make my story short, the lasagna was the queen of the party, not the fresh codfish from Norway.  My meat lasagna had dethroned the royal cod fish.  It disappeared in a matter of minutes leaving my husband's friends longing for more.
     Days later, one of them called me insisting that I "must" post it in my blog.  He confessed that he wanted to cook it for his wife and family.  Today, I am granting his wish.
    The secret to my meat lasagna is, beside buying good quality meat, is my homemade tomato sauce, which I previously published in this blog.  So I recommend you to make the sauce ahead of time following my own recipe.
    The rest of the ingredients are:

  • 2 pounds of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 pounds of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound and a half of ground lean beef
  • 1 pack of barilla no boil pasta sheets
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • garlic powder 
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • herbs du Provence
  • black pepper
  • salt
    Preheat the oven to 325º F, or 170º C.
    Heat a skillet with 3 tablespoons of oil, add the ground beef, stir and start to season with the herbs, garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper.  About a teaspoon of each.  Stir again and when the meat is cooked pour it into a bowl.

Do not overcook the meat.  Remember that it will cook again in the oven once the lasagna is completely formed.
    Have the rest of the ingredients ready to use.
    Cover the bottom of a 13x9 pyrex lightly with tomato sauce.
    Next, set up a layer of Barilla no boil pasta sheets.  Arrange them carefully so one is a bit on top of the other.
    Again, cover with sauce, and set up another layer with meat.

    Then, sprinkle generously with mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Add spoonfuls of ricotta cheese until it is all pretty much covered.  Spread some more sauce, and again cover with the pasta sheets.  

     Keep repeating this process, until the pan is full.  Make sure the top has enough sauce to cover it all.  Again, sprinkle a bit of parmesan and mozzarella, but not ricotta.
     Put it in the middle rack of the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes.  I have a trick to make sure the lasagna is done properly.  I introduce a knife in one of the sides to feel if the pasta is already soft, and I carefully touch the sides of the knife to check if it is hot to make sure the interior of the lasagna is sufficiently cooked.  Check the bottom of the pan regularly to prevent from burning, some ovens are different than others.
    I encourage you to serve yourself a big piece of lasagna with a nice salad as a side dish, and spend your money in a good bottle of Italian Valpolicella, or a nice Spanish rioja.  And have yourself a wonderful meal.  Que aproveche!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Frituritas de Malanga-Malanga Pancakes

     Malanga is an essential ingredient in Cuban cooking.  Almost every Cuban meal must include malanga to compliment and enhance the true tradition and taste of a full Latin meal.  It is also known as yutia in Puerto Rico.  Hairy in aspect, brownish in its color, malanga is actually a very starchy tuber with over 40 different species.

     Although it is very popular in any Cuban kitchen, malanga is also found in almost every culinary culture throughout the South American continent and even further away, in Africa, where it supposedly comes from.  Nobody knows for certain where the malanga plant truly originated, but two theories seem to explain its history.  One of them, argues that malanga came from Africa, and it was introduced in South America by African slaves.  Supposedly, the slaves brought the vegetable inside the ship´s bodegas and replanted them all over Latin America.
   The other theory arguments that malanga was an authocthonous plant of South America, and was introduced to the rest of the world by European explorers.  Anyhow, malanga has become in Latin and African culture an indispensable ingredient to cook with.
   Malanga is considered to possess excellent health properties. Not only is a tuber full of rivoflavin and thiamine, but it also contains iron and vitamin C.  It is the most easily digested of all complex carbohydrates, and it has been classified as the best hypoallergenic food in the culinary world. No wonder, Cubans recommend malanga puree to settle any upset stomach.
    What I present to you today with this creamy white flesh vegetable is "frituritas de malanga", or deep fried malanga pancakes.  It is a typical Cuban side dish that can accompany any meat, chicken or even shrimp creole ( you will find this last recipe in my blog.)  Frituritas do not come out greasy, and their rich, crunchy texture will fill your mouth with a heaven´s delight.
  • 5 malangas (medium to small in size)
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar ( to prevent the darkening of the white malanga flesh)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups of olive oil, or canola oil (for deep frying)
    Peel the malanga.  Clean well under running water and grate them all.  You will end up with a creamy paste.

     Add one tablespoon of white wine vinegar.  Meanwhile, start heating up the oil in a frying pan.  When the oil is sufficiently hot, use a tablespoon to scoop the malanga and drop it in the frying pan.  Turn the frituritas over when the sides are golden brown to completely fry both sides. Keep repeating this step until all the malanga paste is all fried.

    Set up a plate with a paper towel where you arrange the frituritas to drain the excess of oil.  This wil ensure that you get crunchy, golden brown, savory malanga pancakes without being oily.

    Que aproveche!
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