Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cuban Dinner, Part 2

I was lucky enough to be able make to the Austin 360 Food Blogger Bash at SXSW last night--despite some major printer issues that had me running almost an hour late--and had a great time! I really need to find a way to make it to more local events because they truly do inspire me. Not only are there so many passionate, talented, creative people around, but I realize that people actually read my blog. I guess I forget, especially when I don't get comments, that people other than my friends are reading my little blog.

As promised, here's the follow up to the Cuban dinner menu. These sweet potatoes are too easy, the only bad thing about them is that they require a long time in a hot oven, which is great on a cold winter day, or a rainy spring evening, but it's torture on a warm Austin night. Regardless, they are delicious! As I said last week, I don't make them nearly enough. Try them out just once and let me know what you think! You can see in these pictures that I cut the potatoes much thicker, almost a 1/2 inch thick. You can go thinner or thicker, but of course the thicker the cut the longer the bake, and I think I prefer the crispier outside and softer inside I got with the thin slices. I believe JD preferred them thicker, though.

This meal comes together pretty easily if you already have your beans cooked since each dish has pretty distinct stages. I usually work as follows to get everything done at about the same time:

1) Preheat oven
2) Roast peppers while peeling and slicing sweet potatoes
3) Cool peppers while getting sweet potatoes into oven
4) Start rice
5) Prep all ingredients for beans
6) Start beans
7) Flip sweet potatoes
8) Boil water if blanching greens
9) Make garlic cilantro sauce for sweet potatoes
10) Prep and blanch greens if blanching greens or make salad, etc.
11) Cut plantains, heat oil and do first fry for tostones
12) Check sweet potatoes, if done, dress with garlic cilantro sauce
13) Smash fried plantains and fry for the second time
14) Eat and enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Adapted from this recipe

1 teaspoon safflower oil
2/3 cup long grain brown rice
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 2/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, minced
lime wedges for garnish

Heat oil over medium low heat in a 2 quart saucepan. Add rice and lime juice and saute for approximately 1 minute, until rice turns slightly opaque and aromatic. Add water and sea salt and bring to a boil. Once rice is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for approximately 45 minutes.

When rice is done, add minced cilantro and fluff gently with fork. Serve hot. Garnish with lime wedge.

-You can leave the cilantro out of the dish and offer it as a garnish if you're serving people who are not in love with cilantro.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Smothered with Cilantro and Garlic
by Christina Terriquez

I love this dish! It's a great way to prepare sweet potatoes that tastes really decadent, but doesn't contain much fat. It's also really easy and beautiful....and, even cilantro haters seem to enjoy these.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarter inch thick discs
1--2 teaspoons safflower oil
sea salt
2 cloves garlic (or 1 clove if it's large or your garlic is extra strong)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
fresh squeezed lime juice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with oil and a few pinches of sea salt. Spread sweet potato discs out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip each sweet potato and bake for another 15 minutes, or until tender. If your sweet potatoes are thicker, they might need as much as an hour total baking time.

While the sweet potatoes are baking, dice garlic and crush with a mortar and pestle. Add cilantro and a few pinches of sea salt and continue crushing until cilantro is pulpy and no pieces of garlic are distinguishable.

When sweet potatoes are tender, gentle toss with garlic cilantro mixture, or allow sweet potatoes to cool a bit, then rub each disc with a bit of garlic cilantro sauce. Adjust salt to taste and add lime juice if desired. Can be served hot, room temperature, or cold.

-I like to use a mix of orange or garnet sweet potatoes and yellow or Japanese white sweet potatoes for more contrast.

-Try baking the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F. for a crisp outside and soft inside.

-Make a double batch and eat as a snack the second day!

- Cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

I'm thinking about starting a series of posts about building a basic, but well stocked, whole foods pantry. What ingredients from my recipes(or any recipes) are you curious about?


Mandee said...

I love going to vegan pot lucks/meet ups too, it's so great to chat to other vegans and sample their food!

Your meal looks so, so good, especially the rice! And I hear you about the oven when the weather is warm, it's like torture but the end result is worth it!

Carla Spacher said...

This meal is making my mouth water! I recently interviewed Ani Phyo, a raw vegan cookbook author; and will be interviewing Terry Hope Romero, a Latin vegan cookbook author. I think the vegan gods are trying to tell me something. I would love to go vegan! I am already cooking gluten free. Unfortunately my hubby is a meat and potato guy. So, I am researching the different styles of cooking to see if I can at least start incorporating some vegan dishes into our meals. Your site is just wonderful. Thank you for doing all of this great work!