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Posts Tagged ‘recao’

Tostones, twice fried green plantains or breadfruit (pana) patties, are a staple in caribbean cuisine and often served as a side dish, appetizer or snack.  They are called “patacones” or “tachinos” in some south american countries and can be made fresh or nowadays they also come frozen. Some people season them with plain salt, garlic mojito or mayo-ketchup, but I like to serve with this sauce which I call Mojito Caribeño.  All you need is a sharp knife to finely chop ingredients and a mortar and pestle to bring it all together.  This dipping sauce has a strong aroma and irresistible flavor. Simply spread over tostones and enjoy.  If you want to make it spicy, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few drops of “pique” (hot sauce).

click here to print recipe

Mojito Caribeño

Ingredients

2 large culantro leaves (recao) finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp very finely chopped yellow onion

1 tsp very finely chopped cubanel or green pepper

scant 1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 tsp vinegar

pinch of ground cumin

pinch of dried oregano

4 tbsp tomato sauce

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Procedure

1.  In a mortar and pestle (pilón) mash garlic with some of the salt.

recao- culantro leaves

2.  Add finely chopped culantro (recao), onions and green pepper.  Mash with the pestle.

3.  Add cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Mash a bit more to create a coarse paste.

4.  Add vinegar, tomato sauce, olive oil and lemon juice and stir with a spoon until all ingredients are incorporated.  Serve with tostones de platano o pana (fried plantains or breadfruit).  Refrigerate if you have any leftovers.

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I don’t know why it feels so good to get your hands dirty with soil and plant herbs in your home.  It can be done in apartments or houses and there is no doubt that dishes prepared with fresh herbs are more aromatic, colorful and savory.  I have had success stories as well as disasters with my gardening, but I keep going at it.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have a fresh herb garden.  It was not very pretty, rather a bit wild, so last Monday I worked on it with my daughter to make it look appealing and more organized .   We transplanted the rosemary and oregano to pots and sowed new seeds for sweet basil, cilantro and italian parsley.   I have not been very lucky with my sweet basil, but have high hopes this time around.  I must tell you it is not an organic garden yet, but I am working on getting organic top soil and making compost in the near future when I start a bedding for my vegetable garden.

I was looking for a cool way to lable my herb garden when, tadah!!! Martha Stewart “personally” sent me an email with a great idea!  Ja, ja!!  So I went with the kids to my backyard and started looking for rocks approximately the size of the palm of their hands. We found really beautiful quarz-like smooth rocks that problably I had thrown away from a nice flower centerpiece I got as a present or something like that, because they where very different from the rest of the rocks in my backyard. Anyway, they were lovely,  so I took out a blue Sharpie and started to lable my herb garden. Turned out so nice and really pretty! Tomorrow Cristina and I will soil our hands to teach the girls in our Girl Scout Troop to pot and care for cherry tomatoes. By doing this, we will try to plant a seed in the hearts and minds of the next generation to love and care for our Planet and all living things.

Have a nice Earth Day!

Meet Rosemary. Ja! You can see Culantro (recao) in the back on the ground starting to spread its seeds.

Recao- Culantro

Sweet Basil starting to grow

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