Thursday, March 15, 2018

Paleo Plantain French Fries

When you are limited on where your starches come from in a paleo diet, you get creative.

Ladies and Gentleman, the plantain french fry!

Paleo Plantain French Fries

NO, they don't taste exactly like a potato french fry. Of course they don't. They are made from a plantain, not a potato, so don't sit and whine that they aren't the same. They aren't gonna be the same, whiner.

But I'd rather have a salty, crispy-tender plantain fry to munch on than NONE at all.

And I'll leave off the six pounds I've lost in the past two weeks, too.

Thank you, meat and veggies.

Want to make them? We used three plantains for two of us.

  • green plantains with no yellowing
  • coconut oil
  • kosher salt

Special Tools:
  • a bowl or colander
  • paper towel
  • paring knife
  • skimmer or slotted metal spatula

  1. Place the paper towel in the bowl or colander. It will absorb some of the oil from the fries.
  2. Using a paring knife, cut off the tops and bottoms of the plantains. Score through the skin along the natural ridges of the plantain. Slide your thumb under the end of one of the strips and pop the skin up. Slide your thumb up the plantain to remove the strip. Peel all of the plantains completely. 
  3. Start heating the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. You want a depth that will more than coat the french fry, about 1/2 an inch. (And don't worry about waste. You can reuse this oil to make more fries another time.)
  4. Meanwhile, cut a plantain in half crosswise. Now cut the halves in half lengthwise. Cut the four pieces in half lengthwise again. Turn those pieces on their sides and cut them in half. You may have a few pieces that need turning and cutting in half one more time, depending on the size of your plantains. You should have square-ish fries. Repeat for all of the plantains.
  5. Look back to the oil. You want it hot but not smoking. Test it by tossing in a scrap of plantain. If it immediately bubbles rapidly, it's ready.
  6. Carefully drop in a small handful of fries. Stir gently to move the fries around a bit so they don't stick together. Fry until the plantains are a nice golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove them from the oil with the skimmer or spatula, tapping the skimmer on the side of the saucepan to allow excess oil to drip back into the saucepan. Dump the fries into the paper towel-lined bowl and immediately sprinkle with kosher salt. 
  7. Repeat until all the fries are done. If you want to keep the fries warm in the oven, you can do so, but I liked snacking while I fried...


Friday, March 9, 2018

A Paleo Puerto Rican Dinner Menu

What a week. In our second snow bomb storm of the season, the power in our block where "the power never goes out"—went out. Not for thirty minutes. Or an hour. Or the evening.

No, it went out for 24 hours.

Thank goodness it went out after I had pulled the steak tips we were having for dinner from the fridge. AND our stove is gas, so we could light her up and keep cooking. By candlelight.

So, despite the awkwardness of cooking without really being able to clearly see our food, Chef Reiton and I still forged ahead to start our month of going paleo to get these two bodies back on track.

So, here you go, folks: a paleo Puerto Rican dinner, prepared and eaten by candlelight:

  • Pan-Seared Cumin-Lime Steak Tips
  • Simple Avocado Salad
  • Tostones


For the steak tips:

  1. Rinse and pat dry the steak. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt, ground cumin, garlic powder, freshly squeezed lime juice and freshly ground black pepper. Rub it all in. Let meat rest for 15 minutes (while you prep the rest of the dinner).
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of one onion, halve it lengthwise, remove the peel, then slice the onion halves lengthwise into slivers.
  3. Sear meat in a tablespoon or so of coconut oil in a skillet until starting to char. Add onion slivers, and continue cooking steak, turning tips to sear all sides. Toss the onions occasionally.
  4. You want medium-rare to medium in doneness on the steak. Rest under foil on a plate for 10 minutes with the onions. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
For the avocado salad:
  1. Wash and halve avocado(s). Whack into the seed with a chef's knife blade, then twist the blade gently to pop out the seed.
  2. Hold a half in your palm. With a paring knife, CAREFULLY slice through the avocado flesh but NOT the skin, cutting it into cubes.
  3. Take a silverware tablespoon and, sliding the edge of it between the avocado skin and the flesh, scoop the chunks out into a bowl.
  4. Repeat as necessary on additional avocados.
  5. Salt and pepper the avocado chunks, squirt with some fresh lime juice, and toss gently. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.
For the tostones:
  1. Heat coconut oil in a small skillet or saucepan to a depth of about 1/2-inch. You can save and reuse this oil several times for this.
  2. Meanwhile, with a paring knife, cut the top and bottom tips off a very green plantain.
  3. Score through the skin of the plantain, following along the natural ridges of the skin.
  4. Take your thumbnail and wedge it under one of the skin strips. Pop up the skin, then slide your thumb up the plantain, peeling off the strip. Repeat the whole way around. Repeat on additional plantains as necessary.
  5. Slice the plantains into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks.
  6. Fry the plantain slices in batches to a golden brown, turning once to get both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Smash the fried plantain chunks to about 1/4-inch thick with a plate, tostone smasher, or what have you.
  8. Refry the smashed chunks (tostones) in the hot oil. Remove to a paper towel to drain and immediately sprinkle with adobo seasoning (you can readily find this in your grocery store in the ethnic aisle). Serve.
Paleo Puerto Rican dinner of steak tips, tostones and avocado salad

And there you have it, folks. A paleo Puerto Rican dinner—by candlelight.

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