How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The first fusion cuisine from South of the Border...Plantain and Black Bean Empanadas

Good morning, my energetic little scamps~

Yes, I love Mexican food. Oh, yes, the Tex-Mex 'border' food like tacos and enchiladas with red rice and beans that they serve in the US can be good, but that's not Mexican.

Real Mexican food is labor-intensive and chefs using the simplest, freshest ingredients magically create truly thrilling flavor. It is rich, invigorating, packed with a powerfully subtle combination of spices and even those who think they don't like chiles or paprika or garlic or tomatillos?

They too will succumb to those divine flavors but only when it has been authentically prepared.

Most American cooks are 'fast food' thinkers. If it can't be planned, assembled and cooked in under an hour, they just don't have the time. (Hey, I don't either, so no criticism here.)

However, anybody who thinks Mexican food can be prepared this way had better stick with quesadillas (tortillas in which cheese has been melted) or queso fundido (cheese that has been melted and then is served with warm tortillas).

When we lived in Mexico City for three years in the 1980's, I learned how to make many Central Mexican specialities from mole poblano to pozole, but one always must seek growth. This article in the New York Times caught my eye this morning about two fine restaurants in Mexico City:

Okay, so now that I've intimidated you, here's a beginner's recipe for you that isn't that time consuming as long as you have a food processor.

Adapted from Carmen Ramírez Degollado

4 plantains (about 2 pounds), yellow-black
1 tablespoon flour, more as needed
1 tablespoon sugar
Oil for deep-frying
About 1 1/2 cups cooked and well-seasoned black beans
Bread crumbs as needed.

1. Boil plantains in skins until very tender, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until cool, then peel. Use fingers to remove seeds from center. Combine in food processor with flour, a big pinch of salt and the sugar. Purée until uniform, adding a little more flour as necessary; dough should be slightly sticky, not at all dry.

2. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a pot, to about 325 degrees. Take a piece of dough the size of a golf ball and, using oil as needed to keep dough from sticking to your hands, shape it into an oval about 1/2-inch thick. Make an indent in it and fill indent with black beans. Fold dough over onto itself and seal; it will look something like a small banana. Set aside on waxed paper.

3. Roll empanadas in bread crumbs and fry a few at a time, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Just as a note, a mild vegetable oil is probably what you would want to use, but if olive oil is your thing, a mild one could be substituted, although be prepared for a change in flavor the kids may not like. And then when you think that they are being fried anyway? Your choice.

Clark County Diva



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