Yes it’s fall and yes the temperature is dropping. Chillier ambiance means a completely different crop is in season. No more lemon meringue pies, blueberry jams, ice creams or orange sherbert.
But, in my kitchen, there are no rules (other than NOT putting your hand in my pressure cooker to pull out some flank steak as I’ve had a client so boldly do). Blueberries and other summer fruits are in the freezer and the yet-to-be-finished red wine ice cream will be finished before the end of the month. That’s to say that if there’s a certain food that’s calling my name, I will attack it no matter its untimely harvest or availability.
This is only an issue because there are so many things I didn’t get to make this summer and now it’s kind of, ‘well, there’s always next summer.’ And then there’s the professional faux pas of serving things out of season, like tomatoes. Some don’t care while others are sticklers for not ever putting a tomato on a plate during winter.
I totally digress in my point.
And, honestly, I think I started with wanting to say how irrelevant it is that a navel orange is of this summer’s past. But, it really isn’t. Oranges are good year round, especially if you’re going for the sweet variety. This makes me all the more content knowing I won’t have to pass up on some serious good eats just because “it’s” out of season.
Like homemade mojo, where naranga agria is one of main ingredients in the seasoning sauce. And more importantly, at least this and next week, plantains in every which way!
Sweet fried plantains, fufu (or mofongo as Puerto Rican’s call it), cheese stuffed plantain balls, mariquitas, and my fave, tostones, are on the cookery agenda over here! My decision to eat them this and all next week is really a stealth attempt at redeeming my PLANTAIN POST, which was super well-recieved and great in informative content but embarrassingly shoddy in photography! What can I say? It was published within the first month of food blogging.
But, I’m here to make it all better. In this first case, at least a better attempt. Not exactly how I wanted to present them to you, but there’s good reason. See, I had no intention of even starting the redemption process until mid-November. But, my lawyer and I had great reason to celebrate this week and I invited him over for dinner. With two hours notice, he requests saffron rice, oxtails and tostones.
(iPhone shot as I cooked)
Tostones it was. I had three sitting on my counter, waiting to ripen so it all just worked out. Though I love tostones in all its simplistic form, with a dash of sea salt sprinkled throughout, I had this taste bud begging for tons of garlic and some acidity. Really some sugar. Tostones aren’t anywhere near being as caramelized like the platanitos fritos I make so often. So, I was looking for a happy spot. Plus, the oxtails are so robust, I definitely needed something to balance it all out.
Et, voila! A garlic and naranja agria mojo it was! You can imagine it, right?! The fragrance of the super sweet orange I had was perfect and the amount of garlic was enough to knock out a cold! The pink sea salt was the final touch that made this staple side dish so special.
As I was cooking, my lawyer got excited and asked me to take some pics… Plantain press in one hand, tongs in another and somehow my iPhone in between, I was able to capture the above shot.
Right before we sat down to eat, I took two minutes to use my real camera and take the 1st and 3rd pics, hence it’s lack of proper plating or even composition. But, you get the gist. They were aaahmazing! I’ll give myself a gimme on these pics, especially since the redo of the plantain post won’t occur til next month. Maybe then, I’ll include the real shot I want. 😉
For publication reasons, I kindly won’t share the mojo recipe because I had a few other secret ingredients in there, but I will totally encourage you to play around with garlic and orange and make it work with your plantains! A combination you will be glad to make friends with! It’s genuinely one that will have you doing all kinds of happy dances!
If you don’t know the process for tostones, read that original post and buy yourself a tostonera. Great kitchen artillery to have from now on!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.