Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Random Musings of the Taste Buds

Food I hated when I was a kid:

onions
tomatoes
mushrooms
salad
yogurt
cheese
fish
ranch dressing
bananas

Food I love now:

onions
tomatoes
mushrooms
salad
yogurt
cheese
fish
ranch dressing


BUT NOT BANANAS!

For whatever reason, I have never been able to love this fruit. I met a girl this summer who shared my distaste for this repulsive yellow monster.

"I hate everything that has to do with the banana," she said. "I hate the color. I hate the smell. I hate the way you have to undress it. It is so degrading."

And admit it. No matter how sexy, elegant, or posh a person may be, eating a banana instantly makes them look like a baboon.

However, years ago, I found to my horror that there was a relative of the banana that I did not feel repulsed by. The ever lovely plantain. I was first introduced to it at Gloria Estevan's restaurant in Florida. (The name escapes me...) The plantains were served fried, and when I bit into them, I can still remember the delightful crunch. It was better than potato chips. I was an instant fan of Cuban food after that moment.

I love little surprises like that. Food is such a personal thing for people. Name any type of food to someone, and you are sure to hear a very strong opinion. People just don't mess around when it comes to their taste buds.

The following recipe is an ode to the first time I relished a banana. No, I have not tried it. It would be difficult with nothing but a microwave and minifridge:

Tostones de Plátano(fried plantains)

Serves: six adults

Preparation time: About thirty minutes. Ingredients: 3 or 4 green plantains, peeled and cut at a slant, so that a medium-sized plantain yields around six pieces seasoning to taste (garlic salt, ground pepper, ground oregano)

Procedure:
Fry in a deep pan over medium to medium-high heat until the pieces begin to turn crisp. It's best to fry a few pieces at a time.

Remove the pieces. Set over a firm surface and press down on each piece with a hard instrument such as a roller until it becomes flattened thin and elongated. (Unless, of course, you avail yourself of a Tostonera - a gadget that will press the plantain piece into the shape of a Toston)

Return to the frying pan and continue to fry until they look quite crisp. Remove excess frying oil by setting over paper towels. Use as a side dish to substitute for French fries.

Warning: your diners may not want to go back to French fries in the future! Use as a side dish to substitute for French fries. You can freeze the plantain pieces before the second frying. They will last for months in the freezer! Careful, though: "for months" doesn't mean "forever".

Enjoy!

1 comment:

kimberly said...

Since I share your opinion of bananas, I would argue that you received your dislike of the fruit in the womb, but your grandmother said she couldn't eat enough of them while she was pregnant with me. So much for that theory!