It’s been pretty cold lately, hasn’t it?* The middle of February is right about when I throw in the towel and threaten emigration on a daily basis. I love Canada but let’s call a spade a spade here: copious amounts of snow accompanied by double digit temps below zero suck royally. While this winter has been fairly mild, the last few weeks have delivered a few zingers hovering near -40°C. That’s just cold enough to motivate hibernation, and when I hibernate, I like to Netflix and
chill cook. That’s just how I roll.
These cold days have me reminiscing about the warm days I spent while travelling last year, because all 3 of the destinations I hit up last year were warm weather locations (Hawaii, Nicaragua, Los Angeles). They were good times indeed, and what’s a travel memory worth if you don’t unpack it once in a while (or several times a day)?
In an attempt to channel those toasty days, I dug up the recipe of a dish I had almost every day in Nicaragua: tostones (fried plantains). The crispy plantains would be starchy-sweet and were often balanced with salty fried cheese and tomatoes. It was definitely one of those snacks that I will forever associate with Nicaragua, and more specifically the Hotel Granada where I had the best tasting of all the ones I tried.
(I have to say, we’re really lucky to be getting produce from all over the world here. It’s like a reminder that there is sun and warmth somewhere in the world! Ok, dramatic overtures over.)
I scoured Pinterest for recipes that will bring that amazing dish to life and stumbled upon a recipe by one of my favourite food blogs: Skinnytaste! Gina is the mastermind behind the blog that focuses on healthy, low-fat meals. I found her a long time ago when I was looking for some healthy recipes that didn’t taste terrible, and I was really pleasantly surprised because every single recipe of hers I’ve ever tried has tasted absolutely incredible. When I found the recipe for baked tostones from Skinnytaste, I knew I had to give it a try! Tostones are typically fried, so I knew I could trust Skinnytaste to bake the plantains and get them just as tasty as the fried version.
Confession time: I tried to make these 3 times. The first time, I had underestimated the importance of having a green plantain. The results were a sticky sweet mess in my pot. Needless to say, that was a big fail and in case you’re wondering, they did NOT taste good. The second time, I forgot to microwave them first, so the plantains weren’t fully cooked through. I didn’t think that would matter but the super starchy green plantain wasn’t quite ready for consumption. The third round was the Goldilocks round: the tostones turned out just right. Turns out you have to follow the recipe a bit more closely than I’m used to… Of course!
I embellished a bit, because what’s life without a bit of spice? The recipe is a solid basis for tostones, and I added some latin american flavouring to it: Salsa Lizano. I’m a bit obsessed with the Costa Rican condiment packed with so much cumin-ey goodness so it’s been popping up in almost everything I eat, from scrambled eggs to hamburgers. I added a few (several) dashes of Salsa Lizano to some mayo for my dipping sauce and before I knew it, I was crunching on my Nicarguan foodie memories! The best part was that I wasn’t adding any of the calories (always a plus!) but maintaining the flavour. That’s what I love about Skinnytaste, no matter how comfort the food is, the recipe will always turn out just as good as the original while throwing all the guilt away. I’ll be making these again I suspect,
rain snow or shine!
Check out the full recipe here.
*Unless you’re one of those lucky beings who lives in a country that does not get walloped with snow every year!